Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Gleason

27
May
10

What I’m Reading: Brightest Day in May

Okay, technically I this is my second Brightest Day post in the month of May, following this earlier one, but it rhymes, and I had a rough week, and I’m tired, and shut your face.

I’m sorry, I… I didn’t mean that. It’s the last week of the semester and I’m worn down and… I like your face. Really?

Let’s review some comics, okay?

Justice League: Generation Lost #1

The other bi-weekly series that we’re going to follow for the next year kicked off two weeks ago with this first issue. Maxwell Lord was an entrepreneur with a metahuman talent, the ability to control people’s minds, but the power was a weak one and even a small strain caused him to break into nosebleeds. Instead of becoming a hero himself, he settled for organizing the “International” incarnation of the Justice League in the 80s and 90s. But in the opening days of what would become Infinite Crisis, Max revealed that he was in fact manipulating the heroes in concert with Checkmate, and murdered the Blue Beetle. Wonder Woman was forced to put him down to stop him from using Superman as a weapon, and the fallout nearly destroyed her career. But in the wake of the Blackest Night, Max has come back to life, and in this issue he’s pulling the biggest scam of all time — using his power to make the world forget he ever existed.

Keith Giffen, who wrote the original Max stories back in the JLI era, is the plotter and breakdown artist for this series, helping give it a strong continuity. This isn’t the “Bwa-ha-ha” League he wrote back then, however. He’s giving us a more serious story, with real stakes for our heroes. His co-writer, Judd Winick, has often been hit and miss for me. His humor books (like The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius) are great, but his superhero work often fizzles out. I’m hoping that having him work in concert with Giffen, we’ll prevent that sort of thing from happening here.

As this is a biweekly book, there isn’t much chance of a “regular” art team. Aaron Lopresti does the chores on issue one, and he does a solid job. Working from Giffen’s breakdowns, he tells a solid story that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Rating: 7/10

As it’s been three Wednesdays since I talked about Brightest Day, another issue of this biweekly has already hit the stands. Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Justice League: Generation Lost #2

In the second issue, Max has cut loose with his power and succeeded in not just making nearly the entire planet forget him, but place some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that makes people reject the truth when confronted with it. Only four people remember the truth, four members of Max’s former League who were in contact with his blood when he pulled his stunt. Booster Gold is already considered a joke to many of the heroes of the DC Universe, so his word is taken with a grain of salt, but now Max is taking steps to discredit and ruin Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom as well. With no one to turn to except each other, they set out to prove the truth and bring Max to justice.

The plot really kicks into gear this month, as the aftermath of Max’s global windwipe starts to come together. The writers have done a good job of filling in the gaps, even to the point of figuring out who Max would attribute each of his crimes to  in order to make people forget him more readily. The things he allows people to believe about Ted Kord’s death are perhaps more insidious than anything else he’s done, and it kind of makes you hope that Booster Gold is the one who lays the smack-down on him when the time comes. I’m also glad that the writers gave us a more scientific explanation (well… comic book science) for why these four and no one else remember Max. I was afraid it would be more emotional, that these four somehow felt more strongly than anyone else, but an answer like that would really be a disservice to Guy Gardner, the Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, and other members of those JLI teams.

Two issues in, I really think the writers have given us a solid start. I just hope there’s enough meat to the story to last a whole 26 issues.

Rating: 7.5/10

Titans: Villains For Hire Special #1

With the former Titans team pretty much disbanded and its members scattered to the four winds, the assassin called Deathstroke takes the name for his new team of mercenary villains. Their first target? Someone known to the heroes of the DCU all too well.

Plenty has been written about this issue already, so I won’t belabor the point, but there is one positive thing I can say about it. I promised that I wasn’t going to go out of my way to get every Brightest Day related title, but until I read this issue I was afraid that might happen anyway. Now, the chances of me following this story into the ongoing Titans comic are slim to none. First of all, the hero that’s killed in this issue is done so almost in a perfunctory way. I feel like he was discredited, killed just to show how “badass” the villains are. Death in comics, especially in a post-Blackest Day world, should mean something. When Ted Kord died, for example, it was very clearly the opening shot in a war. I don’t get the sense that there are going to be any serious repercussions for what Deathstroke’s team does in this issue.

