Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Comic Book Day Special Review - Blackest Night #0

In order to promote this summer’s Blackest Night story, DC Comics is offering Blackest Night #0 this Saturday during the popular nationwide Free Comic Book Day event. For those unfamiliar with FCBD, it’ simple : go to your local comic book shop (for those in the Milwaukee area I highly recommend any of the 4 Collector’s Edge locations, although 78th & Burleigh is my personal favorite), talk to the guy behind the counter, and see what the different companies are offering for free! Yup, it’s that easy. Click below for the review (spoilers):

Anyway, on to Blackest Night! For those following Green Lantern regularly, you know that Geoff Johns and Ethan VanSciver, waaaaaaay back in Green Lantern #25, teased that there would be an upcoming story called Blackest Night involving the dead heroes and villains of the DC Universe. Back when I read it, the 2009 release date seemed like a thousand years in the future. But here we are, about 3 months away from the start and this Issue #0 is a great prelude of what’s going to go down.

The issue begins with Green Lantern 2814.1, Hal Jordan, hanging out at Bruce Wayne’s unmarked grave as Barry Allen, the recently "Rebirthed" Flash shows up. Hal catches us up on what’s been going on as he depressingly recounts the past few year’s events such as the deaths of Batman and Martian Manhunter, he clears up some of the confusion surrounding Aquaman and fills Barry in on some stuff that went down while he was away.

But someone is lurking in the graveyard spying on them. After the two heroes leave, a black ringed hand reaches into the ground in front of Batman’s grave and literally rips Bruce Wayne's skull out while reciting the Black Lantern’s oath. On the last page of the story, Black Hand (leader of the Black Lantern Corps) wields his Black Ring in one hand and Bruce Wayne’s skull in the other as he gives birth to the first of many Black Lanterns to come...Zombie Batman, who we don’t get to see by the way but I can’t wait.

The last few pages have backgrounds and histories on the various Lantern Corps that will be participating in the War of Light. Here is a breakdown :

Green (Willpower): Nothing really Earth shattering in the Green Lantern bio but it is a sweet double page spread by upcoming GL artist Doug Mahnke.

Red (Rage): Same for the Red Lanterns as they were just covered in detail in the GL books.

Orange (Avarice): The Orange Lanterns profile does confirm that Larfleeze aka Agent Orange, is in fact the only Orange Lantern, which is fitting as the Orange Light is powered by Avarice or Greed. All of the other Orange Lanterns are constructs of his ring, representing all of the beings that he has killed and has literally stolen their identity.

Yellow (Fear): Nothing really new with Sinestro’s yellow corps.

Blue (Hope): Two new Blue Lantern corps members get introduced but not much new info.

Indigo (Compassion): We get some cool images of the Indigo “tribe” but no new info

Violet (Love): Carol Ferris seems to be leading the Violet Corps and some of them get named on this page, sexy outfits too :-)

Black (Death) : Lastly we get a page for Black Hand and his Black Lantern Corps. Backed by Scar the injured Guardian and the Anti-Monitor, they will be recruiting the dead heroes and villains to their cause. This page has pictures of 12 hands reaching out of graves which I can’t really identify at this time. Martian Manhunter, Batman and Aquaman are present, but we already knew they were going to the Black Corps. One hand looks like the old Mirror Master and given some story points in the main story two of these are probably Ralph and Sue Dibny.

So, in closing, Blackest Night is coming and you better believe it looks awesome. This is not just a Green Lantern story but will involve the entire DC Universe in a battle that Geoff Johns claims will “recharge the DC Universe”. The Dead Shall Rise!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Impressions - 4/29/2009

Quite a big week for comics this week, and the unexpected appearance of Blackest Night #0 in my box. I had to do some quick reading to get all of my first reads in before sleep took over. Full reviews tomorrow (Thursday). Click below to continue :

Blackest Night #0 : I cannot WAIT for this story to start in July. Lots more potential Black Lanterns revealed here…and I’m wearing my brand spankin’ new Black Lantern shirt while reading it :-)

Green Lantern #40 : Glomulus is a great alien name. I am loving Hal having an ongoing argument with the Blue Ring, he keeps telling it to shut up.

Justice Society of America #26 : “Haven’t you ever seen superheroes pick out ice cream before?” Excellent.

Superman #687 : Hmmmm…kind of uneventful, I’ll give it another read-through tomorrow.

I’m getting super tired now so I’ll leave Wonder Woman #31, Battle for the Cowl : The Underground and Final Crisis : Legion of Three Worlds #4 until tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday (4/29/2009)

A decent sized haul is expected this week and unexpected Green Lantern, which is always a plus. Three Geoff Johns' books this week...awesome. Click below for my pull list for Wednesday:

Most Anticipated Book of the Week:

Green Lantern #40:

Another GL comic already?? Wasn’t expecting this so quickly, but who am I to complain when blessed by the scheduling gods? Last issue was an excellent intro to the Orange Lantern Corps and hopefully this issue will have more of them and less of the Guardians bickering at Jordan for trying to save the universe. Still the best book DC has to offer and with every issue we creep closer to Blackest Night.

The Rest :

Battle for the Cowl: The Underground: Getting a bit tired of these tie-ins but my insane need to collect all of something is making me continue the purchases.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4: Hmmmmm…I seem to remember that Geoff Johns and George Perez collaborated on a comic about 3 decades ago that seemed to involve someone named Superboy Prime and something else it was tying into. Final…..Crisis? Was that it? I will definitely need to re-read the first 3 issues to catch up.

Justice Society of America #26: Ah, I feel this may be the end, my friend. The last story arc kind of lost the magic in my opinion. Yes I know that Black Adam lost his magic, but I meant it in a more personal way. I think this is Geoff Johns’ last issue on the title and I’ll wait and see what the new team brings. Hopefully it will not become another Justice League.

Superman #687: The continuing adventures of Mon-El and The Guardian! Two characters that I couldn’t have cared less about before this story. So far so good at keeping my interest while Superman is visiting New Krypton.

Wonder Woman #31: The Olympian is here! Zeus is saying that Wonder Woman and her Amazon friends can rest their pretty little heads now that the men are here to handle bidness! Somehow I think that’s not going to be the case. Consistently great book every month.

Also, rumor has it, that my Black Lantern t-shirt will be in this Wednesday. So, expect me to put it on and begin wielding the power of death all over the RiverWest neighborhood. Watch out artsy neighbors and people walking your small yipping dogs! That means you, Papi and Waffle!

