The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of X-Factor. This is a very underrated title and is certainly one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. Davis continues to impress me with his incredibly strong writing on this title. I fully expect X-Factor #18 to be another great issue. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inker: Sandu Florea
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with Elijah, the leader of the X-Cell, is at Quicksilver’s apartment. Elijah blames the government for the events of M-Day. Elijah says that he has heard that Quicksilver can help ex-mutants. Quicksilver asks Elijah is worthy and Elijah says yes. Quicksilver is about to touch Elijah when Callisto arrives on the scene and grabs Quicksilver’s arm and tells Elijah not to touch him.
Callisto mentions how her powers were out of control when Quicksilver restored her mutant abilities. Quicksilver comments that Callisto was simply unworthy. That it may have been a part of Quicksilver’s learning curve of how to handle his new powers.
Quicksilver believes that he has refined the process and that he needs a vessel. That his power can be overwhelming and he requires somehow what can serve as a catalyst. Quicksilver will siphon his power to that person and then that person will place that power into the ex-mutant. Quicksilver says he already has someone in mind to act as that vessel.
We cut to the FBI questioning Rictor about the X-Cell. Val Cooper enters the room with Madrox by her side. Val tells Rictor that he is free to go.
We shift to Siryn and Monet along with the French girl arriving at the X-Factor brownstone. We zip inside brownstone where the members of X-Factor are meeting. Layla tells Madrox that they don’t need to go looking for the X-Cell. That everything will take care of itself. That the members of X-Cell will self-destruct on their own without X-Factor’s help. Layla tells them to trust her. That she “knows stuff.”
Monet, Siryn and Nicole, the French girl, enter the room. Monet and Siryn introduce Nicole to the members of X-Factor. Siryn tells Layla that Nicole is going to room with Layla. Layla is actually surprised. Rictor laughs saying how beautiful this is because Layla didn’t see this coming.
Monet says that taking on X-Cell is a waste of time. That they should just tell the members of X-Cell what really happened on M-Day. Layla gives up and says that even though she told them that they don’t have to do anything that if they want to ignore her then she ahs several locations they need to go to. Layla then gives Madrox and Rictor one location, Rahne and Guido another location and Siryn and Monet a third location.
We cut to Rictor and Madrox busting into a deli telling the deli guy to freeze. The deli guy asks them if they are here for the pick up for Layla Miller of X-Factor. The deli guy gives them an order of pastrami sandwiches. Rictor is pissed and wants to kill Layla.
We cut to Siryn and Monet standing on a street corner. They have no idea how long they are supposed to stand on this street corner. A car drives by and asks the ladies how much it will be for both of them together. Siryn and Monet both want to kill Layla.
We hop to Rahne and Guido lifting up a manhole cover in the middle of the street and peering down into the hole. They both agree that they aren’t going to go down into the sewer. The two decide to screw what Layla told them to do and go back to the alley where Rictor and Rahne first ran into the FBI and search for clues. Guido doesn’t place the manhole cover back on properly and they walk away.
We shift back to Rictor and Madrox walking back to the brownstone. Suddenly, a man rushes out of an alley and grabs the plate of deli sandwiches. The man’s hat and trench coat blow off and the man is none other than a de-powered Blob. Blob and Rictor start fighting.
Suddenly, a de-powered Fatale appears on the scene and attacks Madrox. Blob and Fatale manage to escape on hop into a stolen car and drive off. We see Blob and Fatale race by the street corner where Siryn and Monet are standing. They chase after the car. The car then hits the manhole cover that Guido didn’t put back properly and the tire gets stuck in the opening and the car crashes.
Siryn and Monet arrive at the car crash. Suddenly, Marrow appears on the scene and tells Siryn that it has been a long time since she saw her. End of issue.
The Good: X-Factor #18 was another fine read. David keeps cranking out quality issues on this title. X-Factor #18 was well paced giving us a satisfying blend of dialogue heavy scenes with a bit of action and excitement. This was also a well plotted issue with how Layla’s seemingly random assignments all clicked into place by the end of this issue.
Of course, David’s dialogue was top notch and all the characters are wonderfully developed with many layers to their personalities. This should not come as a surprise since I find X-Factor to be the title most committed to character work out of all the titles currently on the market.
X-Factor truly is an intelligent read. I can’t say that about many comic books that I read. Nor should I have to. A comic book doesn’t have to be “intelligent” for it to be an excellent read and well worth your money. However, it is enjoyable to read an “intelligent” comic book just as a refreshing change of pace. You can’t live off cotton candy just like you wouldn’t want to live off spinach.
David employs an enjoyable sense of humor in this issue. X-Factor in general is a rather dark title with storylines that are heavy and can really weigh on the reader. David wisely uses enough well placed humor in X-Factor #18 in order to keep the issue from being too dark. It also shows that David never takes himself or his story too seriously.
David continues to generate fantastic chemistry between the various characters. Rictor and Madrox always combine together for entertaining scenes. Their deli run highlighted how the two characters react differently to being manipulated by Layla.
Monet and Siryn continue to generate excellent chemistry. The scene with them standing on the street corner like two hookers was hilarious! I have to give David credit. Initially, I was not a fan of either Monet or Siryn. David has quickly changed that over the course of the past several issues. I now find both characters to be rather intriguing.
And I am continual shocked at how much David has made me absolutely love Layla’s character. Normally, you can count on my loathing the plucky teen-age female hero on any super team. Star-Girl and Cyclone from the JSA, Jubilee from the X-Men, Jolt from the Thunderbolts, etc. They are normally phenomenally irritating and annoying.
David wisely gives us the anti-plucky teen-age female hero with Layla. She is everything that the aforementioned teen-age female heroes are not. She doesn’t babble on like a bubble headed idiot. She isn’t overly perky and optimistic. Layla has an old soul. She is a scruffy alterna-teen who looks at the world with a jaundiced eye. She has a cool laid back attitude.
Best of all is Layla’s intriguing power which is a wonderful literary tool. There are endless entertaining possibilities with a writer like David who knows how to properly employ Layla’s abilities. X-Factor #18 is an excellent example of how Layla’s powers can be used to create a neat story.
David delivers an exciting hook ending to X-Factor #18. We get both the Blob and Fatale and then the final page appearance of Marrow. That is a pretty good ending that certainly gets me interested in the next issue.
I’m glad to see that David is focusing on many of the ex-mutants. It is interesting to see what characters like the Blob who were extremely powerful mutant villains and to contrast what they were with what they are currently doing. Plus, X-Factor is pretty much the only Marvel title that is still exploring the ramifications of the House of M story. To me, House of M failed to live up to the hype and was quickly dumped and overshadowed by the impending juggernaut known as Civil War.
I’m glad that David is still investigating the fall out from the events of the House of M and Decimation. There are still plenty of potential storylines to be cultivated out of M-Day that would provide for some entertaining issues.
The Bad: I’m just not a big fan of Khoi Pham’s artwork. I find it to be boring and unappealing. The art on X-Factor has been the Achilles’ heel for this excellent title. I’m disappointed that Pablo Raimondi was kept on this title.
Overall: X-Factor #18 was another fine read. David continues to impress with his incredible work on this title. There are very few reads on the market as well done as X-Factor. I strongly recommend giving this title a try.
Monday, April 30, 2007
The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of X-Factor. This is a very underrated title and is certainly one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. Davis continues to impress me with his incredibly strong writing on this title. I fully expect X-Factor #18 to be another great issue. Let’s hit this review.
The Revolution thought that last issue of Daredevil laid the foundation for what has the potential to be a pretty good story arc. Daredevil has lost a bit of its intensity ever since Matt Murdock got his name cleared, his law firm back and resumed his relationship with Mila. Hopefully, Brubaker has some more drama in store for ol’ hornhead. I expect Daredevil #96 to be a solid read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Matt and Becky talking with the prosecutor. The prosecutor says that Mevlin is going to be transferred back to Ryker’s. That Melvin does not have a mental illness. Matt demands a pscyh evaluation to be scheduled tomorrow for Melvin before he is taken to Ryker’s.
Matt and Becky leave the prosecutor’s office. Matt tells Becky that Melvin is guilty. That if Melvin has developed an even more dangerous personality disorder then there is not much they can do. Becky asks Matt what if Melvin is telling the truth and that he is being set up.
We cut to Daredevil on patrol that night. Daredevil takes down a mugger. While on patrol Daredevil thinks about that maybe Matt and Becky are being played. Or maybe Melvin had found a whole new level of crazy. Daredevil thinks how Melvin’s pulse and voice showed that he was scared like a little kid in the dark.
Daredevil wonders if Melvin was scared of himself or if there is another angle he is not considering. Is there someone who is an enemy of Melvin and can walk through walls or turn invisible. Daredevil’s gut tells him that Becky is wrong and that Melvin is guilty.
We shift to the next day with Melvin undergoing his psyche evaluation. The psychologist then reports her findings to the prosecutor, Matt and Becky. The psychologist says that Melvin is not mentally ill. That he is faking it. That he is guilty and he knows it. That Melvin is venting his anger about being imprisoned and persecuted.
