Tag Archives: new avengers

The Haul – April 6th & 13th, 2016

The Weekly Haul Header

Yup, I let the books pile up for two weeks AGAIN and what did that get me?   All these reviews!

Oni Press
Exodus: The Life After #5 –

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov; Art by Gabo
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov; Art by Gabo

Exodus remains one of the strangest yet one of the most interesting books that I read.  For those not following along, this comic follows the adventures of Gabe (who is Jesus, yes that actual Jesus), who has been living in purgatory, as he meets people (including Ernest Hemingway) and tries to understand his place in the great battle between Heaven and Hell.  Happy light fare, right? Most recently, Hemingway was made into the new God, replacing the cryptic and slacker “potato” God, and Gabe again had his memory restored.   And in this issue?  All things go nuts.  Heaven’s agents try to kill our heroes while Hell goes on the offensive and, ultimately, Potatogod deus ex machina-s the whole thing, setting Gabe up for his next revolution.  The art is solid and the story is a perfect mix of weird and fun.

Image
GrizzlyShark #1 –

Written by Ryan Ottley; Art by Ryan Ottley
Written by Ryan Ottley; Art by Ryan Ottley

From the mind and pencil/pen/digital drawing implement of your choosing of Ryan Ottley, the long-time artist on Invincible, we’ve got a new series about a…grizzly shark?  Yup, that’s right, a vicious land shark who attacks and brutally kills anyone with the smallest amount of exposed blood.  Ottley first approached this character back in 2010 and (I believe) this first issue is a color reprint of that material.  His art style here is not the tight lines that you may expect from his work on Invincible; it’s much sketchier and free-flowing.  As for the story?  It’s gruesome and gory and over the top/campy, which is fine if you like that stuff.  For me, though, it read very much like a lesser version of the stuff that Ryan Browne does in God Hates Astronauts.

Jupiter’s Circle #5 (of 6) –

Written by Mark Millar; Art by Chris Sprouse
Written by Mark Millar; Art by Chris Sprouse, Walden Wong, & Ty Templeton

As the team is now reunited with still two issues to go, of course Millar is going to use these remaining moments to destroy everything once more.  Skyfox, who has been the vocal dissenter of his former team, is now back with his old friends and finally makes the big step of talking to Brainwave, with whom he had accused of using his powers to brainwash his old girlfriend away from him and into Brainwave’s arms.  It’s a humbling moment for Skyfox, who Millar has obviously set up as the reader/outsider-surrogate, and is pointed by Brainwave admitting to the act, causing Skyfox to go nuts and the team, in their confusion, turning on the raging hero.  It’s all set up for the final issue and it’s been a great ride.

The art switch mid-issue is very dramatic and the second half of the book is just not as appealing and the front half.  I’m hoping Sprouse will be back in full-force for next month’s conclusion.

DC
Detective Comics #51 –

Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Fernando Pasari
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Fernando Pasari

And here I thought we were done with the whole Gordon thing?  Despite the turning back the reins to Bruce and Gordon getting rid of the mohawk youthful appearance, this issue of Detective Comics missed the memo and starts a new (at least 2 issue) arc focusing on a who-knows-how-old-he’s-supposed-to-be Gordon going back to the Marines to do…something.  No Batman.  Just sand.


Earth 2: Society #11 –

Written by Dan Abnett; Art by Federico Dallocchio
Written by Dan Abnett; Art by Federico Dallocchio

Abnett is juggling a ton of characters in this book — a literal whole Earth-worth of characters — and though the heroes do have some nice moments, overall the book just feels stretched thin.  I think back when their counterparts were all in the JSA, back when DC’s universe was condensed all on one Earth, and the mix of young and old heroes led to dynamic moments.   Here, though, it’s just more of the same conversations about peace or war, Batman doing everything perfectly all the time, and Wildcat taking punches.

Green Arrow #51 –

Written by Benjamin Percy; Art by Szymon Kudranski
Written by Benjamin Percy; Art by Szymon Kudranski

I get Green Arrow via a DC mail-order subscription.  This issue, like many, came nearly destroyed, a tear down the spine with the covers almost completely detached, and folded and battered corners.

The condition of the book itself is in better shape than the story being told in the issue.  It’s terrible.  Sorry, everyone, but it’s just a mess.

Green Lantern #51 –

Written by Robert Venditti; Art by Rafa Sandoval
Written by Robert Venditti; Art by Rafa Sandoval

No question, Sandoval’s art on this issue, his first of hopefully many, is fantastic.  But the story?  It’s no wonder that DC needs to do another universal reboot/relaunch/resomething.  Is this filler?  Is this an attempt an interesting story?  I’m not sure.  But, I will say that I’m looking forward to Rebirth in order to get the current state of books like this and Green Arrow back on track.

Superman #51 –

Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Mikel Janin
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Mikel Janin

This was an interesting turn.  After the events of Superman and Action Comics #50, where our hero’s powers were returned after a long, crazy stretch of insanity and everything seems to be moving in a more positive direction, this issue tells us that Clark is dying.

