Saturday, April 30, 2011

Comics on the Bubble: The Eradicator (1996)

I seem to be in the mood for old-school (90's era) Superman comics. This mini holds up very nicely. Ivan Velez Jr. always did do well by his characters, and while the Eradicator is clearly a jerk (as both a machine and man) but I still found myself rooting for him.

Roger Robinson's pencils are fantastic. Nothing happens in half measures. I think Eradicator is in a rage each and every time he takes off, giving almost every page a great, poster-worthy image.

Issue 1: Eradicator is suffering hallucinations. He doesn't exactly redeem himself to his human family either. KEEP
Issue 2: Eradicator finds out his true origin and discovers he's not the only Kryptonian doomsday program. KEEP
Issue 3: Guest-starring leather-jacketed Superboy. It's a great showdown and battle that feels epic due to Robinson's pencils. KEEP

This is a solid little mini.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Action Comics #900

What a fun little anniversary issue.

I picked this up to continue the Doomsday storyline I've been hopping around the DCU to read, so imagine my surprise when I saw that this is also the conclusion of the Black Ring storyline. I'm getting Black Ring in trade, so I'm a little annoyed to see the story spoiled, but I should have trusted Paul Cornell, he lays everything out nice and clear.

I guess Lex Luthor has become some sort of deity after bonding with some Phantom Zone creature. I don't know what happened, but the idea is straight-forward enough. Having a real, heroic Superman zip away from Metropolis, then face down his greatest foe was wonderful. Supes was confident, brave, and capable. I didn't see any tears or doubts, this is the Superman I want to read about. It was also fantastic seeing Supes take out the immensely powerful Luthor. Luthor had a chance to be the hero he THINKS he is, but destroying Superman is still the most important thing in Lex's life. What a sad life.

The other part of the story has the Superman family facing down Doomsday. I had predicted where this was going, but it is still fun seeing the S-shield crew going up against a problem this big. (And I'm also happy that all the Supes characters are still alive. Even Eradicator deserves better than to die in this story.) It should be pretty fun seeing everyone come together over the next months. (Is the Doomsday story continuing in Action Comics?)

The backup material is decent. The big moment is Superman renouncing his American citizenship, but I can't imagine that will stick. If it does, this issue may become a collectors' item, because people will be ticked. It's not just me, right? I mean, Supes getting so mad at America's place in the world that he decides America is too "small," that's a big deal, right?

Pete Woods does a nice job in the main story. I've always liked his work, so I hope he's going to a high-profile book like the JLA or something. There are a few pages where he aped different artists and it really came out well.

I think I may stick around Action Comics for a bit.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Invincible #79

Hmm. I didn't see that one coming. I don't want to spoil an emotional moment in this month's Invincible, even though the setup takes most of the issue. I'll try to stick to the other segments of the book.

First off, it's great seeing Invincible tackling his old rogues. He's been off fighting Viltrumites so long, I felt as happy as Mark when he got his double splash of beat downs on his normal foes (including Doc Seismic, always a treat). I'm also happy to see Dinosaurus making a comeback. Sure, he's got a silly name, but that is one tough looking dude, I think we're in for a good fight! I love the plethora of villains and heroes Robert Kirkman has populated this book with; it feels like the best knockoff of Marvel that you could want.

And what the heck is Nolan going to do? He clearly can't function as Omni-Man anymore. Is it time for a masked identity?

Ryan Ottley's art is still fantastic. Atom Eve's fuller figure is a great and realistic development. And man, how great is it seeing Invincible back in his classic togs fighting his classic foes?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Avengers Academy #12

This is a great book, but I wish Reptil always had to be red dinosaurs like in the cartoon! I suppose you don't want the two Marvel dino characters to get mixed up (Reptil and Devil Dinosaur) but c'mon, it was his whole deal!

So this issue wraps up with the artificially-aged students battling Korvac. I'm not sure I like Korvac being taken out in two issues, but I suppose he's gone up against the entire Avengers roster over the last two issues. That's about 40 characters these days.

