Saturday, October 29, 2011

Comics Roundup for 10/26/11

I, Vampire #2 - I liked this one well enough (mostly for the art) to at least pick up the next issue.  However, I'll need to see a bit more momentum in the story if I'm to keep with it.  I still feel like I'm reading set-up with this, and I'm just not into vampires enough for that to remain interesting to me.

Superman #2 - I read this right before going to bed last night, so I had a weird dream about it, and I'm probably remembering stuff from the dream better than what happened.  Anyway, a lot of story got packed into this issue, and that's a good thing.  Also, I really think that this new direction for Superman is smart.  He's still very true to the concept, but he has the world against him without turning him into a Peter Parker knockoff.

Aquaman #2 - I would have liked to have seen more story in this one, but it was still pretty good with Ivan Reis doing the artwork.  Geoff Johns is definitely making the character interesting without giving him a faux edginess that would have ruined him.  It's somewhat reminiscent of the way Mark Waid wrote him in JLA:  Year One in the sense that he's clearly an outsider, and who doesn't root for an outsider?  Those jerks on Wall Street, that's who!  Oh, wait...sorry about that.

Captain America & Bucky #623 - Not much new to say from the last issue.  This continues to be a fun direction for this series, and I'm still pretty much convinced that there's no way that they're leaving Bucky dead after spending this much time with him - even if they are flashbacks.

The Amazing Spider-Man #672 - If this issue doesn't convince you that undoing the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson wedding is a good thing, then nothing will.  Seriously, this had one of my favorite moments in a Spider-Man comic in a long time, and there is no way it would work if the two of them were still married.  And get this - the scene INVOLVES Mary Jane.  As far as I'm concerned, the two of them WILL get back together and marry again some day, but I have no interest in reading that story.

Daredevil #5 - This was another fun chapter, and I don't have any other input than to repeat that Mark Waid has really found the right tone for this book, and Marcos Martin's artwork is always appreciated.

The Flash #2 - This was pretty interesting and filled with the kind of high-concept plot point that I'd expect from a Grant Morrison comic book.  Impressive, considering that the writing team is better known for their art.  If The Flash can move fast, why can't he also THINK fast?  That's a good question, and they explore the fact that he CAN in this issue.  The last couple of pages were a bit confusing, but I liked the rest to want to check out the next issue.

Wolverine and the X-Men #1 - I bought this because I'm enjoying Jason Aaron's take on Logan over in Wolverine.  This was a fairly enjoyable issue, and it definitely is a new situation for the character.  I liked it enough to at least check out the next issue, but I haven't read an X-Men book on any regular basis in years.

Batman:  The Dark Knight #2 - Meh.  This was okay, but compared to Batman and Batman and Robin, it's pretty weak.  Maybe it just suffers by comparison.  I'm on board for at least another issue. 

A prediction as clear as a foggy night

In my talks/debates/fist fights with Christians, I often hear about how remarkable the story of Jesus is when you consider the "fact" that his arrival was foretold by the prophecies in the Old Testament.  They usually say it with such certainty, the same way you'd insist that somebody had peed himself by the obvious wet spot forming on his crotch.  There are so many different ways to respond to this, but I always have to wonder: "What about the Jews?"

For those of you who don't know, the Jews are the people who gave us the Old Testament of The Bible.  Here's the catch though:  they don't call it The Old Testament.  Why?  Well, it turns out that they don't believe in the New Testament.  They don't even think that Jesus was divine.  They don't even think that he was God and impregnated a virgin with himself.  Crazy, huh?

And why can't they acknowledge the prophecies about Jesus if they happen to be in their holy scriptures?  I mean, it's laid out VERY clearly in the Book of Prophecies, Chapter 5, Verses 22-38.  (You can find the Book of Prophecies right before the New Testament Book of A Clear Explanation of What Rules Still Count from the Old Testament and Which Ones Don't.)

And lo, there shall cometh a boy
whose name shall be DA JEEBUS
but some folk'll call him Jesus
and his Mom will have him in her belly
even though she never got laid.
Don't confuse him for Perseus,
'cause he so ain't Perseus, seriously.
He won't killeth any Gorgons
nor willeth he use his willy.
He'll be the messiah, only he
won't do all that stuff that
you think that a messiah will do.
But there will be people who will
TOTALLY insist that he's the Messiah.
And C.S. Lewis will make a false dilemma
that proveth it.  Oh yeah, some time later
there will be Mormons in Utah.  Where
lieth Utah?  Do not question!  For I am

Yeah, I bet you're thinking what I'm thinking.  What's with those Jews that they can't read their own damned scriptures to see that there's a CLEAR prophecy about Jesus!  What are they, blind?  ("Blind" being an actual word used by one of the Christians I was debating.)

