Archive | July, 2011

My five favorite crossovers

26 Jul

For fans of comic books, few times of the year are more anticipated, while at the same time loathed, as the summer crossover season.  Marvel and DC roll out some new storyline that will “change everything forever.”  For five or six months we read some giant storyline and beloved characters are killed in some trite and ignoble way. Then at the end of the crossover, everything is back the way it was (minus the aforementioned newly dead).  DC’s crossover this year is the interesting, and almost over, Flashpoint, a look at an alternate reality, presumably brought about by the machinations of the Reverse Flash.  And it concludes with the introduction of the DCnU next month.  But what previous crossovers are worth you tracking down? 

5) Underworld Unleashed was DC’s attempt to revitalize their villanous characters in the mid 90s.  They had spent the first half of the decade doing major work on their heroes.  Many of the stories succeeded while others fell flat, and they decided they needed a quick and similar job done on their villains.  Enter Neron, who was originally supposed to be DC’s devil, but over time has degraded to a standard demon.  He offered the villains amazing powers for their souls, and being villains most took the deal.  After a while, he even offered heroes similar deals and many took the chance.  Only the “most pure” hero could withstand him. And it wasn’t who we were counting on. 

4) Blackest Night is my favorite crossover from the 2000s.   Nekron, guardian of the realm of death, declared war on the land of the living.  Green Lantern and his friends had to fight a difficult fight against the reanimated bodies of their friends.  Many heroes lost their lives and like previously mentioned some of the deaths were rather disappointing.  But for the most part, this was fun and exciting heroes versus zombie mayhem.  The conclusion was wonderful.  Unfortunately, it led directly into DC’s next big story which ended up being a monumental let down.  But this series in and of itself was a true classic. 

3) Crisis on Infinite Earths is the granddaddy of cross-overs.  It is the ultimate maxi-series.  12 issues of universal mayhem and destruction.  The ultimate villain fought ALL of DC’s heroes from its history.  The multiverse was lost, leading to the first major reboot of DC’s continuity.  Many heroes and villains lost their lives in the story.  This also featured a great team-up of heroes and villains, followed up by the ultimate villain war against the heroes.  And Supergirl and Flash died in two of the best written death scenes from comic book history. 

2) My second favorite crossover of all time dealt with a threat native to the 30th century fighting the modern day DCU.  The Sun-Eater of Legion fame came to the 1990s in Final Night.  Fortunately, several members of the Legion of Superheroes where time lost and able to help out.  The first issue showed what I never thought would happen, as the heroes lost.  The rest of the series followed what happened to Earth with the sun dying slowly.  This is one of the rare crossovers, where each issue was generally pretty good.  And the conclusion, featuring the death of my all time favorite character killed me as a teen.  The funeral in the next issue of Green Lantern was perfect and featured one of the rare special covers I really liked. 

1) Kingdom Come is amazing.  Over the years, my love for this book has grown.  It is now the one comic I make sure I always share with people wanting to know what comics are capable of.  Mark Waid was at the top of his game on this book and Alex Ross is the ultimate comic artist.  Honestly, I would say he is one of the greatest American painters ever in any field.  And getting to see him paint Superman and Captain Marvel is a fan boy dream come true.  The story featuring an apocalyptic view of the near future had been done before but never with such scale and scope in a comic book.  Unfortunately, the sequel was one of the most disappointing books of all time.  Alex Ross soon came out and said Kingdom Come was its own conclusion.  It must be noted he wasn’t a part of the sequel, but I can’t fault his logic.  The book speaks for itself. 

 

 

My favorite comic writers

26 Jul

For many years, I have read comics.  Over the years, famous writers have entered the field and left.  Surprisingly, sometimes, they return and at other times, people leave at the top of their game.  With the advent of DCnU, Scott Lodbell, a once a-game X-men author is returning to helm three DC titles, including a perennial favorite character of mine, Super(clone)boy.  Meanwhile, one of my favorite authors, who left the big leagues years ago, Alan Moore recently discussed his plans to write a digital comic.  It got me thinking about who really is the best in the business. 

10) Marv Wolfman has written comics almost forever.  Few, if any, can compare with his big story.  The Crisis on Infinite Earths is still the biggest inter-company crossover I have ever read, though over the years some serious competition has arisen.  His Titans run was groundbreaking.  His recent work though has disappointed me a good bit or he would be higher on the list. 

