Thursday, July 9, 2009

Comic Book Reviews - 7/8/2009

A very easy week on the wallet, but full of quality…and that’s what counts. Four books (I forgot to pick up Red Robin #2…d’oh!) and all four were up to par. I did finally pick up the Black Hand action figure that I have been eyeing at the comic shop, and he says “Read Jason’s reviews or I’ll get you with the Touch of Death!”

What happened? This one will be quick : Kal-El gets sentenced to death….then he’s fine…then death…then, well it wraps up nicely, the new Batman smiles a lot…it’s kind of creepy, Wednesday Comics made me smile, and Black hand is absolutely one of the creepiest villains ever and how is he supposed to lead an army of the dead if he is still…oh, that’s how.

Want more? Click below :


Green Lantern #43
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke

First I’ll address the cover, which is beautifully drawn by Green Lantern’s new artist Doug Mahnke, but nothing that appears on it actually happens inside the issue. Although on second thought, Bruce Wayne’s grave could be a symbol of all the dead heroes and in that light it makes a little more sense. On to the actual issue.

At no point (except in flashbacks) does a Green Lantern appear in this book, which could have easily been titled Black Hand : Secret Origin. This is in no way a bad thing though, as Black Hand’s story is deep and interesting…and ultra-creepy. I read an interview with Geoff Johns where he said something to the effect of feeling disturbed after writing scenes with Black Hand to the point that he had to step away and do something else to get his mind out of that zone, and now we see why.

If you’ve been following Green Lantern for the past few years then much of this issue will look familiar as we recap Black Hand’s origin and fights with the Green Lanterns. But as we delve deeper into William Hand’s childhood, an uneasy feeling sets in. You’re looking at this wholesome, adorable little boy who already has a monster developing inside of him.

Cut to the present day for the most disturbing homecoming that I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say that I assumed they would have to go down this road eventually, just not so graphically. I’m not complaining though, because these scenes are beautifully rendered by Mahnke, especially the full page panel where Black Hand “joins” the Black Lantern Corps.

Johns does his usual fantastic job of weaving histories and backgrounds together with new material to flesh out these characters even more. We do see the birth of the first Black Lantern, we see another “Emotional Entity” called The Predator who looks awfully violet to me, and we witness Scar (the Guardian) literally vomit up a Black Ring. It looks like Blackest Night ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s damned interesting so far.

Check out the first installment of Shining Light on Blackest Night later in the weekend for some more in-depth info along with some speculation.


Wednesday Comics #1
Story by ummm….everyone
Art by uhhh…lots of talented people

I will be the first to admit that since this has been announced, I had little interest in this endeavor. I’m not sure if it was the marketing or just my own issues that prevented me from looking forward to it, but I’m glad I picked it up.

From the second I unfolded the large format newsprint comic, I smiled. I remember clamoring for the Funnies section of the Delaware County Daily Times or Philadelphia Inquirer when I was growing up and this brought me right back. Now when my wife, who reads the local Milwaukee newspaper regularly because she cares about local and world events sits down to read her paper when we’re having coffee, I can pull out my own newspaper and update myself on what’s going on in the worlds of Superman, Batman and the rest. Makes me feel brainy, and makes me feel like I should have a pipe and a cardigan.

All of the stories this week were pretty much setup, as was expected from the first outing. My favorites so far are Green Lantern by Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones, Deadman by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck and Supergirl by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. The Wonder Woman section could have benefitted from a clearer font and a panel or two less, but otherwise that was decent too.

Since the stories are one page (albeit large pages) each, it’s difficult to review them like standard comics but I will say that these “non-current-continuity” stories are exactly what I’ve been looking for in comics lately. For those that read my review of the Simpson’s Radioactive Man Event, you recall my rant and Kent Brockman’s plug aboutcomics just telling good stories. Well this is off to a definite good start and will be added to my pull list.

Superman : World of New Krypton #5
Story by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods

For some reason, and maybe it’s just me, the panel layouts seemed thoroughly confusing on this issue. On many pages, I had to go back and re-read it because I didn’t realize the flow was supposed to stretch across the pages. That aside, the issue was not bad and was mostly a transition to the next story arc Codename : Patriot. The whole “putting Kal-El on trial for his life” thing was well done, but how suspenseful can it be when you know he’s not going to be executed? Still a decent book though.

Batman #688
Story by Judd Winnick
Art by Mark Bagley

This was a good beginning to Winnick and Bagley’s now short run on Batman. I like how they are really distinguishing Dick’s style from Bruce’s. I’m also enjoying Dick’s frustration at having to adapt to the Batman costume and he really can’t make that many changes to it because of the iconic nature. Alfred once again guides a young Batman through his trials with care and support.

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