Huh?

Yup, he’s dying and he asks Lana to bury him next to his parents and he flies off with Lois to tell her all about his past.  There’s something about whoever trying to break into the Fortress of Solitude’s computer network (what, like Supes is on AOL or something out there?) and a young escaped criminal becoming imbued with powers and calling himself Superman.  Is this Tomasi’s version of Death and Return of Superman?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that I was hoping for some classic Superman and we went right back into another “fighting against death” story (after the last 3 fighting against death stories).  Janin’s art, on the positive, is beautiful, and was worth the price of admission, but I was hoping for something more uplifting in the story.

Marvel
A-Force #4 –

Written by Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson; Art by Jorge Molina
Written by Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson; Art by Jorge Molina

After the apparent death of Dazzler last issue (but don’t worry, roller disco fans because she’s still got those dumb resurrection powers from her New Excalibur days), the rest of the all-female superSWAT team go up against the all-too-powerful/all-too-undercharacterized Antimatter.   I like Wilson and Thompson’s writing — the characters have EXCELLENT internal consistency with their voices and they also show a lot of respect from past continuity here (again, with Dazzler’s powers and her history with Mystique, which is finally addressed after she disappeared from the pages of Uncanny X-Men a while ago).  My biggest issue with this comic was that I wasn’t sure what the role of this team was.  A-Force in the pages of Secret Wars was a good gimmick — an all-female superhero world — but in the main Marvel universe this group didn’t seem to have a particular place.  Thankfully, though, this issue closes with a new “business plan” for the crew, something that may be very fun to watch.

All-New X-Men #8 –

Written by Dennis Hopeless; Art by Paco Diaz
Written by Dennis Hopeless; Art by Paco Diaz

Hopeless and Diaz give us a one-and-done focused on Beast, who is conceding that science has failed at getting him and his friends back home to their original time.  As a last-ditch effort, he goes to Dr. Strange (has Marvel made it clear enough that Strange will be in the movies soon?) for help using magic to do what science cannot.  It’s a boring issue, focusing on characters that don’t interest me, and the fighting is catalyzed by that dumb Bamf Pickles.  (WHY THAT NAME???)

All-New All-Different Avengers #8 –

Written by Mark Waid; Art by Adam Kubert
Written by Mark Waid; Art by Adam Kubert

And this issue made me understand why no one is talking about this crossover!  It’s because it doesn’t matter at all!  I look forward to the day that I’m not, I don’t know, hoodwinked into thinking that Marvel understands how to do crossovers that aren’t blatant grabs at selling books over telling stories that are interesting.  In this issue, of all the assembled heroes, it is none other than Deadpool who saves the day, gets the Cosmic Cube girl Kubik to return their powers, and get us into the “Omega” issue concluding this crossover.  There was no development here whatsoever and, though Waid’s dialogue is great, the plot is a bust.  Kubert’s art has been the high point of this series so far for me and it’s excellent here too.

Amazing Spider-Man #10 –

Written by Dan Slott; Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Written by Dan Slott; Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

This issue made me realize something important about Dan Slott.  He is the modern-day equivalent, at least for me, of 70s-80s era Chris Claremont on X-Men.  While this issue is focused on Spidey’s continued assault against Scorpio and his Zodiac (and we get some interesting reveals about his identity and the nature of his henchmen), Slott has been and continues to lay the groundwork for other plots — Doc Ock inside the Living Brain, old villains being recruited by a mysterious person.  This is the type of comic writing that I love and miss.

Black Panther #1 –

Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Art by Brian Stelfreeze
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Art by Brian Stelfreeze

This new series has been getting a lot of mainstream media attention, much thanks to Coates’ writing — the MacArthur Genius, National Book Award winner, and social-political commentator moves from prose to the comic pages here, hoping to make Black Panther, in his words, into “some kid’s Spider-Man”.  He’s signed onto this title for around a year of issues (if I remember correctly) and the slow pacing of this first issue definitely sets up the general direction of his run.  I’ve never been particularly interested in Black Panther so I don’t presume to know a ton about the character, but Coates does a really excellent job at forming a fresh look (at least for a fresh reader) at T’Challa and Wakanda.

T’Challa is a good person, but a troubled person.  He’s been on the losing end of some big battles up until now, which then has made him act in anger and vengeance.  His country balances on the edge of deep-rooted tradition and the newest and most advanced technology.  T’Challa makes efforts here to sort out and balance being a son, a brother, a king, and a soldier, all while his subjects rebel and he mourns his losses.  It’s really a lot all at once, but I guess when you’re swimming in that Genius Grant money, you’ve got the brains to juggle all of it.

