Friday, May 29, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/28/2009

It turned out to be an overall satisfying week for this comic enthusiast. What happened? Well...(deep breath)...Hal Jordan made a Muppets reference, Batman battles a dragon (sort of), The Guardian mocks a guy named Percy, Tattooed Man shows off his JLA membership card, Damage gets drunk with Director Bones, Vicki Vale has an epiphany and Wonder Woman gets her golden lasso back, violently and painfully. Whew. And I also forgot to buy comic boards again, too. Want more? Awesome, just click below to continue (and BTW I'm playing with a new format so bear with me while I get it worked out):

Pick of the Week

Green Lantern #41
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan & Eddie Barrows

Who had references to Muppets, a cool backstory AND a hand decapitation?? Green Lantern, that’s who. The lead-up to Blackest Night continues as we learn why Larfleeze (aka Agent Orange) was banished to the Vega System and what his previous run-ins with the Guardians entailed.

Larfleeze and a few of his boar-like colleagues stole some stuff from the Guardians on their old home planet of Maltus (their home prior to Oa..and that "stuff" happened to be the Parallax entity). After being chased by the original intergalactic police force, the Manhunters, Larfleeze ends up stumbling upon the Orange power battery on Okaara. The Guardians, fearing the Orange power, make a deal with him that he can have it….but he has to stay right there.

Anyways, the GLs continue to battle the Orange Construct Corps, a Star Sapphire (Fatality) shows up to help John Stewart and Sinestro hangs out on Ungara which, if I remember correctly, is Abin Sur’s home planet.

The backstory of Larfleeze is very well done and we keep careening towards Blackest Night. The end of the issue was a total shocker as Hal keeps trying to stall for time as Larfleeze covets the Blue Ring that Hal can’t remove. Larfleeze gets tired of Hal’s stalling and comes up with a simple solution. Cut. Hal’s. Hand. Off. Which he does, much to the reader’s (and Hal’s) surprise.

Great job on the art by Philip Tan, but the fill-in areas by Eddie Barrows can be a little jarring from time to time. Overall, this is still the best book that DC is publishing right now.

Surprise of the Week

Batman in Barcelona One Shot
Story by Mark Waid
Art by Diego Olmos

I have to admit it; I bought this book for two reasons. Reason One…I have trouble ignoring a Jim Lee cover. The man is just that good. Reason Two…I respect my comic shop’s $20 minimum on card purchases and I needed to get over the hump (although afterwards I did realize, as I mentioned before, that I forgot to buy comic boards again).

This was a damned decent story. Not fantastic, not earth-shattering, but a damned good story. This could have been a great episode of Batman: The Animated Series. I enjoy one-shots like this, a nice self-contained story that fits somewhere in the past continuity of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Wow, it still feels weird saying that.

Basically, Batman tracks Killer Croc to Spain, where he believes that he is descended from dragons and tied to St. George, dragonslayer. After a run of killing maidens and police incompetence in catching him Batman shows up to stop him. We also get to see Bruce’s mini-Batcave in Spain (utility belts are getting increasingly difficult to smuggle through customs, he says) and a sweet Bat-cycle that combines the Batpod from The Dark Knight and Dodge’s Tomahawk V10 powered motorcycle concept (click here for images) from years ago. I would love to see more single issue Batman (or other characters) stories like this in the future from DC.

The Rest

Superman #688
Story by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes

With every issue that I read of his, I grow to like James Robinson’s writing style more and more. He has made me actually care about these two characters, Mon-El and Guardian, that I couldn’t have cared less about before. Guardian has a great encounter with Squad K and their leader Hazard while defending Mon-El. They mistake him for Kryptonian and feel confident in trying to take him down with Kryptonite-based weaponry while Guardian mocks their leader by calling him gy his real name...Percy. Guess what? Ain't gonna work on Mon-El. And what is Dr. Light doing in the Superman books now. Over in Action she was healing Flamebird and here she’s checking out Mon-El’s flickering powers. “World Without Superman” continues to be a great event across all of the Superman titles. Keep it up guys!

Final Crisis Aftermath : Ink #1
Story by Eric Wallace
Art by Fabrizio Fiorentino

This was my least anticipated of all of the Final Crisis Aftermath titles and it didn’t disappoint…or would that be, it was disappointing. The story follows the Tattooed Man in his new role as hero after Final Crisis in an urban ghetto known as Liberty Hill (cleverly referred to as Liberty Hell…see, I told you it was clever). Nothing thoroughly exciting about this issue and I’m not too big on the style of art, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I won’t be continuing with it monthly though, but if it picks up and I hear good things there’s always the trade paperback 

Justice Society of America #27
Story and Art by Jerry Ordway

I’m always interested in books that have a combined artist / writer on them. Being an artist / writer myself, I feel that it’s nice when you can convey your own story in your own way. Jerry Ordway is in an unenviable position as this is the first issue after Geoff Johns’ departure from the title. I’m on board for this so far. The story is well done and even has some little tie-ins to Final Crisis (Director Bones and the Global Peace Agency). The art fits the story and I’m always happy to see Obsidian since he was raised in my current hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This may just hold me over until Willingham starts on JSA in a few issues.

Gotham Gazette : Batman Alive?
Story by Fabian Nicieza
Art by…..just about every artist at DC

Just like the first Gotham Gazette issue back at the beginning of Battle for the Cowl, this one wraps up some of the characters in the Batman Universe like Harvey Bullock and Leslie Thompkins. The issue does a decent job of setting up the new Dick Grayson as Batman (aka BatWing or is that NightMan, fighter of the Dayman) status quo. Tim Drake sulks around a bit and we see clearly that he will become Red Robin, Dick starts to act like a playboy billionaire who moonlights as a caped crusader, and Vicki Vale begins to figure it all out.

Wonder Woman #32
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti

Wonder Woman VS Genocide continues! I just love this book. Simone’s writing is excellent. Not quite as perfect as her work on Secret Six, but darn close. Wonder Woman fights tooth and nail with Genocide as the creature attempts to poison the world with its hatred. Genocide has some great menacing lines and then throws a city bus at Nemesis. Wonder Woman has needed a vicious and brutal enemy like this for a long time and this was a welcome addition to her rogue’s gallery. Although, when Diana rips the Golden Lasso out of Genocide in one violent and brutal pull, you’ll sit up with a ghost back pain and say “Owwwww”. Lopresti hands in another well drawn, action packed issue as well. This book is definitely worth picking up.

First Impressions 5/28/2009

I managed to sneak over to the comic shop on a break because I really needed to get Green Lantern, at least. Did you ever try to read a comic book at red lights or while stuck in traffic?? Anyway, 7 books this week. Click below for first impressions in actual reading order:

Green Lantern #41 – Agent Orange’s backstory is pretty good. He tried to steal the Parallax entity. OMG he just mutilated Hal. Did not see that one coming.

