Friday, June 12, 2009

Comic Book Reviews - 6/10/2009

Another all DC week for me, as well as a JSA Alan Scott Green Lantern action figure for me and an Adam Hughes inspired Wonder Woman statue for my wife.

What happened in the comics? Let me tell you…Oa’s defensive outer layer crumbles while Daxam fights back, Tim Drake goes globetrotting in order to sulk, Barry Allen runs back through time in his new Goth Flash outfit, Nemesis is still confused (and so are we), Dick Grayson builds a better Batcave, Kobra takes lessons from al Queda while Power Girl looks angry (and, of course, chesty), all while Kryptonians get it on…and they do NOT like to be interrupted. Want more? Click below :

Pick of the Week :

Green Lantern Corps #37
Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

Last time on Green Lantern Corps : GL Sodam Yat “sacrifices” himself and the Ion Power in order to turn the Daxam sun yellow. Daxam is currently being enslaved by a faction of the Sinestro Corps led by Mongul. Daxamites get Superman-level powers when exposed to yellow sunlight…to quote Mongul : “Ho-Leeee Shhhhh-iiit!”

OK, Mongul didn’t actually say that, but he had to have thought it because the Daxamites are now super powered and pissed. Green Lantern Arisia gathers them together to form a resistance group in order to take the fight to the invaders.

(Insert Superfriends narrator Ted Knight) Meanwhile, on Oa…Kyle, Guy and the rest of the various GLs continue to fight off the rioters from the Oan prison breakout. Guy does his usual trash talking while Kyle attempts to keep things together. The Alpha Lanterns show up, and for once they don’t look all weird and squiggly. I’m serious, the Alphas always looked really weird to me, but this time they’re all draped in shadow, bold and badass with their lanterns glowing proudly in their chests…awesome.

Meanwhile, beneath Oa…Scar, aka Scardian, takes her lead from the Book of the Black and cracks open Oa’s protective shell like a Cadbury’s Crème Egg, leaving it’s gooey sweet Lantern Home-Base filling exposed and waiting for the next attack. The Black Lanterns are coming, and it will be a rough time indeed.

Tomasi continues to impress, especially with the sense of dread he builds during the Corps’ inevitable and unstoppable descent into The Blackest Night. Gleason’s art just gets better and more epic as this event builds. The scene where Oa’s shields are breaking down and revealing the blackness of space just causes you to think that bad things are coming. Dead bad things. Guy sums it up best on the last page after cleaning up the riot, just as the shields are cracking. “Aw c’mon. You gotta be kiddin’ me!”

Surprise of the Week :

Red Robin #1
Story by Chris Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs

This book was one of two “maybes” that I had listed in Looking Forward to Wednesday, and for a “maybe” book…it definitely kicked some serious ass. My first read through this title was on a treadmill at the gym (yes I am that geeky that I read comics at the gym) and I couldn’t wait to get done my run so I could read it in a more in-depth manner.

Red Robin #1 creates an interesting new status quo for Tim Drake, until recently Robin. During Tony Daniel’s Battle For the Cowl story, he was one of the heroes that was, ummmmm….battling for the cowl. I like Tim Drake, he wanted to be Robin and essentially applied for the job by showing Batman what he could do. But the only issue I had with him becoming the new Batman is that he’s too young. After reading this issue, I’m starting to take back that limitation. Basically, Tim has now become Batman, but as Red Robin. He’s dark and intense but in his own costume (which is a small question I have, where did he get the Red Robin costume so quickly?).

Chris Yost handles the writing duties well as Tim leaves the Batcave upon seeing Damian in the Robin costume, although Damian’s insults didn’t help either. There is a great scene where Damian shows up in his new Robin costume (which looks much better here than in Batman & Robin) and sees Tim talking to Dick who is wearing the Batman costume.

Damian : We’ll have to upgrade security in the cave, Batman. Keep out the riff-raff.

And then….

Damian : Sorry, Drake. You’re still part of the team…maybe the Batgirl costume is available!

Great first issue and this definitely warrants an issue 2 purchase. I did pick up the JG Jones variant cover (pictured at the beginning) which features Red Robin on a motorcycle leaping through explosions. Good stuff.

The Rest :

One quick side note before we begin with the rest of the reviews. Over the past month or so, we’ve had a few preview pages in the back of the DC books for James Robinson’s Justice League : A Cry For Justice mini-series. It seems that the more I read these preview pages, the less interested I become in it and the more it falls on my Pick Up In Trade list. Anyone else feeling this way??? Let me know in the comments. Is it just that it doesn’t seem that interesting? Is it that it doesn’t seem like it will tie in with upcoming events like Blackest Night? Or, is it that it’s just been delayed waaay too long?

Flash : Rebirth #3
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan VanSciver

Finally this book picks up, but my main problem still hinders my enjoyment of this book….I’m just not that big of a Flash fan. I love Geoff Johns’ work, and I love Ethan VanSciver’s work, but I guess it all boils down to the fact that no matter who writes it and draws it, if you can’t get into the character then you can’t get into the character.

