Monday, September 30, 2019

Longbox Junk - The Falcon

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, home of comic reviews nobody asked me for!

I really like The Falcon as a character. I'm gonna step outside the lines here and admit that I REALLY liked Sam Wilson as Captain America and was pretty disappointed that Marvel didn't have the guts to hold the line on keeping Steve Rogers an old man passing the shield on to a worthy successor.


The Falcon has always had a bit of a problem carrying a series. It's like Marvel feels like they HAVE to somehow keep him in the lane of literally being a Social Justice Warrior, and to me that's okay. . .in small doses. Eventually it breaks down because you can't have a character that only appeals to a certain way of thinking over the long term. I'm not being racist or any other kind of -ist. . .just telling the truth.

So what we have here is The Falcon's first solo run. A 4 issue limited series from 1983. There's a definite difference between the first issue and the other 3 because the first issue was actually done in 1981 as a standalone story for the upcoming "Marvel Fanfare" title that was never used.

Sam Wilson didn't get another Solo series for THIRTY-TWO GODDAMN YEARS with "All New Captain America" in 2015. . .The whole thing reviewed for your reading pleasure by yours truly HERE:

Let's take a look at the series at hand and find out if we can find any clues why The Falcon as a solo character didn't really catch on, shall we?  We shall!

Vol. 1 (1983)
Marvel Comics


SCRIPTS: Jim Owsley
PENCILS: Paul Smith
INKS: Vince Colletta
COVER: Paul Smith

Social Worker Sam Wilson (AKA The Falcon) fights in both of his identities to save a young man from going down the wrong path.

In the meantime, Falcon teams up with a hard-hitting detective to take down an armored criminal intent on destroying a new housing project.

The first part of this mini is basically a self-contained issue following two storylines.

The first, with Falcon trying to keep a young man out of trouble and put him on the right path introduces us to Sam Wilson : Social Worker and firmly sets the scene in ghetto Harlem. It also serves to introduce Sgt. Tork. . .a cop who breaks the rules to get the job done, but a good cop.

The second storyline involves a new housing project being built that is attacked by an armored villain calling himself "Nemesis". It eventually turns out that Nemesis is actually the slum lord developer of the building trying to pull an insurance scam.

Both of the stories taken together are pretty enjoyable and well-written. The first has more character moments and the second delivers the superhero fighting action.

What I like a lot about the writing here is that it seems like you're dropping into a story in progress. There's no Falcon origin story here, and even though this is listed as Sgt. Tork's first appearance, there's no origin for him either.

The writer doesn't hold your hand here, he just lets the story start like it's already been going on without you. . .but there's JUST enough exposition so it's not hard to figure out what is what. Very well done, and there's modern writers who could certainly learn a thing or two along these lines.

The only real problem is that the dialogue is definitely dated. There is no mistaking that this comic comes from the early 80's because it's just dripping with a "The 70's ain't QUITE over yet. . .dig?" tone.

The art is really quite good for a mainstream superhero comic coming in at the end of the Bronze Age. It's fluid and detailed, with a great sense of movement and animation. It's also colored well, unlike a lot of late 70's/early 80's comics I've read.

Can you dig it? I can dig it.

Overall, despite some really dated "street talk", I liked this first issue a lot. Even though it's an introduction, it doesn't feel like one at all.  NEXT!


SCRIPTS: Jim Owsley
PENCILS: Mark Bright
INKS: Mike Gustovich
COVER: Paul Smith

When Falcon fails to show up and keep the peace during a parade, Harlem erupts with violence and rioting after a rookie cop accidentally kills a gang member.


In the THIRD retcon (in the 9 years of the character's existence at that point) of his origin, Falcon battles a Sentinel and discovers that he's probably a mutant.

First off, we get an art team change beginning with this issue. Although it's not BAD, the first issue's art team is clearly superior.

The ink lines are thinner, the backgrounds are busy enough with detail that the main focus is sometimes lost, there's a lot of "movement lines" that are pretty distracting during action scenes, and the coloring gets a bit sloppier.

Featuring the most talkative Sentinel EVER!

Overall, the art goes from interesting and engaging to typical 80's comic fare. Like I said. . .it's not BAD, just disappointing after the great job done on the first issue.

ANYWAY. . .the story.

Most of the discussion and information I could find about this mini on the internet revolves around this particular issue, as it tries to retcon Falcon into being a Mutant (probably to tie him into Marvel's cash cow X-Books of the time).

It seems a bit of a stretch, especially since they do some exposition on Falcon's "Snap Wilson" origin in the very next issue. Plus it seems like more of a weak excuse for a fight against a Sentinel than anything. I guess I can't blame Marvel for trying.

The second storyline, involving Harlem erupting into violence when a cop shoots an innocent man during a parade, is more interesting even though Falcon doesn't show up until the end of it after escaping the Sentinel and realizing he's got a hell of a mess to clean up.

Overall, this issue is a slip in quality from the first. The art change is for the worse and most of the issue is taken up with Falcon punching a giant robot.

It's not BAD, it's still pretty good. Unfortunately, it's not much more than that.


SCRIPTS: Jim Owsley
PENCILS: Mark Bright
INKS: Mike Gustovich
COVER: Alan Kupperberg

After the Harlem riots, President Reagan visits on a fact finding tour, only for the motorcade to be attacked and the President kidnapped by The Legion. . .the strongest street gang in Harlem.

Meanwhile, Electro attacks The Falcon after mistakenly believing that Falcon has discovered his Harlem safe house, preventing Falcon from helping recover the kidnapped President.

And then Captain America shows up.

Unlike the previous two issues, where they were basically two connected but separate stories, this issue contains a single story continued directly from the previous issue's riots.

It's mostly action, with Falcon rescuing people from fires and then battling Electro through most of the issue. There are some decent story moments that mostly revolve around exposition of Falcon's "Snap Wilson" criminal background origin story, but mostly it's Falcon and Electro fighting it out for pretty much no reason. . .Electro mistakenly believes that Falcon is looking for him, so he goes on the attack.

The art in this issue is the worst of the bunch so far. The panels are extremely cluttered and the coloring is pretty bad. It all looks extremely rushed. The reveal of Captain America on the last page is a particularly poor rendition of the Star Spangled Avenger.

Found in the internet dictionary under: Lazy Coloring

Overall, the worst issue of the series so far. It's mostly super people punching each other for pretty much no reason rendered in a rushed, badly-colored manner.

And finally. . .


