Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ratings and Rantings

Hey Todd Squad, I'm your host Jason Todd, here with another edition of the greatest weekly assortment or reviews, rants and ratings that you've never heard of, Ratings and Rantings! In the midst of a very busy week that included days off, 120 miles to and from seeing Falisha twice this week and both Dragon Age Origins II and Childish Gambino/Donald Glover's EP dropping this week (download here) as well as me turning twenty one on March 11th, this has been a pretty busy week, so instead of the generic intro I type, I decided to just borrow one from X-Man75. "Anyway, I'm now fully engrossed by Dragon Age 2(for my PS3, naturally), so I really don't feel like doing a long intro. All you really need to know is that there are reviews here and the longer the intro, the less time I have for my new game, so let's just get to the reviews!" (Edit: No Outsiders, I couldn't bring myself to buy that series, even if it did have the Reign of Doomsday story.)

Birds of Prey #10

I know I sound like a broken record but that is a beautiful cover, over ten people are on this cover and they all fit and each have their own space while no one is really overshadowed. Excellent work by Stanley Lau. We start things off with Helena "Huntress" Bertinelli, enraged at Calculator for apparently killing Oracle by blowing up her helicopter. Huntress rushes Calculator and attacks by scratching his face. This causes Calculator to whine like a bitch for lack of a better term, and he instantly loses the respect of all his henchmen. Huntress then uses her skills of intimidation to convince Calc that he made a major mistake by taking out the personal information broker of everyone from the Doom Patrol to the JLA. Calc tells his men to kill Huntress, Dove and Lady Blackhawk but Huntress says why won't he do it himself, which causes his men to doubt him even more. Calc calls her bluff and shoots at Huntress but Dove steps in and takes the bullet. Dove is laid out, but not hurt due to her tough skin when powered up. Calc threatens to shoot more of them when Mortis wakes up and tells him Canary found a way out and they need to run. Well... just shoot them and run.... Too late Mortis woke up about forty seconds late because now Canary is standing behind Calculator. Canary then plants a huge right hook across the face of our favorite evil Nerd, knocking one of his teeth out in the process. After she decks him he tells the henchmen to shoot him, instead of, ya know, before she got close enough to punch him, and they acquiesce to his request. Canary then flips around and fights crime "JLA style" as Huntress calls it, before getting caught by the giant Mammoth. She's quickly released when Hawk emerges from the shadows and takes down the big man with some help from Canary. We then see that Hawk was the one in the chopper and Oracle was flying it remotely. From there Calc and one of his men try to escape but Huntress relentlessly pursues them. She catches them and tells Calc that Oracle is dead but she has a thousand ghosts that will watch him relentlessly, and she lets him go for the plan to work, well alright. We then see Booster, Beetle and Manhunter each calling on Oracle but she ignores them all, causing Stephanie to question her. She announces to Batman (Bruce), Batman (Dick), Red Robin, Batgirl and Misfit (Woooo!) that Oracle is going back to operating in the shadows, and proxy can take over as the Superhero Info Hub. The issue ends with Oracle watching over everyone. Well, that was pretty lame. This arc had a lot of promise, I at least expected her to change names, but since we KNEW Babs wasn't dying it was super boring in that sense, the art appears amateurish throughout, especially after having the great Ed Benes work on this series, in some scenes Canary looks like a thirteen year old. Oh and it was never explained why the hell Misfit was there but Robin wasn't... This issue was alright but the predictability and the art gave it a big hit, I'll give this a 5/10.

Huntress: Now we're Birds. And he's our prey. (Really Gail..... really? I expect this from Devin Grayson, not you. You're better than that Gail.)

Batman & Robin #21

We get things underway with the Langstrom family, minus Kirk, jumping off of a building because they heard voices in their head. Alrighty, ever heard of Randy Orton? Anyway, Batman and Robin make the timely save and tell Kick's wife that he attacked them, also due to the voices. Batman and Robin try to get to the bottom of it when a bright shining guy with a white aura I guess who claims to be Gotham's White Knight is introduced. Sure, cause introducing the White Knight in an arc about him in the third of three issues makes perfect sense. Bats and Robin try to pursue the new "hero" but he shoots a hole in the Gotham Water source or something. Batman and Robin finally get on stable ground but lose track of the mysterious White Knight. From there we see Damian, Dick and Alfred in the Bat Bunker using some good old fashioned Detective Skills to try to find a lead on the White Knight. I enjoyed this, as we don't see a ton of detective work, especially from Dick since that's more of Bruce and Tim's forte. We then find out the first Fallen Angel victim was Douglas Zsasz, the brother of Victor Zsasz, whom I always swore didn't have family but I could be wrong. Batman notes that their attacking relatives of people who are in Arkham. Someone hide Gilda Dent... Oh wait. The Batsignal then shines through the sky and Batman and Robin go meet with Gordon at the scene of another murder, this time the Tetches, Mad Hatter's parents and brother and sister. The issue ends with Batman and Robin trying to save the relatives of more Arkham Inmates. This was an odd issue, the story was pretty weird but I'm somewhat curious to see why these people are being attacked and who the White Knight is, I'll give this a 6.5/10.

