Posts Tagged ‘James Robinson

04
Jun
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 267: The Lost Heroes

In all the frenzy over the big reveal about Alan Scott, nobody seems to be asking the question that’s on Blake’s mind… namely, will we ever see his children, Jade and Obsidian, again? Blake talks this week about the ranks of the Lost Heroes, those characters who have gone AWOL for one reason or another, and may never return. In the picks, he doubles up with Superman Family Adventures #1 and Grim Leaper #1. Don’t forget, we’re still taking votes for our upcoming top ten episodes featuring the greatest Avengers and Justice Leaguers of all time! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 267: The Lost Heroes

06
May
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 265: Free Comic Book Day 2012

On the tenth anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, Blake and Kenny set up camp at BSI Comics in Metairie and chat with fans, pros, and fellow podcasters about everything! In this episode: a spoiler-free discussion of The Avengers, our thoughts on the DC Nation cartoon block including Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, discussions of the free comics on sale, Kurt Amacker tells us about his new graphic novel Tad Caldwell and the Monster Kid, and we chat with the hosts of the Nola Nerd podcast and Adam from the Graphic Panels podcast. In the picks, Adam recommends Earth 2 #1 and Blake (surprising virtually no one) talks about the first issue of the new X-O Manowar. And the free stuff isn’t over — Blake is giving away free downloads of his superhero novel Other People’s Heroes! Just go to Smashwords.com, use the coupon code XG56X, and download the book in your preferred eReader format! (Coupon expires on May 20, 2012.) Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 265: Free Comic Book Day 2012

02
Jul
10

Recent Comics Roundup: Brightest Day with extra Green

Okay, gang, how about another roundup of recent comic book releases. I’ll give you my usual slate of Brightest Day comics, then tomorrow I’ll get into some other recent books, including a few Heroic Age comics and the big Wonder Woman #600 that all the kids are talking about. Let’s get to it.

Green Lantern Corps #49: In part two of “Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns,” Boodikka and John Stewart undertake a mission to planet Grenda, home of the robot Lantern Stel, who has gone incommunicado. Shortly after his arrival, though, John finds himself under attack by an unexpected source, and Kyle Rayner, Ganthet, and Soranik Natu go out to rescue the rescue mission. We also get a glimpse of the fallout from Deadman’s battle with the Anti-Monitor in Brightest Day #3, as it seems to be playing into this storyline. Ever since the Alpha-Lanterns were introduced, there’s been something distinctly creepy about them, and this issue seems to be pulling the curtain back a bit on them. We’re getting to see some of what they’re really up to, and while we still may not quite know why they’re behaving this way, the fact that they are is disturbing enough. Tony Bedard does still have room for character beats, though. The recent return of Kyle’s late ex-girlfriend, Jade, is causing trouble in his current relationship with Soranik. We also really get to see what makes John Stewart tick in this issue. I’m very happy that he’s joined the cast of this book full-time, as in just two issues he’s gotten more exposure than he did in the past 25 issues of the core Green Lantern title. Ardian Syaf gets to play with a lot of redesigns this issue, and he does a fine job. He’s rapidly rising up the ranks of DC’s bests artists, and this is one of DC’s best comics.

Rating: 8/10

Green Arrow #1: Hey, look, it’s a Green Arrow #1! It must be at least two, three months since we had one of those. At the beginning of Brightest Day, the devastated Star City became the site of an enormous star-shaped forest. Oliver Queen, now unmasked and disgraced as Green Arrow due to his murder of Prometheus (in Justice League: Cry For Justice), has taken to living in the forest, where he has become far more literal a modern Robin Hood than ever before. Not surprisingly, this issue is a lot of set-up. We find out where Ollie has been and what he’s been doing  since we last saw him, and we see what’s been happening to the power structure in what’s left of Star City. At the end of the issue, we see once again just how this title seems to be keyed in to Brightest Day, with a nice little reveal. While I’m still not sold that this revamp of the character justified yet another first issue for Green Arrow, I really do like what J.T. Krul is doing with him. He’s got a very good feel for Ollie, for who he is, for what he’s doing. Diogenes Neves’ artwork is strong, and interestingly enough seems to work better in the forest than in the city. Mauro Cascioli does a flat-out fantastic cover, one that really knocks my socks off. It’s not a knockout first issue, but it’s a strong one.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League: Generation Lost #4