Guest Review - Kick-Ass #6 and All Hail Megatron #10 by Shawn

Today we have two new reviews by guest reviewer Shawn. Beware of the language in the Kick-Ass review. Although if you're at all familiar with Kick-Ass, where one of the main characters is a pre-teen girl who could make bikers cry, you won't mind at all. I mean seriously, it has Ass in the title of the book. A Simpson's quote comes to mind...We'll live like kings, damn hell ass kings! Anyway, click below to get into the mind of Shawn :

Kick-Ass #6
Story by Mark Millar
Art by John Romita, Jr.

Did you ever want to be a superhero? If your answer is a resounding “FUCK, YEAH!”, then listen up. Issue after issue Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. deliver one brutal kick to the nuts after another and all I can say is, thank you sirs, fucking do it again!

Dave Lizewski was a comic book fan like the rest of us… Then he decided to become a real superhero and the world went sideways. He meets a ten year old girl whose father trained her to be an assassin that would seriously unsettle the Punisher. As Dave learns the ups and downs of his new lifestyle choice, he also comes across another hero about the same age as himself named Red Mist, who seems to be into it more for style and getting laid. Fuck Spider-Man, this is Marvel’s teen hero!

The cover of this issue says it all, “The Secret Origin of Big Daddy And Hit-Girl!” What kind of fucked up person shoots his own kid? I’ll tell ya, the kind that wants her to not be afraid when some dumb cunt pulls a gun bigger than her. If that doesn’t warrant father of the year, then I’m living in the wrong goddamn universe.

The best part in this issue for me is when Big Daddy and Hit-Girl come to recruit Dave for their team. Dave acts like a pussy, saying he’s not going to kill anyone because he’s a superhero and Hit-Girl responds, “Oh, kiss my ass. What is this? The Silver Age?” That, my friends, is the proverbial shit!

The issue concludes with a team meeting gone completely awry, which looks like it’s going to come full circle to the first issue where we first see Dave being tortured. Now, if the issues would come out on fucking time. Each one seems to be later than the last. They’re always worth it, but damn if it’s not fucking irritating. Kick-Ass is what it is, kick ass and I count it among my top five books on the rack. If you ever wanted to be a superhero, this is your book…just ask mommy and daddy first.

All Hail Megatron #10
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Guido Guidi

As a child of the eighties, the Transformers have been almost as important to me as Star Wars in the way that they impacted my impressionable young mind. I bought the action figures, watched the numerous cartoons and read the plethora of comics that came out over the years but, there is something about All Hail Megatron that stands out above the rest.

Every character has a distinct personality, making each and every one of them memorable. My personal favorite is Perceptor, who several issues back we come to find is not a glorified microscope but a lethal sniper. It sent a giddy chill up my spine.

The story itself has multiple layers of complexity, although in this issue there isn’t much with the human side of the conflict. With the story going into it’s final act, the action focuses on the Autobots still stranded on Cybertron and being besieged by more Deceptions than you can shake an all-spark at, while at the same time keeping our attention on Megatron and the treachery that goes with.

Last issue’s art was a little lackluster due to having a fill in artist, but Guido Guidi is back and thank goodness for this, or my favorite parts may have lost their edge. Without spoiling too much, there is the return of Omega Supreme which had my jaw on the floor, and there is the sheer awesomeness of seeing Megatron fending off the traitorous Devastator!

With only two issue left to go, the anticipation is mounting and as much as I love the current Michael Bay movie, there is a small part of me that wishes All Hail Megatron was hitting the big screen.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

TV Review - G.I. Joe : Resolute

So, I’m checking Facebook, as I typically do a few times a day, and Brian (from Pendragon's Post) links to a video I hadn’t heard of called GI Joe : Resolute Part 1 of 10. I check out the 6 minute clip, and then watch it again, and again, and again, then I make my wife watch it, then I watch it yet again. This is not the GI Joe I remember! No, it most certainly is not...this is so much better.

The first clip of the series, which played in full over 90 minutes last night on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block, begins with Major Sebastian Blood lying dead at the Lincoln Memorial. This scene is important because it sets a standard here…people can (and will) die in this version of the classic cartoon.

Those that remember the 80s toon might remember that no one ever really dies in those shows; there is a lot of punching and knocking out, but no killing. The episode then cuts to New York where Cobra Commander delivers a speech via Hologram Rocket (that’s right, I said Hologram Rocket) to the UN about how they should take Cobra more seriously and he wants control of the world in 24 hours. This is typically where the old cartoon would cut to a commercial advertising the GI Joe or Transformers toys so you could beg your Mom for whatever was being pimped that week, but not here. To show how serious he is, he unleashes a new weapon on Moscow right after the text on screen shows us there is a population of over 10 million people. Cobra Commander kills 10 million people in the first 5 minutes!!!!!!

The rest of the chapters are absolutely action packed and brutal. One thing that I enjoyed about the show was that there is little to no backstory to slow things down. We do get a fairly quick Snake Eyes / Storm Shadow flashback story but it does tie well into the overall story. This was made for the fans who watched it in the 80s and collected the personnel file cards on the back of the boxes, those that know all of the mythology and backstory already.

All of the favorite characters are there : Cobra Commander (whose voice has become much more menacing), Destro (sounding, like he should, like Sean Connery), Baronness, Duke, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow...even Zartan. Written by comic book superstar Warren Ellis and directed by Justice League Animated veteran Joaquim Dos Santos, this was an extremely pleasant surprise and was immensely enjoyable. I’m hoping that they at least release this on BluRay, since Cartoon Network doesn’t offer an HD channel on my cable provider. This could also open the door for a regular, mature viewer oriented series on CN’s Adult Swim block, which I would definitely watch weekly.

Great job guys, this is what I always wanted to see from GI Joe. So, now you know that people love this...and knowing is half the battle!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Comic Reviews 4/22/2009 - Part 2

Here are the rest of the reviews from this past week. I also picked up Warren Ellis' Ignition City #1, but I'll wait until I check out issue 2 to weigh in on that one. Click below for the reviews :

Kick-Ass #6
Story by Mark Millar
Art by John Romita, Jr.

In spite of its random release schedule and delays, this book continues to perform. I mean, who doesn’t love 11 year old girls getting shot in the chest by their father in order to train them to wear a bullet-proof vest, a pot smoking hero cruising around in a custom red Mustang, and more blood and violence than all the other books on the rack last week.