I’m not as knowledgeable in the history and canon of the Flash characters as I am in say, Batman or Green Lantern, so this may be tainting my experience here as well. The art is stunning. VanSciver’s portrayal of motion is absolutely amazing, as it should be since the book focuses on the Fastest Man Alive. The story is not bad, but it’s just not grabbing me. I did stop comparing it to Green Lantern : Rebirth and my friend and fellow reviewer Shawn did tell me to re-read the first two issues after this issue’s reveal at the end to get a better understanding of what is going on. Hopefully he will be putting together a more positive review because Flash is sort of his thing 

I don’t know. I never thought that I would consider dropping a Johns / VanSciver book and I am halfway through already. This is going to be a gut decision based on what happens after my re-read of the first 3 issues.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Escape #2
Story by Ivan Brandon
Art by Marco Rudy

What can I say? This book is still crazy but I want more. No idea what is going on yet as Nemesis still tries to figure out just where he is and what Electric City represents. This book is extremely trippy and twisted, but in a way that keeps you wanting more and wanting to find out what strange thing will be happening around the corner. My only real fear is that the story will be great and the reveal at the end will be weak, therefore ruining the mini-series. I know coming up with original ways to end comic stories is difficult, but I have faith that this one will pan out.

Batman #687
Story by Judd Winick
Art by Ed Benes

So Nightwing finally realizes that he needs to take over as Batman. But, he;s doing it on his own terms…new costume, new Batcave, new stately Wayne Manor, err, Swanky Grayson Penthouse Suite. I enjoyed this issue as it filled in some of the missing beats between Battle For the Cowl and Batman and Robin#1. The scene where Dick basically stands up to Superman and Wonder Woman and tells them how it’s going to be, just shows how ready Dick is to put on the cowl and take over for his mentor.

Alfred also really steps up in this issue, telling Dick that he is worthy to be Bruce’s successor, but that he needs to listen to others advice a little more than Bruce did in order to survive. A line from Dick about Damian not seeing him second guess himself, and how he will be taking this on alone occasionally will hopefully mean that the Batman title will be just that…Dick dealing with becoming Batman.

My only big issue with this installment was at the end. Dick shows himself to the Scarecrow in a dramatic reveal of his new costume, but he looks like he’s been shooting steroids for a month, and I don’t think that the human arm physically has that many different muscles. Besides that, not bad. I can’t wait for Mark Bagley to take over next issue.

JSA vs Kobra #1
Story by Eric Trautmann
Art by Don Kramer

If there weren’t so many books coming out for Blackest Night, I might keep this title on my list. But, I think this is going to go on the Wait For the Trade list. The writing was tight and reminded me of the Checkmate book when Rucka was on it. I had a few issues with the art and some staging glitches that I thought confused a few panels, but overall it was not bad. Not bad, but not great.

Action Comics #878
Story by Greg Rucka
Art by Diego Olmos

The Kryptonian Bonnie & Clyde promised last issue did not disappoint. And in case you hadn’t figured this out on your own…do NOT interrupt Kryptonian criminals while they’re having sex. It will not end well for you.

We get some great relationship building between Lois and Flamebird and Nightwing and Flamebird. General Lane continues to be harsh towards the aliens and his daughter and the weird tattooed girl who has been hanging around the Superman titles lately continues to be ummm…weird.

OK, my one big problem with this issue came not from the art or the story, but from the marketing inside. Reading through the story, a team of Arizona Sheriffs happen upon a Congressman’s house that looks like a tornado hit it, they draw guns and go up to investigate….shhhh! they hear something…..they yell FREEZE! turn the page, and then…………a fold out insert for Cartoon Network’s summer giveaway! That’s not the surprise? Oh wait! Turn past that, and the Kryptonian Bonnie and Clyde they’ve been advertising are both naked and either pre or post-sex, with the Congressman’s wife encased in ice behind them. Doesn’t anyone check this stuff?? It kills the pacing of the reveal when you have to be bombarded by an advertisement (with a bunch of children on it, no less, considering what is on the page behind it) instead of continuing with the reveal. Anyway, that was my only real problem. Decent issue.


Maddy said...

(which is a small question I have, where did he get the Red Robin costume so quickly?)

Basically, in Countdown Jason Todd was in an alternate universe where the Batman there *had* killed the Joker after he killed Jason, and for some reason made Jason a costume (the Red Robin costume) despite the fact that he was dead. Then after travelling through a bunch of other alternate universes and possibly having been exposed to some virus that mutates animals into being homicidal, Jason and the others he was with arrived back on Earth. Jason then said "screw you guys, I'm going home!" and threw the costume in the dumpster in Metropolis.

Then later in Robin, a villain called the General showed up wearing the Red Robin costume (it was never explicitly stated, but I guess he found it in the dumpster?). I can't remember why or how Tim got a hold of the costume, but after an explosion burned the back of his head, he decided to wear that costume out one night (since he still had bandages on his head and didn't want to expose them).

So basically, alternate universe Batman --> Jason Todd --> dumpster --> General --> Tim.

Ahh, comics. =)

Jason D. Manger said...

Oh right, I forgot that Red Robin was in an issue or two of Robin. That makes some sense now. Thanks :-)