The four JLI members who remember Max Lord, along with the new Blue Beetle, find themselves in Russia, unwillingly drawn into a conflict between a rogue Rocket Red and an entire squad of the armored Russian warriors. The new Rocket Red, a terrorist dedicated to the restoration of the Socialist rule, finds an unexpected ally in the former Justice League, and it’s Booster Gold of all people who starts to piece together what’s going on. Like many of the characters who returned from the dead, this issue we start to see that Maxwell Lord’s powers aren’t exactly like they were before his death. I find this particular mystery very interesting, and I’ve very much enjoyed watching it play out in several of the Brightest Day-branded titles. The reluctance of this group to form a team is also a really interesting way to play things. Judd Winick’s Power Girl last week didn’t impress me much, but his collaboration with Keith Giffen has been quite strong since this book launched. I’m enjoying the story, the mystery, and seeing these characters together again, which is what you want whenever this particular band is brought back together.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern #55: Lobo is back, and he’s on Earth to collect the bounty on Atrocitus. As the White Lantern still seems to want Atrocitus around, Hal Jordan finds himself in the odd position of defending the Red Lantern, along with Carol Ferris and Sinestro, from the last Czarnian. There’s a ton of action this issue, and Doug Mahnke does a great job of laying it out. The inks on this issue, though, are a little looser than I would like. Aside from the fight scenes, Geoff Johns also delves into the mystery of the strange being that seems determined to capture the Entities that embody the seven Corps. This has been a very strong element in this title, once that’s helped to propel the story forward since Brightest Day began. We also get a back-up story illustrated by Shawn Davis, the origin of the Red Lantern Dex-Starr. What exactly could take a cat from Earth and turn him into a brutal member of the rage-filled Red Lantern Corps? It’s a sad story, no surprise, and the last panel will break the heart of pretty much any cat-lover. Despite myself, I can’t help but hope that Johns returns to this story at some point and gives Dex-Starr the chance for a little payback.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash #3: Another Geoff Johns comic (the guy writes a lot of them, doesn’t he?) returns to the resurrected Captain Boomerang. Boomerang is back in prison, where he’s been given the “assignment” to break out before his fellow Rogues will consider accepting him back into the fold. Barry Allen, meanwhile, is being pursued by the Renegades – Rogue-based cops from the 25th century – who are accusing him of the murder of one of their own… a murder that hasn’t happened yet. This is a damn ominous issue. Not only is Captain Boomerang shaping up to be much more of a threat than he’s been in the past, but Johns briefly brushes up against just why Barry could be driven to kill Mirror Monarch. Here’s a hint. Barry has killed before. Anybody remember what it was that drove him to it the first time? Two more things to love about this issue. First, Johns has brought back the old-school “Flash Facts,” with the help of artist Scott Kolins, giving us both actual science (how a Boomerang works) and some “Secret Files”-style in-world info, in this case about Captain Boomerang himself. The other thing to love is the art of Francis Manapul. I don’t know if it’s an improvement in his style or the colors of Brian Buccellato (or a combination of the two), but his style on this book is so far ahead of his work on Legion of Super-Heroes just a few years ago that you couldn’t tell it was the same artist. It’s fantastic.

Rating: 9/10

Justice League of America #46: After a two-issue prologue, the JLA/JSA crossover “The Dark Things” begins in earnest this issue. The Starheart has taken over Green Lantern Alan Scott, and the power is spreading across the Earth, causing magic- or elemental-based heroes and villains to lose control and wreak havoc on the world. The Justice League and Justice Society spring into action to shut down the elementals, while the newly-returned Jade tries to use her altered powers to try to figure out what’s happened to her absent father and brother. James Robinson does good work balancing the two groups of characters and exploring some of the new relationships that this team is afforded – Congorilla and Jesse Quick, Nightwing and Supergirl… characters that we haven’t seen together very much, but work well together. Mark Bagley juggles a ton of characters this issue and he’s got a good feel for most of them. The young League looks great, the older JSA not as much, and that’s just a consequence of his style. He’s always done young characters very well. In the back-up story, Pow Rodrix illustrates the tale of two JLA members that don’t appear to be on the current team. Cyborg has helped develop a new technology that may prevent Red Tornado from ever having his body destroyed again, but when Red Tornado loses control, that’s a pretty big problem. The story isn’t clear as to whether Tornado’s loss of control is related to the Starheart in the main story, but I rather hope it is, as it will give the second story a bit more weight.