Darth Vader #19 –

Written by Kieron Gillen; Art by Salvador Larroca
Written by Kieron Gillen; Art by Salvador Larroca

Such a mixed issue here.  On the plus, Vader’s portrayal is really interesting to see — powerful but temperamental, a figurehead but ultimately under the foot of the Emperor — and I suppose that the C-3P0 and R2D2 stand-ins are funny enough.  But, the antagonists here are ultimately forgettable and Larroca’s art, which I remember in the late ’90s and ’00s being excellent, looks rushed and unfinished.  Next issue gets us back into Emperor-related stuff, a well-deserved change for this title.

Deadpool #9 –

Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Matteo Lolli
Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Matteo Lolli

I still have mixed feelings about the taming of Sabretooth that happened as a result of the terrible Axis story from 2014 (I was much more interested in reading more about Havok’s inversion, a storyline that never happened), but Creed’s newly-developed conscience about his past misdeeds have put him right in Deadpool’s target.  To catch those who are not reading up: a long time ago, Sabretooth helped brainwash Deadpool into killing his own parents.  Deadpool thinks that Sabretooth was the one who killed them and hasn’t yet found out the terrible truth.

This issue starts off with a particularly bloody fight between the two kinda-heroes, which is exciting to see, but then moves away from any resolution in order to drag the story out for a few more issues.  I like the concept, but completely the execution.

Empress #1 (of 7) –

Written by Mark Millar; Art by Stuart Immonen
Written by Mark Millar; Art by Stuart Immonen

Wow.  Really.   It was Immonen’s name on this book that sold me — he can draw anything and I’m on board, this issue is beautiful — but Millar’s story here is excellent in this first issue.   The story here is about a common woman, elevated to queen by marrying the king of a brutal, gladiator-type planet, who escapes his iron-rule, along with her three kids, with the help of her bodyguard.  In fairness, there’s not much in terms of characterization in this VERY fast-paced premiere, but the story itself is a good-enough launching point.

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 –

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Valerio Schiti
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Valerio Schiti

Damn you, Art Adams, for making such amazing covers that have nothing to do with the story whatsoever.  Though Thing doesn’t ride a space horse and cut alien gladiators down with a sword, he does team up with Rocket to rescue some slaves from the Badoon and, in the process, get into a relationship with an alien.  It’s a fun issue for sure and, though he’s not Adams, Schiti’s art on the interiors is very good.  Next issue looks to be focused on Groot and Venom — not as interesting for me as this pairing was.

Mockingbird #2 –

Written by Chelsea Cain; Art by Kate Niemczyk
Written by Chelsea Cain; Art by Kate Niemczyk

Though we’ve moved away from the medical humor mostly and jumped into fairly-typical superheroics, the lightness of this book remains apparent.  For fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lance Hunter’s voice will be familiar (though he’s not drawn to match actor Nick Blood, he’s certainly been de-aged to his 20s/30s) and Bobbi’s portrayal is tough, take-charge hero stays true.

Moon Knight #1 –

Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Greg Smallwood
Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Greg Smallwood

The eighth number one issue of Moon Knight arrived this past week and, for a character that I happen to like, he’s proven to be successful in short bursts only.  Lemire is a mixed bag for me — either I really love what he writes or it comes off as scattered and unfocused.

This issue is excellent.  Mental illness is always the obvious focus of Moon Knight, at least in the last few series, but Lemire takes it a bit further.  Instead of multiple personalities, the backbone of Bendis’ run for example, the question here is if Marc Spector is Moon Knight at all or if he’s a person with mental illness imagining himself in fantastical scenarios.  There’s nothing answered here in this first issue, only questions being raised, but it’s a well-constructed opener.  The art by Greg Smallwood, who worked with Brian Wood on part of Moon Knight’s last run, is also great.

New Avengers #9 –

Written by Al Ewing; Art by Marcus To
Written by Al Ewing; Art by Marcus To

Well, this is a whole mess of nothing important.  While I like the idea of a bunch of lower-tier characters making a name for themselves, this book is doing nothing for the cast.  Fighting a Godzilla with an American Flag tattoo?  Really?  On the bright side, Marcus To’s art is a ton better than Sandoval’s over-deformed characters and I’d love him on a book that has more universe-relevance than this one.

Old Man Logan #4 –

Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Andrea Sorrentino

Bummer.  Here I thought that we were going to get a universe-romp with Logan slashing his way through villains.  Instead, we get a nice few pages of Captain America trying to knock some sense into Logan which immediately transitions into him being mopey and then meeting up with Extraordinary X-Men #1.  Uneven and disappointing.

Spider-Gwen #7 –

Written by Jason Latour; Art by Bengal
Written by Jason Latour; Art by Bengal

In the second installment of the Spider-Women crossover, despite the title of the issue, the focus here is mostly on Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, as she gets an understanding of what Spider-Gwen’s world is all about.  This provides us with cameos from this Earth’s versions of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards, Howard the Duck, and She-Hulk.  Robbie Rodriguez has retired from comics, sadly, and has been replaced with the mononymed Bengal (mysterious…), who does a nice job recreating the more frantic look of the title.

