So, last night, I was online, finishing up a little historical research, when I happened across my old Stargate address.  Wonder what the old gang is doing?, I wondered.  Well, there was only one way to find out.  I sent out a bunch of emails before calling it a night.  This morning, I woke up to a couple of dozen replies.  Turns out I have a lot of catching up to do.  Making plans to do some coffees, lunches, and dinners – in addition to attending the Stargate Christmas reunion being organized by the lovely Tanja Balic.

Things are moving along nicely on the Dark Matter front.  As you know, the comic book launches on January 11, 2012 and the plan is to use it as a springboard to a television series.  Big conference call planned for next week to discuss strategy – and a brilliant suggestion by my Canadian agent that, if it pans out, should result in the rest of the pieces falling into place quite nicely.

Well, I’m back in the comic book swing of things and, in order to figure out which books I should be following, I’ve elected to go the “trial and error” route by buying three issues of every ongoing title out there and giving them a shot.  If they impress after three, I’ll keep picking them up.  If not, I’ll drop them.  Presumably, this method will allow me to whittle down my choices to the select few books I’ll continue to follow to my dying days.

Anyhoo, kicked things off a couple of entries back with my thoughts of the new Batman & Robin relaunch.  Today, I’ve got some catching up to do…


I’ve always enjoyed the Batman line for its gritty, grounded stories and darker tone.  Even the most colorful members of the Dark Knight’s rogue’s gallery are more sinister than silly, less the over-the-top villains found in other titles and more of the believable threats one would expect from a more mature narrative (movies notwithstanding).  This new Batman title did not disappoint, weaving an engaging and eerily unnerving narrative involving a grisly murder, an attempt on the life of Bruce Wayne, and a secret society known as The Court of Owls.  Lots to like here.

Verdict: Scott Snyder’s opening story is tightly written and well-paced. Definitely continuing with this series.


Like Batman, Spiderman is a character I’ve always enjoyed reading although the tone of his books tend to contrast greatly with that of the Dark Knight’s.  The Spiderman books have always been far more colorful with grand, over-the-top villains and stories.  Of course, that never made Spiderman less enjoyable.  Usually.  There were always certain storylines that felt more cartoonish and silly but, really, they could be excused as more a change of pace than the norm, narrative blips that never really marred the whole.  In the case of the big multi-issue/cross-over Spider Island event, it was a little harder to ignore. Even by Spidey’s generally broader arcs, this one felt a little OTT.  The inclusion of other Marvel heavy-hitters seemed beside the point as they just seemed on hand to provide spectacular background combat while the true story moved along.  I quite liked the character moments – particularly Pete’s moments with MJ in those final two issues – but thought that Peter’s new girlfriend made a huge leap in logic in concluding he was Spiderman.  As far as major events go, the Spider Island arc paled in comparison to far more provocative events like Civil War.  P.S. Peter Parker has a long lost brother named Kaine?  Just like the Undertaker in WWE?  For real?

Verdict: Really liked the character moments but the whole Spider Island menace ultimately felt insubstantial to me, a less inspired threat than its premise.  Read the first issue of the following story-arc and that didn’t really grab me either.  Sadly, I think I’m going to move on.


Now this title surprised me, setting up a nice mystery in its opening issue and introducing an interesting character in the affable Guy Gardner, a character I never really liked in the past who comes across as strangely endearing in GLC.  Love the art and the SF trappings and, while the story seems to slow down after the first issue, devolving into an extended fight sequence, it holds much promise.

Verdict: I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Hopefully, the pace will pick up in issue #4.  Will definitely be continuing with this one to see how things progress.


One of the drawbacks of reading an established title is you go in with the knowledge that, barring some pre-announced shake-up, there aren’t going to be any big surprises.  Small surprises, sure, but not the shocking, earths-shattering developments whose ramifications resonate throughout the superheroic universe – like, say, the death of Spiderman, because you know Spiderman is a bread and butter character and there’s no way Marvel would…oh, check that.  Marvel DID kill off Spiderman (R.I.P. Peter Parker), albeit in an alternate timeline. And this is why the Ultimates titles appeal to me.  I don’t want to go in knowing that a book’s writer has been given free reign to play in the sandbox so long as they remember to put all the toys back when they’re done.   I like surprises.  And this new incarnation of the Ultimates delivers with a story at times more SF than superhero-inspired, with plenty of big concept twists, shocking turns, and a genuinely suspenseful build-up to what could well be a hopeless showdown with a seemingly superior foe.  Serious and smart.

Verdict: I’m on the edge of my seat.  Of course I’ll be picking up the next issue!