Batman: Falcons are EPA protected. That's why we're not infested with pigeons like London and Paris.
Robin: That's soooo incredibly interesting, I can't wait to tweet it. (Sarcasm strikes again!)

JL Generation Lost #21

We start off with Booster recapping all the lives that have been taken so far in the series due to Maxwell Lord. We then see Booster sitting next to the lifeless body of Blue Beetle, saying that he can't get his suit off. When Skeets asks if he wants to contact the Reyes family, a grief stricken Booster cries that he's not calling them to tell them their son died, he's taking his body to them, but not in that armor. We then see Captain Atom watching the news and hearing about all the people who died when he confronted Magog, and how he's still believed to be responsible for their deaths. Ice comes to talk to him about it but a angry Captain Atom wants to hear her say I told you so, since she wanted to stay home and not chase after Max. He continues to lay into her until she swings on him. She apologizes but Nate states that he's not human anymore and all he's bringing is death, as he seems to wonder what his purpose is. We then check in with Rocket Red and Fire as they discuss how young Beetle was, as Gavril had no idea he was only seventeen. From there they talk about emotions which leads to Bea kissing Gavril. It's about time, hope that wasn't a metaphorical kiss of death for Gavril though. Back with Tora and Captain Atom, he mentions how he doesn't eat, sleep, feel heat or cold, and how he doesn't think he can die. He asks if it's fair that he causes so much death and doesn't have to pay for it, and Tora siad he makes himself pay with his own guilt. She then says she likes that he can't die because she can always trust they'll be someone to save the world ven after their gone. Back with Booster and Skeets, Booster says he knows this isn't his faul but he feels like he helped Max along the way. Booster talks about how it was his idea to continue after Max and how he got Beetle killed because he wants to stop Max and prove he's a hero, and if he keeps leading everyone will be dead, but the JLI who have overheard tell him he's wrong and they tell him to lead them. The issue ends with a pretty expected thing happening and the team ready to go after Max one last time. This was a good issue, I enjoyed seeing the one on one conversations between all the teammates and seeing Booster show his emotions and how hard he tries. The ending was obvious due to solicitations, but I still enjoyed this issue, I'd give it an 7/10.

Booster Gold: I devote everything I have to trying to help. But... I'm vain. I know that. I want people to know what I do. How hard I try. That... I'm a hero.

Venom #1

The Venom series gets underway with some people in Eastern Europe being attacked by what looks like flying hellfire and brimstone. When all hope seems to be gone, the U.N. sends in their peace keepers, who look like an Iron Man/Iron Giant hybrid. They last a mere seconds when we see who the villain is, I'd have to describe him as Pumpkin head plus the Green Goblin. Pumpkin head then communicates with one of his cohorts, discussing how they need to find some genius their looking for that helped invent the same weapon their using to cause all this havoc. Play time soon ends when the new Venom, Flash Thompson drops from a helicopter and takes down quite a few baddies before he even lands. Venom has been sent to guard the target, Dr. Ekmecic, but he decides to save civilians first. While saving them a live grenade is thrown, and considering Flash has had his legs blown off twice, he quickly pins the grenade with his symbiote and saves it inside the suit for now. Venom saves the innocents then finds the "good" Doctor and even manages to say a cheesy one-liner, Spidey would be SO proud. Venom doesn't get a chance to enjoy the glory when our Harlequin of Halloween attacks him outta nowhere. The Doctor is then snatched up and we finally get a name, our villain is Jack O'Lantern, which is not bad all things considered. Venom, angered by the attack almost snaps and let's the symbiote take over but he's able to calm himself. He then decides to take the civilians to safety first before pursuing The Doctor and Jack, to the annoyance of his verbal handler. Jack then hits Venom with another suckerpunch which causes Venom to fall to the ground and almost kills the civilians in his protection. Venom continues to get enraged and starts to grow a little in size and build. The symbiote claims to be in control but Flash keeps it from killing Jack O'Lantern. When Jack gets the upper hand, the grenade from earlier comes back into play as Flash puts it into Jack's pumpkin head and it explodes, but of course doesn't kill Jack. Jack tries to fly off and takes the Doc with him but Venom, still a bit hulked out for lack of a better term, webs the Doctor's face and snaps his neck, so his secrets can't get out and help anyone else that's evil and deranged. Venom starts to calm down as Katherine tells him the mission is a bust, but he notes that the civilians he saved think otherwise. Back at the base, the suit is removed from Flash, and he's questioned about his decisions. The General tells Flash he was seconds away from hitting the killswitch when Flash wigged out, and how he needs to bury that highschool jock and bring out Corporal Thompson. Um... he did save the civilians but whatever. Flash then goes to see Betty, who he forgot he had a date with and stood her up, she says that Flash is keeping secrets and suspects him of drinking again before slamming the door in his face. The issue ends with Flash, seemingly trapped between secrets, Venom, and being an alcoholic. This was a very good start to this series, I loved seeing them address Flash letting the Venom run wild right off the bat, as well as showing a bit more of his wanting to be Spider-Man, even with him making a crappy joke. This series has a lot of potential and It seems to have started out on the right foot, I'll give this an 8/10.