As for the future students, it certainly looks like a few of them end up as villains. Finesse has a mix of heroes and villains in her reflex-memory, and I can't tell if that means she ended up good or bad (Saint Death!). Striker is clearly bad, with the evil goatee. Mettle doesn't look too nice, what with his default being a killing attack. Hazmat has those cute little ears on the top of her helmet, so I think she'll end up good. Bad guys don't wear cat ears. Reptil? Good guy. And he's staying old? That's a pretty odd choice. I understand the need to boost his powers, but still.

Tom Raney is doing an amazing job keeping this book consistent. I can still recognize his pencils, but there are moments where it honestly looks like Mike McKone is still penciling this comic! Veil and Mettle especially look exactly as they always have. That's great consistency.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Green Lantern #65

It almost pains me to admit, but Geoff Johns' work on these crossovers is solid. I wasn't sure if War of the Green Lanterns could keep the momentum up, but it holds out again this issue.

After a bit of amusing banter between Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan (and Johns does a great job picking up from where Peter Tomasi left them in Emerald Warriors), the Earth GLs are reunited in the sewers of Oa. That's after we see Kilowog dominated by Krona and we get to see Hal Jordan show off his piloting skills to Guy. I understand that Hal is good, but since I prefer Gardner, it stinks seeing Hal get the upper hand! It was pretty funny seeing Hal and Guy squeezing into the tiny escape pod at the end of their ride; it's the sort of silly detail that would really make this work in a movie.

The big moment in the issue is the distribution of colored power rings. Hal takes yellow/fear, which makes sense; he's wrassled with Parallax enough times that I can see it. And Guy's claim on the red/anger ring makes sense too, it's his defining characteristic. I'm not sure hope is what I think of with Kyle, but that might be my dislike of the Blue Lantern concept. I still don't like a totally passive core that only boosts other characters. I'm confused about John Stewart getting the purple/compassion ring. It's not the defining characteristic of this version of the character (maybe back in the Mosaic days, sure, but not now). I also didn't like Hal rejecting John's first choice, then handing him the purple ring. If you're letting folks pick, let 'em pick, you know?

Doug Mahnke does another bang-up job on the art. Kilowog looks fantastic, and I liked seeing the consistency of clothing on the Earth GLs. It's a small detail, but one often overlooked by multiple art teams. With Hal and Guy on that icy world, they needed some jackets, you know?


Monday, April 25, 2011

The Thanos Imperative HC

Wow, DnA know how to rock the world of Marvel cosmic. This epic is the swan song for the cancelled Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. I love that DnA end the series pretty dramatically for the stars of those two books. I don't believe the permanence of their status for a moment, but it's a great idea to take these guys off the table for a bit. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

With such a huge cast, and with Thanos justifiably taking up so many panels, a lot of the cosmic cast gets relegated to the background. Poor Jack Flagg and the Inhumans barely appear. Major Victory is a walking plot dump. But Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Mantis all make out pretty nicely, even with fierce competition for page.

I never would have guessed that my childhood fave Quasar would be so important or powerful, but I'm not complaining. That big-budget, slo-mo shot where the Annihilators form up? Simply awesome. I love seeing Quaze and Ronan the Accuser in such fine company.

The story is truly epic, and I think it works best when the stakes are highest. The enormous battle at the Fault rift is well done, with Galactus and other cosmic entities trying to hold back the seeping life of the overgrown universe. I love the sequences back in the other universe too, with Star-Lord and Thanos teaming up with the robotic resistance there. I'm not sure the Revengers totally work as bad guys, I never bought into them as being too scary. While I love the idea of that character leading the forces of life, he isn't disfigured or frightening enough considering he's supposed to be tied to Lovecraftian elder gods.

The art in the prologue is the strongest. Brad Walker owns the Guardians, and his work is stellar. Miguel Sepulveda does a decent job with the rest of the material, but Walker is a hard act to follow.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spider-Man: 24/7 TPB

Happy Easter!

I've had a hankering for some good, old-fashioned Spider-action, and this trade sure hits the spot. I've been grabbing Spidey trades left and right this summer as I try to catch up with Big Time, and man, I'm glad I picked up this one.

The trade leads off with an excellent one-shot by Fred Van Lente featuring the classic villain The Spot. It's a classic case of powering up a villain and giving him a pretty awesome new status quo (sending a black spot to those he's about to hit). Spot comes off as a great mix of sadness and danger. This story feels like the best of Bill Mantlo's old Spectacular work, which is the highest praise I can give.

