Marvel Noir

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"Marvel Noir" thematic stories
Teaser image for X-Men Noir #1.
Art by Dennis Calero.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Publication date February 2009 – 2010
Number of issues 36 issues over 9 limited series and a one-shot
Main character(s) X-Men
Luke Cage
Iron Man
Creative team
Writer(s) Fred Van Lente
David Hine
Fabrice Sapolsky
Alexander Irvine
Artist(s) Dennis Calero
Carmine Di Giandomenico
Tomm Coker

Marvel Noir is a 2009-2010 Marvel Comics alternative continuity combining elements of film noir and pulp fiction with the Marvel Universe.[1] The central premise of the mini-series replaces super powers with driven, noir-flavored characterization.

Publication history[edit]

Marvel Noir first appeared as six limited series, X-Men Noir by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Dennis Calero,[2][3] Spider-Man Noir by writers David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico and Daredevil Noir by writer Alexander Irvine and artist Tomm Coker,[4][5] Luke Cage Noir by writers Mike Benson and Adam Glass and artist Shawn Martinbrough,[6] Punisher Noir by writer Frank Tieri art by Paul Azaceta,[7][8] and Wolverine Noir written by Stuart Moore and art by C. P. Smith.

Several more mini-series were added in 2010.


Daredevil Noir[edit]

One night, Daredevil infiltrates a building where the Kingpin is expecting him. The two confront each other and discuss what has happened in the past week involving Orville Halloran. In his childhood, Matt Murdock was blinded by his father's assassin who brutally slammed his head into a brick wall, leaving him blind. Though he did wish to become a lawyer, his impoverished lifestyle denied it, leaving him to be a performer instead, under the name Daredevil. Later he took to the streets as a vigilante, killing criminals to avenge those they killed. Matt now works with Foggy Nelson and was in his office until one afternoon a woman named Eliza entered the room and offered a way to bring down Halloran. When she left the office, Foggy has doubts and turns to Matt, but Matt convinced him that she's telling the truth and left the office to investigate. Meanwhile, Fisk is with Halloran in a restaurant discussing about the identity of Daredevil being Jack Murdock's son.

However one night, a police officer sees three cars, two being police cars and one being the gangster's car, and witnesses five men being killed by the Bullseye Killer and believe that he's one of Halloran's men. Back in the office, both Foggy and Matt discuss Halloran making his move against Fisk, and Matt worries that Eliza will be caught in the middle of it. When Foggy said that Eliza mentioned Halloran putting money on Matt's father throwing the fight on the night he was killed, Matt left the office to find out. Matt went to a bar called Dilooly and met with Eliza there to confirm what Eliza said to Foggy was true about his father, which she did confirm and told Matt not to do anything that would get him killed. When Matt was walking on the street he heard a woman scream, which he quickly dressed up in his Daredevil uniform and apprehended the assailant, however it was revealed to be a setup by Wilson Fisk who wanted to meet him and revealed that Halloran was the one who killed his father.

The next night, Matt followed Eliza around the city to look over her, but suddenly a fight broke out in the "Landmark Inn" were a bar-tender revealed that the Bullseye Killer was here before dying. With no sign of Eliza and Hell's Kitchen being threatened, Matt went throughout the city to find the whereabouts of Halloran from his men. He went back to Foggy's office to reveal that he knows where Halloran is and plans to get Eliza back, but Foggy has doubts about if Matt ever had her. Matt went to the harbor and found Halloran there, who was expecting him to arrive. Matt figured out that Halloran killed his father and told Fisk, who then told him about it, which would lead Matt coming to him. However what shocked him is that Eliza was there, who was surprised that she can lie to him, but what surprised Matt is that Halloran revealed that Eliza is the Bullseye Killer. Surprised by the news, Matt figured out that she is one of Fisk's employers, which Halloran refused to believe until Eliza killed him.

