Saturday, December 13, 2008

Target Women: Feed Your F***in' Family!

yup, more screen-stretching video goodness!!

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Proposition 8 - The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Be sure to go to to get involved. Set an example for others. :)

Full Cast Credits:

They also produced along with Mike Farah.

The cast (in order of appearance):

California Gays and The People That Love Them: Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker

Proposition 8'ers and The People That Follow Them: Prop 8 Leader- John C. Reilly Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife- Allison Janney Prop 8 Leader's #2 Wife- Kathy Najimy Riffing Prop 8'er-Jenifer Lewis A Preacher- Craig Robinson Scary Catholic School Girls From Hell-Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke

The Frightened Villagers: Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, Tate Taylor

Jesus Christ: Jack Black

A Very Smart Fellow: Neil Patrick Harris

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Frank Miller's The Spirit - new featurette

THE SPIRIT - Exclusive Featurette

Producer: "It looks like nothing you've ever seen"

Weeeell, if you want to get technical, it looks an awful lot like Sin City. As in, exactly.

It bothered me to no end that Miller has come in and put his stamp all over this, completely erasing the Eisner feeling from the characters and feel of the thing. Even the comics artwork shown in this trailer is Miller's artwork, not Eisner. If he is so dead set on doing every movie in the same style (one I did dig to no end where it belonged, in the Sin City movie), why not do a sequel to that instead of forcing his stamp on Eisner's seminal work, and creating what will undoubtedly be the flop of the year?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Serialised Biography of the Hermit Damallianos

Who is the Hermit Damallianos?

What strange life has he lead?
What events in his life drove him to take residence in a wooden shack in the middle of Ekali?
And what twist of fate propelled him to the top of the pop charts, making him an overnight sensation?

if you're Greek, you'll surely get a strange kick out of reading: the Serialised (as in, 2 pages) Biography of the Hermit Damallianos!

(my first ever 'published' short story at age... 14? 15? Thanks to Margarita for uncovering this forgotten 'gem' in her drawer. It really brightened my mood on a very dark and depressing night. Excuse the awkward syntax and grammar ;) )

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Marvel Capsule Reviews Week 31 2008

Welcome to the very late and unfortunately very last Capsule Reviews installment!

Unfortunately work obligations and the demands as Nexus EiC have become a bit too much in the past few weeks so it's impossible to keep holding the (quite time-consuming) load of these Capsules every week. Thanks to everyone who's followed these weekly (or an adequate facsimile) ramblings, and I hope you stick around the website for our regular feature reviews.

After this I'll be focusing my time on getting LYSAD out regularly again (focusing on the hot-button panels of each week) and maybe churn out more capsules on an (even-less) regular basis...

On with the entertainment:


(Joe Kelly, Zeb Wells & Marc Guggenheim / Chris Bachalo, Patrick Olliffe & Marcos Martin / Serge Lapointe)

Brand New Day = Fun

Glad we got that out of the way!

This oneshot features three self-contained stories from the various writers and artists on the current weekly title rotation. Why they chose to feature the stories in this odd format instead of the regular book or, say, an annual is beyond me.

First up, new member of the 'Spidey Trust' Joe Kelly unites with Chris Bachalo (doing some real imaginative and cohesive layouts for a change) to resurrect Hammerhead after his rather pointless death last year in Civil War: War Crime, and upgrade him into a whole new level of menace at the side of new Spider-baddie Mister Negative. The intersected flashback sequences to his origins have their ups and downs, but they ultimately don't forge any connection to this still rather one-note villain.

The second vignette by Wells and Spidey veteran Pat Olliffe is a short spotlight on Peter and Harry's current standing as friends, along with a brief Trapster battle and some comic relief as Peter finds himself stuck to his mask and late for Harry's birthday.

Finally, Guggenheim and Marcos Martin pump up the courtroom drama with an interlude to a storyline yet to come (in 12 issues? oh, you tease!) as Murdock defends Spidey in a civil suit. Why is Spidey arrested? Why is his arm in a cast? Why are there 6 more Spider-men swinging around the courtroom? The story does a decent job of setting up anticipation for 'Character Assassination', and even puts some new twists in the done-to-death 'Spidey gets sued' trial scenario.



