Sunday, February 28, 2010

Daredevil #505

Hmm. I think the part of Daredevil's past that interests me the least is all the ninja/Hand stuff, so this arc is not going to be for me.
DD and White Tiger are heading off to Japan to set up a meeting with the Hand's leaders from all over the world. While DD might be in charge, it certainly seems that not all the ninjas involved approve of the involvement of a heroic lawyer. Some of the leaders are bold and come at DD directly while the others seem to have something up their sleeves too. Of course, there is an ulterior motive that motivated the Hand to ask DD to take over, so I think Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston are setting up an eventual return to status quo for the book. I'm looking forward to that, and I"ll probably be sitting out the rest of this arc as I wait for DD to return to New York. I know the Hand has ties to the character and that this story makes sense, but one of my rules of comics is that ninjas make bad villains.
I don't recognize artist Marco Checchetto's name, but he does a decent job keeping the DD house style going. Some character's faces look a bit off and he tends to shade a bit too much. BUT, the closing scene with DD looks fantastic. I also really like his take on the demonic masks some of the Hand are wearing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blackest Night: Flash #3

Man, I love it when Geoff Johns writes the Rogues. He kicks things off with a creepy scene with Captain Boomerang II as he feeds an aspiring rogue to his Black Lantern father. Johns balances a lot of characters in this issue and he does a great job with it. Wally West doesn't feel forgotten anymore, he actually takes some action that affects the outcome of the series. I also like that Barry Allen is aware of his lack of familiarity with Bart Allen. These three Flashes are a pretty impressive bunch. I love how the Black Lanterns never really seem like a threat to the heroes, but the need to free Bart from his Black Lantern ring gives the story a great narrative drive.

The Rogues get a fair amount of panel time too, but Captain Cold is clearly the top dog. He rescues Mirror Master from inside a mirror in a cool, striking way. It's a great scene and its even better that he just does it. No talking or planning, he just takes decisive action and rescues his teammate. Johns highlights the rules of the Rogues in a pretty dramatic way too. Captain Cold is not ok with rogues killing women and children, but I'm not sure Captain Boomerang II knew how serious he was about that rule.

Scott Kolins knocks this out of the park. Barry's blue suit looks awesome and contrasts nicely with Wally's shiny red suit. I love the speed-fight between Barry and the Reverse Flash, too. And that closing page may be obvious, but it really drives home the core of all the main characters involved in this thing. Well done.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Thunderbolts #141

Jeff Parker puts together a decent enough character piece, but I'm not sure this qualifies as one of the stronger Siege tie-ins so far. He sure knows how to use the Asgardians for full effect though.

After the Headsman lost his head last issue, the team is down two members since the Ghost is AWOL. Ghost does show up (briefly), but only to rat out his teammates to the Mighty Avengers. Four members of that team show up on the last page but it is a little too late for Amadeus Cho, US Agent, Vision, and Stature to get much done this issue.

The rest of the book features the surviving team members sniping at each other and dealing with their awful situation in their own way. Paladin is trying to bury himself in the job, trying to block out how evil the situation has become. Ant-Man is desperate for an ally and is looking to Paladin for backup, but Paly's in no shape to give him any help. Mister X is still just reveling in all these opportunities to kill interesting people (and deities). Scourge is balls-out crazy and alternating between threatening and attacking his own team. The Grizzly is just oblivious and feeling overworked. I do like the way this patchwork team has developed, but clearly it is a failed experiment. I love that Parker is showing us why it it failed on every page. These mercenaries never cared about each other at all and they aren't professional enough for money to lead them to success. This is a good setup for the relaunch in May.

Miguel Sepulveda's faces are all a bit pinched and odd looking and his art tends to be shadowy. That said, he does a great job on the backgrounds, making Asgard seem like an intimidating and foreign place. He does a great job on tech, too. The plane US Agent arrives in looks awesome.


Black Lantern: Green Arrow #30

A friend of mine recommended I pick up this issue and I'm glad I did. I do like seeing the POV of the heroes possessed by the black lantern rings. (I do wish, of course, that we'd get a Martian Manhunter feature, but I'll probably be waiting a long time).

What makes this work so well is that J.T. Krul uses GA's possession as an excuse to have Ollie comment on the important people in his life. Krul is really impressing me on the books he has written lately because he really seems to have a nice handle on what makes these characters tick. There is a great sequence where Connor Hawke and Mia face down the possessed GA and I loved seeing how the two reacted. Mia is quicker to resort to using GA as a pincushion while Connor holds back a bit longer. He is a pacifist after all. I'm hoping Krul undoes the stupid Sivana-clone crap with Connor (Krul is taking over GA, right?) For those that don't know, Judd Winick wrote a story where Connor's DNA was spliced with Plastic Man's that somehow gave him a healing factor. It also made him forget how to use a bow and started him eating meat. So basically, it totally ruined the unique character Chuck Dixon created in Connor back in the 90's. Perhaps DC is about to retcon all these unnecessary changes.

Back to this issue. I also like how easy it is for the possessed GA to get under Black Canary's skin. Let's face it, GA has made some awful choices in his personal life, so many that I honestly find him a bit hard to cheer for most of the time. But Canary clearly sees the best in him so it is really rough watching GA punish her for that unwavering loyalty. It's a strong issue that I hope is a precursor of things to come.

Diogenes Neves has a pretty painted style that works pretty well with the action but tends to look better as static images rather than a story. There is some weird body posture at times too. He reminds me of Guillem March in a lot of ways, drawing pretty pictures and especially pretty ladies, but everything looks just a tad disconnected.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Batman & Robin #9

This comic is just a good time. The plot and characterization are top notch and the art makes everthing sing.

The story is pretty simple, in an attempt to resurrect Batman in one of Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pits, NightBats(Dick Grayson as Batman) has instead brought back a near-mindless clone of Batman created during Final Crisis. (When I look at that sentence, it doesn't seem so simple, actually.) With NightBats, Batwoman, Knight and Squire trapped underground in England, it is up to Alfred and Damian to stop the raging clone as he lumbers around Wayne tower. It's a great sequence since the clone is rapidly degrading as he struggles with the agonies and trauma that dominate the real Bruce Wayne's thoughts. Morrison gives the clone some great dialogue that really spotlights all the damage the clone is dealing with (both emotional and physical).

Nightbats and Batwoman decide the easiest way for her to deal with her injuries is to just resurrect her in the Lazarus Pit, which made me laugh. If it is that easy, why don't more people do it? There's some great dialogue between Knight, Squire, and Nightbats that makes me wish I could see more of the English Dynamic Duo. There is a ton of potential there. After Nightbats makes it back to Gotham to help out his buddies with the clone, I loved how Dick Grayson just full on hits on Batwoman. He doesn't know he doesn't really have a shot...