Gotham Gazette : Batman Alive – Soooo…Tim Drake will be Red Robin. Tim is bitter in this,and it seems like Dick is trying too hard to do a Bruce impersonation.

Wonder Woman #32 – OUCH! When she rips the……out of Genocides back….just, OWWWW. Great line from Genocide though : “People you knew, people you met even once. I will pay them all a visit, one by one. Once you’re dead…..Later today, most likely.”

Justice Society of America #27 – Not bad for the first post-Johns issue. Starting to see some reference to Final Crisis in mainstream books now. More Powergirl “chest humor” as well.

Superman #688 – OK, the interaction between the team of Guardian and Mon-El against Squad K is pretty damn funny when they don’t believe that Mon-El is not Kryptonian. What’s up with Dr. Light in all of the Superman books now?

2 more left to read but I have to leave for work in a few. Reviews should be up by the end of the weekend, so check back!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday…ummm, Thursday (5/28/2009)

It’s another all DC week for me unless something jumps out at me from the new release or trade wall. And…since there was a holiday this week, new comics are on Thursday instead of Wednesday. In other words, reviews may be a bit behind due to the delay. Click below for this week’s titles :

Most Anticipated Book of the Week :

Green Lantern #41 – Hopefully we get the backstory about Agent Orange in this issue. He is probably one of the most interesting characters in the Green Lantern universe lately and we know nothing about him. Also, I just saw the variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari (pictured to the left), which is pretty sweet and may find it's way into my variant collection. The War of Light continues, and Blackest Night is coming…..

The Rest :

Final Crisis Aftermath : Ink #1 – I’m going to give this s flip-through while I’m at the shop, but I’ll only buy it if it seems interesting or the art really grabs me.

Gotham Gazette : Batman Alive #1 – Will this be full of Commissioner Gordon’s relief that Batman is back and he doesn’t have to do police work? Just kidding, these tie-ins have been decent so far.

Justice Society of America #27 – The first issue without Geoff Johns. Now begins my countdown as to whether I’ll keep this on the pull list or not. Looks like Jerry Ordway is doing both art and writing duties for this one, so that’s not too bad.

Superman #688 – Not bad, not bad. Although out of all the Superman titles this one teeters on the edge of being dropped. I just don’t care that much about Mon-El or the Guardian but the story is decent and the art is pretty good.

Wonder Woman #32 – I’ll say it again, this has been a consistently good book every month. After last month’s revelations, I’m curious to see how this pans out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Trip to Half Price Books #2

We have three Half Price Books in the Milwaukee area and today while out and running around, we stopped at the Brookfield location so my wife could search through books and I could rip through the comic boxes looking for deals or just stuff that interests me. Plus, they were having a Memorial Day sale so everything in the store was an additional 20% off! Click below for my findings:

There wasn’t much that I was interested in over at the graphic novels section so I spent most of my time rifling through the single issue comic boxes. Once again, the purchases are pretty random:

Transformers #5 (1985) – This is one that I picked up strictly for the cover art and sentimental reasons. I remember owning this issue when I first got into comics around age 11 or 12. The cover depicts Shockwave standing under the Transformers title logo, adding Are All Dead by blasting the letters into the wall behind him. At the end of the issue, it’s discovered that Optimus Prime has been decapitated and his head is being kept alive and connected to machines.

Transformers #11 (1985) – This issue focuses on Jetfire, so how can that be bad? Also, Optimus is still just a head attached to machines in this issue so it’s kind of creepy.

GI Joe #2 (2001) – I’m a sucker for anything that has a J. Scott Campbell cover, but when it features Destro and The Baroness?? Sold!

Identity Crisis #4 (2004) – Again, purchased strictly for the sweet Michael Turner Wonder Woman cover.

Green Lantern #1 (2005) – Nothing big about this issue but I’m a fan, and I felt I should own Green Lantern #1

JLA Gallery (1997) – A collection of JLA images drawn by many popular artists. The interesting thing about this copy though is that it seems to be autographed by Howard Porter, Gene Ha, and another artist whose signature I can’t quite make out. I’ll do a little research to authenticate.

Super Soldier #1 (1997) – I love the Amalgam books and I wish they would do something along these lines again. For those that don’t know, Amalgam combined popular characters from Marvel and DC. For example Super Soldier is a combination of Superman and Captain America.

Starman #17 (1989) – Strictly purchased because it features Power Girl (one of my wife’s favorites) in her old costume and I believe with her old Atlantean backstory.

Green Lantern #25 (1992) – Hal Jordan VS Guy Gardner fighting for the title of Green Lantern of Earth. Nice.

Total cost after additional 20% discount : $5.00

So, next trip will be to the location on Brown Deer Road eventually. Occasionally I will check back to the other stores to see what little surprises await. I am planning a trip to Downtown Books sometime within the next few weeks. This is a giant multi-level old school book store in downtown Milwaukee. They have a huge room full of long boxes of comics. You almost need to pack a lunch and just spend a day there :-) Which I may very well do.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/20/2009- Part 1

This was another really good week for comics. 6 books (7 counting the variant Battle for the Cowl #3 that I picked up) with 2 of them exceeding my expectations, 3 coming in at decent and only 1 disappointment. Part one this week has two reviews: the continually phenomenal Transformers : All Hail Megatron #11 and the disappointing Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1. Click below for more :

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #11
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Guido Guidi

Best book this year. No question. The only thing coming up on the horizon that I can think of that may dethrone it would have to be Blackest Night, but it’s going to have to work hard for that title, and it also has to work against its own hype. All Hail Megatron started with a bang, continued at a rapid pace, had maybe one issue that dragged on a bit, and is wrapping up at the end with an intelligent, brutal and devious look into the mind of Megatron.

The last few issues saw the return of Optimus Prime, and the remaining Autobots banding together to head for Earth. Also, the remaining Earth armies were grouping together for a nuclear strike on New York City in order to defeat the invading Decepticons. But guess what people...Megatron is a brilliant tactician and leader, and he ain’t gonna have that.

First let’s talk about art. Guido Guidi continues to throw down on the page with battle scenes out of epic movies and images that will not be easily forgotten. For example :

Pages 2-3: Double page splash of Devastator in a state of absolute rage as the human armies attack him. I just pictured him yelling “Devastator Smash!!!” as the puny humans scurry about like ants on the street.

Page 6: The cavalry arrives. As Omega Supreme, in spaceship form, hovers above a bombed out NYC, the Autobots now led by Prime descend on the Decepticons and start kicking ass.

Pages 8-9: Two pages that draw so much emotion from robotic characters. As Megatron lectures Starscream on how much of a genius he actually is, Starscream’s anger and hatred are visible clearly, but with a growing background of respect and admiration for his leader’s brilliance with a hint of jealousy.

