Archive for April, 2012

Other links to past reviews

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Check out some new links to my past reviews of different books:

Batman #8: http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/23/super-powered-comics-batman-8/

Nightwing #8: http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/24/super-powered-comics-nightwing-8/

Batman Beyond Unlimited #3: http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/25/super-powered-comics-batman-beyond-unlimited-3/

Super-Dinosaur #10: http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/26/super-hero-comics-super-dinosaur-10/

Hope you all enjoy!!

DC’s terrible week Pt 2: Teen Titans #8

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Another book DC put out this week which was going great was Teen Titans. However, it suffered from event syndrome:

Batman: The Dark Knight is not the only book that takes a collapse in its quality this month. Teen Titans falls below the standards set by it in previous issues.

The issue begins with Red Robin trapped in some sort of bubble. Omen has trapped him in there, and Wonder Girl is trying desperately to rescue him. However, Bunker is trying to knock some sense into her; reminding her he cannot be rescued that way. They get into a little tussle, and Skitter is not too happy about that. In the meantime, Kiran and Kid Flash contemplate how they will ever be free. They also reflect on their lives in the meantime. However, Wonder Girl brings them back to focusing on the present matter with Tim. Through the bubble, Omen can apparently learn Tim’s secrets, and she plays with him. However, he is too smart for her, and is not toiled by her games; eventually being released. Next, Wonder Girl is her next choice. Some secrets about her armor are revealed, and how she ended up with it is hinted at. Following that, Red Robin has apparently been taken to have a confrontation with Harvest. Tim has some sort of armor placed around his normal suit. Skitter is also taken captive by Omen, and she is separated from her animal-like form. That also leaves a lot to be explored as her normal self threatens earth will be doomed if they are not placed back together. Bunker feels guilty for what is happening and Kiran reminds him it is nothing he can do. The story takes a random turn back to New York with Agent Kurt Lance talking with Amanda Waller about the mystery behind Wonder Girl and his past working with her. The issue then finds Cassie with the same armor in the same room. Tim assures her to relax. Kiran then talks to Bunker, and apologizes for leading the team here stating she cannot control having Harvest in her head as she did earlier on.  Bunker quite understands her situation. Kid Flash is next tested by Omen. Unfortunately, his speed in something she cannot control, and he breaks out.  He runs out, takes Kiran and Bunker, and goes. However, the two are both shot, and Bart wakes up with the same suit on. Wonder Girl brings him up to speed. Red Robin is on his way to fight Omen. He starts to succeed, and suddenly, ends up back where he was with Harvest. Harvest then says to unleash his Ravagers. When the team wakes up, there are stuck, and they find themselves in the control of the Leash.

This issue was pretty average, and could have been a lot better. Scott Lobdell was telling a great story, and I was happy reading all the previous issues of Teen Titans. However, in its solicitation, this issue promised more. I cannot help wondering whether this “The Culling” stuff not only changed Lobdell’s original plans but also was designated by editorial after the solicits were released. Unfortunately, that damaged Lobdell’s original plans with this arc as the solicit does not completely match what was written here. The issue does not match up with the ending of the previous issue, and also is missing Superboy. I was looking forward to some more hinting at something more than friendship between Red Robin and Wonder Girl as she was supposed to be missing but Lobdell reduced that to merely here being pissed off at Red Robin’s entrapment as a result of Omen. Beyond petty complaints, the writing fares alright. The art is another story. Absent are the crisp pencils of Brett Booth and in come the cartoony and jaded pencils of IG Guara. As I got into the issue, I did not mind it as much. However, looking back, it is quite a contrast from Booth’s when I first laid eyes on the differences between Booth’s cover and the sequential art inside. I am guessing Booth was probably preparing for the aforementioned event, and the plans Lobdell/Booth had were pushed back because DC wanted to “world build.” While that is all nice and fine, the plans of the writer/artist team should come first. They are what build the comic for the most part; not the company that publishes it……

Links:

http://www.fanboybuzz.com/2012/04/teen-titans-8/

http://paperdragonink.com/?p=6168

DC’s terrible week Pt 1: Batman: The Dark Knight #8

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

DC did not fare well this past week with two of their best books pulling up bad to average stories. The first one this week is Batman: The Dark Knight:

Batman: The Dark Knight takes a downpour in its eighth issue. Unfortunately, the narrative takes a strange and unexpected turn as it resolves some minor subplots from the previous Bane arc.