(Jason Aaron / Jeffe Palo / Lee Loughridge)

'See Wakanda & Die' part 1. Jason Aaron takes over the reins of the title for the requisite Secret Invasion tie-in that is plaguing every Marvel title from X-Men to Power Pack this summer. Only... (and this shouldn't surprise anyone who's ever read his work) this time the SI fill-in ends up being ten times better than any regular issue of the title before - or even any other story in the SI tapestry so far.

The overall plot is a simple 'Skrulls invade Wakanda for the Vibranium' device - yet in Aaron's hands (and with Jeffe Palo's dark stylized art) it takes on a whole new level. Wakanda is a technologically advanced, militant country, ruled by (and worshipping in essence) a lineage of Kings dressed as preying Panthers. If a bunch of silly green aliens think they're going to be easy pickings, they're in for a good slaughter.

The easiest comparison I could make would be to what Frank Miller accomplished with 300. The story moves in a frenetic pace, full of Aaron's now trademark cinematic moments. Black Panther is cast as the regal Warlord commanding this amazing geek-gasmic tech (Thunderbolts-tribute giant panther statues on either side of the palace shooting down the invaders?) and a vast army of seasoned soldiers/warriors. This isn't a usual spandex situation; it's ruthless, glorious, bloody, gut-ripping, head-on-spikes war violence. Hold on to your seats!



(Paul Cornell / Horacio Domingues)

Fiction's gone bad and the Fantastic Four begin a trip into the imagination - and the world's most popular literature (from the Jungle Book to Sense & Sensibility).

It sounds like a can't-miss concept... on paper at least.

Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Cornell takes several missteps, mostly regarding the characterisation of Marvel's First Family. These are some of Marvel's most well-known characters. It's very easy to play them safe as vague stereotypes (ones mind you, that they helped establish probably). If a writer does feel adventurous and dares to attempt a fresh approach and reveal some quirky new side to them, it's sooooo easy to backfire... especially if we're talking about Reed's fascination with Josie & the Pussycats and his just-wrong sudden quippage, or Susan's mid-life depression and literature addiction. Just refer back to Mark Millar's first FF arc for further examples.

Not everything is as dire. The characters act predictably within their comfort zones through most of the issue, although the script is littered with a lot of experimental devices that either shine (the meta-textual comment on the repetitive nature of the FF interplay) or horribly crash (the botched Morrison-isms of the team flying beyond the comics page, or Reed reading comics balloons fall relatively flat in the context of the issue). Nothing outright bad, but maybe a hasty mish-mash of immiscible story approaches.

As for the art... Horacio Domingues has his work cut out for him when he attempts to mix his own style with a bad copy of the Mike Wieringo character designs (Susan's hair is unmistakeable), while keeping to the most recent Hitch costumes... Oof.

Despite my disappointment with the debut, I still eagerly wait the next issue as the setup gives way to actual pure silliness: the FF defending the Sense & Sensibility sisters from a monster invasion!



(Brian Reed / Adriana Melo / Mariah Benes)

'The Battle of Manhattan' part 2.

Ms Marvel vs Giant Skrulls. Ms Marvel versus a Skrull stampede. Ms Marvel flying a bus.

That's pretty much it. If you're a fan of seriously hot looking super-heroines in tattered costumes zapping green aliens around, this is the comic for you. Adriana Melo is the perfect choice for this book in that regard. I also feel for Brian Reed, anyone else in his place would have really exhausted his Skrull repertoir by last issue, but he keeps going strong, still stuck in the non-plot that is the Secret Invasion (=one looooong battle in Manhattan for 3 issues).



(Roberto Aguire-Sacasa / Barry Kitson / Chris Sotomayor)

This was a definite surprise for a Secret Invasion tie-in. Short, succinct, enjoyable, even fun!

The Thing and Torch are trapped with the Richards kids in the Negative Zone with Torch's Skrully ex-wife Lyja, trying to make their way back home.