Page 12-13: Two Pages. Omega Supreme VS Devastator. Manhattan. Enough said.

I mean, seriously, the whole book goes on like this until the end. The story is brilliantly crafted, with Megatron’s tactical planning and evil genius very evident by the end. Decepticons make themselves known that have been hiding among the humans, dealing a psychological blow to the already destroyed human armies. Finally, the human’s last hope, the bomber flying the nuke in to drop on NYC, is revelaed to actually be a Decepticon serving Megatron.

I can’t speak highly enough of the speech that Megatron gives Starscream in the middle of the issue. After last issues expected mutiny of Starscream, Megatron basically tells Starscream that he knows that ‘Scream will lead the Decepticons eventually and do so by killing Megatron. He also tells him that today will not be that day and he needs him to follow so that one day he CAN lead. Starscream thinks a minute, then falls 100% in line and backs Megatron’s plan.

Like I said, this is by far the best series that I’ve read this year, and unless Blackest Night can knock it off the pedestal, it will remain my pick for book of the year.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1
Story by Joe Casey
Art by Chriscross

I was really looking forward to this book because I wanted to know more about the Super Young Team. They were mentioned very briefly in the fantastic weekly series 52, then were featured in the confusing yet enjoyable Final Crisis event. After Final Crisis though, I wanted to know more about them. Unfortunately so far, this issue does not deliver.

First thing that annoys me is the cover. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and you are absolutely right in this case. It really annoys me when the cover art is FAR superior to the interior art. It’s not even close in style. From the solicits, I was looking forward to this book having sort of a photo realistic, almost Adi Granov feel to it. But no, the actual interior art is mediocre at best and kind of inconsistent.

The second annoyance is the fact that Most Excellent Super Bat (who was my favorite in Final Crisis) is “Twittering” throughout the issue. Twittering is one of those things in life that I find to be ridiculously unnecessary and annoying and I certainly find it annoying in my comics. He basically just posts little nuggets of wisdom and snarkiness throughout the issue.

Third, the story basically goes nowhere. They get a new headquarters that is basically a PR center, they have a party where people don’t really know who they are, and Ultimon shows up in ghost form to talk to Most Excellent Super Bat. I may give it one more issue to impress me because I really wanted this to be good, but right now I’m just disappointed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Impressions - 5/20/209

I'll preface this week's First Impressions with this : I read most of my books after going to see Star Trek so I was a little tired and over-excited. Before writing the full reviews, I'll definitely read them again in a more focused state of mind. My review of the movie will be out later this week. Anyway, on to the books from this week in no particular order :

Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1 - Not bad, but definitely the first disappointment in the Aftermath series so far. The "Twittering" really annoyed me because...well, Twittering annoys me in real life. I'll read it again and see if it gets better.

G.I. Joe #5 - I could read a whole comic series just based around Destro and The Baroness.

Supergirl #41 - OK, so I asked for an explanation after last issue and I get more questions. What is this...LOST?

All Hail Megatron #11 - If you haven't picked up any of this series...DO.IT.NOW!!! Megatron proves why he leads the Decepticons and his deviousness just piles on. Plus, Devastator VS Omega Supreme.

Battle for the Cowl #3 - One issue-long fight between Jason and Dick, one Black Mask who isn't really Black Mask, and one new Batman. Not a bad finish to this action packed mini-series.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday (5/20/2009)

It’s back to a normal work schedule for me this coming week which means I have off on Wednesday and can spend a little time at the comic shop again :-) 6 books that I’m looking for this week, and...what is this???....3 non-DC books! Wow, still nothing from Marvel that’s getting me interested but we’ll see what happens. First Impressions won't be up until at least Thursday morning since we're finally going to go see Star Trek tonight. Click below for the books :

Most Anticipated Title of the Week :

Batman : Battle for the Cowl #3 : Curious to see where they take the ending of this series. I’m kind of worried now after the Oracle debacle, but it should be good. I usually don’t pick up variant covers but I saw the Tony Daniel variant of Jason Todd and it’s pretty sweet. I'm just really hoping that if they don't make Jason the new Batman (which is highly likely that he won't be Batman), that they at least keep him around as a solid villain for Dick (who is more than likely going to be the new Batman). Everyone chant it with me : Ja-Son-Todd! Ja-Son-Todd!

The Rest :

Final Crisis Aftermath : Dance #1 : 2 for 2 so far on the Final Crisis Aftermath books. I liked the Super Young Team in Final Crisis and I want to see more. That’s about it.

Supergirl #41 : After last month’s “What the Hell??” ending I need an explanation.

Complete Dracula #1 : I’m testing this one out, it sounds pretty cool, a faithful adaptation of Stoker’s original Dracula story in comic book form.

GI Joe #5 : This has been great so far, enough said.

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #11 : And this, where do I even start?? This book is in the running for my Best Title of the Year. All Hell is breaking loose right now and they just added a few more issues to this mini, so hopefully they will do something different in the end. I mean, I Know the Autobots have to win, but I want to see a huge toll being paid to do so.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/13/2009 - Part 2

Since I’m up ridiculously early on Sunday for some reason, and I don’t have to be at work for another 3 hours, I can hopefully finish up this week’s reviews. Did everyone read Part One of this week’s reviews? No?!?!! Well go do it now if you haven’t……go ahead, I’ll wait……OK, now we can continue. How about that Oracle huh? Yeah, I know, still horrible. Anyways, on to some better comics: Action Comics #877, Final Crisis Aftermath : Escape #1, and GI Joe : Cobra #3. Click below for the reviews :

Action Comics #877
Story by Greg Rucka
Art by Eddy Barrows and Ruy Jose

As I’m writing this review I just realized that this issue is still in my bag out in the car and I don’t feel like going out to get it. This issue was decent but not great. Chris Kent (aka Nightwing) brings the injured Flamebird to see Lois Lane after the fight with Ursa. Lois calls Dr. Light who attempts to heal Famebird with sunlight. Yawn.

The more interesting part of the issue comes when we go back into General Lane’s secret facility and realize that not only is he tracking Kryptonians, but all meta-humans. On his tracking screens are Dr. Light and Icon (newly re-introduced Milestone character) among others. A girl shows up who has tattoos on one side of her face and some special abilities but nothing more is said of her. I am very interested in getting to know what General Lane is doing and what his secret organization is all about.

Overall, not a bad issue but like I said before, not great.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Escape #1
Story by Ivan Brandon
Art by Marco Rudy

This was the only Final Crisis Aftermath book that I was really looking forward to for a few reasons: I like the Nemesis character and hopefully they keep him consistent with the way they have been developing him in the Wonder Woman title, and I felt that the whole Global Peace Agency sub-plot in Final Crisis was not developed enough and I really wanted more.