The next story is great too. Dan Slott sends the FF and Spidey into the Macroverse to deal with some alien-types they saved a few years ago. The message is a tad heavy handed as Spidey and the Torch deal with the One More Day mindwipe, but man, is it worth it. The Torch and Spidey fit together so well, it's easy to see that these guys are great friends. Slott writes the FF so well, everyone is at their best. There were actually a few true LOL moments for me reading these chapters.

And then the final arc, the actual 24/7 story by Mark Waid. With J. Jonah Jameson elected mayor, Spidey decides to drive him crazy by going into overtime in costume. It's fantastic. Again, I found myself laughing out loud at numerous moments. Waid updates the Vulture concept in a way that makes total sense, and he does it without reducing the fantastic Adrain Toomes version of the Vulture.

The art throughout is wonderful. Barry Kitson and Mike McKone can't top this work, it's beautiful. McKone's Spidey sometimes looks a tad young, but his action is top notch.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Booster Gold #43

Weird. I was totally bored by last month's Perforated Man story, but the follow-up this month is quite enjoyable. Perhaps it is the guest-starring Legion of Super-Heroes (is this Booster's first meeting with them? Weird, if so, they're a natural fit.) Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis have an amusing take on the Legion, these guys aren't geniuses; heck, they take orders from Ultra Boy in the field, surely they must know better than that!

It may be forced having the Legion capture Booster, but it does set up some great jokes. Chameleon Boy and Proty playing good cop/bad cop? Awesome.

In all, this story seems like a sort of deck-clearing exercise to line us up for Flashpoint. Now, I'd planned to skip that crossover, but now I'm getting concerned that this title won't make sense if I don't get it! It does seem the writers have set up something with that slowed-down aging too, that's an interesting new power for Booster.

Chris Batista has drawn the Legion before, and it shows. He's got a great take on the team, and of course his Booster is smug and hilarious.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Superboy #6

That Eddy Barrows cover is fantastic. Look at the determination in Superboy's face!

Sometimes it's fun watching the lead character get pounded. Unlike the rest of the Doomsday stories in the past few months, Superboy never has a chance. Everyone else stood up for a bit, even if they never came close to winning. From the moment Doomsday appears, Superboy is a punching bag. He gets knocked up and down the streets of Detroit; it really reminded me how powerful Doomsday was intended to be.

There is really only one little subplot, with Superboy's friend meeting up with the Atom. I haven't read much of this current Superboy series, but this kid is going to be Superboy's Lex Luthor, right? I mean, he has future super-villain written all over him!

Marco Rudy's art is fine, but he draws Superboy and Red Robin looking really young. They still have big kid-heads!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Batman & Robin #22

So is this creative team off the book? Did Peter Tomasi have one fantastic story to tell, then he's back to the world of GL? I suppose there are worse fates, because if this ends Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's run, then their average is going to be tremendous. I'm going to mix and match my comments about the art into the review of the story. It's rare to see a creative team that works together this perfectly.

The White Knight/White Angel is an instant classic. He's got all the ties to Gotham and the Arkham rogues that good new villains need. He's got a fantastic visual in both his guises. Clearly he's got the tech to work as a street-level or a more sci-fi Bat-villain. He's great.

What is so impressive about this story is how Tomasi and Gleason show off their knowledge of Gotham with only a few panels. The Joker is showering in the water filling his cell. Jane Doe is fantasizing about wearing the Knight's skin. Best of all, I can only imagine how angry Zsasz is going to be that Damian was riding him around slashing new scars into his tally (and as revenge for a recent Streets of Gotham story too!)

This is a great comic. I really hope the creators have more to say about Gotham City.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Black Panther #517

Once in awhile it's nice to see the old super-hero tropes work out. The setup for the Luke Cage/BP fight is ridiculous, but it works. The best part is that with BP so annoyed, and Cage having gotten in his face so many times already, it makes sense that this fight could actually go down. Cage gets bumped in to T'Challa twice before BP says he's had enough. Now, I expect there are some Power Man fans who will not be pleased at how easily the Panther won this fight, but let's all remember, Black Panther beat the Silver Surfer! (Clearly I'm thrilled to see T'Challa take out another top-tier powerhouse.)