Spider-Man #3 –

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Sara Pichelli
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Sara Pichelli

And, from miles away, I can hear Remy scream with glee as Goldballs gets inserted into the ongoing cast of this book.  I could write about how the story is great and the art continues to be amazing, but I’ve got to respond to the 500 texts from Remy about how this is the best moment ever.

Spider-Women Alpha #1 –

Written by Robbi Thompson; Art by Vanesa Del Rey
Written by Robbi Thompson; Art by Vanesa Del Rey

In an effort to get all three of the popular Spider-related female characters together, Marvel has orchestrated a crossover that is actually smoothly done.  All three characters, already friends, get together for lunch on Spider-Gwen’s earth and, due to the machinations of other-Earth’s S.I.L.K., get trapped there.  There’s some implications about Silk getting to see her alt-family, which I’m sure will be explored in her title’s issues, but the more interesting thing for me is seeing Jessica react to being trapped away from her newborn son.  The art is not my cup of alternate-reality tea — it’s muddy and uneven — but the characters themselves are fun to read.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 –

Written by Charles Soule; Art by Phil Noto
Written by Charles Soule; Art by Phil Noto; BB-8 backup by Chris Eliopoulos & Jordie Bellaire

I really like how Marvel is using the comics to expand out the between-the-movies moments.  This title reveals some of the backstory leading up to Poe’s meeting with Lor San Tekka, seen in the opening moments of The Force Awakens.  Of course, things aren’t easy and Tekka isn’t in the first place that Poe and his Black Squadron look, but it’s nice to flesh out the new expanded universe here.

The backup is a Chris Eliopoulos joint, a fun cartoon story about BB-8 playing robo-matchmaker between a pilot and technician.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 –

Written by James Robinson; Art by Tony Harris
Written by James Robinson; Art by Tony Harris

And talking about expanding the Star Wars mythology into the comics, we FINALLY get the answer to the question that everyone was asking…how did 3PO get that red arm???

Anyone?

No one?

Yeah, exactly, it doesn’t really matter so much how he got the arm and that’s the problem.  The story itself is actually quite nice — it humanizes the droids in a way that may border on too on-the-nose but it weaves moments of friendship and sacrifice — but it’s within the framework of a plot note that is near-irrelevant.

Uncanny Avengers #8 –

Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Ryan Stegman
Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Ryan Stegman

As the team slowly wakes up from their Cosmic Cube-induced brainwashing, Rogue gets front-and-center billing in this issue, as it is her training from Professor X that allows her to personally break free.  As for how she then gets everyone else to “wake up”?  Well…comics!  Because it just happens.

Uncanny X-Men #6 –

Written by Cullen Bunn; Art by Ken Lashley & Paco Medina
Written by Cullen Bunn; Art by Ken Lashley & Paco Medina

I love Angel.  Unapologetically.  I know that he’s just a guy with wings who dodged stuff and, because it’s a pretty weak power, they decided to turn him into a blue killing machine in the ’80s.  I liked his relationship with Psylocke and I loved when he got his wings back in the late-’90s.  I even liked the switching back-and-forth from metal to feathered wings and, yes, I didn’t mind the mind-wiped Angel from the days of the Jean Grey School.  I’ve been waiting for Bunn to focus on him and it certainly makes sense that the Apocalypse Wars would be the time to do it.  More questions are raised than answers, but if it’s in the name of sorting out what’s up with Warren, I’ll play along.

The B-plot focuses on Sabretooth and Monet going into the sewers and being confronted by Callisto (no tentacles!), who is out to kill Creed for his past acts, in particular killing the Morlocks during the Mutant Massacre (which just happens to be the same story that resulted in the initial amputation of Angel’s wings).  It reminded me of one of my FAVORITE X-Men issues (and one of my first), Uncanny X-Men Annual #18 (from 1994), when Sabretooth and Shadowcat go into the tunnels and are attacked by the Morlock Caliban.

Bunn is doing an amazing job with this title — could it be the best X-title out there right now?

Web Warriors #6 –

Written by Mike Costa; Art by David Baldeon
Written by Mike Costa; Art by David Baldeon

This is more of a cool-down recovery issue, coming off the heels of the Electro stuff and the apparent deaths of Spider-Girl (Mayday Parker) and Spider-UK (Billy Braddock).  Note: don’t worry, they’re totally fine.  This issue brings the team to Pavitr Prabhakar’s (Spider-Man India) world to fight his version of Venom (quick fight) and is narrated by Spider-Man Noir.

Wow, everything that I wrote in that last paragraph is insane.

Comics!

X-Men ’92 #2 –

Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers; Art by Alti Firmansyah
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers; Art by Alti Firmansyah

Oh, Dracula.  I understand your ties to the X-Men.  I get it.  It just doesn’t mean that I have to like it.  In this issue, there’s a ton of good ’90s (and ’00s) stuff that I love — Generation X and X-Statix characters, Gamesmaster, Fitzroy, Shinobi Shaw, and Fabian Cortez being shadow cabal-y, Rogue AGAIN fighting a bear — but there’s also Dracula.  And, sadly, Jubilee is now a vampire.  Yup, one of the more underwhelming moments in the past decade of X-comics has now made its way into one of the most lighthearted, continuity-light books around.  Boo.