Well, here is that story and the beginning is…well…utterly batshit crazy. Tom Tresser, aka Nemesis, wakes up in a room with some Stepford Wives-esque nurses and then attempts to piece together what is happening to him with no reference of where he is. Come to think of it, Run! began with Human Flame waking up in a strange place, I’m curious to see if all of the Aftermath stories begin like that (except Ink, which I probably won’t be picking up).

As he runs through this oddly sterile facility he runs into some familiar characters like Rick Flagg and Count Werner Vertigo, whose powers have gone uncontrollable. Some unfamiliar characters like a woman named Chase and a faceless Global Peace Agency agent show up to confuse things as well. I’m not familiar with writer Ivan Brandon’s work but it has a Grant Morrison feel to it, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea but I am enjoying it. Artist Marco Rudy, who was a fill-in artist on Final Crisis, does a creepy job of twisting the images to make you feel confined and uncomfortable, therefore stepping into Nemesis’ situation yourself. The last page makes me wonder where the hell they actually are but I am definitely in for the second issue when that comes out.

GI Joe : Cobra #3
Story by Christos Gage & Mike Costa
Art by Antonio Fuso

The continuing adventures of Chuckles, deep undercover operative for GI Joe who has infiltrated the as-yet-unnamed organization that we all know will become Cobra. This issue is utterly intense as Chuckles has to make the decision that all undercover agents fear…how far would you go to protect your identity and complete the mission.

Needless to say Chuckles crosses the line and it definitely helps him in continuing his mission. Three issues in and this book is still a fun read every month. I really appreciate the way they are slowly introducing characters and building a mystique around Cobra to show just how underground they actually are. We get our first reference to the big boss that is referred to as the Commander (can’t wait!) and the Chuckles character continues to burrow deeper and deeper into the Cobra terrorist hierarchy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/13/2009 - Part 1

Thanks to some serendipitous scheduling adjustments, I was able to make a quick run to the comic shop this week. All in all, a really good week for comics except for one glaring disappointment. The first three reviews, Secret Six #9, Oracle : The Cure #3 and Green Lantern Corps #36 are below. Click to read:

Green Lantern Corps #36
Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

GLC continues it’s run as the second best book that DC Comics is publishing right now. Second best? Well, nothing beats the main Green Lantern series right now, and GLC comes damn close. If you are only reading Green Lantern and not Corps (ahem…Shawn) then you are missing a lot of the story leading up to Blackest Night.

Peter Tomasi, who in my opinion is one of the finest writing talents at DC right now, packs not one or two, but three different stories into this 22 page comic. The first story continues from last issue’s cliffhanger ending of Sinestro revealing that his mysterious daughter is, in fact, Green Lantern and current love interest of Kyle Rayner….Soranik Natu. Soranik obviously doesn’t take too kindly to finding out that her father is a murdering evil dictator, and Sinestro tries to explain to her why she will join him eventually. This just bolsters my theory that Sinestro will be re-inducted into the Green Lantern Corps before Blackest Night is over.

Story number two follows the prison riot on Oa. There is no real character dialog in this section and it reads more like a History Channel documentary, which is fine because this technique covers a lot of ground in a little time. The Sciencell Riot has spilled out onto Oa’s surface and Green Lanterns are fighting Sinestro Corps members, Red Lanterns and other alien criminals. We finally get to see the Red Lantern Vice use his namesake ability as he clamps down on a random GL’s head and removes it from his body.

Last but not least, we go to the planet Daxam, Sodam Yat’s homeworld and current base of operations for Mongul and his splinter faction of the Sinestro Corps. Mongul, staying true to character, is utilizing the enslaved Daxamites to build “Super Guns” on the planet’s surface to defend against attack. Sodam Yat, while confronting Mongul, attempts to access the Ion Power which is denied to him by a certain black-teared scarred Guardian. Yat, sacrificing himself for the greater good, takes a huge blast from Mongul in order to attempt to kick-start the Ion Power and disappears. We all know, thanks to Legion of Three Worlds continuity though, that he will survive this somehow and save the day.

The art by Patrick Gleason is solid as usual and, whether it’s a close conversation between Sinestro and his estranged daughter or a planet-wide riot on Oa, the pages are dead on. This team needs to be on a more mainstream book like Justice League, simply because of how well they handle more intimate scenes and massive battles between hundreds of characters. Gleason’s Sinestro is just sleek looking too. Fantastic title, check it out!

Oracle : The Cure #3
Story by Kevin Vanhook
Art by Julian Lopez & Fernando Pasarin

Wow…and not in a good way. What the hell happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, that’s what. No big reveal, no change to the status quo, no surprise revelation. Nothing. Wow.

I was giving this book the benefit of the doubt through the first two issues because it looked like they were paving the way for some kind of shock or surprise ending but I have to say, the ending was a complete disappointment. I don’t typically write negative reviews, and I have to really think about it before I do.

I did enjoy the whole “hiding out in an online role-playing game” aspect of the book, and I have enjoyed the Calculator character ever since Identity Crisis, but in the end he just turns into a whining man being hauled off to prison. And how did he access the hacker that he attacked even after the guy wasn’t on his computer????

Anyway, I did like the fact that this story was only three issues so I only feel like I wasted about $9.00. Plus, the end advertises Batgirl #1, which doesn’t make me too excited for that title either. This one goes right to storage because I don’t see myself re-reading it.

Secret Six #9
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott

Once again Secret Six, you make me laugh. In what is possibly the best Battle for the Cowl tie-in (and not even a Batman Family book), we get a violent yet hilarious team up of Bane, Catman and the new Boy/Girl Wonder…Ragdoll. Yup, you heard me, Ragdoll.

Gail Simone continues to provide some of the best and funniest lines in comics:

Kidnapper: Back off heroes! Back off!
Catman (to Bane): “Heroes”? You think he means us?
Bane: The definition is extraordinarily fluid.

Ragdoll (in Robin costume): Holy capital punishment or some such!

Catman: “or he’s got some stupid-ass misguided notion of replacing the Bat”
Bane: Interesting. I was entertaining the same notion about you. Catman.
Catman: Ridiculous. I’m my own man.
Bane: I was just trying to remember something. What was it? Oh yes. I was trying to remember a word that rhymes with “Catman”.
Catman: That was a coincidence
Bane: Doubtless.

Also laced throughout the issue are references to some old Bat-standards like the Adam West vertical wall climb from the Batman TV series and Ragdoll spouting Robin-esque lines while wearing a classic Dick Grayson costume. Speaking of which, Nightwing shows up, seeming a bit confised by this villainous trio actually stopping criminals and after threatening them, lets them escape since he has other crimes to tend to.