With Halloran dead and Eliza killing the rest of Halloran's men, the two fought constantly, with Eliza gaining the upper hand, but Matt eagerly charged into her but both landed into the sea. This made Eliza unable to throw well, which gave Matt an advantage as he began to strangle her to death with a chain and Eliza trying to fight back until she was unconscious, but Matt could not finish her off because he still loved her and dragged her back to the surface. The Police arrived and Matt left, leaving Eliza in police custody. Matt returned to Foggy's office and revealed to him that Eliza was the Bullseye Killer, which surprised him, but also revealed that he could not kill her because he still has feelings for her. Foggy comforts him until Matt decides to go after Fisk. Returning to the present, Matt and Fisk end their discussion and the series ends with the two beginning to fight each other.

Deadpool Pulp[edit]

Wade Wilson is a Canadian citizen who joins the OSS during WW2. Though not an American and Canada already being at war with the Axis powers, his superiors describe him as 'a patriot', even if he is "missing a couple screws", and then some." While fighting in the Pacific with Merrill's Marauders, Wilson is captured by Japanese forces. Transported to a POW camp on mainland Japan, Wade is subjected to torture and interrogation daily for nearly a full year. It is assumed this is the source of his mental break with reality. Being left to drown, hung by his thumbs in a quickly rising river, Wade manages to escape by removing one of his thumbs. Sneaking into camp, he steals the mask and katana swords of his torturer. Donning the mask, he stabs the soldier to death and escapes with another mysterious prisoner. They leap off a cliff and to safety.

Years later, Wade and the mysterious prisoner (who turns out to be Cable) are working under the jurisdiction of J. Edgar Hoover, Wade as an operative and Cable as an executive officer along with General Stryfe. Set during the 1950s, the storyline follows an early Cold War plot to attack America.

The story begins with rogue CIA agent Outlaw (Inez Temple) stealing a powerful briefcase nuke from a CIA protection team. Discussing the matter, Cable suggests Wade Wilson as the man capable of getting the nuke back. He is recalled from operations on Southeast Asia, where he was doing a good imitation of 'The Deer Hunter'. On his return, Wade is interviewed by a shrink. We discover that Wade is afflicted by two conflicting voices in his head, which he makes light off by saying "We all have our Jiminy Cricket, don't we?" We also find out that Wade did not join the US Army out of patriotism, but because "I like to kill people and the U.S Government was smart enough to give me a license to." He also created an alternative personality called 'Deadpool' in addition to the two voices he hears. The psychiatrist states that 'Deadpool' is a method of dealing with the torture he endured by becoming the monster he feared most. Though the doctor's professional opinion is that Wade is a "bona fide psychotic, with multiple personality disorders {...} He is a danger to society and should be institutionalized immediately." Cable disagrees, saying he "need(s) a nut to catch a nut." Wade is subsequently assigned the liquidation of Outlaw.

The first part of his mission is to find the missing scientist Dr. Jack Hammer who worked on the nuke. Unfortunately, Outlaw finds him first and kidnaps Dr. Hammer, leaving Wade a note pinned to the wall. The two agents meet at a dinner club for a meeting. The story reveals that the two had a romantic relationship in the past but they are unable to reach an understanding and their dance turns into a gunfight and a chase through the streets of New Orleans.

Back at Dr. Hammer's apartment, Wade sifts through clues left behind. Outlaw has not killed the doctor, but instead removed him to Cuba. Traveling to Havana, Wade meets his underworld contact Meyer Lansky as his home. While the family enjoys their Sabbath upstairs, Meyer leads Wade downstairs to where Meyer's men are interrogating Dr. Hammer's pimp. Together they find the doctor's location and Wade heads there. As they near the location, Wade feels something familiar about the landscape around him. He is ambushed by Cubans. He is grazed in the head by a .22 caliber round and collapses.

As he awakes, Wade is confronted by Stryfe and the brainwashed sleeper agent Cable. Unwittingly, Wade has stumbled into a plot to begin World War 3. Furthermore, Wade was not captured by the Japanese as previously believed. He was kidnapped for Stryfe's secret program to turn him into a deadly sleeper agent. The camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was where he was taken after 'capture'. Stryfe himself was Wade's torturer. As with Cable, Wade was programmed to obey orders without question after the coded phrase "Sic transit gloria mundi" was spoken aloud.