David Liss is still doing a great job. BP's relationship with the police is great. I'm not sure I buy everyone treating the hero like he's new, after all, T'Challa's pretty famous, but it's worth it to see someone acting like Daredevil and Spidey used to with their pet cops. I also loved how Black Panther points out that he was an Avenger with Cage and Spidey were on the streets, yet they think they can lecture him on how to be on a super-team.

Francesco Francavilla returns, and the book never looked better. How awesome is that panel with T'Challa just appearing in the window? And I loved the body language when Cage is reapeatedly knocked into the Panther. Great stuff.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Justice League: Generation Lost #23

UGH. I'm sick and tired of OMACs. Haven't we gotten enough of them since they started this whole Infinite Crisis thing? I mean, seriously. Max Lord's master plan is to make a bigger, fatter OMAC with Max's voice. That's the big reveal. C'mon.

There's some sort of little warp that separates the most powerful JLI-ers from their buddies (leaving Batman, Power Girl, and Captain Atom behind). The remaining folks can't really compete with the OMAZO robot (he starts using the JLI's powers during the fight), but it's almost worth it to see Booster Gold actually go after Max Lord. There is still a chance that this series could end strong. If Booster delivers some comeuppance to Max, if the Martian Manhunter shows up in the nick of time, if Batman pats the JLI on the head and tells them they're good kids after all. But it's going to be hard to justify this series if the big reveal is a fat OMAC.

Fernando Dagnino's art is fine, but I'm still confused why we couldn't have gotten a bit more of an original JLI feeling from this book.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvel Boy: The Uranian TPB

I'm not mis-rembering that the Uranians are weird alien-looking things, right? In this trade they just seem like fairly generic humans with some sinister motives.

I always enjoy Jeff Parker's work with the Agents of Atlas, but this really seems like a story that didn't need to be told. The Uranian is a cool character, but a lot of that is due to his weirdness. This is an origin story, and by placing it during the 50's when Bob Grayson was pretty normal, he just doesn't pack the same punch. That's not to say this is bad, it is filled with great little moments and nice uses of Grayson's telepathy, but I had hoped this was some missing chapter before I read the 3-D Man Atlas trade, and instead, this is sort of unnecessary.

Felix Ruiz's art is nice, but man, this guy sure like Bill Sienkiewicz. He's got the same scratchy pencils. It works great in some moments, but not so well in others. Ruiz is an interesting choice to pencil an origin story set during the "simpler" 50's.

I will say the backups are pretty good in this one. I didn't power through the original Marvel Boy material, but the Fantastic Four reprints are great. Roy Thomas and George Perez, what's not to like?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #8

It's official, Guy Gardner is now my favorite Green Lantern. It's been Kyle Rayner for years, but Kyle's sad-sack modern persona is nowhere near as fun as the tough-guy, overconfident Guy Gardner. Guy is a great balance of confidence and capability, and it is hard to argue with his feelings about Hal Jordan. In fact, if you think Hal is annoying, this is the comic for you. Guy lists all of holier-than-thou Hal's faults, all during a great brawl as the two heroes slug it out on an arctic world.

War of the Green Lanterns has been pretty uneven so far, but the setup seems to be de-powered Earth lanters taking on Parallax and Krona. I don't see how these guys have a chance, but I'm excited to see them try. I'm also coming around on the concept that Parallax's influence is making these guys say things they always thought, but would never say. How great was it when Guy acts surprised about he and Hal's "rivalry?" There's a reason Hal is the last option for Guy to look for when he starts looking for help from his fellow GLs! Peter Tomasi has a great handle on Guy, making this the best GL comic I've read in awhile.

Fernando Pasarin's art is quite pretty. The swarm of GLs at the open all have nicely unique designs, and I loved his work on the arctic wildlife of the alien world. He does a great job with little details too; the GLs using ice to soothe their bruises, the different styles of dress for Hal and Guy, and the constant use of rings to illustrate points when the GLs debate.

