Posts Tagged ‘Blackest Night

23
May
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 171: Siege, Sentry, and Lots Of E-Mails

Kenny returns in this all-e-mail episode! After spending about a month on assorted special episodes, the boys sit down and read a slew of them all at once — comments on Blackest Night, Lost, The Hulk, thoughts on Siege and much more! And since Kenny hasn’t read comics in a while (and Daniel doesn’t read them at all), Blake and Mike each double up on their picks — this week, Legion of Super-Heroes #1, Superman/Batman #72, Atomic Robo #3 and Booster Gold #32! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Episode 171: Siege, Sentry, and lots of E-Mails
Inside This Episode:


10
May
10

What I’m Reading: Brightest Day, Blackest Addendum

It’s that time again, friends. I’m stepping up this week to give you a selection of reviews of the recent Brightest Day comic books from DC… but before I do that, there’s a straggler from Blackest Night that’s waiting to be reviewed.

Blackest Night Director’s Cut #1

I don’t always get these “Director’s Cut” comics… in fact, I almost never do, but being the huge fan that I was of Blackest Night, it was hard to pass this one up. This isn’t merely an annotated reprint of the first issue, friends, this is actually a heavily loaded special full of behind-the-scenes goodies from throughout the recently-concluded Blackest Night event. It begins with a “commentary track,” where the entire creative team (that’s writer Geoff Johns, penciller Ivan Reis, inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado, colorist Alex Sinclair, letterer Nick J. Napolitano, assistant editor Adam Schlagman and editor Eddie Berganza) all offer up comments and thoughts on different panels, Easter Eggs, snippets of dialogue and story beats from throughout the series. Some of this commentary gets a little too “mutual admiration society” and times — not that the team doesn’t deserve the accolades, but it gets a little dull to read — but there’s enough good stuff in here to justify reading through the whole thing. If anything, there are moments that I wish had been expanded a bit — Berganza, for instance, reveals that other candidates were considered for the Sinestro Corps “deputy” instead of the Scarecrow, but doesn’t tell us who the other candidates were. I would have liked to read that. On the other hand, they also point out little things that I didn’t even catch when I read the book, like hidden bat-signals and the coloring tricks that made certain things stand out. We also get a gallery of every cover of every Blackest Night issue, crossover, tie-in, and variant, and the complete script for Blackest Night #1, both of which are fun. It’s quite impressive how heavily annotated Johns’ scripts are in and of themselves. In “Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor” we’re presented the script for two scenes that were removed from the issue before they were drawn (both of which would have been great) and a fantastic Greg Horn cover that was tossed out because a story decision eliminated the character it features, which happens. There’s a look  at the scuplting of the Hal Jordan action figure and a spread of the entire Blackest Night toy line, then tons of concept sketches for the various Black Lanterns and deputy Lanterns, some of which turned up in the series, others did not. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an essential book. Fans of the series can skip it entirely and not miss a thing. But if you are a big fan and you like the behind-the-scenes looks, there’s definite worth in this book. I hope most of these features are included in the inevitable collected edition of the series.

Rating: 7.5/10

Green Lantern #53

Kicking off what I imagine will the the core (no pun intended) tie-in to Brightest Day, Green Lantern #53 began a storyline titled “The New Guardians,” which seems to feature the leaders of the seven Corps, most of whom have remained on Earth after the revelation of the White Lantern. In deep space, someone is planning a move against the Lanterns of all colors. On Earth, Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris begin an uneasy alliance to seek the truth of the White Lantern. We also check in with the other “New Guardians” here, including a Larfleeze beat that makes me more excited than ever to see more of the character and a wonderful beat with the Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, and Barry Allen trying to clean up after Black Hand’s destruction. The book also sets up things for the two other GL titles (Green Lantern Corps and the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors). No surprise, I’m enjoying this title. The new Lanterns we’ve been introduced to are too interesting to be one-off characters, and it’s great to see a continued focus on them… their powers, their personalities, and most importantly, how they interact with one another and the rest of the DC Universe. Just a few weeks into the event, it’s becoming clear what each tie-in b00k is bringing to the table — this is the one exploring the newly-discovered emotional spectrum and its agents. And that’s very cool.

