Think Tank is Real Genius with more realistic technology and without Val Kilmer. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to read.

I missed the first issue of Think Tank last month; contributor Trebuchet brought it to my attention over car bomb shots a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t able to get my hands on it until this week’s second issue release. And frankly, I wasn’t expecting to get a hell of a lot from it; jumping into an Image-published book by a creator who’s only written a handful of books (the last of those apparently coming out in 1999) can be a dicey proposition when it comes to following what’s going on. When you throw on top of it that the writer is actually a Big Cheese at the publishing house releasing the book, and I was expecting to be thrown off the deep end into an incomprehensible story, where all the setup had happened in the first issue, with no clues as to how to pick up what was going on because no one wanted to edit the boss’s work (that kind of thing seems to be going around these days).

Instead, I found a user-friendly experience where I got the gist of where we were, with some interesting back story about the protagonist, some good character work establishing that character and the supporting characters as multi-layered and interesting, and laying the groundwork for what looks to be a cool escape story coming in the future.

But yeah: writer Matt Hawkins has totally seen Real Genius a bunch of times.

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Here’s one of two things what I knew about the character Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt before I picked up the new Dynamite Comics first issue of his new book: he was the only Charlton superhero that DC Comics didn’t ever even try to give a shot in the DC Universe after they bought the Charlton rights back in the 80s. They even gave fucking Judomaster a shot in the Outsiders book a few years ago, and Judomaster is what you get when someone needs a superhero concept by noon: “He’s a master of judo. Boom! Judomaster. Now give it to some artist to slap a Japanese flag on his chest and fetch me more bourbon.”

The other thing I knew about Peter Cannon was that he was the character upon whom Alan Moore based his Watchmen character, Ozymandias. And Ozymandias was a rich dude with an Alexander The Great fetish who used his smarts to gin up a weird master plan to trick the Great Unwashed into chucking their nuclear weapons to protect themselves from some other-than-natural monster. Of course, the original Thunderbolt couldn’t possibly be like that… and having read the backup story in Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1, written by the character’s creator, Peter Morisi, back in the 80s, he wasn’t.

However, having read the main story, written by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross with art by Jonathan Lau, he apparently is now.

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Fine Marvel Comics, you’ve done it: you finally fucking stumped me. I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. Are you happy now, you sons of bitches?

Marvel has released a couple of new one-word teaser posters for their winter Marvel Now releases. Earlier this week they released ones reading “Lightning,” which was pretty clearly a teaser for a Thunderbolts relaunch by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon… and then there was “Survive,” something by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, which seemed to me to be a possible Marvel Zombies title… maybe. That one’s kind of hard to tell – the word “survive” covered in blood might be a Marvel Zombies book, or it might be a book with Morbius The Living Vampire, or it might be about an accidental bathroom encounter with Ike Perlmutter.

Well yesterday, Marvel released two more one-worders. What do they have on the plate for us?

Fucked if I know, but you can check them out after the jump.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Comic Reader of Earth: You have the ability to overcome great spoilers.

The most obvious thing I can say about Green Lantern #0 is that new Green Lantern Simon Baz is the unluckiest son of a bitch in comics history.

If Simon Baz didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. Black cats must go days without sleep in order to find him just to cross his path. The next time Spider-Man whimpers about “The ol’ Parker luck,” he need only look at Simon Baz to know that a dude with a high-paying engineering job who has banged a supermodel should really just learn to shut the fuck up; Spider-Man could have gotten his powers by being gang assaulted by radioactive lepers and still count himself luckier than Simon Baz.

His luck is so Goddamned bad that it stretches the bounds of logic. Which is the only downside to an origin issue, with a generally likable character, that is packed with character-building story points… even if a lot of those points require you to believe that the hero has luck so crappy that if he won the lottery, he’d die of a gangrenous paper cut from the winning ticket before he could collect.

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With the Baltimore Comic-Con coming up this weekend (which we will not be attending, as even a one-in-a-million chance of being shotgunned by Omar Little is too damn much), apparently Marvel’s trying to amp up the excitement leading into it with another batch of Marvel Now one word teaser images, as they did just before San Diego Comic-Con.

Two of the teasers have been released so far this week. And what are Marvel’s words of the week? You know, other than “send” and “money,” “buy” and “Hawkeye,” or “retrieve” and “Brubaker?”

Find out after the jump!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I am but a spoiler…

So after sixty years of history, today I learned that The Phantom Stranger’s superpower is to be a treacherous douchebag. Plus, he’s wearing Jesus’s pants.

