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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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for Friday, March 27, 2009

Supreme Power

Judging from the condition of the Supreme Power Vol. 3: High Command [Marvel/Max; $14.99] I got from my library, I'm far from the first person to read this copy. It reprints issues #13-18 of the "explicit content" reboot of the Squadron Supreme, which is, of course, a kinda sorta reboot of DC's Justice League of America. But, since DC has never so much as sent a cease and desist notice to Marvel, I guess they're cool with it.

That a series written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by Gary Frank is pretty terrific reading shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's enjoyed their previous work. They offer intriguing twists on Superman, Batman, the Flash, etc., and grim conjectures as to what might happen if actual super-beings were introduced into the real world. However, this being a "Max" series, there's also gratuitous profanity, brutal violence, and nudity...with the latter being almost entirely of the female variety. Boys and their toys, even if those toys are drawn.

Maybe old age is creeping up on me, but most of this volume's "explicit content" strikes me as more a marketing thing than vital to the story. And, despite my own healthy mistrust of government, especially the government of the departing administration, I'm just bone weary of the whole "evil leaders" thing. As with so many so-called "adult" super-hero comics, High Command gives the impression nearly every person in a ranking government/military position is an complete and utter rhymes-with-flit and that those who follow their orders are mindless drones. Give me a break or, better yet, a bit of hope in the midst of such darkness.

On the strength of Straczynski and Frank's undeniable talent, Supreme Power Vol. 3: High Command picks up a perfectly respectable three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony



For four days now, TOT has presented material from the "Tony's Tips" column than ran Comics Buyer's Guide #1651, including reviews of books borrowed from my local library. Shortly after that column appeared, I received this from Dan Woodard:
Greetings from Dayton, Ohio!

It was fantastic to read your article in CBG which mentions libraries as a source for comics and graphic novels. The state of Ohio has cut something like 15% from the budget of the average library, so these are tough times for everyone. Being a writer myself, I MARRIED a librarian because she was always supportive of my writing efforts a complete opposite of what I got from my blood relatives.

I'm writing primarily to thank you, and also to share a couple more resources. Over the past few years, I've found that there is a statewide resource called "MORE", which is sort of like Clevenet, but at state level. So far, it's a voluntary sharing organization, but over time, most if not all Ohio libraries will probably take part. I've used this to get a lot of hard to find items:

If you have a user ID and pin (password) at your local library, and it participates in MORE, then you can use this.

Another resource I use to find really, REALLY hard to find items is a WorldCat search. If you know the title, you can put it in here:

Upon seeing the search results, put in your zip code, and it will actually show you the closest libraries to you that have it. It will also give you the OCLC number, which you can use to have it sent to your local library. aunt used to pick up loads and loads of old comics at yard sales. One of my favorites ended up being Ghost Rider. I never got to read a continuing story this way, but I certainly enjoyed it a lot. My understanding is you worked on this title for a while. If this is so, I want to thank you for making it one of my favorites. I tried the new incarnation for a while, but just don't enjoy it like the 1970's and 1980's version. At least we have a second Ghost Rider movie to look forward to.
Thanks for the tips, Dan.

I must confess I'm with you when it comes to the Ghost Rider. After my run, I thought Michael Fleisher and Roger Stern did some terrific stories with the character. I've never quite been able to warm up to the later incarnations.

To Dan and all my readers, thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 03/26/2009 | 03/27/2009 | 03/30/2009 >>

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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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

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