Wait, you're not thinking that?  You're thinking that there is no Book of Prophecies?  You're thinking that I just made all that crap up?  And I didn't even bother to make it look believable?

Okay, well what is it then?  Turns out that there's a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 that reads:  "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel."

That's a bit better, isn't it?  Well, beside the whole "Immanuel" thing, which isn't the same thing as "Jesus".  (Immanuel means "god is with us", so that's close enough, I guess.)  But hey - virgin, huh?  That's gotta mean something, right?

Turns out that Jewish people (and many scholars) think that the word that was translated into "virgin" didn't even mean that.  (It just means "young woman".)  And then they have the nerve to say that the prophecy gets fulfilled RIGHT THERE in the same book!  In other words, those Jews have the unmitigated temerity to try and interpret their own scriptures to mean something other than what Christians tell them that it means!

Turns out that there are other prophecies, or supposed prophecies.  I seem to recall being told by one Christian that there are THOUSANDS of them.  I'm thinking that's an exaggeration, or somebody's just trying too damned hard to find them.  I think that the ingredients to Lucky Charms contain a prophecy about Jesus as well, if that's the case.

Anyway, if you want to read more, Wikipedia seems to have a pretty good rundown of the prophecies and the objections to them.  Also, you can find out what a group called Jews for Judaism (what a concept) have to say about it.

Here's the thing.  Let's ignore the fact that even IF Christians are right, and there are all sorts of prophecies for Jesus, it's still a pretty silly argument.  I mean, couldn't the Gospel writers have deliberately tailored their narrative to fit the prophecies?  Just because they wrote it, that doesn't mean it happened!  But let's dismiss that for the purpose of argument.

Was the coming of Jesus predicted in the Old Testament?  Or to put it better, does the story of Jesus match the prophecies of the Old Testament?  Honestly, I don't know.  As of right now, I'm not very convinced, but I'm willing to admit that maybe I'm not getting something, or maybe there is a passage that's as clear as the one I made up and I just haven't seen it yet.

There is only one thing that I have concluded about this though, and that is that Christianity rests upon the notion that Jews don't know how to interpret their own scriptures.  And that's pretty frikken' arrogant.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Comics Roundup for 10/19/11

Wolverine #17 - This was a pretty fun read, and it had a pretty different for this series with the Gorilla Man team-up.  Still, I felt like more needed to be resolved from the last major story arc.  Hopefully Jason Aaron is going to follow-up on some of that stuff.

Fear Itself #7 (of 7) - This was a decent ending to an otherwise forgettable crossover event.  I'm not quite sure how this changes Marvel's status quo.  The great thing about Civil War and Secret Invasion was that they both left me wanting to see what was going to happen next in the Marvel Universe.  Apparently there's some stuff going on that came out of all this, but I don't seem to have a grasp on it.  Personally, I think that Marvel needs to bring its game up a bit what with what's going on at DC and all.

Avengers #18 - There needs to be a new team of Avengers.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I saw the cover preview for the next issue and it looks like the same team minus Red Hulk (thankfully - he's such a redundant character) and Thor and plus Ms. Marvel, The Black Panther (yay), and The Vision.  Anyway, this was a decent issue, and Daniel Acuna's art is always nice to see.  (And now I hear that Storm is joining?  Could be interesting.)

Justice League #2 - This series doesn't quite live up to the hype, especially in light of some of DC's other current offerings.  However, it is a pretty darned fun book though.  Sure it doesn't have some of the more poignant moments like in Batman and Robin and Aquaman, but it's a really entertaining ride.

Nightwing #2 - I'm not sure how this compares to the Chuck Dixon Nightwing run (one of my all-time favorites) but it's a pretty fun read so far.  We get a little bit more story this time, and the stakes get raised.  What more could you want?

Batman #2 - This had a really strong start, and the rest was pretty good as well.  Scott Snyder's definitely not just going over familiar territory here, and this feels like a completely different book than when he was writing Detective Comics, and I don't think that's all attributable to the radically different artist on this book.