What’s more, the team doesn’t really make any sense. Deathstroke has never needed a team before, and the only reason this book is called Titans is because no one seems to know what to do with the franchise. There are only two characters in this book I’m interested in reading on a regular basis, Tattooed Man and Osiris, but neither of them are villains. Neither of them belong on a team full of murderers. There’s an attempt to explain what Deathstroke has over them, but it doesn’t make their inclusion seem any less forced.

I was really happy to see Osiris among the living at the end of the Blackest Night, but my happiness was short-lived. I won’t be following his future adventures in this book.

Rating: 3/10

Birds of Prey #1

The birds are back! Barely a year after the title was canceled in the restructuring of the Batman universe, Gail Simone and Ed Benes return to the title they made great. Oracle decides to get the band back together for a new mission, calling up Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk to once again help her protect the heroes of the DC Universe from threats they can’t face on their own. While she’s rounding up her friends, however, the recently-resurrected Hawk is having some issues re-acclimating to life among the living. It seems he and his partner, Dove, may have to find a home among the Birds to figure out where to fly.

This new dynamic offers some really interesting story possibilities that I’m sure Simone will have the guts to address, and I don’t just mean the fact that Hawk is the first male member of this traditionally all-female team. Before he died, Hawk walked around for some time in villain’s clothes, and he killed a lot of people, including several founding members of the Justice Society of America. I can’t imagine the folks at JSA headquarters are going to be wild about him joining the “911 operators of the DC Universe,” as Simone often refers to this squad. This is something that almost has to be addressed. But I have every faith in Simone’s ability to do it.

Benes’ art hasn’t lost a step. He’s still got great, energetic, dynamic pencils and fantastic fight scenes. Coloring has progressed even more since his first run with these characters, and it’s not hyperbole to say this book looks better than ever.

I was really bummed when this title was canceled, but I couldn’t be happier to have it back, and back in the best of hands.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash #2

In part two of “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” Barry Allen is on the run from a group that mimics his worst enemies, but claim to be from the far future. This group, the “Renegades,” is in our time to arrest Barry because he’s going to murder one of their members 84 days in the future. Barry is none too keen on the idea of being arrested, of course, especially for something he hasn’t done (yet), and the Flash is soon on the run. Meanwhile, the present-day Rogues approach their recently-returned member, Captain Boomerang. Boomerang is none too happy with his old friends, though, as they seem intent on making him “prove himself” before they let him back into the club.

It’s not really clear how much of his time as a Black Lantern Captain Boomerang remembers. Does he remember killing his own son? Does he remember that his teammates basically gave him the boy as a snack? Does he even really want to reunite with the old team? One of the things that made Geoff Johns‘ first tenure on the Flash so memorable was the way he redefined the villains. It looks very much like he’s poised to do the same here.

Something that’s different than when he wrote the adventures of Wally West, though, is the way he’s bringing in more of the goofy comic book science and tech. Things like the Renegades are a very Silver Age-ish concept, and he’s executing them nicely in the present day with a more modern edge. Add in some great art by Francis J. Manapul and you’ve got another book I’m really happy with.

Rating: 8/10

Brightest Day #2

While some of the returnees have splintered off into the other titles we’ve been discussing, here in Brightest Day the focus really seems to be on some of the other characters. Firestorm is in a quandry, with Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond fused together in the Firestorm matrix. The situation is even more uncomfortable because Ronnie doesn’t remember, as a Black Lantern, killing Jason’s girlfriend. Jason, however, remembers it all too well. Also this week, the Martian Manhunter is seeking out the daughter of the scientist who brought him to Earth in the first place, and the Hawks are hunting down their oldest enemy. Firestorm is probably the most interesting part of this book to me, though, with Deadman coming in a close second. Still being jerked around by the White Lantern ring, Deadman gets a fantastic last-page cliffhanger.

The main mystery of Brightest Day seems to be split between this title and Green Lantern, with this book delving into those who returned from the dead and why. I’ve heard a few people understandably perturbed by the lack of Lantern content in this book, but I don’t think that’s what this is about. It reminds me much more of 52, the weekly series Johns co-wrote a few years ago, in that it follows a group of characters in the wake of a major event and examines how it changes their lives and, as a result, their world. Taken on its own merits, I think this story is succeeding quite well.