I love the running joke throughout though, about the similarities between Catman and Batman both in name and appearance. At one point, Catman saves a little boy from kidnappers and as the wide-eyed boy pulls on Catman’s sleeve, this dialog follows:

Catman: You okay there, slugger? Something you want to say?

Cut to Catman, Bane and Ragdoll speeding away in, I guess it’s the Catmobile.

Ragdoll (laughing hysterically): Thank you for saving me Mr. Batman!! Hahahahaha!
Catman (surly): Shut up ‘Doll
Ragdoll: He thought you were Batman!!! Hahahahahahaha!!

Fantastic art by Nicola Scott and Simone’s perfect writing made this done-in-one story a contender for my top spot of the week but Green Lantern Corps just edged it out by a little bit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Impressions - 5/13/2009

So, due to some wrangling of my ridiculous schedule right now (it's good to be the boss sometimes), I was able to take a few hours off this afternoon to relax and I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Collector's Edge for my weekly books. I am thoroughly exhausted at the moment but did manage to page through a few of the books. Click below for the first impressions:

Green Lantern Corps #36 : Wow, WOW, and ummm....WOW!!!! I love this book and it just keeps getting better and better. Peter Tomasi needs to take over a more mainstream book like Justice League.

Secret Six #9 : Seriously, how awesome is it that Bane breaks someones spine in the first three pages. That is sooooo something Bane would, like, totally do.

Final Crisis Aftermath - Escape #1 : OK, what was in that soda I was just drinking?? This first issue is completely batshit crazy, but in an interesting way so far.

Check back in the next few days for the reviews of the rest of my picks for this week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Looking Forward to Wednesday - 5/13/2009

Due to all fo the prom business and my insane work schedule right now, I have lost track of the days and am posting this really late. Also due to my real job, I won't be making it to the comic shop this week. Look for reviews of this week's books next week in a giant double week review spectacular! Until then, this is what I wish I was able to pick up on Wednesday :

Most Anticipated Book:

Green Lantern Corps #36 - Sodam Yat continues to deal with his narrow minded people on Daxam, and the Sciencell riot on Oa continues. I'm expecting much death and destruction from this phenomenal series.

The Rest :

Action Comics #877 - Last issue's fight was brutal, I'm really enjoying the fill-in heroes of Flamebird and Nightwing while Superman is lpaying on New Krypton.

Secret Six #9 - Interested to see how they tie this into Battle for the Cowl, and hopefully Bane has something to do with it.

Oracle : The Cure #3 - Hmmmm..will Barbara walk again, will Calculator's daughter die, or will he become an even cooler villain with the Anti-Life Equation? Decent mini-series that ends with this issue.

GI Joe : Cobra #3 - This series is brutal and fun. It's nice to see things from the bad guy's side of the fence for a change, and get a better understanding of the inner workings of Cobra.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Escape #1 - This seems strange. But every preview has me more interested in this title. Run! was good, so let's see if we can go 2 for 2 with the Final Crisis tie-ins.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Free Comic Book Day Special Review #2 - Atomic Robo

Time to review my second choice on Free Comic Book Day : Atomic Robo by Red 5 Comics. Thanks to Shawn for picking up this issue for me since I had to work. Click below for review:

If you’ve never read Atomic Robo before, what the hell? This is easily one of the funniest books out there. There are 2 trade paperback volumes in print and the third story arc, Shadow Beyond Time, just started last week. The first volume of Atomic Robo brought us the now infamous “Stephen Hawking is a Bastard” prank.

The Free Comic Book Day offering is an original story titled “Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur.” It’s an 8 page story written by Brian Clevenger with art by Scott Wegener that just screams to be made into a short animated clip. Did everyone hear me? ATOMIC ROBO NEEDS TO BE ANIMATED!!! OK? Moving on.

The short story basically involves Dr. Dinosaur, a speaking insane genius (or so he claims) Velociraptor and Atomic Robo battling on a remote island. Basically, Atomic Robo is attempting to convince Dr. Dinosaur that time travel is impossible and that he is not, in fact, from the past but a genetic experiment gone wrong. This angers Dr. D who comes up with such witty retorts as “Am not!” and “I had crystals!”

One of the best lines of the book is also from the evil Dr. Dinosaur : “Behold the pulpy fruit of my vastly superior reptilian intelligence!” The ending had me laughing out loud due to the reveal of the contents of Dr. D’s cooler which has the “secret of time travel”. The last page has no dialog and is played solely with facial expressions and one long shot of the island. Great stuff, and if you enjoy humor and history twisted around a little bit, check out this incredible book from Red 5.

Comic Book Reviews 5/6/2009 - Part 2

Here are the rest of the reviews for this week. Not a bad run of comics for a big week. Click below for the reviews for Superman : World of New Krypton, Final Crisis Aftermath : Run!, Battle for the Cowl, The Network, and Seaguy : The Slaves of Mickey Eye :

Superman : World of New Krypton #3
Story by Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Art by Pete Woods

The continuing adventures of Superm...errr..Commander Kal-El of the Kryptonian Military Guild, on his newfound home of New Krypton brings us more civil unrest due to the old Kryptonian class system. The Labor Guild is holding some higher-ups hostage including Superman’s aunt Alura. Kal-El proposes a non-violent end to the siege which ends up working out for all parties, for now anyway. Supergirl shows off her growing skill and maturity, and one of Zod’s men takes things a bit too far. We tie up this issue with a duel between Kal-El and Commander Gor using their superpowers.

I have definitely enjoyed this series so far. The art has been consistently good and the writing is tight and interesting. You can feel Greg Rucka’s influence on the political side of New Kryptonian life, just like the tales he used to weave in Checkmate before that title went downhill after his departure.

The issue ends with an appearance by three members of the Green Lantern Corps: Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Sodam Yat. Now, I’m no mathematician, but the numbers seem to be severely against the GLs here if things get out of hand. We have over 100,000 Kryptonians living under a yellow sun, meaning that they ALL have Superman level powers. Then, you have 3 Green Lanterns, even with Daxamite Sodam Yat’s Kryptonain-like powers, that counts as being a bit outnumbered if you ask me.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Run! #1
Story by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie Williams II

This comic was better than it had any right to be. Typically, these “Aftermath” books are quickly thrown together tie-ins, put out for the sake of cashing in on a big event. With the exception of 52 Aftermath : The Crime Bible, they are typically dull books that try to develop new characters or continue concepts from the big event that spawned them.

That is not the case with this title’s first issue. Run! starts with a quick re-cap of events from Final Crisis from the point of view of the Human Flame, who quickly wakes up in a hospital bed after those events and begins to…you guessed it, Run! The book is extremely fast paced and reads like the comic book equivalent of the movie Crank. It’s not big on depth or high concepts, but it is big on action and character development for the Human Flame. I mean, seriously, the guy punches a nurse who calls him “sleepyhead” on the second page! He immediately gets out on the street and starts to commit crimes to get himself back in the game, gets into it with an Eastern European mafia group, sets a fuzzy fast food restaurant mascot on fire, and ties up his ex-wife after she helps him out.