The issue begins with Batman thinking about Gotham City bringing out the worst in you.  He is with Gordon, and the Commissioner wants to know why Batman brought him down there. There was apparently a mass murder on the subway. They analyze the situation, and Gordon comes to the conclusion that the men were not killed but killed themselves. Batman thinks there is something going on in the tunnels making Gotham citizens kill one another, and Alfred questions his conclusion as they analyze the situation in the Batcave. Batman then rushes off as he needs to find out what is happening before it happens again. Lt. Forbes makes a re-appearance in his vendetta with Gordon; sending him to a shrink as he got permission from the mayor to do so. As Batman is investigating, he stumbles upon Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. He notes they are fuller of rage than usual, and reminds readers of whom they are since they may not know. He fights them, and then Batman continues on after them. As Batman continues, Senator Toomey kills himself on live TV as he is about to declare his candidacy for President of the USA. Gordon and his doctor speak next. He asks what he needs to say to get Forbes off his back, and he essentially goes through his recent history with his daughter Barbara being able to walk, his son in Arkham, and his wife coming back into his life after many years. Batman comes to the conclusion the two Tweedles were affected by the same thing, and he and Alfred analyze forensics. As the two Tweedles aid the Mad Hatter with a satellite for the aforementioned nefarious purpose, Batman steps in, and stops him. Mad Hatter uses the signal on Batman as both Tweedles go full forse on Batman. Right as Batman is in a bad position, Gordon steps in to stop them in a helicopter. As Mad Hatter almost attacks the helicopter, Batman stops him after breaking free from the Tweedles. After they are stopped, Gordon asks if Batman is ok, and Bruce says how he could ask the same of Gordon. Bruce concludes they are as ok as they are going to be in Gotham City.

I was quite upset with this issue for a number of reasons. David Finch’s story with Joe Harris providing the script changes quite a lot from what the cliffhanger of the previous issue seemed to clue us into. Noticeably absent is the White Rabbit even when Bruce mentions about where the “Rabbit Hole” will lead him. That is just bad writing, and it is somewhat sad Paul Jenkins was not there to work with Finch to get the story about the White Rabbit concluded. Personally, I would have finished that arc up, and wonder whether or not the other villains (Tweedles Dee, Dum, and the Mad Hatter) were absolutely necessary. They could be worked in better but it just seemed to be somewhat confused in the writing stages. I would also not have tried to tie up Gordon’s arc so quickly or at least, I would have given Forbes some more room to grow and speak his mind in the issue. On the art side, it is alright. David Finch did not draw this issue, and his dynamic art which has defined this series is noticeably absent. Ed Benes does an ok of trying to stay within Finch’s style but also bring some of his own style to the series. That is where the conflict arises; he should have completed it using his own style. While this issue should have been better, I have not lost faith; the next writer Judd Winick should provide a great fill-in issue for “The Night of the Owls” event where we have David Finch back on art, and then we move onto Gregg Hurwitz as the new permanent writer for the series with a change of tone for the book. Here’s hoping it’s better than this!!

Links:

http://paperdragonink.com/?p=6165

http://www.fanboybuzz.com/2012/04/batman-the-dark-knight-8/

Super-Dinosaur #10 review

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Super-Dinosaur is one of those comics that is just average. It doesn’t offer much but an entertainment value.

The issue begins with Dynamo tells his cohort to wake up. There is a little anger between the two but then the Earthcore Elite attack! The two men run outside onto a balcony onto their ship. Meanwhile, an imprisoned dinosaur-alien asks for the attention of the young boy at Earthcore HQ. He asks for the boy because the alien considers the boy smarter than the other humans he has met along with having gotten used to the boy’s image. Meanwhile, back at the Dynamo Dome, Super-Dinosaur suits up with some new equipment preparing for battle. After a few cheesy lines, Erin, his human friend, and Super-Dinosaur go off to battle. The two escaped men from earlier begin to ramble about the progress one has made or the other’s wife won’t be released from her kidnappers. Then, it goes back to Super-Dinosaur who is surprised to see Erin following him. He is worried about her when suddenly a dinosaur commando comes and attacks them. They battle, and Erin becomes extremely worried. Meanwhile, the little kid tries to interrogate the dinosaur with no such luck. He defends the human race by saying we’ll see in response to whether they will survive the future strike by the dinosaur-aliens or not. Next, Super-Dinosaur continues to fight as more commandos come out ready for battle. Erin is surrounded as we leave their tale for a moment, and move back to the escaped men. The man with his kidnapped wife is happy to see her again. The boy finally makes some progress with the dinosaur-alien who announces his wish to go home and taking the boy with him!!