While I don’t expect a biweekly book to have a regular art team, it bothers me a bit when there are so many different artists on a single issue. Guys like Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Adian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado are all fine artists, but their styles are too different from one another to transition without a jolt. Hopefully future issues will be able to have a little more consistency.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League of America #45

This issue is part two of the two-part prelude to the five-part Justice Society of America crossover, “The Dark Things.” (They really should have just called it a seven-part crossover.) Jade, a Blackest Night returnee, comes back to earth inside a crystal. This “Starheart” is the mystical artifact that powers her father, the Golden Age Green Lantern, but now Alan Scott’s power is going haywire. The Justice League, Justice Society, and a few friends get together to try to prevent a disaster, but Power Girl seems to have gone mad. There’s only one person Batman can find with the juice to face her — Supergirl.

We know Supergirl is joining the team full-time soon, and this issue works very nicely as an introduction to her membership. She’s called up to deal with a specific threat (a nutcase Power Girl), but she’s already working well with the rest of the group. Robinson seems to want to build a JLA that’s built around all of the main “families” of the DC Universe without actually having the usual members. That’s an interesting idea, and as such, Supergirl is a very good candidate to represent the House of El.

The end of this book is an interesting cliffhanger, if not an earth-shattering one. Future solicits have already spoiled the end of this book (I hate when that happens) and I doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that’s likely to be permanent anyway. Still, it’s a pretty good superhero team-up, and it seems to be helping the League on a much-needed march towards stability.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern #54

The other main mystery in this series is that of the White Lantern itself. Fallen to Earth, we see as Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Sinestro (the “New Guardians” of the Green, Violet, and Yellow Lantern Corps, respectively) step up and try to lift the Lantern. It becomes clear, though, that the Lantern isn’t there for just anyone. It’s waiting for someone… or something.

Geoff Johns throws in two different B-plots in this issue, and each of them is intriguing. Atrocitus, “New Guardian” of the Red Lanterns, is prowling the subways of New York in search of something, while the entity that captured Parallax a few months ago makes a play for another of the entities that power the seven Corps. The mystery of the entities is one thing that Blackest Night didn’t dig into very deeply, and I’m really glad to see that storyline is being fed here. The whole “Sword in the Stone” analogy for the White Lantern seems a little on the nose, but that may be a red herring (or green or yellow or whatever the case may be). Atrocitus is becoming more and more interesting as a character, and I’m very curious to hear the long-awaited story of Dex-Starr.

I’ve said it over and over, but one of the best things to come out of the Blackest Night are the new characters in the new corps. I want to see more of those guys, and that’s what Johns is giving to me. It doesn’t appear that’s going to change any time soon, and I’m very happy about that.

Rating: 9/10

Green Lantern Corps #48

Closing off our look at the recent Brightest Day releases, we have Tony Bedard‘s debut as the new writer of Green Lantern Corps. As Guy Gardner leaves for a mysterious new mission of his own (which no doubt will be the focus of the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors series) John Stewart comes to Oa to help with the rebuilding of the planet after the war. As he and Kyle Rayner help the rest of the Corps with reconstruction, the former Guardian called Ganthet approaches his brothers and sisters with a fateful decision — he is renouncing his status as a Guardian for any Corps, and instead will become the new permanently-stationed Green Lantern of the planet Oa.

The idea of Ganthet stepping down and becoming a “grunt” is an interesting one, and to the best of my knowledge it’s something that’s never been done before. Between that and the trade-off of Guy for John, Bedard has immediately created a very different feel for this book than it had under Peter Tomasi. As good as Tomasi’s run was, this new approach has a lot of promise of its own. John has really been forced out of the spotlight in recent years, ostensibly sharing the main Green Lantern title with Hal, but really getting very little screen time. Putting him in this book is already giving him a higher profile, without sacrificing any of the focus on Kyle Rayner or the rest of the cast. We also get a new mystery surrounding the Alpha Lanterns, characters that seemed to be out of a purpose not long ago. Bedard has re-purposed them and is turning them into something different, ominous, and fun to read about.

It’s a new era for this title, but it’s still a very strong part of Brightest Day.

Rating: 8/10

Advertisements
19
Mar
10

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern Corps #46

We’re in the home stretch of Blackest Night now, with only this week’s Green Lantern Corps #46 and next week’s Green Lantern #52 before we reach the grand finale. In this issue, the members of all seven Corps (well, six if you consider that the Orange Lanterns are really a “Corps” of one) have united in the face of the Black Lantern onslaught. Together, they set out for Earth, where all the Black Lanterns in the universe are beginning to converge. As they fight on, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner are assaulted by Black Lantern avatars of two of the women who have meant the most to them in the universe.

