Comix this week! 11-9-11

Welcome phantom readers!

I present for your edification, the latest edition of my weekly report on the newest comic offerings to be found at your local retailer or through digital download! As always, I direct interested parties to The Time Capsule: Route 6 in Seekonk Mass (next door to the speedway) to get their fix! Tell Jeff that Mike Ponte sent you! He will promptly reply with a healthy slap to your face and order you to get out before he sticks the dogs on you and calls the cops.

I apologize for the lack of uniformity in the images, I just grabbed what I could find on the interwebs.

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Worst of the Week:

This is the last week for the “Stink” category. I may have finally found a good balance of titles to read, that has completely (for now) eradicated the garbage.

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Acceptable of the Week

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 3:

 

“Season 9” of Buffy continues as she finds herself wanted by the Police for murdering Vampires…yup. Vamps are now “pop icons” in the Buffy-verse. Of course, there is always a catch, as a new villain called “The Siphon” is after Buffy and her powers. It appears that when Buffy destroyed “The seed”: Source of all magic and power in the Earth (which miraculously is also central to the Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force: covered below), she did something that makes all new Vampires into Zombies…Zompires as Xander so eloquently put it. Another “OK” issue, but I cannot help but wonder if the magic of Buffy is wearing off a bit (correlations of the preceding statement to the events of Season 8 are totally intentional).

Superboy 3:

Superboy is out in the world, and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. wants him back! I hope that made sense. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is a shadowy group that is the creator of Superboy.  The future “Connor Kent” (if he will use that name in the DCnU) is getting his first taste of the real world, and his introduction to normal humans. Of course he happens across some sort of alien fire monster who conveniently reveals to him that he is a clone, containing both Kryptonian and Human DNA.  Overall, a decent issue, but I think this, and Teen Titans, are in danger of becoming very boring…very quickly. They are both essentially covering the same ground- N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and it’s desire to control all of the young Meta-Humans, and the few teen heroes that stand against them.

Resurrection Man #3

The story of the undying “Mitch” continues, as the two sexy assassins fail in kidnapping him from the Nursing home! hehe. That was a funny sentence to write. “Resurrection Man”, the guy who rises from death, each time with a new superpower, is being hunted! Last issue, two beautiful women were dispatched to find and retrieve him. This issue shows the remainder of their epic battle, as Mitch discovers that these two girls have a very Wolverine-like Healing factor! Just when he thinks these sexy babes have him licked, a senile old man puts on a super-suit and prepares to fight them! hehe. This comic is funny.

Batman and Robin #3

Tomasi delivers another great issue of Bruce/Damian awesomeness. Bruce is worried about this “Morgan” character coming after him, and his bat-family. He orders Damian to stay home and play with their new dog, but as Damian is an ass, he disobeys his father (never do that, especially if your dad is the goddamn Batman), and is promptly left helpless at the hands of Morgan. By the end of the story, we have a good old fashioned “Same bat-time, same bat-channel” cliffhanger, where the dynamic duo are strapped into a convertible, in a field, and a drive-in movie is about to start. Methinks the next issue will be a lot of exposition… good stuff though. The characterizations are there, and it all flows well. Of special interest is that great Chess scene where Alfred the Butler shows child Genius Robin, just why Batman keeps him around.

Deathstroke #3:

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This issue finds Slade attacked by a strange Green and Purple suited assassin- pictured on the cover. This new villain. “Legacy”, seems solid enough as a recurring foil, but the cover could use some work. I guess I am just picky. The story inside the cover was another great tale. Following the slaughterfest of issue 2, Slade now finds himself back in the public eye as the “Go-to” Assassin. After dispatching Legacy, he goes off to Colorado to kill an arms manufacturer and meets…Legacy?! He kills him…again, but is beaten to the punch as someone else kills his mark. This was another solid issue from this surprisingly readable comic. I have a feeling that sales will get it cancelled in the next few months, but I will enjoy the blood soaked rise while it lasts.

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Now that we have the standard issues out of the way, it’s time for:

Best of the week!