9) Gail Simone is the most recent author to make the list of my favorites.  But from what I have seen, she is incredibly talented.  Although Secret Six is very risque to me, it is classic.  The characters she has revamped are now some of my favorites.  I hope Catman returns in some way to the DCnU, and that mystifies me.  I really look forward to her plans for Firestorm.  I am probably the only person who doesn’t care about the Batgirl situation.  Until Morrison is off the Bat titles, I plan on skipping them. 

8) Alan Moore should be higher on the list, and it is probably considered heretical in the comic field to put him at 8.  His classics are comic book masterpieces.  I hate to rehash what has been said about Watchmen, though it deserves the accolades.  So instead, let me recommend his Superman work.  His “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow” is my favorite Superman story of all time.  And the fight with Mongol will forever be considered one of Superman’s most amazing fights.  If he would only return to the mainstream, I could live happy (comparatively). 

7) Mark Waid was one of DC’s biggest stars fifteen years ago.  I really miss that.  His Flash run (no pun intended) was truly inspirational in the comics industry.   His run on the JLA and his JLA Year One are some of my favorite Justice League titles of all time.  Only one other run on the Justice League compares to me and I will return to it. 

6) Karl Kesel wrote one of my favorite Superman runs.  It had humor, action, and introduced some wonderful characters, while reintroducing others.  His love for classic Kirby concepts influenced my love for Kirby, who didn’t get the respect he deserved for far too long.  And his Superboy is still my favorite incarnation of the boy of steel. 

5) Joe Kelly was a long time Marvel author, but it was his work at DC that blew my mind.  His Superboy run was disappointing, but his Justice League was good.  His Superman though was almost perfect.  He completely got Lois and Clark’s relationship.  His Zod storyline was amazing, although the ending fizzled a little I felt.  Still, his introduction of the Elite will also go down in history to me was one of the great Superman stories. 

4) Jeph Loeb entered the DCU at about the same time.  Jeph’s work made me fall in love with Superman all over again.  I had about given up on the Man of Steel at the end of the 90s, but Jeph suddenly made Superman relevant.  Some fuss over a wasted opportunity of Lex as president, but I thought it was fantastic.  And although “Our Worlds at War” may not have been the perfect crossover, but I enjoyed it and wish Imperix could come back somehow.  There is potential there.  I hope the new DCU finds that potential. 

3) Geoff Johns has written some of the greatest DC stories in the last fifteen years.  He was paired with David Goyer as he began on the Justice Society, and all too often today he gets full credit for the success of it.  The two did a great job on the book.  “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.” was the perfect reimagining of a classic but somewhat silly concept.  And it was so sweet.  The return of the Green Lantern Corps will forever establish him as one of DC’s greatest writers.  “Blackest Night” and “Infinite Crisis” were good reads.  Although I feel he is dropping a bit, he has amazing power and skill at DC.  I hope we don’t lose him anytime soon. 

2) Paul Levitz is DC.  He has had a major role at the company for so long, I can’t imagine him not being at DC.  The Legion of Super-heroes is one of the greatest concepts in comics and he is almost completely responsible for its modern longivity.  I am so glad he is responsible for helming them through  the transition of this new era in DC.  Of all the writers in comics, he is one of the few I truly wish to meet and spend time talking with. 

1) Keith Giffen still changes how I see comic books.  Although it has taken me forever to get Ambush Bug, I desperately want to see the Bug come back.  His Legion of Super-heroes work may be controversial but I still think it was the most amazing run in Legion history.  It dared to be different and changed things.  But most importantly, his Justice League books (with J.M. Demattias) are what comic books should be.  They were fun and lighthearted at times, but could hit home and the characters became almost a family to me.  Fortunately, DC has decided to collect the stories giving me a new chance to read and marvel at his ideas. 

I would love to have the power to choose the writers for the DCnU.  Hopefully, they will look at what these greats did with these characters and tell stories that stand the test of time like them.  I would love to hear what you all think of these guys (and lady).