The prosecutor offers Matt and Becky a deal on Melvin. That Melvin please to four counts of first degree manslaughter and serves fifteen years. Matt and Becky leave. Matt tells Becky that they should take the deal. That Melvin does know he committed these crimes. Matt doesn’t know why he did, but Melvin did do it. Matt says Melvin is guilty and fifteen years is a good deal.
We cut to Milla in the waiting room for psychiatrist Lyman Johnstone. Another patient waiting to see the doctor tells Milla how he is keeping his visits a secret from his wife. That he is probably being silly and underestimating her. He asks Milla what she thinks.
We zip forward to Milla coming home that night. She calls out for Matt. There is a phone message from Matt telling Milla that he has to work late on the Melvin case and for her to have a good night. Milla is upset since she wanted to talk to Matt.
We cut to Daredevil kicking ass on a bunch of thugs. Daredevil thinks how maybe Melvin isn’t being framed. That maybe he is being manipulated against his will. Maybe that is why Mevlin is so scared. Because he knows he is being set up, but he can’t do anything about it.
We see Melvin being placed in an armored prison transport van and being taken back to Ryker’s. Daredevil decides to shadow the prison van. Suddenly, two cars of thugs pull up to the prison van and kill the driver. The van wrecks. Daredevil starts brawling with the thugs. Two of the thugs blow the back of the van open and free Melvin. Melvin mutters that it is happening. But not like they promised. They lie. They always lie.
Melvin steps out of the van. Melvin starts screaming “Liars!” and begins killing the thugs. Melvin then starts pounding away on Daredevil yelling that Daredevil has always hated him. That Daredevil is a liar, too. Melvin says that he hates everyone and that they are all going to pay. Melvin then runs off.
We shift to the next morning. Matt arrives at his office and tells Foggy that Melvin escaped. Suddenly, there is a visitor at the law firm. It is Lily Lucca. Matt asks Lily what the hell she is going at his office. Matt tells Lily to leave immediately. Lilly pleads with Matt that she needs his help. That she is in trouble.
We cut to Melvin talking through the swerves and arriving at a secret hideout where his Gladiator outfit is located. Melvin mumbles that he must remember who his friends are and remember the way. To remember the Gladiator. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #96 was another solid read. Brubaker continues to crank out dependable and consistently good reads on this title. This issue wasn’t spectacular or anything special, but it is vintage Brubaker. Right now Brubaker is trying to build his next major story arc.
Brubaker just finished stunning the readers with the monster story arc with Matt in Ryker’s and then Matt in Europe trying to discover who was behind all the efforts to frame him. Now, it is only natural for Daredevil to seem a bit anti-climactic and lackluster. Brubaker’s first to big story arcs were amazing and are going to be tough to top.
However, I believe that if anyone can do it that Brubaker can. Brubaker typically takes his time setting up his story arcs. He is an extremely patient writer and enjoys employing a measured and steady pace to slide all of the pieces of the mystery into place before the real fireworks begin. That is what we have gotten in Daredevil #95 and #96.
The plotline involving Melvin is really starting to heat up. Melvin is an interesting character. He certainly isn’t your typical villain. I have always found his unusual relationship with Matt rather interesting. Melvin is a man-child that the reader genuinely can sympathize with.
Brubaker is doing a great job crafting a bizarre mystery with Melvin. Clearly, there is someone controlling Melvin by some strange manner. Could it be mind control? Could it be something more magical or mystical in nature? It definitely should be interesting to find out who is behind the manipulation of Melvin, how they are doing it and why.
Brubaker does a nice job handling Melvin’s gradual descent into madness and violence. The Melvin that we get at the end of Daredevil #96 is a stark contrast to the normal version of Melvin we usually see. Melvin completely snaps in an obscenity laced rage as he destroys everyone in his path. Brubaker excels at character work and the complete breakdown that Melvin is having is a good example of this strong character work.
The Milla plotline is beginning to get a bit more interesting. Clearly, Milla has issues stemming from her relationship with Matt. I’m curious to see why exactly Milla has to undergo therapy. Personally, I would be thrilled if Brubaker was positioning Milla to be written off of this title. I still find Milla to be terribly boring and uninteresting.
And Brubaker, with his excellent long term vision and plotting, mixes in yet another plotline with the appearance of Lilly. We all know that Lilly is the epitome of the lying, deceitful and manipulating bitch. Whatever Lilly is up it can’t be anything good. But, what makes her character so great is that you want to scream at the comic book and yell at Matt to not trust her.
Of course, Matt will somehow get suckered by Lilly because Matt always gets played for the chump by a pretty face. If you are a woman, you can probably manipulate Matt. And will Lilly’s appearance stir up some tension between Milla and Matt? Probably. At any rate, I am very interested to see what Lilly is up to and what mess she is going to drag Matt into.
As always, Brubaker delivers well crafted dialogue. Brubaker is a master of very realistic dialogue that posses a nice flow. Each character has their own well defined external voice. And this fine dialogue leads to great character work. Brubaker is the type of writer that isn’t afraid to deliver a slower paced issue with minimal action and plenty of strong character work. Each character in Daredevil is pleasantly well developed.
The Bad: At this point, I have to admit that this current story arc isn’t as exiting as the last story arc involving Matt over in Europe. And this issue and the last issue were a bit slow. Lastly, I still can’t stomach Milla. Milla and Echo were pretty much the only two things that Bendis did on his run on Daredevil that I didn’t like.
Overall: Daredevil #96 is a steady and technically sound read. Brubaker is constructing an interesting mystery. Brubaker’s Daredevil is a wonderful crime noir themed story. Daredevil is an excellent change of pace to all the universe spanning, time traveling, alternate reality hopping and universe shattering stories that you get on so many of the top titles on the market. I dig a street based urban hero with a more “realistic” fell that is based in the here and now. I definitely recommend giving Daredevil a try.
Friday, April 27, 2007
The Revolution has not been all that impressed with this Dominator story arc. I have found it to be rather anti-climactic. However, there is still a chance that Waid can deliver two real gems with his final two issues on Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes and make this Dominator storyline a real blast to read. Let’s hope for the best and do this review of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29.
Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Kevin Sharpe
Inkers: Mark McKenna and Jack Purcell
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the top combat technologist for the Dominators talking about how he learned from a teacher that the Dominators had to admit that technologically superior races sometimes fall to primitive foes. Even if it was unthinkable, someone must think the unthinkable in order to prevent the scum the galaxy from one day dragging the Dominators down.
The top combat technologist then looks outside his window and sees the Legionnaires attacking his city. The technologist says that the scum of the galaxy is now here. The Legionnaires battle the dominator troops. The Dominator shock troopers all say remember the 52.
We cut back to the top combat technologist, who says to himself that he has a plan in store in case of an attack like this. The technologist thinks how 10 centuries ago his ancestors joined other interstellar powers in an invasion of the planet Earth. Unfortunately, the humans won the war.
Ever since then, the Dominators withdrew from other races and grew more inclusive and withdrawn. The boundaries all of the Dominator Empire were fixed. In four to five centuries later, the Dominators signed a non-aggression pact with the humans.
Then, roughly a year ago, a human suddenly appeared through a rip in space time. We see Booster Gold appearing on the Dominator home planet. Booster streaks toward a new tachyon disrupt poor rifle that the top combat technologist had been working on. Right before the technologist was able to conduct the first live target cast, Booster sweeps in and takes the weapon.
Booster is speaking English, so the Dominators could not understand anything he was saying. Booster tells the Dominators that this weapon it was exactly what he was looking for. Booster then says that he has to go. That he has 52 worlds to save. Booster then exits through another rip in the space time.
The Dominators were able to translate what Booster said. The Dominators wondered how the humans could have allied 52 different worlds to war against the Dominator Empire. That this human broke the treaty, violated their borders and stole one of their newest weapons. That Booster Gold had declared war all in all dominators.
The top combat technologist enters the lab where he has the various members of the Legion and the Wanderers held captive. The technologist tells Sun Boy that he engineered the super soldier shock troopers in order to give Dominators their own Legion of Super Heroes. The shock trooper with the technologists tells of the technologist that they should simply execute the Legionnaires and join the fight outside.
The technologists says that the true enemy is not the humans it is hubris. The technologist then frees all of the Legionnaires and Wanderers. The technologist tells the shock trooper that his intention was never to defeat the humans but to invite catastrophic war. That he wants the humans to raise the Dominators flawed society. That one day, the shock troopers will replace it with a better version of the Dominators.
The shock trooper angrily punches the technologist into the wall and the technologist is impaled on a piece of metal. That technologists thinks to himself that he has no regrets. That a people who cling to the myth of their own perfection rather than face the truth are doomed. That he knew the only way to save the Dominators was too irrevocably change them.
That the Dominators will lose this war. And that his super soldiers will be scattered to the stars. Then they will pass on the X-factor that he and encoded in their genome. That in a few generations they will forever alter Dominator physiology. And that they will birth champions with abilities that even he cannot foresee.
