Well, I’ll give last night’s episode of Doctor Who this much: it made me queue up the Weeping Angels origin episode “Blink” on streaming Netflix to help me put my finger on what went wrong with “The Angels Take Manhattan”. The short answer? Almost everything.

“The Angels Take Manhattan” was intended to be an emotional send off for the Doctor’s most recent companions, Amy and Rory Pond. Here’s a spoiler up front: the Ponds are sent away into the past to a fixed point in time where, apparently, the Doctor can never see them again. Given that it’s been established that the Doctor needs to be around others on a near constant basis in order to remain somewhat centered, if not completely sane, the ending of this episode should have competed with Old Yeller for tear jerker of the millennium. However, convoluted story telling, hype, and lack of attachment to Amy Pond as a character worth caring about, as compared to other Companions, served to kill this episode in its crib.

More spoilery disappointment, after the jump.

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You ever had a low-grade toothache? You know, the kind where you feel a little zip when you suck cold air past it? The kind of thing where you find yourself constantly inhaling sharply, trying to see if maybe its gone away, or if maybe it’s getting worse? And you find yourself worrying that maybe it actually is getting worse, and you just wish the damn thing would go away so you could concentrate on something else?

Over the course of the past year, Scott Lobdell has become my toothache.

Superman #0 is a pretty bad comic book. It wallows in exposition, alien cliches, and stilted dialogue. It tries to turn Superman’s parents into some kind of asskicking science heroes for some reason, and it implies that Oracle is now some kind of all-knowing, all-seeing space jerk, which should win back all the female readers Lobdell lost with Red Hood and The Outlaws. And it does all this with art that, while pretty enough in a stylized way, serves in places as examples of some of the worst visual storytelling that I have seen in a comic book in 36 years.

Superman #0 made my hangover worse this morning. After reading it I needed to watch my Blu-Ray of The Avengers again too recover any hope for the superhero genre. It made my stool loose and burny. If it had come out two and a half months ago, it would have caused riots in downtown San Diego.

It’s really not very good, you guys.

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In less than an hour, the final Doctor Who episode starring the Ponds will air in the UK. Those of us here in the states will need to wait another five hours and avoid Twitter and Web site spoilers…like this behind the scenes Doctor Who video which hints at Amy’s fate in tonight’s “The Angels Take Manhattan”.

You’ve been warned.

At least I have no idea what happens to Rory. Yet. Although I think it involves unemployment…

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The Tower Chronicles, written by Matt Wagner with art by Simon Bisley, is currently on tap to be a three-volume story of four chapters a piece. That means a few things, one of them being that it will likely be an extended period of time before Wagner can put in any concrete work on Mage: The Hero Denied. That’s a problem.

Another thing it means is that, barring cancellation – and considering The Tower Chronicles’s publisher, Legendary Comics, is a relatively new imprint with only Frank Miller’s Holy Terror under its belt so far, that seems pretty unlikely if they want to hold onto the A-List talent they’ve lured to the stable – we’re going to be living with this title for quite a while; with one chapter every two months, this is gonna be a two-year story. Further, on top of the time investment, at eight bucks a whack, you’re looking at a $96 dollar comic story if you decide to take the whole ride from the beginning, as opposed to waiting for the trades, which will almost inevitably be less expensive.

So the question is: is The Tower Chronicles worth the time and cost to jump in this week on the ground floor? Well, that depends on what you already have on your bookshelf.

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After reading Wolverine And The X-Men #17, I want nothing more out of the rest of my life than to go drinking with Jason Aaron. And for the first time, when I imagine drinking with a comic creator, I question whether or not I would survive the experience. Because based on this issue, clearly Aaron can put  ’em away.

Wolverine And The X-Men #17 costs $3.99, but it is easily worth several thousand dollars. Wolverine And The X-Men #17 features neither Wolverine, nor The X-Men, and that is okay, because none of them are bad enough motherfuckers to pick up the real hero of this book’s jockstrap. Wolverine And The X-Men #17 instead features a secret warrior with two brains, who craps fire, makes sex with anything that walks, moves or crawls, makes James Bond look like a whimpering mongoloid with a bum knee, and looks like a giant booger.

Wolverine And The X-Men #17 is the most balls-out fun that four bucks will buy you all this week.

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There are good and bad things to say about Talon #0, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV and drawn by Guillem March, but in the final analysis, there’s only one thing about the issue that really, truly matters. And that is that there’s a panel of a child being chained up and straitjacketed by a clown that, no matter March’s intentions in drawing it, will make you wake up screaming like a woman.