Oof.  I like dark characters and villains in particular (loved Gail Simone’s Secret Six), but only if I, as a reader, can connect with them on some level. They don’t even have to be likable necessarily, simply engaging or worthy of respect.  Unfortunately, Deathstroke in this book is a far cry from Deadshot.  While both, for the most part, come across as assholes, Deadshot possesses a depth and humor that redeems him to a certain extent.  Deathstroke, on the other hand, is an incredibly unlikable character doing repugnant things.  There is one point in the opening arc in which he chases down a middle-man who helped set up a deal, leading to a major, messy, violent scenario – a scenario, Deathstroke later admits, that he merely set up to gain some cred. Seemingly lost in all the pyrotechnics is the innocent bystander, a woman in a car, who takes a headshot while it’s all going down.  By the end of the third issue, when we find out who is coming after Deathstroke and why, I can actually empathize with their cause and wish they would actually succeed.

Verdict: An incredibly unlikable character in Slade Wilson makes for a difficult read.  Pass.


To be honest, I was very wary about this one going in.  Despite my respect for the talented Mr. Bendis, I was a little concerned about the decision to move so far away from the established mythology by passing the mantle from Peter Parker to an all-new Spiderman.  Who am I kidding?  I was a lot concerned – but the story and its characters thoroughly won me over.  Bendis strengths are in full display here, creating and developing grounded, believable, multi-layered characters as they relate to superhuman struggles.  A lot of nice, little touches in the book, humorous and poignant, especially when it comes to the supporting players.  Love Miles’ awestruck sidekick, Ganke.

Verdict: Terrific.  Definitely on my to-read list.

32 thoughts on “November 25, 2011: A Stargate Reunion! Plotting Dark Matter’s course! Wading through what seems like every comic out there!

  1. Neat on all the comics. I’ll have to ask my brother his thoughts. And very cool on the Stargate reunion!!!! Hopefully, you will be able to take pictures.

    Have a great night!!!!

  2. I think it’s fabulous that you have so much energy for your varied, interesting projects. Much success with them all!

    So, can you tell us which other alums (SG family) may be attending the Stargate Christmas reunion being organized by the lovely Tanja Balic, production coordinator extraordinaire? I’m such we’d all like to know. And you will share photos – yes?

    Stargate may be out of production, but the interest, passion and devotion for the franchise lives on in so many of us Joe. I also find it interesting that MGM still maintains the MGM Stargate website. I do look in now and again; admire the site design. And nothing beats the outstanding subject matter 😉

    Basil cat & I bid you good night

  3. Short of booking a flight to Vancouver and spending days lurking outside your preferred eating establishments, how might one get a signed copy of Dark Matter? Not that I have anything against stalking big time celebrities but standing around outside in January that far north at my age could be a little dicy. Any plans for a globe trotting signing marathon? Seriously, though, I am looking forward to the launch.

  4. I think my problem with comics is that it’s practically impossible to get a complete story. There are arcs, but for the most part, the stories just seem to go on and on, and one arc bleeds into the next so that it’s hard to find something that has a solid beginning, middle, and end. And then there’s the fact that storylines often span multiple titles, which makes it difficult if you only read one or two titles. Which may be why I like AU stories so much; it’s easier to get a full story. Although, while I’m skeptical about the new Spider-Man, I may have to look into that one just to see what’s up.

    I went to a restaurant tonight, and just because I don’t know of anyone else who’d remotely care, I thought I’d mention it here. Just in case you keep a list of recs or something. I’m visiting Carmel, CA, and there’s this French restaurant called Andre’s Bouchee. It was pretty great (in my opinion, as someone who doesn’t really go to a lot of fancier restaurants, anyway). Really good service, too. If you’re ever in Carmel, you might check it out.

  5. @Tim Hendrix: LOL on the standing outside in January up there. I don’t think I could handle that either. In all seriousness though, I would probably feel very intimidated if I were to ever meet Joe. Lou Anders was at one of our NaNoWriMo events here in Alabama, and I was so intimidated. My husband had to “push me” to go and meet him. I enjoyed it though after I got over the initial nervousness.

  6. A Stargate Christmas party sounds like fun..

    I know it’s probably heresy, but I really never got into comic books, but I most certainly will be getting yours.

    I wanted to ask you about your thoughts on The Algebraist?


  7. The Green Lantern comics have been great so far. Though they have been confusing at times. Hope more catch your eye

  8. 6 elves finished their toymaking early this year and are vacationing at our house! They showed up today and were trying to climb to the doorbell when my husband got home from work. We didn’t have any glitter to sprinkle on them to make them magical enough to come to life overnight so we used sprinkles.