Magneto: Not a Hero #1:

Whoa nelly! This mini series could be a great one. The story starts with an anti mutant rally in NY. Magneto (who has been an X-Men member for a while) walks in and kills everyone in attendance. The President of the US pretty much rips Steve “Cpt America” Rogers a new asshole, and demands Magneto be brought to justice. He and Iron Man end up meeting with Cyclops and Magneto over it. The catch: Magneto did not do it. Using a type of Cerebro, he discovers the culprit is his clone: Joseph! apparently flanked by his children: Wanda and Quicksilver! Not sure how that will play out, but I like this start. I kinda suspect that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were a sort of hallucination, or subconscious prodding that Joe is gonna try to take Daddy’s place as leader of some sort of new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. We’ll see.

Batgirl #3:

As Barbara adjusts to her new life back as Batgirl, we take a pause in the action to get some character development. Barbara is still mentally suffering from her “miracle” recovery from paralysis. Over the course of this story, she feels great anger and resentment in the idea that all of her friends and family see her not as the strong willed woman persona she had while in the wheelchair, but as a weak fragile girl to be protected from all harm and unnecessary exertion. This is a tough thing for her to wrap her mind around, and I applaud Simone for telling this story. There was so much fear and anger over the end of the “Oracle” character, that I am happy to see Gail delve into the mental instability in such a change (as opposed to “YAY! I can walk! Let’s never mention the wheelchair again!”).  It culminates with Babs, and Nightwing (former, and possibly future paramour- Dick Grayson) slugging it out over her belief that he and Batman don’t think she is up to the task of being Batgirl.  Overall, a great comic. We also get some reference points as it is told that her shooting was three years in the past. I loves me some reference.

The New Avengers 18:

Well, well, well. My favorite run of Avengers from the last several years has returned! Following “Secret Invasion”, Norman “Green Goblin” Osborne  became the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and made his own team of evil Avengers- the Dark Avengers. Newly escaped from prison, Norman (Looking suspiciously like Tommy Lee Jones), is now leading H.A.M.M.E.R., and has teamed up with Hydra, The Hand, and A.I.M. to create a new Dark Avenger team!  Yup, Norman is getting the band back together! The kicker- they have the “Clone Thor” from Civil War in their arsenal. Outstanding.Well played Bendis…well played.

Green Lantern #3:

The lackluster first 2 issues begin to pay off a bit in this issue of Green Lantern. Now that Sinestro has cajoled Hal into helping him free his home planet of Korugar from the Sinestro Corps, they head off to get the job done. Things go instantly fubar, and Hal is disintegrated?!! That’s not even the coolest part of the comic. The Guardians, who began to show signs of going apeshit crazy when they lobotomized fellow Guardian Ganthet (for having emotions), have decided to make a move. First came the Manhunter robots, who were flawed. The Guardians shut them down and created the Green Lantern Corps. Now, they being emotional sentient beings are not perfect either. So the Guardians are gonna scrap them all and create a THIRD ARMY! Some do not like Geoff Johns, but his run on these comics has been terrific. The concept of some new Corps of Robots/Machines/whatever trying to replace the GL Corps is very cool. I look forward to it playing out.

Avenging Spider-Man #1:

The first issue of the new Spidey title! I was a bit wary of this, but after some thinking, decided to give it a shot. Despite the title, this is essentially  the new “Marvel Team-up” comic. Back in the day, “team-up” was always Spider-Man having adventures with the hero of the week.  This time, we see Spidey and the Red Hulk team up to fight the Moloids, and discover that the Mole man has been defeated! Those stories were always some of my favorite Spider-Man adventures back in the day. I welcome it back with open arms. In addition, this comic comes polybagged with a code to download a free digital edition of the comic! My first “same day as print” comic! This title looks to be a keeper.

Demon Knights #3:

Best of the Awesomesauce titles. The only thing keeping this out of the top tier this month was the lack of Vandal Savage eating dinosaur for the first time in millenniums. That scene was the essence of fantastic. This month, the story of the Medieval superhero team continues as they prepare for an attack by The Horde on the small village they have decided to protect. Demons, flying horses, Vandal Savage, evil sorceresses, Mechanical Dragons, Walls of flame, and crispy demon-burnt priests all come together to form  a stunning story by Paul Cornell. I do not know where in his ass he pulled this comic out of, but I hope it runs forever.

