An impressive stack this week as I picked up 2 Marvel books (see, Kerry, I am diversifying), and a bunch of DC along with some other publishers. Some are hits, some are misses, some fall in between but I’ll be reviewing about 14 books in all this week, in 2 parts. What happened? Well…..
Rage Kitty returns, Bruce Wayne gets his portrait painted, the Alpha-Lanterns get sneaky, Steve Rogers shows off his new outfit and his new team (shhhhh, it’s a secret!), Reed Richards tells off a room full of his colleagues, Power Girl relaxes at a very exclusive spa, Krypto takes a bullet (well…knife) for Superboy, Captain Atom is seeing things, Megatron does a Luke Skywalker impersonation, Arsenal buys heroin….while in costume, Wonder Woman does some arena fighting, Major Bludd gets a backstory and Baron von Shock will put a BeeGees song in your head that just won’t come out (but reminds me of Eddie Izzard in Mystery Men, which makes me laugh).
Want more? Then keep reading below….
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Power Girl #12
Story by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner
Can we get a standing ovation for this team? What a phenomenal 12-issue run they pulled off and this issue wraps everything up nicely and puts it in the corner for later use. The new team’s direction seems to be a bit more action oriented so we may get back to the loveable, goofy PG at a later time. Capping off Karen and Atlee’s friendship, the alien party girls, the Ultra-Humanite, Satanna and a special appearance by none other than interstellar stud-boy himself Vartox, Palmiotti and Gray end their run on this title with an extremely satisfying finale.
Amanda Conner kills on art duties as usual and I am truly sad to see her go, but I will be giving the new team a chance to see where they take it. If you didn’t read this title and are tired of the doom and gloom of current superhero comics, I highly recommend picking this up in trade as it is very bright and extremely funny. This was truly the end of a great time with everyone’s favorite chesty heroine. Great job to Plamiotti, Conner and Gray!
Green Lantern Corps #48
Story by Tony Bedard
Art by Ardian Syaf
With two Green Lantern books out this week, this was definitely the lesser of the pair. In the first outing with the new creative team of Bedard and Syaf, the focus is on Ganthet’s resignation from the Guardians (which I thought he did way back when he started the Blue Corps, but anyway). There is also a scene that teases what I’m guessing will be the opening plot for the Green Lantern : Emerald Warriors book featuring Guy Gardner teaming up with Atrocitus of all people. Funny that this book is previewing Emerald Warriors, since I may be dropping Corps for that title in August.
Overall, the art is very well done but I’m just not that interested in another story telling us how strange and creepy the Alpha Lanterns are. I didn’t like them when they were created, and I still don’t. I may give it another issue or two to convince me, but I have a feeling that GL Corps is falling off of my regular list shortly.
Batman : The Return of Bruce Wayne #2
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Frazer Irving
This book was good and bad at the same time. There was more plot development in this one as we get a typical Morrisonian sequence talking about time and space and other hurt-your-brain concepts, but the art by Frazer Irving was truly disappointing. His dark and brooding art style fits the tone of the book, but it was so hard to tell the men apart since they are all dressed the same (understandable for the period). I think the story needed a crisp and clean style to make the plot flow better, and why are we spending so much time with Rip Hunter and his entourage when he’s getting his own spinoff mini-series in a little while?
Another issue that I had is that the images on the cover don't actually happen in the book. There is no Pilgrim Batman costume, and the Joker-like figure that appears prominently on the cover is nowhere in the book.
Two issues in and I’m not yet impressed by The Return of Bruce Wayne. The stories in Batman & Robin are much better and seem to be doing just fine bringing him back to our time. Not sure if I’ll be continuing with this title, because issue 3 will really have to blow me away.
Secret Avengers #1
Story by Ed Brubaker
Art by Mike Deodato
This book was not on my list to pick up this week but I saw it on the wall and something jumped out at me. I enjoyed catching up with Ed Brubaker’s Captain America and I’m attempting to get into more non-DC titles. Judging by the cover, I figured that these were all characters that I was relatively unfamiliar with and was interested to see how they fit into this story and the Marvel Universe in general.
For a Marvel noob like me, the characters were easy to get to know. Everyone on the team gets a little intro but we’re dropped right into the middle of a mission. One thing I dislike about new team books is that the first story arc tends to be a dull look at how the team got together and what role each individual will play. Not this one. We start with a mission already in progress and figure everything out along the way.
Great art by Mike Deodato who has moved past his older extreme Jim Lee-esque style to a sleeker, more modern style that fits this book. Ed Brubaker writes some fast action and a little twist at the end that made me look twice and say “Is that……?” Three issue rule in effect to see if it becomes my second regular Marvel book.
Story by Mike Costa
Art by E.J. Su
This month was sort of a “stop and catch your breath” issue for Transformers as we jump around and see what everyone is up to after the first half-year, all narrated by a mystery person who just happens to be featured on the cover. This is the second IDW title that has done this, by the way. A few weeks back Cobra Commander was revealed in a surprise full page at the end…..although he was on the cover! This volume of Transformers is not nearly as compelling or exciting as All Hail Megatron, but it’s a good read.
Whatever Happened to Baron von Shock? #1
Story by Rob Zombie
Art by Donny Hadiwidjaja
This was a very surprising book. Usually comics with celebrity names attached to them turn me off or don’t live up, but Rob Zombie’s Whatever Happened to Baron von Shock was surprisingly enjoyable. It tells the tale of Leon, a low-level TV station employee who falls quickly into a gig as host of a cheesy horror movie show. He quickly invents the title character and things skyrocket for him from there. As with all things that go up too fast, I’m guessing that we will see a harsh crash in issues to come.
Justice League : The Rise of Arsenal #3
Story by J.T. Krul
Art by Geraldo Borges, Kevin Sharpe & Sergio Arino
Right before this book came out; JT Krul was being billed as the “Writer to Watch” in 2010. I’m not seeing it right now. This issue was terrible. From a writing standpoint, Krul is trying way too hard to make Roy unlikeable to the point of going completely over the top. A top-level assassin comes to kill him (also happens to be the mother of his daughter) and he cracks sex jokes while fighting her off and then proceeds to attempt to have sex with her once she is tied up! Then he goes out to play vigilante and ends up buying heroin while still in his Arsenal costume. OK, we get it, Roy is not being himself.
The three artists on this issue do not blend well at all and it just gets downright painful at the end. I was interested in this book to watch the transformation of a former hero into the villain that they are clearly trying to turn Roy into, but now I just don’t care. I think there is only one issue left and I’ll read it just to get the end but I don’t think there is any way that it can redeem The Fall of The Rise of Arsenal.
Reviews will continue with Part 2 in a day or so!