Friday, June 26, 2009

Comic Book Reviews - 6/24/2009

Man, it seems the weeks are getting more and more expensive. 1 books this week, although 2 were from last week so we’ll call it 9. How did they stack up? Four were great, four were OK, and one was disappointing. Not a bad week.

What happened? Let me tell you...Poison Ivy plays dominatrix to Zatanna (sweeeet), Atom Smasher disses Stargirl, Mon-EL meets Robo-Octo-Ape (I’m not kidding, and it’s really cool), Omega Supreme blasts a hole in the Statue of Liberty, Batwoman gets a creepy new adversary, Destro gets a shiny new face, Wonder Woman punches a god in his face (you heard me), Springfieldianites await the big news about Radioactive Man, and the Guardians of the Universe pull a serious dick move.

I did pick up parts 1 & 2 of The Simpsons’ 3-Part Radioactive Man Event, so I will be reviewing these all at once after the next issue releases next week. Extremely funny so far :-) Want more? Click below :

Pick of the Week

Transformers : All Hail Megatron #12
Story by Shane McCarthy
Art by Guido Guidi

Note to big event writers : This is how you do a 12-issue story arc! From beginning to end, this book has been required reading for any fan of the Transformers. I really would love to see this story animated, similar to how GI : Joe Resolute was handled…a little more adult oriented and modernized, but keeping most of the Generation One goodness that we grew up with.

Most of the issue ties up all of the conflicts from the last issue, including the main fight between Megatron and Optimus Prime. After Prime proceeds to beat Megatron nearly to death (or I guess it would be deactivation) with his own arm cannon, a measly human delivers the crushing blow. Starscream shows incredible maturity and leadership, for once, for instead of yelling his usual “Megatron has fallen! I am your new leader!!” he picks up his fallen superior out of respect and carries him off the battlefield like a true soldier. I guess Megatron’s speech a few issues ago really hit home with him.

Oh, and that little matter of a nuclear device being delivered by a Decepticon in disguise? Totally handled by an extremely unexpected character who steps up for the sake of honor, and is sacrificed for his beliefs. This was a completely out of the blue story twist that worked very well. Like I said before, this should be required reading for any Transformers fan and is currently my frontrunner for Title of the Year.

Disappointment of the Week

Green Lantern #42
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan and Eddy Barrows

I hate to do this to my favorite title from DC, but this week’s issue just seemed to fall short. From a really unappealing explanation of last week’s cliffhanger to unbelievably poor art, this week’s Green Lantern was a poor end to the Agent Orange storyline.

First the story. Hal gets his hand cut off by Agent Orange last issue, right? Wrong. It was a construct of Hal. For a guy who commands a whole army of ring constructs, you would think he could tell the difference. The John Stewart and Fatality thing…huh? And finally, what the hell did the Blue Lanterns ever do to the Guardians??? I know Ganthet and Sayd left to start the Blue Lantern Corps, but was that enough for the Guardians to point Agent Orange in their direction??? Whoever was beginning to hate that Guardians before, get ready to really hate them now.

Now the art. Philip Tan’s art completely fell apart in this issue. It goes from clean to sketchy, and the inking seems poorly executed as well. Then, as if this wasn’t enough, there are painted panels that completely stand out from the regular panels that are laid in here and there.

The only saving grace of this issue is the epilogue, which deals with Lanterns Saarek and Ash finally locating the Anti-Monitor’s corpse inside the Black Lantern. As Saarek realizes that maybe the dead people that have been speaking to him haven’t been very helpful, a pair of giant hands reach up to attempt to trap them. Could this be Nekron, rumored puppeteer of the Black Lantern Corps??? We’ll hopefully find out next issue.

This issue wasn’t horrible, but I do hold Green Lantern up to a higher standard than most books because it has kicked serious ass for the longest time. Blackest Night starts next issue so we should be back to awesomeness.