This storyline could honestly solidify Human Flame as a solid villain in the DC Universe for future stories, and it really makes you hate him as a person and a true deep down villain. We’ll see what happens with the other Aftermath tie-ins but I’ll definitely stick with this one for now. Sturges does a fantastic job of keeping the pulse going, and I hope that he translates this same heart-pounding pace to JSA when he begins writing on that title because it desperately needed a jolt in the story speed department.

Battle for the Cowl : The Network
Story by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Jim Calafiore

If I’m correct, then this is the last of the Battle for the Cowl tie-ins. Now that I look back at it, is it really necessary to have 5 tie-in issues on a 3 issue mini-series? I’m not sure, but the issues, for the most part were well done.

This issue deals with a death game set up by Hugo Strange where the heroes have to race to save three people but whichever one they save, the other two will die. There is good interaction between Batgirl and Huntress, although Huntress is played a little too weak for my tastes. We also get appearances by Manhunter, Ragman and Misfit who support Oracle in cleaning up Gotham while Batman is gone.

Solid art by Jim Calafiore and fast paced writing by Fabian Nicieza make this issue stand out as one of the better tie-ins for this mini event. I cannot wait for Battle for the Cowl #3 so we can get some closure on this storyline, though. I’m just ready to continue on with whoever the new Batman will be, and I need to see whether DC will screw Jason Todd once more by not utilizing what could be one of the best regular villains that Batman could possibly have.

Seaguy : The Slaves of Mickey Eye #2
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Cameron Stewart

What can I say about Seaguy? This title has some of the weirdest lines in comics. A few examples: “Help! He’s the size of an oak!”, “Cortez was king of the bull-dressers”, and “I, too, can use the Macho’s trademark lingerie to tame the brute!”. And yes, you read that right, it said bull-dressers. Instead of fighting a bull, the matadors dress the bull in women’s clothing while it is charging them. Yup.

This is a truly strange book. I enjoyed the first three issue mini-series and the book definitely takes multiple re-reads to even partially comprehend. There seem to be some concepts laying just beneath this twisted surface, but then they fade away. Concepts like a life of consumerism and corporate greed are played with lightly and then shoved back under the carpet before they are truly addressed or overdone.

The art by Cameron Stewart is sufficiently strange to match the crazy story and it’s many twists, turns and just flat out departures from normal thinking. How many artists can successfully pull off a bullfight where the bull ends up wearing a bra, garter belt and stockings, and red high heeled shoes by the end?

Next issue is the last issue of this volume so we’ll see where it goes. In true Morrison fashion, the last volume began to make sense in the last issue but then it raised other questions that it didn’t answer…which I’m fine with to a point. Hopefully this ending answer some more and clues us in a bit on what is actually going on. I think I read somewhere that this is a trilogy of minis, so we may have one more after this.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 5/6/2009 - Part 1

I'm starting out the reviews this week with one great comic and one so-so comic. The rest of the reviews will show up in a day or two due to my work schedule, and I'll also have a quick review of the Free Comic Book Day issue of Atomic Robo which was a laugh-out-loud pleasure to read. Click below for the reviews of Power Girl #1 and Flash : Rebirth #2:

Power Girl #1
Story by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Amanda Conner

OK, I’ll admit it up front…I did grab both Power Girl covers. The standard Amanda Conner cover that was solicited, and a surprise Adam Hughes cover that I was not expecting. I’ve been looking forward to this title for quite some time now and I must say that I was far from disappointed.

The story does a good job of introducing PG as her own character, giving us a little background but not enough to bog down the first issue, and setting up her secret identity which is something that Power Girl has been lacking. The action picks up and starts moving quickly and the end keeps you interested in what will happen next.

The art by Amanda Conner is quite impressive. I read somewhere that Conner was the “best artist working in comics without a monthly series”. Well, that has changed now because she has arrived in style. Conner has also done a good job of updating PG's costume a bit, there are just enough tweaks to modernize the look while retaining the ummm…classic focus. Speaking of her “special powers”, the cheesecake is kept to a tasteful level and the boob jokes are well done and amusing. My favorite being the scene where a quirky scientist is sitting at Karen Starr’s (aka Power Girl) desk and picks up two of her many snowglobes. Starr says “Please stop messing with my globes” as she casually sips a coffee and he holds the two globes up in front of her in a rather “Austin Powers opening sequence” type scene.

I will definitely be continuing with this title for the foreseeable future and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of old school superhero comics.

Flash : Rebirth #2
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan VanSciver

I can honestly say I’m having some doubts about Flash : Rebirth but, due to the endless hours of enjoyment that Geoff Johns and Ethan VanSciver have provided for me in their prior stories, I will give it more of a chance.

What’s wrong with it, you ask? Well, it’s not that anything is particularly wrong, just not really grabbing me like I feel it should. Maybe my expectations were way too high, given the previous Green Lantern : Rebirth, or maybe it’s because I was never really a big Flash fan. But then, I think, I wasn’t really a Green Lantern fan when I read GL : Rebirth and it really turned me on to the character.

So I’m kind of stuck in the middle here between my loyalty to the creators and my concern as a consumer and comics enthusiast that I’m wasting my money on a story that I’m not really enjoying. This issue is decent, though, in that it gives us some more background on Barry and it does tie in some things from the previous issue. The final page was completely predictable, not in a bad way but in a sort of “meh” way. I am curious to see where this is going and I will keep it up for now, but I’m just really hoping that the pace picks up. In a book that stars all of the various Flashes, the story should be moving at lightning speed and not at this snail’s pace.

Friday, May 8, 2009


New reviews will be up shortly. This is an extremely busy time of the year for me at my real job so I'm a bit behind on reviews. I'll hopefully be able to get all of the reviews up for this past week by the end of this weekend. Keep checking back :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

First Impressions - 5/6/2009

A total of 7 books off the rack this week, and two t-shirts (Red Lantern for me and Violet Lantern for Liz). Well, 6 and one that I had to buy both covers...OK, it was Power Girl...come on, an Adam Hughes cover AND an Amanda Conner cover??? How can I resist that? Didn’t have time to read Battle for the Cowl : The Network, or Seaguy, but I’ll have reviews for them later in the week. Click below for first impressions:

Power Girl #1 – “Please stop messing with my globes” Yes, the large chest humor abounds, and this book was really well done. Amanda Conner kicks ass.

Flash : Rebirth #2 – Hmmmm...saw that last page coming. Two issues in and this is not really thrilling me. It’s not bad, just not great.

Superman : World of New Krypton #3- Not bad at all for the third issue, but the ending just has me wanting the next issue NOW!

