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

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for Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strange Adventures #115

Our celebration of this current "Year of the Tiger" moves into the 1960s and that means fewer jungle covers and more wacky sci-fi covers. Case in point: Strange Adventures #115 [DC; April 1960]. The cover was pencilled by Gil Kane, inked by Joe Giella, and illustrates "The Space-Tiger Hunt," a nine-page story by John Broome and artist Murphy Anderson.

Editor Julius Schwartz also presented two Gardner Fox tales in this issue: "Quest of the Curious Robots" with art by Sid Greene, and "The Gem Invasion of Earth," a Space Museum story drawn by the great Carmine Infantino. I've never read this issue, but I'm sure the kids who bought it when it came out considered the purchase a dime well spent.

The motto of the "Year of the Tiger" is: I WIN! Though times are tough, I embrace it as my own. On a related note, I'm happy to put a successful vote on the health care bill into the "huge win" column. While it's not as good a bill as I wanted, it surely beat doing nothing on this pressing issue. Kudos to the congressmen who voted for it and boos to those who voted against it, especially the synchronized obstructionists of the GOP. Isn't it sad that not a Republican in the House could find the courage to defy the will of his or her party, consider something other than the next elections, and actually do something for their constituents?

Tiger-themed cover: check.

Motto: check.

Political comment: check.

Let's see what else I have for you today.

Milestone Forever #1

Dwayne McDuffie's Milestone Forever #1-2 [DC/Milestone; $5.99] brings a mostly satisfying but still terribly sad conclusion to the original Dakota Universe. More or less, these are the final adventures of Icon, Blood Syndicate, Hardware, Static, and Dharma's Shadow Cabinet. They are brilliantly written - any editor and/or publisher who has the opportunity to hire McDuffie and fails to do so or hires him and fails to leave him alone to tell stories sans creative interference is your textbook definition of a "dumb ass" - and just as brilliantly drawn by John Paul Leon, Mark D. Bright, Denys Cowan, and Crisscross.

Though the Icon/Rocket story felt somewhat unfinished to me, the finales for Blood Syndicate, Hardware, and Static all made my heart sing in a way few super-hero comic books have been able to do in decades. That McDuffie and these artists accomplished as much as they did in just 96 pages over just two issues is no small feat. Heck, it took Dan DiDio three years of double-sized weekly comics to royally screw up the DC Universe.

Perhaps my major dissatisfaction with Milestone Forever is that the Dakota Universe was ended to transplant its characters into the DC Universe. I get a bad feeling when I think of Icon and the others appearing in DCU titles. Even though I enjoyed The Brave and the Bold issues which featured Static, Hardware, and Xombi, I don't think DC has any vested interest in the characters. I think DC has held on to the rights to the characters more to keep anyone else from using them in comics, cartoons, movies, or TV than out of any real respect for the characters and desire to bring them to a larger audience. But, as we know, I have considerable trust issues when it comes to DC.

Those trust issues aside, Milestone Forever #1-2 earn the full five out of five Tonys. If you read these characters when they weren't part of the DCU, then you'll enjoy these final visits with them. If you've never read them before, well, after reading these two issues, I suspect you'll be searching the back issue bins for all the great Milestone comics you missed.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Black Lightning 1

Some more online love for my Black Lightning writing has been posted recently and, as always, I'm thrilled to share it with my TOT readers.

From the "Comics Should Be Good" neighborhood of Comic Book Resources - and a very nice neighborhood it is - Brian Cronin has been writing "A Year of Cool Comics" in which he showcases a worthy comics series every day of the year. His "Day 78" column was about the Black Lightning title I did with artist Eddy Newell in the mid-1990s. I'm grateful for Cronin's continued support of what I still believe to be the best work I ever did in comics and invite you to read his kind words at:

Then there's Adam Barnett's "Comics Makes No Sense" blog. How can I not love a blog entry titled "Only Tony Isabella Should Write Black Lightning Stories Thursday," which posted last Thursday. You can read it at:

Thanks, Adam!

I'm still hoping to launch a "Tony Isabella's Black Lightning" blog or website this summer. My intent is to protect my interest in my creation, present an accurate history of the character, post news about the character, and give Black Lightning fans a place to communicate with me and their fellow fans. If there's a web-savvy Black Lightning fan who would like to assist me with the project, please e-mail me at:

That's all for now. Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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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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Medina, OH 44256

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