Marvel Point One

While not the cover to this issue, it pretty much sums it up. Point One is a special one shot comic that drops several cool things in our laps. The idea is this: make a comic that will tease all of the big 2012 comic events. Holy crap did they do just that. The skeleton of this title is a couple of spacemen have sneaked into Uatu the Watcher’s house to download some information on the future! Of the things covered: Ultron taking over the Earth in Avengers, Doctor Strange leading the Defenders, The rise of X-Terminated- an Age of Apoocalypse story, Kaine becoming the new Scarlet Spider in his own title, AND…..

The return of the fucking Phoenix. Phoenix destroys an entire planet in this particular vignette and is tearing its way across the universe (presumably heading to earth, because…that’s where all these alien things head for some reason.) They also drop a thread that these 2 guys stealing Uatu’s information have a plan- to kill him! Marvel in 2012 is looking very very good.

Runner up of the week


Batwoman #3: by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

This is quite the comic. The writing is near perfection, and the art is breathtaking. Looking at the cover, you get the sense that this is a special style of comic. What many do not understand is that while a cover is frequently more dynamic that the interior art (to make you buy it), this comic’s interiors frequently match or EXCEED the covers. Williams is a master of his craft. The art here is the best I have ever seen in a comic. He makes it his own, and never looks back. This is a title that people will be talking about for many years as a prime example of what the comics art medium can accomplish.

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and now….

Pick of the Week!

Uncanny X-Force 17: by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña

Simply perfection. Selecting this title as the pick of 11-9-11 was a no brainer. Rick Remender is on a tear in this title that I cannot believe. 17 issues in 12 months… SEVENTEEN!

Right from the start, he has made this new iteration of the X-Force something amazing to behold. The Mutant Hit Squad concept was very weak, and I had zero interest in the previous iteration of this team. He took that team, added Deadpool and Fantomex (who has become one of my favorite X-Men) and gave us the best comic produced by Marvel.

The Dark Angel Saga reaches it’s penultimate issue as Psylocke is transformed into the new Horseman of Death! Archangel prepares to use “The Seed” (same idea from Buffy really) to wipe out all life on Earth and remake it in a Mutant Utopian image. The team manage to turn Psylocke back to normal just in time to face off against Warren in a final battle. The last damn thing we needed was another Age of Apocalypse storyline where one of the heroes gets possessed by the power of Apocalypse and tries to take over the Earth. Its been done… a lot. Remender wisely takes this comic on another course, one with tremendous power, great twists, and possibly the best story Angel/Archangel has ever had.

The art is exceptional, as we have come to expect from Jerome Opeña. The story is easily best X-story since Grant Morrison’s  work on New X-Men, and possibly further back. Remender has joined Jason Aaron, and Cullen Bunn as my favorite writers of the past year. I was aware of them, and their work, but this is the year I really jumped into their stuff. I have no doubt that this run on Uncanny X-Force will be looked back on by future readers as one of the best in the history of X-Men…and that is saying quite a bit.

Exams!

I enrolled for what I hope shall be my final semester at UMASS last night. Got everything I needed to take, after a few schedule juggling sessions. All I need to do now is somehow survive the next week or so. I have exams tomorrow, and all next week. Yay me! Its not as if I also had to memorize a lecture for the Masons too….oh wait! I DO have to memorize a lecture! Technically, it is “re-memorize”, but it is essentially the same thing. When will this end? When will I learn to say “no”? I stupidly thought that when I was no longer Master of my lodge that the responsibilities of doing lectures would be over. Sure, I would gladly do my yearly “history” lecture (its become my calling card), but I wanted time off. If it was in January or February, the story would be different. This one is just poorly timed. Oh well, enough complaining.

I need to get back to ABC costing, and creating budgets. Shoot me.

Members Only

Ever had that one piece of clothing that you just could not part with? Sure you did, we all did that at some point in our lives. For me, the moment of truth has arrived. It is time to replace my 1992 members only Jacket.

I have literally had this thing for 20 years. What is more scary- that I have been the same shape, and size, since I was 13 years old, or that this thing is still wearable?

That is me on the bottom wearing the jacket in Toronto. It was 3 years old at that point. I can’t find a photo, but I even wore the thing on the Maid of the Mist in Niagra Falls.

