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23 March 2023

Detective Comics 1068 (2023)

 All you really need to know about this comic book is that it features The Batman fighting a Wolfman.  My favorite literary genre is Fights a Wolfman.  And the drawing is incredible.  These are probably the best drawings of The Batman fighting a Wolfman that I have ever seen.  And I’ve seen multiple! I have seen and heard some criticism that this run of comics is slow and boring and I’d like to know what comics you guys are reading where someone fights a Wolfman that are better than this?

Before we get into the scoring, I wanted to talk a little bit about how great Evan Cagle’s covers are. When I first considered using a scoring system here at file under other, I considered giving the covers their own score but I gave up on the idea because of variant covers. I do not have any opinions about variant covers worth getting into but it’s hard for me to rate a book based on its cover when there are six variants out there that I may have never seen.  Nevertheless, I have seen Evan Cagle’s covers and they are great.  Literally, the reason I got back into buying Detective Comics.

All right, on with the scores.  This is a comic with two stories by two creative teams so we will judge them separately.

“Half a Chance in Hell”

Writing: Ram V.  I think Ram V is great and other than Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. stuff, this is probably my favorite Batman run since the Legends of the Dark Knight series started in 1989.  This feels like that stuff. It feels stand-alone.  I truly have no idea if it has any connection to the current DC Universe or not.  And that’s fine!  I love what Ram V is doing here.  And did I mention there is a Wolfman!  Score: 4.5

Drawing: Ivan Reis & Rafael Albuquerque.  Rafael Albuquerque has been killing it on this book.  I might get that fight scene with the Wolfman as a back tattoo.  I would give this a perfect score but the art is split between two artists so there is some inevitable inconsistency. Score: 4.5

Coloring: Danny Miki.  A little dark for my tastes and it can get a bit muddy but it works well enough with the story. Score: 4

Lettering: Ariana Maher.  White letters in red boxes.  Do not like.  Score: 2

“A Tune That Listens Back”

Writing: Simon Spurrier.  I like the idea of this. Jim Gordon PI with a sidekick. I just do not care about the sidekick.  Score: 3

Drawing: Dani. Is there a word for this style? Alex Maleve, D. G. Chichester… you know. It’s like Frank Miller’s blacks without Klaus Jenson’s lines against photocopies of pictures of buildings.  I do not care for it. Score: 2

Coloring: Lee Loughridge.  It’s the Lynn Varley style that works with Batman.  It still works. Score: 3

Lettering: Steve Wands.  This one is very text heavy.  Wands is doing a lot of work here but there is that one panel with yellow letters in a red balloon.  No thank you.  Score: 2

Total Score: 3.125 out of 5 Shanos.

Love always. Your best pal ever, 


20 March 2023

Action Comics 1051 (2023)


I should have talked about this one before I talked about the new Superman No. 1 but I didn’t and we’ll just all have to learn to live with that.  But yeah, this comic book is the real beginning of the new “status quo” for Superman and, in effect, the DC Universe as a whole.  “Dawn of DC”. Queue “Also sprach Zarathustra”.  I was excited for this comic book.  Not because I like re-launches, (I ABSOLUTELY HATE THEM) but because I’m excited to see Superman and the gang spend some time doing super stuff on planet Earth after a year or so on War World.

The new status quo and cast is fine.  I like them and I like this comic"s tone. I have talked before about how much I hate this whole thing being so dependent on Lex Luthor.  I am sick to death of Lex Luthor but I will spare y’all a rant.  This time.

This comic has three stories by three different creative teams so we will score them individually.

“Speeding Bullets, Part I”

Writing: Phillip Kennedy Johnson.  I like PKJ just fine and I appreciate what he is trying to do here. I cannot help but hold the whole relaunch thing against him a little though.  Score: 3.5

Drawing: Rafa Sandoval.  Sandoval is very good. Especially at the big Bryan Hitch style splash pages.  Faces are not his strength though and this one has a lot of faces. Score: 4

Coloring: Matt Herms.  A bit muted for my tastes but the reds are red and the blues are blue so good enough. Score: 4

Lettering: Dave Sharpe. Minus two stars for using colored lettering.  Score: 3

“Home again Part One”

Writing: Dan Jurgens.  This one is a stroll down retconned memory lane with long time Superman creator Dan Jurgens.  I like his stuff.  Never the best. Always adequate. This one covers some of the Johnathan Kent youth that the series had previously decided to skip over.  The potential is there for this to be the most interesting story Superman comics have to tell but it is a backup feature so don’t get too excited. Score: 4

Drawing: Lee Weeks.  It’s Lee Weeks. Lee Weeks is great. Score: 4

Coloring: Elizabeth Breitweiser.  Again, a bit muted for my tastes.  Score: 3

Lettering: Rob Leigh.  It’s fine.  Score: 3

“Power Girl in Head Like a Whole”

Writing: Leah Williams.  So Power Girl is a psychic therapist now?  It is clever but there is very little meat on these power bones. Score: 3

Drawing: Marguerite Sauvage.  It is pretty but I’m not a huge fan of pretty.  This is supposed to be a Doctor Strange type story where anything you can imagine could happen but all the drawings are just faces and bodies against color backgrounds.  If you take the text away, and there is a ton of text, there is nothing much there. Score: 2

Coloring: Marguerite Sauvage. I hate when the rendering is colored.  Hate it.  Always have. Always gonna. Score: 0

Lettering: Becca Carey.  Green letters in black boxes.  White letters in red boxes.  I hate it. Score: 1

Total Score: 2.875 out of 5 Shanos.