With both Cable and Wade under his control, Stryfe begins to outline his plans for America, beginning with the assassination of John F Kennedy. As the general is briefing the agents, Wade's inner voices are in turmoil. Another third (or possibly fourth) personality has arisen. "There's someone else in here with us." Is how the 'white-box voice' describes it. A third caption box appears in the panels following; black with white lettering, it seems to be the 'voice' of Wade's programming. Somehow, either from the recent head wound or from living with the more familiar personalities for so long, Wade manages to overthrow his brainwashing and foils Stryfe. The general orders Cable to "KILL HIM, CABLE! KILL DEADPOOL!" Acting quickly Wades disables Cable before he can attack. This gives Wade time to give Stryfe his mask back (with the assistance of a desk stapler).

Cable awakes with only his orders to "KILL DEADPOOL" intact. He leaps onto the general and begins to pound on him until Stryfe gives up the coded phrase to de-program an agent; "Joe DiMaggio." Wade explains the situation to a baffled Cable, and the two leave to stop Outlaw at last. Along the way, Cable and Deadpool extract their revenge on General Stryfe.

Wade meets Outlaw once again on top of the Statue of Liberty during the 4th of July celebration. Believing her to be one of Stryfe's agents, Wade tries to convince Outlaw that she was tricked and used. In return, he tells him she was never a sleeper agent and explains "{...} Baby, I'm just bad." as she cuffs him to the armed briefcase nuke, which is in turn cuffed to the railing around the Statue's observation deck. With twenty-two minutes until detonation, Wade breaks the railing and dives over the edge in pursuit of Outlaw. They come to a final showdown in the wheelhouse of a boat they fell near. Wade cuffs the briefcase to Outlaw's wrist, dooming them both. Taking the device as far out to sea as possible once rendering Outlaw unconscious, Wade realizes they will not get far enough away. Wrapping the cuffs around an anchor on deck, he plunges again into the water to drown himself, the nuke, and Outlaw. As she drowns, the key to the handcuffs floats up from around her neck. Wade escapes just in time, and the nuke detonates deep underwater.

Wade survives the blast, but the resulting radiation poisoning causes an extreme strain of cancer. Wade is left scarred and with only days to live. Cable and a man with a Maple Leaf flag on his lapel approach Deadpool in his hospital bed to tell him of an experimental program that could cure him: Weapon X. Wade responds with a smile and tells Cable "You got my attention."

Iron Man Noir[edit]

During his latest expedition- accompanied by his aid James Rhodes, his assistant and lover Doctor Gialetta Nefaria, and Virgil Munsey, his chronicler for Marvels: A Magazine of Men's Adventure-, adventurer Tony Stark discovers a cavern with a mysterious emerald mask in it. However, his attempts to claim the mask are interrupted when Gialetta reveals that she has betrayed him to aid the Nazis, in the form of the mysterious "Baron Zemo" and the ruthless Baron Strucker, the Nazis killing Virgil before Tony and Rhodes escape by starting a fire. Returning to America- where they meet their new chronicler Pepper Potts, who writes under the alias of 'Frank Finlay'-, Tony reveals that his father, Howard Stark, vanished years ago, and that he is suffering from a weak heart due to unspecified damage, requiring an electrical support.

Investigating Gialetta's desk, Tony discovers a journal hinting at the location of Atlantis, setting out on a trip with Captain Namor in his ship, the Dorma, in the hopes that he will discover Atlantis's mythical power source, orichalcum- a metal said to enhance power- to use it to repair his heart. While they recover a trident-head made of orichalcum from an underwater cavern, the Dorma is subsequently attacked by Zemo's forces- Gialetta now wearing the mask to hide the scars she received in the initial escape-, Zemo escaping with Pepper as a hostage, forcing Tony, Rhodes and Namor to retreat to the ship's submarine, subsequently being picked up by Jarvis in an airship. Despite the increased damage to his heart, Tony decides to attempt to rescue Pepper using suits of armour he has developed based on some of his father's old sketches and ideas, attacking the Nazis in their castle base.

However, their rescue attempt takes a shocking turn when they fnd themselves facing an identical suit of armour, with Zemo unmasking to reveal his true identity of Howard Stark; 'Zemo' is merely a title passed down to subjects who have been brainwashed by a unique chemical formula that leaves them loyal to the Nazis. Despite facing an army equipped with similar armors, Tony manages to destroy the Nazi army by supercharging the trident with the last dregs of his repulsor's energy, triggering an electric burst that destroys the air fleet. Returning home, Tony decides to abandon adventure and focus on making the world safer by eliminating real threats.

