Monday, February 28, 2011

Green Lantern Corps #57

I usually like Tony Bedard's writing, but his GLC work just hasn't connected with me. This current issue closes the Weaponer story arc, and I feel like it went on too long and didn't really answer some important questions. Why and how did the Weaponer utilize the White Lantern power? Why did Sinestro take so long to show up to save Soranik if he was coming anyway? Why was Firestorm in this issue when he basically didn't do anything? (At best, we re-established where Firestorm was sent to at the end of Brightest Day #17.)

I also have to wonder why the Qwardians come off as so silly in this story. In the span of one issue, they go from hating the Weaponer, to loving him, to hating him again. There are no half-measures for these people, they make a decision and go full blast until they change their minds again.

It certainly doesn't help when you have one of the core cast members essentially saying "this story doesn't matter, the REAL story is back in another comic book!" Ganthet has repeatedly justified the alliance with the Sinestro Corps by saying the real threat is back in the regular DCU, most likely in the Green Lantern title. So why bother reading this one? No GLs even stick around to help Firestorm save the universe! So I'm seeing a clear tiering of titles. Krona>Weaponer>Deathstorm. That's a dangerous path to go down.

Tyler Kirkham's pencils are pretty solid. His style is morphing to look a bit more like the DCU house style (maybe it is the inker). This is starting to look more like Ivan Reis than Marc Silvestri.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Doom Patrol #19

It looks like this title is one of the many cancelled in anticipation of Flashpoint, and judging from this issue, that's a sad thing. I really like how Keith Giffen portrays the attitudes and outlooks of this group of weirdos. I'm not sure Ambush Bug really fits in (does he ever?), but I'm a sucker for growth powers, so I loved seeing Elasti-Girl use her powers so effectively throughout the issue. Robotman is always fun, he's basically Ben Grimm in the DCU.

I did find it interesting that the Doom Patrol essentially win their fight with the Secret Six. On a pure power basis, I just think that the Six bring more to the table. I suppose the magical pelican and Danny the House each taking out a member of the Six does even the odds a bit.

Matthew Clark and Ron Randall draw Bane without his mask for the whole issue. I read too many comics to remember if that happened because of something in Secret Six (part I of this story), but it's a bummer for me. A lot of these pages would be vastly improved with a luchadore mask instead of Bane's terrible haircut. I do like how the artists play with perspective and scale on the Elasti-Girl scenes; she wouldn't need to maintain "normal" ratios with her stretchy body.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Booster Gold #41

Goldstar! This whole issue is worth it just because Booster's sister shows up back in costume. I love the idea of a brother and sister team fighting crime, so I'm happy to see her back in her battle suit. (Where did she get it again? It isn't stolen like Booster's, right?)

It's great that even when Doctor Nishtikeit successfully attacks Rip Hunter's time lab, Booster still doesn't take him seriously. I can't imagine this villain will stand out too much, and Booster is already willing to forget him. It's a wonderful contrast that the Doctor is no one to Booster, but Nishtikeit considers Booster his arch-foe. It makes sense that the Doctor only takes up half the issue, the other half puts Booster in prison, serving time for his original theft of his hero gear. I can't believe no one has done this with the character before, actually.

Rip Hunter needs a better costume, by the way. Chris Batista's pencils are still wonderful, but the t-shirt and slacks aren't doing it. Booster's prison uniform is cooler than Rip's costume! I don't like Rip just hauling around a big rifle either, surely he's got some neater time-devices with a bit more original design?


Friday, February 25, 2011

Justice League of America #54

This is a pretty strong lead-in for the next arc of Justice League. James Robinson successfully makes this feel like the start of a big DC event. Even if it only takes place in this title, Eclipso is a big bad, and he feels like a big threat throughout this issue. Even better, since Eclipso travels the Earth dominating shadow-based characters, this really does feel like a crossover.

Some are obvious choices like Robinson-pet Shade, Nightshade, and Shadow Thief. I don't know if the other shadow-folk are new or dusted off classics, but I'm intrigued by all of them. There is a Candadian hero, a Cthullu-creature, a horrifying gorilla-beast, and a neat new Mexican hero. I hope they all survive the story, they seem like nice additions to the DCU.

