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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Friday, December 1, 2006

52 Calendar

Above is the calendar CHUCK BROUILLETTE created to help DC's editors keep track of the company's weekly 52 series. He e-mailed it to me with this note:

I thought of you when tagging my 52 calender this week. Check out this week's icon. When I designed this as a production calender for 52 editor Stephen Wacker, I enclosed color-coded tabs to tack off each week as it meets its release schedule. And at the end of the year if any characters were still exposed, I offered to write a tale including those heroes or villains. I was holding my breath on weeks 10-11. So far, no cast!

This opening can only be a sign I'm destined to review recent issues of 52 today. That I have weeks 23 through 28 before me is yet another omen. However, instead of going issue by issue, I'm going to, instead, discuss the title's ongoing storylines and characters and skip the usual ratings.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Will Magnus and the Island of Lost Mad Scientists. I'm intrigued by this megalomaniacal motley crew, apparently overseen by Egg Fu and Intergang. I like the mix of humor and impending menace as the baleful brains work on their "Four Horsemen" project. I'm hoping, when the time comes, that Will steps up to the plate in a big way to take them down. Then maybe he can move on to a Metal Men series that can add likeable characters, albeit robots, to the combination of humor and menace.

52 Week 23

The Black Adam Family. I wish that I knew which writers (of Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid) were writing which characters/sequence because there should be enormous kudos for whoever has taken the formerly murderous Black Adam and turned him into one of my favorite characters. These sequences are an edgy redemption story, filled with wonderful supporting players like his wife Isis, his brother-in-law Osiris, Renee Montoya, and the Question. I hope the reformation takes; Adam has the potential to be a star in the new DCU.

52 Week 24

The New Justice League. Big yawn here. Firestorm pulls together an incompetent team, which includes Ambush Bug. They get their butts kicked when Skeets (deranged robot servant of Booster Gold) attacks them. Super-Chief is killed in the battle because DC has so many Native-American heroes it doesn't know what to do with all of them. A bunch of Luthor's manufactured supers also bite the big one. The new League disbands.

J'onn J'onzz. He's a very minor player here. He seems to have been spending his time trying to disband Checkmate, only to see Amanda Waller and the government reactivate it to stop what they perceive as Black Adam's threat. Does Waller ever join the right side of a conflict? As for the Martian Manhunter, I stopped caring about him a few issues into his new mini-series.

52 Week 25

Bruno Mannheim. Touched by a Darkseid, he has turned Intergang into a religion of crime. It's an exercise in brutality - poor Kite-Man - and makes me yearn for the more realistic crime-families of the past. Why does every menace have to be of cosmic proportions?

Ralph Dibny and the Helmet of Fate. I'm interested, but not particularly entertained by the mentally fragile Ralph's quest to bring his wife back to life. A scene with the Spectre and Jean Loring, Sue Dibny's killer, is chilling, but ultimately pointless. Maybe the payoff will be worth it, but, for now, the Elongated Man is simply another decent character trashed in the new DCU.

Luthor and Infinity, Inc.. I'm bored with Luthor, but intrigued by this latest scheme of his. The conflict between Steel and his niece is emotionally compelling. I'm keeping an open mind on this storyline.

Checkmate. Alan Scott has been asked to be the White King of the revived organization and he's asked Mr. Terrific to be his White Bishop. His goal of keeping small problems from turning into large ones is admirable, but Waller's presence almost ensures his best intentions will go awry.

52 Week 26

The Question and Renee Montoya. They took their leave of the Black Adam Family in 52 Week Twenty-Six as we learned what I have suspected for a while. The Question is dying of cancer and Renee might be his successor. I'm fond of this odd couple and had hoped we might see more of them post-52, but I can't deny their storyline is one of my favorites.

52 Week 27

Sparks. Gee, a crazy machine from the future stalking a human being (Rip Hunter). At least Sparks is a little more scary than Arnold the cyborg, though not Arnold the politician. My guess is that the oft-repeated "52" represents 52 seconds/minutes/hours of the universal timeline that are somehow still in flux following the end of Infinite Crisis and that they will be the means of correcting whatever Dan Didio and the DCU editorial brain-trust believe needs correcting. That would be an interesting notion, but the endless rebooting of DCU characters/history is getting pretty tired from where I sit.