The first issue of the series begins with our hero Dave, aka Kick-Ass, being tortured by the mafia. Issue 6 finally shows us how he got there. After being recruited by Hit Girl and her father to take down the mafia, Kick-Ass is betrayed by someone close to him and we end the flashback portion of this story.

Unfortunately some of the story points were spoiled for me by information that was released regarding the upcoming Kick-Ass movie, but it was still an awesome issue.

Some great lines of dialog come out of this book as well.

Big Daddy: What do we do when a junkie pulls a .45?
Hit Girl: Knife in the nuts?
Big Daddy: Good girl.

Red Mist (talking about Big Daddy and Hit Girl): They even have cool origins. The mob kills his wife so they take down the mob? That’s fucking classic!
Kick-Ass: I know. Our origin is we were bored.

Battle for the Cowl : Arkham Asylum
Story by David Hine
Art by Jeremy Haun

So far, this is probably the weakest of the Battle for the Cowl tie-ins but not too bad. Dr. Arkham tries to salvage some items from the destruction of Arkham Asylum, including some plans that his deranged uncle had for a new Arkham.

We also get introduced to three new villains. I’m assuming they’re new because I’ve never heard any mention of them before but I may just be out of the loop on some older characters. These three new characters could be interesting in their own right but the last page of the book just confused me. Hopefully this is addressed in the upcoming Batman titles.

Supergirl #40
Story by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle

OK, the reveal at the end caught me off guard and I’m not sure I understand it but it’s well done. Supergirl, under Gates and Igle, has become a decent monthly which is saying something considering the quality of the title before these two took over.

The fight between Reactron and Supergirl is excellent, he’s actually becoming a decently developed villain. Supergirl thinks back to her training with Batman after a run in with some superpower draining gold kryptonite, and gets into some solid hand-to-hand (or hand to steel bar) combat.

As I said before, the reveal of Superwoman’s identity kind of threw me off but I’m interested to hear how this is possible, which will hopefully be explained in upcoming issues.

Leftovers from Last Week :

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #10
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Guido Guidi

In any Transformers comic story, cartoon or movie there are two guaranteed occurrences : First, Starscream will always try to take over as leader of the Decepticons. Second, big robots fighting with even bigger gigantic ass robots is always cool.

Yes, as predicted, Starscream attempts to take over command from Megatron. This time though, the whiney second in command has an ace up his sleeve, he’s being backed by Devastator. Then, after a very cool fight scene where Megatron goes apeshit on a robot ten times his size, the human resistance finally shows up to attempt to take down the invading Decepticons.

Prime, who returned to life last issue, has a great scene with Ironhide that showcases just how deep their respect for each other goes. Battle ensues on Cybertron and the second huge robot of the issue shows up…none other than Omega Supreme.

So, with only two issues to go in what is easily one of the best series this year, the Autobots have found their way to Earth and the humans are beginning to fight back. The next two issues should be absolutely action packed and I’m expecting much death and destruction.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comic Reviews 4/22/2009 - Pick of the Week

This was one of the best weeks in comics that I’ve seen in quite a while. Here is the review for my Pick of the Week (Detective 853) Check back for the runner-up (Kick-Ass 6) and the rest of the reviews in a day or two. Click below for Detective Comics 853:

Pick of the Week :
Detective Comics #853
Story by Neil Gaiman
Art by Andy Kubert

As I said in my First Impressions post: “THAT is how you write a Death of Batman story!” This book was thoroughly enjoyable and I closed the book with a smile on my face at the end. Continuing the “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” story from last month’s Batman issue, Neil Gaiman continues to prove that he is one of the best writers, not only in comics, but in other media as well. For some reason I’ve only read a little of Gaiman’s comics work but now I’ll be working on catching up with his works little by little. What began as a semi-confusing story last issue, is more clear now but still has left a good bit of the story open to interpretation.

Gaiman successfully ties together many different canonical Batman stories along with some that have or may not have happened (I’m not too familiar with Silver Age stories). Those that have happened include Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum. Artist Andy Kubert does a great job of paying homage to the various artists and artistic styles from these stories, in the Killing Joke panels it looks similar to Brian Bolland’s style, and the same with Dave McKean’s painted hazy style for the Arkham Asylum bits.

We discover that Bruce’s “spiritual guide” is in fact his own deceased mother, who doesn’t really give us many answers but poses some more questions. There are many funerals for Batman, and many villains claiming to have killed him, as well as some heroes talking about how Batman sacrificed himself in the line of duty. All of these incidents are real, and have happened in the story. The explanation that I’m sticking with is that this story is a direct result of Darkseid’s Omega Sanction from Final Crisis, which forces a person to live a never ending series of lives over and over again. We see Bruce die many times and in the end of the book, he is reborn as a baby and will live through another life, including the death of his parents. I’m sure that others will come up with deeper subtext that I’m certain that I’m missing :-)

The story pace is well suited to this book and when you reach the end, you just feel….satisfied. Yes, that’s the right word, satisfied…which is something that many (most) people did not get at the end of Morrison’s RIP run. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy RIP, but this story was much more satisfying in the end. The story ends with Bruce Wayne, as a child, sitting in his mother’s lap reading The Goodnight Book but using his own memories. Goodnight Batmobile, goodnight giant penny, and goodnight mechanical dinosaur is recited as his life goes on in another cycle of never giving up his one man war on crime in Gotham City. A fitting conclusion to Bruce Wayne’s long run as the Caped Crusader which leaves a door unlocked for his inevitable return one day (probably after Blackest Night in my opinion).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Impressions - 4/22/2009

I picked up quite a few books yesterday (and 4 of them aren't from DC!), was able to hang out at the shop until closing time and then went out to dinner with my I didn't get to do too much in depth reading yet.

The way I typically read my comics is that I'll give them one quick read and then, before reviewing them, I'll slow down and take a more in-depth look. These are my first impressions to this week's (and some from last week's) books. I'm hoping to add this as my regular Wednesday post-comic shop posting from now on. Click below to continue :

Supergirl #40 : I was hoping that they would reveal Superwoman's idenitity this issue....Was.Not.Expecting.That.

Detective Comics #853 : THAT is how you write a Death of Batman story. Grant Morrison I'm looking in your direction.

Batman : Battle for the Cowl - Arkham Asylum : Not bad, not bad, not bad...I don't understand what just happened on the last page though.

Kick-Ass #6 : Ummm, all I can say is that this does indeed, kick ass.

Ignition City #1 : Not a bad start, worth a second issue purchase.

