Monday, June 5, 2017


Today is World Environment Day. Thanks to Dumpster President Trump, the United States is the cretin who let loose a smelly fart in the middle of the celebration.

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide protection of our environment. It seeks to raise awareness on environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. It’s become a platform for public outreach with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, the day has a host country and a theme which major corporations, non-governmental organizations, communities, governments and celebrities all around the world adopt to advocate for environmental causes.

This year, Canada, the new leader of the North American continent, is the host nation. The theme is “Connecting People to Nature” and, in support of that worthy theme, Canada will offer free passes to its national parks throughout the year.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Dumpster Prez and his Republican goons are supporting drilling in our national parks and dangerous pipelines running through sacred burial grounds and other hallowed settings. Making America third rate again. Sigh.

I’m in Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale mode for most of the summer. What this means is the bloggy thing is taking weekends off the summer and putting most of our regular features on hiatus this month. I’ll still be doing “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” and “Free Comic Book Day Friday,” but the others won’t return until July or later. 

I will be doing a lot of garage sales this year, but only four more conventions: G-Fest in July, NEO Comic-Con in August, Grand Rapids Comic-Con in October and Akron Comicon in November. The Akron event will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Black Lightning with myself, original series artist Trevor Von Eeden, original series editor Jack C. Harris, second series artist Eddy Newell and Batman and the Outsiders writer Mike W. Barr. It will be the first time all five of us will be at the same convention.

I’m already planning my 2018 convention schedule. If you’re hoping to get me as a guest for your event, you should contact me sooner rather than later. With the coming of the Black Lightning TV show that year, I expect I will be asked to attend a lot of conventions around the country. It’s not going to be a first come first served situation, but I will consider every invitation.

I started working on the garage sales this weekend - the first is scheduled for June 16 and 17 - and will have updates on them here and on my Facebook pages. In my effort to reduce what I’m calling my “comics footprint” in my home, I’m becoming fairly ruthless in what I’m deciding I can live without. As a result, there are gonna be some terrific comic books and books on sale at incredibly sweet prices. The money from the garage sales will be used to finance my extravagant lifestyle of paying for my dental implants and various home improvements. Your patronage is appreciated.


Let’s see if I can squeeze some news, views and reviews into this bloggy thing. My local Medina library continues to be a source for great books and comic books...and even no-so-great comic books that I masochistically believe I should read.

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man [Marvel; $15.99] collects all four issues of that spin-off series with two earlier issues of Amazing Spider-Man. My regular readers know I’m not a fan of Civil War II. I thought it was a wrongheaded notion that twisted characters into either fascist or clueless parodies of themselves.

In this spin-off series, now global science mogul Peter Parker lets the Inhuman Ulysses’ questionable precognitive abilities push him  into making a reformed super-villain feel untrusted and unwelcome at Parker Industries. Without Ulysses’ visions, the villain might have made some mistakes that could have been handled in a way that did not destroy his chance at redemption. With them, the situation went completely and utterly south.

Parker used to have a much better grasp of the great responsibility thing. Joining the top tenth of the top 1% seems to have dulled his spider-sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Before we know it, we’ll probably see him acting out on Twitter.

The only Civil War II spin-offs worth a damn are those in which the heroes realize how stupid and wrong they’ve been (Ms. Marvel) or in which they figure out how to game the stupidity of Ulysses zealots to get what they need (Power Man and Iron Fist).

Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man gets no recommendation here.

ISBN 978-1-302-90250-6


Also via my local library and much more entertaining, Pix Vol. 1: One Weirdest Weekend by Gregg Schigiel [Image; $12.99] features the adventures of teenage superhero who thinks she’s a fairy princess. She might be right about that.

Schigiel has a nice clean drawing and storytelling style. The art is as lively as the writing. The writing involves stuff like going on a talk show, being attacked by TV equipment, getting shrunk to the size of a mouse, going on a date with a pop star who has made a deal with a demon, meeting a talking frog who says he is really a prince, getting turned into a rabbit, battling an monkey who has kidnapped a child who can talk to animals, and, you know, strange but wonderful stuff like that.

Pix is listed as juvenile fiction, but, like the best comics aimed at that demographic, it’s so well done that older readers will also enjoy it. There are two books in the series to date. I do recommend this first one and I’m sure I’ll be recommending the second one as soon as I get and read it. Pix is terrific!