SCRIPTS: Jim Owsley
PENCILS: Mark Bright
INKS: Mike Gustovich
COVER: Joe Rubenstein

Captain America and The Falcon take separate paths to the same goal: Rescuing the kidnapped President of The United States from Electro and The Legion.

This final issue wraps up the series with a lot of punching topped off with a heaping helping of Political Progressive Agenda.

What I'm trying to say here is that if you are they type of person who might have a problem with a perception of "SJW Taint" of today's comics. . .your head will friggin' EXPLODE from this issue.

The implied progressive agenda present in today's comics are pale and weak compared to the straightforward urban liberal progressive message laid out in this comic. Fair warning.

That said, I want to throw out that I'm NOT the guy who is going to grit my teeth at SJW messages in comics. I LOVED Sam Wilson as Captain America and sincerely wish that Marvel had the guts to keep it that way. . .but even as Zen as I can be about this stuff, this comic was a little too much.

Like I said above, it's mostly fighting. . .but it abruptly stops and becomes a social justice PSA about how much life sucks for minorities. . .filtered through the lens of Ronald Friggin' Reagan being mansplained by a gang member while tied to a chair with Captain America and The Falcon just standing there nodding in agreement.

Wait. What?

Colonel Trautman? When did YOU become President?

Overall, I found this concluding issue to be a bit of an eye-roller. Not only is the Social Justice message extremely heavy-handed, but the art barely hurdles the bar of "okay". The depiction of Captain America is pretty bad, and Ronald Reagan looks more like a discount Richard Crenna.


This limited series can be described in one word: Conflicted.

It's pretty plain to see that the writer wanted to focus more on the Sam Wilson: Social Justice Warrior aspect of the character than The Falcon: Superhero side of things. . .so we have a story that swings wildly from The Falcon punching giant robots to President Ronald Reagan being mansplained about how it's HIS fault life sucks in the ghetto.

It's not all bad, but there's a definite downward spiral from the first issue to the last.
The first issue will have you saying "Falcon! Hell Yeah!" and the last will have you saying "No, Falcon. Please. . .just stop."

Overall, I'd say that despite the heavy-handed political agenda that creeps in along the way, The Falcon is worth a read if you're a fan of the character. If you aren't already a Falcon fan, this mini won't do a thing to change your mind. If you are the kind whose head explodes at the notion of "SJW agenda" in comics. . .don't even bother.

Up Next. . .

I decided to hold the next Longbox Junk Reader Request (Vertigo's American Vampire) until October for the first entry in the Longbox Junk month-long Halloween Horror Celebration.

Be there or be square!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Longbox Junk - Shadowland: Moon Knight

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, home of comic reviews nobody ever asked me for!

Moon Knight is a character that is often referred to as "Marvel's Batman".

I disagree.

Sure, there are similarities. . .some of them are pretty obvious.  Both are super-wealthy, cape-wearing non-super powered vigilantes with themed weapons and vehicles.  Okay, I can see where people draw the "Marvel's Batman" conclusion from that kind of surface observation.

BUT. . .

In my extremely humble opinion, Moon Knight is actually closer to The Shadow than Batman, due to the focus on mystical forces, multiple identities, and an unreliable narrator working with teams of agents. . .many of whom aren't aware of the character's other identities.  Also, unlike Batman, both The Shadow and Moon Knight have a woman in their lives that keep them tethered to the real world and remind them that they are still human.

It's these deeper layers of character that make Moon Knight stand out from the crowd of Marvel's costumed superhero "community".  He's a deeply flawed character whose inspirational roots stretch back beyond Silver or Bronze Age sensibilities and into a time of mystery and magic.  Moon Knight brings those pulp-era conventions forward into today's high-tech world and becomes a strange, unique figure that's more than what he seems on the surface.

The modern crimefighter and golden age mysticism mixture is one of the reasons why Moon Knight is one of my favorite Marvel characters when I'm really not much of a fan of traditional costumed superheroes.


There's a BIG problem with Moon Knight in that he's not an easy character to get right.  Reading the various volumes of Moon Knight comics is about as schizophrenic as the character himself.  The portrayal of Moon Knight swings wildly from introspective to psychedelic to typical superhero punch-fest as each new writer tries to get a handle on the character.   The continuing narrative of Moon Knight comics is as unstable as Marc Spector's mental state.

So what we have here is a 3 issue miniseries that is part of a larger overall crossover of Marvel's more "street level" heroes.  It finds Moon Knight as a solo Vigilante on the streets of New York again after a stint of taking orders and working with a team as part of The Secret Avengers.

Daredevil has become the leader of the ninja assassin death cult known as The Hand and has started a brutal takeover of New York from his fortress/prison, Shadowland. Moon Knight is dragged back into working on a team trying to stop Daredevil by Steve (Captain America) Rogers.

So. . .Moon Knight at a crossroads between being a team player and doing his own thing.  Can the writer capture the mystic essence of Moon Knight, or will we just get "Marvel's Batman"?

Let's find out!


MARVEL (2010)
SCRIPTS: Gregg Hurwitz
PENCILS: Bong Dazo
COVERS: Francesco Mattina


First off. . .what a cover! Definitely worthy of a frame on the wall.  It perfectly captures that mystic essence of Moon Knight I was talking about in the intro.  Moving along. . .

The first page starts us off with a very welcome and surprisingly comprehensive rundown of where things are at for Moon Knight and Daredevil at the beginning of this story.  It's a nice touch that blows a bit of dust off of this almost ten year old story and kept me from having to go to Wikipedia.  I'm gonna save a bit of writing and just throw it in here for you.

For the first time in a long while, Moon Knight (currently living in his streetwise Jake Lockley personality) is actually happy.  He's out on the street taking down the kind of criminals that The Avengers ignore. He has his team back on his side helping him fight crime.  He's managing to keep the voice of killer Moon God Konshu demanding blood in the background and being a hero on his own terms.  

The love of his life (Marlene) is back in love with him and they are living together, planning to get married.  All that AND Marlene is pregnant, so Moon Knight is gonna be a Moon Daddy!

It's not that the mental battle is easy. . .it's never easy.  But generally speaking, things are good.

BUT. . .You know and I know that Moon Knight isn't destined for happiness.   

Unknown to him, Daredevil has hired The Profiler to take Moon Knight out.  The Profiler figures out that Moon Knight's power is based on his belief that he's unique, and that by taking that away he will be easily defeated.  So he does some digging until he can find one certain special  individual (Spoiler alert. . .it's Randall Spector, Moon Knight's brother) to manipulate into believing that he is to be Konshu's new avatar of blood and death.  