Cameron Stewart's art is fantastic. The shot of Nightbats swooping in to catch Damian was fantastic. The smirk on his face is classic showboat Dick Grayson. The whole sequence in Wayne Tower was well done too, I really got a feel for the layout of the current Batman & Robin's HQ.


Blackest Night #7

I just can't recognize the Blue Flash. I always think it is the Atom.

Well, I didn't get what I was hoping for, which was the resurrection of Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Firestorm. But I'm sure that's coming next issue!

Geoff Johns does move things along (finally). We've been reading this same story for what seems like a year now, and it has been the same status quo the whole time: Black Lantern collecting hearts for Nekron. Finally, finally, Nekron's plan is coming to fruition as some new facts about the DCU come to light too. Life in the DCU didn't start on Oa as has long been discussed, it originated on Earth. The reason the Guardians stayed away from Earth so long was to try and protect the "life" avatar. And like Parallax and Ion before, the white avatar of life is vulnerable until it finds a host. Some of the coolest sequences in this issue involve Nekron slamming his scythe into the life avatar. Each blow is accompanied by a burst of images of living things suffering as Nekron "kills every living thing in the universe." That's one big goal for Nekron, huh? And who is the brand new White Lantern, the first of the corps following "life?" I'm not telling! Check out the issue yourself!

Don't be fooled into thinking this is all cosmic nonsense (entertaining as that is). No, there is plenty of down to Earth characterization going on too. Lex Luthor turns out to be a bad choice to be an Orange Lantern. He wants everyone else's rings, all the glory, and everything else he can imagine. He's as much a problem for the heroes as the Black Lanterns. Yellow Lantern Scarecrow is awesome, creating winged monkeys from Wizard of Oz to attack Nekron's forces. John Stewart stands as the lone line of defense against a horde of Black Lanterns, with his call for help going nowhere thanks to Black Lantern Air Wave. Fortunately, the rest of the corps are on the way, leading to a huge space battle.

I can see why this took Ivan Reis so long to finish this issue. Not only is he drawing a few dozen super-heroes, there is also a ginormous space battle. There are probably hundreds of figures in this thing, many of whom are odd and alien. And Reis nails it. The art has played a huge role in this series and the iconic look Reis established is going to do a lot to make this an enduring DC classic. Once this is collected and the delays are forgotten, this is going to hold up as a fantastic GL/DCU story.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Justice League of America #42

I've been trying to figure out why I enjoyed this issue so much more than James Robinson's first few on this title. I think it boils down to two things: smiling heroes and a sense of the unknown.

Other than a few gloomy pages featuring Green Arrow, most of the heroes in this thing seem to be enjoying themselves. Even though their (confusing) thought boxes make everyone seem sadder, the art has all the heroes taking some satisfaction in taking out Superman villain-Atlas.

The other thing I'm really digging is that I don't know where all this is going. I know the New Gods pretty well at this point, well enough to recognize alternate versions of Orion, Barda, and the rest this issue, but I have no idea who any of these other villains are besides Dr. Impossible. I've never seen these particular heroes work together. I've never seen Hal Jordan taking orders from Night-Bats. I love how Black Canary is still hanging around, awkward situation and all (she led the now-defunct version of the team during Blackest Night.)

And best of all, Josiah Power of Power Company gets to make a cameo, tying this in nicely to the DCU, but also, Power survives his appearance. So maybe Robinson isn't quite as quick to kill those little bits of DC trivia as he used to.

Mark Bagley keeps things nice and bright. I love how this wide variety of characters retain their own looks but everyone is raised to an iconic look, as befits the JLA.


Guardians of the Galaxy #23

It's official. DnA finally explain exactly how half the team survived their deaths at the hands of the Magus a few issues ago. It seems that the Magus was faking his own death and needed a couple of Guardians to die to help make it look good. Of course, none of them died, this was all a setup. Magus just took the captured Guardians and set them up in the torture chamber of his Church of Universal Truth. Now he's got his best torturer's working to convert Cosmo, Major Victory, Gamorra, and Mantis, and Phyla to his evil ways. Magus picked the wrong heroes though, since Mantis, Phyla, and Cosmo all have telepathic powers and together they are able to get Moondragon at least aware of the situation. Magus ties things into the rest of Realm of Kings with the rest of his plan, to get in touch with the dark gods on the other end of the fault.

Wes Craig is ok, but he's a bit of a letdown after Brad Walker's art. Craig's art is a lot more cartoony and the drama of some scenes is lessened a bit by it. The torture scenes are clear, but I'm not sure the emotional impact of having your memories lashed out of you is as dramatic as it could be. That said, he has a great take on both Blastaar and Bug during the diplomacy sequences.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Green Lantern #51

Man, I love that the same week Geoff Johns has his nice little Tiny Titans issue coming out, we also have a comic he wrote where one character rips off someone's face by the eyelids. The gore in this thing is through the roof, but that isn't a real surprise at this point.

I do like the interplay between the New Guardians and their new deputies. Larfleeze and Lex Luthor in particular are pretty great in their vying to be top dog of the Orange Lanterns. The bit with Spectre becoming a Red Lantern (briefly) is pretty visually stunning too. It is amusing seeing how many powerful emotions are running around the DCU at any given time.

The big news might be that Star Sapphire/Carol Ferris' may be in more of Hal's thoughts than we thought. He seemed awfully glad to see her when he popped free from Parallax.

Carol looks great too. Doug Mahnke draws her hair particularly well. His Spectre is awesome. I'd love to see him draw a classic version of the Spectre on a regular basis.


Invincible #70

Man, Invincible is really getting dark. Mark Grayson has been pushed to the limits the last few months and it really shows this issue. Not only does he take out the sequid threat in a very... direct way, but he also has some very revealing dialogue too. Mark Grayson is getting mighty possessive of the old Earth, there is definitely a sense of possession when he screams "My planet!" Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley play the scene nicely too, it isn't subtle, but it is cool.

The Guardians of the Globe are pretty great in this showdown too. Brit and the rest of the team are actually fairly well prepared for the mind-controlling beasties, although that closing scene with Robot doesn't look good. I'm also amused at how much I like Mark's little brother Oliver. He may end up as a cool hero on his own.