Lyja is restored into the FF mythos by covering her story from when we last saw her (a decade ago!) just before Onslaught, without overly complicating the story. Franklin provides an amusing narration with the highlight being weirdly enough the recap page, actually looking authentically like a child's drawing (perhaps we have to thank the mysterious acknowledgment to Marlyn Sotomayor for that?). The Thing punches things, quips and looks stunning thanks to Chris Sotomayor's snazzy new colouring tricks adding a fun texture to his rocky hide.



(Greg Pak / Ron Garney)

Another quick read, following Hulk's little orphan savage baby rampaging through dragons and axe-handed princesses on the not-so-dead remnants of Planet Hulk.

It's really only "run run gasp slash DRAGON arrgh grrr slice" and then 'to be continued', so approach only if you've always been really desperate to read the adventures of Teen Hulk meets Mad Max.



(Fred Van Lente / Cory Hamscher / Gurihiru)

The Power Pack gets abducted by alien bounty hunters Abercombie & Finch (I'm not even touching that) and framed for intergalactic crimes! Meanwhile back on Earth, they're replaced by Skrull doppellgangers (who are predictably and humorously too well-behaved to convince anyone), and their only hope lies in their fifth member: Franklin Richards and his pet robot HERBIE!

Not as over-the-top ridiculous fun as past issues, but the cover for the next issue is promising enough to keep me reading.


THOR #10

(J. Michael Straczynski / Olivier Coipel)

There has been a boatload of Marvel villains who have suddenly turned a 'new leaf' in the past year, but only one of them has so far proven a bone-chilling, manipulative, eerie success: the Princess of Lies, Loki. Coipel has done more than just add lipstick and boobs, he's redesigned the classic Trickster villain from the ground up, with great detail in both her new facial features and her costuming.

JMS is of course building up to something big with Loki's machinations here, though being careful not to show his hand too early. Last issue's cliffhanger had Loki revealing to Balder that he too is a son of Odin and therefore a rightful Prince of the new Asgard floating above modern day America. Balder's confronts Thor with this knowledge, revealing the true origins of the heroic God and the true omen of his birth. JMS and Coipel perfectly capture the intense level of awkward silence and discomfort in the scene, just from the nuances in the dialogue and the art.



(Cary Bates / Paul Gulacy)

I don't get it.

It's pretty rare for Marvel debut series based on brand new characters and concepts. This one features a team of vigilantes that -well, I'm not quite sure from this issue. We follow the team leader Payback into an undercover sting of a swimsuit hooker version of Fight Club run by senators in Spider-man and Hulk masks, which -although kinda fun- fails to give her or her team any clear mission objective or personality. Thankfully the writer follows this with a mega-expository debriefing on the individual characters making up the team, although it begs the question: why not incorporate all this info in the actual fight sequence, and introduce your characters in action instead of fuzzy screen captures? The issue does end on a higher note with a an unsurprising plot twist and a puzzling lead-in to next issue featuring Reed Richards and a supposed heinous crime...

As a debut issue, it fails to paint a clear picture on the direction and identity of this title, or even create a compelling mystery around them, instead only focusing on establishing their sheer audacity in the face of super-hero authorities.



(Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade Von Grawbadger)

An average issue, showcasing the new silent brooding Ultimate Beetle (which of course leads to loads of Spidey ranting to himself and Bobba Fett jokes), a big fight, a new mystery, a series of seemingly nonsensical flashbacks to different battles, Peter & Mary Jane quipness (Bendis is slowly leveling up to a Whedon rank here) and a puzzling visit from... Ultimate Nick Fury?

Wasn't he shipped off to Squadron Supreme in that Jeph Loeb tragedy?



(Mark Millar / Steve McNiven / Dexter Vines)

'Old Man Logan' part 2.

Fifty years after the last superhero was massacred and the supervillains took over the ruins of America, a blind Hawkeye recruits the retired Logan with his Spider-buggy and they head to Vegas (now Hammer Falls) to rescue Hawkeye's daughter.