It just HAPPENS to be a nice bonus that Randall was exposed to strange radiation during a military mission that enables him to project energy blasts from his eyes.  Profiler turns him loose on New York where he begins a brutal series of killings, leaving taunting notes at the scenes for Moon Knight and calling himself Shadow Knight.

Moon Knight rises to the occasion and begins the hunt for Shadow Knight, but as he hits the streets searching for clues in his Jake Lockley persona, his investigation is interrupted by Steve (Captain America) Rogers and he is recruited to run a recon operation inside of Daredevil's "Shadowland" fortress by allowing himself to get captured in order to feed intelligence from inside.

But while Moon Knight begins working undercover for Captain America, Shadow Knight attacks his mansion and brutally assaults the pregnant Marlene.

End of issue. . .

Not a bad setup issue at all!  It's not often we get Moon Knight in a good place. . .even though we ALL know it's not going to last.  I really would have liked to see it last a little longer than most of one lousy issue, though.  I wouldn't mind seeing THIS Moon Knight out on the dirty streets and joking with his team while kicking a$$ go for a while in an ongoing. . .but it is what it is, and it didn't last long at all.  A damn shame.

As far as THIS story goes, it seems a bit strange that Moon Knight would just drop his hunt for a brutal killer leaving him taunting notes in order to start taking orders from Steve Rogers again. . .but crossovers gotta crossover, I guess.

To tell the truth (and getting ahead of myself a bit), this mini would have worked perfectly fine without ANY Shadowland connection.  The Profiler angle is good and it works nicely, but Randall Spector (it's not revealed that's who it is until next issue) having some drag and drop convenient superpowers is extremely weak.

Weak story elements aside, the art in this issue is outstanding in every way!  It's exaggerated and cartoony, yet extremely detailed at the same time, with bold colors contrasted  by heavy inks that perfectly compliment the shadowy nature of a character like Moon Knight.  Every single page is a feast for the eyes.  

Overall, this is a great first issue.  It has a Moon Knight I really want more of and is backed up by fantastic art.  The crossover elements are the weak link, but other than that this is a very nice start.


Awwww. . .HELL NO!

After a pretty tight first issue, the second one drops us right into Marvel Crossover Hell!  We get immediately dumped into an extremely busy double page spread  of a major battle scene featuring a handful of Marvel "Street Heroes" (and Ghost Rider) fighting a metric Buttload of ninjas with no explanation on the very first page. . .

Damn, Marvel.  Why'd you have to go and do that to me?  No sweet talk. . .no dinner. . .just BAM! NINJA BATTLE! right there on the first page.  Not that I'm against a good ninja battle, I just like to kinda ease into them a little bit.

ANYWAY. . .I digress.

Obviously, SOMETHING has gone on in the larger Shadowland crossover (that this mini is a part of) between the first issue and the second of this story that has caused all hell to break loose in Daredevil's ninja prison/fort.  I don't have any of the issues involved, so I'll just try to make sense of things as best I can.

Moon Knight manages to break out of his prison cell and joins the ninja fight draped in a bedsheet.  Even though Daredevil has the likes of Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage laying waste to his minions, he decides to go mano-a-mano with Moon Knight and proceeds to beat him like a bongo drum while the ninja battle rages around them.

During the fight, Konshu steps into Moon Knight's head to show him that Daredevil is possessed by some sort of demonic being that can only be destroyed by an enchanted sapphire crescent created centuries ago in Egypt. . .a crescent that just HAPPENS to be the moon symbol on top of the staff that's part of Moon Knight's Konshu statue back at his home.  Furthermore, Konshu lets Moon Knight know that Shadow Knight is after the moon symbol as well. . .and so both paths of this story congregate in one shiny enchanted deus ex machina!

After Konshu's exposition dump, the next scene shifts (with no explanation) away from ninja hordes and an evil Daredevil gleefully punching Moon Knight through walls to Moon Knight arriving at his mansion to find Marlene almost dead and the baby miscarried.  This drives Moon Knight to grit his teeth and agree to kill for Konshu again if he will lead him to Shadow Knight.  Konshu accepts and Moon Knight heads out for revenge!

"Hero Crashing Through Window" NEVER gets old!

Moon Knight finds Shadow Knight in the process of murdering a woman.  He stops the killing and an epic battle between the two "Knights" ensues.  Shadow Knight realizes that Moon Knight is out for blood and he's outclassed, but Moon Knight relentlessly pursues him until the two confront each other in a church and Randall Spector reveals his identity.  

End of issue. . .

This issue isn't bad, but it has some definite problems that are actually part of my problem with Marvel in general and one of the main reasons why I buy so few Marvel comics these days.  It takes a perfectly good Moon Knight story that started in the first issue and then just throws you right into a ninja battle that really has nothing to do with what happened previously.  And then it jumps back into the story at hand without so much as a transition page.

This isn't really the place for a general Marvel Crossover Hell rant, but it has a major impact on this particular issue, and I've dropped a lot of Marvel books through the years because they become hopelessly embroiled in multi-title year long crossovers that I just don't want to buy all the parts for.  This is an interesting MOON KNIGHT story. . .the crossover parts of it are the worst part.

Look. . .

You have Moon Knight being relatively happy and at peace with himself for the first time in a long while, and then that happiness is ripped to shreds by a killer specifically taunting him and hitting him in the two places where it hurts the most. . .his identity as a hero and the woman he loves.  Moon Knight throws aside his self-imposed moratorium on killing to seek revenge and discovers that his enemy is his own brother! 

THAT'S a good story!  All this crap about demon-possessed Daredevil, ninja battles, Ghost Rider and magical sapphire crescents is just in the way of the story I WANT to read.

Overall, the story at the heart of this is a good one and the art remains outstanding in every way.  Unfortunately, the crossover aspects forced on the reader drag down what is otherwise an excellent Moon Knight tale.

And Finally. . .


Continuing directly from the cliffhanger reveal of Shadow Knight being Randall Spector on the last page of issue two, we pick right back up with the battle between the two "Knights" as Shadow Knight pulls out his powers and temporarily turns the tide of the fight in his favor with some energy blasts that allow him to escape.