I'm adding this title to my pull list.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Mutants v1: Return of Legion TPB

What a pleasant blast from the past. New Mutants was one of my first comics, and I forgot how much I enjoyed this team of wannabe X-Men. Here we are 20-some years later, and the class has graduated up to full X-Men status, but the characters still feel the same. Cannonball still wants to be Cyclops. Sunspot wants to sleep with the prettiest X-ladies. Magma is still obsessed with Empath. Magik still has her secrets. I thought Karma got to act a bit kinder than I remember; she spends the first arc protecting a kid from Legion's vicious personalities. And Dani Moonstar. She always had the somewhat useless illusion powers and had to make due with her other abilities. Really, losing her powers on M-Day shouldn't make this much of a difference to Cannonball, she still kicks more butt than most of the team. I'm pretty sure ol Cannonball might have a crush.

And speaking of crushes, I think the scene with Sunspot trying to impress Rogue is my favorite moment in this trade. Sunspot is always trying so hard to win the ladies over, I'm glad to see him like this again and not brooding as Reignfire or one of his other awful incarnations. Legion is a fun villain and it is great seeing him used and brought back to the table so effectively. (Hard to believe he's been gone since Age of Apocalypse.)

Zeb Wells does a wonderful job recapturing the feel of those old comics. I don't think he mentioned Magnum PI, but surely that will come up soon. Diogenes Neves is a solid artist. He establishes the tone in Legion's mind right away, and his updates of the classic yellow and black suits really shine. But man, seeing that Bob McLeod cover really makes me wish we could get some classic artists back for at least some fill-ins.


Friday, April 15, 2011

JSA vs. Kobra TPB

Why the heck is Eric Trautman not writing more mainstream books? He proved himself on Checkmate, and he lives up to that billing in this strong follow-up. I think he was one of the guys banished to the Red Circle books (that I bet I would have liked), but this guy gets the JSA. Of course, while this is called a JSA limited series, it is really is a showcase for just two of them; Mr. Terrific and Power Girl. While Kobra manipulates his terror empire into a more and more powerful position, Trautman shows us the two approaches of the JSA's leaders. Mr. Terrific is ready to feint and bluff and strike at shadows, plot and plan. Power Girl is confident that any trap Kobra can make, her team can crush. This is a great showcase of why I love both characters. It doesn't matter that every other JSAer only gets at best three lines, this book features my two favorites. Don Kramer's art is great. I've loved his work since his original run on JSA, and this lives up to that legacy. No one draws someone getting blasted by a haymaker better than Kramer; there are couple great shots mixed in again here. And while the JSA doesn't do much besides pose and run out for big action shots, those moments do look great. Good

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Comics on the Bubble: Alpha Flight 75-100

It's probably telling that my original collection as so many gaps around this era. If I didn't dig the book enough to buy every issue when I was a kid, would I like it more now?

I do have fond memories of Wild Child as a dangerous loony and I know I liked the new English hero Windshear, but I didn't remember too much about this era before I re-read it. The art is average, Michael Bair has certainly gotten a lot better than what he shows here. I will say that I loved his habit of having flying heroes be in weird, contorted positions. It's funny seeing Aurora zooming around upside down with her legs curled up towards her back.

This era of the title heavily features Madison Jeffries, currently appearing as part of the Science Team in Uncanny X-Men. Whatever happened to Jeffries' wife Diamond Lil?

AF #75: This picks up the end of a story with the team trapped in another universe fighting evil Marvel heroes. It's not original... - SELL
AF #78: I must have gotten this for the Dr. Strange appearance, but he doesn't do much but worry about Canada. - SELL
AF #79&80: Acts of Vengeance! - KEEP
AF #82: Alpha Flight goes to Asgard to fight silly-looking trolls and elves. Northstar was actually trapped in Asgard! - SELL
AF #84: This picks up the big threat storyline that Talisman and Strange foresaw, but it seems I only have the middle chapter... - SELL
AF #87: Fabian Nicieza and Michael Bair take over and man, they pack a lot in these issues. The team splits in three and adds in Wolverine, and yet none of the storylines interest me. - SELL
AF #88: Forge guest-stars and helps Windshear, Lil, and Jeffries resurrect Guardian! - SELL
AF #89: Wolverine and Vindicator vs. Gamma Flight - SELL
AF #91: Dr. Doom shows up, but Alpha fights generic armored thugs. - SELL
AF #92: Guardian tries to get used to being alive, with some inconsistent art from Dan Reed. - SELL
AF #93: The FF guest-star, but man, the art is hard to follow in the fight with Headlok(!) - SELL
AF #96: Michael Adams pencils the very Vandal Savage-y origin of the Master of the World. - SELL

So two keepers because they tie into one of my favorite crossovers, and that's it. I'll have to keep reading to see if I still like Scott Lobdell's take on the team after issue 100.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thunderbolts: From the Vault

Why does Lee Weeks not get more work? Look at that excellent cover!

