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.

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