Rating: 7/10

Tomorrow, some comics that have nothing to do with Brightest Day.

01
Feb
10

What I’m Reading: Still More Blackest Night

It’s been a couple of weeks, so I’m back with a few more Blackest Night reviews for you guys. Although there was no issue of the miniseries proper in the month of January, that doesn’t mean nothing happened. We’ve got a few more “dead” series back from the grave, a few more spin-off miniseries, and a few more crossovers — including a couple of big ones. So let’s do it, again, roughly in order of release…

Blackest Night: The Flash #2

The Rogues, expecting their dead teammates (and, in some cases, predecessors) to come gunning for them, decide they’re going to go on the offensive, heading to Iron Heights penitentiary to hunt down the dead villains. Meanwhile, Wally and Barry — now complete with his new Blue Lantern ring — begin facing off against their own Black Lanterns, including Kid Flash, Professor Zoom, and the once-benevolent ape named Solovar. This issue is a bit of a mixed bag for me. The Rogues stuff is great, which is no surprise, as Geoff Johns has been taking lame villains and making them bad-ass ever since his original Flash run years ago. The fact that many of these characters have any sort of personality at all is directly attributable to him. And amazingly, while he hasn’t turned them into heroes, he’s somehow made villains you want to root for, especially in these circumstances. Villain-themed books rarely work. The only exceptions I can think of, Suicide Squad and Secret Six, work because the writers don’t try to turn them into heroes. (Thunderbolts, on the other hand, worked precisely because the writers turned them into heroes). But if Johns were to take on the Rogues for an ongoing, or even a series of miniseries, I really think it could work. The scenes with the Flashes aren’t bad, but much like Blackest Night: Wonder Woman, I get the impression that these pages merely fill in the blanks between pages of the main series rather than tell an independent story. That brings down my enjoyment of this book. But only a little.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #44

Kyle Rayner died, then came back to life thanks to his lover Soranik Natu and the intercession of a member of the Star Sapphires. During the brief period he was dead, however, his partner Guy Gardner went wild with rage, shifting from Green Lantern to Red. Kyle wants to rip the Red off Guy’s hand, but the rest of the Corps realizes something important. The power-mad Guy Gardner is the only thing proving effective against the Black Lanterns invading Oa. Peter Tomasi has worked in a heck of a lot of great stuff into this issue. You’ve got the moral dilemma about what to do with Guy, excellent character moments for Kyle and the rest of the Corps (including Mogo, one of the coolest GLs ever), and a ton of great action scenes, including full- and double-page spreads by Patrick Gleason, doing some of his finest work on this series to date. The last few pages bring us to a cliffhanger almost as engaging as Kyle’s “death” a few issues ago. Sometimes this book gets lost in the shadow of its parent title, but consistently, Green Lantern Corps has provided some of the best science fiction comics we’ve seen in many years.

Rating: 8/10

The Phantom Stranger #42

One of the “back from the dead” titles, this issue of Phantom Stranger could almost serve equally well as a resurrected issue of The Spectre, Deadman, or even Shadowpact. Flipping back a few months, we saw the Spectre’s human host, Crispus Allen, transformed into a Black Lantern. The real downside here? That means you’ve got a Black Lantern with the power of God’s spirit of vengeance. Here we see the Phantom Stranger lead the charge to save him as he invades the city of Nanda Parbat. Tomasi is back, this time with some beautiful artwork by Ardian Syaf to boot. If you’re looking for a spotlight on the Phantom Stranger, this issue will probably disappoint, but if you want a sort of overview of the DC Universe’s most powerful magic users in this time of crisis, this issue really does fit the bill. The issue even gives us a glimpse of the “possible” origins of the Stranger, as revealed years ago in an issue of Secret Origins, while still providing us no solid clues that confirm of invalidate any of them. I rather doubt DC will ever give us the firm truth behind the Stranger, and to be honest, I hope they don’t. He’s the sort of character that works best shrouded in mystery.