The actual JLA doesn't appear in the book, the main protagonist is Eclipso host Bruce Gordon. It makes sense to spend so much time with Gordon this issue, Eclipso has a bit of a complicated history at this point, and Robinson spends some quality time resetting the status quo. Eclipso is in control of Gordon thanks to the recent Starheart crossover, so this arc has its root in this title. It's a nice bit of continuous storytelling. I'd love this comic if the JLA didn't still feel like a pack of scrubs.

I had been nervous about Brett Booth taking over on pencils, but he does a fine job here. I'm still not a huge fan of his style, but his storytelling is clear and everyone is recognizable. I don't love his take on the headliners, but he does a nice job on the new shadow characters.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hawkeye: Blindspot #1

I knew I would love Jim McCann's writing; he's proven that Hawkeye is a character that he was born to write, but I'm shocked at how well Paco Diaz does with the art. This is a good-looking book with a great story!

At the end of the Widowmaker limited, Hawkeye got cracked in the head and now his aim is suffering. The book opens with a great showdown with the Lethal Legion (why don't we see these guys more?) Grey Gargoyle, Mister Hyde, Absorbing Man, and Tiger Shark. Even with the silly animal-looking Tiger Shark, that is an awesome team! The fight gets glossed over a tad, but I won't complain, since things just focus on Hawkeye's past for the rest of the issue.

There a ton of handy flashbacks to Hawk's somewhat confusing past, really focusing on Swordsman, Trickshot, and Hawk's brother. I thought they were all dead, but Trickshot shows up and dies in this issue, and I'm pretty confident that the mystery archer helping that top-tier villain at the end is going to be Barney Barton (Hawk's dead bro).

I couldn't be more pleased that Hawkeye is going up against this villain. Not only is he a top-tier foe for an A-level hero, he also has a past that mixes in some interesting ways with Hawkeye. Could we see some Thunderbolts in this mini???

As I said, Paco Diaz does a wonderful job with his detailed pencils. The kids in the flashback actually look like kids. Hawkeye looks absolutely awesome in all the iterations of his costume that appear in this thing. I think I might have to check into buying a page from this one...


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Avengers Academy #9

I think Christos Gage is the best writer today at utilizing the history of a super-hero universe while still enriching it. This book is filled with great nods to former stories, yet he's still doing a fantastic job with the core cast. Quicksilver is still an ass AND likable. Tigra is angry and moody, but we totally understand her point of view. Finesse continues to be a scary gal, and I've got to think she will end up a villain. Taskmaster gets some wonderful lines and moves, even as he tries to bond with his possible daughter in the only way he knows how.

What's so impressive is that Gage is adding layers to his own characters and the old ones he's placed in the book. The dialogue is current and topical; I loved seeing Justice catch some heat for dating the much younger Ultra Girl. All these characters have made their share of mistakes, so I'm glad Quicksilver talked Tigra into giving the students another chance.

Mike McKone is going to leave some big shoes to fill on this title. The art is stunning in this, as it has been from the start. I know Tom Raney can do a good job, but McKone is going to be tough to replace.

I don't usually notice colorists as much, but Jeremy Cox's choice to have the off-white and blue in Finesse's costume an exact match for Taskmaster's suit? Brilliant.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tragic News: Dwayne McDuffie Dead

I just saw on a few comic sites that comics writer Dwayne McDuffie is dead. There are no real additional details at this time. This is tragic news.

McDuffie was one of the founders of Milestone, the excellent line of comics launched by DC in the early 90's. His work with Icon and Static was revolutionary. McDuffie also created the fun Damage Control series for Marvel. I loved his recent work on the Fantastic Four, including the scene where the Black Panther put the Silver Surfer in an arm bar! Another favorite of mine is the Beyond! series, a throwback, fun, exciting comic featuring a slew of Marvel's 2nd-tier characters.

McDuffie also worked in DC Animation, working on many Justice League-related projects, including the excellent Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths movie. He had an All-Star Superman movie coming out today.

This is awful news. I loved his work. McDuffie always showed a respect for the top tier characters while exhibiting a true affection for the minor players too. I can't speak of how he was as a person, but I truly enjoyed his comic work.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Green Lantern #62

Some books are feeling a lot shorter with those few pages being cut for the $2.99 price. This issue was solid enough, but man, it feels like not a lot happens.