We cut to the Legionnaires outside in the city battling with the shock troopers. Suddenly, Sun Boy and the other Legionnaires and Wanderers join the fight. Cosmic Boy then rallies the heroes and tells them that this is the final battle. And that today, either the Dominator home world falls or Earth does. End of issue.
The Good: Wow. I can’t believe what a pedestrian read Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29 was. I found the truth behind the Dominator’s connection to the 52 to be a total joke. It was such a bad job that I busted out laughing. It was unintentionally funny. Kind of like a cheesy movie that takes itself seriously.
The connection between the Dominators and the 52 was so idiotic that I couldn’t stop laughing. And laughing is a positive so that fulfills The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity that I say something nice about every issue no matter what.
The Bad: Ok, did I miss something? The solicitation for Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes lists Mark Waid as the writer and Barry Kitson as the artist. Yet, that is most definitely not the creative team that we got on this issue. Instead, it is Tony Bedard handling the writing duties for this penultimate issue of Waid’s big Dominator story arc and his swan song on this title.
I was under the impression that Waid and Kitson’s run on this title was done with issue #30 and that Bedard would take over the writing duties and Kevin Sharpe would take over the art duties with issue #31. I also was under the impression that the Dominator story arc was Waid’s big swan song and the huge culmination of everything that Waid has been leading up to during his entire run on this title.
And yet, Bedard is the writer for Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29. What a disappointment. Waid can’t even finish out his own final story arc that has been hyped as a huge culmination of all the events that have taken place on this title since the first issue. That is an absolute joke.
I have always liked Waid’s writing and I think he is an immensely creative and talented writer who has an amazing encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU. When I first heard that Waid was taking over the Legion I was genuinely excited about the Legion for the first time since the Crisis on Infinite Earth decimated the Legion. I figured a writer as talented and knowledgeable as Waid would be able to rejuvenate a slumping and flagging franchise and make it an excellent read. I thought we might be in store for the best version of the Legion since the Pre-Crisis Legion came to an end.
Wow, was I ever wrong. Waid completely and totally failed to live up to the hype. Waid never seemed to take his job on the Legion seriously. During his entire run, he either gave half-hearted efforts on very pedestrian story arcs or he had to get guest writers to carry his load while he concentrated on other titles like 52. It is a real shame that Waid failed to live up to the high expectations. I truly expected more out of a big name talent like Waid.
Now, I’m going to pound on Bedard for the shortcomings of this issue. I know that Bedard is filling in for Waid and that this is Waid’s plot and not Bedard’s plot. It is analogous to when I was a brand new attorney and had only been practicing for about a month when a senior partner sent me in on a motion with a judge on a case that the partner had royally screwed up.
The judge was hot under the collar and reamed me out at that hearing. The judge prefaced it by saying that he understood that it was the senior partner that had screwed the case up and made the judge mad and not me. However, I was the one standing there representing the law firm so I was going to get the reaming. That is pretty much what is going to happen to Bedard with my criticism.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29 was an intensely slow and plodding issue. I have had more fun watching paint dry. This is issue is the second to last issue of this “huge” story arc and this is what we get? The rambling, boring and dry inner monologue of a Dominator technologist that runs through the entire issue?
Oh god. What a great way to absolutely kill any and all momentum that this story arc had managed to build up. You could hear the screeching of tires and the resounding thud as this issue just completely slammed this story arc into neutral. I am beyond stunned that we would get such an incredible sluggish and dull issue right before the final issue of this “major” story arc.
We ended last issue with the promise of what was going to be some insane action between the combined forces of the Legion and the Wanderers going up against the Dominators on the Dominator Homeworld. But do we get any of that action? Nope. We don’t even get much of the Legion in this issue.
Instead, all we get is tons of incredibly dull and dense narrative from the Dominator technologist. I now know more about the Dominator Empire than I ever wanted or cared to know. I was waiting for Bedard to tell us about the agricultural practices of the Dominator Empire and how that has evolved over time. Maybe even some information about their procedures for ratifying new laws. That would have been just as riveting as what we got.
And what the hell is up with the mystery behind the Dominators connection with the 52? It all stems from Booster Gold showing up, stealing a prototype weapon, then mentioning saving the 52 worlds and then the Dominators misinterpreting what Booster said to mean that Earth had aligned 52 worlds to fight against the Dominators? That is it? Are you kidding me? That is totally asinine. Talk about being the very epitome of anti-climactic.
I am stunned that this was all there was behind the Dominators connection with the 52. I mean, talk about totally building up the anticipation about the Dominators and their connection with the mysterious 52 and then delivering this mind numbingly uncreative and underwhelming revelation. Talk about a much to do about nothing!
The revelation of the connection between the Dominators and the 52 is simply a microcosm of Waid’s entire run on this title. It falls completely short of any and all the hype that we got leading up this point. It is as if Waid didn’t even try to bother to create something interesting with this connection between the Dominators and the 52. Waid simply came up with an uncreative and contrived connection just to try and bump the sales and interest of the title that he cares more about over in 52.
I found Bedard’s dialogue to be rather stiff and generic. I know that the plot for this issue was Waid’s plot. However, the dialogue us all on Bedard and I was certainly not impressed. I really hope Bedard learns how to write some personalities into the various Legionnaires by the time he assumes full control of this title.
It is a real shame that I am far more excited about the Legion story arc that Meltzer and Johns have been crafting over on the JSA/JLA team-up. What is going on over on the JLA and the JSA only makes the obvious defects of the poor stories on the Legion’s own title even more glaring. At this point, I wish DC would just kill off this version of the Legion and replace it with whatever they have in store for us over on the JSA and the JLA.
Waid’s three-boot of the Legion has been massively disappointing. And I simply don’t see Bedard being the man to be able to turn the tide and make this title a good read once again. I hope that Bedard proves me wrong.
I found Sharpe and McKenna’s artwork to be terribly average. The art was rather flat and boring. And the way Sharpe draws the faces of the Legionnaires is just terrible. Combine their art with an already dull story and you get one unappealing comic book.
Overall: Wow, the chances do not look good that I’m going to be enjoying this new creative team on this title if this issue is any example of what Bedard and Sharpe will be brining to the table. Bedard’s writing was stiff and boring. Sharpe’s artwork is rather unimpressive and certainly not even close to the standard that Kitson set on this title.
I think it is possible that Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes has slipped down several notches with Bedard replacing Waid and Sharpe replacing Kitson. I already wasn’t very impressed with Waid and Kitson’s Legion, but I’m afraid that Bedard and Sharpe’s Legion will have me yearning for Waid and Kitson’s Legion.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Justice Society of America has been one of DC’s hottest titles on the market. I love what Johns is doing with this newest incarnation of the JSA. And I enjoyed the first issue of this JLA/JSA crossover involving the seven missing Legionnaires. There is absolutely no way that I won’t enjoy Justice Society of America #5. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Ruy Jose
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with, Batman, Geo-Force, Starman and Sandman arriving at Arkham Asylum. Sandman comments how he now has Wesley Dodds’ ability to dream prophetic visions. Sandman tells Batman that he dreamed about a laughing skeleton, a girl with a star shaped birthmark and Batman torn to shreds inside of Arkham.
Batman inspects one of the doctors who is shrieking in terror about some African velvet biters who have crawled all over her. Batman notes that this doctor lost her brother when he was bitten by one of these types of spiders while on a safari in Africa.
Batman says that someone is making nightmares literally come to life at least temporarily. We see this spider vanished into a puff of smoke. Batman notes that since Doctor Destiny no longer has the Dream Stone, that he must be using some other talisman for his source of powers.
Starman points into the Asylum and says it's the doctor with no face. Geo-Force says that Mr. terrific has located a flight ring inside arc him. Batman says that Starman must be talking about Doctor Destiny. Starman says if he gets his heart back he will get his mind back.
Batman tells Starman to focus and asks him what Dream Girl can do. Starman says she stole his heart. And that she did not blame him for Kenz Nuhor. Starman says he misses her and that she still loves him. Starman says her powers are to see into the future.
Sandman comments that Dream Girl has powers like his. Geo-Force says that Sandman can also cause tremors and raise lava. And that Starman is able to increase the gravitational pull on objects. And that it is interesting that Geo-Force has both of their powers combined. Starman then leans in and tells Geo-Force that he smells like mud.
Batman tells Sandman and Geo-Force that there is an emergency exit in the back of the Asylum. That they can break into and sneak around to the back of the cells and get Dream Girl out of Doctor Destiny's reach. Batman then notices that Starman has gone ahead and entered the front of the Asylum.
We cut to Starman inside of the Asylum looking at the security room that has monitor screens showing all the various cells. Batman, Geo-Force and Sandman catch up to Starman. Geo-Force says that they have left themselves exposed to Doctor Destiny and must prepare to face their own nightmares.