But for now, let’s put that horrific image aside and focus on the comic itself, which gives itself an uphill battle to fight right out of the gate. Talon #0 not only has to introduce a character we’ve never seen before, but it has to do it within the DC issue 0 conceit of telling us backstory about the character… about whom we know nothing about to start with. So on one level, the book has kind of a strange feel to it, like meeting a stranger at a party and having him tell you about some childhood trauma. Perhaps the time he was savaged by a clown.

However, the book generally overcomes the obstacles that it sets itself, introducing a pretty entertaining character who gets a couple of good, funny lines, with a dark past I wouldn’t mind learning a bit more about, some hints about his upcoming supporting cast… even while it ties itself inexorably to an escape artist’s conceit that might be difficult to maintain over the long term, and tries like hell to get us to feel positively about a character not only trained as a killer, but who has at least one dead fella under his belt.

Plus, there’s a creepy menacing clown chaining up a child.

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Yes, Wednesday evening, the end of Rob and Amanda’s broadcast day. However, as I was dying from a head cold over the weekend (and have since miraculously recovered), I’m turning in my homework a bit tardy.

I first heard about the Womanthology project shortly after their Kickstarter.com fundraiser wrapped up in 2011. If you’re unfamiliar with Womanthology, it all began with a tweet from artist Renae De Liz asking if her fellow female creators would be interested in creating and publishing an anthology to benefit charity. By the end of that day, over 100 contributors had taken up the call, and shortly thereafter, IDW came on board as publisher. The project quickly coalesced into the 300 page anthology, Heroic, with over 150 female contributors whose experience levels ran the gamut from professional to beginner.

I finally picked up Heroic this summer and have been all “what the hell took me so long” ever since. I have been slowly working my way through the volume, and although I’ve only reached the halfway point, as soon as I saw the announcement for the Womanthology: SPACE series, you’d better believe I was on the phone with my local shop to pre-order it.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I can give you all spoilers by changing the chemistry in your brains.

Avengers Academy is a book that landed on my pull list because the owner of my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me not to tell the paying customers that I intend to tell law enforcement that they favor books with pictures of children in spandex ass pants, decided to take a liberal interpretation when I told him I wanted to add “Avengers” to my subscriptions. It was a book that I didn’t particularly want when it launched, considering that the book’s predecessor, Avengers: The Initiative really did nothing for me. But over the years, the character-driven stories by writer Christos Gage have grown on me, taking the book from its initial charity buy I was too lazy to tell my local comic store owner to drop from my pulls to one of my must-reads when it drops… just in time for it to be cancelled as part of the Marvel Now relaunch (Because Marvel doesn’t reboot! Because DC reboots! And if someone tells Marvel Editorial that DC’s front office personnel regularly use the bathroom, Marvel’s brass will learn to love walking around with a load in their pants!).

And that cancellation is a Goddamned shame, because Avengers Academy #37 is a really good comic book. It wraps up a storyline that was an exceptional part of the Avengers Vs. X-Men event by consciously not being a part of that event, places a solid focus on the characters and their motivations while not skimping in any way on the action, and delivers one hell of a satisfying conclusion to the event that reminds us just how young and conflicted some of these characters are. And it shows us a character dying too young, in a puddle of his own blood, for no good reason at all… kinda like the book itself is gonna go in two months.

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There is nothing more heartwarming in this world than seeing a childhood friendship grow into adulthood, turn into a productive working relationship, lead to an amicable parting of the ways as one friend pursues his dreams of producing professional comics work for page rates while the other turns their mutual prior work into a license to print money, then meet again in a Federal courtroom with mutual exclamations of affection like “[You are] a proud liar and fraudster,” and “[Your] lawsuit is ridiculous,” all before concluding in that most beautiful of Hollywood of endings: with one friend writing a check so the other can feel free to fuck off and die.

Or, in other words: Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore have settled their lawsuit over profits from and ownership over The Walking Dead.

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With this past summer’s excitement over The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, combined with its mild anticipation of The Amazing Spider-Man and what has turned out to be its complete and utter apathy over Dredd 3D, it’s easy to forget that there are other comic book movies in the pipeline. Sure, we’ve got Iron Man 3, but let’s not forget that the sequel to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, titled counterintuitively as The Wolverine for some reason, is supposedly in production.

Sure, it’s easy to forget about the old Canucklehead, given that in his last cinematic outing, he met Will.I.Am and allowed him to live, and spent time fighting the only version of Deadpool, The Merc With The Mouth, that nobody wanted – namely, one with no fucking mouth. But this time around, he’s got a new director – no more weirdness from the guy who played “German Champion” in Kickboxer 5, now we have the dude who played Dr. Gold in The Sweetest Thing! Wait, what? *

Regardless, Marvel certainly doesn’t want people to forget that there’s a new Wolverine movie coming out, so earlier today, they released the first image of Hugh Jackman, wearing the claws and about thirty pounds of hair product:

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