    They’ll be half making popcorn and construction paper garlands for the kids to finish tomorrow. I need to buy marshmallows for roasting on a toothpick over candles and snowball fights. On school days, I hope they keep their mischief down to stuff that we don’t need to finish or clean up like parking the car sideways.

  9. what actors do you have in mind for dark matter, hopefully a few sg pepole. I was thinking david hewlett.

  10. Hey that Stargate Christmas Reunion party sounds very interesting. You’ll have to be sure and not forget your camera. Where do you keep that on your person? A rope around your neck? In your pocket? In a case hooked to your belt? Stuffed in your sock? Backpack? Can’t wait for the cornucopia of pictures that I hope will come from it. A little present for us at Christmas time!

    @ Lisa R – if I ever met Joe, I would probably tackle him or give him a big bear hug and not let go. Akemi would have to use her ninja skills to save him.

    Sorry. Too much sugar in my iced tea tonight. I’m wired…

  11. @Lisa R: After an audience with Pope John Paul II many, many, many years ago I’ve learned to overcome my inherently shy manner. Though I must admit, the thought of meeting Mr. Mallozzi does weaken the knees to a degree. His duly sanctified status among his fans is indeed a thing of wonder. He’s a righteous dude.

  12. You certainly read quite a few. Thanks for the run-down on them. It’s interesting to get your take.

    Christmas reunions are good things. We will expect pictures, naturally.

  13. Love the idea of a Stargate reunion. It’s a special franchise with a huge populace of devoted fans.

    Not a real huge comic fan. I’ve only purchased Jericho, and now yours, in my entire adult life. Was a big Archie fan, however, when I was younger.

  14. IIRC, Kaine isn’t actually Peter Parker’s brother. He is the last surviving clone of Spider-Man that Dr. Miles Warren (aka The Jackal) created way back during the Spider Clone arc in the 70’s.

  15. WHo knew there were sooooo many comic books out there!! Lunch and dinner plans sounds like a wonderful way to spend the month of December,,take,pictures,,Oh yes please, lots of pix also of the SG reunion Christmas party, and the food too. Good luck to Tanja.
    Is the tree still behind the couch? or are you getting a new one..?
    ~~Have a wonderful day!!~~

  16. Good luck with Dark Matter! I hope the strategy meeting next week is fruitful.

    re: comic books: I admire your ability to read so many different things and keep them all straight. I would constantly be losing track and having to go back to the beginning to remind myself what the heck was going on.

    Stargate Reunion! Sounds like fun, and I’m sure you’ll share some great pictures with us.

    @Lisa R: Lou Anders at your NaNoWriMo?! I’m jealous and I don’t even write! But I would love to meet him. I met Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) at a book signing last year and was all tongue-tied even though he is a sweet, approachable teddy bear of a guy.

    1. @Sparrow_hawk: Yes, I was very surprised. At first, I thought he was just visiting the area and had been invited to come to speak at our kick-off. (two other authors were there too) But, he was at one of the write-ins as well which was very very cool.

  17. Joe, if you’re interested in reading any of DC’s other “New 52” books, I’d suggest Batwoman (gorgeous art, terrific story, though you might want to pick up the Batwoman: Elegy hardcover first to learn more about the character), Aquaman (again, fantastic art and the story so far has been really good) and my other personal favorite, Demon Knights (set in medieval times, featuring new versions of The Demon, Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage among others. Very different from any of the other DC books out right now).

  18. Stargate reunion? Better dig up some make-up artists because a reunion would not be complete without at least one handsome eyebrow-challenged, silver-locked fella in the group.

    And, no, I’m not talking about Carl.



  19. @Akemi
    Adorable dog and chick! Very cute.

    Another kitty with paws:

    (> ” ” <)
    ( ='o'= )

    Anyone else out there game? Where are all the Ascii artists? Unleash your creativity!


  20. @Tim Hendrix: Joe would be a very interesting person to meet. Wonder what he would do if a bunch of us blog readers started showing up in Vancouver. LOL

  21. I was lucky enough to meet Joe this summer and he is pretty down to earth. He writes his blog as if he is having a conversation with us! But a blog convention with Joe and Akemi (who is super sweet) would be pretty epic!

    @——>——- for Akemi this is as creative as I can get! A rose for you!

    ** And an almost pig?

  22. click on this link…what might have been,,,stargate universe 3,and beyond..

    [edit – Thanks for this, but still not linking to fan fiction]

    my iea for its next series..enjoy

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