We've MOVED!

The new site is up, with new reviews, a list of the new comics arriving each week, and more...

Join us at:


Be sure and stop by, and as always - we encourage you to comment and suggest ways we can improve the site. Hope to see you there soon...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm back!

For those who noticed the absence of new posts - I am back. It has been some time since I have been able to post in the Sanctum, for purely technical reasons (for some reason, none of my posts have been saving - and my numerous queries to blogger have gone unanswered. Sigh... now it is working again, and I still have no idea what happened over the last month), but it appears that I will be able to get back to doing what I love to do; namely, offering my opinions to anyone who is willing to read them.

A lot has happened in the comics world over the last month, so there should be plenty for us to talk about. I hope that you will join with me as we continue to review and examine the wonderful comic book titles that are coming our way - it is sure to be a fun ride.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Life of Lucas Bishop #1

Seems like forever since I have had a chance to post, and for that I apologize. I have still been busy with some reviews - I just haven't had the chance to post them here yet. I did, however, have one of them recently published at another website. For anyone who is interested, it is my review of last week's X-Men: The Times and Life of Lucas Bishop #1 Review . If you'd like to read it (and I encourage you to do so, of course), it can be found here.

If you happen to take a glance, please make a comment there and let me, and everyone else in the world, know what you think. They have published a few other reviews from me, which you can see in the More By This Content Producer tab below the review. I hope you enjoy at least one of them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb 11, 2009 Comics: DC

Action Comics #874: In the wake of the New Krypton Saga, Mon-El might finally be able to leave the Phantom Zone, where he has been trapped for years due to lead poisoning. I've always been a Mon-El fan, so I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out, especially with all of the tension created by the recent introduction of 100,000 Kryptonians into Superman's life.

Batman #686: Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert are teaming up for the special 2-part event, "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" This much-anticipated tale is reputed to offer a deeper exploration of Bruce Wayne's life than any Batman story to date. And with Batman trapped at the beginning of time and absent from his own titles for so long, we can all use a little interlude with the real Caped Crusader.
Rebels #1: A new ongoing series starring Braniac 2, who forms a team to free billions from a mysterious foe. Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes guest star. With the cancellation of the Legion's book, and the disappointment of the reprint-oriented Adventure Comics #0, I need some new Legion-like material!

My personal favorite of the week is going to be Green Lantern Corps #33. The War of Light continues as we count down to the Blackest Night event this summer. Mongul is still trying to wrest control of the Sinestro Corps, and his target this time is Daxam. But Daxamite Sodam Yat, aka Ion, might have something to say about that...

Other highlights for the week are Batman And The Outsiders Special #1 , Booster Gold #17, Fables #81, and Nightwing #153 (the last of the series).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feb 4, 2009 Comics: Marvel

Secret Warriors #1. Writer Jonathon Hickman's own words sum things up pretty well: "Nick Fury has returned... and he has a plan." It's finally here! The best thing to come out of Secret Invasion was the return of Nick Fury, and the fact that he will be starring in this new title is a tribute to the creative minds and editorial staff at Marvel. Since the end of the Skrull invasion, the world has gone to hell in a handbasket, and the heroes of the Marvel universe are finding themselves on the outside of the house of public favor looking in. For many of them, it is not a comfortable or familiar place to be. But for Fury, the "man who came in from the cold", operating in the current political climate is really nothing new.

In Invincible Iron Man #10, Tony Stark's meteoric fall from the heights of power to "Most Wanted" status continues at breakneck pace. When last we left our intrepid hero, he was about to cleanse his brain of ... well, pretty much everything - all to keep Norman Osborn from getting his hands on the information. And if that isn't enough of a hook to get you to read this month's issue, I don't know what it would take.

Another title that I have my eye on is Immortal iron Fist #22. Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons are going beyond the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven and on to the oft-hinted at Eighth city. To be honest, I have not been giving this book the attention it merits, as I have merely thumbed through each issue before setting them in their place on my shelves. I finally sat down and read the entire series this last weekend, and I am actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. If you haven't checked Danny out lately, give it a read. Like me, you might be surprised at how good it is.