 

comicbooks border

 

And that’s it from the past two weeks!  A lot of books, not so many coherent thoughts.  What was in your Haul these past weeks?  Leave a comment below!

 

The Haul – January 28th, 2015

The Weekly Haul Header
Winter storm Juno hit the New York area this week — or, rather, was SUPPOSED to hit this week, as it turned out to not be so terrible in my neck of the woods.  We got around a foot and half of snow and my car ended up with a mysteriously busted rear window.  Day off of work in exchange for dealing with glass replacement = unfair trade-off.


In other local news, my comic shop, Collectors Kingdom, has relocated to a temporary spot near their old, now-burnt out, home.  Their IndieGoGo campaign is still ongoing and if you can spare something — anything — they would love and could use the help.  It’s a fantastic shop run by a great guy and it’s a place that is known throughout most of the area as the place for comics, pop culture stuff, and general “geekery”.

Screenshot 2015-01-14 22.03.48
AND, daily brown bag art for The Boy is STILL ongoing…

2015-01-19 18.40.452015-01-22 22.21.2410952094_525136892235_6114459027774241414_n
God, I’ve never looked forward to the end of a school year more…

 

To The Haul!

The Weekly Haul – August 27th, 2014

I have reached a disturbing milestone in my life as a comic reader.  I have done something — something that I once deemed TOO TERRIBLE TO EVER DO…

I sent comics to the CGC for grading.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the CGC, or Certified Guarantee Company (not Comic Grading Company, which I’ve always stupidly thought), is one of the largest (THE largest?) comic grading companies out there.  What they essentially do is take your comic, use a standardized method of describing the condition of your book, give a score of 0.5 (poor) to 10.0 (gem mint), and then (here’s the scary part for me) encapsulate the book in a clear container (to quote their website) “through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.

images
Caution: A combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration may result in vinegar strokes.

Anyway, my big problem with the whole CGC grading/slabbing is that the comic becomes no longer readable.  To me, collecting comics has always (for the most part) been intricately tied to reading.   I like having my runs of titles, going back into the long boxes, and rereading old stuff, discovering interesting things that I may have missed.  I get that we live in the surging digital age of comics, where finding a book is as simple as going onto Comixology and downloading it to the iPad, but — call me an old man — there’s something about holding the book.

So why this time?  I came across two comics that I have relatively no interest in reading but — I’m no dummy — I understand their importance in comics history —

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_180Incredible-Hulk-181

 

 
Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 are the cameo and first full appearance (respectively) of the future X-Man, Wolverine.  Granted I am a HUGE X-Men fan and, therefore, having these issues are fun for me, but I am NOT a Wolverine fan.   These issues, while I love the original whiskered-Wolvie, are not special to me.  I don’t know if I’d ever sell them — and I’m convinced that people who slab their books are primarily interested in resale value — but I could part with these (over most of my collection) and be fine with it.

I will give the CGC this — I’m really excited to find out what grade they get.

Anyway…

To The Haul

The Haul – March 20th, 2013

Things at the house this past week have been pretty chaotic.  This year marked the first big Seder (the Passover meal) at our house and my overachieving wife wanted to prepare everything herself.  The Boy wanted to make the Seder plate though:

No actual living things were harmed in the creation of this Seder plate
No actual living things were harmed in the creation of this Seder plate

Yup, the contents of the plate are all courtesy of Toys R Us by way of his play kitchen foods.  Anyway, we had 12 adults and 4 children at the Seder and the night went without a single argument or food fight, a great achievement if you ask me.  And the food was excellent!

Besides Passover, this past Monday was my wife and her mother’s birthday, which means planning some kind of night out.  This has become more difficult to do as our schedules have gotten busier.  Oh, and since the addition of those two other humans living in our house.  Thankfully, Dawn is in agreement with me that adults shouldn’t need birthday presents (especially those who have the means to get their own things) so I don’t have to worry about the gift hunt like I used to, but getting the kids to behave in a restaurant on the first night of Passover?  I’d almost rather panic while searching Zales.com…

Basically?  Tiring week.

photo 3

And for the non-Jews out there, Happy Almost Easter!

photo 1(1)

To The Haul!

The Haul – February 6th, 2013

Two great things happened today.  First of all, today was the official start of my vacation.  Fellowship has been great, but being on service for the whole year can be a bit exhausting.  Putting that away response message on my work e-mail was one of the more satisfying things in a while.  No big plans for the vacation — work around the house, get beat up on by the kids, read some comics — but it will be nice to be woken up by a screaming infant or a tapping 3 year old instead of my alarm.   Whoa.  No it won’t.

The second great thing that happened today?