Wonder Woman #2 - Any reservations I might have had about Brian Azzarello being the right guy for this book are completely thrown out the window with this one.  I think it might have been my favorite of the week.  Are some old-time Wonder Woman fans going to be upset that they're tweaking her origin?  Perhaps.  But making her a daughter of Zeus makes more sense if this is all tied to Greek Mythology.  Anyway, good stuff.

Superior #6 - Speaking of better and better, this series started out decently enough, but it didn't seem all that special.  Now I finally feel like I'm reading something that I haven't read before.  Basically we've got a hero who needs to make a Faustian bargain - but instead of doing it for his own gain, he must do it for the benefit of humanity.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Comics Roundup for 10/12/11

Batwoman #2 - I definitely feel more engaged with the character this time around than during her starring run in Detective Comics.  Still, I wish that this series - which is supposed to appeal to new readers - would spend some time going into her origin.  I can understand why they skipped it with Batman, Superman, etcetera, because those characters' origins are known by people who don't even read comics.  Batwoman though?  Hardly a household name.  Hopefully they'll get to that.  Anyway, I'm glad that I like the storytelling so much more this time around, because I really love the artwork of JH Williams III.

Batman and Robin #2 - Holy crap, but this was more poignant than I was ready for.  I thought Peter Tomasi did a fine job with his three issue stint on the previous incarnation of this title.  I also really liked the first issue of this new series, but this second issue makes this series my favorite of all the Batman relaunches (so far - that might change in a week).  Maybe it's because everything hits me harder now that I'm a father when it comes to depictions of father/son relationships, but Bruce Wayne's conversation with Alfred about his son, Damian (the current Robin) reflects some of my inner fears.  I'm not giving this quote exactly, as it was part of a conversation, but this gets across the general idea:  "For the first time, I'm afraid of dying, of leaving a black hole in Damian's life and...I'm afraid of what Damian could become without me around."  Obviously, I'm not afraid that my son will become a killer, but that thought still resonated.

Demon Knights #2 - The first issue of this series was pretty fun, but I quickly found myself losing interest about halfway through with this one.  I guess it has to be really special stuff to get me to read outside of the superhero genre, and this just isn't cutting it.  It's my first casualty of the 18 or so "New 52" series that DC is putting out.

Green Lantern #2 - Hal Jordan gets a ring again, but there's a new twist.  I'm not sure how much a new reader would be digging all this stuff, but I'm sure glad that I read the entirety of the last series.  This continues to be a favorite.

The New Avengers #17 - What with all the excitement for DC lately, I'm finding my interest in some of my favorite Marvel titles waning a bit.  Still, this was pretty decent, but where the hell was Daredevil?  Isn't he supposed to be on this team?

The Amazing Spider-Man #671 - You heard it here first, kids, but I think that Kaine will be the new Scarlet Spider (they're doing a new series with the character).  Why do I think that?  Because he's all fixed up and looks exactly like Peter Parker again.  Kind of makes sense, doesn't it?  Anyway, this was another fun installment of "Spider Island".

Batgirl #2 - How did this get on the bottom of my stack?  I loved this issue as much as the last one.  I'm starting to get the whole hoopla about Gail Simone's writing.  It's good stuff, and Barbara Gordon is as interesting a character as she's ever been - getting rid of the Oracle identity didn't suddenly make her less appealing in my mind.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Got guilt? Kill a Hydra

There are time when something obvious will stare me in the face for a long time until I finally realize what it is that I'm seeing.  Such is the case recently while teaching the story of Hercules to my freshmen.  I've covered the story many times before, as I spend an entire quarter on Greek Mythology alone.  I always like to talk about it because for most of them, their point of reference is the Disney version of the character.  I tell them that they're not going to get the little-kid version of any of these myths, and Hercules is always a dramatic example of just such a thing.

For those who don't know anything about Hercules, he's the son of Zeus, and he's best known for completing the famous 12 Labors, which include such adventures as fighting the Nemean Lion, whose hide was impenetrable; defeating the Hydra, who'd grow back a head every time one was cut off; and cleaning the Augean Stables, which involved a whole lot of horse crap.  I've taught the story to my students for several years, but it always took a backseat in my mind to the story of Perseus, another son of Zeus.  I like the Perseus story so much that I even wrote my own version of it for my students to read.  As for Hercules?  I just tell that one because it's one of the most famous and influential.