Krona is super-creepy looking now, and his powers are pretty impressively visual. Those chains binding the entities to him couldn't be clearer, and he's effectively negated most of the corps already. I still think this story has been going on too long, but I'm pleased to see things moving along by the end. Geoff Johns does a good job with the confrontation between the JLA and the New Guardians. Even better; we get the return of Batman treating Hal Jordan like the jerk he is. Wonderful!

Doug Mahnke's art is sweet. Krona's hunched form is creepy and threatening, the entities look impressive, and the JLA and Guardians all look sweet. It is hard trying to accept Atrocitus as a good guy, though.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Black Panther #515

Another fantastic issue.

This one picks up with the closing moments of BP and Vlad's first encounter. It seems they both underestimated the other, but T'Challa's experience is surely going to put him over the top. What makes Vlad so cool is that he always talks the professional talk. The reader can see how the BP's pressure is getting to him, but he seems to be fooling himself pretty well. Things are going to get mighty personal in the next few issues, it seems, but you have to admire a villain who makes this much of an effort to control his emotions.

David Liss is still doing a wonderful job with the supporting cast. I'm not a fan of current Luke Cage, but he's perfect in these appearances. And even better, he's right; Black Panther's self-test is putting a lot of innocents in danger. Liss is also showing a lot of skill in the language of the "normal" folks existing on the fringes of BP and Vlad's war.

Francesco Francavilla's art continues to impress. Black Panther's street-togs are awesome, this is one of my favorite takes on his costume. Francavilla's art is most shocking in the scene where we see that the diner bus-boy is still alive and in for a lot of pain. The look on his face is terrifying!


Sunday, February 20, 2011


Well, that was fun while it lasted. I just read a rumor that REBELS is getting cancelled in anticipation of the glut of Flashpoint series on the way this summer. I'm sure Tony Bedard will be writing one or two of them, and to be honest, who thought that a sequel to the 90's series LEGION would ever last this long? In any case, I'm going to enjoy this series while I can.

Bedard's focus on the core cast is doing a lot for this title, but having Starro back is helping even more. Not only does the series' main villain return, but he also drops a couple lines of dialogue that basically reinstates the old JLA Starro as a villain on his own. So now we can enjoy both.

I like how quickly Vril Dox has been taken off the board too, when these two forces first clashed, it was Vril vs. Starro. This time it might be the other heroes of LEGION having to step up. And having Lobo this time could make a huge difference.

Claude St. Aubin has been consistently turning in solid pencils for months, and this is no different. A few faces look a bit weird (mostly Vril Dox), but overall, the book looks fine.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Destroyer TPB

Hmm. I recently read The Marvels Project, and I was really interested in the Destroyer, a super-soldier created in a concentration camp during WWII. I picked up Robert Kirkman's recent Destroyer MAX series hoping to learn more about the character. It's weird. Other than the name and costume, I'd say this trade had nothing to do with the Marvel U character. I realize MAX books can often take place in questionable continuity, but this is in its own world.

Kirkman's Destroyer is an old man trying to kill all of his greatest foes before he dies of a heart attack. Kirkman rolls out a bunch of amusing archetypes and sidekicks, but this all feels pretty generic. I can't imagine this was too much of a stretch, these characters all feel like they would fit right in (maybe better) in Invincible or Wolf-Man. The Destroyer has a tender relationship with his wife, child, and son-in-law, and that does make him a bit more interesting, but overall, this is mighty generic.

Are there any good Marvel U Destroyer stories out there?

Cory Walker's art is fun and bloody. He certainly does his best work when he's drawing giant monsters or weird villains. His normal people look a little puffy, but anyone in spandex and all the creatures look great. Jason Pearson's covers are mighty impressive throughout.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Brightest Day #20

It's interesting seeing which characters are the last to wrap up their "Rebirth" arcs in this series. With four issues left to go, I think we're looking at only Martian Manhunter and Firestorm still needing to get their "Life returned" officially. That said, with Deadman handing out a quick follow-up prize to the Hawks and Aquaman, we may need an issue to wrap that up too.