G.I. Joe : Cobra #2 : I thought Mr. X was Cobra Commander but know I’m confused a little. Still a great beginning to this story though.

All Hail Megatron #10 : Devastator vs. Megatron? Awesome. Starscream tries to usurp Megatron's leadership? Get out, never saw that coming :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday (4/22/2009)

Bigger week than I anticipated this week due to some scheduling mixups with two books. Reviews should be up either tonight or tomorrow, depending on my schedule. Click below for the list:

Most Anticipated Book of the Week :

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #10 :

Since something got messed up with shipping schedules last week, this book will be at my LCS this week. We’re down to the last few issues of this year long event, and what an event it has been! Besides Green Lantern, this has been my favorite book this year. Every issue was action packed and filled with a compelling story.

Now that Optimus Prime has returned, the Autobots have a fighting chance again. But I’m curious to see how much damage the Autobots and humans take in the final battle and if Starscream, as usual, will weasel his way out of responsibility while trying to overthrow his boss.

The Rest of the Pull List :

Kick-Ass #6 : What’s this? A Marvel book, on my list?? Yep. It seems like it’s been forever since the last issue came out and, at this rate, the movie will be out before the next issue. Great book, though.

Battle for the Cowl : Arkham #1 : Know that Arkham has been obliterated, I guess we’ll get some backstory on the worst secured insane asylum in history. I’ve picked up all of the tie-ins so far so why stop now :-)

Detective Comics #853 : Part 2 of the “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” story. I’ll have to go back and read Part 1 since it’s been a while but I definitely enjoyed the beginning. Much better than that Denny O’Neill disappointment before it anyway.

Supergirl #40 : Sterling Gates has, and I still find it weird to say this, made me a fan of Supergirl. This story has been interesting and I’m dying to find out the identity of Superwoman so I’m still on board for this title.

GI Joe : Cobra #2 : Issue one was really good, and now that this title is an ongoing monthly instead of a mini I’m hoping that it continues with great stories from the other side of the GI Joe mythology. Cobraaaaaaaa!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Comic Reviews 4/15/2009 : Part 2

Here are the rest of the reviews from last week, a little late. Action Comics #876, Oracle : The Cure #2, and one unexpected purchase : The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #1. Click below for the reviews:

Action Comics #876
Story by Greg Rucka
Art by Eddy Barrows & Sidney Teles

The Superman titles continue to impress me with their larger New Krypton storyline. Action Comics, after Superman’s departure from Earth, has been focusing on the team of Nightwing and Flamebird. Last issue their identities were revealed to us as Lor Zod (aka Chris Kent) and Thara Ak-Var (Supergirl’s friend from Kandor), and then Ursa showed up to smack them around a bit.

And smack them around she does . This is one of the more violent fights in recent comics, ending with one of my favorite moments from Ursa. She is sooooo batshit crazy, that she (a Kryptonian) actually wields a knife made of Kryptonite. As she slashes and stabs at Flamebird she taunts her: “Do you like my knife? I made it myself. The edge is frangible, leaves fragments behind every time I cut you. It makes me a little sick just holding it…can you imagine what that Kryptonite is doing inside of you?”

Action continues to be a good read, even without Superman. I hope that Greg Rucka hangs around on this title for a bit because I really enjoy his work.

Oracle : The Cure #2
Story by Kevin Vanhook
Art by Julian Lopez & Fernando Pasarin

Calculator continues his quest to cure his daughter Wendy by utilizing the Anti-Life Equation….buwhaaa???? Apparently, if you arrange the equation differently it will grant life, instead of take it away. In the last issue Calculator thought he had it right and tested it on an unsuspecting hacker, whose head exploded, so…..back to the drawing board.

I have a feeling, and I’m getting into prediction mode here, that with one issue left and a subtitle like “The Cure” that the following will happen : Calculator will succeed in rearranging the equation for his own purposes but will test it on Oracle first, curing her paralysis and restoring her ability to walk, and eventually become Batgirl again.

Decent mini-series so far, and the art is impressive.

The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #1
Story by Marc Carter
Art by Tony Salmons

Since two books I was expecting never showed up, I decided to give this first issue a try. I’m a fan of Lovecraftian stories and creatures so it’s not a big stretch. This book blends some biographical information about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and some fictional aspects of his own work. Most of the issue is setup, as is expected in a first issue, and I’ll probably be picking up the next installment of this 4 issue story.

The art fits his creepy and dark storytelling style and by the end of the story you see how Lovecraft is starting to break from reality. This is definitely worth checking out if you like older Sci-Fi.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guest Review #2 - Green Lantern #39 by Shawn

Green Lantern has long been a favorite character of mine, right behind Flash, so it goes without saying that I love this book! Issue 39 starts the Agent Orange story line, the next chapter in the War of Light, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Philip Tan. Click below for the review (spoilers ahead):

Green Lantern #39
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan

First things first, it should be known that I’m a Geoff Johns “whore”, so I’m a little biased. The man is a master storyteller and Philip Tan’s art is fantastic, right up there with Van Sciver and Reis; he fits right in.

Back to the task at hand, this issue is awesome! I’ve been waiting for this ever since they revealed what the Orange Lantern was going to be… Greed. I just kept picturing Golem in space with a power ring. It’s close, only Agent Orange’s name is revealed to be Larfleeze and even though he is whiney like Golem, he’s a hundred times more badass.

The awesomeness begins when The Controllers arrive on the planet Okaara in the Vega System looking for the source of the orange light. Having interrupted his feast, Larfleeze unleashes his Corps, who rip the controllers apart quite ferociously. All the while we only get glimpses of our badboy in question, which leads me to believe that the Orange Corps are constructs created by Larfleeze. We get more insight into the Blue Lanterns and their relationship with Hal that, although interesting, has a few awkward outbursts from Hal.

The story then goes back to the Vega System where another Green Lantern, Stel, is chasing a member of the Sinestro Corps. Philip Tan’s design for Stel is so awesome that it deserves to be an action figure! Anyway, the Vega System is off limits to the GL’s due to some past treaty between the Guardians and Larfleeze which has yet to be addressed, but that doesn’t stop Stel. You know bad things are going to happen, right? You better, it’s pretty obvious.

The issue ends in what can only be called the “Oh, shit!” moment, when the Guardian we’ve come to know as Scar drops another new law that puts the Vega System back in the GL Corp’s jurisdiction and that the Guardians need to become physically active in the War of Light, damn!

