Sunday, May 10, 2009

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.

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