Rating: 7/10

Starman #81

Writer James Robinson returned to the series that shot him to comic book stardom with this issue. Of course, the Starman that starred in this series is retired and living peacefully in San Diego, and Robinson had no intention of pulling Jack Knight out of retirement. But when Jack’s dead brother, David, returns as a Black Lantern, somebody is going to have to step up. That someone, as it turns out, is the Shade, a golden age villain who became a much more complex and entertaining character under Robinson’s pen. The Shade moves to protect Opal City from David Knight, and in the process proves just how much life is left in this franchise. Even with Jack out of the picture, the Shade and the O’Dares of Opal City are wonderful, fascinating characters. While you still couldn’t go so far as to classify the Shade as a hero, he’s certainly not the villain he once was. This was without a doubt the best of the “back from the dead” comics that DC released in January, and it has me hoping like hell that Robinson does return to the Shade in some way — a miniseries, a part in an ensemble title… dare I hope an ongoing? It would make me deliriously happy, and I know I wouldn’t be alone.

Rating: 10/10

The Atom and Hawkman #46

This issue focuses more on the Atom than the (current Black Lantern) Hawkman, but as the two of these heroes used to share a book, it seems fitting that they share the billing here as well. The Atom, like the Flash, has been deputized as a Lantern. In the Atom’s case, he’s Indigo. While most of the others were pretty obvious (Barry in Hope Blue, Lex Luthor in Avarice Orange and so on), the Atom in the Indigo light of Compassion needed a bit of justification. Geoff Johns really pulls it off with this issue. As the Atom faces the dead form of his best friend, he’s forced down memory lane, remembering all the tragedy his ex-wife Jean (also a Black Lantern) forced upon him during their life together, how it led to one tragedy after another… and ultimately, how he still managed to feel for her. A lot of characterization is in how that character is portrayed. Johns managed to take everything that’s happened to the Atom — and more important, how he reacted to everything that happened to him — and used it to explain why he was chosen for the Indigo Lanterns without contradicting a thing. It’s one of the things that makes him such a fantastic writer. Out of all the “Back From the Dead” comics, this is the one most pertinent to the ongoing tale of Blackest Night — and it’s a can’t-miss book to boot.

Rating: 9/10

Green Lantern #50

It’s probably a coincidence that the 50th issue (traditionally a spot reserved for an anniversary special) of Green Lantern fell during the Blackest Night crossover, but Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke make full use of the extra pages they’re granted this month. Picking up moments after the conclusion of Blackest Night #6, Hal and the New Guardians join up with the deputy Lanterns to face the Black Lantern scourge. As they do battle, the Black Lantern Spectre returns, and he’s gunning for Hal. Realizing the power of the being he faces, Hal Jordan understands the only horrific way he could stand a chance of victory — he will once again have to take on the power of the dark entity that once turned him into a madman, the Yellow Lantern entity called Parallax. Except for Barry and the Atom in their respective spin-offs, this issue is the only time we’ve really gotten to see the Deputy Lanterns in action yet, and it’s really great stuff. The Sinestro Scarecrow is creepier than ever, and the moments between Atrocitous and Mera, Hal and Carol Ferris, are fantastic. I’ve only got one real beef with this issue, but it’s one I’ve had to voice time and again. If you’re going to do a last-page reveal, why do you spoil it on the bloody cover?

Rating: 8/10

Blackest Night: JSA #2

The Justice Society is under siege by its fallen members from multiple worlds, but many of the Black Lanterns don’t seem to be out for blood. They’re seeking compassion, the love of their family members… and how could anybody begrudge them that? On the other hand, how could anybody trust them, either? The original superheroes were no slouches, and as this issue shows, if anything, death has made them more shrewd. James Robinson and Tony Bedard share the writing chores here, with the pencil work shared by Eddy Barrows and Marcos Marz. You can definitely tell that more than one artist worked on this book, which can be a little distracting during the more noticeable shifts. I imagine that the extra hands were needed to get this book done on time, which I’m okay with in principle, but when that happens it seems incumbent to try to match the artists’ styles, and that didn’t really happen here. It hurts the issue, but only a bit.

Rating: 7/10

10
Jan
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 153: The All-New Showcase

The new era for the Showcase begins today! Driven by geek news and reader e-mails, the guys delve into a wealth of topics this week. In the mix: Disney’s Dreams Come True exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, David Tennant‘s departure as Doctor Who, what’s going on in Buffy Season Eight and Blackest Night #6, thoughts on Batgirls past and present, and much more! In the picks, Mike (and listener Robert Willing) loved Justice League of America #40, Kenny picks Power Girl #7, and Blake provides the Graphic Novel pick: Mini-Marvels Ultimate Collection. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 153: The All-New Showcase
Inside This Episode:


08
Jan
10

What I’m Reading: A Month of Blackest Night!