Ryan Ottley is another consistent, solid artist. I don't want to see anyone else draw this book.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #45

"You're just green bugs that wanna kill me! And I'll show ya what I do to bugs! I crush 'em!" That's why Guy Gardner has become one of my favorite characters. Peter Tomasi just gets Guy better than anyone else. This issue wraps up the whole Guy as a Red Lantern arc, and once again Tomasi balances panel time for the Corps and still get some great character moments for Guy.

Things get desperate as the GLC spends a few pages debating with Indigo Lantern Monk about how they are going to free Guy from the red ring. In the end, Mogo comes through once again and has a swarm of leeches purge most of the acidic blood from Guy's system. I'll tell you what, if it wasn't for Mogo, the Corps would be in a lot of trouble during Blackest Night.

Patrick Gleason rocks the pencils once again. I love how quickly he can shift from chainsaws to hot gals to weird aliens. He really is the perfect fit for this book.


Kid Reviews: Tiny Titans #25

NOTE: This is my daughter's review, but since she turned 5, her old 4-year-old review tag is out of date. We're switching to the more generic "kid review!"

Sometimes Match gets silly because sometimes he has two arms and sometimes he has three. Match is funny because he says "barf arf arf." I liked Stargirl being in the comic. She's brand new. Terra got the red ring because she is angry. Is yellow bad? Joker's daughter got the yellow ring because sometimes clowns scare people. I wanted Starfire to get the Star Sapphire ring because it matches.

I like Ch'p and Gnort. I like it when Match yells about gum. I like that Starfire is the first one to meet Star Girl. I know that because both of their names start with "Star."

Why do you think there is a cupcake on the floor of the place where Speedy trades? I wouldn't eat it because it is on the floor.

Sometimes it looks like the treehouse is talking.

This comic is the best.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Superman: The Coming of Atlas HC

I'm reading the Superman trades out of order, but I realized I had missed this one.

James Robinson is not the same guy he used to be. While there is good stuff here, Id say the ratio is down from Robinson's late 90's work. I like how Robinson writes Krypto's thoughts interspersed with his master's, and Atlas is awesome. Atlas has all the strength and power that Doomsday did, but he's got a mean cunning that takes the place of Doomsday's viciousness. There is a sequence where the art reverts to a Kirby-esque style and we see how Atlas views the world around him. I love the simple greed and entitlement that motivates Atlas. He wants to defeat Superman because he is the strongest person around, and after that, the rest of the world will follow. And Atlas believes it is his right since he's the strongest person on Earth.

The parts that I find more questionable are some of the characterization choices that Robinson makes. I just don't think Superman would hang out with Hal Jordan commenting on how hot Jade was, and how lucky Kyle Rayner was to hook up with her. I don't think he'd speak enviously of all the aliens Hal has banged either. Lois Lane is strangely jealous of Zatanna at one point too, it just didn't sound right coming from her.

One great bonus in this trade is the inclusion of the original Jack Kirby one-shot that introduced Atlas. It was great seeing the inspiration for this new Super-character.

Renato Guedes does a wonderful job with Krypto. His dog body-language is great. I also like how effectively Guedes gives his characters a sense of speed. The heroes and villains are streaking around at each other like missiles, it is quite impressive.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Captain America #603

It feels like forever since I read about Captain America doing... "normal" things. I mean, I know fighting the Red Skull is normal for both Steve Rogers and Bucky Cap, but I didn't realize how much I missed the other bad guys until this storyline. Ed Brubaker has modernized the Watchdogs into a great new threat, and giving them the evil 50's Cap as a leader is a brilliant idea. The opening sequence of this comic where 50's Cap is trying to puzzle out the economy was great.

I wasn't as pleased at how easily Falcon gets taken down at the close of the issue though. I realize 50's Cap is supposed to be a big-time threat, and I guess he beat Bucky Cap too, didn't he? But still, the fight was only a couple pages and mostly consisted of Falcon running. I do like seeing the good guys on the run, it makes for more interesting stories.

Luke Ross does a nice job with the pencils. That title page with the close-up of 50's Cap is great. I do wish Marvel was still using the original Watchdog uniforms on at least a few of those guys.

I rarely comment on backups, but I did read the Nomad story. It's ok, I like the use of Professor Power and the Secret Empire to give this a real tie to Captain America. Arana actually works well in this type of story too, she's a likable character.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian TPB

Ahh, a lot of things make more sense now. Gail Simone picks things up from her first trade seamlessly, and there are a ton of nice payoffs from seeds planted in the last few issues. Heck, even the megalodons (giant sharks) get a nice moment as they face down more mythical sea monsters.

The story is a bit complicated, so bear with me. The Secret Society of Super-Villains create a horrific creature called Genocide, a monster with ties to Wonder Woman. I like that while Genocide is a new villain, there are some good ties to well-established WW villains later in the trade. While WW, the DEO, and the Justice League are battling Genocide, Zeus is on a quest of his own. He's creating a male-counterpart to the isle of the Amazons. He even creates a male analogue for Diana in Achilles. These are some neat neat new additions to the WW mythology, I hope they stick around. I do think you need to have read the last trade to get the most out of this one, but the payoffs are so nice here that I want to re-read The Circle again.

Oh, and the out-of-nowhere romance with Tom Tresser/Nemesis gets explained too. Poor doofus. I really respect what Simone is building here, not only is the mythology riveting, but I also really enjoy WW as a character. Her strength and resilience is on display from cover to cover.

Aaron Lopresti's art is not quite as good as Terry Dodson's but it is solid. Bernard Chang handles one issue, and again, he's a bit of a step down from Lopresti. Both artists do a nice job with the action scenes though, and I really enjoyed Lopresti's take on the Cheetah.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wildstorm: After the Fall TPB

I'm enjoying the post-Armageddon Wildstorm U but I have to admit that a good portion of my enjoyment stems from my familiarity with the universe. This trade is all about John Lynch re-forming the toughest team around Team 7. Wildstorm introduced the team in the 90s, and they've basically been a super-powered GI Joe team. The coolest thing about the group is that they've broken up and their members have scattered all over the Wildstorm U. One is a WildCat, one is in Wetworks, and one is a member of Stormwatch. Two of them fathered members of Gen 13. Christie Blaze is the only new member, and a nice flashback in this trade reveals that she was supposed to be a member but was passed over due to her sex. (Blaze was a featured character in the Divine Right series from a few years ago). Christos Gage wrote most of this, and it is clear he enjoyed some of the fun issues of the late 90s.