Marvel's Dark Reign kicks into high gear this week with a slew of titles that are either integral to the storyline, or tangential tie-ins. Agents Of Atlas #1 makes its debut, along with the much anticipated Black Panther 2 #1 (which will hopefully answer the question of who is under the Black Panther mask in all of those promos Marvel has been bombarding us with). Punisher #2 is slated for release, with a special Target: Doctor Doom cover, and Deadpool #7 presents us with the second installment of the "How Low Can You Go?" story, while at the same time celebrating (?) the triumphal (?) return of Bob: Agent of Hydra.

Also on tap are Amazing Spider-Man #585, Cable #11, Franklin Richards Dark Reigning Cats & Dogs (the Franklin Richards books are always enjoyable diversions), War Of Kings Darkhawk #1, X-Men Lives And Times Of Lucas Bishop #1 (Wherein we will begin to learn the reason behind Bishop's obsession with killing the youngest Mutant baby alive today), and X-Men Magneto Testament #5 (the conclusion of this fascinating limited series).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Umbrella Academy: Dallas #3

Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Gabriel Bá
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse

Umbrella Academy: Dallas is a great series. There - I said it. Another issue of Umbrella Academy has arrived, and Gerard Way is leaving little doubt that this is a series with some serious staying power. As much as I and other fans enjoyed the first series, it was unrealistic to expect subsequent storylines to match the peculiar charm and eclectic energy of Apocalypse Suite. At the half-way point of the second series, I am ready to proclaim that Dallas may very well be better than its predecessor.

If anything, Gerard Way's writing is becoming more focused with each issue he completes. These characters have been around for nine issues now (along with a few short episodes in other books), and they still have that haze of mystery about them. There is something both engaging and off-putting about the stars of this series - an aura that both attracts and repels the reader. It is as if they keep all of us at arm's length, allowing us to peek at the inner workings of their lives but never letting us delve too deeply into the inner workings of their souls. In that, Way has managed to make us feel as though we are members of this dysfunctional "family", for our skin-deep relationship with each character mirrors the relationships they have with one another.

The artwork is what we have come to expect from Gabriel Ba, and Stewart's coloring accents it perfectly. The characters and scenery leap from the page as the book moves effortlessly through scene after scene of madness and mayhem. And there is just something about Hazel and Cha-Cha that sends a chill up your spine. It is disturbing that a pair of killers could be that creepily cute and yet so efficient at their bloody profession. Like the members of the Umbrella Academy, these two assassins are perfectly cast for their roles in the series. And wait until you see Heaven...

All in all, this was another fantastic issue that has me eagerly anticipating Way and Ba's next outing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thunderbolts #128

I was going to talk about the new issue of Marvel's Thunderbolts as a work of comic book fiction - you know, that combination of words and pictures that we fans devour for entertainment sustenance? Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Thunderbolts #128 has been on the stands less than a week now, and I have been bombarded by friends, associates, and others with more opinions on this book than on any single comic in recent memory. And around what subject, pray tell, do you imagine the comments are centered ? Could it be the current state of the Marvel Universe? The advent of Norman Osborn's Dark Reign? Whether or not the Thunderbolts hold any relevance in this brave new world where any villain can be given legitimacy just because Normie says so? While any of those might have been interesting topics for conversation (and indeed, I have had discussions with a number of folks about each and every one of those questions), most of the questions directed toward me over the last week have involved an element of this month's issue of which I had barely taken note: the appearance of President Barack Obama.

Don't get me wrong, I had noticed his appearance. I had even noticed that this appearance, unlike his much-publicized appearance in Spider-Man, was actually relevant to the story. His meeting with Norman Osborn aboard Air Force One, and the verbal sparring the two had over the recent consolidation of power in Osborn's hands, came off as an inherently natural and necessary element of the story. However, no one who contacted me had any interest in Obama's cameo as a story element. Rather, they all took issue with the fact that the new President did not immediately see through Norman's facade and order his dismissal. In the words of one reader,

"Marvel painted the leader of the Free World as naive and overly-trusting. Barack Obama is far too wise to fall for Norman's tricks!"