Moon Knight is understandably upset to discover that Shadow Knight is his own brother, and even more so when Shadow Knight continues his killing spree.  Konshu steps in and reminds Moon Knight that he promised him some of that sweet, SWEET revenge blood and didn't deliver. . .so he gives Moon Knight another chance and reveals the location of the sapphire crescent as being in New Orleans. . .and where the crescent is, there's where Shadow Knight will be too.  So it's off to N'Awlins.

As Mardi Gras parades and party crowds fill the streets of New Orleans, Moon Knight follows Konshu's clues to a fortune teller, where he acquires the sapphire crescent through the mighty power of cash money. . .only to lose it as soon as he calls Captain America to tell him he's got the Maguffin and it's time to take down Daredevil.

A chase through the crowded streets of costumed party people eventually leads to a confrontation between Moon Knight and Shadow Knight where Moon Knight reveals to his brother that he's been duped by Profiler into thinking he's Konshu's new avatar, when really Konshu has sent Moon Knight to take him down. . .trying to end things before he's forced to spill his own brother's blood.   Randall refuses to believe he's on anything but a holy mission to destroy both Moon Knight and the Sapphire Crescent.

They continue to battle until Shadow Knight finally realizes that he's just no match for Moon Knight.  A beaten Randall reveals that he's wearing an explosive vest and that he's willing to blow himself up along with the crowd surrounding them who have been watching the fight.  Moon Knight decides that his brother is lost and he's not going to let him take any more innocent lives, so he throws the sapphire crescent and beheads Randall. . .feeding a gleeful Konshu's bloodlust.

At the end of it all, Moon Knight returns to New York and heads back to Shadowland for another massive ninja battle. . .fully accepting his role as a hero once again.  

End of issue. . .
That's a LOT of ninjas!


We get a one page epilogue where it's revealed that Moon Knight is once again living in his original Marc Spector identity that he went to a lot of trouble to try and erase.  NOW it's the end of the issue.

Thankfully, this issue concentrated a lot more on the Moon Knight story instead of the Shadowland story.  Sure, there were still elements of Shadowland in here. . .it IS part of a crossover after all. . .but they weren't nearly as intrusive and out of context as they were in the second issue.

I really liked the direction it SEEMED things were heading at the end of this story.  Unfortunately, the next volume of Moon Knight didn't really build on this.  Instead we got another complete re-invention of the character set on the West Coast with Marc Spector being a T.V. producer and having new multiple personalities of Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man as part of him.  

Wait. . .what?

I have that full crappy run, so I might go ahead and throw it in Longbox Junk some day.  It's pretty bad from start to finish and only lasted 12 issues. It's a bit confusing how they got from here to there, and it's a damn shame that they seemed to have scrapped the new status quo established in this story (beyond Moon Knight being Marc Spector again) because THIS is the kind of Moon Knight I like to read. . .struggling against himself, but doing his best to be the hero he knows he can be.


Overall, this is a great Moon Knight story backed up by fantastic art.  Unfortunately, it's also part of a crossover and those elements distract from the story that is actually being told. . .especially in the second issue.  

Looking beyond the Crossover, we get Moon Knight trying to discover what kind of hero he really is. . .and we find out that he's the kind of hero that will kill if he has to, but that doesn't mean he has to like it.  

If you are a Moon Knight fan like I am, I can definitely say that it's worth a look.  You just have to sort of grit your teeth through the crossover elements that intrude into the Moon Knight story.  

Up Next. . .

The Next Longbox Junk Reader Request Edition. . .Vertigo's American Vampire.
Stephen King and Cowboy Vampires!
How can this NOT be good?  Let's find out.

Be there or be square!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Longbox Junk - Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, home of comic reviews nobody ever asked me for!

I know that it's the middle of September as I write this, but I STILL have to apologize for summertime Longbox Junk delays. You see, when you manage a hotel in a state that's 75% National/State Parks (Utah), then "summertime" actually lasts until some time in October when it starts to frost up and they begin closing trails. Luckily, I'm not really near any ski areas, so I don't have to deal with THAT insanity.

What I'm saying is that it's STILL extremely busy. . .to the point that I'm writing this at 12:30 a.m. and I'm writing it a couple of minutes at a time because the phone is ringing off the hook and there's people wandering to and fro wanting this and that, even this late. It's not as bad as full on July madness, but it still makes me wonder why the hell all these kids aren't in school by now.  By the way.  It's now 1:15 a.m.  It took me 45 minutes to write the paragraph above.


What we have here is another Longbox Junk "Rescue Review". Called so because I've "rescued" them from the hard to find and navigate archives of a certain well-known comic site I used to work for that has become more of a "comic related' site. I've shined them up a bit. Added some pictures, and put them in a place where people who still care about comic BOOKS might be able to enjoy them.

The comics at hand are a 6 part mini-series put out by DC after their mega-amazing and supremely super-duper (or so I hear. . .I haven't actually read it) Final Crisis "Event" which SPOILER ALERT! features Batman sacrificing himself in the end to stop Darkseid from something something Anti-Life Equation something. And that led into a whole thing where everyone thought Batman was dead. But Batman wasn't REALLY dead, of course. Darkseid had sent him back in time using Omega Rays as part of a plan to something something Vanishing Point something using Omega Energy to blow a hole in time!


As you can probably tell, I wasn't really interested in the whole "Event" aspect of this series. . .but what I WAS interested in was Batman travelling through time. Caveman Batman! Pirate Batman! Cowboy Batman! Awwwww. . .YEAH! Some time-hoppin' Batman sounded pretty good to me.

Was it as good as I thought it would be?
I'll let the short and sweet original introduction tell you everything you need to know.

Let's do it!


Welcome to what I consider one of the top 5 worst modern Batman stories!

Shall we begin?

DC (2010)


SCRIPTS: Grant Morrison
PENCILS: Chris Sprouse
COVER: Andy Kubert

First off, let's take a look at the good. The cover.
Kubert. Awesome. Two words that just belong together.

Unfortunately, the rest is a hot mess.
And not just hot, but hot like a thousand suns. It's bad.

See. . .the basic problem here is that DC decided at some point to let an insane Scotsman with an obsession for minutiae and a smug expectation of readers being familiar with everything he's ever written to write one of their tentpole characters for a while.

I may be in the minority when it comes to my opinion of Grant Morrison's writing. I understand that there are those who regard him as almost some sort of comic messiah. I'm not one of those people.

That said. . .

Just because a particular person writes a particular thing, that doesn't make that thing good OR bad by default. The question HERE is whether or not this first issue can cut it on its own.

