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Comic Blogs Should Be Good – Eye on Comics

There are a lot of cool comic book blogs out there (see our sidebar for a list of a bunch of them), but I guess it is hard to pick which ones you think you’d like to read. So each week, I will feature a guest entry by a really cool comic blogger, and you all can then check out that comic blog after you see how cool they are from their guest bit.

Today’s entry comes from Don MacPherson, formerly of The Fourth Rail, who has just recently started up a NEW Comic Book criticism site of his own called Eye on Comics.

Here’s a glimpse of what kind of reviews you can expect to see at Eye on Comics, as Don reviews Astonishing X-Men #17 for us.


Astonishing X-Men #17
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist/Cover artist: John Cassaday
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99 US/$3.75 CAN

Everyone daydreams about his or her future. About the perfect job, the perfect mate, the perfect life. For some, it involves riches and wild times that never end. A few years ago, that’s what it meant to me. Now, I’m in a great relationship, and I was honestly surprised when her dreams of a small family and a comfortable home became my own. At first, I wanted it because she did, and I wanted to make her dream come true. But slowly but surely, I started thumbing through the paper’s real-estate insert of my own accord. I started taking notice of babies and of the possibilities that lay ahead. The opening scene in this comic book delves into such a promise, into such a dream, and it explores the pain of someone using that dream against you. Whedon offers up an exciting, well-balanced script full of emotion and drama with a touch of humor, all brought to life in convincing detail by artist John Cassaday.

There is a box in the deepest recesses of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, an impenetrable box hiding a dangerous secret that no one was ever meant to uncover. The new Hellfire Club has gone to great lengths to retrieve the contents of the box, decimating the lives and psyches of the X-Men in the most unforgivable manner in order to do so. But ultimately, there is only one person on the planet who can get inside that box, and her name is Kitty Pryde. How Kitty is convinced to carry out such a mission is shocking, and it will no doubt haunt the young woman for the rest of her life.

Cassaday’s art boasts a softer tone here than his work did back when, say, he and Warren Ellis launched Planetary, for example. That softness allows the more grounded elements early in the issue to really have an impact, allows the reader to connect more solidly with the characters and Kitty in particular. I honestly love his portrayal of Professor X; Cassaday acknowledges the harsher, borderline-alien look that was originally part of the character’s conceptualization back in his Silver Age introduction. Most of all, though, Cassaday’s greatest contribution here is the expressiveness he brings to the characters’ faces. The joy, the horror and the humor are all more effective thanks to the artist’s portrayal of emotion. The action is great, don’t get me wrong, but the emotion is what really steals the show.


Whedon does an excellent job in his handling of Wolverine in this issue, just as he did in the previous chapter. The regressed character makes for more hilarious moments, as the reader can’t help but juxtapose his timidity with the feral, macho mutant we’ve come to know over the years. But somehow, the humor doesn’t interfere with the re-emergence of the character’s memories and rage. The trigger for his restoration is funny, but his reaction is not. That intensity is engrossing and leaves the reader anxious to see what the character does next. And this is a character who’s reacted violently to mental transgressions time and time again in the past. That Whedon achieves a certain freshness with a similar moment is impressive.

Story continues below

In addition to the events listed in my synopsis, Whedon also continues the Ord and Danger plotlines teaming the pair in an all-out assault on the X-Mansion. But the focus in this issue is on Kitty Pryde and how she’s victimized by the villains, as well it should be. It makes for a powerful and moving script. Kitty is violated in the most intimate manner possible, and it makes for a gut-wrenching reaction on the reader’s part. Even if the heroine isn’t fully aware of the violation, we are, and we dread the moment when she realizes the full extent of what’s happened to her. Whedon’s script is thoroughly effective at humanizing not only Kitty but Colossus as well. Kitty’s kickass mode later in this issue and the deadly threat she poses to one teammate made for some cool moments as well. 9/10



Don-Great review! I totally agree with you. This issue, as well as the previous one, was masterfully done and a better example of what superhero books are capable of in the hands of fantastic artists and writers who really know their characters (as well as just have a strong understanding of how people act and react in general). They are even better when taken as a whole, especially seing a good arc with the build-up of Kitty’s rage moving into her joy and ending in her delirious protectiveness. I look forward to seeing more reviews!

Thanks, Iowa! I’m really digging the new Hellfire Club, much more than Ord.

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If you are a fan of great comics, check out the information below some of the great graphic novels published by Checker Book Publishing Group.


Contact: Susan Koller, Publicity Director
PH: (937) 388-0088
FX: (937) 388-0089
E-mail: info@checkerbpg.com

The wait is over!
New books being shipped from Checker Book Publishing Group
Dayton, Ohio- Checker Book Publishing Group is excited to announce that some of our great new titles from our highly anticipated fall 2007 lineup began being shipped by Diamond Comic Distributors the week of October15th. The shipment contained of the following titles:

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend: The Saturdays JUN073373
This oversized volume collects in a softcover edition for the first time McCay’s groundbreaking Saturday strips from March 1904-October 1911. These were wild, imaginative fantasy strips, with no recurring characters, which featured the protagonists having a dream caused by eating “rarebit”. Each cartoon is a self-contained and ended as the dreamer awoke from his or her nightmare. Checker’s new softcover edition of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend makes this collection available to the book trade and collectors since the very limited edition hardcover edition was released only to comic book stores, and just as quickly sold out, in 2006.