Now that society has fallen, John Lynch is getting the group back together to face down Tao, the excellent villain of WildCATs and Sleeper fame. It seems he's enslaved the only beings powerful enough to undo the Armageddon, and Lynch needs Team 7's help to free them and fix the world. The stories in this collection were backups in all the Wildstorm titles for a few months, so while short, they are great for catching a glimpse of what's happening in Wildstorm. We catch up with Deathblow, Wetworks, Grifter, Backlash, Lynch, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, and Blaze. Even the Paladins from Number of the Beast get a few shout outs. There is a short story about WildCat villain Defile, but I couldn't understand what was happening in the muddy artwork. The dialogue wasn't helping that section either. Fortunately, the rest of the story is strong enough to make up for it.

Plenty of good artists worked on this thing. Mike McKone, Pete Woods, Phil Noto, Chris Sprouse, John Paul Leon, I mean, that's a who's who of great pencillers. I do worry you need a PHD in Wildstorm history to get full enjoyment out of this, but I definitely dug it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marvel Two-in-One #24 (1977)

This is the best example of an old comic trope that I've ever seen. The Hijacker is a villain out to steal from a Stark research center, and to help him, he brings along his "Crime Tank" a gigantic treaded monstrosity with acid, gas, missiles, basically, a fortune in extras. If the Hijacker can afford this, why would he need to rob people? It's awesome, this guy is spending a fortune to make a fortune.

The set-up is classic too, Stark Enterprises (led by Dr. Bill Foster/Black Goliath) is has the Thing testing a harsh environment suit in an artificial Venusian climate. Awesome. When the Hijacker strikes, the Thing goes after him immediately. Black Goliath joins in, and there's some great back and forth between the two. At first, the Thing is kind of insulting and dismissive of BG, but after Goliath shows the proper respect, you can see the Thing warm up to him. As for the Hijacker, he's totally ridiculous but unimportant. When he tries to tell the Thing his real name at the close of the issue, the Thing says "I don't care" and knocks him out. Wonderful. Bill Mantlo and Jim Shooter wrote my style of book back in the day.

Sal Buscema's design for the Crime Tank is awesome. This thing is just awesome. This is the type of old comic that I can't get enough of.


Superman: New Krypton HC

It seems that by the time New Krypton rolls around, James Robinson has more involvement in the super-books than Geoff Johns. I found myself a bit puzzled during this trade, even though I read Superman: Brainiac fairly recently. The collection opens with Jimmy Olsen setting out to find out who the mysterious observer was during Superman's recent fight with Atlas. This leads Jimmy back to Cadmus labs, where his old pal Dubbilex gives a very informative info-dump about a new villain named Codename: Assassin. Assassin is already on Jimmy's trail and is a step ahead though, Dubbilex dies after the conversation. I'm bummed to see the neat Kirby-creation die like this, but I suppose being a DNAlien, he could always come back. This is a good example of Robinson's recent penchant for killing though. (I fear for Agent Liberty who shows up later in the hardcover.) Jimmy continues to meet up with Guardian. The whole Guardian thing is confusing, but I think it boils down to this: the original guardian was cloned, killed, and since then has been replaced by one "prime" clone (the first) and a bunch of stand-ins who haven't lasted long. The less said about this the better, I'll just assume that the original was cloned and now we're reading about him. Let's leave the other stuff out of it! Robinson does some neat stuff setting up the non-Kirby aspects of Cadmus as a much more mundane and shady government contractor.

These plot elements all lead into the development that General Sam Lane is alive and in charge of a project to kill Superman. Cadmus, Codename: Assassin, Atlas, Lex Luthor, and Brainiac are all part of this crew that wants Supes dead. There are a few scenes with the Kandorian survivors of Krypton that are appropriately worrisome too, these aliens are not going to fit in, I can see why they need their own planet. I still don't like the idea of this many folks running around with Supes' power-set either.

Pete Woods handles a bunch of the art in this one, and I still like his clean, classic style. He's really set the style for the Superman books in this era, and everyone involved in this collection does a nice job keeping things consistent.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

JSA All-Stars #3

This takes place before the recent JSA annual where Magog faced down the JSA at the Haven super-prison. Tensions are already high though. Magog comes across as such a controlling ass, there is no way he can stick around on the team. If he had anyone supporting his point of view, that would be one thing, but he has no allies. Every member of the team agrees with "co-leader" Power Girl, so they're all cheering when she starts wailing on the horned hero during a practice exercise.

I love big team showdowns with their opposites, so having Johnny Sorrow's Injustice society is an easy sell for me. I still don't understand exactly what they're after, but I do like seeing a well-balanced showdown.

Freddie Williams has a bright style that's quite fun. He also has an approach to Power Girl that I hadn't noticed. A friend of mine at the comic store pointed out that her characteristic "window" is absent from her uniform. I hadn't noticed though, because she is still... humongous to say the least. It's funny, why bother closing the window if she's still so endowed.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #13

It is great to be the target audience for a comic. Tony Bedard continues rolling out one of the best sci-fi comics I've ever read. The book opens up with the amusing return of JLA-villain Despero. I figured there was no way Bedard would really try to kill off such a big character, even if it was to establish the new Starro as a big player. Despero is awesome. He's just playing dead with his head on a spike, and he's annoyed when Vril Dox shows up to add him to the R.E.B.E.L. alliance (like that?).

Everyone is out to betray everyone else in this book. Lyrl Dox wants to betray Starro. Smite wants to betray Starro. Vril Dox wants to betray Adam Strange. And you know Kanjar Ro, the Dominator, and Despero will betray everyone else as soon as they can. It's such a fun dynamic with all these villains trying to mix onto a team with a bunch of straight-shooters like Captain Comet and Adam Strange. Great stuff. And how great is it that Vril Dox wants is in a rush to beat Starro so that he can get the credit. He doesn't want those glory-hound superheroes from Earth to win.

Claude St. Aubin has done a wonderful job picking up the style established by Scott Clark for this book. The details look wonderful and you can read everyone's intentions on their well-drawn faces. Great stuff.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Booster Gold #29

It's too bad. Dan Jurgens' run on Booster Gold has only been ok. He has a decent voice down for the title character, but the stories just aren't grabbing me. This current arc has Booster and another time traveler from the future trying to stop the Cyborg Superman from destroying Coast City during Reign of the Supermen. There are some fun bits, like when Booster's timelost sister realizes that she's talking to a mass murder while the Cyborg is still trying to pretend he's the real Man of Steel.

Once again, Booster is convinced to go against Rip Hunter's rules of time and it seems Booster is going to try and stop the Cyborg. I guess that's the real problem, we're not dealing with anything new here. This title dealt with these ideas back in the single digits, and we still haven't really moved on. I've always been a big Jurgens fan, but this isn't his best stuff.