Taken objectively. . .no. It's awful.

The main reason it's awful is because it relies on such a string of improbable coincidence that what little narrative there is (to be fair. . .it IS pretty much cavemen) collapses under the weight of groaning through things like Bruce Wayne just happening to find a cave filled with bats. . .one of the young cavemen painting a domino mask on and becoming Bruce's sidekick. . .Vandal Savage just happening to be the leader of a tribe just over the hill. . .and so on and so forth. . .one coincidence after the other completely ruins this story.

No.  Just. . .no.

That was the neutral view. Here's my prejudiced view. . .

Morrison smugly ruins what SHOULD be a simple, pulpy tale of a hero trapped in time with his obsession for fan service and trying to connect EVERYTHING in the DCU.

At least the art isn't bad.  Too bad it's in service of a story so toploaded with Grant Morrison's particular brand of insanity that it's not nearly enough to save this comic.

This COULD have been great. . .in the hands of another writer. As it stands, I find this first issue to be convoluted and entirely dependent on the reader having knowledge of "Batman R.I.P.", "Final Crisis" and (then current, pre New 52) DC continuity. It's also pointlessly smug and full of coincidence and needless fan service that stands in the way of an otherwise simple story of Batman waking up in a cave with partial amnesia and finding out he's in the stone age instead of dead.

SCRIPTS: Grant Morrison
PENCILS: Frazer Irving
COVER:  Andy Kubert

Batman is pulled forward in time to Colonial America, where he becomes embroiled in Puritanical witch-hunting shenanigans while Superman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold, and Rip Hunter frantically search for Bruce through time in order to keep him from destroying the universe with Omega Energy he's unknowingly building up as he pushes his way forward to his own time!

Once again, Grant Morrison bogs down what should be a fairly simple tale with a string of improbable coincidence and fan service nods to make what would probably be a decent story in another writer's hands into a muddled, almost unreadable mess that pretty much depends on the reader's knowledge of Batman R.I.P, Final Crisis, and past DC continuity. It's just bad.

Frazer Irving's art is the star of this issue. His dark, moody, and muted style is perfect for a tale of Bruce Wayne finding himself colonial times. With the exception of Superman, though. Irving never gets a handle on Superman for some reason. 

Overall, I liked this issue better than the first.  The scenes of Superman and Company searching for Batman were interesting, but confusing to say the least.  Thankfully, Morrison kept most of his insanity in those sections and left the main story of Bruce Wayne in Colonial Gotham somewhat straightforward.

SCRIPTS: Grant Morrison
PENCILS: Yanick Paquette
COVER: Andy Kubert

This issue was a LITTLE better than the previous two. A lot of that is due to the fantastic artwork. Very dynamic and detailed.  I have to say that in each issue the art in this series has definitely done its best to prop this story up.  It's not enough, but credit where credit's due.

So what we have here is Batman still somehow pushing his way forward in time.  This time into the 1700's and the age of pirates!  Pirate Batman vs. Blackbeard! How could this possibly go wrong?


Unfortunately, the same story problems that ultimately sunk the other two issues are here as well. . .and in a way they're even magnified as Morrison gives us a longer look at The Justice League's time trippers trying to find Batman, which distracts from the swashbuckling pirate story advertised on the goddamn cover of the comic!


Improbable coincidences pile one atop the other. Smug nods to obscure continuity details. Confusing narrative that relies on the past work of the writer in other places instead of just concentrating on the fairly simple story at hand. 

One begins to wonder. . .is Grant Morrison even capable of writing a simple story? 

Bruce Wayne and pirates on a treasure hunt through an ancient cave. That story doesn't cry out for complexity. Still, Morrison does his utmost best to try and make it unreadable to anyone that isn't already a fan of his.

SCRIPTS: Grant Morrison
PENCILS: Georges Jeanty
COVER: Andy Kubert

I love western comics and am a big fan of Jonah Hex (who appears in this issue), so I had (fairly) high hopes for this issue.  As a matter of fact, it was wanting to read this issue that made me throw down my 5 bucks for this set of comics.

Unfortunately, once again Morrison drops the ball.
But oddly enough, not in the same way as in the other issues (well, mostly not). 

For once, he didn't bog down the story with needless convolutions and reliance on past continuity. No. . .Morrison flubbed this one by breaking his own characterization of Bruce Wayne. That and a continued over-reliance on coincidence.

See. . .with the exception of Wayne grunting his way through the opening Caveman issue, he's been fairly chatty with other characters. . .in a confusing semi-amnesiac sort of way. In THIS issue, Wayne doesn't say a word at all.

I realize that Morrison was trying to evoke the silent gunslinger archetype. . .the "Man with no name", but it makes this issue stand out like a sore thumb. To be fair, Morrison did a decent job with Jonah Hex. That was a nice surprise, and thank God for it. . .so credit due where credit's due.

And although the art was good (and once again props up a practically unreadable story), how come in previous issues, Gotham is a gloomy seaside town while in this one it looks like it's in Arizona? 

At that point in time, Gotham wouldn't have been just a frontier town with a dusty main street. With Jonah Hex in it, the time was post civil war. . .late 1800's. Gotham would have been a big, stinking metropolis with thousands of people.

Overall, despite the artist and writer both taking the western theme a bit too far, this was probably the most enjoyable issue of the series.  It had none of the distracting Justice League scenes to distract from the western story being told, and Morrison was somehow able to make himself write a fairly straightforward narrative with two of my favorite characters going against each other.  That said. . .one out of 4 still ain't good.


The two best things about this issue are the completely amazing Kubert cover and the "To be concluded" tag on the last page.

After a short break from continuity creeping with last issue's too-western western theme, Bruce Wayne skips a HUGE chunk of time between the 1800's and the 1940's so Morrison can try to write some noir, I guess.   

A Dame.  It always starts with a dame.

To be fair, he doesn't do a bad job with the inner monologue, but coming directly on the heels of Bruce Wayne's "Silent Gunslinger" and giving him the most dialogue of any issue so far is just strange. . .especially when Wayne is constantly cracking wise and making tough guy jokes (that mostly fall flat).

WORD OF WARNING:  If you aren't familiar with "Batman R.I.P." (from Batman #676 - 681) you will have absolutely no idea what is going on in this issue. Besides the usual pile of coincidence, this issue leans HEAVILY on "R.I.P."  

For that matter, the efforts of the Justice League to find Batman in "Real Time" lean very heavily on "Final Crisis", so you'd better wiki that up too if you don't have your back issues handy for reference.