Man, I miss Nomad. He was a great character back in Mark Gruenwald's Captain America run, and while I never loved Fabian Nieza's take as much, he clearly had a nice grasp on the character too.

This inventory issue deals with Nomad (more as his Jack Monroe civilian ID) traveling around, trying to figure out why so many of the Thunderbolts were actually able to reform. I remember that Monroe was brainwashed into being a new, technicolor Scourge, but I don't remember a whole lot more than that. It was great seeing bits of the history for the older Tbolts though. (And Atlas is from Wisconsin! Excellent!)

Nicieza states in his foreward that he's pleased with where he left the Nomad character, and I agree. Nomad was set up to tour the country and check in on super-villains, and try to encourage them to change their ways. There aren't really many parole officer type heroes, Jack Monroe would have had his own niche.

I always enjoy Derec Aucoin's art, but I thought he was going by Derec Donovan these days?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Superman/Batman Annual #5

It's interesting that the Doomsday storyline trickled over to this title, a book I haven't bought in years. I guess this technically qualifies as a Super/Bat team-up, since Supergirl and NightBats feature quite prominently in it, but still, it's an odd choice.

James Robinson writes the Cyborg Superman really well. The guy's defining characteristic is a deathwish, but it's hard to write about someone who really sticks to it. I loved seeing Cyborg Supes actually trying to beat Doomsday, even if it was just to prove that he's superior to Superman.

The bulk of the issue has Supergirl trying to diagnose why she's gone "dark" again, wearing black togs and being all "bratty." It turns out that she's got survivor's guilt after the destruction of New Krypton, and she just has to forgive herself. It's trite and simple, but I'll take it if it restores Supergirl to the type of character she's supposed to be. Robinson presents the story in an interesting way, having Supergirl diagnosed and treated by holograms of Dr. Mid-Nite and Dr. Fate. NightBats does have some consistent words of encouragement too.

In the end, Doomsday runs off again, this time after "cyborging" himself. Are there are a slew of Doomsdays? One uber-Doomsday? Where does this story actually go after next week's Superboy?

Miguel Sepulveda is a Marvel-style artist, but his work looks good here. His Batman is bulky and clearly wearing body armor, which makes sense considering who he's fighting. Cyborg Superman looked fantastic, as did Supergirl. Sepulveda's Saint Walker is a bit odd looking, but then, that's an odd character.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Secret Six #32

"My name's King Shark. I'm a shark." That really says it all, doesn't it? I love the ever-expanding cast of the Secret Six, but man, I especially love the always awesome King Shark.

Gail Simone is still doing amazing things with the characters in this comic, even with them trapped in hell. Ragdoll gets a few nice moments, but I think the coolest developments happen with Catman. He and Etrigan sort of ditch the rest of the Six in order to deal with some personal issues. Catman carves up some devils and demons all to get to someone who I think he isn't quite done torturing. These are some messed up characters...

Deadshot and Jeannette are nicely loyal, which is odd for Deadshot. He's often the guy running off, but I suppose a shootout in hell is a pretty good way to act upon Deadshot's deathwish.

Jim Calafiore does a nice job with a few characters who return from the grave to appear in this issue. It's not surprising to see either of the two big reveals, but it is still fun getting more Simone-written dialogue for them. Any chance the two fallen characters can join the cast full-time?


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mon-El v2: Man of Valor TPB

Uhhh, I guess I need to read a bunch of other Superman comics to understand what is going on here, right? This collection honestly has two or three issues, then a break followed by a run of text telling you how the last story ended and what middle chapters you are about to get.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Black Panther: Man Without Fear #516

It's weird seeing Spider-Man being the guy advocating teamwork. Usually Spidey is on the receiving end of those cnoversations. Once again, David Liss is doing great things with BP. The opening showdown with Vlad the Impaler is awesome. This rivalry just started, but clearly these guys hate each other already. They're both obsessed with each other now, so having Spidey pop in and bring the fight to a close was amusing; it actually insulted them both.