Final Crisis Aftermath : Run! #1 – This book is better than it should be. It’s like the comic book equivalent of the movie Crank.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Show & Tell #3 : Cobra Vehicles (G.I. Joe)

It’s been a while since I started the Show & Tell post but here is the long awaited third installment, focusing on 2 of my favorite Cobra Vehicles from G.I.Joe. Click below to continue:

Cobra Rattler Jet

First, straight from my “geek room”, we have the Cobra Rattler jet. Loosely based on the real-life A10 Thunderbolt jet utilized by the United States Air Force, it has VTOL (Vertical Take Off & Landing) capabilities, as well as a swiveling gun turret on the top.

This one is not an original released in 1984, but one I picked up at Target a while back when they re-released them around 2008. It is currently ruling the skies in my art studio, that is until I pick up a GI Joe plane to fight it. Currently piloted by the Cobra pilot Wild Weasel, he flies unchallenged for the moment.

Cobra H.I.S.S. Tank

Continuing my love of the dark side, we have my favorite GI Joe toy, the Cobra H.I.S.S. (HIgh Speed Sentry) tank. Why is this my favorite Cobra vehicle? Just look at it! This thing is totally bad ass looking and you would cry if you saw a battalion of these bearing down on your position. Although now that I really look at the scale, it seems that it would actually be about the size of a Toyota Camry :-)

I bought this one at Target last year after I searched around for a decent original at Wizard World Chicago. It comes with the Cobra Driver character and Cobra Commander hangs out next to mine.

Bonus :

Check out these links to classic Saturday morning commercials for the Rattler and the H.I.S.S. tank from

Original Cobra Rattler Commercial

Original Cobra H.I.S.S. Commercial

Looking Forward to Wednesday - 5/6/2009

Another big week coming up for me at the comic shop with 2 tie in issues, 2 first issues and a few others that I’m looking forward to. My wife’s Violet Lantern shirt should also be in this week so we can have our very own War of Light at home since we now have the Black, Yellow and Violet Lantern Corps shirts :-) Click below for this week’s titles:

Most Anticipated Book of the Week :

Power Girl #1:

I’ve been waiting for this title to release for what seems like forever. Amanda Conner drawing Power Girl is just awesome. From the previews that have been stuck into the back of random DC books over the past month or so, it looks like Power Girl can, hopefully, finally play a major role in the DC universe. I know she had a large role in Infinite Crisis due to her Earth 2 lineage, and she chaired the JSA but I'm curious to see how they develop her character in her own title. I can't remember if this is an ongoing book or a mini-series, though.

The Rest :

Battle for the Cowl : The Network – When will these one shots end?? I guess here, because the 3rd and final issue of Battle for the Cowl comes out next week.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Run #1 – I’m curious about these. The 52 Aftermath titles were hit or miss, but I am interested to see where they take things with these different minis. The only one I will probably not be picking up is Ink, I have little to no interest in Tattooed Man

Flash Rebirth #2 – Bring it on, can’t wait for more of this book. Although I had some concerns with the first issue, I’m waiting until I'm through the 2nd issue to see how I really feel about it.

Seaguy : The Slaves of Mickey Eye #2 – The first volume was ultimately strange. The second volume, Slaves of Mickey Eye, has begun by upping the ante in the absurdity. Definitely a fun read that twists your mind around a little.

Superman : World of New Krypton #3 – Great series so far, hopefully it continues that way because we have a long way to go until the end of this 12 issue run.

Atomic Robo : Shadow From Beyond Time #1 – This title is just old school comics fun. The first two stories were very well done and filled with great humor, can't wait to see what Red 5 has ins store for us this time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 4/29/2009 - Part 2

Sorry for the delay in getting these online, but my cable modem met with some spilled coffee and, well….you can probably figure out the rest. Part 2 of this week’s reviews will include Justice Society of America #26, Superman #687 and Battle for the Cowl : The Underground. Click below for the reviews :

Justice Society of America #26
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham

This is it, Geoff Johns’ last issue. When JSA was restarted a while back, the only reason I gave the book a chance was that Geoff Johns was writing it. I knew very little about these various characters, or what the JSA means to the history of the DC universe. Well, now I know a lot more thanks to Johns.

It’s Stargirl’s birthday party! Or at least it was, during the Black Adam fight, so now the JSA is throwing her a surprise party. During the party she mingles around and gets speeches and kudos from various members, including a “you’ve grown up” speech from founding JSA members Jay Garrick, Ted Grant and Alan Scott.

The key to this issue’s enjoyment, though, is Starman. Crazy, crazy Starman. This is apparently his first birthday party and it’s a little much for him. Not only does he give Stargirl her own uniform (“I found it in the laundry room”, he says as she unwraps the package), but he also supplies the party with lemonade from a local lemonade stand (“They’re going to love the lemonade, Louise! Enjoy college!” he tells the little girl as he hands her a stack of bills and some random coupons, one of which is clearly for Free Parking somewhere.)

One other hilarious moment comes after Starman eats all of the ice cream (along with the candles for the cake) and Hourman and Damage have to run to a local convenience store to restock the ice cream supply…in full costume. While standing in the frozen foods section amidst a half dozen people staring blankly, Damage yells at them “What the hell are you looking at? Haven’t you ever seen super-heroes pick out ice cream before??”

An overall enjoyable issue to end Johns’ fantastic run on this book (except for maybe the last 2-3 issues), and we go out on Starman turning around to face us, the readers :

Starman (waving) : Thanks!
Jakeem : Who are you talking to?
Starman : Everyone.

Battle for the Cowl : The Underground
Story by Chris Yost
Art by Pablo Raimondi

This book impressed me. Plain and simple. I didn’t have much in the way of expectations when I picked this up, mostly because I have picked up every other Battle for the Cowl tie-in so far.

Riddler meets with Penguin (clearly inspired by the Batman Return’s Danny DeVito character) about the Black Mask. Catwoman is having trouble dealing with the fact that Bruce is dead, and Harley Quinn shows up to save the day with her twisted humor. While gun wielding Jason Todd Batman shows up to hand Catwoman her ass, Poison Ivy tracks down Riddler, who is hanging with Harley Quinn clearly setting the stage for the Gotham City Sirens book that is coming out.

Two of the funniest lines in the book involve Riddler and Harley, though. At one point, Riddler is in Harley’s apartment when Harley yells “You’re back!” as someone walks in behind Nigma. Riddler’s thought box reads “You’re back? Dear God, do NOT let the Joker be right behind me.” Then, after Catwoman battles it out with Bat-Todd, she is thrown from a roof onto a parked car below, smashing the windows out. As she lays there, blacking out, Harley approaches looking like a little scared girl and just says “Kitty?”

Great stuff, the writing was fun and the art was decent. I enjoyed this rendition of the Riddler, although I can do without the Danny DeVito Penguin.