Dogmaticness and why it’s a problem

22 Jul

Dogma is a wonderful word.  Without looking at the Kevin Smith movie, the word relates to belief and religious philosophy.  People’s dogma relates to how we see the world and why we understand how the world works.  We each develop our own sense of a dogma and it may be based on an established dogma or a mesh of various beliefs. The word dogmatic though is a little different.  Webster defines “dogmatic” as “characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts.”  Being dogmatic is expressing your opinions and thoughts as fact.  It’s not quite the same thing. 

Now, I will be honest with you, for anyone reading this, I don’t mind people stating their dogma as fact, although I don’t appreciate dogmatism.  To me, dogma is essential to life.  And the religion someone choses to follow should be followed whole-heartedly.  A christian should BE a christian.  Christians should see themselves as right.  And a buddhist should live his life devoted to his teachings. If what you believe isn’t worth believing with all your heart and standing for completely, then you should probably move on. 

But on the other hand, dogmatism is very different.  Dogmatism is creating your own opinions and following it whole-heatedly.  A christian can be dogmatic and it can create problems.  The Bible, God’s Holy Word, doesn’t spell everything out completely.  For example, the Bible talks about miracles.  The Bible also says that when “that which is perfect is come,” that miracles will be done away with.  And yet, at no point, does it define what that is.  Many consider the perfection mentioned to be the completed Bible, while others see it to be when Christ returns.  It could be seen either way.  And yet, all too frequently, if you try and disagree with someone on the this topic, they get irrate and consider you to be heretical.  Another famous issue Christians debate is when the “rapture” will occur.  Some see the rapture as clearly outlined before the tribulation, while others see passages that say Christ will return during the tribulation and others see Christ returning at the end of the tribulation.  Some even consider that the tribulation has already happened.  But try to question someone about their belief and they may get rather vocal with you. 

If you are reading this, and think these issues are cut and dry, that’s cool.  We all have the right to interpret the Bible as we see fit.  You don’t get to fuss and mistreat your fellow christian because they disagree however, because the Bible doesn’t spell it all out.  In the book of Acts, Luke mentions a group of people called the Bereans who questioned what Paul and Luke taught them.  These are heroes of the faith to me. They searched the scriptures to verify what they were taught.  That is what we are supposed to do.  And that is how we should handle moments when people disagree with us.  No arguement just researching the Bible. 

Finally, the worst problem with many dogmatic people (and yes, I notice a degree of irony in my dogmatically fussing against dogmatic people) is that they don’t necessarily know why they believe what they do.  A priest, preacher, rabbi, etc told them something at one point and they believe it.  They can quote some random words they call scripture, but really don’t know where it’s at.  Or they know where it’s at but argue if you mention another verse that may imply something different than they have been taught to believe.  They focus so much at one point that they miss bigger points and push people away. 

As christians, we need to move away from dogmatism I believe.  The truth is somethings we will never know on earth.  Being rude and hateful just diverts God’s love from being seen.  There are points where all christians must come together if we want to claim to be christians.  Christ died and was resurrected.  God created us.  These are essentials of the faith.  Years ago, I heard of a denomination that’s core belief was summed up as “on essentials, stand firm.  On questionable things, feel free to believe as you see fit.”  That’s not exactly the church’s dogma, but I think it’s a pretty good place to start. 

 

Retro DC returns

21 Jul

 

The Injustice Gang returns

Many new ideas are coming out of DC right now.  Of all the new ideas, though, few excite me as much as the “DC Retro” books that are coming out this month and next.  The idea is fairly simple.  Take some of DC’s most popular characters since the 70s, throw classic writers and artists on them, and tell stories set in the 70s, 80, and 90s, which are some of DC’s greatest eras. 

A major reason to read these books is that it is a chance to get a new Superman story by Marv Wolfman connected to the original Crisis.  It is a classic story by Wolfman.  Where else can you see Roy Thomas writing Wonder Woman now?  Honestly, I really didn’t know he was writing much of anything other than Alter Ego right now.  Denny O’Neil will be writing Hal Jordan.  And it will be a chance to see the Satellite Era Justice League again.  This is great!

The book I am most excited about is the Justice League story set in the 90s.  Anytime I can see Keith Giffen and J.M. Demattias on the Justice League I want to be there.  Kevin Maguire is the only artist who could do the art on this title and he is coming back.  This is my all time favorite run on any book ever.  The humor is classic and there are few other books that I always recommend to new comic readers.  And at least as of right now, Keith and J.M. have said this is the last time they will be on the book again.  I have to read this book. 