Liss really has set up the whole serial killer idea for a few issues now, but it still felt like a bit of a shock to see the plot thread pick up here. I am excited to see BP's new supporting cast become so important so quickly.

Jefte Palo's BP is a bit more animalistic than Francesco Francavilla's. BP spends the issue hunching towards everyone he interacts with.

This issue isn't as sublime as the last few, just because it is impossible for anyone to match what Liss and Francavilla are doing. As I say every month, check this book out.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker #1

Clearly Joe Casey is a fan of Smokey & the Bandit, American Flagg, and Jack Burton (from Big Trouble in Little China). Butcher Baker is an amalgam of these characters, with the obnoxiousness cranked up quite a bit. I picked up this issue hoping for something close to the excellent Godland, but this is a tad too out there for me.

I believe in all the underhanded politics and favors that keep things moving in Baker's world, but I'm not sure I want to see it in my comics. There are elements that seem pretty cool, but nothing in the first issue convinced me I had to see what happens next. The big cliffhanger is that a jerk is having a mid-life crisis, right?

Mike Huddleston's art is moody and atmospheric, and when it has to be, it is fun. I think he's a good fit for this kind of story, I just typically stick to more... "boring" comics I guess.

It's funny, I loved Joe Casey's afterwards more than the book! I'll try his next book for sure; WildCATS and Godland earned him that!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Brightest Day #23

My god, the sheer volume of civilian deaths in your average DC event is astounding. I mean, think about the last few years; you've got Imperiex, Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Monument Point, Prometheus' bombs, and now the world going mad and the slaughter in Star City. I mean, that's insane! The average life expectency must be tiny! (Marvel isn't innocent in this either, witness the mass carnage in Civil War and Siege.)

Anyway, I am a little surprised to see the big reveal for both the threat to life and the guardian of the white lantern. I mean, there wasn't really any use of these characters early in the series, so this is an interesting choice. I mean, I'm happy this character is back in the DCU, but a little more foreshadowing would have been nice.

I'm fine with the use of the DCU characters as new elementals of life, although some work better in this role than others. I have absolutely no idea what Captain Boomerang is doing, and why Hawk & Dove are still part of this is equally unclear to me. Should Osiris, Max Lord, and Jade be showing up next issue? I'd guess so.

The art is pretty strong in this issue, especially the segments by Ivan Reis. I love the Martian Manhunter/Earth elemental design. The stone body with a cloak of vegetation is awesome. Firestorm works well, as does Aquaman (check out the water trident!), but I thought the Hawks seem a bit silly as air elementals. They look too much like ghosts.

This whole series will be worth it if it puts all these great characters back in people's awareness, but man, the Hawks have taken a beating.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Justice Society of America #49

I continue to be impressed by Marc Guggenheim's JSA. My enjoyment has probably increased as the cast has increased, at this point it doesn't feel like the JSA if the team doesn't have 20 people in it. I'm shocked at the power of the two new villains in this arc. Scythe takes on half the team, including most of the heavy hitters and barely gets taken out by a souped up Alan Scott. Dr. Chaos takes on most of the street-level characters and is handling them with no problems, even when all the JSA All-Stars show up! At least Power Girl steps in to show Chaos who's boss.

I'm excited to see where the series goes from here. Jay Garrick as the mayor of a city packed with super-heroes? And that city has a dark secret tied to the US government? I'm in.

Scott Kolins' art sells this book. Look at some of those panels during the Dr. Chaos fight where Steel is slugging Hourman in the midsection, you can see the chaos in that conflict that lets the villain excel. I think some of those guys should be a bit more hurt than they are, but I'm not going to complain about a dramatically drawn comic battle!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Walking Dead #83

It's a good thing I didn't bother to learn all these new folks' names cause a whole lot of them are zombie chow at this point. I did love the quick shot of survivors spread around the community. I may have to learn some new names after all. (I do like the lady worker who was kicking butt with that crowbar. Looks like she got on a roof and away from the horde.)

Rick backs down a little from his pronouncements last issue, but he is still a ruthless dude in this. There are three or four moments where I actually gasped while reading this, and I don't want to ruin them, but I'll just say that this book stuck with me for an hour after I read it.