This is really a stellar issue. Peter Tomasi will soon be leaving this title to take on the Guy-centric title, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, but he’s sure as hell going out with a bang. The face-off between Guy and Ice (one the resurrected heroes transformed into a Black Lantern) is gut-wrenching stuff. Guy’s always been the hardass of the Corps, and seeing how Ice has the ability to break through his facade is one of the reasons the relationship works. Kyle’s adversary, meanwhile, evokes one of the most infamous moments in Green Lantern history. It, too, is a tough moment, but it underscores just how far Kyle has come as a character in the years since his introduction.

The cooperation between the multiple Corps is a lot of fun too, showcasing a lot of different characters from the different groups and bringing in a surprise guest-star to help the Lanterns deal with Nekron’s secret weapon, hiding inside the Black Lantern Power Battery. I’m a little surprised to see this storyline dealt with here. This is something that was set up way back in Sinestro Corps War, and I rather expected it to play out in the main title. It works well, mind you, but I’m still surprised.

This issue was like watching a great TV show and realizing, just when you think it’s over, that you’re watching a double-length episode. The issue is extra-length, but it never feels drawn out or tedious. Quite to the contrary, so much happens in this issue that I’m almost surprised they managed to fit it all in. Tomasi knows these characters in and out, and Patrick Gleason‘s art has never looked better. This event has played out masterfully, and with books like this as the lead-in to the finale, I’m more excited than ever.

Rating: 9/10

26
Feb
10

Blackest Night February Roundup

We’re headed into the home stretch, friends. As of this writing,  I think there are only three Blackest Night issues left unreleased. Of course after that we’re heading into Brightest Day, so… well, anyway, we’re closing in on the end. But bfore we get there, I’m going to hit you guys with my reviews of all the chapters released in the last three weeks.

Adventure Comics #7: After taking a month “off” from Blackest Night to take care of that pesky main plot of the series, the shadow of the Black Lanterns falls on this title again. The heroes of the DC Universe who have come back from the dead are returned to that state, turned into Black Lanterns, and Nekron’s sense of irony pits Superboy against the girl he loves, Wonder Girl. Cassie and Krypto try to hold off the Black Lantern Superboy, while we readers ride along in Conner Kent’s head. Conner’s still conscious, you see, watching as the Black Lantern ring forces him to try to kill those closest to him.

Tony Bedard is only on Adventure Comics for this one issue, but he does a fine job of it. He really gets into Conner’s head (no pun intended) and gets across the anguish one would feel in his situation. There’s a nice callback to the story that brought Conner back, Legion of Three Worlds, as well.

Travis Moore does really great work on the artwork. I like his work with these characters, and I’d be very happy to see him get his hands on the Teen Titans one of these days. Conner, Cassie and Krypto all look really good in this book, as good as they read. This isn’t the most essential of the Blackest Night crossovers, but it’s one of the most fun.

Rating: 8/10

Blackest Night: The Flash #3: Finishing up Barry Allen’s miniseries, this issue we see as he and Wally confront the Black Lantern forms of some old friends and enemies, including Kid Flash. Geoff Johns works in some good moments for the Flash Family here, setting up relationships and plotlines that no doubt will continue to play off when he relaunches Barry’s ongoing series in a couple of months.

The Barry stuff isn’t quite as strong, however, as the great scenes with the Rogues. Owen Mercer, the young Captain Boomerang, has been seduced by the idea of a second chance with his dead father. The things he’s willing to do to placate daddy, however, go too far. You’ve got to love a villain with a moral code, no matter how twisted that code is, and this issue really plays it well.

Scott Kolins does his usual good work. I love the cover of this issue, with Barry in his resplendent Blue Lantern gear. But as with the story, the Rogues stuff is even better. There are some horrors to draw in this issue, and he does them well.

When this miniseries launched, I was afraid it wouldn’t have much of a story of its own, but would instead just fill in the blanks the way the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman series did. Fortunately, it worked out well. Although there were some between-the-pages bits here, the through-line of Barry facing his demons was fairly solid, and the Rogues’ plot was great. Johns has always done great work making B-list villains into A-list stars, and that’s what this miniseries did for us too.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern #51: Following up on issue #50, Hal Jordan has once again taken on the power of Parallax, this time willingly, to bring down the Black Lantern-possessed Spectre. Hal and the rest of the New Guardians have combine their might against the spirit of God’s vengeance turned into a power-mad monster.