Oh, sorry, Hawkeye's daughter with Tonya, who happens to be mexican (I think) and Peter Parker's youngest daughter. Huh.

Millar sure means well, and he delivers in a number of big action moments here (most based on simple cues like 'Ghost Riders riding in' or 'Spider-Buggy jumping off cliff' - but that's why it pays to have such an amazing partnership with a talent of McNiven's magnitude), and certainly in the dialogue, but still... the setting is so over-the-top and childishly simplistic (like a kid trying to impress his dad with his kewl ideas) that it pulls the entire atmosphere of the story down the gutter.



(Jeff Parker / Roger Cruz & Colleen Coover / Val Staples)

The X-Men, along with their newest member: Machine Man Aaron Stack face off against the mindless Lava Men. Parker manages to squeeze in a few laughs and an unexpected and touching finale, still not enough to justify stretching this particular caper into two issues. Roger Cruz has been on fire (heh) since his return to the title, and this issue is his strongest showing yet, although I suspect the suddenly lush and vibrant new colouring style has something to do with that as well.

The back-up story with art by Colleen Coover is a silent reminisce of Angel's greatest moments in this title.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Everyone Needs a Hobby

Source: Secret History of the Authority: Jack Hawksmoor #5 (Wildstorm, DC Comics)
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wicked - Popular

Off to see Wicked tomorrow night with my best bud Tyler in London's West End.

Here's a little taste from the show's most popular song, performed by the show's ultimate performer: Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
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Hi all!

a quick update from Brighton. I've started my week-long holidays, passing through Brighton-Oxford-London-Bath-Hasting.

Regular blog updates will resume from Sunday 24th unless I find myself really desperate for web-time (not bloody likely!).

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Goddamn Kids

Source: Superman / Batman #50 (DC Comics)
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tale of One Bad Egg

Chick this out:

Keith Giffen laying another one on poor Egg Fu...

Oh, Keep your sunny side up, chica!

Giffen's not fried for good puns, he's hatching more each second, egging the poor bastard on... Egg-Fu's just out of cluck.


Nope, if you think omelet you off easy, you need to get ova yourself! I won't let Giffen poach all my best yokes.

There's so many bad puns nesting in my head, it's hard to tell which came first!


(scrambles to get out of the way)

Fine, hens forth, no more puns!


(Still, you really should scramble and shell out some cash for this book before it flies completely off the stands)

Source: Ambush Bug Year None #1 (DC Comics)
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DC Capsule Reviews Week 30 2008

A mad mad week from DC: Ambush Bug returns, Women in Refrigerators on Sale, Clayface eats Gotham, Scarecrow crashes a slumber party, JLA doubles its fishnets quotient, Wonder Woman's bondage fetish explained... and Batman's dad travels to Krypton to hang out with Jor-El!?!


(Keith Giffen / Robert Loren Fleming / Al Milgrom)


It's impossible for me to encompass just how sheer fun this book is, how many comic conventions it breaks, how perfectly it captures (and pisses on) the current comics storytelling fads, how how how...

Ambush Bug returns to investigate the murder of Jonni DC (the original DC logo mascot) and do a parodic tour-de-force of the current DC Comics universe.

Let's just run through some highlights:

The Source Wall complaining about its aesthetic decline since Kirby, way too much awareness of the medium, fourth-wall breaking, inside jokes that every reader feels part of, women in household appliances, the eternal struggle of thought balloons versus square box narratives, whatever-happened-to the omniscient narrator, self-referential continuity porn, meta-textual madness, the real reason behind Jean Lorring's Identity Crisis, the return of the Jack Kirby Sandman, Sugar & Spike, 'Mazing Man, Yankee Poodle's Swimsuit special, Egg-Fu puns, Ace the Bat-Hound... and a menace from DC's checkered past uncovered!



(Steve Niles / Kelley Jones)

While researching for a Steve Niles interview I'm doing for Newsarama, I stumbled upon a great quote from Steve about Gotham After Midnight:

Q: Well, you did get to play with Batman already once. Why is this title different for you?

A: Well, with "Batman: Gotham County Line," that was what everyone expected me to do. Now I get to do what I want to do.