Batman retorts that Destiny has stronger nightmares to throw at them than their own. That he will use the fears from Two-Face, the Riddler and the Mad Hatter. Geo-Force asks what they are afraid of. Batman responds me. We then see numerous versions of Batman appear on the scene and attacks our heroes.
While Starman, Sandman and Batman battle the nightmare versions of Batman, Starman runs off toward Dream Girl's cell. Starman busts down the wall to herself and sees Doctor Destiny and a chained up Dream Girl. Doctor Destiny then takes Starman's greatest fear which is Kenz Nuhor, Dream Girl's old lover that Starman accidentally killed. Kenz begins to choke Starman.
Starman begs Doctor Destiny to let Star girl go. Starman then remembers the wake up word. Starman then says “Lightning Lad” in Interlac. Dream Girl suddenly wakes up and by doing so Doctor Destiny's connection to her power is caught off. Dream Girl then breaks free of the chains and takes down Doctor Destiny.
Dream Girl and Starman hug each other. Dream Girl tells Thom that she missed him so much. Dream Girl then tells Starman that she had a vision. And that by coming here one of them is going to die.
We then cut to the Fortress of Solitude, where we see the team of Superman, Red Tornado, Cyclone and Star Girl. Star Girl tells Cyclone to go talk to Red Tornado since she is the granddaughter of the first Red Tornado. Cyclone approaches Red Tornado and asks if he remembers her. Red Tornado says he does remember her back when his creator, T.O. Morrow, kidnapped Cyclone when she was six years old in order to lure Red Tornado back to him.
The heroes then enter Superman's Memorial Room. Superman gives Red Tornado his Legion flight ring. Red Tornado tell Superman that he is still detecting another Legion flight ring within the fortress. Star Girl comments how she has never heard of the Legion of Super Heroes before today. Star Girl asks Superman who they were. Superman says that they were his friends. We then get a splash shot of several Legionnaires from what it appears to be various versions of the Legion of Super Heroes.
Superman comments how when he was a teenager he wasn't lucky like Star Girl to have a friend like Cyclone. Superman says he had to keep his powers under control. And that he accidentally broke a boy's arm when playing foot ball when he was 12. That for years the only people he could be himself around were his parents.
Then one day after school, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl showed up and told him that when Clark gets older he would become the inspiration that would help found the Legion. That they took Superman to their future and made him an honorary member. Superman said that the Legion had a clubhouse and flight rings. Superman says that in the end they inspire him more than he inspired them.
Superman says that the Legion gave him the statues on the last day he saw them years ago. Each one in a costume from an adventure they wanted him to remember them by. Superman said that after the first Crisis occurred he never saw them again.
Superman says that he doesn't know what is wrong with Starman. And that even karate kid has a certain sadness to him. Superman wonders what happened to the Legion of Super Heroes when they grew up. (I know what happened. The TMK Legion happened. That is enough to make anyone sad.)
Red Tornado then tell Superman that he has located the other flight ring. That one of the statues is wearing it. Cyclone then points out that there are two statues off Wildfire. Superman says that one of them is not a statute. Superman says the wake up word in Interlac. Wildfire then wakes up.
Wildfire comments how he could not move or say anything. Wildfire says that he is going to kill Brainiac five. Wildfire mentions a storm. Superman asks Wildfire what storm he is talking about. Superman asks Wildfire why the Legion are here in their time.
We cut to Batman, Sandman, Geo-Force and Starman arriving back at the hall with Dream Girl. End of issue.
The Good: Justice Society of America #5 was a fantastic read. I thought it was well paced with a good blend of action and dialogue. Johns also gives us a well plotted story. Johns is clearly and methodically putting into place various pieces of the puzzle that is sure to result in a wild climax. Johns also does a nice job continually teasing the reader. With each question that is answered, another question springs up to take its place.
Johns also does a nice job writing the various characters. Johns has a good feel for the different personalities and that shows in his strong dialogue. Each character has their proper external voice. The well crafted dialogue and effort to focus on each character’s personality creates some impressive chemistry between the various members of the JSA and the JLA.
I’m still not over the excitement of once again seeing a classic JLA/JSA team up. It is so cool to see the various rosters broken into smaller teams and mixed together. I really dig the combination of Batman, Sandman, Starman and Geo-Force. Johns does a nice job writing the various characters.
Johns has consistently done an excellent job with Starman’s character. Johns has developed an interesting and fractured personality for Starman. Plus, Johns has had fun making sure that Starman’s insane rambling actually has many clues and hints about other characters and the storyline in general.
And that continues in this issue. Starman mentions that Geo-Force smells like mud. That has to be a reference to Terra’s earth based powers that Geo-Force has developed. And that Terra’s spirit is somehow inside of Geo-Force. This certainly got my attention and it should be interesting to see where this plotline leads.
I am totally digging this new version of Sandman. Sandy was also a dependable character, but not one that really got my interest. That has certainly changed now. I love this new direction for Sandy. I like how Johns has mixed Sandy’s character from just before Infinite Crisis with Wesley Dodds’ noir version of Sandman. Sandy has a wicked cool look and his powers are quite interesting.
What surprised me is that Johns actually writes a pretty darn good Batman. I have always gotten the feeling that Johns never really liked Batman and usually portrays him as a total jerk or a bit of a punk. Not in this issue. Batman shows compassion to his teammate in Starman knowing that he needs Starman to be level headed in order to accomplish their mission. That is the mark of a good leader.
However, Johns’ Batman isn’t a wimp. He still has his tough no-nonsense attitude and displays detective skills beyond anyone else on the planet. Plus, Johns shows the intimidation side of Batman by making the greatest fear of the various inmates of Arkham Asylum even more dangerous than each hero’s personal fears: the Batman himself.
That re-enforces what an intimidating figure Batman is to the people that he battles. And it also led to a great action scene of our heroes taking on the various nightmarish version of the Batman spawned from the minds of the various inmates in Arkham.
It was a sight for sore eyes seeing Dream Girl freed and hugging Starman. It invoked visions of a much better time in Legion history before the first Crisis on Infinite Earths devastated the Legion of Super Heroes. Even if it is temporary, it was so awesome to see these Nura and Thom back together once again.
Of course, Johns hints that either Dream Girl or Starman is going to die. That Dream Girl saw it in one of her visions. I hope that our heroes are able to prevent any of these seven Legionnaires from dying. It has been so long since I have been able to enjoy a story involving my beloved Pre-Crisis Legionnaires that I would hate to lose one so soon after getting them back.
The scene at the Fortress of Solitude was pretty cool. We finally got a great splash shot of the statues of the Legion of Super Heroes that we got a very small glimpse of in Action Comics Annual #10.
We have Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy (Yeah, he has his antennas, baby! Take that, Waid!), Karate Kid, Sun Boy, White Witch, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet all in their Pre-Crisis outfits that they wore during the Great Darkness Saga. Shrinking Violet is sitting on Gim’s shoulder which leads me to believe that the versions of these two characters are from when the two of them were dating.
We also have the imitation Invisible Kid known as Jacques Foccart, the real Invisible Kid, Dawnstar, Mon-El, Star Boy, Dream Girl, Matter Eater Lad, Ferro Lad, Bouncing Boy Duo Damsel, Wildfire, Ultra Boy, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Element Lad and Lightning Lad all in their Pre-Crisis outfit.
Cosmic Boy’s outfit appears to be like the one he wore in the Adventure Comics Era. What? No Mike Grell designed costume? I’m disappointed. Lightning Lad’s hair makes me think he is from the 1970’s Legion. Element Lad’s long hair instead of an afro makes me think that he is also from the 1970’s Legion. And Timber Wolf with his wolf-ish face is also from the 1970’s Legion.
Polar Boy and Sensor Girl are in their Post-Crisis yet Pre-Zero Hour outfits. And lastly, we have Blok in what I can’t remember for sure but I think is his Post-Crisis yet Pre-Zero Hour costume.
I find it very interesting that Johns inserted three characters from the Post-Crisis yet Pre-Zero Hour Era. This makes me even more curious about what is going on with the Legion and the time stream in the DCU. Of course, I am thrilled that the overwhelming majority of the Legionnaires in this splash shot are from the Pre-Crisis Legion of Super Heroes. That kicks ass!
The Pre-Crisis Legion is by far and away the most superior version of the Legion of Super Heroes. For me, the Legion has consistently gone downhill ever since the first Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred. No team more affected by the first Crisis than the Legion of Super Heroes.
The first Crisis just destroyed the Legion and wreaked havoc on their history. The first Crisis gutted the Legion and mortally wounded the team. The damage inflicted by the first Crisis combined with the fan fiction stories of the TMK Legion directly led to the Legion having to be completely re-booted during Zero Hour.
The complete re-boot was in order to make sense of the massive mess that was the history of the Legion. And that massive mess of the Legion’s history was all started by the first Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Teen Titans, the Outsiders and the JLA weren’t devastated by the first Crisis like The Legion of Super Heroes was. The fact that the Legion has now had to have two total and complete re-boots is a total joke. DC has completely fumbled the handling of the Legion of Super Heroes ever since the first Crisis.