Anyway, I always ask my students WHY Hercules performed those labors in the first place.  Most of them, familiar with the cartoon, say that it was to become a hero or to become a God.  Sure, in the actual myth he accomplishes both through the 12 Labors.  But that was just the result, and not the cause.  The real reason?  It was because he killed his wife and children, and performing the labors was a way to atone for what he had done.

Now you might be wondering, how the hell can Hercules be a hero when he's done such a monstrous thing?  See, it wasn't his fault.  The goddess, Hera, upset because Hercules was the result of her husband's philandering ways, drove Hercules into a madness, which resulted in the untimely demise of his family.

Then why the heck does he need to atone for something when it wasn't his fault?  That was the thing that never quite sunk in for me.  I figured it was just some relic of an ancient culture that I did not understand.  Stupid me - the problem is that I understand perfectly.  I even wrote recently that I'm the kind of person who blames himself for everything - including things that really aren't my fault at all.  If anybody can understand that, it should be me.

I have a lot of stories about me feeling guilty when it's not my fault.  Every time I have a student who doesn't do well in my class, I feel like it's my fault - even when it's clear that the kids has other issues far beyond my control.  I feel bad when my pets get sick and/or hurt, even if it was no fault of my own.  One piece of guilt that carries with me is how I didn't take in my cat, Asterix, when my parents split up and I got my own place with Kirsti.  I took in my other cat, Tyson, but I didn't take him in, and he wound up getting old and sick to the point where he just up and disappeared one day.  Never mind the fact that Asterix was only "my" cat in the sense that I was just a ten-year old when we took him in to the house.  It wasn't really my responsibility to take in him or Tyson, but I still feel like it was, and I feel like it's all my fault - even though it isn't.  And as I mentioned in the aforementioned post, now anytime something bad happens to my son, I'm going to carry that with me like a bowling ball necklace.

I finally thought it was time to sit down and write this blog when I read the recent blog post from my friend, Leah.  In it, she writes about Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of atonement.  In it, she writes about how she feels guilty for things - including a miscarriage that she had.  She acknowledges that it wasn't her fault and that it's irrational for her to feel this way, but she STILL feels it nonetheless.

Guilt is a strange thing, and most of us feel it to some degree or another - at least, those of us with some sense of self-awareness do.  When I posted my entry on depression and guilty feelings on Facebook, a number of friends commented that they could easily relate (Leah being one of them).  I suppose it's not so strange that we feel guilt.  Imagine how well humanity would have lasted if we were able to do awful things to each other and not ever feel bad about it.  We'd all be like Richard III and a lot less like Macbeth, reveling in the chaos left in our wake rather than wondering if "all great Neptune's ocean will wash this blood clean" from our hands.  The thing is, as Shakespeare is trying to teach us in "the Scottish play" is that there's a psychological consequence for the bad things that we do.

The unfortunate flip side is that our brains aren't perfect computers that sort everything out into "my fault" and "not my fault".  Our brains misfire, and that wonderful quality of ours - the ability to feel for the harm we cause - oftentimes works against us.  This is why Leah needs Yom Kippur and the atonement that it provides.  This is why Hercules diverted a river to wash all that shit away.

This is why I need to seek out an equivalent that works for me.  So far, just analyzing it rationally usually gets me past these feelings.  Unfortunately, I do have an emotional side to me, and sometimes that overpowers my rational side.  Perhaps that's the battle though.  You'll never completely get over the misfires in your brain.  

After all, even Hercules continued to have problems after the 12 Labors were complete.  Stupid centaurs.

Comics Roundup for 10/5/11

Action Comics #2 - Back when DC did the Superman:  Secret Origin miniseries, my main complaint was that it really didn't feel all that new as it attempted to retell the origin story of Superman.  With this relaunch though, we're definitely getting a Superman that we haven't seen since the character was first created in the late 1930s - albeit with a more modern sensibility, of course.  I like it that they've de-powered him, as it makes his physical feats seem much more impressive - more Herculean even.  I also like that he's such a representative of the establishment like how Frank Miller portrayed him in The Dark Knight Returns.  This Superman is a rebel, and he'll kick your ass for all the right reasons.  Anyway, this was a fun issue, but I was surprised that we already have a fill-in artist for half the issue.  Brent Anderson is a decent artist, but I'm really digging what Rags Morales is doing even more.