PIX: One Weirdest Weekend

ISBN 978-1-5343-0140-5

Pix: Too Super for School

ISBN 978-1-5343-0156-6

Smart thing I posted on my Facebook page in reaction to the dissing of the James Olsen character on the CW’s Supergirl:

If you want Bowtie Jimmy who drinks strange chemicals and potions and gets cuckolded by Lucy Lane every other issue, you can re-read the 1960s comics. They're great fun. But it's 2017 and this Jimmy Olsen, with his desire to step away from a sidekick role and to find outlets for his courage and skills, is just right for our times.                                                                               

Let’s finish for today with some quick comments on several comics titles from DC and Marvel...

Aquaman by Dan Abnett [DC] continues to be a well-done series, but certain aspects of it are wearing thin for me. I love the Aquaman-Mera relationship. I love Aquaman thinking of Amnesty Bay as home. I like Atlantis as a global player. What’s not working as well for me is the fate of the world hinging on Aquaman in seemingly *every*  story arc of late.

When that starts getting to me, my mind drifts back to some of the Bob Haney-written issues from the 1960s. Remember Aquaman and Mera in Nick Cardy-drawn street clothes playing secret agents to defeat the evil organization O.G.R.E.? Couldn’t we get some light-hearted stuff like that for variety’s sake?

I’m still not enamored of too many Green Lanterns in too many Green Lantern titles, but the two Green Lanterns who interest me at all are partners Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Writer Sam Humphries has done a good job developing their uneasy partnership; I applaud the character growth of their relationship.

The title itself, like so many super-hero titles, goes from story arc to story arc, but it did have briefer tales in Green Lanterns #15-17. Issue #15 was a solid “day in the life” episode, something I think all super-hero titles should do from time to time. Issues #16-17 was a decent team-up with the Batman with one element that bugged me.


Simon carries a gun as a back-up. Or did. I think carrying a gun as a back-up to alien/mystical technology that can run out of power or be corrupted is a reasonable precaution. The Batman disagrees and shames Baz into getting rid of it. Even though I like the Batman of Rebirth a whole lot better than any other recent incarnation of the classic character, he still has as many issues as a comics store. I might respect the heck out of the Batman, but I wouldn’t act as if his pronouncements are carved on stone tablets.

There’s too much Harley Quinn in the comic-book world for me. She is a great character, but I can’t keep track of or rationalize her appearances in her own titles and in Suicide Squad and its various spin-offs. So I tend to skim most of those appearances.

That wasn’t the case with Harley’s Little Black Book #5 [$4.99] by Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, Neal Adams and Paul Mounts. A done-in-one issue, it was basically a retelling of the classic Superman Vs.  Muhammad Ali special of the 1970s ala Harley. The story itself was fun and the Adams art was astonishing. I could look at Neal’s double-page spread of a day at the beach for hours.

Infamous Iron Man [Marvel} has Doctor Doom taking up Tony Stark’s mantle as he seeks redemption. The heroes who once fought against him are skeptical, but I’m hoping for the best. I’m a sucker for a redemption story and have enjoyed the six issues of the title that I have read to date.


I don’t think I will ever warm up to DC’s Lobo, but that character aside, I am basically enjoying the new Rebirth-created Batman and the Justice League of Outsiders title. Oh, wait, I just checked and it’s actually called Justice League of America. Who knew?

I also liked the specials starring the Atom, Killer Frost, the Ray and Vixen. I wish they had done one for Black Canary because I have no clue who she is supposed to be these days. 

Over at Marvel, the X-Men are undergoing “Resurrxion,” a word that strikes me as the “covfefe” of comics. This new push for the morose mutants translates into three or more new configurations of teams, two of them color-coded, and a bunch of new solo titles.

I have read some of these new titles. They have all been readable, but none has been outstanding. With the Inhumans eating the X-Men’s lunch, perhaps the franchise needs some rethinking and an overhaul by talent from outside the current Marvel talent pool. The X-Men titles are no longer essential reading and that makes me sad.

That’s all for today, my friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff. I am leaning towards movie reviews, but who knows where my merry muse will take me. See you soon. 

© 2017 Tony Isabella

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