Now is the chance for DC to finally rectify their previous mistakes. I hope that the return of the Mutliverse and the changes to Superman’s history as well as to the time stream of the new DCU all lead to a re-birth of the Legion along the lines of the Pre-Crisis Legion of Super Heroes.
I am thrilled that DC has firmly re-established the Legion of Super Heroes back into Superman’s history. This is a brilliant move. We now know that Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl all traveled to the past to meet Clark when he was a teen. That the original Legionnaires said that Superman was their inspiration for forming the Legion of Super Heroes.
We also learn that Superman traveled to the future, was a member of the Legion and had numerous adventures with his fellow Legionnaires. This move pushes the Legion back to its original Pre-Crisis history. I honestly couldn’t be any happier than I am right now. This is just what DC desperately needed to do to try and rehabilitate the Legion of Super Heroes.
It is an excellent idea by DC to re-introduce the Legion of Super Heroes into the new DCU’s time stream and history in the pages of the JLA and the JSA. This move firmly cements ties between the two premier super teams of the present day DCU. Also, by linking the Legion with the JLA and JSA it elevates the Legion as a team of the future on the same level of importance to the DCU as the JLA and JSA. Plus, this allows DC to introduce this new take on the Legion in the new DCU to a large number of readers who follow the popular JLA and JSA.
And we find out that Wildfire is one of the seven missing Legionnaires. Sweet! Wildfire rocks! Wildfire has always been one of my all-time favorite Legionnaires. It always irritated me that it took forever for Wildfire to appear in the re-boot Legion. And once he did appear, his origin and character was so drastically different that I had zero interest in his character. Plus, Wildfire was treated as a very minor character. Then we got the three-boot and we are still waiting for Wildfire to make his appearance.
So, needless to say, it was awesome to see the real Wildfire once again. Wildfire is a great character and I’m psyched that we are going to get to see him in action once again. And what is this storm that Wildfire references? I certainly am interested to learn more about that plotline.
I am not familiar with Fernando Pasarin at all. But, let me say, the brother can flat out draw! Pasarin’s artwork is gorgeous. I absolutely love his style. He delivers one wonderfully looking comic book. Pasarin’s artwork did a great job complimenting Johns’ story and brining it to life.
The Bad: I still can’t get into Cyclone’s character. I can’t believe it was possible, but Johns managed to deliver a character even more incredibly annoying than Star Girl.
I will admit that Justice Society of America #5 probably would be seen as a bit slow and not terribly gripping if you weren’t a Legion of Super Heroes fan. This story arc seems a bit too tailor-made for long time Legion fan. Now, I am a long time Legion fan so I have no problem with that, but I’m wondering how non-Legion fans are digging this story arc.
Overall: Justice Society of America #5 was another excellent read. I absolutely love this JLA/JSA team-up. I cannot wait to learn more about our missing Legionnaires and what DC has planned for the Legion in this new DCU. I hope that DC has a different version of the Legion in store for us than what we are currently getting over on Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes.
The penultimate issue of 52 arrives this week. I can’t believe that the end is almost here. There is still a ton of storyline for the writers to cover. I am sure that 52 #51 is going to be chock full of entertainment. There is no way we don’t get a fantastic read with this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson & Belardino Barbo
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 51, Day 1: We begin with Animal Man's wife, Ellen, being dropped off at home by a man named Roger. Roger, evidently, wants to date Ellen. Alan tells Roger that she is not over Buddy. Roger leaves. Ellen begins to walk into the house when suddenly a glowing Animal Man appears out of thin air. Animal Man tells Ellen not to come any closer because he still solar powered. Ellen is happy, and joyfully exclaims that she knew that body would come back to her.
Animal Man and Ellen sit down in the front yard. Animal Man says how space is so much bigger than you think. Animal Man's children then come out of the house and pass their dad if he brought them anything from space.
We then hear two off panel characters talking to each other about how they have identified the target and that they will wait for the proper time to kill Animal Man in the name of Lady Styx.
Week 51, Day 2: We cut to a huge ceremony being held in the courtyard where Superman and Superboy's statues are located. Dozens of super heroes have assembled at this location to pay their respects to the heroes who lost their lives trying to halt the rampage of Black Adam.
We see Wonder Girl hugging Donna Troy. Wonder Girl comments that she is sad that Ralph Dibny died without her ever being able to tell him that she was sorry. We then see Agent Diana Prince on the scene taking a list of all the heroes who have arrived for this ceremony.
Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent talk with each other. Clark mentions how Conner has grown a following of kids. It is called, “The Church of Kon-El.” Bruce says that mixing religion with what they do is dangerous. Clark says that it is not like the cult that Wonder Girl fell into. That it isn't about raising the dead. It is more inspirational.
We cut to Ravager talking to Robin about how Star Girl was asking Wildcat if they should arrest her. Robin tells Ravager that if she wants to get out from under her father’s shadow and that she has to get used to that type of talk.
Robin reminds Ravager that they are here today to remember the fallen Titans. Ravager says that she barely knew who Tara and Young Frankenstein were. Robin retorts that if she wants to be at Teen Titan then she needs to find out. Robin walks away. Kid Devil then approaches Ravager. Kid Devil asks Ravager if she will introduce him to Robin.
We see Jimmy Olson commenting to Robin how he changed the colors of his costume from green and red to simply black and red. Robin answers that black and red were Conner's colors. Robin then goes to approach Wonder Girl. Wonder Girl avoids Robin and flies off with Donna Troy.
Week 51, Day 3: We shift to the planet Rann. Adam strange wakes up in a laboratory. Jon Stewart and another Green Lantern are in the room. The two Green Lanterns talk about the Emerald Eye of Ekron and how it is a prototype will-powered green plasma weapon from the early days of the Guardians the technology.
The scientist tells Adam Strange that his daughter provided copies of her eyes for Adam. The scientist then laced the eyes with the latest gene and enhancements allowing Adam to see across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. That this should make Adams battles with Rann’s hostile ecosystem a little easier. The scientist then tells Adam that the city has been besieged by flaming creatures for several days.
Adam asks where Starfire is. Jon Stewart answers that Starfire left after she re-powered and said something about a jacket. The other Green Lantern tells Adam Strange that the Guardians want to know what Strange saw in space concerning the 52. The Green Lantern also asks where the Emerald eye is. Adam Strange says that Lobo took the Eye.
We then see Adam Strange his wife and daughter enter the room. Adam Strange lovingly embraces his wife and daughter and they walk out of the room onto the balcony. Jon Stewart tells the other Green Lantern to give Adam Strange some time to be with his family. That the two Green Lanterns can deal with the monsters this time.
Week 51, Day 4: We cut to Lobo, arriving at the Church of the Triple-Fish god. Lobo bows in front of the Triple-Fish god and offers him the Emerald Eye. Lobo asks that now that he has returned the Eye to the Triple-Fish god if he would now release Lobo from his vow of non-violence. Lobo asks why the Triple-Fish god wanted the Emerald Eye. The Triple-Fish god responds that prophecy says the Emerald Eye is the only weapon in the universe that can kill it. Lobo says “you don't say.” Suddenly, we see the Emerald Eye fire and energy blast.
Week 51, Day 6: We shift back to Earth, where Ellen and Buddy are having a welcome home party for Buddy at their house. Suddenly, the bounty hunters working for Lady Styx enter the house.
Out of nowhere, Starfire appears in blasts the two bounty hunters into ashes. Starfire tells Ellen that she has come a very long distance to bring her this. Starfire hands and Ellen Animal Man's jacket. Starfire then passes out.
Ellen asks if someone order to a stripper. Animal Man rushes to the door and tells Ellen that Starfire is space royalty. Animal Man's son asks his dad is making keeper.
Week 51: Day 7: We cut to the Rocky Mountains and see Skeets appearing in Morrow’s secret lab. Red Tornado’s head keeps saying the word “52” over and over. Skeets comments that Red Tornado caught a glimpse of the garden and made a map.
Morrow is sitting at his desk holding a gun. Morrow says that Skeets appeared exactly as they said he would. Morrow then says that there are 52 worlds. 52 Morrows. And it all comes down to him. Skeets demands to have the map from Red Tornado.
Rip Hunter and Booster Gold jump out and say pray for the sake of the 52 that they don't screw up this time. Booster tells Skeets to take it easy and that they know that his data got corrupted somehow.
Skeets comments that Skeets is dead. That he ate him from within to make a cradle. A cocoon. Skeet says imagine the mind of an alien genius trapped in the body of a lowly caterpillar. That he was then irradiated with suspendium particles and he began his transformation that now concludes.
Skeets suddenly begins to transform. Skeets says that it is too late to stop it now. The 52 weeks of its gestation are complete. A huge monstrous insect creature comes out of Skeets’ body. The creatures says behold the metamorphosis of Mr. Mind. Mr. Mind says he is hungry, and he could eat and entire universe.