Okay, so over the holidays I fell behind on my Blackest Night reviews. I’m sorry. I’m so… so sorry. Please forgive me.

Sniff.

Okay, now that that’s done, let’s talk about some comics! First, as promised, let me link you to my Comixtreme.com review of Superman/Batman #67. (I’m not going to duplicate full reviews from there over here, but I will point you in that direction.) Then, I’ll go through the rest of the tie-ins to the event of the year in the order in which they came out. There’s a lot of ’em here, so let’s get started!

Outsiders #25: Terra confronts her brother, begging him for help. She begs him to kill her, ending her existence as a Black Lantern… but is she being genuine, or is this just another example of Black Lanterns pulling the emotional strings of the living? Katana, meanwhile, faces her late husband, while Creeper does the surprise team-up thing with captive Killer Croc. As I’ve come to expect, Tomasi does a really good job nailing the emotions of each character. He sells us on each of them, working in great stuff for the Outsiders who are forced to face a dead love one, and having fun with those who don’t. Halo gets some very nice moments in this issue, and the Creeper/Croc team-up is a blast. I almost wish Croc was joining the cast of the book. We also get a feel for how the original members are somewhat divorced from the “newcomers” (namely Creeper and Owlman). The dynamic is interesting. Fernando Pasarin and Derec Donovan are the artists this month, and while both of them are good artists, their styles are really quite different. If you’re going to shift artists in one story, you need to get two artists whose styles mesh, and that’s not the case here. I’m sorry to see Tomasi leaving this book, but he had a good run.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League of America #40: In part two of “Reunion,” we watch as the remnants of the Detroit-era Justice League do battle with their less-fortunate teammates, and Gypsy and Vixen find no love lost with the dead Steel and Vibe. Zatanna continues her battle with her dead father, Red Tornado is out and Plastic Man can barely hold it together. James Robinson has a nice feel for these different characters, and even though most of them aren’t going to carry over to his regular JLA team, he makes them feel like significant, important characters, and that this is a story worth telling. The highlight of this issue, however, is the battle between Dr. Light and her late villain counterpart. Between this book and Superman, Robinson is doing really interesting stuff with Dr. Light, stuff I haven’t seen before. This is some of the best screen time the character has ever gotten, and I’m really glad she’s made the cut on the regular team. Mark Bagley has always been a fan favorite artist, but I must admit, all of his characters seem to look really young. Not a problem during his days on New Warriors or Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s been noticable in stuff like Trinity. Fortunately, most of the new team is going to be relatively young, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Really good issue.

Rating: 8/10

Green Lantern Corps #43: After the staggering events of last issue, I have to admit, this one was a bit of a letdown. (If you haven’t read issue #42 yet be warned, spoilers follow.) Last month we watched as Kyle Rayner sacrificed his life to save the main power battery on Oa from an invading army of Black Lanterns. This month, his lover Soranik Natu struggles desperately to bring him back. As Soranik — a doctor as well as a Green Lantern — works on Kyle, his partner Guy Gardner allows himself to succumb to his rage… Guy Gardner is now a Red Lantern. The Guy stuff here is handled really well. Peter Tomasi has done a nice job of selling Kyle and Guy as buddies, and I’ve got no problem at all seeing Guy go red with anger at Kyle’s death. My only real beef here comes in the bits with Soranik Natu. (I’m going to try very hard not to spoil this particular issue, but that won’t be easy.) Soranik’s efforts have an interesting result. Nothing happens here that I didn’t expect, but I didn’t expect it to happen quite so quickly, and I feel like there was a missed opportunity to tell an interesting story or two in the meantime. There, I think that did it. I still liked this issue, but not as much as I expected to.

Rating: 7/10

Blackest Night: JSA #1: The last Blackest Night spin-off miniseries starts here with the creative team of Blackest Night: Superman picking up the story they began there. The Justice Society is caught off-guard when several of its Golden Age members — the original Sandman, Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific among others — rise from the dead and attack. Superman and Superboy, meanwhile, have brought the defeated Black Lantern Superman (of Earth-2) and Psycho-Pirate to the current Mr. Terrific to study and — hopefully — find a weakness. This issue takes place on the heels of Blackest Night #5, and it’s a nice way to shine a spotlight on these heroes in the midst of those events. While most of the zombie comparisons to these titles have been derisive, this is one of the few stories I’ve yet seen where the comparison is apt. Watching the still-living JSA members holed up in their headquarters, trying to stave off the swarm of Black Lanterns, has a definite Night of the Living Dead vibe to it, and I mean that as a compliment. James Robinson nails the mood of this piece, giving us a fantastic stand-off between the living and the dead. The plot threads carried over from Blackest Night: Superman are also solid. I don’t know if DC has really considered how these miniseries will be packaged in the inevitable trade paperback releases, but the two miniseries by Robinson and Eddy Barrows really should be collected together.