Rating: 8/10

Justice League of America #44

The biggest problem with James Robinson‘s Justice League so far has ben the lack of stability of the team. We seem to have a “core four” of Batman (Dick Grayson), Donna Troy, Starman (Mikaal) and Congorilla, which is an interesting group in its own right, but doesn’t seem enough for the League. Fortunately, Robinson has promised links to the other big “families” of the DCU, including Supergirl, Jesse Quick (representing the Flashes) and a character who turns up here that both represents the Green Lanterns and gives this book a link to Brightest Day. The JLA is training when a massive chunk of the Starheart falls to Earth. The Starheart, for the unititiated, is the magic artifact that emulates the abilities of the Green Lantern Corps and powers both the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and his newly-resurrected daughter, Jade. Along with a couple of guest-stars, the League and the Justice Society seem destined for a classic team-up (all of which, by the way, will be done by the JLA team of Robinson and artist Mark Bagley). There’s a good mix of characters here and a logical reason to bring the two teams together, and if it can help reestablish the JLA as the alpha dogs they should be, all the better. This is definitely the best issue of the book since its two-part Blackest Night crossover concluded.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #47

This issue is listed both as a Brightest Day crossover and a Blackest Night epilogue, and it fills both those functions. On Oa, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and the rest of the Corps is picking up the pieces from the Black Lantern attack, slowly rebuilding, while on the GL Planet Mogo a memorial is held for the fallen Lanterns and the search for their replacements begins. There are a couple of weird bits here, including a very amusing scene between Vath of Rann and Isamot of Thanagar — GLs and reluctant partners who have gained a slow respect for one another even though their planets are at war. Kilowog, easily the greatest non-human GL ever written, gets a new mission in life, and Kyle Rayner steps up and faces the Guardians over one of the mistakes they’ve made in recent months. This is Peter Tomasi‘s last issue of this title, before moving over to the new series Green Lantern: Emerald Warrior, and he goes out with class. This is a low-action issue — no big bangs — but that’s just fine. He manages to spend a little time with each member of the cast he’s played with for 20-odd issues now, showing just where he’s leaving each of them (even those he’s not leaving, as they’re coming with him into the new title) and making it wonderfully clear what the current status of the Green Lantern Corps is. Tony Bedard should be a worthy successor for Tomasi on this book, but man, I can’t wait for Emerald Warriors.

Rating: 8/10

Brightest Day #1

Finally, the main event. After a nice zero issue prologue, Brightest Day #1 follows up on Hal, Carol and Sinestro as they examine the mysterious White Lantern that has crashed into the Earth in New Mexico. They may not be sure exactly what it is, but it soon becomes clear that removing it won’t be so easy. We also look in on several of the other heroes who were resurrected in the climax of Blackest Night, most likely those that won’t have their stories told in full in spin-off books. Deadman — still alive, still being led around by his White Lantern ring — witnesses a rather chilling display of new powers for Aquaman, while Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, the reluctant Firestorm, finds out that their partnership may be permanent. Old favorites J’onn J’onzz and Hawkman and Hawkgirl also get some development in their stories. I’m going to get a little spoilery now, so I’m going to conclude this paragraph with a rating, and if you don’t want the spoilers, stop reading at that.

Rating: 7.5/10

SPOILERS START HERE: So evidently, the “White Lantern” is the equivalent of Excalibur. It’s sitting there in the desert and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be moved until the “true” White Lantern places his or her hands on it and claims the power of the Entity. The question that should be asked, obviously, is who that person is. Several people have suggested Deadman, but I don’t think that’s the case. If that was it, why wouldn’t the Entity just bring him straight to the Lantern instead of giving him the runaround. I think one of two things is more likely. First, either Boston Brand’s task is to find the “true” White Lantern or — perhaps even more interesting — to choose which of the other resurrected is most worthy to become the White Lantern. I don’t have specific candidates in mind for either of these theories, but I think they work (especially the second one). I also find it interesting that Aquaman and J’onn J’onzz are both still having Black Lantern moments. What does that mean, exactly? Frankly, I got no clue, but I’m enjoying the

