Posts Tagged ‘Titans

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

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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:


19
May
10

Everything But Imaginary #352: How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Titans?

Last night, Titans: Villains For Hire #1 came out, and through this Brightest Day tie-in, it seemed clear that we just don’t know what to do with this once venerable franchise. So this week, I’m offering my suggestion…

Everything But Imaginary #352: How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Titans?

16
May
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 170: TV Talk With Lost and Doctor Who

Responding to recent requests, this week the boys talk some TV. The guys talk about the entire season of Lost just before we head into the last two episodes, including which questions have to be answered, which ones probably won’t, and predictions for the end of one of their favorite shows. Then, Blake and Daniel delve into the current series of Doctor Who — the reign of Steven Moffat and Matt Smith, why they’re loving this series so much, and what they’re looking for in the second half. Fear not though, friends, you still get a comic fix. In the picks of the week, both of the Big Two’s “new directions” are addressed. Mike goes with Brightest Day #1 (which leads into a tangent about Titans: Villains For Hire #1) and Blake takes The Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 170: TV Talk With Lost and Doctor Who
Inside This Episode:

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

25
Nov
09

Everything But Imaginary #330: Thanksgiving at the JSA Brownstone

It’s time for a special Thanksgiving treat courtesy of the Everything But Imaginary players! Step into Rip Hunter’s Time Sphere and accompany us on a quick jaunt just one day into the future, where we travel to the JSA Brownstone in New York. The decorations are hung, the walls are packed, and the aroma of turkey, ham, and Ma Hunkel’s famous Pumpkin Pie fill the air. Three generations of superheroes are gathering, and this year, you’re going to join us for…

Everything But Imaginary #330: Thanksgiving at the JSA Brownstone

15
Nov
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 145: Blackest Night Halftime Show

The marching band is coming onto the field, the coach is giving the Justice League a much-needed pep talk, and the fans have gone to pee. That’s right, it’s the Blackest Night Halftime Show! With the fourth issue of the eight-part epic on the stands, this week Blake and Kenny sit down to talk about the story so far, the various tie-ins, and make their predictions for the second half of DC’s best event in years. In the picks this week, Kenny goes with Vampire Hunter D: Stuff of Dreams and Blake digs the new Fables spin-off miniseries, Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@Comixtreme.com!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 145: Blackest Night Halftime Show
Inside This Episode:




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