This issue is all about Aquaman. I'm pretty sure Geoff Johns has been writing the Aqua-portions of this series, and he's done a good job re-introducing the King of the Seas. I enjoyed seeing the Lorena Aquagirl show up, she's a fun character and one of the better creations of the 00's. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the new Aquaman yet, but at least he doesn't seem to be an angry kid, which could be very easy considering who his father is. I'm also pleased with how important Mera is to the plot. Her people are the main threat, but she deals with them herself, and also establishes herself as a pretty darn powerful hero too.

Now the big question is about Aquaman's hand. I'm assuming he and the Hawks will get one more "rebirth" or something, so will he get his hand back? I sort of hope so.

Ivan Reis' artwork continues to be the strongest in the series. I think this would have held up as a decent solo series reintroducing Aquaman.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Justice League: Generation Lost #19

It's pretty funny when creators can play around with the history of their shared universe to get an immediate response. Max Lord's murder of Ted Kord is such a huge moment in DC history that the cover for this issue of JL:GL immediately filled me with worry for the new Blue Beetle. I'm a huge Ted Kord fan, but I really do like Jaime Reyes too; I don't want to see the current BB going out like this!

I liked that most of the issue was filled with Jaime being a tough guy, standing up to Max Lord and refusing to give up. The rest of the team does their best, but this issue is really Jaime's show. That's why I just don't believe that things are as bad as they seem on that last page. DC can't pull this off, the trend for killing characters surely hasn't gone this far. Assuming it turns out the way I think, this was a great issue.
Can I hope that Power Girl is going to come back with some more JLI-era help? Guy Gardner, Metamorpho, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and Batman would be really nice about now.

Fernando Dagnino does a better job on the ladies than he does on the dudes. Power Girl, Fire, and Ice all look great. Actually, Blue Beetle and Rocket Red look good too, but Booster, Max, Captain Atom, and the other males all have heavy, round-looking heads.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Widowmaker #4

This series has suffered from a bit of up-and-down quality. It's not surprising, since this mini is a combination of two issues from two separate cancelled titles. I've really enjoyed the Hawkeye & Mockingbird chapters, while the Black Widow chapters haven't held up quite as well.

This issue feels rushed. A lot of pages get used up with the leads all running up a volcano, away from the new Ronin. Then they turn around and run back down, splitting up. We don't see how Hawk & Mock separated the evil ninjas, we don't see Dominic Fortune get into his stolen Crimson Dynamo armor. Then the entire series rests on an unclear exchange between a nobody character and the Black Widow. I can't believe the conclusion is based on Fantasma turning on Ronin. Did she even show up in this series before this? If so, I certainly can't remember her. It makes no sense to hang a whole limited on a good turn from a character we don't care about.

And what's up with Hawkeye getting beaned? It seems like he's got some sort of problem now, headaches or vision issues. Is such an important character development really going to hang on a random swing of a ninja club?

Manuel Garcia's pencils look more rushed than usual. I'm not sure if it is the inker, but a lot of the faces look oddly smushed and very few moments are clear. For a series that started out quite strongly, I find myself indifferent about the ending.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Batman & Robin #20

I enjoyed Paul Cornell's short run on B&R, but I found myself considering dropping the book back to TPB status. I'm glad I didn't. I had forgotten how great Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason work together. This bat-book hits all the right notes, and in my reading, it is still the best Batman comic on the stands.

The book opens nicely, with a brief moment of normalcy for Bruce Wayne and his "sons." I loved seeing Alfred included in this get together, he deserves to be included in the family. Tomasi kicks the action along quickly, with some nice back-and-forth banter between Batman and Damian. They are a hilarious team, and Tomasi has their voices down. This is almost as good as when Morrison was writing it.
There was a great scene with Commissioner Gordon and Damian too. It makes sense that not everyone would be as accomodating as Dick Grayson.

Patrick Gleason's art is moody, dark, and fantastic. He gets to draw a ton of neat stuff, including dead angels and the Man-Bat. He also gives Damian an amusingly-round kid head too.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Walking Dead #81

And now the crap hits the fan. Things start off a bit quietly in the newest issue of Walking Dead, but the peace doesn't last long. I love Glenn's crazy plan, and by giving him a small team going out to "save" Andrea, it should give us a chance to become familiar with at least a few more members of the Community. Kirkman better develop the new characters quickly now, because I think the body count is going to be high. It already looks like new folks and old-timers might not make it through this.