That quite says it all doesn't it? Niles vows to offer a self-contained threat and story each month while building up to his larger story (which he does).

This issue features Clayface, now transformed into a gigantic, ever-growing and terrifying people-eating mass. Kelley Jones excels at drawing crazy monster stuff like this, making every panel in this issue a joy to behold and quite unsettling at the same time.



(Mark Waid & Scott Kolins)

Nightwing and Hawkman teaming up? What is the point of that?

Oh, wait, they're really secretly off to rescue Deadman and Green Arrow from last issue? Sneaky...

The conservative Hawkman is of course the best character to play off Green Arrow's liberal leanings, and the two of them always work great together on the page. Deadman continues to be an uncomfortable presence to the other DC heroes, but Waid surprised me with an obvious circus connection between him and the other famous DC acrobat, Dick Grayson. Little things like the two of them sharing circus lingo, or Deadman teaching the Flying Graysons really made this issue shine, along with the usual old-school superhero action, the fun quips and the plot twists at every corner.



(Joe Harris / Juan Doe)

Dr Jonathan Crane is a psychologist by day, and a psychotic fear-inducing scarecrow villain by night. His latest project? Playing boogeyman to a student slumber party (how b-movie horror of you, Dr Crane!) and putting the fear back into a group of snotty cheerleaders terrorizing his pet patient.

Plot-wise, it's pretty much on the same level as last week's Poison Ivy, an ok story that treads on predictable ground. Juan Doe's absolutely stunning art makes the difference here, a modern/dark/moody take on the vintage Fleischer Superman cartoon style, doing jaw-dropping things with colour, and composition. Thanks to the cinematic flow of the story, I could easily see this being a standout episode of the Dini Batman animated series.



(Dwayne McDuffie / Ed Benes)

'The Second Comics' part 2.

The JLA versus Amazo (in Red Tornado's form).
More talking about Vixen's F'd up powers.
Black Canary and Zatanna on the team at the same time, both wearing fishnets?


Is the JLA really that stagnant a concept that we need to put up with Amazo and Red Tornado-focused storylines so soon after Metzler's departure?



(Jim Shooter / Sanford Greene / Nathan Massengill)

'Enemy Rising' part 5. Um, did this storyline just finish? I'm still quite unclear on what the threat was, after getting bombarded with the frenetic plot pace and unpolished storytelling of the past issues.

The Legion has been divided into three fronts. Invisible Lad steps up and saves the day and the captured Legionnaires from the red-skinned pirate guys. Saturn Girl's team strikes back against the Science Police. Lightning Lad saves the Legion from... the tax office (?) thanks to the intervention of a new annoying supporting character with awesome bureaucracy-fu.

Fans of senseless, non-stop super-hero action with fast and constant scene changes (even mid-page most often) should really love the retro-aesthetic writing on this title. It just makes me queasy.

Still, I do marvel at Shooter's talent to provide (I'm guessing) unintentionally funny iconic sequences, and appreciate his attempts to infuse humour in his stories - even if he goes a bit overboard most times.



(Matt Wagner / Amy Reeder Headley)

I kinda get it now...

Joel La Pula helped explain the issues I had with the 1st issue last month. Wagner assumes a certain familiarity with both the character's origins and (mostly) the Arthurian legend for readers coming into this series. I admit to having no interest in either -- which of course brings us back to my confusion over #1.

Madame Xanadu is of course a C-list DC supporting character, a sorceress who has lost her powers (and recently her sight) and is most commonly used as a plot device when a writer needs a tarot reading to foreshadow some gloomy threat in the horizon. Her origins go back to the aforementioned days of Camelot, where she was known as Nimue: one of the fairies linked to the 'Lady of the Lake', Merlin's 'companion' and betrayer, a sister to the dread Morganna...

Wagner fills his script with subtle nuances and small moments, reimagining the legend within the confines of the DC Universe by introducing free agents like the Phantom Stranger and the Demon Etrigan - although never clearly identifying them as such. Neither character is a stranger to Vertigo's universe (having featured in Sandman and Books Magic, much like Xanadu herself), yet their presence here fills odd still, in a sore thumb manner.

