Sunday, August 23, 2009

Comic Book Reviews 8/16/2009

7 books for this week (plus 2 stragglers from last week) make it a good time to be a comics fan.

What happened? Mon-El gets an edumacation regarding his home planet of Daxam, Sunstreaker gets all Emo (for good reason, mind you), Power Girl gets hit on by Howard Wolowitz from Big Bang Theory (seriously, Sheldon was there too), Supergirl gets the cold shoulder from Lois Lane, Smallville gets a visit from it’s first (but most likely not the last) Black Lantern, and Bruce Wayne (aka Hush) continues to give away vast amounts of money like a drunken billionaire playboy.

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Pick of the Week :

Power Girl #4
Story by Justin Grey & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Amanda Conner

For most new titles, I tend to have a three issue trial period. If I’m not feeling it after the first three issues then I’m out. Power Girl went to a fourth issue for me since the new arc began here, it completely delivered and has now earned a spot on my monthly pull list.

This issue is actually sort of a bridging issue between story arcs and gives us a glimpse into Power Girl’s life when she’s not punching super villains in a bodysuit with a large hole in it. In her civilian identity, Karen Starr, she takes in a movie with Terra which is a very funny scene as Terra is not quite used to the horror genre. It’s nice to see PG using her secret identity though because for a long time she was just Power Girl 24/7. But it doesn’t last long as ogres and elves and a girl wielding a magic tome shows up...commence punching and wisecracks.

Conner’s art is amazing, her facial expressions are dead on and the little touches in the background are great. Towards the end of the issue, Karen Starr is talking with one of her Starrware execs in here office, the exec is sitting on a couch with his suit jacket lying next to him. On the arm of the couch across from him is a cat. As soon as the exec gets up and leaves his jacket there, the cat for no reason at all sits on his jacket. I laugh at this because any time I leave a piece of dark colored clothing laying somewhere for even a second, our long-haired white cat makes it his new resting place.

The dialog is quick and witty. Lines such as “I thought you were dead…” rebutted with “I got better!” from the opening scene and the Elf Princess’ “Stand aside Busty Airborne Lass or I shall be forced to unleash my fury on thee!” might typically come off as cheesy but they work with the fun tone of this title.

The story will make you laugh out loud and is thoroughly refreshing in these dark times of brooding death in the comic universes. By the way, the movie trailer opening was great, and I could hear Don LaFontaine (the movie trailer voice guy) saying “At a time of crisis…..”

The Rest :

Supergirl #44
Story by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle

Codename : Patriot is quickly gaining momentum and this issue is essentially the episode before the season finale. Lots going on here as many different plot threads are coming together and something big is about to happen in Metropolis. All of these super-powered individuals are headed for a huge conflict that will be taking place in next week’s Superman #691.

I’m also curious to learn more about the mysterious new character Mirabai, whose powers seem strongly magic based. This spells trouble for the Superman crew as magic tends to cause them issues.

Batman : Streets of Gotham #3
Story by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen

This is one of those titles that was on my potential drop list recently not because of quality or anything like that, it’s just that I may have to trim my titles down a bit. After this issue though, it’s safe for the foreseeable future. Nguyen’s art continues to impress and fits this story perfectly with his use of shadow and dim surroundings.

I’ve come to a conclusion. I dislike Damian Wayne (the new Robin for those living in a cave)…except when he is written by Paul Dini. I still dislike him, but Dini makes it so much more fun to hate him. The issue has some great Damian dialog as well as a nice twist in the Hush story along with some guest cameos.

This issue also shows that Dick Grayson is a BMW man, which is a good thing. The reintroduction of Mr. Zsasz as a top level villain is excellent too, with his new & improved look recalling a well dressed Mickey Know from Natural Born Killers.

GI Joe Special : Helix
Story by Brian Reed
Art by Joe Suitor

Introducing a new character into the world of GI Joe, this issue provides us with a quick shove into the world of a master combatant and savant level tactician….that has gone missing. Not much is revealed here and the issue seems to jump around quite a bit but the character has major potential and I hope she shows up in the main series.

Blackest Night : Superman #1
Story by James Robinson
Art by Eddy Barrows

Kicking off the third Blackest Night tie-in series (after Tales of the Corps and Batman), we are introduced to 2 new Black Lanterns. The first caused a big ruckus when his action figure pictures were released through Previews and the second is pretty easy to figure out once you know who the first is although he is on the cover so you know we’re talking about Kal-L, the Superman from Earth 2 who bought it in Infinite Crisis.

Lots of talky bits with a little action (including some action from Krypto) don’t make for a bad issue but it’s definitely less exciting so far than Blackest Night : Batman. I’m also kind of ticked off that the Shane Davis cover that has been solicited on DC’s website and in Previews was the variant cover and not the regular one. Oh well.

Superman Annual #14
Story by James Robinson
Art by Javier Pina

Re-weaving the history of Mon-El and his xenophobic homeworld Daxam into the fabric of the DC universe, Annual #14 was much more interesting than I was expecting.

Mon-El is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters since his release from the Phantom Zone and quick takeover of Superman’s monthly title. This book really fleshes out his background and that of his people, from a Kryptonian colony to the hate-filled xenophobes they became.

James Robinson does a wonderful job of telling this tale almost in the form of a History Channel documentary. Art is handled by Javier Pina (Suicide Squad) and looks impressive. There is a grand scope to this issue and Pina captures it perfectly.

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