That wall that seemed so secure a few issues ago is now a danger to the camp. How great is it seeing the characters look at the brightside of a breach in the wall? I guess living in a post-apocalyptic hell would make you pretty adaptable. I missed seeing Rick using his old hatchet, so seeing it back in his hand is nice and familiar.

Charlie Adlard has to set up a few pivotal, suspenseful scenes this issue, and he does a great job. Glenn's crazy climb across the horde was tremendously well put together, and the action at the doomed wall was clear too.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Uncanny X-Men: Proteus HC

I've heard a lot about this story, and I know this is an awful sin for a big nerd like me, but I'd never read the original Proteus story until last week. I've read lots of follow-ups and adaptations (including the X-Men cartoon and the great long-running storyline in Exiles) but I've somehow avoided a lot of the X-Men issues between 100 and 200.

This story holds up nicely, even if it is a bit short. There is a ton of Chris Claremont's signature mind-control (Jean Grey is getting set up for her Dark Phoenix storyline with Mastermind) and that was a little tiresome. However, I LOVED seeing Cyclops as the man with the plan in these old issues. Proteus does a heck of a job taking out Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine, and Cyclops is justifiably concerned that the three heroes have lost some confidence after their defeat. So he straight up starts a fight and starts blasting them around to make sure they've still got their heads in the game. He's a bit of a jerk, but that's one tough leader!

I expected a bit more from Colossus during the storyline, since he's so important to the resolution. It also is interesting that Banshee, Moira's current beau, has no powers through this whole story. Banshee is one of those characters I never appreciated when he was alive, and I bet it would have been neat seeing him do more during this bit of X-history.

John Byrne's art is fantastic, of course. No one draws these characters better. I do have to laugh at his skin-tight outfit for Moira, she's one slinky scientist.

The back-up material in this is nothing to write home about, but it fills out the hardcover with some more material, so I'm not going to complain too much.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Star Wars: Clone Wars v2 TPB

Star Wars comics make me laugh. They are filled with so many nonsense words that I can barely make myself care about what happens. "Oh no! Jedi Master Beborp is looking for his missing pabowan on planet Gleep Glop!" Heh. It doesn't help that the Jedi suffer from some of the worst ninja-weakness I've ever seen. Let me explain, have you noticed (in movies, books, comics) how if there is one robot or ninja or zombie, it is really tough, but the moment there is a bunch of them, they all get weaker and easier to kill? The Jedi in these Clone War stories really suffer from that. One of the stories has four respected masters team up with Obi Wan on some lava planet, and all four get taken out like punks. I can appreciate that these new bad guys Durge and Ventress are supposed to be tough, but man, the Jedi are wimps!

Two trades in and I'm still not seeing much of my main interest in the Clone Wars. I'm fascinated at the idea of an army of clones all trying to establish their own identities. How would they differentiate themselves from each other? Haircuts? Tattoos? Speaking styles? Weapons? There is one clone that gets sort of featured in this trade, but he isn't really interested in being a person. He actually gets tagged with the name "Alpha" by Anakin during a fight. At least it is a start.

I will say I appreciate all the doubt the Jedi show towards the Empire and the Rebellion. Count Dooku may actually have some legitimate points!

So far, while I'm not regretting reading the Clone Wars, it doesn't hold a candle to the Star Wars Legacy series.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Catwoman: The Long Road Home TPB

Wow. I really liked Will Pfiefer's take on Catwoman, but this entire trade reads like a bit of a mess. I've got to think that Pfiefer's plans for this book were dramatically altered by Catwoman's mandatory involvement in Salvation Run. She never really fit in to that story very well, and this book opens with a random issue as that storyline wraps up. Then bang, she's back in Gotham ready to deal with her old issues.

I enjoyed seeing CW take out the upstart Thief, but the revenge scenes were a bit cold just because it had been so long since Selina was in Gotham. Again, Salvation Run messed up the pacing for this storyline. By the time the trade wraps up with Catwoman and Batman trying to return their relationship the old status quo, it seems like it is for the best. It seems like Catwoman is too busy getting yanked into supporting roles in other peoples' adventures to have her own comic.

