It is The Revolution’s favorite time of the year: The start of the college football season. Nothing is better than opening weekend of college football. My love for college football is probably second only to my love for comic books and just barely edges out my love for video games. I really dig the NFL even though my pro team sucks. But, it is the pageantry, customs, traditions and emotion of college football that blows away the NFL.
Yeah, my alma mater’s football team may suck, but I don’t care. Just having football back on TV puts a smile on my face. I will literally watch college football from noon until midnight every Saturday. I’m a total addict. As I’m typing this post I am watching University of Washington take on Syracuse. I have to ask what the hell Syracuse was thinking when they designed their current helmet and uniform combination?
Friday, August 31, 2007
Posted by Rokk Krinn at 9:27 PM
I am pretty excited about this new mini-series Countdown to Adventure. This story centers on our lost heroes in space from 52. These characters had incredible chemistry with each other in 52 and I hope that this mini-series is able to re-capture that magic. I have my doubts since Beechen and Gray are heading up the writing duties. They are solid writers, but not on the same class as the writers who handled these characters in 52. Still, I’m optimistic that Countdown to Adventure #1 will be a good read. Let’s hit this review.
Writers: Adam Beechen & Justine Gray
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Fabrizio Fiorentino & Julio Ferreira
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 Adam Strange out hiking on Rann with his best friend Shasoth. Strange talks about how crazy the past year has been with being lost at space for an entire year. Strange talks about how he has nothing left on Earth and that all he has is his family here on Rann and his role as the sole hero of Rann. Strange tells his friend that he has recovered from his year at space and is ready to resume his role as protector of Rann.
We cut to Buddy’s house in San Diego. We see Kory fast asleep in bed. Buddy’s wife, Ellen, talks about how Kory has been asleep for weeks ever since she showed up at their door. Ellen mentions that they should call the Titans and let them take care of her. Buddy disagrees and is confident that Kory is just fine and only needs to recharge her powers after travelling across the universe to get to Buddy.
Buddy then leaves to go to work and takes his two kids to school. Buddy busts his son with a photograph of Kory in a skimpy outfit asleep on the bed. Buddy’s son, Cliff, says he only took the picture to prove to his friends that he has a hot alien at home. Buddy tells Cliff that taking the picture was wrong. Cliff suddenly snaps on his parents saying that he understands it was wrong. That he isn’t stupid.
We shift to Buddy at work as a stunt man on an action movie being filmed in San Diego. The star of the film is the obnoxious and egotistical Steven Hazard who won an Ultimate Fighting Championship and then parlayed that into becoming a big action movie star. Suddenly, a Zeta beam strikes out of nowhere and teleports Steven Hazard away from Earth.
We zip forward two weeks later to Rann and see Adam Strange reporting to duty. Sardath informs Adam that Rann has a new hero. It is none other than Steven Hazard. Sardath explains that Strange’s recent prolonged absence greatly eroded the morale of the people of Rann especially considering the war with Thanagar. They couldn’t count on Strange ever returning to them so they started the process for a new protector.
Since Strange was such a good protector, they searched Earth for another Earthman to replace Strange. Sardath comments that measured empirically that Steven’s physical attributes far exceed Adam’s attributes.
Suddenly, an alert sounds and there are reports of Sandswarmers outside the perimeter of Ranagar. Steven immediately charges off. Adam chases after him believing that Steven doesn’t know enough about Sandswarmers to effectively deal with one.
We see Steven brashly attacking the Sandswarmer. Adam warns Steven that Sandswarmers aren’t naturally violent. That Steven should round up the Sandswarmer and relocate it somewhere more peaceful. Instead, Steven employs a creative attack plan and destroys the Sandswarmer.
We cut to Buddy getting back home from work complaining that the production of the movie has been frozen since Steven has disappeared. Buddy is stunned to see Starfire awake and having breakfast with Ellen and the kids. Buddy and Kory are thrilled to see each other and give each other a huge hug.