Month after month, Green Lantern continues to be the best book on the stands and I’m a hardcore Flash fan! Blackest Night is coming… so what the hell are you doing? Go buy this book!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 4/15/2009 : Part 1

A bit of a disappointment this week as somehow I missed two titles I was really looking forward to. Neither All Hail Megatron nor GI Joe:Cobra showed up in my box this, and I looked at the new releases wall so I’m guessing the shop didn’t get them in or something. Anyway, I’ll hopefully be able to grab them next week and review them then. This week I have Action Comics #876, Oracle:The Cure #2, The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #1 and the much-anticipated Green Lantern Corps #35. I also picked up the second trade collection of Brian K. Vaughn’s Ex Machina, which I’ll be reviewing over the weekend. On to part one of this week’s reviews(which is basically just Green Lantern Corps):

Green Lantern Corps #35
(Emerald Eclipse Part Three)

Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

After nearly 3 dozen issues in this volume of GL Corps, it remains one of the best titles at DC Comics right now. The team of Tomasi and Gleason are still hitting all the right points and the Prelude to Blackest Night story is flowing fast and tying in to the main Green Lantern book every month. If you’re reading Green Lantern and aren’t reading GL Corps, you are really missing out on some great back-story and some well developed characters. This creative team needs to be on larger high profile books like Justice League or something along those lines.

In this issue, Green Lanterns Sodam Yat and Arisia head to Yat’s home world of Daxam to confront Mongul who has taken over to make it his new base of operations. The scale of Mongul’s occupation is immediately apparent when they get close to the planet and see the coolest Sinestro Corps member yet...a giant cosmic snake literally wrapping itself around the planet and eating satellites. Oh, and after the big fight a few issues back where Mongul silences Arkillo by tearing out his tongue, Arkillo now creepily wears his severed tongue on a cord around his neck as a “reminder”. As if that guy wasn’t scary enough.

Meanwhile on Oa (a little SuperFriends reference there, by the way I just figured out that the narrator from Superfriends was Ted Knight...yeah, Judge Smails from Caddyshack), the rage fueled Red Lantern named Vice continues his rampage in the Sciencells. After he frees some of the Sinestro Corps members, he proceeds to attack and mutilate them as well. The shady Guardian known as Scar frees the captive Sinestro Corps rings and gives the escaped evildoers their weapons back. Kyle and Guy Gardner, along with the remaining GLs that are on Oa, fight back in a very well rendered brawl that just exudes brutality.

Lastly, and most surprising to me, was Sinestro confronting his daughter on his homeworld of Korugar. The revelation of who Sinestro's daughter is came out of left field for me, and maybe I was clearly missing hints, but it was well done in my opinion. This clearly will have repercussions for at least one of the main GLs in this book.

If this whole Sinestro story is going where I think it’s going, then I believe we are very close to seeing Sinestro re-instated into the Green Lantern Corps. This would be a fantastic twist in the story and since he is molding the Corps’ policies from the outside with his actions; it would make perfect sense for him to go back.

More reviews in the next day or two, so check back for the rest :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Trip to Half-Price Books #1

So, it’s a nice sunny day today and my wife and I went to breaksfast….is it still breakfast at 11:00AM? Whatever. Anyway, she wanted to stop at JoAnn Fabrics on 76th Street to pick up items for a new sewing project and I decided to kill some time by rummaging around the large Half Price Books store in the same shopping center. We have three HPB in the area so I'll probably be making regular trips to them and I'll update what I dig up here. Click below to see what I picked up in the comic book section today:

These books are totally random purchases for different reasons, and I did rifle through the MANY comic book boxes and trade paperback sections at the store rather quickly.

Batman – The Dark Knight Falls : Part 4 of the Dark Knight Returns series from 1986. I have the full trade paperback of this but I picked up this particular issue because I’ve always loved the cover of a silhouetted Batman and Superman about to kick the crap out of each other. This was one of the first comic stories I ever picked up back when I got into this so it also has a certain sentimental value for me.

Who’s Who – The Definitive Guide to the DC Universe #9 : I love comics from the 80s, especially the art and the advertisements :-) This Who’s Who covers from Garn Daanuth (not sure who that is) to The Guardians of the Universe and also includes the Green Lanterns, Gentleman Ghost and Green Arrow. Classic fun.

Action Comics #812 : Part 1 of 2004’s Godfall storyline for Superman. I have the trade but I mainly picked this up for the sweet Michael Turner cover of Kal-el in his Kryptonian casual wear lounging against his very Akira-esque motorcycle.

Action Comics #817 : I also grabbed this just for the cover. Superman lies beaten on the griound and you can see Wonder Woman’s legs standing triumphantly in front of him wielding the Golden Lasso. Sexy.

Batman #497 : Part 11 of 1992 – 1993’s Knightfall storyline. Again, I have this trade but the cover is just too sweet. Bane breaks Batman’s back over his knee. Vicious and cool.

Superman – The Dark Side #3 : I picked up parts 1 & 2 of this Elseworlds story a few years back. Superman, instead of landing on Earth as a child, lands on Apokolips and is raised by the evil Darkseid. Good story, and now I can finally finish it :-)

Green Lantern / Silver Surfer – Unholy Alliances : This just sounds cool but will more than likely be disappointing. I miss the Marvel / DC crossovers and I wish they would go back to doing these at least once a year or so.

Superman / Batman #13 : The last part of Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner’s fantastic Supergirl story. Once again, I picked this up strictly for the cover art.

Superman – Lex 2000 : I love Lex Luthor, I’m trying to convince my wife that Lex is the only possible name for our future potential son, so I thought that this was a cool cover as well. Who knows, maybe one day it will hang in little Lex’s nursery :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday (4/15/2009)

A slow week coming up, so maybe I’ll grab a trade or two and catch up on some stories I’ve been wanting to check out. Click below for the list :

Most Anticipated Book of the Week :

Green Lantern Corps #35 : Sinestro is heading to Korugar for his daughter, some Lanterns are heading to Daxam to confront Mongul and the rest of Sinestro’s Corps was ordered to wait on the moon of Daxam. Anyone sense a huge battle brewing? GLC is a consistently awesome title, and has great lead up stories to Blackest Night.

The Rest of the Pull List :

Action Comics #876 : All of the Superman titles have been decent lately and after last issue, this fight they’re setting up could be pretty sweet.

GI Joe : Cobra #2 : First issue was interesting. I enjoyed looking at the GI Joe mythology from the other side. Can’t remember if this is an ongoing or a mini but it’s still on my list for now.