Love always. Your best pal ever,


19 March 2023

The Amazing Spider-Man 21 (legacy 915) 2023


About a week ago our little kitty cat named Carnie started acting sick.  She did not have the energy she would normally have. Carnie is a small shorthaired cat with the white tuxedo chest and white paws.  She is the softest cuddliest cat in recorded human history. She is the sweetest happiest little cat and is our old boy cat, Booger’s, girlfriend.  He licks her head. It is adorable. 

By Wednesday, she had stopped eating so Thursday I left work to take her to our vet. When I got there, I noticed there were not any cars. At first, I thought it was my lucky day and that there would be a short wait.  Friends, it was not my lucky day.  When I went to the door, I noticed a sign on the door that said the vet was closed until further notice.  I called my wife and she checked Facebook and found out that our vet had died.

Our vet is dead. 

So, I went to the closest open vet that I could find on Google maps.  That vet examined Carnie for about ninety seconds and gave her a shot for nausea and an antibiotic.  That vet charged me $175.00 that I did not have frantically pulled together the $175 from those phone apps that float you money until your next payday.

By Saturday, Carnie still was not eating. So I took her to a different vet.  A not dead vet.  And hopefully a vet that would not charge me $170 for nothing.  This vet instead charged me $326.77 to tell me that our beloved kitty cat has FIP and that it is fatal.  She did give carnie a steroid and some antibiotics so Carnie is now eating.  That is great! Until that medicine runs its course and she probably dies.  New vet said that there is a treatment that works well for FIP but they did not have any since it is not FDA approved.  They said they would try to get some from a medical school.  

So, right now, we can only hope that 1) the vet gets the medicine 2) we can somehow miraculously afford it and 3) none of our other cats develops this illness.  
Apparently, FIP starts with the coronavirus and then mutates into FIP.  So it is very likely that all of our cats had the coronavirus.  Honestly, it is very likely every cat on this planet had the coronavirus.  We just have to hope that Carnie is the only one of our cats where it developed into FIP.  

If you would like to help finance our kitty cat’s treatment, you can email me or DM me through twitter.

Alternatively, if you are a person that believes in capitalism and thinks that our sick cat should pull herself up by her kitty cat bootstraps then you can support her through capitalism.

I have been reading Spider-Man comics since 1978.  Well, that is not true. I was a little kid in 1978 and could not even read but I could beg my parents and grandparents to buy me the Spider-Man thing off the spinner rack at the Piggly Wiggly.  So, I’ve been following my close personal friend Spider-Man’s adventures through six decades now (using sports math where you can claim to have done something for more years than you were actually alive it you hit the tail end of one decade and the start of another). 

Here in the two thousand twenties decade of my friendship with Spider-Man we find ourselves in the Zeb Wells run of The Amazing Spider-Man.  Wells started his Spider-Man in medias res jumping six months into the future from the previous run and leaving what happened in between a mystery.  Friends, I HATE THIS.  Continuity jumps work in a single movie or a single television show where things are resolved by the end.  They do not ever work in an ongoing serially published periodical soap opera comic book series.  It was a complete failure and disaster when DC decide to launch its New 52 five years in the future.  The six months here is not a bad, but it’s bad enough.  It has been a real slog trying to get through these past months of comics with nothing explained and Peter Parker’s life ruined AGAIN but this time without explanation.

Nevertheless, in this issue, finally, finally, finally, Mr. Wells and company are going to allow us to know what has been going on.  At least that is what the hype box on the cover tells us.  Short answer is; Remember that weird dude in The Amazing Spider-Man 894 that showed up just as Peter and Mary Jane were working everything out and going to start a new life together?  Me either.  But, it’s him, it’s that weird dude.  Tune in next month true believers! 
All right, let’s score this sombitch.

Writing: Zeb Wells. Zeb Wells is a good writer.  The bulk of being good at writing Spider-Man is just understanding his voice and the voices of the supporting cast.  Beyond that, it is just soap opera so don’t make a mistake too big (Clone Saga, Mephisto) or do anything lame like jump the story six months into the future.  Doh!  Score: 2

Drawing: John Romita Jr. penciler.  Scott Hanna inker.  John Romita Jr. draws this comic book.  He is one of the best half dozen give or take artists to draw Spider-Man.  It’s fine. Score: 4

Colors: Marcio Menyz.  The colors in John Romita Jr. books are always good.  Y’all notice that right.  Do you think JR Jr picks his colorists or that they just bring their best work when they get his pages?  Score: 4 

Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna.  It’s fine. It’s computers. I could read the whole thing but it doesn’t add anything to the experience.  Score: 3

Total Score: 3.25 out of 5 Shanos.