Dr. Ekmecic: Erik! Respond! What has gotten into you?!
Venom: He caught a dose of Venom, Doctor Eckmecic.
Venom Inner Monologue: I'm embarrassed as soon as it comes out of my mouth. (Spidey 101.)

Batgirl #19

Batgirl, my favorite female superhero not named Power Girl, starts off with Steph and her mother at the breakfast table, as Steph eats some waffles as her mom mentions another bank robbery from the night before. This prompts Steph to throw on her Batgirl costume and head to the bank to investigate. While there Batgirl talks to Detective Nick Gage and we find out that some type of Speedster is responsible for the crime, but he's only taking a couple thousand but leaving the millions in the safe untouched. As they talk, Steph discovers that Gage has a very high dislike for the Reapers, but he won't say why. The two decide to split so Batgirl can get to her "day job", but it's overheard by the Grey Ghost, who appears to be stalking our Blonde Bat. We then see the first and the present Batgirl's, Babs and Stephanie. Steph mentions that Babs has "quit" and Babs notes that Oracle is dead, and Bruce has her building a new internet, whatever the hell that means. Stephanie tells Babs she should shoot Proxy a visit and make sure she feels like a team member, since she already has abandonment issues and is now pretty much the new Oracle and Babs says she'll see what she can do. Babs does in fact go visit Wendy, and tells her in no uncertain terms that she needs to decide if she wants to use that anger to become a better hero before leaving Wendy there to think. We then see The Grey Ghost looking for Batgirl on the rooftops of Gotham, and she pops up behind him. She tells him he needs help and she knows he's been following her, but she does it with the grace and concern that only she can, instead of just breaking his jaw, a la Huntress. During the conversation, Proxy chimes in and warns Batgirl that some type of speedster just robbed a bank then ran nineteen red lights in succession within five seconds. What Batgirl doesn't know is Grey Ghost also intercepts the frequency on his phone I guess, and disappears before Batgirl turns around. The Grey Ghost confronts our evil speedster and gets thrown out of a window for his trouble, nice job buddy. Batgirl confronts our villain and we find out his name is Slipstream, and that Batgirl can't touch him, physically or with gadgets due to his speed. Slipstream claims that he's about to kill Batgirl when his suit is overridden and he's electrocuted, he then leaves the scene as Batgirl, Grey Ghost and Proxy are confused about what actually happened. Batgirl then heads to meet Wendy and discovers her base has had a HUGE upgrade thanks to a donation by Bruce Wayne due to Batgirl's involvement in Batman Inc. The issue ends with Batgirl and Proxy ready to strike back at Slipstream. This was a great issue, the classic Batgirl humor, more villains joining Batgirl's Rogues galllery, what can you not like about this issue? I'll give it a solid 9/10.

Slipstream: The name's Slipstream. Remember that for your tombstone.
Batgirl: Okay, First things first, You really think your name is the one they'll put on my tombstone?

Thanks for reading everyone, now I gotta get back to Dragon Age II, so this'll be brief. Feel free to comment and vote on this weeks new poll, the results to last week's poll are below. So until next time, I'm your friendly neighborhood Blogger-Man, Jason Todd, signing off!

Last week's poll asked "Which of the following would win in a four-way throwdown?"

Last place with 10.5% - Daken, I can honestly say I did not expect that.
Third place with 15.8% - Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier took more than a mother from Daken.
Second Place with 21.1% - Wolverine, He gains a measure of revenge over Bucky
Winner with 52.6% - Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth prevails over all.

Next Time on Ratings and Rantings

Power Girl #22, Red Robin #21, Morning Glories #8, Amazing Spider-Man #656 and Brightest Day #22 where Firestorm dies, I'm guessing...


  1. Great reviews, JT! I picked up Venom #1 and read it, and I have to agree that it was a great start to the series. I guess you've never heard of Jack O'Lantern before, huh? There have been like five of them, so I'm not exactly sure which one appeared in this issue.