Oracle #2 : Great first issue, although there were some inconsistencies in Barbara’s character. I’m all for changes, though and the continuity doesn’t get me that fired up.

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #10 : This has been, besides Green Lantern, my favorite series in the last year. Hopefully we are back to the regular artist on this issue because the last one was a bit disappointing in the visuals.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 4/8/2009 : Part 2

Green Lantern was definitely my pick of the week this week, but there was a tough tie for 2nd place, and that was between a Jason Todd heavy Battle for the Cowl, and a hilariously vicious Secret Six. World of New Krypton and Transformers Spotlight : Drift were not bad, but not great and Solomon Grundy was the lone disappointment this week. Click below for the reviews:

Battle for the Cowl #2
Story and Art by Tony Daniel

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Jason Todd. Ever since his return in the Under the Hood story by Judd Winnick (and his retconned appearance in Hush), I have been waiting for DC to find a good place for Todd to be in the grand tapestry of the DC Universe. I think we’ve found it. DC, if you are listening….LEAVE JASON TODD AS THE ANTI-DICK GRAYSON!!!!. If Dick is to become the new Batman, then Jason would be his #1 adversary. Both have the same or similar training, both go after justice, they just go about it from opposite sides of the vigilante fence.

Great fight between Tim and Jason in Todd’s version of the Batcave (which was awesome). I am also really enjoying Tony Daniel’s writing and art in this title. His take on the villains has been different and refreshing. Once again DC, please please please please find a permanent spot for Jason. He can be the Punisher of DC Comics, whatever, just keep him around and keep him interesting.

Superman : World of New Krypton #2
Story by James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods

This book begins interestingly enough on Oa, where the Guardians are a little concerned about the sudden appearance of not only a new planet, but one filled with Superman-level Kryptonians. Superm…umm…Kal-el, spends most of the book getting used to his new job as a military man under General Zod, going to what looks like a Kryptonian Gallery Night, and responding to hostage situations with an angry Labor Guild.

It’s a good book, and we’ll see where it leads in the near future. Robinson and Rucka work great as a writing team and I’m getting used to Pete Woods’ art.

Solomon Grundy #2
Story and Art by Scott Kolins

I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the first issue and I said that I would give the second a chance. Well, I did, and I’m dropping this book. It’s not that it’s bad, but something is just not grabbing my attention. I typically like Kolins’ art but it seems a bit too chaotic for this book, and typically when Bizarro shows up….I just tune out. I can’t stand the character and I don’t think I ever will be able to. Maybe I’ll pick it up in trade later if it shows merit, but for now, it’s off the list.

Transformers Spotlight : Drift
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Casey Coller

If you’ve been reading All Hail Megatron, which is incredible, you’ve met Drift. Sort of a samurai warrior-esque Autobot who seemingly came out of nowhere. Well, this issue shows where he came from.

A good origin story for the character but the art left something to be desired. There needed to be some sound effects or clearer action, I’m not sure exactly what it was missing but the action lacked impact. Badass cover by Guido Guidi, though.

Secret Six #8
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Carlos Rodriguez

I was debating whether or not to keep this title after the initial arc but I’m sold now. This was the most fun issue I read this week, and every few minutes I was laughing out loud or showing my wife a line or a panel. Gail Simone has written the most twisted and hilarious double date from Deadshot trying to wear a horrific sport coat (and working in men’s wear I find this even funnier) for his date with the mysterious Jeanette, to Scandal’s strangely submissive driver, and ending with everyone trying really hard not to break their “no killing on date night” pact.

One of the more fun sequences in the book was when Scandal’s date, not knowing who they really are, brings them to a superhero themed club. Out on the floor dancing, we see dancing patrons dressed as old school Black Lightning, Robin, Anthro and Joker while a band of Power Girls plays on stage. Deadshot brutally and loudly beats a skinhead in the bathroom while Catwoman makes out with Wildcat in the corner, never moving during the violence which prompts one of my favorite lines of the issue from Deadshot : “That’s either love or a sever hearing impediment.”

Comic Book Reviews 4/8/2009 : Part 1

I picked up six books this week : Superman : World of New Krypton #2, Transformers Spotlight : Drift, Solomon Grundy #2, Secret Six #8, Battle for the Cowl #2, and my most anticipated book of the week…..Green Lantern #39, the beginning of the Agent Orange story arc. Review for GL #39 is below; the rest will be posted in the next day or two. Click below for more:

Green Lantern #39
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan

Since the big tease at the end of the Sinestro Corps War just over a year ago that told us of the upcoming War of Light, we’ve met the Yellow, Blue, Red and Violet Corps. Along with the well known Green Corps, that just leaves us with two, Orange and Indigo…and so far, in one issue, the Orange is pretty damned creepy.

For those that have not really been following, first let me say shame on you. Now, the individual corps are powered by sentient emotion, with the Orange Corps powered by greed. The leader of the Orange Corps is Larfleeze, also referred to as Agent Orange, and he seems to define and exude the greed that powers his ring. We meet him on the planet Okaara, deep in the Vega System which is off-limits to the Green Lantern Corps, as the Controllers are attempting to locate the Orange Light of Avarice. Well, they find it and definitely get more than they bargained for as they are quickly and brutally slaughtered by Larfleeze’s greed powered constructs.

Much of this issue is dedicated to Hal Jordan’s struggle with now wearing two rings (Green and Blue) and his apparent destiny of leading the Blue Lantern Corps into the War of Light. These parts were a bit slow as I found myself wanting to see more of the Orange Corps.

The most interesting part of the Orange Corps to me right now is the fact that we’ve been shown designs by Philip Tan for the past month of all different sorts of alien species that will comprise the Orange Lantern Corps, but it looks like they will all be constructs from Larfleeze. This is clever, considering that since Larfleeze harnesses the power of greed, he would not want to share his power with anyone. This has the potential to make him extremely dangerous if he is the only one harnessing this power.

The issue ends as one of the greed constructs (a giant creepy floating head in outer space) attacks Green Lantern Stel and sends him back to Oa with a sort of Trojan Horse mission. Larfleeze appears before the Guardians in a rage because they have trespassed in the Vega System, not knowing that the Controllers (former associates of the Guardians) are no longer affiliated with them.