Rip Hunter yells that they are too late again and he grabs Red Tornado’s head. Rip tells Booster to grab what is left of Skeets and get into the time sphere. Rip tells Morrow to activate his androids and to get out of his lab. Rip and Booster jump back into the time sphere. Rip tells Booster that they are going to go back to where it all started. End of story.
We get a two page back up story on the origin of the Justice League of America. End of issue.
The Good: Incredible. 52 #51 was an absolute blast to read. Let me just begin with saying that the Multiverse is back! The Multiverse is back. Oh my gawd, the Multiverse is back! Sorry for that bad Jim Ross impersonation.
Yeah, I know that we all knew months ago that the secret of the 52 was that the Multiverse still existed. However, it was awesome to actually read it in 52 and to have it officially revealed in the story that the Multiverse is still in existence. I am so psyched.
I have always hated and despised the first Crisis on Infinite Earths. I thought it was a massive mistake to get rid of the Multiverse. I firmly believed that getting rid of the Multiverse would not clean up the continuity of the DCU. In fact, I firmly believed that junking the Multiverse would only further make a mess of the DCU. And it did.
The Mutliverse was a wonderful and convenient tool to explain away any continuity issues that morose within the DCU. Getting rid of the Mutliverse only served to create even more continuity problems. Plus, getting rid of the Mutliverse gutted so much of DC’s glorious and colorful history.
I am beyond thrilled that the Multiverse is back. I cannot wait to learn more about this new Mutliverse. This was a brilliant move by DC and should create endless amounts of possibilities for future storylines. The Multiverse gives DC so many directions that they can go in with stories about alternate Earths and alternate versions of established characters.
Marvel has the 616 universe, the Ultimate Universe and the Squadron Supreme Universe. DC just blew past them with 52 different Earths. DC should definitely start cranking out titles about characters from these alternate Earths.
Of course, the best part about the Mutliverse is that my boys Barry Allen, Ted Kord and Ralph Dibny are still alive on some of those alternate Earths. Sweet. And I loved Morrow’s reaction to the re-appearance of the Mutliverse. Even a brilliant genius like Morrow can barely wrap his head around the concept of 52 different versions of himself.
Now, the creative team didn’t just drop the bomb on the reader about the Mutliverse returning at the end of this issue. Oh no. They dropped a second bomb on the reader at the end of 52 #51 with the revelation that Skeets was really Mister Mind! What a cool twist! I certainly didn’t see it coming.
I absolutely love the revelation that Mister Mind feed on Skeets and used Skeets’ shell as a cocoon in order to grow and transform from a lowly worm into a much higher physical form. Most caterpillars turn into pretty butterflies. Not Mister Mind. He turns into one evil looking insectoid creature.
I have been wondering since the very beginning what happened to Mister Mind. I knew that the writers weren’t going to leave that plotline dangling. I knew that somehow Mister Mind had to come back and play a large role in 52. However, I certainly didn’t expect this.
What a great move to take a largely irrelevant character and mold him into a monster villain with real relevance in the DCU. And that is exactly what one of the major purposes of 52 was. To take C-list characters and to develop them into major players in the DCU. Well, they have definitely succeeded in doing that with Mister Mind.
It is going to be a blast seeing how Booster Gold and Rip Hunter are going to be able to stop Mister Mind. Evidently, going back to the beginning is exactly how they plan to do that. What exactly do they mean? All the way back to the first issue of 52? This should make for one wild finish.
It was great to see Animal Man return home to his wife and children. I have a soft spot in my heart for Buddy and I would have hated it if the creative team had killed him off. Buddy is one of the few real genuinely good guys in the DCU and a loyal family man.
And what is cool is that not only does Animal Man survive 52, but he also receives one serious power upgrade. I hope that DC has some plans for this newly powered Animal Man. It would be a shame to let this character languish on the sidelines after receiving so much character growth during 52.
It was equally enjoyable to see Adam Strange return home to his wife and child. This new DCU has been dark enough with tons of graphic violence and deaths. It is cool to see two quality men like Animal Man and Adam Strange return home to their families after all they have been through. It showed a positive side to this rather dark and violent new DCU.
The short scene with Starfire arriving at Buddy’s house to give Ellen Buddy’s jacket was hilarious. Again, like with Animal Man, I’m thrilled that it appears that Starfire just might make it through 52 alive. I don’t think we have seen her in any of the One Year Later storylines. At least, I don’t remember seeing her anywhere. Of course, I might have missed it
Ellen’s line about someone ordering a stripper and then Animal Man’s son asking if they can keep Starfire were classic. 52 has been rather dark and heavy so some much needed levity is in order to keep the reader from getting too worn down.
The creative team did a nice job trying to fill in some of the gaps between the end of Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later storyline over on the Teen Titans. 52 has been appropriately criticized for failing to properly explain everything that has gone on in the DCU between Infinite Crisis and the beginning of all the various One Year Later storylines.
This memorial scene was another effort by the creative team to fill us in on how Ravager is struggling adjusting to being on the Titans. It also shows how Kid Devil gets his roster spot on the Teen Titans.
We also see how Conner’s death has impacted Robin. The explanation for the color change of Robin’s outfit was a nice touch and a cool way for Tim to honor his best friend. I didn’t expect that The Church of Kon-El would continue on in existence after the end of 52. However, it is nice that the group isn’t a bunch of crazies and instead is comprised of teens who want to honor the memory of Superboy.
Joe Bennett provided plenty of solid artwork. Bennett has certainly been one of the better artists to work on 52.
The Bad: I still think that Lobo is an incredibly lame character that should have been left in the 1990’s. DC boasted that we would be seeing an all-new version of Lobo that would be nothing at all what we would expect. Um, yeah, I’m still waiting for that version of Lobo.
The Lobo that we get in 52 is the same boring and one-dimensional character that is nothing more than a walking talking joke. And I can’t say that I’m all that interested in what Lobo is up to with the Triple-Fish god and the Emerald Eye. Maybe the creative team can get me to change my mind. However, they only have one issue to do so.
Overall: 52 #51 was a kick-ass read. It was sweet to officially see the return of the Mutliverse. I am so happy about that that the rest of this issue could have been about Lobo’s personal grooming habits and I still would have given this issue a 10 out of 10.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Revolution enjoyed Mighty Avengers #1. I certainly thought it was a much better read than what we are getting over on New Avengers. Part of that is that I enjoy Cho’s artwork more than Yu’s art. The other part is that I love the roster of Might Avengers as compared to the collection of pet character that Bendis has assembled on the New Avengers. I’m confident that Mighty Avengers #2 will be another solid read with the appearance of this new Ultron. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene of Iron Man and Ms. Marvel approaching Wonder Man with the offer of joining the newest incarnation of the Avengers. With Wonder Man’s acting career going nowhere and Wonder Man’s fond memories of doing good with the Avengers, Wondy agrees to join the Mighty Avengers.
We cut back to the present with the Mighty Avengers squaring off with the new Ultron. The new Ultron refers to Ms. Marvel as Captain Carol Danvers. Ms. Marvel is surprised that Ultron knows who she is. Wasp then makes the comment that Ultron looks exactly like the Wasp.
Mole Man asks Ultron if she is responsible for what has happened to his underground kingdom. Ultron says yes. Mole Man then tells his subterranean creatures to attack Ultron.
We shift back to another flashback scene with Sentry having breakfast with his wife, Lindy. Lindy asks Bob how he is doing. Bob comments that he should be out in the world helping people. That there are tons of things going on every second of the day that the Sentry could be doing something about. Lindy points out that Bob is talking about the Sentry like it’s another person and not Bob. Lindy says that Bob agreed not to do that anymore.
Iron Man and Ms. Marvel then pay Bob a visit. Iron Man asks Bob to join the Avengers. Lindy gets up from the table and storms out of the room. Iron Man thinks how this is exactly why he will never get married. Ms. Marvel then tells Bob that he scares her. Bob admits that he scares himself.
Ms. Marvel comments how Bob is more powerful than all of the Avengers. But, she needs to know if she can count on him to know when he isn’t going to be able to keep it together. That if he feels it all coming apart inside of his head that she needs Bob to tell them. Even if it is the heat of battle.
We cut back to the present with Ultron kicking butt on Mole Man’s creatures. Ares and Sentry attack Ultron. Ultron easily takes down both men with several bolts of lightning. Ultron then uses energy waves to melt the Mole Man’s creatures. Mole Man quickly retreats with his remaining creatures.
Ares asks Ms. Marvel to let him kill Ultron. Ms. Marvel tells the Avengers to stand down. Ms. Marvel then introduces herself to Ultron. We see a sniper scope trained on Ultron’s head. Black Widow is about to pull the trigger when Ultron turns and looks at Black Widow. Black Widow then backs off the trigger.
We then flashback to Black Widow kicking ass on a bunch of SHIELD troops during a training session. Iron Man and Ms. Marvel enter the room and Iron Man offers Black Widow a spot on the New Avengers.
