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.

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