The single most exciting part of the concept though is that the books are being released digitally the same day they are being released in print.  This is great.  I stopped going to the comic shop a few months ago, when my wife ordered me comics from DC.  These books were announced right afterwards and I was disappointed.  I really didn’t want to miss them, but I live pretty far from the local comic store.  Now, I don’t have to worry about it.  It’s great.  This is your perfect chance to read classic writers and artists on classic characters and you don’t even have to leave your own house.  Who could ask for more?

Can divorced people be ministers or deacons?

15 Jul

Yesterday, I blogged about what led me to wonder about the concept of divorced deacons and ministers.  Today, I thought would be a good time to lay out my final thoughts on the matter.  Over the last year, I have occasionally put snippets of my thoughts on Facebook or an older blog I have.  My father always warned me of taking one verse out of context and trying to make an entire theological argument.  I truly feel this is what has happened with this issue. 

So for those who may not know the issue, the problem comes from several verses in different books of the Bible describing a similar situation.  In I Timothy 3, Paul says “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.”  In Titus, he says basically the same thing.  And that is pretty much it.  Now, to be sure, the Bible does say that God made man and woman to be married and we shouldn’t divorce.  In Matthew 19, Jesus says that if “anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” These are all very simple to understand. 

However, I still feel churches take this as much too cut and dry.  If you look at the verse in Matthew, Jesus makes an exception for those who divorce do to sexual immorality. And yet, many churches still will not allow people who divorce for those causes to be deacons or ministers.  To go a step further, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul states that “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.”  Paul states that if a Christian is married to an unbeliever that is willing to stay married, the Christian is not to divorce due to religious differences.  He goes on to explain that the marriage may draw the unbeliever to Christ.  But a few verses later, he states that “if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”  So, Paul establishes that Christians aren’t at fault if an unbeliever leaves their Christian spouse.  Another famous passage that deals with a similar issue is found in the Old Testament book of Ezra.  There the men had married pagan women and realized that was keeping them from fulfilling the covenant God established with their forefathers.  They (priests included) went to Ezra and confessed the sin and declared they would put the foreign wives and children from them.  Ezra agrees with the people’s plan and in fact commands that they “Now honor[a] the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” Obviously, divorce is not always the wrong answer.  It might not be the best situation or God’s original plan, but humans so rarely fit into God’s original plans. 

To go the ultimate step, though, in the book of Jeremiah chapter 3, God describes Israel’s situation in His eyes.  They had routinely failed to live up to their covenant with Him.  After betraying Him time and time again, He finally had had enough.  And in verse 8, God states, “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.”  God used the term divorce in His relationship to Israel. 

If you ask me, the topic is now opened to the notion that divorce is not some all consuming sin, from which we can never recover.  So what stops divorcees from being deacons or ministers?  Surprisingly, some would claim the problem is when the person remarries, and is no longer “husband of ONE wife.”  They then follow the claim with the belief that the Bible never talks of remarriage as a viable spiritual option.  And yet, in the same chapter of Jeremiah, God speaks of a part of the law from Deuteronomy.  In Deuteronomy 24, the Law states that if a man divorces a woman, and she remarries, she is not to return to the first husband for any reason.  In fact, it says that would be detestable to the Lord.  In Jeremiah, God quoted that passage and states that Judah was trying to return to God after leaving Him time and time again. 

So is there any other viable option for what Paul meant when he referred to the “husband of one wife?”  I think this relates to a cultural issue that most Americans don’t think about.  In Biblical times, and in many places in the world still today, polygamy was an issue.  Abraham had multiple wives, as did Jacob and David and many other saints from the Old Testament.  The issue is largely not mentioned in the New Testament, but it was still around in places, like it is today.  Some might claim that God always came out against polygamy, so why would Paul specifically be mentioning it in this passage?  The point is God didn’t always come out against it.  In fact, in 2 Samuel 12, when Nathan confronted David over his sin with Bathsheba, he says God wasn’t made that David had taken another wife, but with the nature of the act.  God says He gave David his throne and the wives of Saul.  He even stated if that wasn’t enough for David, He would have given him more. 