NemoThat’s right, the historic Winter Storm Nemo, which dumped about one and half feet of snow in my area.  The office shut down early yesterday so everyone could get home safely — a far cry from my residency days when the threat of bad weather would commit you to what amounted to a prison sentence, having to stay at the hospital until further notice.  The drive home was long, but not terrible, and for a while last night it seemed as if Nemo (the fish, the sea captain, or the early 1900s little boy in Slumberland) would be a lot of hype.  Well, color me completely wrong, because by this morning, things were COVERED.

Photo taken while panicking about how long it would take to shovel
Photo taken while panicking about how long it would take to shovel.  Arms already hurting…

Even though living on Long Island is not the greatest when it snows this much, there’s just something about a snow day (and, yes, even though I’m 30 years old, I still call it a snow day) that I really love.  I could do without all the shoveling (and today really cemented my need for a snowblower), but going outside and goofing around in the snow is just a blast.  The Boy, though, has mixed feelings about this.  Yesterday, he was very excited to, and I quote, “build a snowfamily and make snow angels”.  Today?  A bit of a different tale.

The Many Moods of a Snow Day
The Many Moods of a Snow Day

See?  We started off pretty strong, but the happiness was pretty short lived.  Jacob has inherited a lot of my OCD and, once his hands got wet, we spiraled downhill pretty fast.

"Daddy, why is there only one set of footprints?"  "Well, son, because you forced me to carry you because you were too afraid of, and I quote, getting snow in between your toes."
“Daddy, why is there only one set of footprints?” “Well, son, because you forced me to carry you because you were too afraid of ‘getting snow in between your toes’.  Diva.”

The daredevil, the steamroller, the Juggernaut — AKA The Girl — has no problems with snow.  You know, if it was lava instead of snow, she probably would have jumped right in as well.  Doesn’t matter.  No fear, that kid.

 

I've realized that it's a near-impossible feat to get a picture with the both of them looking at the camera at the same time.
I’ve realized that it’s a near-impossible feat to get a picture with the both of them looking at the camera at the same time.

And, for good measure, here’s a shot of the oldest child enjoying the SNOW DAY!

Unkempt mane blowing in the breeze...
Unkempt mane blowing in the breeze…

As for me, my arms and chest are on fire from shoveling — time for the ritual hot chocolate reward!

To The Haul!

The Haul – January 16th and 23rd, 2013

IMG_1788
Forced into Marveldom by his father

Let’s start off this post with an adorable picture of The Boy.  Yes!  Relish in his cuteness!  Soak in that Spider-Man pajama suit!  Be distracted that I am behind two weeks!!!

The Jacob Trail: You may not die of dysentery, but you will have to memorize pony names
The Jacob Trail: You may not die of dysentery, but you will have to memorize pony names.

So, the first picture is obvious evidence that I’ve so far successfully brainwashed Jacob into becoming my comic protegee.  The Boy has really taken to his new role and is slowly amassing his own (and stealing my) superhero toys.  It’s even started to infuse into his reading habits.  Every night before bedtime, we read two stories — the routine since he was an infant.  Now that he’s picking out the stories himself, it’s been a pretty consistent 50% superheroics rate.  We’ve been into this one, an anthology book with about 10 or so different stories:

5 Minute Marvel StoriesWhich includes such great visuals for young minds, such as this one:

IMG_1793Looks like a great story, huh?  Classic Avengers (including, as Jacob calls him, the Huk) beating up on the obnoxious Namor, which in about 2 pages leads to the dramatic reveal of the frozen Captain America.  My kid?  Focusing on this panel:

IMG_1795To which my genius kid asks, “Daddy, where is that guy’s pants?”  I mean, if a 3 year old is questioning the validity of Namor’s fashion decisions, who am I to argue?

Oh, and so as not to show my obvious Marvel bias, he’s also learning about Batman and his rogue gallery, such as The Cat Lady (Catwoman), Two-Man (Two Face), and Crocodile (Killer Croc).  He’s getting there — give him another week.

The Joker and the Slightly Misnamed Gang "At A Picnic"
The Joker and the Slightly Misnamed Gang “At A Picnic”

Since it seems I’m blabbing a bit here, so I might as well go off on an even crazier tangent.  I need to vent on something that drives me absolutely crazy.  There’s no good place for me to do this but here, so if you don’t want to read the ramblings of a rabid lunatic, you can just skip ahead to the jump.

Plastic.  Clothing.  Tags.

Yes, those pieces of thin plastic that hold tags onto your clothing.  I don’t know if they have a better name — I really don’t care if they do.  All I know is that they are ALL OVER MY FREAKING HOUSE.  The floors, the couch, the table, floating weightless through the air — they are EVERYWHERE!!!  I haven’t bought new clothes in about a year, so I am EXTREMELY confident that they are not from me.  Dawn, the primary buyer of new clothes, and the kids, the primary wearer of said clothes, are my obvious archenemies.  Without fail, I’ll come across at least one piece a day.  I don’t think that there are even that many new clothes around to support this many tags!  There must be some, I don’t know, plastic clothing tag gremlin or something roaming the house in the dead of night, giggling and grinning while he (or she, hate to be gremlin-ist) plants them like crappy Afikomen at Passover (though both matzah and plastic have a similar flavor).