QUESTION: Why the hell do I need reference material to read a story about Batman trapped in time?

"And that. . .is why you fail."


Overall, this was actually a pretty good issue. . .which is to say that if the quality bar for an issue to hurdle is set down at "pretty good" it's still not that great.  The main thing keeping this from being a nice little noir adventure was an almost complete reliance on an unrelated story that came out 2 years previously.


SCRIPTS: Grant Morrison
PENCILS: Lee Garbett & Pere Perez
COVER: Andy Kubert

All I can say is, thank God it's over.

This issue was the worst of the bunch. It's practically unreadable.

I proudly present Grant Morrison the achievement award for convoluted storytelling in comics. *slowly claps*

I'll tell you the completely honest truth here. I have very little idea of just what the hell happened in this final issue. All I know is that at the end, as promised, Bruce Wayne has returned.  He's back in his own time and free of the Omega Energy that was going to blow a hole in the universe.  Hooray?

Wait. . .What?

Aside from some great artwork, this issue has to be one of the most mind-numbingly worst single issues I have ever read.  And this is coming from someone who is the "proud" owner of the entire 13 issue "Heroes Reborn" Captain America run by the esteemed Rob Liefeld. 


This whole series has suffered from one simple thing: Grant Morrison.

What SHOULD have been a fun romp through time with a bunch of cool moments and guest stars turned into such a hot mess that I've rarely been so glad to see the end of a series as I was with this one. 

I submit that almost ANY other writer could have done this story better. Morrison's obsession with obscura and fan service destroyed an otherwise simple tale of Batman trying to get back to his own time.  

I asked the question before. . .is Grant Morrison capable of writing a simple story? 
This mini is the answer. The answer is no.  Unfortunately, Batman had to pay the price for this answer, and that just makes me sort of sad.


As usual for these "Rescue Reviews" I re-read Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne so I could give a little fresh commentary on it.  I wish I hadn't.  As you can see from the review above, I barely gave any sort of synopsis for the individual issues.  That's because there's barely any story!  You come into this expecting Pirate Batman, Cowboy Batman, etc.  What you GET is extremely thin surface stories attempting to prop up an extremely dense and self-referential underlying story.

Look.  I understand that there is a place for stories with layers.  Batman trapped in time is not one of those places. This was a missed opportunity for DC to tell a fun time travel story starring one of their greatest heroes desperately trying to find his way home while everybody thinks he's dead.  In the hands of someone like Alan Grant, it probably would have been just that.

Unfortunately, I stand by my original conclusion that the main problem with this series is Grant Morrison and his strange obsession with smugly expecting readers to be familiar with everything he's written previously.  I'm sure he's a very nice man and his family loves him, and I'm glad he's found success. . .but Grant Morrison is NOT a great Batman writer in my extremely humble opinion.  One should not need reference material to read a Batman story. 

In the end, what we have here is a 6 issue series where there are two "Pretty good" issues and one "okay" issue with the last issue being practically unreadable.  The whole story is propped up on a combination of increasingly-ridiculous coincidence and reference to past material that the reader may or may not be familiar with.  The art is reliably good and is the best thing about this series. Unfortunately with comics, art is only half the equation, so that's not enough to save this mess.

I can only recommend this series to Batman completionists and fans of Grant Morrison.  Anyone else. . .do yourself a favor and stay away, even if you find it in the bargain bin for cheap.  You have been warned.

Up Next. . .

Hopefully the next Reader Request edition of Longbox Junk: Vertigo's American Vampire.

Thanks to Comic Book Realm Member Brucifer for the great suggestion!

Be there or be square!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Longbox Junk - Reader Request Edition! Nightcrawler

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, home of comic book reviews nobody ever asked me for. . .


That's right, folks.  Last month, my comic lovin' daughter challenged me to take on some reader requests.  I put the call out and gathered a decent list, then put them in a hat (A literal hat.  A pair of Disney World Micky Mouse ears to be exact) and drew one out at random.

Congratulations to Comic Book Realm member MegladonALPHA!
Your suggestion for Nightcrawler is the first Longbox Junk Reader Request Edition!

So let me get this out of the way first. . .

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I'm not a big X-Men fan.  Never have been.  It's not that they're BAD, I just don't really like team books in general.  That said, if a story is good I don't care if it stars a thousand and one costumed characters.

The X-Men in particular have never appealed to me because of their extremely lengthy and convoluted continuity.  There just seems like too much dramatic backstory to keep track of, even if you buy in on a new #1.  On the other hand, my daughter likes the X-Men for just those reasons.  She loves the tangled superhero soap opera X-Men provides.

BUT. . .

If I HAD to pick a favorite X-Men character, it would probably be Nightcrawler.  I don't know a lot about him, but what I do know I like.  I like the design of the character. . .the look of him is interesting.  I like his powers of teleportation.  I like his acrobatic combat style.  From what little I know, he's sort of like the X-Men's Spider-Man. . .a younger hero that loves his abilities and has fun fighting evil.

So even though I'm not a big fan of the X-Men in general, reading this solo Nightcrawler mini for the first time (it's from my daughter's collection) has me interested in learning more about the character.

Enough intro. Let's do it!

Marvel (2002)

SCRIPTS: Chris Kipiniak
PENCILS: Matt Smith
COVERS: Massimiliano Frezzato


First off. . .she doesn't know it yet (until she reads this), but my daughter isn't getting this issue back for a while.  This fantastic cover deserves a turn on my office wall as part of my rotating comic cover art display.  All of the covers are nicely painted, but this one in particular is a real eye catcher!

Moving along. . .

Priest in training Kurt Wagner (AKA Nightcrawler) finds himself on the trail of a human trafficking ring after rescuing a runaway Thai woman.  As he follows the trail of clues, Kurt is forced to choose between the pacifist teachings of the church and his desire to use his mutant powers to help others.

This first issue really surprised me.  When I wrote the intro above and touched on the things I like about Nightcrawler, I had completely forgotten that being a devout Christian was part of the character.  This story leans HEAVILY into that aspect of Nightcrawler and provides a thoughtful story highlighting the conflict between Kurt's faith and being a hero.  

The human trafficking plot is also quite a bit darker than I thought coming into this (remembering Nightcrawler as sort of a happy swashbuckling type of adventurer/hero), but is a perfect example of a problem that a superhero can't punch their way through to a solution.  