Polygamy was a valid issue.  And in many of the situations previously mentioned, the fact that the men had many wives caused problems, whether accepted or not.  Jacob’s wives constantly tried to one up the other.  Many of Abraham’s problems began when he took Hagar as his concubine and fathered a child with her.  Solomon, of the 700 wives, specifically fell into great sin by being led astray by his wives.  Perhaps Paul was warning that a man with such issues wouldn’t be able to lead the church? 

Finally, God forgives sin.  Yes, we still have to deal with repercussions of sin, but God forgives.  There are other requirements that surprisingly get mentioned rarely in the discussion.  Deacons aren’t supposed to be quarrelsome or violent, and yet often times deacons and ministers today are quite argumentative.  Not all are but some are.  Many famous Bible leaders would fail due to this requirement, like Moses who murdered a man in anger or Paul, who had persecuted the church. Also, Paul stated that the leaders were to manage their own families and children well.  Similarly, today’s church leaders often struggle with these topics and so did famous Bible men like Eli and Samuel. I am not trying to say people who don’t quite measure up in these respects should be cast out from their roles.  I just find it odd that this one particular point gets taken so seriously, while all too often we turn blind eyes to the other requirements.  Honestly, few, if any of us, would truly completely measure up to God’s plans.  But the great thing is, God uses failures to make wonders.

My first thoughts on divorced ministry religion

13 Jul

For those who know me, the statement I am about to make won’t come as a surprise. I have OCD. I say this because the topic for the next few days is a topic many might say I am obsessed about. But I want to explain why my next few topics will deal with divorced deacons and ministers.
You see, for some this might not seem to be a major issue. Many see no problem with divorced deacons and ministers and thus wonder why some make such an issue about the topic. Others see it is a sign that the Church is losing a moral battle, and that divorced ministers or deacons is just one step above women pastors or maybe even worse. But to me, it has been a topic I have had a profound interest in most of my life. For the last several months, specifically, it has become a topic I have studied and discussed with others with great interest. Today, I plan on laying out the thoughts that led me to studying and debating the topic.
You see, in I Timothy 3 and in Titus 1, Paul is writing about the requirements of deacons, elders, and ministers. A key component of the passage states, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.” For pretty much all of my life, I have attended a small Southern Baptist Church, which has taught indefinitely that divorcees cannot, under any circumstances, be a deacon or minister because of this verse. Some have left over how dogmatic the issue has been taught. Meanwhile, many of my friends and family have entered the ministry and most similarly taught that the verse was adamantly stating that divorcees need not apply. Seems pretty cut and dry at that point.
At the same time, it always bothered me that my dad wasn’t a deacon or minister. Growing up, I asked him one day why he wasn’t, as I knew few people then or now who knew the Bible half as good as he did. He told me that although he disagreed with the interpretation of the verse (more on that later), because he was divorced, he couldn’t be a deacon or minister in my family’s church. This always bothered me. The wisest man I ever knew was suddenly put in a secondary position all because of something that happened in his past. I discussed the topic with him off and on most of the remainder of his life. Although I began to personally believe my dad was right, I was still taught constantly that he was wrong and I never really felt settled on the issue.
Through the years, several church leaders I knew divorced for one reason or other. This caused me to question how right my teachers were. Many of the very people who taught that divorcees were not able to become ministers or deacons got divorced over the years and yet many continued in their roles. Over time, more friends of mine left various churches over this issue and it bothered me. Most recently, one of my close friends who was divorced became a minister. His church is thriving and he is a preacher I have the utmost respect for. This all led to me wanting to settle the issue for myself.
Finally, I am a man who is happily remarried after a terrible first marriage and know that God blessed me with my blushing and beautiful bride. Personally, I have no desire to be a deacon or minister and don’t feel that God has called me to either role. For years, I have felt like a second class church member, but I really believe I am just as worthy to be used by God as anyone else. I personally believe that divorcees can preach or be deacons, and that Paul meant something else which makes a lot of sense. My thoughts on the topic are controversial I know. I also know that the number of divorced people, even in churches, is on the rise. Many of those people got a divorce, through no fault of their own. I believe the whole Bible is God’s word and is infallible. Thus, if we look at the whole issue and don’t cherry pick a specific verse here or there, we should be able to come up with a satisfactory meaning of this elusive point Paul makes in his job description he outlines. Do I believe that my arguments I raise will convince anyone to change their mind? No not really, but I hope that it can help someone realize that God still can use them, regardless of what others may tell them.