The confrontation itself is good, but it’s rather reminiscent of the story Johns wrote back in Green Lantern: Rebirth that showed Hal breaking free of both the Spectre and Parallax for good. Doug Mahnke, fortunately, draws a fantastic interpretation of that battle.

The other good moments are those that don’t hearken back to that earlier comic — a confrontation between Lex Luthor and Larfleeze over the power of the Orange Lantern is really good, and I can definitely imagine it building up into a long-lasting rivalry between the two of them. There’s also a very ominous moment that I imagine is intended to set up some things either for Brightest Day or other future Green Lantern stories.

Not the best issue to date, but still a strong one.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #45: Guy Gardner, the newest Red Lantern, was instrumental in taking apart the Black Lanterns that were invading Oa. Now, though, still gripped by Red Rage, Guy’s comrades in the Green Lantern Corps — along with an Indigo Lantern and a Star Sapphire for good measure — have to try to snap him out of it before the rage consumes him forever.

This issue is all Guy’s, and if there was ever any doubt that Peter Tomasi was the right man to compose the upcoming Guy-centric ongoing Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, this book should do away with that. He’s got the character down and he knows how to paint his relationships with the rest of the Corps. It’s a great story and it really shows that he’s in good hands.

Patrick Gleason still does good work on the pencils. While perhaps not s flashy as Ivan Reis or Doug Mahnke, Gleason’s work on this book has been solid, and his assorted alien and Lantern designs click together well. The contrasting colors really help make the pages leap out at you.

A really good chapter of one of DC’s best comics.

Rating: 8/10

Green Arrow #30: Or “Black Lantern Green Arrow” if you prefer, this is the first issue of this series after the title has dropped the and Black Canary, which I’ve got to admit, bums me out. At least it doesn’t sound like they’re divorcing them or anything, but I just like the idea of them sharing a title together.

Anyway, J.T. Krul — who you may remember did some kick-ass work on the Titans tie-ins to this event — takes over the Green Arrow title beginning with this issue, and if this is any indication of his run, I’m on it with him. Like the Adventure Comics issue, in this issue we see Green Arrow transformed into a Black Lantern and forced to watch as his body goes around doing and saying horrible things to the people he loves, trying to wring their emotions out so he can do what Black Lanterns do and consume their hearts. As dark as this series has been overall, this may be one of the darkest chapters yet.

It’s also one of the best.

The emotions Krul evokes throughout this issue are powerful, deep, and spot-on the right way to pick away at the hearts of Green Arrow’s extended family. He pushes all the right buttons and turns what could have been a totally superfluous crossover into a masterpiece of character examination. Diogenes Neves steps up with the artwork, too, drawing an almost gothic tale that is a flawless match with the best of the crossovers in this event. Krul has won me over, getting me to the point where if his name is on the book, I’ll at least buy an issue to see where he’s going.

Rating: 10/10

Blackest Night: JSA #3: The last spin-off series comes to a close as the Justice Society members face the demons of their loved ones. Power Girl battles Superman of Earth-2, Jessie Quick races against her late father Johnny, and meanwhile Mr. Terrific puts that big brain of his to use looking for a way to stop the Black Lanterns entirely.

The confrontations in this issue are really strong. Although Power Girl was Superman’s cousin, the relationship between them was that of a father and daughter (as opposed to the more “big brother/little sister” relationship between our Superman and Supergirl). Add to that the actual father/daughter pairing of Johnny and Jessie, and you have two wonderfully deep, rich relationships for the Black Lanterns to pick apart.In both cases, you know the women are too smart to fall for the Lanterns’ ploy, but you can understand why they would want to believe their fathers have returned. It’s good stuff.

The Mr. Terrific scenes aren’t quite as good. You have Michael Holt (one of my favorite JSA characters by the way) gathering up some of the JSA’s magic-users to try to create a spell to drive out the Black Lanterns. The result is like one of those scenes in Star Trek where everything is resolved in the last five minutes when Scotty reroutes the power couplings through the Jeffries Tubes into the Dilithium Warp Hinkymadooky and someone looks at the screen and says, “Whew. That worked.” It’s a weak note to end on, which is a shame, because there’s a lot of good stuff in this issue.