David Lopez's art is fantastic. His poses for Catwoman as she leaps off buildings are wonderful. She just drops away as if she was going to land in a pool.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wolverine: Old Man Logan TPB

Mark Millar loves his spectacle, but he is good at it. This should have been a limited series instead of wrapped into the core Wolverine title. It is essentially an Elseworlds where the bad guys have won, reducing the Earth into a post-apocalyptic wasteland divied up by some of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe.

I love the explanation for both Wolverine's pacifist streak and the fall of the X-Men. It's a great showcase for a villain switching off on who he's facing. Acts of Vengeance could have gone a lot rougher!

Hawkeye kicks the story off, it seems he and Wolvie are two of the last heroes left alive. It's great seeing the two tough guys ribbing each other while still functioning as a survivor's support group. I liked the opening chapters of the story more than the end. It's great seeing Hawkeye and Wolvie driving through Millar's nightmarish version of the Marvel U. His take on the moloids is brilliant; they are the Earth's defense system, and once the population reaches a certain level, they start sinking cities and eating people! I'd love to see someone pick that up in present continuity.

Millar is over-the-top, no doubt, but once again, he spins and entertaining tale. He makes the reader really wait for the first SNIKT, but the eventual payoff is worth it. Especially since Wolvie actually gives up being a pacifist, but still won't pop his claws when things go "sort of" bad, they have to get "really" bad for the claws to make their return.

Steve McNiven's art is brilliant. His Venom-Dinosaur was a highlight, and I loved his Emma Frost. I know costumes don't fit into a story like this, but I wouldn't have minded just a few more cameos from some super-folk. The flashbacks were so wonderful looking; I'd love to see McNiven draw more of the X-Men.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

DMZ v4: Friendly Fire TPB

I want to like Brian Wood's stylish series more than I do. The problem is I can't wrap my head around the core status quo for the book. I get that New York is the DMZ, and that the bridges and tunnels out are blocked off by different factions of the country. But I don't understand how the people in NYC get new supplies or have any sort of continued existence if they're that cut off. Not to mention I'm fuzzy on the whole Free States faction. I understand they are supposed to be an insurgent army, one with no real base and that they are mixed in with everyone else, but I know they have strongholds around New York, so why not just take those out?

This trade deals with a traumatic day in the DMZ when US troops mistakenly opened fire on a crowd of peace protesters. It's a tragic, awful scene, but again, I'm confused on what the US troops are even trying to accomplish with their patrols in the DMZ. Are they guarding borders? Advancing the US front? Since I don't understand the core of the book, all the drama feels manufactured to me. How does the rest of the country and the world feel about what's happening?

The art is ok, with some of the military sequences looking particularly good. The whole "fog of war" is very effectively portrayed, especially just prior to the friendly fire incident.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Secret Six #30

What a stunning cover! Just amazing work from Cliff Chiang.
Unless my count is off, this book has more than Six members now, right? Bane, Scandal, Ragdoll, Jeannette, Deadshot, Black Alice, and King Shark make seven. Not that I'm complaining, I love King Shark and want him to stick around.

Gail Simone gets some funny moments from Bane's attempt to enter the dating world, but I thinks she's playing him a bit too awkward. I mean, isn't he a genius, even if he's socially warped? He seemed too far gone in his interactions with his date.

Simone does a nice job playing up the Doom Patrol. They are the guest stars, but they are also the closest thing this book has to heroes, so they get portrayed in a pretty positive light. I'm especially amazed how well Simone mimics Keith Giffen's dialogue for Robot Man and Negative Man. They sounded spot-on. I don't buy Doom Patrol regularly, but I guarantee I'll be picking up the second part of this crossover.

Jim Calafiore does his normal solid job on the art. Nothing jumped out as being incredible, but the storytelling is clear and everyone looks good.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Invincible #77

Robert Kirkman is a tricky dude. I love the recurring horrors that Invincible experiences throughout the issue, it was a good technique that could have been a one-off at the open of the book, but Kirkman uses the storytelling device repeatedly to set up the closing scene. Really, there is nothing else that Invincible and Omni-Man can do, there are enough Viltrumites out there that they really could cause problems if they got riled up. But, I don't think Cecil is going to be ok with this status quo either, I'm expecting to see Brit and the Global Guardians do something about this very soon.