This jacket traveled with me to Denver 3 years later for Star Wars Celebration, and was positively drenched with rain, and covered with mud. It was like woodstock. This thing has been through hell, but still protects me from the non-harsh elements.

As I look at the jacket, I can see the wear and tear of 2 decades on it. A few small rips now grace the arms, joined by a larger one on the back. The inner lining has long since failed, with numerous shreds of polyester hanging inside. The zippers and the buttons on the shoulders still work, but the pockets have holes in them. It has long since lost its ability to “break wind”, the chilly New England nights swoosh through the fabric as if it were cheesecloth. Forget about rain protection, that died in the late 90’s, just before Celebration.

So, why do I still have it?

Its the oldest piece of clothing I have continuously owned. All my shirts and pants from the early 90’s are now gone. Although I have purchased a few vintage ties online, they have really only been in my possesion a year or so. I got the jacket when I started High School. It was not even in fashion anymore, but the black MO jacket was still cool enough (unlike its blue and grey counterparts). Now, this May I will finally be getting m Bachelor’s Degree. No matter how hot it is that day…under my robes will be this Jacket, with me- its only member left.

Comix this week! 11-2-2011

No images this week, as I am feeling lazy, and the hour is late.

The Bad:

No bad this week! A sign that my culling of crap titles is nearing completion.

The Good:

Justice League International 3: The story of the “Giants” continues as the newly formed JLI learns to work as a team. Jurgens and Lopresti are doing a fine job, but the title is suffering from a lack of Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle. In fact, I would say the entire universe is suffering from his absence in the reboot. He seems to have never existed, at least as we know him, in the DCnU.

Red Lanterns 3: The slow boil continues as Atrocitus reliveves Bleeze of her bloodlust so that he may have someone else with a clear mind to help run the Red lanterns. This of course will end up biting him in the ass, as it appears that Bleeze has designed this series of events to steal leadership from Atrocitus. Good stuff, great Bloodbath cover by Ed benes.

Avengers 1959: This interesting series continues as Nick Fury and the 59 version of the Avengers deal with the Skull nazis, and meet up with Howard Stark. Great stuff here from Chaykin, but I gotta admit the art is slipping a bit in this issue.

Fear Itself: The Fearless 1 and 2: After hearing heaps of praise for Cullen Bunn as a voice to be reckoned with in comics, I decided to pick up these issues. They are really good stuff. The spin offs of Fear Itself are destined to far eclipse the series itself.

Fear Itself 7.1- Captain America: Just when you thought the hurt was over! I admit that this .1 by Brubaker and Guice was very good. It tells the tale of what happened with Cap and Bucky post- Fear itself. SPOILER: Bucky lives, and Nick Fury gives up immortality! By issue’s end, Mr barnes is going underground as the Winter Soldier once again, to right some wrongs from his past life as a Soviet Assassin. Brubaker is writing it, so sign me up!

X-Men 20: Storm and other members of the X-Men Blue team based out of San Francisco head off on a mission to Chechnya to track down some Sentinels, and run afoul of Government actions- leading to a showdown between Juggernaut’ed Colossus and War Machine. Nothing to spectacular here, but a decent first issue to a new storyline. The Adi Granov cover was a little underwhelming also.

Uncanny X-Men 1: Cyclops and his “Blue” team of X-Men face off against Mr. Sinister who has taken control of The Dreaming Celestial  to turn the people of San Francisco into…Mister Sinisters? Bizzare first issue of this relaunch. I will stick around a little while, but Gillen needed to be dropped from this title. Thus Far “Gold team” and Wolverine have my support.

The Great:

Swamp Thing 2 and 3: After deciding to not subscribe to Swamp Thing, I was inundated by questions about it, and even more comments on the high quality of the new series. begrudgingly, I picked up the latest issue and the one I missed…Holy mother of God. This is a fantastic title. It is honoring what came before, while treading new ground in the Swamp Thing mythos. I love “The Rot”, and look forward to many face offs with the Green….and…

Animal Man 3: Lemire continues to TEAR IT UP on this fantastic title. Animal Manand his daughter- Avatar of “The Red” (Swamp Thing concerns “The Green”) face off against agents of “The Rot”. There is a great shared universe going on between this and Swamp Thing. The inevitable crossover will be epic.