All in all, this issue was great, with interesting writing and art. Philip Tan does a very good job of rendering the GL characters and Geoff Johns continues to weave his incredibly deep and well laid out plot through these books.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Countdown to Wizard World / Chicago Comic Con - Part 1 (123 days to go)

Here we are, about 4 months out from Wizard World Chicago, or as they’re now calling it: Wizard World / Chicago Comic-Con (August 6-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center). I’m going to start a regular series of updates including things I’m excited to see, hoping to pick up, or just interesting news that’s popped up about the Con. Click below for more:

The plan right now is that my extremely awesome wife and I will be attending the Con for a few days. She recommended this after attending last year, even though this falls on our wedding anniversary this year. We’ve made our reservations and will be staying at one of the hotels right near the Convention Center so we can come and go as we please.

We went last year for one day on Saturday and it was like full geek overload. So much to see, so much to do and so much to buy. We came home with tons of great swag and I’m looking forward to that again this year. I also got to meet Ethan VanSciver, Joseph Michael Linsner, and Gail Simone to name a few. I was impressed at how down to earth and approachable they all were. Gail Simone and my wife even had a lengthy conversation about their hair styles :-)

So far on the news front, here are the guests that I’m looking forward to and why :

Mark Millar (Guest of Honor): I’m probably not going to be trying to get into the Guest of Honor areas because, honestly, I really hate waiting in huge lines. I may bring a copy of Kick-Ass #1 for him to sign though…just in case :-)
JG Jones (Special Guest): Wanted is one of my favorite comics ever so I’m hoping to pick up a copy of the Wanted : Assassins Edition either before or at the con and get it autographed. I also may bring Final Crisis #1 for possible signing.
George Perez (Special Guest): Who doesn’t love George Perez? I think I have some older comics of his that would be fun to be autographed. I’ll have to look through the boxes and see what I have.
Matt Wagner (Special Guest): I have been a fan of Matt Wagner since I started in comics. I’ll definitely be bringing some of my Grendel books along for signing. Also, just the chance to meet one of my idols in comics and a huge influence on my own work.

I’ll be covering the event for the site here with photos and writeups of what is going on. I typically don’t go to the panels but I may because we’re there for the whole time. We’re also looking forward to the costumes and many, many vendors (Pendragon Costumes, you can expect another expensive visit from my wife). I’m starting to compile a short list of items that I’ll be trying to track down while attending. When some new info is announced I’ll update here. Can’t wait!

Looking Forward to Wednesday (4/8/2009)

Looks like it’s going to be an all-DC week here at Clever Name Blog (no big surprise there). Six anticipated books, but something else might catch my eye at the shop. Reviews should be on time this week as my schedule is back to normal, for now anyway. Click below for the list :

Most Anticipated Book of the Week :

Green Lantern #39 : Finally! It seems like forever since I’ve had my Green Lantern fix. Seriously, this book is addicting and I’m sure that, come Wednesday, I’ll be in the shop looking very much like Agent Orange on the cover. Mine! Mine! All of the lead-up to Blackest Night has been great and I’m excited to see what artist Phillip Tan will be doing for the GL characters. I loved his art in Final Crisis : Revelations and after seeing his Orange Lantern designs online for the past month or so I can’t wait to see them in full color.

The Rest of the Pull List :

Batman - Battle for the Cowl #2: Absolutely loved the first issue and hopefully we get more into the gun toting Punisher-esque Batman that we all know is Jason Todd. Really DC, can we please keep Jason in a solid niche for at least a little while? I’m working on a quick article about Jason Todd for the blog that will be up soon.

Secret Six #8 : I thought this was a mini, but apparently it’s a monthly, so I’ll pick up the start of the new story arc and see if I decide to keep it on the list. Love the writing by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott’s art is phenomenal.

Solomon Grundy #2 : I wasn’t completely sold on the first issue but I’ll give it the second issue to make up my mind. Not bad but not great so far.

Superman - World of New Krypton #2 : The first issue was impressive and I like where the story is going from some of the advance solicits so I’ll be sticking with this for the near future.

Comic Book Reviews 4/1/2009 : Part 2

Part two of this week’s reviews below. I didn’t get to review Seaguy : The Slaves of Mickey Eye because I haven’t finished the trade paperback of the first story yet….it is, to say the least, odd. And I'm not talking just typical Grant Morrison odd, this is like ....escaped mental patient odd. Polar ice caps covered in chocolate and a floating fish who hates water odd.

Battle for the Cowl : Man-Bat #1
Story by Joe Harris
Art by Jim Calafiore

This book gives me a new respect for Dr. Kirk Langstrom aka Man-Bat as he uses his serum to try and find his wife amidst the chaos that Gotham has become after Batman has disappeared. Not the most thrilling story, but a decent look at a character that I think has been pushed to the side for a long time. The ending even surprises (and terrifies) Langstrom himself as Dr. Phosphorous pushes him past a line that is very dangerous for everyone.

Justice Society of America #26
Story by Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway
Art by Jerry Ordway

I am typically a huge Geoff Johns fan, but what the hell? I am mildly disappointed with this last story arc of the Johns era on JSA. With all of the buildup of Black Adam over the years into an A list character through 52, The Dark Ages, even Countdown….then this? I really and truly hope that DC has some amazing plans for Adam in the future because he is a much more interesting character than they give him credit for. And one last “What the hell?”…Final Crisis Mary Marvel and what was with Billy and the 80s hair band leather outfit? OK, that was two, but the book was filled with WTH moments.

And one last note for Alex Ross : I love your cover work, but would it kill you to at least tie the covers into what actually happens in the book!?!?! This ticked me off during Batman RIP, and now we get a beautiful cover of the Black Marvel family, but this is not at all how Mary looks in the story.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Movie Review : Layer Cake (2004)

So I’m wandering through Target with my wife a few weeks ago and, as usual, I begin to wander away from the necessities aisles and over towards my favorites…movies and toys. After my usual run through the DC Comics and GI Joe toy aisles, something caught my eye. In the movie section, there was Layer Cake for $14.99 on BluRay! I saw this movie a while back on the recommendation of a friend and it’s a good one. Click below for the full review, oh and by the way…some small spoilers may follow, but I won’t give away the end :

Layer Cake (2004)
Written by JJ Connolly
Directed by matthew Vaughn
Starring : Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Sienna Miller & Kenneth Cranham

The movie kicks off with a flashback of crime through the ages in London. This is achieved in a montage that shows the different eras of drugs and what not, ending in the future where drugs like Cocaine and LSD can be purchased at a very sterile looking neighborhood pharmacy. Then back to the present where Daniel Craig (a few years before he became Bond, James Bond), whose character is never referred to by name, and is just listed as XXXX in the credits, explains his job as a “businessman” not a gangster, who deals in large amounts of coke. We meet some of the other players in the film, then he gets into a car and over some sweeping driving shots of beautiful English countryside, one of my favorite songs ever begins: She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult.