Luke Cage Noir[edit]

Luke Cage is a Harlem man who gains a reputation for being the bulletproof "Power Man" after attacking a corrupt police officer and being shot without any apparent injuries. After serving ten years behind bars for the fight, he returns home to a changed Harlem in a very segregated America during Prohibition.

Cage finds that an old friend of his, Willis Stryker, has become a major player in New York's underworld through bootlegging and other rackets. He goes to Stryker's nightclub seeking information on his pre-incarceration girlfriend Josephine Hall. Stryker tells him that Josephine died in an apartment fire, but Cage is quietly suspicious. Stryker offers Cage a job, and is further impressed by Cage's handling of a vengeful pimp.

After leaving the nightclub, he is invited into a limousine by a wealthy caucasian man named Randall Banticoff. He also offers Cage a job, in this case the investigation of his wife's murder in Harlem. Cage accepts in exchange for the clearing of his criminal record. He gains admission to the city morgue and sees through bloating that the wife has been dead longer than has been reported.

Still bothered by Stryker's story, Cage goes to the cemetery and digs up Josephine's grave. He opens her coffin and finds it empty. He also sees a man named Tombstone standing over him with a shotgun and a pack of dogs.

Punisher Noir[edit]

The story begins in 1935 Manhattan with an unknown man, later to be identified as Frank Castle, waking up and turning on his radio, during which he is seen with several bullet marks across his back. In the following scenes, a radio broadcast airs detailing a lone vigilante, all the while the still unnamed man gets dressed, which includes preparing a couple grenades, knives, brass knuckles, and two pistols with the Punisher skull on them. Just as the man dons a mask with the same skull, the radio broadcast identifies the lone vigilante as the Punisher.

Flashbacks detail Frank Castle's actions during the first World War, and provide the story behind the Punisher's famous logo. The logo was Frank's way of 'taking the piss' out of his wife's fear that he would be claimed by the angel of death. Frank Sr. is shown to be a skilled soldier, taking out an entire trench of Germans with a pair of pistols (the same pistols his son is seen using). After the war, he is traveling on a train, when he is ambushed by Noir's version of the Russian. After a brutal fight which takes Frank and the Russian onto the roof of the train, Frank manages to defeat the Russian by slipping a live grenade down his pants and kicking him off the train.

In 1928, Frank's wife has died of cancer, and he is left to raise their son on his own. Frank teaches his son much of his combat knowledge, teaching the boy to shoot a gun and explaining the ins and outs of combat. Frank also refuses to pay protection money to the local crime boss (Dutch Schultz), earning the crime boss' wrath. Frank falls in with a gang of bullies, but eventually leaves the gang after refusing to rob a Church. Frank, however, is killed by a trio of hitmen hired by Dutch: Noir's version of Jigsaw, Barracuda, and a mystery assassin referred to as "She." Upon learning of his father's murder, Frank Jr. swears revenge on all those responsible.

Returning to 1935, Frank (this version's Punisher, as opposed to the mainstream's continuity where the father is), is shown systematically hunting down those responsible for his father's death. He first ambushes Barracuda at a carnival after-hours. After failing to learn the identity of "She" from Barracuda, he executes him. Frank Jr. then allows himself to be subdued by Jigsaw. Jigsaw tortures Frank Jr., carving the image of the skull into his chest with a knife (which resembles the tattoo that his father had received during the war). In a moment of hubris, Jigsaw reveals the identity of "She." Frank Jr. then reveals he had freed himself of his restraints hours ago, and proceeds to strangle Jigsaw.

"She" is in fact the Russian. The grenade's explosion had in fact castrated him, but taking this in stride, the Russian began wearing a wig and dress. The Punisher confronts the Russian at the Bronx Zoo. After a long fight, the Punisher finally kills the Russian. Throwing his mask onto the Russian's corpse (framing the Russian for the murders), Frank guns down Dutch Schultz, before retiring into the night. Detective Martin Soap (who in this incarnation is much more competent than his mainstream counterpart), deduces that the Russian was not the Punisher, because Schultz was killed several hours after the Russian's body was discovered. This leaves the Punisher's identity a mystery to the police.