Rating: 8/10

Teen Titans #78: Why in the world has J.T. Krul not been given one of the Titans family books to write on an ongoing basis? I don’t even care which one. Between this two-parter and the previous Blackest Night: Titans miniseries, he’s shown a better grasp of these characters than any writer since Geoff Johns left. In fact, I’ll say this is one of the beast Deathstroke stories I have ever read. Ravager, last issue, hunted down her father with the intention of killing him. Instead, the two of them found themselves in an uneasy alliance, fighting for their lives against the Black Lanterns of their shared past. And just when things looked their worst, an unexpected ally arrived — Ravager’s brother and Deathstroke’s son, Jericho, who is looking in much better shape than he did the last time we saw him. The richness of the characters here is wonderful. Krul absolutely sells us on a genuine relationship between the father and children that makes sense and works perfectly in the context of the story. And while Deathstroke is still undeniably a bad guy (as he should be), this issue also manages to paint him as a father too, something that hasn’t been done very well since the days of Wolfman and Perez. There are a few things in this issue that make me believe there are plans in the works for Deathstroke, and in fact he’s supposedly joining the regular cast of the Titans series soon, but without Krul at the wheel, it’ll be hard to get me on board. He’s one of DC’s rising stars, and I’ll be anxiously watching where he goes next.

Rating: 9/10

Green Lantern #49: Since this event began, Geoff Johns has used the main Green Lantern title to basically tell the stories in-between issues of Blackest Night. This issue is no exception. While Hal Jordan has been assembling the “new Guardians” and Kyle and Guy are facing the dead of Oa, what’s been up with John Stewart? The fourth Green Lantern of Earth takes the spotlight this issue, as he has to face the dead of the planet Xanshi, a world he failed to save from destruction years ago. If that wasn’t bad enough, his dead wife Katma Tui is part of the assault. John is, in many ways, the Neglected Lantern these days. He had a bit more of a spotlight when he was on Justice League Unlimited, but he’s taken a back seat to Hal in the title they ostensibly share. This is a really good spotlight on John, and it comes not a moment too soon. What makes this issue more interesting, however, is the back-up story. In a “Tales From the Corps” story, we follow the Atom and Mera, who shrank down between the molecules of a Black Lantern ring. With the Black Lantern Jean Loring as their guide, the delve into the origins of Nekron himself, and find a valuable ally in the process — Deadman. This look back into the history of the Black Lanterns is pretty good, and even better is the fact that the always-welcome Jerry Ordway does the art. And when it’s over, it’s time to jump right into Blackest Night #6. So let’s shall we?

Rating: 8/10

Blackest Night #6: The only book that came out on December 30 is likely the book that would have been the best in any given week. Last issue, Nekron revealed that he’s been allowing people to “return” from the dead for years, setting them up as foot soldiers for this invasion. Now he’s turned the likes of Superman, Green Arrow, Superboy, Wonder Woman, and more into Black Lanterns, and the grand prize will be taking Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. As the two of them race for their lives — literally — Ganthet decides a little more firepower is needed for this battle to turn, and he begins a really interesting recruiting drive. The fanboy in me turned as giddy as a child on Christmas when I realized where this was going, and the final two-page spread had me as excited as I’ve been for a comic in a very long time. Beyond just the action figure potential of these pages, we’re seeing something that’s a hell of a lot of fun playing out against an intense backdrop. We’re seeing the restructuring of the Green Lantern Corps and DC’s cosmic side as a whole, we’re seeing characters like Ray Palmer and Mera (freaking Mera) raised to A-list status, and we’re getting it all under the prism of just beautiful art by Ivan Reis. Have I said I love this book? Because I’ll say it again. I. Love. This. Book.