Superman #687
Story by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes

Something in this issue just didn’t work for me. I honestly can’t pinpoint what it was or when it happened but I had been enjoying this title, and even getting into James Robinson’s work (which I wasn’t really into before). I mean, it’s not bad, but it just didn’t do much for me.

Basically, the Science Police fight Shrapnel, Mon-El shows up to save the day, Jimmy Olsen goes to see Zachary Zatara (who is pretty much a douchebag), and Steel gets shown around the sewers. There are also some shady goings-on with General Lane as he studies Mon-El and Jimmy Olsen is investigating things that happened back at the beginning of Robinson’s run that I had totally forgotten about.

Maybe I need to re-read Robinson’s entire run now that we’re further into the story. If I dod and end up changing my mind I’ll post a second opinion review, if not, I’ll keep giving it a chance but I feel this is the weakest of the various Superman titles right now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Countdown to Wizard World / Chicago Comic Con - Part 2 (97 days to go)

A quick update on Wizard World / Chicago Comic Con 2009. I was checking out the Wizard website today and two more creators were added that I'm excited about. Click below for more:

Brian Azzarello : writer of 100 Bullets and The Joker graphic novel

Frank Cho : artist for Jungle Girl (this man can draw women like nobody's business)

Besides those two, Ray Park who plays Snake Eyes in the upcoming GI Joe Movie will be there. The con is happening on the same weekend that GI Joe opens in theaters so I'm sure he will be pretty swamped. Would be cool to get an autograph though.

I'm starting to compile a list of comics and other related merchandise that I may be looking for when we go. I'm also working on a list of a few comics to bringto trty and get autographed. Last year I had books signed by Ethan VanSciver, Joseph Michael Linsner, Gail Simone, and Eva Hopkins. This year I'm hoping to get Matt Wagner and JG Jones at least. George Perez would be awesome too but I'm not one for waiting in huge lines. We'll see what happens. 97 days to go!!!

Comic Book Reviews 4/29/2009 - Part 1

It was a great week to be a comic book geek! Sorry, the more PC term is serialized sequential art book enthusiast. Lots of good books, plus a Black Lantern T-Shirt, and a fun time hanging out at the comic shop. Good comics included Green Lantern #40, Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4 and Wonder Woman #31. I’ll be reviewing these three today and the rest hopefully tomorrow. Click below for reviews:

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by George Perez

So…it’s been a while for this book hasn’t it? I was a little cautious when I began reading this issue because of the massive delay since the last one. But, just like if Elizabeth Hurley walked up to me and punched me in the eye, I read through it and all was instantly forgiven.

We get more info on Bart’s return from the dead as Kid Flash, which seemed to have an explanation that was a bit too intricate. Seriously, the words "Speed Force" are typically good enough to explain weird happenings (sort of like the word “magic” over at Marvel). Then, as if one resurrection wasn’t enough, we get a bonus with the return of Connor Kent aka Superboy. I’m not that big of a Bart fan but the return of Superboy made me smile.

Superboy Prime does his usual brutal fanboy-esque rage through the book, ending in a strange reveal that I won’t spoil here because I don’t fully understand it yet. This was a really good issue, beautifully drawn and the story kept me very interested. Hopefully the finale will straighten out that last page.

Wonder Woman #31
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti

I know that the Wonder Woman title has had it’s ups (Diana’s courtship of Nemesis) and downs (Amazons Attack), but this story is definitely following the up trend. Part 6 of the Rise of the Olympian story lets us know who is behind the recent troubles (not a huge surprise) and has a major plot twist that I did not see coming.

In the first few pages Ares, God of War, makes himself known as the guy pulling the strings behind the scenes. We need to stop here for a second. Ares has a secret meeting with Alkyone, some may remember her as the former captain of Queen Hippolyta’s personal guard who was against the birth of Wonder Woman. Anyway, at the end of their meeting he has her kneel in front of him, bow her head, and kiss his sword while saying “Good Girl”. This had me cracking up at the double entendre aspect of this scene.

The rest of the book follows The Olympian’s attempts to show the world the true path by taking over and telling humans that they have failed. Athena, previously thought to be dead, speaks to Wonder Woman through a hospital nurse and fills her in on her vision of the future if Ares’ plan succeeds. She also drops the big bomb on Diana about the background of her latest adversary, Genocide. On to the end where Wonder Woman detonates an ICBM by punching it in the air after fighting Achilles aka The Olympian at a Russian missile base.

Aaron Lopresti’s art just keeps getting better and better and I really hope they keep the Achilles character around for a while. Wonder Woman is in desperate need of new characters in her part of the DC Universe and I think he would make a good anti-hero. Gail Simone weaves a tight story that is full of action and fun dialog.

Green Lantern #40
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan

We start the book as the Guardians throw down the fourth new law in the Book of Oa: the Vega System is no longer outside of the Green Lantern Corps’ jurisdiction. What does this mean? That the criminals of the universe now have nowhere to hide from the Lanterns. So the Guardians arrange a “Cops” style raid on the Vega System, which I expected to have at least one alien in a white tank top undershirt running out of some intergalactic space trailer screaming “She hit me first, she hit me first! I love you Starla!!”

Jordan continues to struggle with the fighting Blue and Green rings that he’s wearing, and it does set up one of the funnier moments of the book. A few issues ago, Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps told Jordan that the only way to remove the Blue Ring was to discharge it completely by tapping into Hope as an emotion. Jordan’s internal dialog finds him racking his brain for something to hope for and it goes like this :

Jordan (internally): What do I hope for? What do other people hope for? True love? Winning the lottery? World peace?
Jordan: World peace! I hope for world peace!
Blue Ring: Insincerity registered.
Jordan: Dammit!!

Once on the planet Okaara, home of Agent Orange, the Guardians and their Green Lantern incursion force are confronted by more of Agent Orange’s avatars that look an awful lot like the Controllers that he killed last issue. This confirms for me, along with the info from Blackest Night #0, that Larfleeze is the only Orange Lantern and the rest are constructs of beings that he has killed.

Agent Orange confronts Hal Jordan about his Blue Ring, which AO has not seen before, and we get the end of our issue. Next issue promises the secret origin of Agent Orange, which I am really interested in. There is a small backup Tales of the Orange Lanterns story in the back that gives us a quick back-story of Glomulus, one of the Orange Lanterns that show up in the main story. I’m into this Orange Lanterns story but as a whole in the War of Light, it has seemed weaker than the others but maybe I’m just being super-impatient for Blackest Night to arrive. Johns is weaving a deep and captivating story with the lead up to Blackest Night and the War of Light, full of ancient prophesies and retcons. Despite a little hiccup, in my opinion, over the last month or two Green Lantern is still the best book that DC publishes right now.