This can be categorized simply as your basic gangster movie : “Good Guy” drug dealer with morals and principles is about to make his final deal and retire, a higher up gangster asks for one last favor, and chaos ensues. But it’s better than that, on many levels.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is directing the upcoming comic book adaptation Kick Ass, this is a great movie about a guy who just gets deeper and deeper into trouble as he is desperately trying to stay low key and get out of this life. The film is full of double-crosses and shady favors, as well as false impressions. Many of the characters you meet at first are either not who they seem, or not as important as they make themselves out to be. The movie jumps around to many different locales and never really hangs in the same place for long which adds to it’s frenetic feeling.

Craig is fantastic as the mysterious leading man, you actually feel bad for him even though he is a drug dealer who brought this on himself. I equate this to the same feeling of dread when Cain meets his destiny in Menace 2 Society. You didn’t even realize that you were cheering on the bad guy until you really think about it.

The soundtrack is great and includes such bands as The Cult, Rolling Stones and Duran Duran. I guarantee you that after what I consider to be the most vicious beating scene I’ve yet to see in a movie, you will never see Duran Duran’s Ordinary World in the same light again.

From beginning to end , the film keeps moving and kept me interested through just bout every minute. The finale is a satisfying conclusion to a rollercoaster ride of a movie. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the, as my wife calls it, “heisty” genre of film.

- Jason

Guest Review #1 : Joker (OGN) Review by Shawn

Below we have our first in a regular series of reviews written by guests of the Clever Name Blog. The series starts here with a writeup of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker Graphic Novel, reviewed by Shawn Robinson. Spoilers ahead! :

Joker (OGN)
Story by Brian Azzarello
Art by Lee Bermejo

The other day, I was looking through my bookcases and found JOKER by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. It had been sitting there unread for too long…not any more. Was it worth it? For me, yes.

Brian Azzarello has an uncanny ability to bring concepts and ideas down to a street level but in this case he brings the Joker right down into the gutter, and that’s a good thing. The Joker isn’t the "Clown Prince of Crime" with gag weapons and silly jokes, he’s an unpredictable psycopath with a really big smile.

Throughout his journey to reclaim Gotham as his own the Joker encounters plenty of noteworthy characters all brought to life with screaming realism. My personal favorite is Harley Quinn. She’s Jokers little fuckpuppet, just as certifiable and completely devoted, and she doesn’t speak a word through the whole book.

The story itself is told through the eyes of an underling named Jonny, who clearly doesn’t have a clue what he’s gotten himself into. It’s like an urban Greek tragedy played out in the world of super heroes. Yes, there are allusions to the film The Dark Knight, but that’s all they are, allusions. This is the Joker story that Azzarello wants to tell, so there are no ties to any kind of continuity. My only complaint was that the dialog gets a little muddy in places, but I suspect it is intentional, being that these are characters living in urban decay.

The question I had to ask myself was, would I read it again? Absolutely! It’s a fast read with interesting takes on well known characters and some genuine memorable moments. It’s not for everyone but it was just what I needed.


Comic Book Reviews 4/1/2009 : Part 1

April 1st! Spring is coming, or so they tell me because I haven’t seen it here in lovely Wisconsin. Anyway, here are this week’s reviews, a little late due to some work scheduling (damn work, always getting in the way of comics). This weeks books : Flash : Rebirth #1, GI Joe #4, Justice Society of America #25, Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #1 and Battle for the Cowl : Man-Bat #1. Tune in later today or tomorrow for the remainder of the reviews and a look through the current Previews catalog. Here we go :

Flash : Rebirth #1
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan VanSciver
Colors by Alex Sinclair

The much-anticipated Flash Rebirth is here! Does it measure up to Johns and VanSciver’s previous Rebirth of Green Lantern? Sort of…but it’s more like asking if Goodfellas compares to Godfather. Yes, they’re both about the mafia and yes they’re both very good, but they perform on different levels.

So…Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry Allen sacrifice, years go by, lots happens, Final Crisis, Barry Allen is back….there, now we’re caught up. Barry is back and things have changed, except his old friend Hal Jordan who has always been a throwback character in his bomber jacket anyway. I like the interaction between these two because they’re both “old school” heroes, black and white, good and evil. Barry is uneasy about his return because he doesn’t fully understand the reasoning of his miraculous return and Jordan is just trying to get him to calm down and enjoy things. But Barry has to jump right back in to the old crime fighting gig.

Barry is not the only one uneasy about his comeback though, as shown by the reactions of Wally and Bart (who, due to scheduling issues with LO3W, has not had his resurrection...Kid Flash : Rebirth??.. fully explained yet). Everyone else though, is treating Barry like the second coming which I find to be an amusing real world allegory. There are many fans out there who never experienced Barry Allen as the Flash (myself included, as I didn’t get into comics big time until after his death in COIE) but treat this return as the greatest thing to ever happen to the Flash. Wally West has been, and will always be, the Flash that I remember so I feel his pain that his predecessor just blows in and steals his thunder.

Anyway, lots of back-story and flashbacks later, and we’re done with issue #1. Great issue all around, and an awesome start to this series. Johns’ story is tight as usual, even elements that I think are new, he is able to introduce as though they always have been, which I’m sure pisses off continuity enthusiasts to no end. The art by VanSciver is, as usual, stunning. The way in which he shows the Flash’s super speed is excellent (especially the scene where he’s disciplining his kids) and the expressions on Wally as he is realizing that soon he will probably be obsolete is perfect. Only one glaring coloring issue that could be attributed to Barry’s super speed (kidding), his shirt changes from white to red between pages 16 & 17. Definitely looking forward to the next issue to see where the story leads.

GI Joe #4
Story by Chuck Dixon
Art by Robert Atkins
Colors by Andrew Crossley

Dixon’s GI Joe retelling continues to be one of my most anticipated buys every month. Baroness and Destro (pre-metal mask and pre Baroness and Destro gettin’ it on, which makes the fight semi-amusing) battle it out in the Castle while the Joes continue to fight Destro’s machines. Art and story are fast paced and this book keeps all of the classic characters that I know and love. We’re just missing an appearance from my favorite, Cobra Commander, and I’m really interested to see how they will handle him. Great book all around.