The evidence:

The Nightstand
The Nightstand
The Kitchen Mat
The Kitchen Mat
The Changing Table
The Changing Table

THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.  I AM LOSING MY MIND.

To The Haul!

The Haul – January 2nd, 2013

Happy 2013 everyone!!!  If comics have taught me anything, this year is one to be feared.  I know, you’re all just sitting there, happy that you survived the Mayan Apocalypse, but something is coming, something worse than you could have ever imagined…

THE DAYS OF FUTURE PAST!!!

No, not just the upcoming movie (though is it any conincidence?), but the actual event (based on true predictions, I’m sure).  Here’s the proof:

uncannyxmen141To call your attention to the top left panel: uncannyxmen141

Oh my god it’s really here they’re going to find and kill all the mutants!!!

Portrait of an artist at work
Portrait of an artist at work

We’ve been a bit busy at the homefront, trying to finish the can’t-believe-its-still-ongoing cleaning of the house in the post-baby room rearranging.  Jacob has found a new hobby outside of his equestrian pursuits — drawing!  The kid really loves to color and draw and leave marks on the carpet, God bless the little punk…

Freaking goofball...
Freaking goofball…

Oh, for those of you who couldn’t tell (you fools!), from left to right, that’s Jakey, Emma, Daddy, Mommy, and Oreo (our Shih Tzu and oldest “child”).

Baby...ATTACK!!!
Baby…ATTACK!!!

Emma doesn’t realize how old she is (6 months) and is now crawling.  I thought I would have a lot more time before I had to re-gate the house and put away all the small easily inhaled toys.  Guess she told me…

Oh, and this past week saw the birth of our second niece, Mackenzie Rose Slawitsky, born on January 7th, 2013 at 8:53 AM!  You’ve got a crazy long name, kid, but we love you anyway!!!

The Seven Pound Eleven Ounce Bundle of Dynamite...
The Seven Pound Eleven Ounce Bundle of Dynamite…

To The Haul!

The Haul – November 28th, 2012

It’s strange to not go back to the theater this weekend — last Sunday was closing of Hairspray.  While I’m happy that I don’t have to live in fear of having a heart attack on stage while dancing anymore, I consider myself so fortunate to have been a part of such a great show with such a fun cast.  It had been a LONG time since my last show (you know, medical school, residency, children and all) so it’s been a while since I got to pretend to be a teenage heartthrob.  Most of the time now I’m pretending to be a 30-year old heartthrob…wink wink…

Now that I’m home this weekend, I figured it was time to pretend to be a responsible homeowner and clean up the house.  Laundry, dishes, action figure displaying; you know, the basics.  The biggest task of all is dealing with our den, which is the main room that we spend most of our time in.  It’s the TV watching room, family room, playroom, computer room, everything room.  When Jacob was little, his toys were easily contained, but now we’re showing the effects of three birthdays and Chanukahs.  Plus, all the “baby” toys that we put away are now all back out for the little princess.

IMG_1681Emma’s stuff gets tossed on top of itself, thanks to the absolutely selfless (read: terrible parental sarcasm) boy.  His stuff, a menagerie of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Hot Wheels, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, My Little Pony, Batman, the Avengers, and random Fisher Price playsets, is EVERYWHERE.

IMG_1683

photo(5)A word to anyone who is purchasing presents for children.  If it has multiple pieces, no matter how adorable, leave it in the store until they’re old enough to pick it all up and put it away themselves.  (Not to sound ungrateful for the 100+ piece Hot Wheels set from my sister and future brother-in-law.  It’s like a painful foot massage whenever I accidentally step on a piece strewn throughout the house.  A little slice of heaven on Long Island, for sure…)

photo(4)

Meanwhile, Emma is teething like a, well, 5 month old, and the sheer amounts of saliva pouring from her mouth could fill the bathtub in a few hours.

Two quick comic-related plugs:

There’s a pretty good article over at CBR about Bendis’ run on the Avengers titles over the past 200+ issues.  I was happy to hear about Bendis making the transition over to the X-books; I think that a large family of titles (Avengers, Bat books, etc) does better with a figurehead somewhat detailing the overarching plot points.  Hopefully we get a bit of a Claremont-renaissance out of Bendis…

Oh, and the excellent and under-represented website Sequart (short for sequential art), which takes a scholarly approach to comic books, has been giving away chapters from their books for free via their Facebook page.  I’ve purchased a few of their titles before — their Legion, X-Men, and Batman books sit on my shelf and live in the magical world that is my Kindle — plus I’ve sponsored their Kickstarter projects.  Go become a fan and scoop up their stuff.

To The Haul!

The Haul – July 11th, 2012

Now that I’ve started fellowship, my work days are lasting a bit longer and getting to the comic shop on Wednesday before they close isn’t always a sure deal.  Ultimately, it’s not a problem for picking up new books; my LCS is fairly decent with ordering and things won’t typically sell out if I get there by the weekend.  This past week, I got there on Thursday.  And guess who I got to avoid while I picked out my books?