Frank, left without purpose after exacting his revenge, walks the streets. In a conversation with his father's tombstone, he asks if he should move on to "Luciano" or "Capone", if he should continue to "punish". Frank receives his answer from a newspaper article, where Adolf Hitler's picture is seen.

Spider-Man Noir[edit]

Main article: Spider-Man Noir

Weapon X Noir[edit]

Weapon X Noir follows the exploits of Kurt Wagner in his circus days, prior to his meeting up with Charles Xavier.

Wolverine Noir[edit]

The story takes place in New York in 1937, where private detective James Logan has to solve a mysterious case in which he has to face his own dark past as well.

Logan and his partner Dog are sitting in their office as an attractive mysterious woman comes in. She hires them to find out who is following her out of the hotel owned by a man named Creed. Dog thinking it will be no problem takes it from Logan and leaves for Creed's hotel. Last we see of Dog, he is fighting two men asking them where Creed is.

Logan begins to think of his childhood as Dog leaves. His father is a devout and strict preacher who punishes him often.

X-Men Noir[edit]

The X-Men Noir series is notable in that none of the characters have superpowers.

The X-Men of this reality are a group of sociopathic teenagers recruited by discredited psychiatrist Charles Xavier, who ran the "Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters" in Westchester, New York in 1937. There, he took in juvenile delinquents and instead of reforming them, he further trained them in various criminal talents due to his belief that sociopathy was in fact the next state in human behavioral evolution. The paper in which he stated this led to his expulsion from the American Psychological Association and as of the first issue, he is interred at Ryker's Island, awaiting charges after the truth about his reform school was made public. Jean Grey is depicted as the grifter of the X-Men; adept at running scams, she gained a reputation as being able to control the minds of men. In the opening of the series, her body is found washed up near Welfare Island in the East River, covered in slash marks grouped in threes.

Eric Magnisky is the Chief of Detectives in the NYPD Homicide Department, a firm believer in eugenics, and the leader of the secret society that rules over most of the organized crime in the city, the Brotherhood. His son, Peter, a former track star, has just joined Homicide, and his daughter, Wanda, is a spoiled socialite who started a relationship with reporter Thomas Halloway, also known as the Angel, a costumed vigilante. At the same time, she's also involved with Remy LeBeau, a casino owner with connections to Unus the Untouchable, a local crime boss and enemy of Magnus. Also involved is Irish heroin dealer Sean Cassidy, a former inmate of the Welfare Pen and one of Tom's childhood mentors.

The rest of the X-Men, made up by Scott "Cyclops" Summers, Bobby "Iceman" Drake, and Hank "Beast" McCoy, are on the run following the arrest of their mentor. Xavier, who refused to ally his students with Lensherr's Brotherhood, was arrested after one of the X-Men, Warren Worthington III, apparently committed suicide by jumping off the roof thinking he could fly. It's revealed by Iceman that Warren was really thrown off the roof by the Brotherhood when Xavier refused. Magnus, as it turns out, owes most of his success to Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club who holds nearly the entire city of New York in the palm of his hand, including the mayor, the D.A., and the police department. Lensherr (whose last name is revealed to be Magnus, which the Ellis Island immigration agent misheard as Lensherr), is seeking out Anna-Marie, one of Xavier's students with a talent for mimicry, on behalf of Shaw so that they may use her against Unus in their quest to take complete control of the city's underworld. Also tied up in this tangled web of deceit is Captain Logan, a bootlegger and former flame of Jean, who operates out of Chinatown with his first mate Eugene.

Magnus confronts Anne-Marie on the roof of the police station, but she kills him. The Angel realizes that she is really Jean Grey, who killed the real Anne-Marie Rankin and took her place, because she wanted to avoid being studied by Xavier or exploited by Magnus. She says she knows Tommy cannot kill, but Angel reveals that he is Robert Halloway, Tommy's twin brother, and pushes them both off the roof. Cyclops and Tommy commiserate before getting on Logan's boat and heading to Madripoor.