Detective Comics #1 & #2 - Since this was such a slow week, I decided to give Tony Daniel's take on Batman a try.  It's pretty good for the most part - and it's rather dark stuff as well (just as Scott Snyder's Batman is).  Daniel has quite the inconsistent art style though.  Maybe I need to take note of the inker, as it doesn't look as good here as it did when he was writing and drawing his first arc back when he was doing Batman.  Anyway, I'll stick with this series for a few more issues at least.

Justice League International #2 - While not nearly as much fun as the first issue, this was another solid installment of a team book that definitely has its own feel to it.  One thing's for sure, Booster Gold is definitely the star of this series, and that's okay with me as he's proving to be a pretty interesting character.

Superior #5 - I wind up saying pretty much the same thing about everything Mark Millar writes - it's entertaining and you always feel like there's enough plot development in each issue to justify the purchase.  This issue was no different, and while I thought that this series didn't feel original enough at first, it definitely has its own bag of tricks to it now that a Faustian bargain has been added in to the mix.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not depressed enough to be depression

I want to start off this entry by stating that I've actually had a pretty good week, and I had a good day today as well.  I'm feeling pretty good, as I'm having some positive feedback at work, and I'm having fun with both my wife and my son.  With that said, I've been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks now, as I wonder how many people can relate to this.

I went to therapy a few years ago because I was not dealing with small failures very well.  I screwed up a batch of homebrew and basically broke down crying.  I've screwed up batches before - and since, and I don't usually react that way.  It was basically the final straw, as I'm the type of person who blames himself for all kinds of things that aren't my fault, and as critical as I am of, well...EVERYTHING, I am incessantly critical of myself.  I can hear ten sincere compliments in a day, but if I hear one off-handed insult in that same day, that's going to be the only thing that fills my thoughts.

Basically what I learned to deal with in therapy was to recognize that I'm too damned hard on myself.  It still happens though, of course.  And while I'm genuinely a good-natured person and usually feel pretty positive about the world, sometimes I feel like just walking into a corner, curling up into a ball, and hiding from the world.

It doesn't happen often, but it comes and goes every now and then.  Different things will trigger this sort of feeling.  Sometimes it will be a bit of criticism that I hear.  Just a few weeks ago, I heard that a student transferred out of my class because it was "too hard".  Even though that's not really my reputation, and I'm sure that most students will find that to be laughable, I took it to mean that I suck and probably have no business teaching at all.  That's ridiculous, of course, but I felt that "Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt..." feeling of Hamlet's.

Sometimes I get that feeling when I just hear people who live in little bubbles say stupid things.  Sometimes I feel it when I hear people sputter thoughtless talking points that they parrot from some megalomaniac dimwit.  You know, crap like "class warfare" when you mention bringing the tax rates back to what they were when Clinton was in office.  Those kinds of things are even worse when I'm basically looking at a pay cut due to all the projected furlough days for my school district.  That kind of thing sure as hell doesn't help me to feel good.

Other times it will hit me when I think about my son.  The strange thing is that most of the happiest feelings I've ever had in my life have to do with him.  Today when I was going to take him to the park, he was hanging out with his mom, but he reached out to me when I indicated that we were about to get going.  He's the proverbial ray of sunshine in my life.  However, when I look on him as he sleeps, I sometimes feel like I love him so much that it hurts.  I worry about the future.  I worry about all the hardships that he'll have to face.  I worry how he can possibly make it in this world.

But then I look at my mom.  She was born in Germany two years before the country surrendered in WWII.  How the heck could her parents bring anybody into a world like that?  And then I worry about my son?  Logically, I know that he'll more than likely be okay.  At the same time, I feel like anything bad that ever happens to him will be my fault for playing my part in bringing him into the world.

Usually when something triggers it, I tend to think of all the other things that make me feel this way.  It's like thinking about one of them triggers something where I wind up thinking about all of them.  When I'm feeling positive though, the reverse tends to happen - one happy thing makes me think of a lot of other happy things.