16
Apr
10

What I’m Reading: Brightest Day Begins

Well, like I said, I’m going to review all of the Brightest Day tie-in comics I read here. I’m not going out of my way for them, but I read so many DC books already chances are that I’ll cover most of ’em either here or at Comixtreme.com. At any rate, the first two books with that banner both came out this week, so it’s time to begin your reviews…

Brightest Day #0

Geoff Johns, mastermind behind Blackest Night, joins with his Green Lantern-universe writing partner Peter J. Tomasi to write this year-long biweekly maxiseries that spins out of the events of the final issue of Blackest Night. In this zero issue, we begin with Boston Brand, formerly Deadman, one of the twelve characters brought back from the dead in that previous storyline. Unlike the rest of them, however, Boston was never a force in his life. He didn’t become a hero until after he died, and the new “Aliveman” (as Johns has taken to calling him online) doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. That choice seems to be made for him as the White Lantern ring that brought him back from the dead takes him on a tour into the lives of the other 11 men and women who came back from beyond the grave and, at the end, gives him the first glimpse of just what the mission of his new life may be.

This feels like a true zero issue, with lots of set-up and lots of promise. Taking the time to show us who these characters are and how they’re dealing with their return to life is a good idea. Sure, the vast majority of the people reading this issue also read Blackest Night and know who the twelve are, But some of these characters have been dead for quite a while. It’s perfectly reasonable to think that an incoming reader may not be familiar with Osiris, Hawk, Jade, or Maxwell Lord, and taking the time to remind us who they are isn’t a bad thing at all. The writers go farther than that, though, giving us a real glimpse into how their return to the living has effected them. Some of them, naturally, are handling it better than others, and this issue seems to give at least a peek into the story direction each of these characters will enjoy over the course of the next year. We also get an idea of just where many of their stories will lead — Hawk into Birds of Prey, Max into Justice League: Generation Lost, Jade into Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, Osiris into Titans and Captain Boomerang and probably Professor Zoom into The Flash, although each of them no doubt will also play a part in this main series as well. (Actually, looking at this list the only book I wasn’t planning to read anyway was Titans, and with Osiris heading there I’m sorely tempted to get it.)

Fernando Pasarin does the art for this issue, although with a biweekly series I imagine that there won’t be one “regular” artist, but probably several rotating pencilers and inkers taking turns to get this series out on time, much as was done on the previous weekly comics 52 and Countdown. I really like Pasarin’s artwork — it’s strong, traditional superhero art that works for the bright heroes (and the dark villains) we see herein.

This is a solid beginning. Brightest Day is going to be a long road, but Johns and Tomasi got it off on the right foot.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash #1

Or, more accurately, The Flash (Vol. 3) #1. While I understand why this book has been relaunched with a new first issue instead of just continuing the numbering of the previous series, that’s a pet peeve of mine in the comic book universe. This is, however, at least better than what they’re about to do with Green Arrow. But I digress, Geoff Johns re-teams with his former Adventure Comics partner Francis Manapul for the new ongoing adventures of Barry Allen, the Flash. Barry was recently returned from the dead himself (well… recently in DC Universe time, it’s been nearly two years in the real world since his return began), and as his new series kicks off we see him trying to re-acclimate into his life. Johns has a pretty plausible story for him to tell his former friends and co-workers about where he’s been all these years, and Barry wastes no time getting back into the mix.

The story really kicks into gear when a murder victim is found in the middle of Central City wearing a costume similar to that of Barry’s old foe the Mirror Master. As he tries to look into the stranger’s death, he finds that he isn’t the only one investigating… and with Mirror Master down, the rest of the Rogues can’t be far behind.