The art, as always, is solid. Jurgens recaptures his early 90's Superman work perfectly, and it is fun seeing one of the best eras of Supes back again. I bet I'd prefer a "Forever" approach best; where Jurgens was able to pick up where he left off in the Super-titles back in the late 90's.


Ultimate Origins TPB

So chronologically, this took place before Ultimatum, right? There is very little here that is important, in fact, I think there are only two reveals. The first is that Wolverine is Mutant Zero, the first mutant and that he was created by the Weapon X program in Canada. So the mutants of the Ultimate U are man-made. The second is that the whole mutant program was an attempt to rebuild the super-soldier program that created Captain America. Bendis gives us a few glimpses into the original program (where Nick Fury was an early guinea pig) and the later re-creation attempts. I like the idea of a brain trust of Bruce Banner, Richard Parker, and Hank Pym trying to re-create the program, but all of those guys go to sad ends, don't they? The flashback portions of the story are interesting, but I'm not sure anyone besides the reader ever really knows everything that happens.

The "current day" portion of the story deals with the Fantastic Four as they deal with the first "watcher" to appear on Earth during the original super-soldier program. After that day, the watcher pillar has stood in a SHIELD warehouse called Project Pegasus. I do appreciate that Agent Wendell Vaughn (Quasar in the Marvel U) is in charge of the project, but he never really gets to do too much in the story. The watcher has a couple lines of dialogue at the end; I assume hinting at the destruction in Ultimatum. I guess the extinction level event that the pillars came to witness was the wave Magneto caused in that other series. So while there is a bit here to satisfy a reader, this mini is more a prequel for Ultimatum than anything else.

Butch Guice has a gritty style that works well on the tech-heavy aspects of the book. The soldiers in WWII look appropriately grizzled and I like his take on the SHIELD uniforms too. The FF don't look quite as young as they should in the Ultimate U, but I'm ok with that.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wildstorm Revelations TPB

Scott Beatty and Christos Gage do a remarkable job making a lead-in to Armageddon end up as a good time. The core characters for this series are Savant, Nemesis, and Backlash II, and the three ladies come across as a fun group of friends out to save the world. The age spread is vast, since Backlash II is a teenager and the other two are immortal, but they all seem to like each other and they always pause to enjoy themselves while on a dreary task. The sense of fun is palpable throughout; I loved when Savant is teleporting around the world, leading International Operations (think SHIELD) operatives on a wild goose chase while her partners engage in some corporate skullduggery. Savant flashes some revelers in New Orleans and stops for Haggis in Scotland while on the run. It's silly, but she's having fun so the reader has to as well. The book is basically a tour of the Wildstorm U, with the Authority, Stormwatch, WildCATS, IO, and more all showing up. The heroines make a stop in Gamorra too, facing down some classic Wildstorm big bads. I know where this all leads, since I've read Number of the Beast, but this is a nice whirlwind tour of the Wildstorm U before it got blown up. While the ladies don't exactly save the world or resolve the crisis, they have a series of entertaining adventures that makes this book rewarding on its own.

Wes Craig has an art style that fits the modern DCU more than classic Wildstorm, but the publisher has been moving in that direction for some time. Craig's art is classic super-heroey, but he's got comedic timing down too. This was a nice looking book.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Recapping Comic News

Fallen behind on comic news? Understandable, there is a ton of it out there right now. Here's a recap for ya!

Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato are launching Secret Avengers. Marvel has released shadowed images of some of the team.

Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. are launching a new Avengers title. Marvel has released 5 team members, Winter Cap, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Thor, and Iron Man.

Jeff Parker is sticking with the Thunderbolts. Luke Cage is leading the new team consisting of Moonstone, Juggernaut, Ghost, and Crossbones. It sounds like the rest of the lineup will be filled by ex-Tbolts and random villains for specific arcs.

Baron Zemo is going back to his villainous ways in Ed Brubaker's Captain America, starring Winter Cap.

Amadeus Cho is becoming the Prince of Power in a new limited series by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente.

Jeff Parker is getting another chance at an Agents of Atlas ongoing with the new title Atlas. I think 3-D Man is joining!

Marvel is putting out an Age of Heroes limited taking a peek at heroes in the brigher era (including Doctor Voodoo!)

Bruce Wayne/Batman is returning as a time-lost vigilante in Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's Return of Bruce Wayne. Too bad, I rather like NightBats.

Peter Tomasi is launching a new Green Lantern: Warriors title, starring Guy Gardner (and sometimes Kilowog).

Tony Bedard is taking over as regular writer for Green Lantern Corps, starring Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and GL Ganthet.

DC has confirmed that Aquaman will appear in the new Brightest Day series (by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi) along with other heroes getting "second chances. Johns promises that not every second chance will work out.

Have I forgotten any big ones?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Secret Six #18

This was a great little arc. I'm surprised it hit so fast and so hard, but John Ostrander always did plot tightly back in the day and Gail Simone clearly writes in the same style. The two work really well together. The Squad and the Six are spot-on.

I really enjoyed seeing the Squad shocked at how much Deadshot fits in with his new crew. I really think Rick Flagg and Amanda Waller thought Deadshot would come strolling back to their ranks and leave the Six, but Deadshot put an end to that thought with his "no thank you" to Waller. And by "no thank you" I mean a shot to the chest. I did like that Waller still thinks there is a good chance she could get him to sign on later if she had to anyway, so if there is another Squad series, I'd say Deadshot could be a part of it.

The story fits in nicely with recent DC history too. There are numerous references to Ostrander's most recent Squad mini-series and we actually find out who Mockingbird is! It's an excellent choice. All the Blackest Night stuff was incidental, this was all about the two toughest teams of scum in the DCU.

Jim Caliafore isn't the hottest artist around, but he's solid. I do hope we get Nicola Scott back on the Six. Not many artists bring her clarity of emotion to these tough characters.


Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4

What a cool cover. It's pretty cool that we get such a striking cover starring a couple of nobodies from the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.

This book has really picked up since the first issue, amazing what stranding your expendable cast in a dangerous situation can do. Last issue's great cliffhanger appearance of Quasar doesn't get a huge payoff. Wisconsin's best hero spends the whole issue trying to warn the Shi'ar about the threat from the Fault. The rest of the expedition is becalmed in the Fault. There's some sabotage going on to add to the pressure of gigantic flesh ships and evil versions of the X-Men. The only casualty so far is Firebolt, and since he's sentient flame, I'd bet he'll be back at some point. I do like the way DnA are tying the mysterious saboteur into the ongoing cosmic storyline too. I'm concerned Mentor will take him up on his offer...