    I'm actually going to write a post that has to do with Venom #1, though it won't specifically address the actual content of the issue. Hopefully you'll like it!

  2. Thanks Marc, glad ya enjoyed. I actually hadn't heard of Jack, but the character seems cool enough. I'll be looking out for that post too, sounds interesting.

  3. I downloaded both Cul De Sac and the new EP and CAN NOT stop listening to them. The songs get stuck in my head at work and I feel like a horrible person. Haha

    I keep reading this new Venom series is pretty decent. I'm not planning on buying it, but I enjoyed your thoughts nonetheless. Thanks for the summary JT, you always paint a clear picture of what happened without too much fluff.

    So did you vote on the poll? For as much as I've hated on the current Flash series, the cliffhanger of the last issue genuinely surprised me. I'm thinking of picking up the Citizen Cold, Kid Flash, and Reverse Flash tie-ins.

  4. Dude, that's ALL I listen to on the way home and to work, literally ALWAYS Gambino. Those are awesome. Look for the I am just a rapper mixtapes 1 and 2.

    Glad I could help buddy and thanks for the compliment, glad you enjoy my reviews, I always feel their too detailed and therefore boring.

    I did, I voted for hating it, I was thinking of the Kid Flash and the main one but I've seen so much other stuff, like Alfred apparently being The Outsider, and that annoys me.

  5. Gambino is definitely a mastermind. I found a link for those I am Just a Rapper downloads. I also listened to a song on Youtube called "Almost There" that I really liked.

    Alfred is the Outsider? UGH. I'm having visions of hundreds of copies of that comic in a quarter bin a year from now.
    I figured X was the one who voted for hating Flashpoint. I guess that's still a possibility when he gets on later.

  6. I LOVE almost there, thats a really good song. And I don't have proof but apparently in like Detective Comics 300 somethin Alf looked EXACTLY how The Outsider looks on that cover... so yeah. It's pretty disappointing if thats him.

  7. I just voted for hating Flashpoint as well. Not really because I have anything against Flashpoint specifically, but because I'm just not too keen on the idea of crossovers in general at the moment. Plus, I don't intend to read any of it, main series or tie-ins, so that was really the only option that fit, lol.

    By the way, I'm online and am planning to be around for the whole evening if anyone would like to talk comics (or anything else). In the meantime I'll just be working on that Venom post!

  8. Huh, not a whole lot of good books this week, eh JT? I'm genuinely surprised at the Gen Lost score, which makes me think that our mutual enemy, Hai-Me is back already... :(

    As for this week's poll, I think we ALL know what option I picked! :P That's really all I have for right now... Losing that hour of sleep also means we're losing an hour of DA2, so yeah, I've got to get to sleep! :P

  9. I gotta get up at 8:30 for work so I can't chat Marc, sorry. Plus like X said, I'm probably gonna play DA for an hour then hit the hay.

    X, I will neither confirm nor deny that statement. And yep I'm sure you voted along with myself and Marc.

  10. Well once again JT has done it again with another good review this week.

    As always I'm pleased to see the score with Batgirl and Gen Lost.

    As for Birds, I'm sadly going to have to drop this like Brightest day until something great happens. Gail must be sleeping big time to let this series head the way it is.

    I'm also glad to see Venom got such a good score as well. I know how big of a Vemon fan you are (Hell I know everything about you) and I'm glad this issue didn't let you down. :)

  11. Wow, sounds like everyone is playing Dragon Age! I haven't played the first one -- is it a very long game? I'd be interested in playing it, but unfortunately I don't really have the time these days to play games that are dozens of hours long. Besides, I have enough LOOOONG games already that I haven't beaten...GTA IV and Fallout 3 are just a couple that come to mind. Oh and I also got around to doing my Venom post, and I'd love to hear what you guys think of it.

  12. Falisha - Thanks babe, pretty shocked you're dropping Birdsd but I can't blame you really, it hasn't been up to par with Vol. 1 sadly, especially after reading vol. 1 so recently. And yes you DO know everything about me including me loving Venom.

    Marc - GTA, long? I beat that entire game in like four days the week it came out, took it back to Gamestop and got a full refund. And yeah, DA is like a 40-60 hour game.

  13. Well, that should tell you about how much time I've put into GTA, haha. With games like that I always want to go above and beyond and do every single thing though.

  14. Hey, Jason: Do you have a recommendation for a certain issue of JL:GL I can jump in on? I don't have $1 million to buy all of them. And since you've read all of them (that have been released) I was wondering if you had a good "jump on" point. I have been considering just reading #s 23 & 24, but if you have a better place to jump on (that I can get the least amount of issues for) that would be greatly appreciated.