Anyway, I'm not suicidal.  I don't walk around with a dark cloud floating above me all the time.  I'm not feeling extreme enough to be taking medications (as far as I can tell).  I enjoy my beer, but I still average only 1-2 a night - hardly enough to be "medicating" myself.  Overall, life is pretty good, but every now and then I feel like there's the entire Earth on my shoulders, slowly crushing me down.  Luckily it doesn't last long.  As I'm getting older, I'm just learning to deal with the fact that this is something I have to battle from time to time.  Certainly there are people who deal with far worse - both physically and mentally.

And I know what some people who are reading this out there might be thinking.  They're thinking that I'm obviously missing something from my life.  If only I had that thing that they had, then I'd feel more able to deal with those sad moments.  Well, if that's what you're thinking, let me just say that the thought of getting hooked on heroin only makes me feel more depressed - and the same goes with any other opiate.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Comics Roundup for 9/28/11

Big week, so I'm going to keep these as brief as possible:

Aquaman #1 - I've read quite a few of these "New 52" titles from DC, and I think that this is easily among my favorites.  I've liked the character back when Peter David was writing his title, and I liked him when he appeared in Grant Morrison's JLA, but I'm still surprised at how much I wound up liking him in this one.  This is Geoff Johns at his best, as he has a knack for making superhero stories focus on character.  Also, Ivan Reis is easily one of the best superhero artists working today.

Brilliant #1 - This is the new creator-owned series from Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley.  What did I think?  It was okay.  I'm buying too much stuff right now though, and I didn't like it enough to check out the next issue.

Justice League Dark #1 - I wasn't originally planning on getting this title.  It was interesting though, and I might check out the second one, but honestly, I doubt that I will.  I'm not familiar enough with many of these characters, and I didn't feel like I really got much of an introduction to them.

Kick Ass 2 #4 - Pretty violent stuff going on in this one, but what else would you expect?  It's still entertaining as hell, and just like the first series, I don't think that it would necessarily work as a movie.

I, Vampire #1 - I had no intention of getting this one until I read a bit about it and saw some of the preview artwork.  Andrea Sorrentino's artwork reminds me of Jae Lee, and that's a good thing.  Anyway, this certainly feels different from everything else that's out there, and I liked it for that reason.  It was also nice to see that it focused primarily on a long-standing debate between two characters.  Plus, we're likely to see the rest of the DC Universe get involved with all these vampire shenanigans.  Too bad Blade isn't part of the DC Universe.

Superman #1 - As modern as Grant Morrison's Action Comics feels, this other Superman book feels positively old school - well, old school for me anyway, as I started reading in the 1980s.  You definitely get a lot of story packed into one issue, and that's a nice change of pace.  Still, I'm a bit disappointed to hear that the creative team will be changing after issue seven.  Hopefully they can keep it good.  Oh, and an unmarried Superman is definitely the way to go, so I'm glad that this is another marriage "undone".

The New Avengers #16.1 - Norman Osborn returns as does veteran artist Neal Adams.  While Adams's work doesn't hold up to his stuff from the 70s and 80s, it's still pretty good, even if he does make Norman Osborn look more like Harry Osborn.  Anyway, I'm interested in what they're setting up here, and I'm looking forward to what's going to happen in what's easily the best Avengers book on the stands.

The Amazing Spider-Man #670 - Dan Slott is doing a great job of building the tension and mounting more and more problems to Spider-Man's situation in the continuing "Spider-Island" storyline.  I wonder what the long-term impacts of this story will be?

Wolverine #16 - I liked this issue well enough, but I felt that it resolved Wolverine's current self-loathing a little too quickly - or at least, it seems like it did.  Hopefully next issue will show that he still has a lot more healing to do.

Captain America and Bucky #622 - Not much to say about this one other than it was another solid installment in a storyline that started when the series changed its name.  Bucky has come a long way in Ed Brubaker's hands, and he's no longer just the sidekick who died.  Oh, and I still think that they're going to be bringing him back.

The Flash #1 - This was a series that I bought primarily for the artist.  Francis Manapul is doing a nice job in that department, and he makes the revised version of Flash's costume work better than Jim Lee does.  As for the writing?  Manapul is co-writing with Brian Buccellato, and this issue is a pretty good start.  I'm down with the next issue.

Batman:  The Dark Knight #1 - This was pretty good.  I don't think that I liked the writing as much as I did on the first go-round with this series - at least, not with just the first issue as my criteria.  Hopefully with Paul Jenkins on board though, this storyline will have a more satisfactory conclusion.