The writing for this comic is just cheesy. Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead makes me wish he sticks on that. He seems to be writing cheese just for the sake of cheese. I do not know how else to describe this action-packed over-the-top story that is not only unrealistic in the way it portrays humans but also makes me question them letting a young boy interrogate a giant dinosaur-alien. Despite that, Jason Howard seems to be having the time of his life drawing this, and who wouldn’t its dinosaurs….. However, one wonders if they could not have come up with a nobler concept like Jurassic Strikeforce 5…..

Links:

http://paperdragonink.com/?p=5828

http://www.fanboybuzz.com/2012/04/super-dinosaur-10/

Batman #8 review

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Batman #8 is my all-time favorite issue of the series. Scott Snyder’s run has been impeccable but this is where things really get messed up; really messed up….

The issue begins by Bruce reflecting on how he believed the best way to know a city. He then continues by saying he knows nothing really at all. Bruce and Alfred prepare for the talons who are about to come. Bruce tells Alfred to shit off the light. Bruce continues saying he has been a fool to think he knew the city he grew up in as he sits before a virtual Gotham City, and eventually looks out the window at the real one. As father and son hear the talons come, they run down to the Batcave to prepare for the onslaught each knows is coming. As Bruce begins to run, he is attacked by the first talon that he begins to fight. However, more come, and he tries to fend them off. Alfred, who is already in the cave and about to offer his services, sees a talon coming down the steps, and knows he will need to defend himself. Bruce makes his way out to the roof as he continues to fight them off. However, he makes his way through a loophole in the roof down to the cave. As Bruce gets down there, he realizes there is a talon there, and wonders where Alfred is. Luckily, Alfred drops the giant Two-Face penny on the talon, and all is well. As Bruce confronts the talon, the talon’s face is revealed. Bruce takes off something on his arm keeping him animated. Others make their way down, and the father and son make their way into the Bat Bunker. Bruce tells Alfred to turn the temperature to zero because the regenerative compound in the talon’s blood is heat-sensitive. That way, Bruce can silence them easily. Alfred reminds Bruce he won’t last long in the bunker. Bruce responds not to worry. Bruce, then, comes out in something many Bat-fans will enjoy……

The backup that begins in this issue details Bruce’s fight with the talons in what he comes out in. Alfred also discovers on the microchip discovered from one of the talons Bruce fought. It is actually a list of names the talons are going after. They are all of the influential people in Gotham City including Commissioner Gordon and Mayor Hady. Bruce commands Alfred to put the call out for help to the entire Bat-family alerting them of the crisis and that he will leave the line to the Bat bunker open as long as he can.

Scott Snyder hit every beat in this issue. From suspense to action to great character moments, Mr. Snyder is indeed now rivaling Grant Morrison for the best modern day Batman writer. Not to mention artist Greg Capullo who kills this issue with great panels and great art in general being reminiscent of David Mazzuchelli from Batman: Year One. He almost rivals him here too quite literally. In the backup, Rafael Albuquerque does some fantastic work with detailing the ramifications of this issue on the Bat-universe, and makes me excited even more for his future prospects. Seeing all of this, there is no reason anyone should not be picking up this comic if they are a fan of Batman…..

Links:

http://www.fanboybuzz.com/2012/04/batman-8/

http://paperdragonink.com/?p=5801

My article on Karl Gschneider, an Iowa professor who is an expert on lanthanide metals

Friday, April 20th, 2012

A distinguished Iowa professor, Karl A. Gschneider, will be speaking on the application of lanthanide metals in everyday life on April 24 at 5:15 p.m. in the chemistry lecture hall, room 114.

He is not only a graduate of the university and the 2000 Alumni of the Year, he is also a senior metallurgist, the founder of the Rare Earth Information Center and an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in the department of material sciences and engineering at the University of Iowa.

“The topic of rare earths is an important one,” said Salomeia Schlick, UDM professor of physical chemistry. “These metals are used in … wind turbines, laptops and especially hybrid cars.”

Schlick said she was surprised to read that the Toyota Prius needs about ten kilograms of the metals.

UDM chemistry Prof. Mary Lou Caspers pointed out Gschneider may also talk about how the metals are converted into the compounds that are useful.

Prof. Mark Benvenuto, chairman of the chemistry and biochemistry department, hopes that students not particularly interested in the subject will come and take away a new appreciation for the topic.

The production of these metals is a critical, according to Ioannis Souldatos, an assistant professor of mathematics.

“China produces 95 percent of these materials,” said Souldatos.

If the Chinese decide to impose export restrictions, it would create problems for the U.S.