The art is a style that is one of those "love it or hate it" sort of situations.  It's pretty heavily stylized and darkly inked, with sparse backgrounds.  Kind of a Mike Mignola-Lite to my eyes.  I like this sort of style quite a bit, and think it fits the story nicely.

Overall, this story is quite a bit darker and more thoughtful than I thought it would be.   I was expecting acrobatic fights against villains punctuated by quips and jibes and got thought-provoking questions about responsibility, faith, and heroism in the face of a problem that basically can't be solved instead.  It was definitely unexpected, but I'm liking it a lot so far.



Still following the trail of clues up the chain of command of the human trafficking ring, Nightcrawler loses control of his violent tendencies during a fight to free a house full of illegal Mexican immigrants being sold as slaves.  As Kurt questions his actions in conflict with his faith, the head of the trafficking ring takes notice of the new threat to his operation.

While this issue was good, it didn't really pack the same punch as the first. The story seems to sort of cover a lot of the same ground as before, so there's the feeling of it not really moving the story forward.  Nightcrawler is still trying to reconcile using the usual X-Men "Punch the problem away" superhero tactics against what amount to poorly armed thugs, and questioning the more pacifistic solutions that his teacher offers. . .which basically amount to "We need to pray and hope God helps these people."

The art remains strong, with more action scenes in this issue.  The standout being Kurt losing control and almost beating a random thug to death as he realizes that by saving a few people, he's not anywhere close to solving the problem.

Overall, this issue is still good, but by covering the same themes and questions of the first issue, it loses some forward momentum and almost feels like filler.



Oleg (the Russian head of the human trafficking ring) lays a trap for Nightcrawler using a prostitute that the hero is friends with as bait. When his friend betrays him and the trap is sprung, Nightcrawler is captured and heavily wounded as he makes his escape after learning that Oleg is moving his operation to another city and plans on tying up loose ends before leaving. . .including killing Kurt's teacher.

This issue continues to cover a lot of the same ground as the previous two regarding the question of faith in God vs. Nightcrawler's belief in himself as a hero during a lengthy debate between himself and his teacher that's actually a pretty thoughtful conversation. . .is Nightcrawler doing the Lord's work or is he punching his way to the top of the organization because that's what HE wants to do?  This is the third issue that discusses this conflict, but it's probably best framed in this one.

Unlike the second issue, this one has more forward momentum moving into the final issue.  Outside of the moral conflict at the heart of the story, Nightcrawler being set up and betrayed by someone that he considers a friend has a dark emotional punch to it, especially when Nightcrawler realizes that his life is at stake because of his misplaced trust, as well as that of his most trusted friend and mentor.

Despite continuing to cover the same questions of faith vs. heroism as the previous two issues, a dark betrayal by a friend and the threat of death for Nightcrawler's mentor because of his actions bring back the forward momentum of the story and set things up nicely for a big finish.

And Finally. . .

A badly-wounded Nightcrawler catches up to Oleg and easily defeats him in a final battle, only for the criminal to mock the hero's efforts. . .telling Kurt that there are more traffickers above and around him that will take his place, that putting Oleg in prison solves nothing.  In the end, Kurt decides that if only 1 out of 100 things he tries to do right ends up turning out for the best, then he's still doing the right thing and if that's God's will then so be it.

The End.

The final issue is a bit anti-climactic, since Nightcrawler is a mutant superhero punching a normal guy.  But really (as in the whole series) the action doesn't matter as much as the conflict at the heart of the story between faith in God and faith in Nightcrawler's own abilities.  In the end, Kurt decides that as long as he TRIES to do the right thing, God will decide how it turns out. . .a decent compromise and a good ending for the story.

Overall, a satisfying end to the mini.  The compromise between faith and heroism that Nightcrawler settles on is a good one, even if it does seem a bit obvious.  


I was pleasantly surprised by this mini.  I came into it expecting quippy acrobatic superhero battles and ended up with a thoughtful meditation on faith in God vs. faith in yourself framed by a dark tale of human trafficking and backed up by some interesting art.  Completely unexpected, but I liked it a lot.  The second issue felt a bit like filler. . .like this could have probably been a 3 issue mini, but that's a pretty minor complaint.

It's not every day a major publisher leans so heavily into religious topics, especially within the world of mainstream superheroes, so for that alone this series is interesting.  If you have issues with religion (and especially Judeo-Christian religion) then you'll probably want to pass this one up.  If you can tolerate some religion mixed in with your super-heroics, then this dark and thoughtful tale is definitely worth a look.

Up Next. . .

Another random draw from the Reader Request hat!

Be there or be square.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Longbox Junk - Terminator: The Burning Earth

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, home of comic book reviews that nobody ever asked me for! 

"Rescue Reviews" are reviews that I wrote for a well-known comic site (that shall remain nameless) that I worked for years ago.  Now that the site in question has become more of a. . .how shall I say. . .comic RELATED site, I've decided to pull these from their dusty and hard to find archives, polish them up a bit, and put them in a place where people who still care about comic BOOKS might enjoy them.


What we have here is an interesting little relic of its time, featuring the first professional work of ridiculously famous comic artist Alex Ross (or Alexander Ross, as he's credited here).  This "Rescue Review" is based more on an original draft I had saved than the severely-edited published version, so it's a bit longer than some of the other Rescue Reviews, but not quite as long-winded as future Longbox Junk entries.

On a re-read of the comics themselves, I pretty much agree with what was originally written in the review, so I'll let it stand with just a bit of spit shine and some new pictures.  Let's do it!


Welcome back to 1990. A distant, long-ago time without internet and where people apparently didn't understand the concept of "Backup Power Generators". It was a time when they didn't know there were going to be several movie sequels to The Terminator, so Terminator comics could pretty much do whatever they wanted. Oh. . .and welcome to superstar artist Alex Ross' first professional comic job!

NOW Comics (1990)

SCRIPTS: Ron Fortier
PENCILS: Alexander Ross
COVERS: Alexander Ross


Yep. . .it's signed! They're ALL signed!

Right out of the gate, let's get this out of the way. . .this is NOT the Alex Ross we all know and love.

This is ALEXANDER Ross's first professional comic work.

It's not bad at all, it's pretty damn good, really. . .but it's not superstar Alex Ross as we have come to know him. It's dark and pretty muddy in some spots. It's a LOT rougher than his work to come. The lines aren't sharp and defined in his more well-known hyper-realistic style. This book looks like he drew it with colored pencils. That said, you can see flashes of brilliance to come here and there. It's not BAD, but it's not what you would expect seeing Alex Ross' name on it.

