Friday, May 1, 2009

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.

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