Ares is chomping at the bit to attack Ultron. Wonder Man and Sentry hold Ares back. Ultron comments how she likes Thor better than Ares. That makes Ares snap and he breaks free from Wonder Man and Sentry and attacks Ultron. Ultron blocks Ares attack and then blasts him with lightning several times and takes Ares down.
Sentry asks Ultron where is Iron Man. Ultron comments that it is clear that non of them understand what is happening to them now. Ms. Marcel then tells the Avengers to retreat. As they retreat, Wasp stares at Ultron.
We flashback to the Wasp at her fashion design studio. Ms. Marvel and Iron Man arrive and offer Wasp a spot on the Avengers.
We hop back to the present. Wasp tells Ms. Marvel that she is going to go talk to Ultron. Wasp says that there is a connection between her and Ultron. Wasp walks over to Ultron and calls him Tony. Ultron says she is not Tony. Wasp calls it Iron Man. Ultron responds that it is not Iron Man. Wasp asks why Ultron looks exactly like her. Ultron responds because it loves her.
Wasp walks back to the rest of the Avengers and asks if they know where Hank Pym is. Wasp says that Ultron is back and it’s destroying the world. Ant if killed Tony Stark to do it.
The Good: Might Avengers #2 was a slightly better than average read. Bendis does a nice job with the dialogue in this issue. Once again, Bendis employs the ever scarce old comic book technique known as thought balloons. I know that these thought balloons are something that readers are either going to hate or love. There is no in between. At this point, I still love them.
The thought balloons offer the reader immediate insight into a character’s thoughts while a running dialogue is taking place. I dig being able to read the immediate thoughts of each character and how it may or may not differ from what they are thinking. It also gives the reader a nice feel of how the various characters view each other.
Of course, if Bendis keeps up the thought balloon technique in the same heavy use that we have gotten in the first two issues it may begin to lose its charm. I think if it is used sparingly then it can be an effective literary tool. However, used to the great extant that Bendis has done in the past two issues tends to break the natural flow of the dialogue.
Bendis also serves up enough action in Mighty Avengers #2 in order to prevent it from being a terribly dull and boring issue. On an issue that fails to advance any plotlines, the writer had better at least provide the reader with some action in order to keep them entertained.
I love how Bendis is handling the Sentry’s character. Bendis does a nice job writing the Sentry. Bendis displays that he gets Sentry’s character and understands what makes him such a unique and interesting character.
What is so compelling about Sentry’s character is that his Achilles’ heel is himself. It is his fractured and unstable mind. That physically, Sentry has no weaknesses. It is cool that a character who is so immensely powerful and unstoppable is his own greatest enemy. That the Sentry’s unstable mind is what causes his downfall in a serious fight.
Bendis understands the Sentry’s fractured mind and does a great job giving the reader an insight into Bob’s mental instability during his conversation with his wife, Lindy. I dig that Ms. Marvel made a point of making sure Bob would let the team know if he was about to lose it even if they are in the middle of a battle.
The Sentry is a scary character. And even he knows how dangerous he can be. The Sentry is a walking time-bomb and one complex character. Sentry’s addition to this team is going to provide plenty of drama.
Bendis also does a great job handling Ms. Marvel’s character. Ms. Marvel is a character that has never interested me. However, Bendis is getting me to like her character more and more. It is nice to see Ms. Marvel developing her own unique personality and starting to prove herself to be an A-List character after languishing in the B-List category for so long.
Having Ms. Marvel as team leader also increases my interest in her character. The best part of her being team leader is that she is so unsure of herself. Her constant second guessing of her own actions spices up the story. It isn’t always as interesting to have a team leader who constantly knows exactly the right thing to do no matter the situation.
Of course, it is cool that despite her own lack of confidence in being leader, Ms. Marvel keeps it completely internalized and shows the other Avengers the face of a fearless leader. Seeing Ms. Marvel get into Ares’ face shows that she may not feel ready to lead the Avengers, but she sure as hell isn’t going to let her teammates know that.
I absolutely love this new Ultron. You just know that Bendis has something insane in store for us with this new version of Ultron. I’m glad that Bendis gave this version of Ultron a serious power boost. When you have a team of powerhouses like Wonder Man, Sentry, Ares and Iron Man, it is imperative that the villain be more than capable of posing a genuine threat.
The fact that this new Ultron looks exactly like Wasp is a neat twist. And considering that Henry Pym is the father of Ultron it should come of no surprise that there might be a connection between Wasp and Ultron. I am extremely anxious to learn more about this new Ultron and the connection Ultron has with Wasp.
I also am curious what happened to Iron Man, if Iron Man has any connection to this new Ultron and how in the world the Avengers are going to save Iron Man. And I’m actually glad that Bendis conveniently took Iron Man out of the story in the very first issue. It is of no surprise since Bendis just doesn’t like Iron Man’s character. Plus, Bendis sucks at writing Tony Stark so I don’t mind not having Iron Man in this story.
Cho’s artwork rocks. I love his style and he delivers one fantastic looking comic book. For my taste, Cho’s art is the polar opposite of the abysmal artwork that Yu delivers on New Avengers. Cho makes the Mighty Avengers a treat to read and really carries this slow issue.
The Bad: Mighty Avengers #2 was a slow issue. If it wasn’t for the little bit of action that we got I might have fallen asleep while reading this issue. This is a re-occurring problem with Bendis on the Avengers. Prior to the Civil War storyline, Bendis meandered around with no direction at all over on New Avengers.
Well, this is what Bendis is doing once again here with Mighty Avengers #2. It is the second issue of a new title and we have pretty much done nothing. Bendis gives us a plodding story in this issue. Bendis was still giving us flashbacks to each individual member receiving their invitation to join in this second issue. C’mon, we should be beyond that point.
Plus, to make matters worse the scenes with Wonder Man, Wasp and Black Widow accepting the membership offers were totally uninteresting, completely useless and added nothing to the characters or the story. Only the scene involving the Sentry accepting his invitation was useful in that it gave a nice insight into Sentry’s character.
New titles have to get off to a fast start in order to be successful. Of course, Might Avengers will sell well just because the words “Avengers” and “Bendis” are on the cover regardless if the story progresses or not. Bendis has already slammed Mighty Avengers into neutral and it is only the second issue. Nothing happens in this issue at all.
We get Ultron killing some of Mole Man’s creatures. We get Ultron smacking down Ares not once but twice. And that is about it. We don’t know anything more about Ultron or what she is up to with this issue. Bendis failed to give the reader any new information in Mighty Avengers #2. Bendis leaves the reader pretty much exactly were he left the reader at the end of Mighty Avengers #1. There was absolutely no progression at all with this story arc.
Bendis has always struggled maintaining his focus when handling a team title. I am very impressed with how Bendis handles solo titles. He is able to take his time and do some intense character work on the main protagonist. However, on a team title, Bendis seems unable to know how to juggle the characters and how to advance the storyline at a proper pace.
I really hope that Henry Pym isn’t behind the creation or action of this new Ultron. Pym has been beaten up enough in the past. There is no need to continue dog piling onto this character.
Overall: Mighty Avengers #2 was a slightly better than average read. Bendis really needs to pick up the pace and get this story moving. Mighty Avengers #2 definitely did not deliver the excitement that I was expecting after a very strong debut issue and a great hook ending.
52 WEEK #51
ACTION COMICS #848
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #5
OUTSIDERS ANNUAL #1
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #29
FANTASTIC FOUR #545
There is a comic book god! The Revolution gets a bit of a reprieve with only nine titles headed to the Bunker this week. We get tons of great DC titles and just a few Marvel titles. I think I’ll actually be able to post reviews for almost all of these issues.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? That is a tough question. We have the penultimate issue of 52. We have Action Comics #848 which has been a blast. And we get Justice Society of America #5 which continues the awesome JLA/JSA team-up involving the quest for the missing Legionnaires.
I’m going to have to go with Justice Society of America #5. The JSA and the JLA are arguably the two best titles that DC is currently publishing. Add to that the appearance of Pre-Crisis Legionnaires and you have my complete and undivided attention!
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Outsiders Annual #1. By and large, I find that annuals suck and are mostly filler provided to us by a guest writer and a guest artist.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Not much to choose from this week. I’m going to have to go with Daredevil #96. Brubaker is as solid as a rock and can always be counted on to turn in a dependable and quality read.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Fantastic Four #545. The current story arc is a bit too generic for my taste. Plus, I hate this new line-up that includes Black Panther and Storm.
I’ll try my best to start posting reviews as soon as possible. I hope everyone enjoys their new comic books for this week.
Posted by Rokk Krinn at 11:48 AM
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Ultimate Spider-Man is always an enjoyable read. Bendis has been working pure magic on this title ever since the first issue. Ultimate Spider-Man #108 appears to focus on the Ultimate version of Ronin. Wow, Bendis is just completely in love with that character. Too bad I’m not. Maybe Bendis has a cooler concept for Ronin in the Ultimate Universe. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with, the Kingpin standing in front of his wife's bed. She is asleep and hooked up to IV tubes. Mr. Rose walks in to inform Kingpin that he has a visitor. Kingpin reminds Rose to never discuss business in front of his wife. The she is an ill woman and does not need to fill her head with their ugliness.