A back-up text story, "The Sentinels", by Bolivar Trask, is a pastiche of period science fiction, presented as though published in a pulp magazine called Scienti-Fiction. In it, Nimrod, one of a society of genetic supermen called Sentinels, must try and save his beloved, Rachel, from the "muties" who live in the tunnels beneath New New New York. However, Rachel claims not to want to be saved, as the muties have shown her the truth. Nimrod discovers that Dr. Steven Lang, the eugenic engineer who created the Sentinels, was not killed by the muties, but left for dead by the Breeders' Council when he protested that their policies were oppressive and saved by Callisto, Queen of the Muties. More Sentinels led by Bastion invade the tunnels, and Rachel and Lang are killed. Nimrod uses a Phoenix Bomb built by the mad Egyptian En Sabah Nur to destroy the Breeders' Council, but also destroys the whole of New New York, and the muties' tunnels. He and Callisto are the only survivors, and conclude they will have to combine Sentinel and mutie genes "the old fashioned way".

X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain[edit]

Mark of Cain is a direct sequel to X-Men Noir. Professor X has been released from jail. The story finds him and his beloved X-Men and everyone scrambling to locate the Gem of Cyttorak. In the dark and steamy jungles of Madripoor, the flashing claws of Logan, the blazing bullets of Cyclops, and the dashing fists of the Angel met with wave after wave of berserk headhunters, all willing to protect the secrets of the Temple-Tomb of Cyttorak with their lives. The ancient treasure map of mercenary Cain Marko, with its siren-song of the priceless gigantic ruby of the fabled god-king, had lured them only into the icy claws of death.


Daredevil Noir gained some positive review by fans and critics. The fourth issue was highly praised for both the story and the artwork as gave an overall 5 out of 5.[9]

Spider-Man Noir gained mixed reception from critics and fans, but they still found the series enjoyable; IGN rate the first issue 6.1 out of 10,[10] with the second issue rated 6.9 out of 10 [11] Timothy Callahan from gave a positive review commented "Hine, Sapolsky and Di Giandomenico's Spider-Man Noir has been a violent, action-packed romp since the first issue". Adam Chapman from praised the artwork and also gave a positive review commented "Di Giandomenico once again provides some truly outstanding artwork...Whenever he's on a book, I know it's going to look absolutely magnificent..."

Wolverine Noir was given mostly negative reviews, however critics praised both the story and the artwork. Adam Chapman from gave the third issue an overall 4 out of 5,[12] the fourth issue an overall 5 out of 5.[13]

In other media[edit]


  • Daredevil Noir #1-4
  • Spider-Man Noir #1-4
  • X-Men Noir #1-4
  • Wolverine Noir #1-4
  • Luke Cage Noir #1-4
  • Punisher Noir #1-4
  • X-Men Noir: The Mark of Cain #1-4
  • Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face #1-4
  • Weapon X Noir One-Shot #1
  • Iron Man Noir #1-4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marvel Noir Set for 2009". Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  2. ^ Fear And Hatred: Van Lente & Calero on "X Men Noir", Comic Book Resources, September 9, 2008
  3. ^ Fred Van Lente & Dennis Calero on X Men Noir, Newsarama, September 17, 2008
  4. ^ 'Daredevil Noir' Q&A With Writer Alex Irvine, Wizard Universe, September 12, 2008
  5. ^ The Man Who Would be King(pin): Irvine on Daredevil Noir, Comic Book Resources, April 3, 2009
  6. ^ Ekstrom, Steve (May 22, 2009). "Benson & Glass on 'Luke Cage: Noir'". Newsarama. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  7. ^ NYCC: "Punisher Noir's" Gangland Glory, Comic Book Resources, February 9, 2009
  8. ^ Going Old School: Frank Tieri on 'Punisher Noir, Newsarama, February 23, 2009
  9. ^ "Daredevil Noir #4 Review". 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2010-10-04. [dead link]
  10. ^ Kevin Fuller (2008-12-17). "IGN: Spider-Man Noir #1 Review". Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  11. ^ Jesse Schedeen (2009-01-21). "IGN: Spider-Man Noir #2 Review". Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  12. ^ "Wolverine Noir #3 Review". 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2010-10-04. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Wolverine Noir #4 Review". 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2010-10-04. [dead link]