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend: The Saturdays Winsor McCay, Writer/Illustrator
$19.95, ISBN –10 1-933160-65-9, ISBN-13 978-1-933160-65-8, 200 pages, full color,

Winsor McCay: Early Works Vol. 9 JUL063019
Winsor McCay’s art shouts from rooftops of the great architecture of modernist America. A triple dose of “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend” Saturdays, weekdays, and a color section. .Also more scathing editorial works and extremely rare illustrations from “Temperance- or Prohibition”

Winsor McCay: Early Works Vol. 9 Winsor McCay, Writer/Illustrator
$19.95, ISBN –10 1-933160-07-1 ISBN-13 978-1-933160-07-8, 200 pages

Scion- Volume 6: Royal Wedding: JAN073489
The great war between the Heron Dynasty and the Raven Dynasty is quelled by the marriage of Ylena, daughter of Heron King Dane, and the malevolent Bron of the Raven Dynasty. This edition includes the issues 34-39 of the original series.

Scion- Volume 6: Royal Wedding Writer, Ron Marz; Illustrator, Jimmy Cheung
$17.95, ISBN-10 1-933160-60-8 ISBN-13 978-1-933160-60-3, 172 pages, full color, glossy paper stock and

Way of The Rat, V 3 : Haunted Zhumar FEB073297
Trapped in Old Mother’s house by an army of evil ghosts, things get bad for Boon and Po Po thanks to arrival of Kung Kung Yi. Who is this powerful spirit and why do the undead fear him? This edition collects issues 13-18 of the original series

Way of The Rat, V 3 : Haunted Zhumar Writer ,Chuck Dixon; Illustrator, Jeff Johnson
$17.95, ISBN -10 1-933160-59-4, ISBN-13 978-1-933160-59-7 172 pages, full color, glossy paper stock

Sigil Vol. 5 Death Match MAR073294
The next galactic graphic novel IS HERE! Humanity’s last hope for survival is a grizzled mercenary. To save us all, Samandahl Rey must face the mighty Suarian Weapon master, but what will Sam be forced to unleash to achieve his victory? This edition collects issues 27-32 of the series.

Sigil Vol. 5 Death Match Writer, Chuck Dixon; Illustrator, Scott Eaton
$17.95, ISBN –10 1-933160-58-6, ISBN-13 978-1-933160-58-0, 172 pages, full color, glossy paper stock
Flash Gordon Volume 1 MAR042360
Attention all Flash Gordon and sci-fi fans! This is your lucky day. Checker is printing this book for the third time. This full color first volume of Alex has already sold thousands and thousands of copies. Because of its popularity, it is extremely hard to keep this title in stock. Due to the fact that the new Flash Gordon smash hit television series on the Sci-Fi Channel will create a whole new generation of Flash Gordon fans, Checker has decided to bring the title back. The reprint copies are going fast, so get yours now.

Flash Gordon Vol. 1 Alex Raymond. Writer/Illustrator
$19.95, ISBN10 0-9741664-3-X ISBN-13 978-0-974166-43-8, 96 pages, color pager

Growingold with BC; A 50 Year Celebration JUN073372
This fall Checker Book Publishing marks the upcoming 50th anniversary of an American cartoon icon: B.C. by Johnny Hart!! We will are proud to present the VERY BEST collection of BC, strips chosen by Johnny Hart prior to his death in April 2007, in a collection which celebrates the half- century love affair America has with the introspective caveman community. Featuring rare and never before published concept art for the strip and a compendium of each individual decade, the GrowinGold With BC: A 50 Year Celebration edition collects the Reuben award winning strip more comprehensively than ever before. Thor, Wiley, Ida and of course BC himself are all here in one hilarious birthday party for one of America’s most enduring comic strips. The collection features special artwork drawn by Johnny Hart for this edition prior to his passing.

Growingold with BC A 50 Year Celebration Johnny Hart. Writer/Illustrator
$19.95, ISBN-13: 978-1-933160-68-9 ISBN-10: 1-933160-68-3, 200 pages, black and white

Checker Book Publishing Group was established in 2000 to bring the absolute best of dormant, unpublished, and under-published serial comics and cartooning back to print. A private concern, Checker compiles complete, durable and affordable cartoon trade books for sale to such comic shops, bookstores and libraries as may require them for resale or public archiving. Checker Book Publishing Group is located in Dayton, Ohio.

For more information concerning this and other Checker titles, feel free to drop by our website at: http://www.checkerbpg.com.

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