We shift to two men having a discussion with a young girl. The two men tell the young girl that Moon Knight is going to go undercover in order to take the Kingpin down permanently. The young girl says that Moon Knight creating a new persona to carry out this plan is a bad idea. That Moon Knight suffers from a multiple personality disorder. That it is so bad that none of them actually exist that they are all part of Marc. Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Moon Knight and the little girl. They are all the same person.
The little girl says that with Moon Knight’s history of a fragmented psychosis it is not a good idea to create another person and on top of it another person who is a killer. A hitman. And what happens if this killer becomes the dominant personality?
One of the two men then says that the girl should be talking like this. That he can hear her. She says that of course he can hear them he is them. Then the other man says that all that matters is taking down the Kingpin.
We then cut to Kingpin meeting with Moon Knight in disguise. Kingpin asks what his name is. Moon Knight responds that his name is Ronin. Kingpin asks Ronin to prove himself. Ronin suddenly and brutally takes down all of Kingpin's dogs. Kingpin comments that that was not what he had in mind. Kingpin tells Ronin to prove himself by bringing Kingpin Spider-Man broken and beaten.
We cut to Mary Jane doing a news report for the Midtown High School News Channel Project. Mary Jane comments how the national media keeps reporting how Spider-Man is a student at their school.
Mary Jane interviews the principal, who states that he supports Spider-Man and would be proud if he was a student at the school. The principal mentions that Spider-Man once saved his mother from out-of-control bus. The principal then says that if Spider-Man is watching this video and does go to their school that he should keep doing what he's doing because the world desperately needs good people. The principal then asks Spider-Man to keep his battles off school ground in order to prevent any students from getting hurt.
We then cut to the teacher reviewing Mary Jane's video. He loves the video and tells Mary Jane welcome to the Student News Network. We cut to Mary Jane giving the good news to Peter. As Peter and Mary Jane are talking Kitty Pryde walks by. Peter tries to talk to Kitty but Kitty just turns around and walks away. Both Peter and Mary Jane feel bad.
We see Marc Spector stealing a school bus. Marc then puts on his Ronin costume and then drives the school bus through the main entrance of the High School. Ronan jumps out a school bus and starts firing off a gun demanding to this speak with Spider-Man.
We cut to inside of Marc’s mind. The two men and the little girl are begging Moon Knight to stop what he's doing. Kitty then arrives on the scene and comments that she has needed someone to hit for about a week and that Ronin will do. Ronin and Kitty start fighting and Ronin quickly takes down Kitty.
We cut back in to Marc’s mind with the little girl telling Moon Knight that Ronin is taking over and that he has to do something. We then see Ronin appear inside of Marc’s mind. Inside of Marc’s mind Moon Knight and Ronin start fighting.
We then cut to Spider-Man arriving on the scene. Spider-Man and Ronin start brawling. We see Ronin defeating Moon Knight in their battle inside of Marc’s mind. We then see Ronin defeat Spider-Man in the High School. Ronin then grabs Spider-Man's body and leaves the high school. Mary Jane videotapes Ronin leaving with Spider-Man's unconscious body.
We see Ronin arriving at Kingpin's office holding an unconscious Spider-Man in his hand. Kingpin smiles. End of issue.
The Good: Bendis does it again as he delivers yet another fun read in Ultimate Spider-Man #108. This issue was a moved along at a nice pace. Bendis manages to give us some good action mixed into his typical dialogue heavy scenes. This issue had a nice flow and was certainly entertaining.
I like Bendis’s dialogue. I know that some people can’t stomach Bendis’s overly snappy and witty style of dialogue that he employs. I think it works just fine on a title like Ultimate Spider-Man. Spider-Man is a character that always has been known for his snappy dialogue and Bendis knows how to write a great Spider-Man/Peter Parker.
It was pretty cool to see the Ultimate Universe version of Vanessa Fisk. I believe this may be the first time we have seen her. At least, I don’t remember seeing her in any previous issues. Vanessa’s character has always been important because it enables the reader to see a different side to a character in the Kingpin who is usually portrayed as evil down to his very core. No character is 100% evil. Not even the Kingpin. Vanessa makes Kingpin a more complex and interesting character.
I like that Bendis is using Kitty Pryde to keep the tension thick at Peter’s high school. With Mary Jane and Peter back together there is a need to create drama in order to keep the reader from getting bored with this couple. And that is Kitty’s role. Kitty stirs up enough guilt in both Peter and Mary Jane that it may eventually have an impact on Peter and MJ’s relationship.
Plus, Kitty represents a constant temptation for Peter. Will MJ truly believe that Peter has absolutely no feelings at all left for Kitty? Nothing beats a good old fashioned love triangle for providing easy and cheap drama.
The best part of this issue was Bendis’s handling of Moon Knight and Ronin’s characters. Moon Knight took center stage in Ultimate Spider-Man #108 and Bendis spent some quality time fleshing out Ultimate Moon Knight’s character.
I love how Bendis really plays up Moon Knight’s advanced multiple personality disorder. Huston may give us an emotionally disturbed and unbalanced Moon Knight in the 616 Universe, but he isn’t a downright fractured person suffering from multiple distinct and separate personalities like the Ultimate Universe version.
Having the various personalities arguing inside Moon Knight’s head was a neat literary trick to show the reader the mental illness that has completely fractured Moon Knight’s mind. And this leads me to the obvious question which is who in the hell is that little red haired girl?!
We know one of the men is Marc Spector. He must be the more aggressive of the two men. The other man is Steven Grant. Then you have Moon Knight’s persona which appears to be the dominant persona. And then you have the little red haired girl constituting the final personality of Moon Knight. What a great twist by Bendis!! I cannot wait to learn more about this little girl persona that is inside of Moon Knight’s head.
The 616 version of Moon Knight deals with Moon Knight, Steven Grant, Marc Spector and Jake Lockley being the four personalities crammed into one mind. Bendis swaps out the Jake Lockley persona and replaces it with the little red haired girl. And in doing so, Bendis manages to make the Ultimate version of Moon Knight even more different than his 616 counterpart. And that is vitally important.
I hate it when we get an Ultimate Universe version of a 616 character that is practically the same. That is what we get with the ultimate version of Wolverine. I’m glad that Bendis is taking the time and effort to try and give the Ultimate versions of the various characters he handles a different twist from their 616 versions.
Now, I actually like how Bendis handles the Ronin personality in this issue. I haven’t been impressed with the Ronin gimmick over in the 616 universe. The concept of a costume and gimmick that is recycled over and over with various different characters just doesn’t work with me.
Ronin is a pet character of Bendis and he is determined to shove it down the reader’s throat over in the 616 universe. And when I saw that Ronin would be appearing in the Ultimate Universe I was less than pleased. It was as if Bendis was going to make sure we loved his concept as much as he apparently does.
But, this Ultimate version of Ronin is pretty cool. I dig that Ronin is yet another persona that has been added to the others that populate Moon Knight’s multiple personality disorder. And the best part is that this persona is a villainous hitman. I dig that this Ronin persona is a threat to all of the other personas inside Moon Knight’s mind.
Bendis crafts an excellent final scene in Ultimate Spider-Man #108. I loved how Bendis slices the fight scene between Ronin and Spider-Man in the high school with the battle between the Ronin persona and the Moon Knight persona fighting inside of Moon Knight’s mind.
And what a wild ending to both fights! Ronin defeats Spider-Man and serves him up to the Kingpin on a silver platter. And the Ronin persona defeats the Moon Knight persona thereby making Ronin, the villainous killer, the dominant persona inside of Moon Knight’s mind. That is a fantastic hook ending.
I cannot wait to see how Spider-Man manages to get himself out of his sticky situation. And I also cannot wait to see how the other personas in Moon Knight’s mind deal with the now dominant persona of Ronin. Next issue should certainly be pretty exciting.
The Bad: I found the interview of the principal talking about Spider-Man not bringing any fights to the high school so no innocent students will get injured to be way to obvious of a set up. We get this heavy handed plea to Spider-Man and then a couple of pages later we get the attack on the school and the battle between Spider-Man and Ronin on school grounds.
Bendis was too heavy handed with this painfully obvious set up. It would have been better if Bendis had made the principal make this statement and then let it sit in the back of the minds of the readers before trotting out the inevitable battle between Spider-Man and a villain on school grounds.
Overall: Ultimate Spider-Man #108 was another great read. Bendis continues to kick ass on this title. It is just incredible how consistently good Bendis has been on Ultimate Spider-Man. The last writer to have a long run on one title that was consistently good was Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men from 1977-1991. Bendis is in the process of making comic book history with his work on Ultimate Spider-Man. I will be interested to see how close Bendis can come to Claremont’s sixteen year long run.
I definitely recommend giving Ultimate Spider-Man #108. It is almost always a good read and has a great blend of drama, humor and action.