Detective Comics 3: The story of the Dollmaker continues as batman races to save Jim Gordon from getting chopped up, only to fall into a trap where he must face…multiple Jokers! Tony Daniel is phenomenal on batman titles, and I predict he will be here for a long long time.

Action Comics 3: We see a bit more of “crusading reporter” Clark Kent, and the powerful entities aligned to squash the truth of the corruption in the government and businesses of Metropolis. We also get a glimpse of some of the last moments of kandor City on Krypton, just as Braniac “bottles” it. The same situation plays out here in Metropolis, as Braniac’s robot minions prepare to collect Metropolis!

Pick of the Week:

OMAC 3: This is a great comic. Very “Jack Kirby” and not afraid to show it. Omac faces off against Psi-Fi man as well as the Maxwell Lord led Checkmate. There are some great things happening in this title, and I am proud to list it as my surprise hit of the DCnU.

Ah, to be young and lazy

If only I were as young as I was…

I apologize, non-readers, for the lack of updating here on wordpress. I have had a busy week and only now thought to get on here. Tomorrow shall bring the “comix this week” article, but for tonight I shall present to you my first tattoo!

It is a simple Masonic image that I have made “Mine”. The traditional version is a square and compass with the skull and crossbones in the center. Above this is the Moon and the Sun, denoting Light from darkness, with the all-seeing eye watching above. I kept the square, compass, and eye normal, but went crazy on the rest. It was done by Bob Goudie of Federal Hill Tattoo in Providence.

In place of the moon, we have the Death Star (That’s no moon!). In place of the Sun we have the Glowing Green Lantern symbol.

The skull and crossbones were made into Elvis Presley. Rather than go with 50’s slick Elvis hair, we decided that the shaggier 70’s Elvis was more appropriate. “WE” being me and my tattoo artist Bob. In finding references for the hair, Bob inadvertently used one of my favorite movies as a source… Bubba Ho Tep!

That’s right, my Elvis skull is actually the Skull of not ELVIS, but Bruce Campbell PLAYING ELVIS! Instantly 1000X more awesome.

Comix this week! 10-26-11

Welcome to another edition of Comix this week! My last entry was rather detailed, and as I do not plan on writing a 3 hours post again, today you get the 50 cent version. A hallmark of the “Classic” Comix this week messages I wrote 15-5 years ago was the “Pick of the week”. So, I am gonna start ranking these reviews from worst to best (in my estimation).  Enjoy!

WORST OF THE WEEK: Self explanatory

The art on this series, by Andrea Sorrentino is beautiful. The story, however, in incomprehinsible. I was hoping for more of a fleshed out story in this issue, but sadly it was not to be. This felt like another First issue, in that we are dropped into the middle of action, with no idea what is going on. There is more information about the story written on the cover of this issue, than in the issue itself. This is my last month with these vamps.

Nothing particularly outstanding here. The art is ok, the story transfer is good, but there is a problem. The TV show was better, and having freshly read the novels, this cannot help but pale in comparison. Winter has come….for this title. heh

AVERAGE OF THE WEEK!!!: The stuff that is generally good, not must read stuff.

I am intrigued by this issue, but it was not as good as #1. The storytelling was uneven, and harder to follow than I would like. I am sticking with this for a while longer though, as there is merit in the title, and the incredible cast of characters.

Green Lantern: New Guardians 2: Better than issue one, but still not completely there. By the end of the issue, things are starting to transition as Kyle becomes “Uber-Lantern”. The cover is still a bit misleading as not many of these characters are getting along at all, and the addition of the orange Lantern on the cover confuses me. This might be the first Lantern title I ever cancel if things don’t turn around.

Flash 2 was an interesting issue, as it explored how Barry can not just move fast, but think fast. Overall though, Barry is just a really boring character. There is nothing that really makes this guy pop other than “I can move fast! and I’m a cop!”. This title needs to shift gears and develop the Flash Family again. The only thing that ever really defined Barry Allen was his death in 1986, and the legacy he left behind with the Flash legacy characters. They are sorely missed.