Johns does a wonderful job capturing the flavor of Barry Allen in this book. While a lot of people — fairly — miss Wally West (Barry’s former sidekick who took the top job in the nearly 25 years since Barry’s “death” in Crisis on Infinite Earths), Johns has really conveyed who Barry is and what makes him different from Wally. The relationship between Barry and his wife, Barry and his coworkers, and Barry and his enemies is all clearly defined. What’s more — as Johns so often does — he takes great pains to characterize not just the hero, but his city as well. Central City is a place concerned with speed, with getting everything done fast. And that seems a perfect fit for the scarlet speedster.

Can I say how much I love Francis Manapul’s artwork? His linework, with beautiful colors by Brian Buccellato, is unlike anything else you see in a modern superhero comic. The book has a sort of washed look to it that gives it a timeless feel. The story you’re reading could have been told twenty years ago, it could be told twenty years from now, and it will fit in just perfectly.

As he often does, Johns ends this issue with a teaser from an upcoming storyline, Flashpoint, which is promised to come in 2011. Johns will apparently be telling this story with artist Andy Kubert, although whether this is a storyline in this title, a crossover with other titles, or its own miniseries remains unknown. I love when Johns does this, though. The first time was back at the end of Sinestro Corps War, when he first teased a little something called Blackest Night, and since then he’s stepped up several times to give us teases. This tease features a clock running out, Barry with Professor Zoom’s costume, something happening to the other speedsters, and glimpes of Paris underwater, a red-eyed Batman, an armored Wonder Woman in front of a flaming Big Ben, soldiers protecting a bunker sporting Superman’s S-shield, and a white-gloved hand wearing a White Lantern ring. Curiouser and curiouser. Whatever it is, Johns has proven himself to me time and again, so I can’t wait to see it.

Rating: 8/10

11
Apr
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 166: Blackest Night Post-Game Report

DC‘s biggest event of the year has come to a conclusion, but before the sun rises on Brightest Day, the Showcase boys take a look back at the Blackest Night. In this spoiler-packed episode the guys discuss the one-shots and tie-ins of the second half of the event, their thoughts on the story as a whole, and the potential for the upcoming Brightest Day spin-offs. In the picks, Kenny dug Flash Secret Files 2010, and Blake goes with Invincible Returns #1. PLUS: Kenny gives us a comic shop report from his roaming around eastern Texas and western Louisiana! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

2 in1 Showcase Episode 166: Blackest Night Post-Page Report
Inside This Episode:

02
Apr
10

What I’m Reading: Blackest Night #8

Nine months later, I’m finally reaching the end of the saga I’ve been reviewing as meticulously as anything else I’ve ever read in comics. Blackest Night #8 has hit the stands and everyone is having their say. So here’s mine, and I don’t think anyone will be surprised by what I’m going to say. I loved this book.

Sinestro has taken on the power of the Entity, the power of the White Lantern, to lead a final charge against Nekron. As the combined power of all seven Corps swarm the Earth in the hopes of driving him back, Nekron’s Black Lanterns regroup and begin to show that perhaps Sinestro isn’t as all-powerful as he assumed. And when all is beginning to seem hopeless, an unexpected hero pops up to give the Lanterns the clue they need to stop Nekron and destroy the Black Lanterns once and for all.

I’m not going to get into a lot of spoilers here, nor start speculating about what lies ahead for the characters involved. If you want to read that sort of thing, I did it in detail in this week’s Everything But Imaginary column. Let’s focus, instead, on just how writer Geoff Johns succeeded in putting out the best comic book crossover since The Infinity Gauntlet back in 1991. First of all, from the beginning he established a clear set of core characters and a clear endgame. While the events of the story spread out to the whole of the DC Universe, it was clear that the main characters were the seven “New Guardians” plus a few friends on Earth — the Flash, the Atom, and Mera. The goal was clear — stop Black Hand, then (once the Big Bad was revealed) stop Nekron.