Wait. . .is this Battlestar Galactica?

The story is as dark and grim as the art. It's 40 years after the first Terminator movie (this book came out before T2, so it has nothing to do with the timeline established in later films. It's based on the first movie ONLY) and John Connor is a grizzled, grey-haired warrior tired of fighting to the point that one scene shows him with a gun in his mouth wishing he could sleep for more than an hour at a time. Pretty brutal. No "Hasta La Vista Baybee" quips in this book.

I have to say I liked this first issue a lot. If you read it, you just have to come into it with the viewpoint that ONLY the first movie existed at this time. I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

If there's one thing I really have to complain about. . .and really it's more of a questionable thing. . .it's that Ross doesn't draw the Terminators like they were in the movie, with the skull-like heads and skeletal metal frames, but more like. . .Cylons? They have red-lit slits for eyes and helmet-like heads. It's just a strange thing that makes me wonder if Ross even watched the movie.


This issue has the best cover of the series. . .except for one thing. I actually mistook the white highlights in her hair for fingerprints (I bought these at a flea market so I wouldn't be surprised if they were), but when I looked closer I saw they were intentional.

Those rough spots on the otherwise fantastic cover carry over into the issue itself. The art veers from awesome to crap from page to page and even sometimes from panel to panel. There's only two humans who are distinguishable. . .Connor and DeVerona. Connor because of his gray beard and long hair and DeVerona for his eye patch. I'm going to have a hard time caring for the inevitable deaths to come if I can't even tell the characters apart.

The story itself switches perspective to that of Skynet when it decides that allowing 3.7% of humanity to survive means that its programming is flawed and decides it's time to repair that flaw with some close range nuclear bombing.

I'm still liking this a lot. The second issue is not as strong as the first, though. . .and the subplot of Skynet creating sexy woman terminators (like the one on the cover) just seems like an excuse for Ross to draw some awesome D-Cups because "Aurora" is actually the most detailed art in the issue.

Chest Size Parameters: Optimal Distraction


The quality of the art takes a serious dip in this issue, with hardly any flashes of the brilliant artist to come to be found. The entire issue is extremely dark and muddy. At first, I was like "It's raining and at night. Okay." But then one of the humans yells out "Sun's going down. We don't want to be out here after dark!" And I was like, "This is supposed to be during the DAY? What the Hell, Alexander Ross?"

Wait. . .what? You mean THIS is supposed to be during the day?

And then there's still the Cylon Terminators. I'm wondering if Ross even watched the movie before coming on this project. If not, then maybe he should have. . .

Still, all things considered, despite the rough art, this was a pretty good issue as the human resistance gathers their forces for an "all or nothing" assault on Skynet's main terminal at former NORAD base "Thunder Mountain".  There's a lot of great military action in this issue as Skynet becomes aware of the assault and human casualties mount.


The art improves a good deal in this issue over the last. Unfortunately, the writing takes a turn for the worse as the humans assault the Skynet CPU and its power station in separate teams. Once again, I find it hard to care for any of these characters, as they are hardly distinguished between in either the art or the story. 

There is a decent sense of urgency, but there is also a bit of ex machina as Skynet's nuclear bombs dropped on Phoenix are so powerful they cause seismic disturbances that weaken it in NEVADA. 

Skynet is located in a NORAD base modeled after Cheyenne Mountain. A base created specifically to stand strong if a nuclear bomb is dropped directly on top of it. If "Thunder Mountain" is in Nevada, earthquakes from the bombing of Phoenix, Arizona shouldn't even bother it.

Then there's the idea that "Thunder Mountain" is powered by an outside power station and has no internal backup power. Ridiculous.

Still, despite having to suspend disbelief twice in 32 short pages, it's not BAD. . .it's just sort of lazy and not well thought out.


And here we are at the big finish!

Unfortunately, this series ends with a whimper after it started with a bang. A damn shame.

Where Ross's art slumped a bit, then quickly improved, Fortier's writing went on a steady decline after a great setup.

I'm not sure if the blame can be placed on 1990 and that the internet as we know it didn't really exist at the time, but to base the climax of a story where the villain is basically a supercomputer gone mad on "If we just turn off the power, the computer is defeated" just seems so ridiculous that it pretty much ruined the ending for me as the human forces did exactly that. . .turned off the power by blowing up a power station. And there wasn't a backup power source in "Thunder Mountain". They just. . .switched off Skynet, shot the hell out of a computer monitor, and won the day.

Didn't they have backup generators in 1990? I realize the writer may not have understood the concept of "Internet" or "Cloud Storage" as we do today, but one has to wonder if Fortier understood the concept of "generator".

Then there's the whole "Aurora Model Terminator" that was introduced in issue 2. I think I called it right as an excuse for Ross to draw some D-Cups because after the big introduction, she was forgotten until this last issue, where she caught a grenade and was unceremoniously blown up. But hey, at least she looked great!


All in all, it was. . .okay. 

 The suspension of disbelief in the last two issues pretty much ruined the ending for me. I'd still suggest this mini, if just to see how far Alex Ross has progressed. The story itself isn't bad, it's just not great, and can't really be considered part of "Terminator Canon" because about everything in it was gone with the release of T2 a few years later. Well. . .at least we got a superstar artist out of this, so the good outweighs the bad.


For what it is, this is actually a pretty good little piece of Longbox Junk. It's a quick-reading hard sci-fi military story set in a brutal, dark future. Yeah, there's some lazy writing and extreme suspension of disbelief needed toward the end, but at the end of the day it's a decent sequel to a movie that nobody thought would get a sequel (Let alone 5 sequels and a T.V. series).

 I bag on the art in the original review quite a bit, but when I talked to Alex Ross at a convention a few years back and asked him about it, he told me that when this series was done, he was 19 years old, living at home with his parents AND working a regular 9-5 job.  He actually regrets that he wasn't able to do a better job on this.  

Alex Ross' thoughts toward this story are that it was a humbling experience that he wasn't prepared at all for but the lessons learned led him to greater things. His attitude toward this series sort of made me see it in a different light when I realize it was done by a 19 year old kid living in his mom's basement and wondering if he'd ever make it as an artist.  

Up next. . .

Hopefully the first Longbox Junk Reader Request Edition will be finished.
If not, then another fabulous Rescue Review! Either way. . .

Be there or be square!