Rating: 9/10

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2: Set between the pages of Blackest Night #6, this issue features Wonder Woman as a Black Lantern. As we’ve come to suspect, we see that the real person and the Black Lantern are separate entities, with one controlling the other. As Black Lantern Wonder Woman battles Wonder Girl and Mera, the “real” Wonder Woman, riding shotgun, struggles for freedom. The book also expands greatly upon the last few pages of Blackest Night #6, showing what happens to Wonder Woman there from a different perspective. In and of itself, the issue is fine. Greg Rucka is a good writer and knows Wonder Woman well. The art, by Nicola Scott and Eduardo Pansica, is very nice. Scott is one of DC’s greatest artistic assets right now, and they’d be insane not to try to get more high-profile work out of her. The issue here is that, unlike the other Blackest Night miniseries, this one doesn’t seem to be telling a solid story of its own. Instead, it seems to exist only to slip between the pages of the main event. That’s not quite enough for me. It’s not bad when it happens in a spin-off issue of an ongoing, especially one as tightly tied to the main book as Green Lantern is, but it seems a bit superfluous to create a miniseries expressly for that purpose. It will also make it a less satisfying read in collected edition later.

Rating: 6/10

Suicide Squad #67: There will be no issue of Blackest Night in January, which is very very sad, but that doesn’t mean the tie-ins will stop. In fact, DC is doing something pretty cool this month to come up with unique tie-ins. They’ve taken eight old series, books that have been canceled for years (or, in some cases, decades) and they’ve brought them back for one more issue. If the characters can come back from the dead, why not the titles, right? First up is Suicide Squad #67, written by Gail Simone and original series writer John Ostrander, with art by Jim Calafiore. As Simone is using former Squad member Deadshot to great effect in her Secret Six series, it only makes sense that this one-shot would tie in to that one. The Six and the Squad find themselves at odds when the Six are hired to break out a convicted drug dealer from the prison where the Squad is based. As the two teams face each other, the dead of the past begin to rise. This isn’t a bad issue, and it’s great as part of a crossover between the two teams, but the Blackest Night connection is actually pretty tenuous. It begins with one character rising from the dead, it ends with several more rising, but otherwise there’s no real connection. The story continues in next week’s Secret Six #17, so there’s more to come, but I can’t help but wish there was more here.

Rating: 7/10

Weird Western Tales #71: The next book brought back this month (and the last in this review-a-thon) is one of DC’s old-school western titles. The light-based hero called The Ray has managed to snare one of the Black Lantern rings, and he brings it to a facility in the west, near the mass graves of a slew of cowboys, soldiers, and Indians slain during the wild and wooly days of the DC Universe. The likes of Scalphunter, Super-Chief, Bat Lash, and the king of DC’s western tales himself, Jonah Hex, all rise to reclaim the ring. Honestly, I didn’t really have high expectations for this book — it seemed a bit more of a stunt than some of the other “dead” titles brought back here — but I was pleasantly surprised. DC’s executive editor, Dan Didio, has put together a story that is suitably creepy — in fact, this too has the hopeless horror movie feel of a great zombie flick — but he also managed to capture the flavor of a western in the process. That sort of combination isn’t easy. Renato Arlem‘s artwork fits in nicely, and the result is a book that’s actually better than it should be.

Rating: 7/10

So that’s it, friends. I’m all caught up, and actually, I kind of like this format. I have no intention of letting another month go by with no reviews, but from now on, I may do a single weekly review post instead of separate ones for each title. Seems more efficient that way, doesn’t it?

16
Dec
09

Everything But Imaginary #333: The Year Ain’t Over Yet

We stand here at about the mid-point of the month of December. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and the week after that, the new year – and with that, a lot of people are putting out their year in review pieces. But is it quite time yet? There’s still a full twelfth of the year left, but the people in charge of the wrap-ups act like nothing that happens in December matters! So for the sake of those poor, orphaned announcements that have been left out of the year end lists, I thought I would talk about a few of them in the here and now. And fans of the Christmas Party, fear not — I talk about the Christmas collaboration between Scott Kurtz and Neal Adams, as well as the new Ghostbusters Christmas one-shot!

Everything But Imaginary #333: The Year Ain’t Over Yet
Inside This Column:

27
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Justice League of America #39

Even before their “official” team takes over the book, James Robinson and Mark Bagley are having some fun with the remnants of the previous team in this Blackest Night crossover. The rag-tag team, including Vixen, Gypsy, Dr. Light,Zatanna, Red Tornado, and Plastic Man, stand in the broken husk of the Hall of Justice, where the Black Lantern corpses of many of their enemies have recently arisen. It’s not just the enemies they’ll need to deal with — Gypsy and Vixen find themselves facing their late teammate Vibe, Zatanna confronts the soulless corpse of her own father, and Dr. Light seeks out the villain whose name she has been trying to redeem for years.