Kev Walker's art is looking mighty blobby, almost Guy Davis-y. It works for this horror-themed book quite nicely too. With so many of the Guard looking sort of inhuman, the style works great.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Batman & Robin #8

It is amazing what Grant Morrison can accomplish with a great artist. After meeting up with Batwoman last issue, we get to see just how she was captured by some evil chimney sweeps and taken to be sacrificed. I love how Morrison writes about the Crime Bible. He's the best at making it seem like an evil religion, there's something about the crazy way he delivers back-story about it that just makes it seem so perfect for comics.

There are still some conflicts between the London crime factions, but the bulk of the issue has an insane, resurrected Batman taking on NightBats, Batwoman, Knight, and Squire. It is interesting that Morrison gave us the nugget that Darkseid wanted one of Simyan and Mokkari's clones from Final Crisis as a body double for the banished Bruce Wayne. That's kind of a huge bit of plot to pull from a year-old event comic. I'd think people who hadn't checked out Final Crisis might feel a tad cheated. I enjoyed the fight, especially how easily the insane Batman dealt with the heroic crew. Only NightBats held his own for any length of time, though the matching costumes made it difficult to tell who was who. Having Batwoman sustain such serious injuries is interesting too, I'm sure she's going to need to be resurrected in the Lazarus Pit. I don't think that will change her long term, although she may come back infected (right LOST fans?)

Cameron Stewart has a great mix of cartoon and Quitely in his pencils. The war of the Batmen looked fantastic and I liked the shadowed Darkseid silhouette too. I am starting to wonder if this would read better in trade though, this did go by awfully fast.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Red Robin #9

Christopher Yost has turned things around to exactly what I'm looking for in a Robin title starring Tim Drake: fun. Now that Tim has determined that Bats is still alive and just lost in time, his outlook has totally changed. Tim's narration about being barely able to keep a smile off his face makes this book fun to read, and even the impending threat of Ra's Al Ghul and his league of assassins has to throttle back because we see Tim having such a great time re-connecting with his world. Connor Kent makes a brief appearance and that's nice, but the final splash promises an even better reunion next month when Tim and Stephanie Brown/Batgirl reconnect. Tim Drake is a character that has always been defined by his self-awareness and his exultation in the super-hero lifestyle. With those elements missing, the first few issues of this series felt like they had no connection to the great history of the character. But by adding in good guest stars, spider-assassins, Ra's, and now the Killer Moth, things feel like they are coming back on track for the character. His place in the DCU is being re-established as we watch, and its fun that the character is going through a similar self-discovery.

Marcus To's pencils are slick and shiny, making his Killer Moth very cool. I never get a sense of the Red Robin costume being leather, which hurts a tad since Conner cracks a joke about it, but that's a small complaint. To's pencils look similar to Tim Seeley's crisp pencils. He's a good fit for this book.


Siege: Embedded #2

Brian Reed is still laying it on pretty thick. This is another comic that basically puts Norman Osborn squarely in the Republican party. As I've said before, I can see where it is coming from, but I don't see how conservative readers can't be put off by seeing analogues of their media figures portrayed as lapdogs of the Green Goblin. This issue adds to the pile by having the Goblin's supporters start discounting Obama and wanting more from Norman Osborn. So you don't have to look very deep to find the message.

While that part of the comic is a bit silly, Reed is doing a nice job with Urich and Volstagg. Urich is always more of a plot device than a character, but by giving him another newsman buddy to play off of, this is the most I've liked Urich in some time. Volstagg is hilarious. He's a pig, he's uninteligent, and he's entranced by women's magazines. The problem here is that he's indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands so I'm having a hard time justifying his childish outlook with what he's done.

Chris Samnee is so good. His pencils rely on heavy blacks to set the mood and it works wonderfully. Even bright scenes like the Iron Patriot interview look spot-on. Get this guy on a mainstream book!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3

This ended up being ok, but even Greg Rucka's writing can't save this from being more than an unnecessary tie-in. I really like Wonder Woman as she appears in this. I'm not talking about the costume either, although she does look a bit less like a stripper than she does in the core mini. No, I like that in the opening of the issue, as WW and Carol Ferris head back into battle against the Black Lanterns, WW smiles. She actually seems happy for a moment. It's a nice glimpse at how resilient WW really is.

The rest of the issue ties up some character arcs from the mini, but of course nothing can really get resolved in an ancillary tie-in like this. WW shatters Max Lord again, but he'll be back since he didn't get taken out permanently. WW and Mera face off and have some kind of moment, but I have absolutely no idea what the big revelation is. WW talks about how Mera needs to tell someone smoething, and unless Mera is really in love with Black Manta, I'm afraid I don't get it.

Nicola Scott handles all the art again, so of course it is top notch. I still laugh at the whole Red Lantern concept though, I have to chuckle when I see Mera lurching around vomiting blood and saying "Rrrf." So funny.


Justice Society of America: Annual #2

I guess you really can fill a super-sized comic with the old "confused heroes fight each other" cliche. The bulk of this book consists of the All-Stars and the JSA chasing Magog around Haven as the super-scientist criminal residents pop in and out of the action. This picks up from the Haven-storyline featured in the Magog title over the past few months. The warden of Haven actually called in the Justice-cavalry when Magog got to close to him, and we get the payoff here. Power Girl narrates a fair amount of the pages, and she's nowhere near as fun as the character featured in her solo title. She does eventually figure out that Magog is telling the truth, but by then Magog has battled most of both teams.

I'm not sure where the continuing story goes from here, since it seemed the warden was caught in the blast he set to self-destruct the prison. A few prisoners escaped too, including one guy whose name I can't even remember yet, but that makes sense because he's defining himself by his need to establish a name and rep for himself. Maybe next time you'll be memorable enough, buddy! The parts featuring that scientist, and in fact, most of the super-brain villains seem like Matt Sturges' contribution to the issue. Keith Giffen probably did most of the plot and Magog's grumblings. The issue is decent, but I do hope there is more payoff for Magog in his own title.

Tom Derenick's art is scratchy, but that seems to be his style these days. He still draws everyone too bulky, but his women are looking a bit less like pinups, and his storytelling has improved too.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Nova #34

This is still the least-interesting of the Realm of Kings tie-ins, but it is still fun. I'm a sucker for the whole team of champions face-off one by one thing, so I naturally dug this issue. The matchups are interesting too, with Nova vs. Moonstone being a closer match than I figured. Mr. Fantastic should have mopped the floor with Bloodstone, but I actually think Man-Wolf should have held up better against Namorita. The battle of the Darkhawks was fun, and I do like how Chris Powell still sounds so whiny even though he's gotten so powerful. Basilisk was really powerful back in those old Marvel Team-Ups, so I can see him beating Black Bolt, just not that easily. There is going to be some sort of payoff to BB seeing his own grave, I'm sure of it.