This really is more of an epilogue issue; the conflict is about done, this is about setting up the new status quo in the Invincible corner of the Image universe. It at least puts all the Viltrumite War players back where they need to be. (Except for Oliver, who isn't going to be happy stuck out in space when he wakes up. I bet he'll be back to hit on his tutor right quick.) I can't wait for the next issue when we get our reunions with the characters who stayed on Earth.

Ryan Ottley is the only person who can draw this book. In any other hands, the brutal violence would be disgusting, but with Ottley's slick style, everything stays cartoony enough so that while shocking, it doesn't disgust the reader.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Star Wars: Clone Wars v1: Defense of Kamino TPB

I thought about expanding into the greater Star Wars universe after I've enjoyed the Legacy series so much, but I found the first chapter of the Clone Wars trade to be average. I'm fascinated by the idea that hordes of clones would seek out ways to differentiate themselves, to make themselves unique as they performed their duties as the Army of the Republic. There is almost nothing like that present in the trade, except for a short bit where a few Clone Commandos show they are tougher than their brothers. It's weird. I figured I'd be cold to the Anakin and Obi-Wan stuff, the movies have ruined those characters for me, but my lack of interest in the clones surprised me.

The second part of the trade is a bit more interesting. It follows Mace Windu as he tries to rope in some Jedi who are straying away from the council. It's a neat idea; those of us who have seen the movies know that the Council is on the wrong path, and that the Republic is going to betray them. I love that some of the Jedi are uncomfortable with the direction of the Empire this early. Unfortunately, the story makes things a little too easy. Out of the 5 or so rebel Jedi, two go to the Dark Side. It's kind of hard to believe in their point of view when they're riddled with evil. I would have loved to see an actual rift of the Jedi as some diverged from the Council.

The art is fine, but not quite as solid as Jan Duursema's work on Star Wars Legacy.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Noble Causes v5: Betrayals TPB

Wow. It's been years since I checked in on the Noble Family and their adventures, and I still like them, but I am confused! This trade does not make a good jumping on point for a new reader. Well, maybe it would be ok, I think I'm in more trouble because I sort of remember what happened in this book before.

This is a soap-opera in tights, no doubt. There's dangerous pregnancies, evil twins, long lost friends (and their siblings) and alpha male's duking it out to lead the group. Since they are in tights, everyone is doing all these things with powers, and that makes all the difference.

I remember Rusty being my favorite member of the team, but I was also a big fan of his ex-wife, Celeste. In this trade, Rusty doesn't last too long before being taken out, but Celeste does come off pretty well as a gold-digger trying to be a hero. I loved Jay Faerber's Venture series, so having that character show up (to face off against Rusty) was a treat. That's probably why I ended up siding against my old favorite character. Frost is still a jerk, Zephyr is still a star more than a hero, and don't get me started on Doc Noble and his wife. I do like seeing Race alive, he and Liz make a nice couple, and she's just as useful a window into the world of super-heroes now as she was in the first issue. (Although Race died, right? How is he back again?)

Fran Bueno's pencils are solid. He reminds me of Jason Howard with the big blocky dudes and smaller, rounder ladies. His storytelling is clear. I imprinted on this book when the great Patrick Gleason was drawing it, so it says something that the story can still click right along with someone else drawing it. (I own a great Pat Gleason page from an old issue).

This is well worth the five bucks it will cost at the cons this summer.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Brightest Day #19

Wow. I'm totally confused about what the White Ring is talking about. I guess I glazed over Hawkman and Hawkwoman getting atomized last issue too, but they certainly seem dead again. Why would the White Ring kill these folks off after they achieve a certain moment of clarity? I thought they got the whole "Life Returned" thing? I'm sure it will clear up, but for now, I'm totally lost on what is going on with Deadman and that ring.

The bulk of this issue follows Aquaman and the new Aqualad as they try to stop Siren and her army from invading the US. I'm not usually a big fan of generic looking baddies as the main threat, but the unique hard-water weapons of Siren's troops are pretty darn interesting; I'm interested in seeing the new Aqualad use some of that sort of equipment. There is a big dramatic moment in this, familiar yet new, but all I could think was "when did Black Manta get there?" He wasn't in any of the fight scenes before his big appearance, right? I love Black Manta's look and he's Aquaman's best foe, but surely Aquaman would be aware if Manta was on the battlefield, right?