As always, Robinson‘s grasp of character is impeccable. He puts these heroes through real Hell, and they’ve started from a pretty nasty place to begin with. The duel between Zatanna and Zatara is epic, exciting stuff. Zee already had to watch her own father’s soul destroyed in the Reign in Hell series — fighting his body, battling him spell for spell… it’s wonderful. We also get some really good stuff here with Dr. Light. In fact, Robinson in general has become quite the champion of that character, both here and in Superman.

Bagley isn’t just one of the top artists in the business because he’s consistent. He’s also good. The women especially look good here, and the slowly-melting Plastic Man looks like he’s in major agony. Bad for Plas, of course, but it’s impressive in the terms of the artwork.

This story tales place after Robinson‘s Cry For Justice miniseries which — as of this writing — still has two issues to go. But between that title and this one, I’m more than satisfied that the book is going to be in very good hands.

Rating: 8/10

23
Oct
09

What I’m Reading: Blackest Night-Superman #3

Blackest Night: Superman #3The first three Blackest Night spin-off miniseries have really been a hit, and with this issue James Robinson proves yet again why he’s one of the most respected writers in the business. The Black Lantern versions of Kal-L and Lois Lane of Earth-2 are wreaking havoc in Smallville, along with the Black Lantern Psycho-Pirate, master of emotion. As Clark and Conner try to hold the line, on New Krypton Supergirl is attacked by her own late father. This book focuses on the whole Superman family, and in a big way.

The confrontation between the two versions of Superman, the battle between Conner and the Psycho-Pirate — all excellent stuff. If there was nothing in this issue except that particular fight scene, it would be one of the best books of the week. But the throwdown between Black Lantern Lois and Martha Kent gives Superman’s mother a rare star performance, plus it helps remind us that Krypto is, indeed, a very good dog. We tend to picture good ol’ Ma Kent as the sweet old lady who tends the farm house and bakes pies, but let’s not forget, this is the woman who raised Superman. Your son doesn’t turn out like that if you don’t have some serious steel running through your veins.

While we know that some of the characters in this story will go along with Robinson and artist Eddy Barrows to the upcoming Blackest Night: JSA miniseries, the most immediate, far-reaching consequences seem to come in the Supergirl storyline. Kara and her mother — who isn’t exactly a heroic figure in the rest of the Superman comics — make a good team here, and the solution found on New Krypton will most certainly reverberate through the rest of Blackest Night in a profound way. Plus, like everything else, it’s just a damn good scene.

Have I mentioned lately how much I like Barrows‘ artwork? He handles each and every member of the family with grace, power, and ease. I don’t remember the last artist with such a fantastic all-around grasp of these characters. Once the event ends, I’d love to see him land on one of the Superman comics permanently.

A good issue? Nah. One of the best crossover spin-off books I’ve ever read.

Rating: 10/10

26
Sep
09

What I’m Reading: Blackest Night-Superman #2

The Blackest Night rolls on, with aBlackest Night: Superman #2n attack on Smallville. Superman and Superboy are facing off the Black Lantern Superman of Earth-2, while his undead wife Lois holds Martha Kent hostage. On New Krypton, Supergirl finds her own father has been transformed by the Black Lanterns into a ruthless monster.

Oh, and it gets better. What do Black Lanterns feed on? Why, emotions, of course. And name one dead character who is the master of emotion? That’s right — in addition to the undead members of the Superman family, the Black Lantern Psycho Pirate is turning Smallville into Hell on Earth.

James Robinson is nailing it with this book. High action, incredible characters, and one of the best battle scenes we’ve yet seen in the midst of the Blackest Night. Throwing Psycho Pirate into the mix was a stroke of genius. They can take what he already does best and turn it into a weapon that really makes a difference in these circumstances. The last few pages had me absolutely giddy — the depiction of Martha Kent in the pages of this book is perhaps the best she’s ever been. As for the artwork… my buddy Mark from Comixtreme.com said it simply and perfectly. Eddy Barrows needs to be on a Superman comic book. Now.

Rating: 10/10




Blake’s Twitter Feed

September 2020
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Blog Stats

  • 313,209 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.