Look, while I don’t agree with the recent DC editorial decision to make The Phantom Stranger’s identity as Judas Iscariot unambiguous – particularly since after the last big DC reboot, they went out of their way to make sure that the Stranger’s origin was as mysterious as possible – I have to admit that, as origin stories go, it certainly is one.

The Phantom Stranger #0, written by Dan DiDio with art by Brent Anderson, doubles down on the Judas-as-Stranger story, showing us the Stranger’s origin right from the moment after Judas took a long walk off a short length of rope. And while it accomplishes a great deal in 20 pages, from showing us exactly who the Stranger is to where he got that funky cloak to how he ties into early DC continuity, it does it by mashing up disparate pieces of Judeo-Christian and Shazam-Marvellian mythologies, adds to both of them in ways never before intimated that we just have to take on faith, and with some ham-fisted writing (not story, actual writing) to boot.

Plus, it includes the exciting origin of Jesus’s pants.

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Phantom Stranger is something to be excited about as long as you don’t think about the title too much. Sure, it’s meant to elicit images of mystery and the occult… but unfortunately, it has that two-and-two syllable structure, which these days elicits something a little different. In 2012, it’s hard to say, “Phantom Stranger” without hearing things like, “Dirty Sanchez,” or “Cleveland Steamer,” or “Kryptonian Armpit Gank” (sure, that one doesn’t scan, but I never get tired of saying it).

But regardless of how it scans, Dan DiDio has sprayed a Phantom Stranger right into my fucking face, which means that this…

…means the end of our broadcast day.

But Phantom Stranger #0 is a strong indicator of an exciting week of new comics, which includes a bunch of DC New 52 anniversary Zero Issues, including Green ArrowGreen LanternAnimal ManSwamp ThingDetective Comics and Action Comics! Chuck on top of that a new Garth Ennis The Boys, an issue of the best of Before Watchmen – Silk Spectre #3 – and somehow… somehow… a new issue of Fashion Beast by Alan Moore from the 80s… and you’ve got yourself one uniquely exciting week of comic books.

But before we can review any of them, we need some time to read them. So give us some time to recover from the Phantom Stranger by The Boys and wipe the Green Arrow off our upper lip, and until that time…

See you tomorrow, suckers!

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Previously best known for shining an irritating spotlight directly into my hotel window during San Diego Comic-Con this year, NBC’s new sci-fi show, Revolution, is scheduled to air its Jon Favreau-directed pilot on September 17th. The show extrapolates what would happen if we lost electrical power, forever (my guess? I swill warm Jack Daniels while pitiably weeping before finding a bridge to jump from), and is widely expected to be a hit with genre fans who have been slavering for a program that will meet their desires for something that will kill time until The Walking Dead season three starts on October 14th.

But if you’ve been wondering if it’s worth the sectors on your TiVo hard drive, fear not: NBC has made the entire first episode available for early viewing online… and you can watch it in its advertising-driven goodness (I don’t edit them, I just rip the embed code and post them) after the jump. Call it a way to kill your lunch hour while waiting to get to the comic store after work.

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We’ve known for quite some time that Brian Michael Bendis’s run on the various Avengers titles was coming to an end, and it was recently announced that current Fantastic Four writer Jonathan Hickman was going to be taking over the two main titles, Avengers and The New Avengers. But one of the burning questions leading into the transfer of power has been: after the Avengers Vs. X-Men event shakes out and Hickman takes over, who’s gonna be on which team?

Well, some of those questions have been answered, as Marvel has released the first three covers to Avengers, written by Hickman with art by Jerome Opena, picturing a pretty big gathering of superheroes (and, as did Pinocchio, I question the correct term for a gathering of multiple superheroes. For today, I will eschew “gaggle” and “pride,” and will go with “wad.”):

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There will be no new comic news or reviews today, because this is our one-year anniversary here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives. And after 366 days (thank you, Leap Year!) with at least some form of new content every… single… day, well, we figure we deserve at least one day when anything we read, watch or hunt down related to comics? We want to do it just for fun.

It has been one hell of a fun year, going from a blank spot on the Internet inspired by some dingbat in a Batgirl costume who fucked up a couple of panels we went to at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011 to a kinda established spot for comic reviews, interesting news, Brain Bleach and dick jokes. We’re read some good comic books and some epically shitty ones, seen publishers hit triumphant highs and ridiculous lows, and covered one or two exciting events along the way. And we’ve done all of it either half-drunk or cripplingly hung over, so take that, big comics press.

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