Rating: 7/10

Blackest Night #7: The main event returns after January’s hiatus, with Black Hand and Nekron finally revealing their ultimate goal. One of the greatest secrets of the Guardians of the Universe is revealed, and a source of incredible power is uncovered… but who will wield it?

The reveal in this issue isn’t actually that big a surprise. It’s something I’ve been expecting for some time. But just who takes the initiative in this issue is a surprise, and an intriguing one. I’ve got no doubt that Geoff Johns has a brilliant plan in place for this. I love the “Charge of the Light Brigade” scene, I love the explanation behind the Guardians’ biggest secret, and I already intend to order the t-shirt that will inevitably be released to coincide with this issue. I just flat-out loved it.

And I’m gonna get spoilery in a minute, so if you haven’t read the issue yet, stop reading this after the rating.

Rating: 9/10

Okay, spoilery time. To absolutely nobody’s shock, this issue reveals the power of the White Lanterns, the force of light that invaded the universe and drove out the Black millions of years ago. And it’s interesting to see that Sinestro is the one who lurches forward and takes the power. (Even more interesting that, when Sinestro steps up, the avatar he creates is wearing his old Green Lantern uniform rather than his Sinestro Corps duds.)

The big question, though, is exactly what power does the White Lantern have? In describing the Entity that powers the White, Ganthet describes it as “the living light bestowed upon this universe that triggered existence itself.” We’ve also seen a hell of a lot of heroes die during the course of this story, and furthermore, there are a lot of dead ones we expect may well come back (the cover to the upcoming Brightest Day #1 being perhaps the best evidence of that). So, probably for the last time in this Blackest Night run, I’m putting out a theory. The power of the White Lantern is the power of life itself. And when we see a Black Lantern washed in the White Light, we’re going to see that Lantern brought back from the dead. Like, for real brought back, not just reanimated. This is how we’re going to get Aquaman back, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and several others… both those who died during this series and those who have been dead for a while.

Of course, if you’re a Black Lantern that has already been destroyed thanks to the combination of other Lantern lights, you’re already off the board, so no resurrection for you.

Sorry, Ralph and Sue.

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?

13
Aug
09

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern Corps #39

Green Lantern Corps #39Continuing with my reviews of all things Blackest Night, this week I’m looking at the three related titles that came down our way, and I’ll try to review them in as close to the order they appear to have happened as I can figure. Let’s start with Green Lantern Corps #39.

In “Fade to Black” by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, we see Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner on their way back to Oa following the Remembrance Day events in Blackest Night #1, only to get plowed by a wave of Black Lantern rings racing to the crypt of the Green Lantern Corps. With nearly every Green Lantern who ever died entombed there the Lanterns are about to face an  army of their own, potentially the most devastating force ever created.

Back on Daxam, Arisia is trying to help the planet clean up from the recent Sinestro invasion, while still reeling from the fact that Sodom Yat (current host of Ion, living embodiment of the Green power that fuels the Lanterns) has trapped himself in Daxam’s sun, turning it from red to yellow to save their lives, but essentially creating a world of Supermen. This issue features several nice bits of character drama in the midst of the war of Light. Arisia’s relationship with Sodom has been an interesting centerpiece of this title, and now it seems pretty doomed. Of course, if you think she’s got it rough, look at poor Kyle Rayner. He’s in love with a fellow Green Lantern, someone who he is forbidden from being with by the Guardians of the Universe themselves, and the woman he’s afraid is his true love is about to be yanked from the grave along with thousands of other dead Green Lanterns.

Aside from the Black Lantern-specific stuff, this title seems to feature more of the War on Light than any of the other Blackest Night tie-ins so far, with pretty big events for the Sinestro Corps. Mongul makes his play to take it over the Corps on Sinestro’s homeworld, while on Zamaron, Kryb struggles to break free of the influence of the Star Sapphires. There’s a ton of great stuff going on here. While the main title is focusing on the horror aspects of this story, this issue looks more at the sci-fi stuff. It’s good, sharp storytelling, and feels almost like the other half of the story being told by Geoff Johns in the other two books.

Rating: 7/10

I’m in something of a time crunch tonight, friends, so come back tomorrow for my reviews of Blackest Night #2 and Blackest Night: Batman #1.




Blake’s Twitter Feed

April 2018
S M T W T F S
« Dec    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Blog Stats

  • 303,238 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

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

Advertisements