52 Week 28

Batwoman. She's back, she still doesn't float my boat. Maybe if she was more than a "look here" gimmick and maybe if she wasn't tied into the silly Church of Inter-Gang storyline. Has she appeared in the "One Year Later" DCU titles? Or was she created to be killed? I...nope, just not interested enough to care one way or another.

The Red Tornado. This is another storyline that's not holding my interest. Brad Meltzer is doing much more interesting things with the character in the relaunched Justice League of America.

DC Heroes Lost In Space. The only character I like in this storyline is Buddy "Animal Man" Baker and he's been reduced to complaining about his soiled costume. This paragraph and the above two paragraphs should give you a clue as to how much I didn't like 52 Week Twenty-Eight.

As noted above, I won't be rating these issues. But I would like to know if you prefer the above style of 52 reviewing over the issue-by-issue style. You can comment on my message board [www.comicscommunity.com/boards/tony] or e-mail me at:



******

BLACK LIGHTNING

52 Week 25 Interior

I always keep my eyes open for appearances of the character I created for DC Comics over 25 years ago...though the company didn't even send me a simple anniversary card on that auspicious occasion. When I find these appearances, as per your requests, I share them with you and comment on them.

The above is from a sequence in 52 Week Twenty-Five in which Sabbac imperils trick-or-treating children on Halloween, only to be thwarted by the Black Adam Family. I don't know who of the many credited writers and artists worked on this page, but I want them to know I got a major kick out of seeing one young man wearing a Black Lightning costume. It's sad we can't buy such an outfit in our world, but such decisions are out of my hands.

I'll have more Black Lightning bits for you in future editions of this column.

******

GET MORE TONY

Emily Edison

Every week, I post a brand-new and exclusive edition of TONY'S OTHER ONLINE TIPS on the Comics Buyer's Guide forums. This week's review is of Emily Edison by David Hopkins and Brock Rizy, published by Viper Comics.

You can read the review at:

www.cbgxtra.com

Keep reading TOT for an announcement concerning the future of TOOT at CBGXTRA!

******

TONY POLLS

Most every Tuesday, we post new TONY POLLS questions for your voting entertainment. Here are the final tallies of questions we asked just before Thanksgiving...

Brother Voodoo

Which of these Marvel horror characters would you most like to see return in an ongoing series?

BROTHER VOODOO.....38.55%
Satana (The Devil's Daughter).....31.33%
Simon Garth.....15.66%
Marie Laveau (Voodoo Queen of New Orleans).....14.46%

I never cared overmuch for Brother Voodoo, a revelation which will likely shock my pal Fred Hembeck. I cast my vote for Voodoo Queen MARIE LAVEAU because I think there are lots of great stories to be told of New Orleans, a place where supernatural evil competes with more mundane - and often political - evils.

Dracula Lives

Which of these Marvel black-and-white horror magazines of the 1970s would you most like to see return?

DRACULA LIVES.....34.15%
Monsters Unleashed.....26.83%
Haunt of Horror.....13.41%
Tales of the Zombie.....12.20%
Vampire Tales.....9.76%
Monster Madness.....3.66%

Dracula Lives was a great magazine, no doubt about it. I voted for MONSTERS UNLEASHED because it could include the Count and many other creatures of the night.

All-New Atom 1

How would you rate DC's ALL-NEW ATOM?

Near-Mint.....6.15%
Fine.....18.46%
Very Good.....12.31%
Good.....16.92%
Fair.....29.23%
Poor.....16.92%

These are the kind of results that make me feel out of touch with my readers. When I reviewed this new series for "Tony's Other Online Tips," I gave it four out of five Tonys and voted it a FINE in this poll. I think it's far and away the best book to come out of DC's Brave New World special and was surprised to see how few of you liked it as much as I did.

Our current Christmas-and-other-fine-holidays-themed questions will remain active until sometime after midnight on Monday, which is when new questions will be posted.

You can cast your votes at:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 11/30/2006 | 12/01/2006 | 12/04/2006 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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