I do not know what to do with this title. So far, it is pretty much a T&A show. There is nothing wrong with that, but this needs something else, a hook, to drag us into the world. I will probably stick with the current story line and re-evaluate.

BEST OF THE WEEK: Now we get into the REALLY good stuff.

Star Trek returned to comics last month, and I missed it! I therefore picked up both issues 1 and 2. This series is overseen by Bob Orci, writer of 2009’s Star Trek Reboot. This is the retelling of the original series episodes, in the new Star Trek universe. Things are different, sometimes not so much, other times drastically. It is an interesting idea, and I look forward to future issues.

What a great issue this was. #1 re-introduced us to Aquaman, and addressed his ranking as the lamest of the Justice League. In this issue, we see WHY is a JL member. He kicks so much ass in this title, but not enough to escape the fish monsters! #3 cannot come fast enough.

George Perez crams SO much into his work. This feels like 2-3 comics in one issue. There is so much happening here, and Perez is a great storyteller. I will be sad to see him leave the title after its first arc. The plot of this issue was great, an invisible (to superman) monster, that he uses cameras and tv to track and fight. Great stuff.

This is the story of Bucky discovering a Concentration Camp in Germany. Great stuff, and really evokes the rage Bucky feels at the horrors of the camps. Brubaker needs to stay on Cap forever.

All Star Western 2: A genius idea. Lets take Bounty Hunter Jonah hex, team him up with the first Dr Arkham (of the asylum), and have him fight bad guys in the young Gotham City. The Crime Bible makes it’s re-appearance in this story, and Hex has a hell of a time shooting up the cult members. great on so many levels.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Technically “Picks of the week”

Incredible Hulk #1 and Wolverine and the X-men #1

By Jason Aaron.

Arron is awesome. two #1’s this week and they are easily the picks of the week. Hulk is normally about Banner trying to control the Hulk, now that they have physically split in 2, it is the Hulk who must be brought in to control banner- who has become some sort of Mad Scientist. Marc Silvestri’s art is beyond reproach.

Wolverine is now the Headmaster of the Jean Grey school, at the former Xavier School. What a great first issue. It reminds me in many ways to Morrisson’s New X-men of 10 years ago, with a re-emphasis on the school, and its functions. SOOOOOOOOO good.

Bathroom is clean!!

I don’t know what it is about cleaning a bathroom, but getting it to the point where it is completely spotless is almost a religious experience. It’s tough to attain perfection when you have a few cats using the area for their sandbox. The litter gets everywhere, and my mood rapidly decreases similarly to the moodlets in Sims 3 (I must have cleanliness!). While we are discussing cat poop and sandboxes, Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) gave the world some fascinating information last night. Apparently Cat Litter contains some sort of microbe that can cause miscarriages in pregnant mothers. Who knew? Remember dads- be a good husband…change your cat litter!

Today was a relatively productive day. Besides cleaning my bathroom and catching up on homework, I headed over to Federal Hill Tattoo in Providence to visit Bob, tattoo artist. Bob was “Marshall” last year when I was the Master of Redwood Lodge. He is an awesome guy, a trusted Brother, and a fantastic artist. When deciding who’s art I want to wear for the rest of my life, Bob was obviously at the forefront of my mind.

I have been spending quite a while brainstorming and researching tattoo designs. Last night, I had the “Eureka! I have found it!” moment. I knew I wanted something utilizing Masonic Symbolism. I also wanted it to reflect my love of the Comic Art form. I was considering just doing a straightforward Mason tattoo this time out, and have more whimsical follow-ups, but that is not the Ponte way. As the old saying goes: “Go Big, or go home.” I decided to roll my love of freemasonry, Comics, Sci-Fi,  and Rock and Roll all into one design.

I presented my ideas to Bob this afternoon, and he seemed to enjoy it. He is a quiet man, but I could see the devilish glee in his eye when I mentioned certain things I wanted incorporated in the tattoo. By the end of the meeting, we had hashed out a preliminary design. I ams scheduled to have the outline done next Monday- Halloween. Which is somehow fitting.

I have been careful to not give away any details of the design of this thing. I will only say that it is epic. It is a great amalgam of Superponte: What I love, and how I live my life as a Mason. I cannot wait to share it with everyone!