Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comic Book Reviews - 8/12/2009

Nine books came home with me this week (had to leave two behind, but I’ll try to fit them in next week).

What happened? Bruce Wayne draws cars, dinosaurs and airplanes, Zod and Ursa have some intimate naughty time, Mongul finds a new home, Damian Wayne gets possessed, Aquaman puts the Atlantean band back together, Destro is not a big fan of his new outfit, and Superman returns to Earth…briefly.

Also in comic new this week, it seems that Diamond's cover for an upcoming Previews catalog made it out to the internet and in turn, let the cat out of the bag for who the "Big Bad" will be in Blackest Night. It's no huge surprise to those that have been following speculation on the 'net but I'm still immensely interested. Check out this link to The Weekly Crisis if you want to see it.

Click below for the reviews :


Blackest Night #2
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis

In any big event, the Issue #1 tends to be the one filled with “Oh Shit!” moments and reveals to draw you in to the upcoming story. A good indicator of how the event will hold up is how well Issue #2 stacks up against #1. And I will say that Blackest Night #2 stacks up.

Issue 2 continues Geoff Johns’ epic tale that has been building for years about the dead heroes and villains of the DC Universe coming back to life. This issue is still laced with the aforementioned “Oh Shit” moments, but also builds upon what came before and what is touched on in the tie-in issues (skillfully continuing the thread from Green Lantern #44) and upping the ante by recruiting even more characters into the Black Lantern Corps. Aquaman is quite a focus in this issue and I’ve never enjoyed him this much. Everyone mocks his powers as a joke, but it’s no joke when he commands the ocean’s dead creatures in this issue. Actually it’s one of the more brutal scenes contained within.

Ivan Reis is doing phenomenal work here, and the little touches throughout are a great bonus. As two Black Rings head to Washington DC to recruit the corpses of Don and Hank Hall (Hawk and Dove), they pass by a few birds who quickly fall dead from the sky. His rendering of the Black Lanterns are excellent, keeping just enough of the former character’s costumes so they are instantly recognizable but changing them enough to remind you that this is something different. My favorite scene has to be the heartfelt conversation between Barbara and Jim Gordon on top of the Gotham PD, interrupted only by Hal Jordan being thrown into the Bat-Signal and destroying it in the process.

I won’t give away what characters show up but there was at least one that I was not expecting to be recruited into the Black Corps, and the integration of the appearance of Pariah (the crying harbinger of doom from COIE) was handled very well. And once again, the team of Barry and Hal is perfectly written and drawn. Flash fact.


Batman #689
Story by Judd Winnick
Art by Mark Bagley

In the second issue of Winnick and Bagley’s run on Batman, the differences between Bruce as Batman and Dick as Batman become more apparent. This is what I wanted to see. Dick Grayson, consummate performer and comfortable in the spotlight, taking down Gotham’s criminals with a smile and a hint of actual enjoyment that the Dark Knight never really had (at least in modern times).

Bagley’s art continues to impress, but my main problem with the issue comes in the form of a nitpick. Who is editing these comics??? Here we have one of the key books in DC’s lineup and there are two obvious grammatical issues here that jumped out. First, on page 7 when Two-Face tells his lackey that he’s going to need someone for a job, the lackey replies “I’m got some names.” Second, on page 16, Batman says “…I’ve going to have my hands full.” Clearly, the first words were swapped somehow but between 9 pages? Errors like this take me out of the book quickly and that’s the main reason that I have an issue with it. If DC just hired a 12 year old to proof the books part-time this would be taken care of.

GI Joe #8
Story by Chuck Dixon
Art by S.L. Gallant

Something just didn’t cut it for me in this issue. The previous 7 issues were action-packed and thrilling while this one just sort of fell flat. It definitely feels like a fill-in issue. This happened with All Hail Megatron for one issue and I hope it only lasts an issue here because I’ve thoroughly been enjoying this series so far.

Blackest Night : Batman #1
Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ardian Syaf

This is how you do event tie-ins! Continuing the Boston Brand (Deadman) story from Blackest Night #2 and tying it into the current Batman and Robin, we see how the New & Improved Dynamic Duo will be dealing with the risen dead.

It’s no huge surprise who comes back at the end of this issue considering Dick Grayson’s origins, but it’s very creepy. And Deadman possessing Batman, only to realize that Bruce Wayne is no longer wearing the cowl is great.

Green Lantern Corps #39
Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

Taking place during Blackest Night #1, we are treated to a much more expanded version of what happened on Oa as the dead members of the Green Lantern Corps are resurrected.

Peter J. Tomasi weaves this story in perfectly with the main Blackest Night book and Patrick Gleason’s art has never looked better. Most of the issue deals with the black rings arriving on Oa but we also touch base with Mongul for a few pages. He seems to be on a “Let’s see how much we can piss off Sinestro” kick lately since he jacked half of his army, and is now settling in on Sinestro’s home planet of Korugar to make it his new base of operations after he was kicked off of Daxam.

While not as emotional or horrifying as Blackest Night #1, this issue does serve to fill-in some scenes that were compressed in the main book. You can tell that Geoff Johns is living up to his promise to personally oversee the Blackest Night books to ensure that we get a complete story that flows between the tie-ins.

Superman : Secret Files 2009
Story by James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Sterling Gates & Geoff Johns
Art by Pete Woods, Aaron Lopresti, Jamal Igle, Pere Perez, Francis Manapul, Renato Guedes, Matt Camp, Fernando Dagnino & Stefano Gaudiano

If you’ve been reading Superman, Supergirl, Action Comics & Superman : World of New Krypton for the past 6 months or so then you don’t really need most of this issue, as it serves mainly to recap the events that brought us to the current story arc titled Codename : Patriot.

Personally, I have been following all of these books and I still enjoyed this issue because it refreshed all of this in my mind. There are also 4 mini stories focusing on Supergirl, Ursa, Mon-El and surprisingly, Lex Luthor’s former Vice-President Pete Ross.

The maps of Metropolis and New Krypton were pretty cool, but the character profiles where what I found most interesting here. There is a vast cast of characters in the Superman books currently and this definitely helped to keep everyone straight.

Final Crisis Aftermath : Escape #4
Story by Ivan Brandon
Art by Cliff Richards

Final Crisis Aftermath : Run! is clearly the leader as the best FC Aftermath book, but Escape was running a close second. Now, 4 issues in (out of 6), we’ve still managed to answer nothing and raise tons of questions.

One of the characters has an epiphany as to what is going on but she (selfishly) doesn’t share it with us. Guest appearances by Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill and the Miracle Machine from Final Crisis do not help to ease our confusion.

Seeing that I am now two-thirds of the way into this mini series, I’m in for the whole run now. Hopefully a complete read through at the end will shed some light on what is happening here.

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