The lecture is not only good for students but also for the image of the university itself, said Matthew Mio, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“It means a lot when the alum is a professional scientist,” he said. “The vast majority of our students apply for medical, dental and pharmacy schools, and having a real scientist come back is a treat.”

In his interactions, Gschneider has left an impression on UDM faculty.

“He is a good human being,” Caspers said. “He is self-confident without being arrogant with a good sense of humor.”

She also pointed out that he is interested in other people, and she thinks he will be happy to talk with students about their career plans.

Benvenuto noted that the evolution of his work over the past ten years has been fascinating along with its applications in the modern age.

UDM chosen for White House Town Hall meeting on May 22nd!! An article written by moi…

Friday, April 20th, 2012

UDM will be one of 20 colleges in the country hosting a White House Youth Town Hall meeting this spring.

The event, sponsored the university’s Institute for Leadership and Service, will be held Tuesday, May 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Students interested in participating must sign up through the UDM website, which is being created.

The event flows from activities by President Dr. Antoine Garibaldi, who was invited earlier this year to participate in a D.C. higher education conference with U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan.

“Since then, (Garibaldi) has been asked to work on a number of high-profile initiatives,” said Gary Lichtman, UDM director of media relations.

Lichtman said UDM is proud to be hosting the town Hall meeting.

“The event mirrors UDM’s mission as an urban institution, educating tomorrow’s leaders to make a difference,” he said.

In an email, Sedika Franklin, a programs specialist in the communications department at the White House, said the event would give 250 innovative young people a chance to address challenges facing higher education.

Franklin said students are being sought “who are passionate about finding solutions to issues in their communities.”

Not all of the students will be from UDM, but Lichtman hopes the university’s presence will be strong.

Interested students may send their requests to participate to admissions.events@udmercy.edu until a proper website is put up.

New link for Batman Beyond #2 review!!

Friday, April 20th, 2012

http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/20/super-powered-comics-batman-beyond-unlimited-2/

Nightwing #8 review

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Issue eight is one of the best issues of Kyle Higgins’ run on the title. It hits spot on an interesting dynamic between a talon and Nightwing. Higgins knows how to make it personal, and oh, does he ever do it…..

Issue eight picks up back in Gates of Gotham. To be specific, it is Gotham City in 1910. The narrator introduces us to the story he is about to tell: it is one of love. He remarks how he was not a true son of Gotham or being a descendant of a Wayne, Cobblepot, Elliot, or Crowne who are the elites of Gotham. To survive, this kid begs for money out in the street where many times he is performing some act such as juggling. This is much to the dismay of his mother who is not too happy about him doing this seeing it as embarrassing. He feels though he had no other choice when his family is not taking in much income to survive. However, one night a man steals something from the young boy, and throws a baseball at him. It turns out this man works for Haley’s Circus, seems to be a talon, and wants the young kid to join along. The narrative then moves back to the present day where Dick is investigating the Rossini murder that involved one of his Escrima sticks. As Dick is getting closer, Alfred calls upon the entire Bat family as the talons are getting ready to kill all of Gotham’s influential people. Dick goes off to protect Mayor Hady after he informs Alfred of this. As Dick is on his way, one of the talons makes his way there, and slices the head off of one of the councilmen meeting with the mayor. Luckily, Dick gets there in time to stop the talon before he gets to the mayor. We then move back to 1910. The narrator reflects about how the Haly’s Circus man had his eye on the young kid for weeks. His mother also was not fond to hear he’d been begging in the street. However, as he developed in the Circus, he became quite good and famous as a result. One night, he met Amelia Crowne, the daughter of Mr. Crowne, and they fell madly in love with one another. The narrative moves back to Dick’s fight with the talon. Then, the narrator remarks how everything was stripped in the months after Amelia and him feel in love.  After taking out the talon, the mayor remarks he has been killed. However, Dick notes he was already dead, and cannot be killed after that. However, the talon regenerates stabbing Dick with three knives, and the narrator reveals who he is……

This issue is perhaps one of my favorite issues of the series. Kyle Higgins is doing an excellent job of moving the narrative along. He knows Dick, and is certainly making use of this event wisely to develop Dick further as a character. Eddy Barrows is just amazing. He can do almost anything with his art, and he continues to nail every inch of this book completely. Not only do I look forward to seeing what comes next, I also do not want to see this team go anywhere but here….

Links:

http://www.fanboybuzz.com/2012/04/nightwing-8/

http://paperdragonink.com/?p=5685

Another link to my review of Birds of Prey #7

Friday, April 20th, 2012

http://superpoweredfiction.com/2012/04/19/super-powered-comics-birds-of-prey-7/