I Am More Knowledgeable Than You Nerd.

IAMKTYN is the bane of my existence at the shop.  He’s in his early 20s or so.  He doesn’t really work there, but he obviously likes to think that he’s vital to the operation.  He’ll work the register happily (for no pay) when the desk guy needs to get some lunch, smoke a cigarette, or run home to “use the bathroom”.  But, what his primary job is, outside of attempting to grow his pathetic depressing moustache, of course, is to bother the living crap out of me.

Accurate representation of lip coverage.

The typical conversation that he ambushes people with (and he really does come out of nowhere) goes somewhat like this:

“Uh, hey!  So, you read [fill in title of book here]?”

Typically, the book in question is something completely random.  Every now and again, he’ll take a look at the last thing I’ve picked up and find some loose thread to mention another book, but he doesn’t use that much thought process usually.

“Yes.”

Okay, I’ll play along.  Sure, I read that book, why not.  Of course, I’ve tried the alternate answer too, but it doesn’t get me out of this conversation any quicker.

“Oh.  Well, do you read [other title of other usually random book]?”

The “oh”, if you’ve mentally read that with a twinge of disappointment in your inner voice, you’re reading it right.  So I’ve obviously disappointed him by reading something else.  It’s funny, you’d think that the guy wants to talk about something fun or interesting in a title that we both read, a moment that we could share and discuss and debate.  Nope.  It’s a moment for him to find a discordant moment, a book that he knows about and that I’m not reading.

“Yes.”

In your f-ing face, pube-stache.

This goes on for about 3-4 round robins, ultimately ending in me inching far enough away that IAMKTYN moves on to weaker prey.  I’m not a proponent of nerd-on-nerd hatred (number two internet crime, for sure), but this guy just drives me freaking nuts.

To The Haul!

The Haul – June 20th/27th, 2012

Sooooo, obviously it’s been a bit busy the past 2 weeks and, like usual, I’ve again fallen behind in the wonderful world of comics.  I hang my head in shame, as I know that all of you some of you a miniscule number of you can’t get through a week without reading this shameful website.

Anyway, on the work front, last week was the end of the academic year for the residency program and, therefore, a very nice, structured, calm graduation for the residents, fellows, and myself and my co-chief residents.  Oh, and also, a PARTY!

Dr. Puckerlips, flanked by Dr. Whiteboy Gangsign and Dr. Canadian Bluesteel

When I first started my residency, I thought that I would like to stay on and do a chief year.  When I was approached about it during my second year, I was totally into the idea.  When I first started my chief year, it was overwhelming,To be a bit mushy, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky and fortunate to have spent the last year with some amazing people.  I’m happy that I get to stay at my “work home” for the next three years (at least) for fellowship, but I’m sad that my co-chiefs will be departing to other places to complete their training.  It will be strange to be in a office without them, for sure.

Accidental Inappropriate Phone Messages Are Our Specialty!

Then, this past Saturday, Dawn had her dance studio’s recital.  Thankfully, being 38 weeks pregnant at the time, she didn’t have to dance herself — not sure if there’s a real market out there for pregnant dancers — but Jacob and I went out to watch and support the kids.  I don’t know if he will end up in a formal dance class, and I won’t fight if he wants to, but he REALLY likes to dance, be the center of attention, and flirt with girls, so it seems like a good fit for his needs.

And then the most recent reason for the lateness?

The 6 Pound, 7 Ounce Future Comic Fan

Yep, child numero dos (AKA Emma Rachel) has arrived!  She was born on Sunday, June 24th at 8:58AM, about 12 days early (anxious to find out about the conclusion of AVX, though I told her that it will likely end in 2054).  I’m not sure if my wife will be pleased with my publicizing the intricate details of the affair (nor will you want to read it if I wrote it … nor would I really want to write it in the first place), but Dawn’s labor went WAY fast this time.

Basically, she woke me up at 7AM with the very calmly phrased, yet no less frightening, “Can you please wake up?  I think I’m going to need your help.”  My first reaction as a loving, caring husband of 3 and a half years and a boyfriend for a decade more?  “Can I shower first?”  Aren’t I just the best?

Following my obviously life-alteringly important shower, we sped to the hospital, cutting my normal 30 minute commute to a hot 15 minutes (no thank you stop signs and red lights), just in time to leave The Boy with the unit receptionist and watch my daughter be born without the joy of an epidural.  It was fast and crazed, but thankfully, everyone is doing great.

Leaving the hospital with a new friend!

So far, Jacob is very sweet with her; he gives her hugs and kisses and wants to “teach her about his toys”.

So how do I get that other “half-kid” to complete the American Dream?

Oh, and we got a fish too.  Jacob named him Schkookie.  Or Skookie.  Depends on the moment.  Not sure where he pulled that name from.  This house is getting more and more crowded by the second…

To The Haul!