I suppose it is too much to hope for that DnA keep Namorita around after this story. Her place in the Marvel U has been usurped pretty handily by Namora, and at this point I'm not sure Namorita is really necessary. I'm still bummed though. She's fun and she interacts well with her old teammates in this short appearance.

Mahmud Asrar has a clean style that works well for this title. His art looks very close to Andrea DeVito's so there is no drastic change in storytelling, and his art is so bright that all these 70's characters looks awesome.


Milestone Forever #1

I don't remember where all the Milestone books left off as they were cancelled and to be honest I had dropped a lot of them by that point anyway, because the last creative teams weren't as strong as the first ones. But when Milestone started up, Icon, Hardware, Static, and Blood Syndicate were some of the best books on the stands. And it may be coming about 20 years later, but I'll take any kind of wrap up I can get.

The book opens with Dharma worried about some kind of cosmic calamity, no doubt the event that is shunting Milestone into the DCU. He's looking for someone to help him decide what he needs to do to save the world, and he takes a look at Rocket and some of the other heroes of Dakota to see if any of them can help him. The book shifts over to a great confrontation of the heroes of Dakota as they face down Holocaust and his Blood Syndicate. Tons of great heroes show up here. Icon, of course, and Static and Hardware are great, if limited, in their roles. I loved seeing the classic Syndicate show up too, it's been too long. Really, the Dharma plot is just an excuse to get one more great ride out of these characters. I appreciate the way Dwayne McDuffie wrote this. I think that to get full enjoyment, a reader would have to know the original Milestone characters, but not necessarily have kept up with them. So basically, it is perfect for me.

M.D. Bright and John Paul Leon draw the bulk of the issue, so it's gorgeous. They do a wonderful job of recapturing the magic of the original comics. I really hope that the great Milestone universe doesn't get too messed up as it is assimilated into the DCU.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Batman: Rules of Engagement HC

Now this is the Batman I know and love. Andy Diggle provides a great first meeting between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. The crux of the issue is of course Batman vs. Lex, but the Bruce vs. Lex (and therefore WayneTech vs. LexCorp) aspects of the story are a lot of fun too. There are a ton of fun details mixed into the story. I love that the bat-plane is the result of a failed government contract with Wayne Tech. And Luthor's method of tracking that plane is genius and so comic-booky that I had to love it. Since the bat-plane is getting lost in a swarm of bats, Lex builds a robotic bat to join the swarm and latch onto Batman's vehicle! Ah, evil genius! Just perfect.

The closing setpiece is great too. Lex has an army of GI Robots that he plans to use to take over the US, Batman has to blast his way into a fortified base to get to Luthor and stop the programming. And there is a reason I capitalized GI Robot up there, because this could work as the secret origin for a new one of those too. This is the type of high-octane, fun Batman story that I'm looking for.

Whilce Portacio's batsuit has a neat bulky look. Portacio's got a strong visual style, but it works for the mix of shadows and tech mixing and matching through the story.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Joker HC

I'm trying to remember, but didn't Brian Azzarello re-design all the Gotham criminals during his run on Batman a few years ago? And the re-imaginings were fairly close, but not exactly what we get in this hardcover. Basically, the whole point of this is hardcore-up the Gotham scene. Killer Croc is a big banger with a skin condition. Harley Quinn is a mute killer-stripper. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure that there is a single line of dialogue from a woman in this whole thing.) The Riddler is an almost fast & the furious-style burglar. It's all just so... "adult." This is more like Kevin Smith's Widening Gyre than it is the monthly Batman comics. And as I've said before, I just don't care to see that in my comics. Brian Azzarello has a great entry character in Jonny Frost, and I did like seeing the balancing act that the Joker's henchmen have to deal with, but man. Just too dark and too "real." Call me a simpleton, but I prefer Batman by Jim Aparo or Norm Breyfogle.

This is clearly out-of-continuity too, lessening some of the impact. This could probably fit in as and Earth-One title eventually though.

Lee Bermejo's art is stunning. The reason this book works as well as it does is because we can see the street-grit and glimpse every reflection on the hood of Jonny's car. Batman looks like a leather-clad weightlifter and the Joker is sporting Ledger-ish scars. I wish this guy could keep up a monthly pace.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Justice League: Cry for Justice #6

You know, if James Robinson wasn't quite so gore-happy, this would probably be a pretty solid little Justice League story. Prometheus kicks the tail out of the entire JLA, except for a surprising exception. I also find it fascinating that the biggest threat to Prometheus' computer powered suit is unpredictable fighters; so Hawkman and Hawkgirl are the biggest threats out of the whole league. Pretty cool.

Prometheus' plan is ridiculous, he wants to scatter teleported sections of main DCU cities through time and space. His rationale is that this fate would be harder to deal with because the citizens are still alive, wherever they end up. It's an interesting idea. Green Arrow's city is first up and gets zapped away at the close of the issue. I don't suppose that Connor Hawke and Speedy got zapped out with it? It might be cool seeing the story of a lost city and the random heroes and villains who went with it. Kind of a LOST/Salvation Run thing. Anyway, when Robinson gets to focus on dialogue and action, he's solid. Just lay off the gore dude! It is interesting that we finally get to see all the fights that injured Plas, Vixen, Red Tornado and the rest. I'm just not willing to

The painted art continues looking nice and dramatic.

Overall, this series still doesn't need to exist, but at least there is the core of fun JLA-style story here.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Invincible Iron Man #23

This is better than the last issue, but not by much. There is still no real forward movement in the plot. I'm starting to think this book might read better in trade than in floppies. Waiting a month for such incremental developments is getting tiresome. Matt Fraction has some cool elements here, the best is how he's handling the Ghost as he floats around a rural town looking for an unconscious Tony Stark. Other than that, the only big development is that Maria Hill and Pepper Potts both realize that Tony Stark slept with them both while on his run from the law. Good ol Tony Stark always makes time for the ladies. The rest of the book is filled with the Stark's dreamworld stuff, with Dr. Strange providing exposition for us. I'm ready to see the armored Avenger do some straight up fighting again. Between this and World's Most Wanted I don't think Iron Man has straight out fought anyone in a year.