The second thing he did right was orchestrate the spin-offs in such a way that most of them were very good, but almost none of them were essential. The six spin-off miniseries, eight one-shot “back from the dead” titles, and assorted crossovers into ongoing titles (most lasting only one or two issues, and only one went three) told their own self-contained stories that were related to Blackest Night and showed how their characters were relating to the war, but were not required reading for the main title. The only exceptions to that were the two GL family books, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, both of which crossed over with this storyline for the duration of the series and were fairly significant when it came to showing what happened between issues of the core title. But as those were the two titles that laid 99 percent of the groundwork for this story, to me, that’s totally acceptable.

He introduced new characters in the assorted other Corps (most of them, admittedly, in the run-up, but this story really helped us get to know who they were) and reinvigorated old ones, and none so much as Mera. The one-time easily-dismissed “Aquawoman” now has more potential than just about anyone in the DC Universe, and I sincerely hope that her story will continue in Brightest Day.

Finally, he made real, lasting changes to the DC Universe, beyond just the introduction of new characters and the reintroduction of old ones. The old “revolving door of death” shtick which plagues most mainstream comics is addressed here, and the door is closed. Now of course, this will only remain a rule so long as whoever is running the DC Universe wants it to be a rule, but the man currently in charge of DC’s creative end is… you guessed it… Geoff Johns. Does this mean that no one in DC Comics will ever come back from the dead? Of course not. But I believe as long as Johns is there, sticking to his guns, it’s going to be a hell of a lot rarer.

Plus, Ivan Reis and his colorists and inkers gave us page after page of awesome.

Add it all up and you’ve got a series that excited me from the outset, kept me happy throughout, and delivered a knockout punch at the end. Well done, Johns and company. Well done.

Rating: 9/10

By the way, once Brightest Day launches, I do intend to continue reviewing any crossover titles I get here at the ‘Realms, unless I’m already reviewing them at Comixtreme. However, I will not go out of my way to get each and every crossover this time, just the ones I’d get normally or that really intrigue me. That will probably be the majority of them anyway, but a man’s got to have his limits.

31
Mar
10

Everything But Imaginary #346: From Blackest Night to Brightest Day

DC Comics’ mega-event Blackest Night came to a conclusion today, and so I take a little time to go over the unanswered questions and storylines that have been established for the upcoming follow-up series, Brightest Day. Be warned, spoilers abound, so if you haven’t read Blackest Night #8 yet, stay back.

Everything But Imaginary #346: From Blackest Night to Brightest Day

26
Mar
10

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern #52

The cover says Green Lantern #52, but this issue is pretty much Blackest Night #7 1/2, as the two main plotlines of the series finally converge in these many, many pages. The united Lanterns of every Corps fight a two-front battle this month. In the skies above the planet Earth, the entire Black Lantern mass of the dead planet Xanshi face off against the Lanterns who have converged from all corners of the Universe. On the ground in Coast City, the newly-crowned White Lantern Sinestro leads the assault against Nekron.

This is what you would call a “mythology” episode of a TV show, something that progresses the plot a bit and reveals a lot of the backstory. We get a definitive origin for life in the DC Universe, as well as the origins of the seven entities — such as Ion and Parallax — that embody the seven Corps we’ve become familiar with.

There are also fantastic, if unexpected, character beats throughout this issue. Fatality, one-time assassin of Green Lanterns and current Star Sapphire, has always hated John Stewart for failing to save her home, Xanshi, from destruction. Now we see them fighting on the same side against a desecrated version of that planet, and both characters are opened up to some real depth here. The stuff with Sinestro and the rest of the main cast doesn’t move along quite as much (that, no doubt, is being saved for the core Blackest Night finale), but Geoff Johns still succeeds in giving us great moments nonetheless. Sinestro’s duel with Nekron, in particular, has the potential for major ramifications in the climax of this series and, presumably, moving into the follow-up Brightest Day.

This series, this storyline, really has delivered consistently and almost without exception. Geoff Johns has long since proven himself as a storyteller to comic book fans, but Blackest Night takes him one step further. Now, he’s firmly established as someone who can orchestrate a line-wide event, adn make it better and more satisfying than any in recent memory. More than ever, with his new position as DC’s “Creative Director,” I fell that the DCU is in good hands.

Rating: 9/10




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