Headley's art took some getting used to, but I now appreciate its merits and the definite japanese (='manga') flavour it brings to the storytelling. I do wonder if it would have been more worthwhile and rewarding to have gone the Full Monty and done the story in black & white and stronger inks.


ROBIN #175

(Fabian Nicieza / Joe Bennett / Jack Jadson)

'Batman R.I.P.' tie-in

Nicieza replaces Dixon on the title to basically explain to readers what they have been reading about in Morrison's Batman for the past year. I'll admit this actually lnear and reader-friendly approach to the narrative helped me piece together some elements of Batman R.I.P. that were baffling me before. Apart from the expository catch-up, the issue offers little more -- with a run-of-the-mill filler flashback with a didactic leasson to take to the present occupying most of the issue's space.

Joe Bennett is doing an amazing job on both Robin and the returned Spoiler, finding the ideal balance between portraying them as believable teenagers and cool vigilantes.



(Mike Costa / Fiona Staples)

The plot opens up, linking the murder mystery, to Jack's new girlfriend, to the gradually-more-frequent giant robot attacks, and ultimately to Jack's secret origins.

Mike Costa not only gets Jack Hawksmoor, he seems to be genuinely in love with the character, and manages through this connection to really bring forward the hidden potential - both in terms of power and personality. Different attitudes come to play, surprising character traits are revealed, and every other page there's a 'whoa' moment waiting for you. To accomplish all that in a Wildstorm tie-in comic that more would usually treat as a throwaway gig... Well, I really hope mr Costa sticks around after this!



(James Robinson / Renato Guedes / Wilson Magalhaes)

Superman and the returned Kirby mythical hero Atlas (Wikipedia is good for you) punch each other around Metropolis, while Guedes fills us in on Atlas' background - doing an impressive near perfect imitation/ribute/homage to Jack Kirby's signature style (with a Buscema twist) for the purposes of the flashback.

I'll just come out and say it: This is boring.

Fistfights, Kirby flashbacks, more tedious Science Police characters. The only interesting part of the issue for me was Lois and Clark arguing over Krypto and Zatanna over their morning coffee. That's 1 page out of 22.

I still have faith in Robinson, one of our genre's greatest super-hero writers - but he needs to get his act together and fast!



(Michael Green & Mike Johnson / Ed Benes, Matthew Clark, Allan Goldman & Ian Churchill / various)


This is what we learned in this anniversary issue of Superman/Batman:

Dr Thomas Wayne (Batman's dad), while driving through Kansas, accidentally stumbled upon a Kryptonian space probe sent by Jor-El (Superman's dad), which transferred Wayne's consciousness to Krypton where the two men basically hung out, talked over baby names and picked out a new family for baby Kal-El...



The issue also features kids roasting marshmallows over Firestorm's flaming top, Black Canary with Vixen hammering nails on a Smallville roof (because somehow they're better at it than the contractors Wayne paid to fix the building, who just standard around and admire the view), Batman terrorizing toddlers and the Titans vs the Batcave (huh). Despite all that nonsense going on and an endless array of pointless hero and villain cameos, the issue still takes itself quite seriously, indeed establishing the Wayne/Jor-El meeting as canon.

Are there any DC editors actually approving this stuff, or do Heroes staff writers have carte-blanche to mess up properties on either major publisher just by grace of being on a popular subpar TV series?



(Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza / Mark Bagley & Scott MacDaniel / Art Thibert & Andy Owens)

Busiek showcases each of the Big Three in their familial/civilian identity environment and introducing their respective supporting casts and friends. It's well written as always (hey, it's Etta Candy and Diana talking about boyfriends... what's not to love), some of the insights are intriguing, but the formulaic plot breakdown to explore and compare the three heroes from yet another angle starts to get rather repetitive/predictable.

The back-up story showcases Morgaine and Enigma as they finally enlist Despero in their villainous Trinity and takes a look through their new headquarters and their mysterious minions.


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