That said, I am fine with the status quo change.

Ivan Reis draws most of the Aquaman material, so it looks good. I like seeing the living sea creatures following Aquaman's lead, the zombie stuff is too spooky.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

GI Joe: Cobra v2 TPB

Here's what I don't get; this is the noir, espionage title for the GI Joe line, yet Antonio Fuso still manages to make Chuckles look like his old GI Joe figure for his first few appearances in the book. Why can't they do more of that in the main title? I usually don't start off with art, but I seem to weigh that a bit more in Hasbro books than in my other stuff. Fuso modernizes the old Joe figures in ways that makes them COOLER. I thought nostalgia was the only way to enjoy some of these characters, but in this title, I think anyone could be great while sporting the core of their old look.

This is actually stronger than the core title in a lot of ways. Christos Gage and Mike Costa have created a world of bad people, there are no good guys in this book. Even Hawk comes off like a jerk, and the only person who seems at all decent has to leave before she's corrupted. The hero of the book, Chuckles, is crazy, and while we can still cheer for him, he's clearly messed up.

Erika La Tene is a more likeable character this time, but she's still pretty bad. I do feel bad for her in her terrible situation, embedded in a paranoid observation where retirement is not an option. Things get even worse when some of those awful old Cobra guys show up. They had funny toys, but Croc Master and Crystal Ball aren't funny the way IDW is bringing them back now!

And what an ending. Both our leads are trapped in the world of their enemies, and I can't wait to see how they handle being trapped there.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Marvels Project HC

Hmm. Entertaining but unnecessary. At least for me.

I should know better at this point, but I've read a LOT of origin stories for the Marvel U, so seeing another one, even from a crackerjack creative team, isn't enough to thrill me. There are a lot of great elements in Ed Brubaker's flashback story; I've never seen Angel as a POV character, the original Torch is always cool, and I love seeing Namor be a jerk. That said, I've seen all the Cap stuff and the early Torch/Namor fights too many times to be overwhelmed by it.

While I may have been left cold by the elements of the story featuring Cap, Torch, and Namor, I LOVED the portions with some of the lesser known characters. The Angel is a neat, likeable "normal" guy trying to be a hero. The Destroyer is fascinating, I had no idea he is a super-soldier created in a concentration camp. How has this guy not been featured in more comics? Brubaker's story rocks when it is dealing with all the surrounding scientific and military characters. Professor Erskine and his many assistants, John Steele, Nick Fury; all these grounded elements work extremely well in this re-telling. (I don't remember John Steele at all, is he an old character? I like him, I just don't recognize him.)

Steve Epting's art is fantastic. His Torch looks like he's surrounded by liquid flame. Namor really comes off as a villain, thanks to Epting's unflinching look at all the damage and destruction Namor brings down on New York City.

Overall, the book is well done and a solid story, I just felt like too much of it was already familiar to me. If you've been reading Marvel for a long time or read Marvels, this will rehash a lot of material.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Justice Society of America #47

After a bit of an uneven start, I find myself really enjoying Marc Guggenheim's new take on the JSA. The book really does feel like a society now, thanks to the appearance of a ton of guest stars and the return of a lot of the JSA's always huge cast. Mr. America and Dr Mid-Nite returned last issue, Blue Devil showed up, and now it looks like the current Manhunter may have a role to play in this series too. If Monument Point ends up as the destination for a ton of heroes not being published elsewhere, it could be a really neat new DCU locale.

Dr. Chaos is sporting a costume in this issue, and I'm not sure if I like it better than his civilian clothes last issue. He seems to be reveling in his super-villainy, though, so I understand why he needed a costume. I'm also pleased to see last issue wasn't quite as lethal as it seemed, one of the fallen cast members should make a recovery, assuming she can survive her current predicament. I'm worried about this current storyline with Mr. Terrific. He's one of my favorites on this team; I don't want to see him getting less and less intelligent. It sure looks like he'll do anything to stay smart after he gets an offer to betray his teammates from Dr. Chaos. I'm hoping that Terrific will get his brains back AND take out Chaos and Scythe.

Scott Kolins' art is still fantastic. The darker tone does work nicely in this somewhat depressing title, but the heroes all look good. I'm most impressed by Kolins' Dr. Mid-Nite; he looks awesome.