Love always. Your best pal ever,


27 February 2023

The Amazing Spider-Man 20 (2023)


This is a fill-in issue with a "guest" creative team. It serves absolutely no purpose other than keeping things on schedule. There is no plot worth mentioning.  There is one moment that matters to the characters. It's half a page.  Peter Parker expresses to Black Cat that he's finally ready to move on from Mary Jane (again) and be more committed to her (again).  I get it. Ongoing Marvel comics are soap opera.  Soap opera is mostly filler.  But soap opera can also be good.  Friends, this is not good.  Writer Joe Kelly does a respectable job trying to at least keep things funny but he's getting less than zero help from artist Terry Dodson.  At no point now, or at any previous point in his career that I'm aware of, is Terry Dodson going to give you any cartooning.  These are just drawings.  These are pinup or sketchbook drawings of the characters in cool poses.  He's good at that.  But he's not going to give you any storytelling.  He's not going to do anything to help make those Joe Kelly jokes land.  It's just a bunch of drawings. 
All right, let's fire up the Shaometer and rate this hunk of crap.

Writing: Joe Kelly.  You're better than this Joe.  Score: 2

Drawing: Terry Dodson penciler.  Rachel Dodson inker.  This comic has exactly one panel with an attempt at drawing a background. Said background is the ground.  The ground is covered in snow.  There are a couple of cars in it and a hint at what might be a building so we can assume that this story took place on something sort of like planet Earth.  Other than that, the backgrounds are just vague shapes rendered in the coloring to imply trees.  Score: 1

Colors: Terry Dodson.  I like Dodson’s color palette choices and you'd almost respect the fact that the colorist is doing all the narrative heavy lifting and trying to create the illusion that these pinup poses exist in some world where things have shapes and colors.  Almost, that is if we could ignore the fact that the lazy penciler and the hard working colorist are the same person.  Score: 2

Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna.  It's fine.  Score: 3

Total Score Average: 2 out of 5 Shanos

Love always.  Your best pal ever,


26 February 2023

Superman 1 (2023)


I love Superman. I feel like the people that made this book love Superman too and they want to present a best version of Superman that can draw in readers that don't know they need to love Superman.  I don't know if you can reach those imaginary readers through a comic book though.  Maybe your readers are who they are and you should just try to make a good comic book?  I don't know. I'm not actually an employee of a massive international technology and communications corporation. It's not my job to know. I'm just a dude reading a comic book and I can apprectiate the attempt here.  I appreciate the intention.  The execution?  Eh, it's not for me. 

Part to Superman's new "status quo" for this seires and the new re-launching/re-branding of the DC Universe, "Dawn of DC" is that most of the planet has forgotten who Superman is except for those closest to him and also Lex Luthor.  Because of course Lex Luthor.  In this comic, Lex Luthor knows that Superman can hear him so he is constantly talking to Superman.  He is constantly in Superman's head.  Friends, I hate this idea.  Friends, I am sick to death of Lex Luthor.  Frients, I am sick to death of dualtiy in story telling and I'm so very very over this idea that Lex Luthor is the moon to Superman's sun.  I HATE that they've decided that these two dudes have to share their lives' stories for eternity. I HATE that Superman has to always be thinking abou this jerk and that we always have to check in on what Lex is doing.  Friends, I know what Lex Luthor is doing.  Every second of every day I know Lex Luthor is plotting to destroy Superman.  Every day of every year since 1940.  I get it.  He's a jerk.  Can we please move on.  I like George Lucas movies as much or more than most people but there are narative themes other than duality we can explore.  LIke, for example, Superman punching bad guys in their faces.  I can't get enough of that one!  More of that please! 

Alright, let's fire up the old Shaometer and and rate this sucker.  Each category is rated on a scale of one to five Shanos. 

Writing: Joshua Willaimson.  This reads like a movie pitch.  It's fine.  Whatever. Score: 3

Drawing: Jamal Campbell.  A little too Terry Dodson for me and the women are all the same woman.  There is a scene where it took me a few panels to figure out that the reason Lois was wearing glasses was because she was a different character. Score: 3

Colors:Jamal Campbell.  Every panel looks like an Adam Hughes cover.  Not for me.  At least it doesn't look like it was colored with a turd.  Score: 2

Lettering: Ariana Maher.  It's fine. I could read the whole thing and my eyes don't hurt. Score: 4

Total Score Average: 3 out of 5 Shanos. 

Love always. Your best pal ever,