Salvador LaRocca draws entirely too much talking again this month. Let's get some fighting! Maybe Iron Man will actually fight the Ghost next month!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Siege #2

I'm impressed. The first issue of this event book really offered no new information. Almost everything that happened had been clued or flat out revealed in solicits and interviews. Not so in issue 2. Bendis packed this issue with high quality action. There are a few moments where we see a merged Avengers team (made up of the Secret Warriors, New Avengers, and Young Avengers) form up to go help out Thor. I would have liked to see some Mighty Avengers there, especially since Jarvis makes an appearance as the posse sets out with Nick Fury to give Thor a hand against the Dark Avengers and the Initiative.

The strongest parts of the issue involve actual fighting, sort of a rarity for a Bendis comic. Ares and Balder are having a knockdown brawl when Heimdall and Balder convince Ares that he's been had. Ares realizes Osborn has played him for a fool and sets off for a dramatic confrontation with a great line of dialogue: " And I told you what I would do, Osborn! I told you true! I'm going to pull off your head, armor and all." And he delivers that last line with a period, not an exclamation point. That's a statement, not a boast or threat! Awesome.
Unfortunately, Ares never gets the chance. The Sentry is full on evil now, and following Osborn's every whim. And Bendis shows us just how powerful the Sentry is when he tears Ares in half in a gruesome panel filled with tubular intestines and gore. (Hey kids, comics!) The Sentry doesn't say a peep. He just takes care of business. I suppose I'm ok with Superman being evil in the Marvel U, but he's going to need a new costume. On the Ares note, it is too bad, because he's awesome, but I'm confident he can fight his way out of Hades or whatever and make a big comeback. This is the right kind of death for an event book; a returnable one. Now where's the Wasp?

Oliver Coipel does a great job. Sentry looks so distant, he has no reaction to his murder of Ares. The bigger guys look the best, Thor and Ares looked awesome, while Coipel's kid-faces look a little odder. That closing page is great too. I'm not a fan of repeated images on the same page, but to close with Osborn's Iron Patriot armor as Cap's shield comes spinning in at him? It makes me anxious to read the next issue.


Thor #606

Kieron Gillen has done the impossible. He's actually made me really dig the conclusion to the whole Loki/Doom alliance thing. I had been losing interest in JMS' story, but I actually switched back to floppies for this. Dr. Doom riding around in a souped up copy of the Destroyer armor? Balder the Brave actually seeing that he's in over his head? And best of all, this has turned into one hell of a setup for Siege. It's cool that Gillen is using obscure Asgardian Tyr so much too. With the Warriors Three sort of booked elsewhere, Tyr ends up as a right-hand man for Balder. I think Kelda's fate works well too. Asgard needed another heroic lady, and I'm hoping Kelda can fit the bill.

Most importantly, everyone is right where they need to be for Siege. Loki's in Asgard whispering in Balder's ear. Thor is back in Oklahoma with the Warriors Three. Doom is plotting away and saving face. I always like comic stories where the hero wins but the villains aren't reduced in their loss.

Billy Tan's artwork is getting looser and scratchier every issue. There are some horrible panels where Thor's body looks way out of proportion. The Destroyer armor usually looks good, but the faces of normal people don't look so hot. I'm pretty sure I'd rank this "Good" with tighter art.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daredevil #504

Man, DD has gotten hardcore. It's too bad that Siege is sweeping through the rest of the Marvel U, the slow-burning showdown between DD and Norman Osborn is sort of about to be overtaken by events in other titles. In DD: The List, Osborn sort of declared war on Hells Kitchen, and in this issue DD fires back and basically claims the neighborhood in the name of the Hand. (The perks of being a ninja-clan leader, I guess.) I just don't see how this can draw out a whole lot longer because I do think Osborn's fall is imminent from other factors. Maybe I can hope that Bullseye can refocus his attention on DD after his stint in the Dark Avengers.

I do love what the Hand is doing with all those corrupt cops and HAMMER agents though. That is a level of vigilantism I can get behind. DC did it 20 years ago in Chain Gang War, but I loved it then and I love it now. How'd you like to be a normal resident of Hell's Kitchen and have to deal with this gang war.

Roberto De La Torre abandons his photo-referencing style for this issue. This is almost into David Mack-surreal territory. To be honest, I prefer the photo-realistic style if I had to choose. I can appreciate the mood setting and such saturated colors, but I like my DD to have a more realistic (if gritty) style of art.


Justice League of America #41

James Robinson is finally getting the team he wants. It took long enough but the work he did with the scrubs over the last few issues was strong enough that I think he at least deserves a chance to impress me now that he's got his real team coming in. It's annoying that we don't exactly know how Cry for Justice ends, since it is supposed to have such an important role in where all these characters find themselves. It seems he caused another huge catastrophe to hit Star City, so that's probably what has Green Arrow so wound up that the League will be hunting him down after a few months. In any case, after the drama of Cry and Blackest Night, a lot of the heroes are hurting. Wonder Woman and Hal Jordan see this as an opportunity to bring in a slew of old heroes like the Guardian and Dr. Light, and as a great chance to promote some Titans like NightBats, Cyborg, Donna Troy and Starfire onto the team. I'm not pleased that Donna Troy is quite so upset that she's pretending she won't help people as a super-hero, but I guess I'm ok since her time "sitting out" is non-existent. I think there is a lot of potential in this lineup. There isn't a huge amount of action here, it is mostly team-building. But I'm hopeful.

Mark Bagley is a perfect fit for the core title in the DCU. The heroes look bright and shiny, as they should. Mon-El actually looks like he is having fun. Even the dour heroes like Donna Troy look impressive. I will say I'm not a fan of the new Cyborg design. Too robot-y for me.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Atom & Hawkman #46

This was suprisingly relevant to the greater Blackest Night plot, unlike most of the other tie-ins during the last month. I guess Geoff Johns decided to move just a touch of plot from the core crossover so that we don't lose a whole month with absolutely nothing happening. This was really a focus issue for the Atom, Black Lantern Hawkman doesn't really play a part, except that Atom decides he's going to try and bring back his friend at the end. The bulk of the issue sees the Atom protecting Indigo-1 as she summons an army of lanterns for the big showdown with Nekron on planet Earth. While she's summoning her followers (who in turn are summoning the other corps), she's vulnerable, so Atom has a nice showdown with his crazy ex, Jean Loring. There's another flashback to Identity Crisis, and once again I'm confused on the rationale and randomness of the crime in that book. Jean Loring's motivation makes so little sense that every time it gets referenced, I take the whole idea less seriously. Shock for shock's sake is so silly.

Ryan Sook handles the cover and a few nice moody pages, but Fernando Pasarin draws at least as much. Fortunately, I like his clean style, the storytelling is clear and the fun Indigo tribe designs are as amusing as always. Both artists are talented enough that the change in art doesn't wreck the issue.