Charlie Adlard's art is always great, and he does a fantastic job showing each of the deaths in this issue. He shows the victim's face surrounded by hands and teeth; it's just horrific watching these folks meet their fate. This is what we want from our zombie comics and I'm happy the zombies can still scare me after 83 issues.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Justice League of America #55

I think it is pretty funny that James Robinson just gives Saint Walker new powers to make him fit in on the JLA. If you think about it, the Blue Lanterns are doomed to be backups; all they do is boost the power in a GL's ring. With no actual GL on the team (Jade is probably close enough, but she's handling a different crisis) Walker just manifests the ability to make blue constructs to take on Doomsday. I actually hope this will stick, because otherwise the Blue Lanterns are sidekicks at best.

Robinson kept me guessing for most of the issue. It was clear Doomsday wasn't that interested in Supergirl since she was not part of Reign of the Supermen, but why the heck was he bugging the League? It's a nice bit of modern continuity to bring another character back on the stage who knows Doomsday quite well.

I can't review this series without pointing out how terrible the lineup is. I'm still holding out for at least a few more members of the big seven.

I'm not a fan of Bret Booth's art. Since everyone has such big eyes, even the guys look a bit like comic-style ladies. I will say his Doomsday looked pretty good.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Power Girl #22

So I heard this was a good jumping on point, taking place after the Generation Lost storyline. I have to give Judd Winick credit, this is a pretty solid issue. Power Girl really has changed into being a fun character, the JLI angry days seem to be long behind her. I like the amount of time she seems to be putting into her secret ID, that's not something that the character has done much with in the past (that I've seen).

I'm intrigued by the corporate rival that acquired a bunch of PG's corporate tech. She has potential, maybe a lady Lex Luthor type?

The conflict is fairly generic, with Superman and PG teaming up to fight some magical dinosaurs. I think a lot of the motivation for this issue was for artist Sami Basri to get to draw some awesome dinosaurs. And they do look great. In fact, Basri's art is pretty impressive. PG's... features are prominent, but not quite as blatant as they have been with some artists (I did like Superman commenting on her figure too, it would be a bit of a giveaway for a secret ID).


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Invincible #78

That bar across the middle sure saves an amusing butt-shot from being prominent on that cover. Do you think that was always Ryan Ottley's plan?

I think this is going to read much better in trade. When I opened this comic, I felt like we'd already seen all this fallout from the loooong-running Viltrumite War. I understand the need for this type of issue; Invincible needs to travel around and see how the world has moved along while he was gone. But man, I'm ready for the next storyline.

Kirkman has a ton of wonderful little moments. I don't think Omni-Man should reunite with his wife; she shouldn't forgive his level of betrayal. I like the idea of Bulletproof helping out with Invincible and Atom Eve's protection business. Invincible needs more friends. By far, the coolest moment of the book had to be Cecil Stedman taking D.A. Sinclair's animated Invincible corpses off high alert. I'm sure that will all work out just fine.

Ryan Ottley's art is as solid as ever. I'm not positive what he was going for with Atom Eve's return shot. I can't remember, did she have the baby? Invincible's been gone for 10 months; I'm no doctor, but she should have had the baby, right?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Batman Incorporated #4

Another non-linear triumph from Grant Morrison. I have no idea the extent he re-wrote Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman, but she's awesome. A daredevil who sought out Batman, she's a tremendous character and one I would love to see more of. And Morrison's take on the early Batman & Robin relationship is simply awesome. I love seeing Robin jealous that Bats is spending his time with Batwoman, and Ace the Bathound is no consolation for the boy wonder.

For some reason, the original Batwoman has an imposter facing down the current Batwoman, and the fight is related to the current secret society plaguing the bat-family.

This would be an exercise in randomness, except that Morrison reveals that Kane had some interaction with El Gaucho, and Gaucho may have actually killed her. That brings the parallel stories crashing together as Bats and Gaucho face off for the amusement of Gaucho's rogues gallery. What seems like three random stories actually work together brilliantly.

I'm not too familiar with Chris Burnham's work, but he's got a style that's perfect for this book. It ALMOST looks like Frank Quitely's art, but it clearly isn't. So it's influenced by a regular Morrison partner but retains an original feel; this is a rare accomplishment in today's comics.