And then the Dark Side…..

13 Jul

I have written several blogs about the rise of DCnU.  Currently, they have all been favorable.  I have a great deal of loyalty and love for the DCU and always have.  They typify what I think heroes should be and its why I read them.  I know many consider the characters to be less “realistic” than other comic companies or tv shows, but to me, the characters’ nobility have always appealed to me.  But I must confess, not all of the DCnU appeals to me.  What follows are the five titles I think should be stopped before they begin. 

5) Men of War

One thing I really like about the new 52 is that DC is expanding their line-up to books outside of the normal superhero fare.  I know I just pointed out how much I love DC’s heroes but there are other genres of comics and war comics are a famous comic genre.  DC’s war stories are classic and I love Sgt. Rock.  What kills me about this title is that it features “Not Rock.”  We get a new Rock.  At one point, I am almost certain he was called the grandson of the original Rock.  If you are doing a book on a Rock in the army, do the Rock.  He deserves no less. 

4) I, Vampire

I realize I just pointed out that I am excited DC is publishing books outside of their typical superhero fare and yet the first two books I dismiss are non-hero books.  But do we really need another vampire story right now?  I know DC published the original I, Vampire stories years ago, before the modern resurgence of the pop culture vampire.  And I really enjoy the CW’s “Vampire Diaries” but the concept is currently spread a little thin.  Bring this back later or never. 

3) Batwing

Batwing is one of the 11 new Bat family books.  I realize the Bat Family is DC’s royal family.  And DC is almost suicidal in their rush to prove they are “diverse” if for another reason than to be diverse.  This is painful though.  For those not in the know, Grant Morrison is revisiting the “Batmen of Many Nations” story from many years ago, and Batwing is apparently the Batman of somewhere Africa.  Where seems to be a problem, as the cover showcases him hovering over pyramids, but generally he is supposed to be in West Africa.  Still, my biggest complaint on this title is that the most famous “Batman of many nations” just had a critically aclaimed mini-series.  If any of the also ran Batmen deserved a book, shouldn’t it be Knight and Squire?  It is the one bat book I would buy at this point in time.  Although if Jeph Loeb wants to return to the characters, I would give it a shot. 

2) O.M.A.C.

Jack Kirby is one of the greatest comic creators of all time.  O.M.A.C. is one of his least famous characters, though the concept has been revamped recently.  This is yet another new version, apparently.  I could buy that.  Unfortunately, Dan Didio is writing the book.  Didio is the man who talked about how 52 was a disappointment and Countdown would be done right.  52 may not have been perfect, but it was much better done than Countdown.  He is also the man who ran Mark Waid off from DC.  Waid may not be the best comic scribe ever, but he was really good and respected DC’s history, like few others.  He also was recently writing the Outsiders, one of DC’s worst recent runs on a title.  In the book’s favor, Keith Giffen is my all time favorite comic creator.  Still, so much going against this book, I just can’t buy it. 

1) Action Comics

This truly hurts to say but I can’t buy the new Action Comics.  I love the title. I love Superman.  It is the only Superman book I currently buy.  But Grant Morrison kills books for me.  I know, I am probably the only person in the world who feels that way.  I enjoyed his JLA, but always felt that he missed his moments.  He promised big stories, but then I always felt he dropped the ball in the end.  My favorite recent example is Final Crisis.  The concepts were excellent.  The promise was there.  But then Superman got the chance to recreate all reality because Darkseid had poisoned it all.  In his new reality, he couldn’t bring back any of his friends who died?  He brought back all of earth but couldn’t save Batman, Ted Kord, Elongated Man, or Jonn?  I just don’t buy it.  And don’t get me started on the cosmic space vampire who magically showed up to devour all reality in the last book.  And who was literally staked.  I am about to reread the series for the third or fourth time in hopes that I will finally get it.  But if I have to read books by a drug adled European who thinks he created the art in comics, I will go and read some Alan Moore series.  Goodbye Action.