And that reader was not alone. I was amazed at the sheer volume of people who were offended by Marvel's depiction of a fictional version of the President of the United States of the Marvel Universe. Did anyone get that last part? Any president who appears in the Marvel Universe is a fictional representation of an American leader. It is not a biography. It is not an advertisement for the real entity. It is a work of fictional characterization.

Then again, what is so negative about the Obama who was portrayed in this comic? What exactly did the fictional president say or do that the real President's ardent admirer's find so insulting? In my opinion, having read the issue several times in an attempt to understand this supposed slight, there is absolutely nothing positive or negative about the portrayal of the President in Thunderbolts #128. He has a meeting with Norman Osborn. So what? During last fall's presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly vowed to meet with anyone, anywhere - even those who have been avowed foes of the United States for decades. If the real Obama is willing to meet with this nation's longstanding adversaries, is it not perfectly reasonable to assume that
even the real President Obama would meet with an official who answers only to the highest office in the land? Of course he would.

Alas, as perfectly as this cameo of the new President was executed, I do hope that Marvel refrains from excessive appearances by Mr. Obama in the pages of their comics. It's not that they are poorly done (like the Spider-Man cameo), or that they are well done (like this one). It is just that I don't think I can stand four years of the new President's supporters parsing every fictional word and gesture that Marvel's writers and artists attribute to the fictional President. Those supporters, thus far, have proven far too sensitive.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy #9

Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker & Carlos Magno
Publisher: Marvel

Abnett and Lanning continue the cosmic joyride that has made Guardians of the Galaxy one of the most enjoyable reads each and every month. The current issue contains all of the elements that we have all come to expect from this comic: tight plotting, snappy dialogue, and great characterizations.

The issue opens with an extended scene depicting the seige of 42. For those who are not familiar with 42, it is an extradimensional prison in the Negative Zone, where Earth houses its super-criminals. It was the brainchild of Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym, and was designed to have portals linking it to every state in the Fifty-State Initiative. Of course, portals designed to allow access into the Negative Zone prison can be used to exit the Negative Zone as well - a fact that has not escaped the attention of Blastaar. Thus, the law of unintended consequences hangs like the Sword of Damocles over all of the Earth, as Blastaar's armies lay siege to the prison as the first step of his invasion off our world. Thanks, Tony. Thanks, Reed. Thanks, Hank. Do us all a favor and keep the rest of your "100 Ideas" for utopia to yourselves, okay?

One word of caution is necessary, and that concerns the artwork. The credits list Brad Walker (who did a great job last issue) and Carlos Magno as pencillers - but does not give us any indication as to who drew which pages. I had initially thought that fans who would mourn Pelletier's absence from these pages would have found some comfort in Brad Walker's pencils, and his first outing proved promising. I can only assume that the addition of Magno's pencils in this issue resulted in the lackluster quality of the art. In any event, while there are some genuinely beautiful scenes in this story, the artwork as a whole is far from the quality that Guardians fans have come to expect - and that this wonderful comic deserves.

I continue to enjoy this comic tremendously, and recommend it to anyone who loves good comic book writing.


Welcome to my sanctum sanctorum of comics book delights. Every magician - even a comic book magician - should have a place to ponder the deeper mysteries of life, the universe, and everything; this is mine.

But I want it to be yours as well. While I plan to share my thoughts and ideas about various comic book issues and series, I am not so egotistical as to think that mine are the only thoughts and ideas with merit. Your opinions might just matter to me as much as my own (depending on what day of the week it is and whether or not I have taken my medication), so be sure to use the comment feature and let me know what you think. Whether you agree, disagree, think I'm just the most insightful genius ever to grace the planet, or a moronic spouter of useless blather, I want to hear it.

Hopefully we'll have a little fun along the way...