The Rest

Detective Comics #854
Story by Greg Rucka
Art by J.H. Williams III

A decent start to the Elegy storyline starring Batwoman, but the real story here is the art by J.H. Williams III. When Kate Kane is living her normal life, all is normal in the art. Regular grid panels laid out in the classic manner. But when she dons the Batwoman costume, all hell breaks loose on the page. We see varied panel styles, shapes and sizes, art that jumps from panel to panel in the most dynamic style that I have seen in quite some time, if ever.

Rucka turns in a good start to the story and introduces a (I think) new villain for Batwoman to contend with. The backup Question story goes absolutely nowhere, but it could just need some setup to get up and running.

G.I. Joe #6
Story by Chuck Dixon
Art by Robert Atkins

I honestly can’t remember from the cartoon how or why Destro got his metal mask, but we get a solid explanation in this issue. As he is trying to convince Baroness that Conra’s money is being well spent, Destro demonstrates his technology for “weaponized teleportation” which just sounds downright cool. After an error in the return teleport, he has to wear a suit that stabilizes him, complete with a full head metal mask.

This series continues a very slow build, which is thoroughly enjoyable considering we are 6 issues in and we have barely scratched the surface of Cobra. I have enjoyed the focus on Destro as the initial villain, since he is one of my favorites from the original cartoon.

Great issue every month and a title I definitely look forward to every time it comes out.

Gotham City Sirens #1
Story by Paul Dini
Art by Guillem March

I’m not sure what exactly I think about this issue. The art is pure Guillem March cheesecake, which isn’t exactly bad…especially with the main characters being three of the sexier female DC stars. There is one gratuitous scene where Poison Ivy uses her control over plant life to tie up and question Zatanna as she is half-naked and getting into a tub, but overall the art is very well done.

Story wide, it’s pretty much pure setup in this issue for what’s to come. Villains teaming up and then turning on each other, and there is a pretty amusing newcomer villain that keeps annoying the girls. Not a bad issue by any means, but it is on my 3-issue death watch considering the sheer number of Bat-Titles out right now.

Superman #689
Story by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes

Superman this month was a surprise and I totally enjoyed the flood of new and underused characters that the issue introduced. Here’s to hoping that these characters get followed up on in the future.

Mon-El flies around the world to do some sightseeing but along the way he realizes that a hero’s work is never done. As he meets these new heroes, and villains you just want to hear more about them past their one or two panel appearances. We meet the British hero team of Beaumont and Sunny Jim, the Spanish La Sangre, the German Von Hammer, Congorilla and Freedom beast in Africa, then off to Japan to fight the giant Robo-Octo-Ape alongside Dr. Light and Rising Sun.

Along with Guardian sticking up for Mon-El in the increasing anti-Kryptonian (and anti-alien) climate of Metropolis, and John Henry Irons getting quite a surprise at IronWorks, the issue is packed with plot setup and guest appearances making it a great read and a look at things to come.

Wonder Woman #33
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti

In the final issue of the Rise of the Olympian storyline we get a recap of what happened previously, and a look forward to what may be coming. Diana returns to Themyscira battered from her fight with Genocide as Ares springs an army of demons on the island.

Zeus arrives after all is done and tells Diana to return to worshipping him, which Diana responds to by punching Zeus in the face. Yup, you heard me right, Wonder Woman punches a god in the face. After that she leaves the island, and her mother and sisters behind to brave it on her own.

Not the best issue ever, but a good wrap-up to the Olympian story.

Justice Society of America #28
Story & Art by Jerry Ordway

Part 2 of the 2-part Jerry Ordway story wraps up as we prepare for Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges along with Jesus Merino to take over this title. The story provides a good break in between Johns leaving and the new team coming to bat. Also, and I just realized this, the second title this week to involve a nuclear weapon falling from the sky (the other being All Hail Megatron).

Nothing particularly Earth-shattering happens and it seems like this was a story that was kind of hanging around looking for a two-issue hole to fill. Not a bad story to fill-in the gap, though and we get started back into continuity and the new team next issue.

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