Starfire then tells Buddy that her powers have disappeared. Ellen suggests that Starfire contact the Teen Titans. Starfire doesn’t want to since the Titans will just want to run tests on her and try and restore her powers. Starfire says she just wants to be normal for a while. Starfire says she will contact the Titans eventually.
Buddy offers to let Starfire stay at their house. Buddy tells Ellen that they have been talking about hiring a permanent baby-sitter to watch the kids after school. That Starfire could have that job. The kids are thrilled with the idea. Ellen is a bit unsure, but agrees to let Starfire stay.
We hop back to Rann and see Steven and Adam returning to Ranagar. Adam yells that Steven acted rashly and he doesn’t understand Rann and their customs and culture. Sardath hails Steven their new protector and informs Adam that he is now retired. Adam is stripped of his helmet and jet pack.
Steven tells Adam that Sardath’s computers have him a crash course on Rann and its culture and customs. Adam tells Steven to get away from him. Steven punches Adam and says that he will kill Adam in a fight. Adam then tells Sardath that he is making a huge mistake retiring him and replacing him with a nut like Steven. Adam then walks off dejected.
We then get a back-up story about the origin of the Forerunner. We learn that she is from a parallel Earth. On that Earth, humans killed each other off. The races from the other planets in our solar system decided to use Earth as a “War World” where planets could settle their differences. Two planets would send their armies to this war world and let them battle. The winner then got rights to claim the loser’s planet for a certain limited number of years.
What the inhabitants of the other planets in the solar system didn’t realize is that after every war, there were survivors that went undetected. These survivors went underground on Earth. The survivors of each war bred with the survivors of the other wars. The result was the creation of a new race. That is the Forerunner’s race. They were the strongest of the strong and the fastest of the fast. The breading of warriors from each war made the Forerunner’s race unparalleled fighters.
The Forerunners then inform the nine houses of the other planets in the solar system that Earth is no longer theirs to use as a war world. That it is the Forerunner’s planet. The other nine houses disagree and send their best soldiers to Earth to fight the Forerunners. The Forerunners kill all of the elite soldiers from the nine houses.
The Forerunners get control of Earth and the other houses recognize their place in the solar system. We learn that all along, the creation of the Forerunner race was watched and nurtured by the Monitors in exchange for the Forerunners agreeing to be soldiers for the Monitors.
We then see Monarch showing Viza Aziv, the female Forerunner from Countdown, what has happened to her Earth and her people. We see that all the Forerunners have been killed. That a dark angel took control of the Forerunners’ minds and made them see each other as enemies and the Forerunners killed each other in a massive fight. Then the Monitors unleashed their Shadow Demons to kill off the remaining Forerunners.
Monarch tells Viza that the Monitors bread the Forerunners like cattle with the express purpose of creating the ultimate living weapon. But, the breeding program that the Monitors used to created the Forerunners created something that they lost control of that terrified the Monitors. Monarch says that that something is Viza.
The Good: The main story of this issue by Adam Beechen was a great read. It was fantastic seeing our beloved lost in space heroes once again. This was one of my favorite plotlines from 52 and I thought that the writers generated incredible chemistry between Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire. I’m glad we are getting a chance to see what these characters have been up to since the end of 52.
Beechen delivers some nicely crafted dialogue. Beechen has a good feel for each of the characters and the three heroes display their own unique personalities. Buddy and Kory immediately pick up where they left off with their good chemistry. Beechen manages to emphasis to the reader the incredibly strong bond that exists between Kory and Buddy. That this kind of bond is the type that can only be forged when experiencing a traumatic and death defying experience with another person. It is like watching two soldiers who served a tour of duty together.
And it is painfully clear that Ellen just doesn’t get it. And Ellen is simply not thrilled with Starfire staying at their house. This is evident in her continually brining up that someone should call the Titans so they can deal with her. Ellen isn’t going to understand that bond that has formed between Buddy and Starfire.
And, of course, there is the natural jealousy that Ellen is feeling due to her husband’s strong bond with an incredibly hot alien chick. Kory can easily make an woman fell insecure and inferior. This plotline should certainly involve plenty of awkward situations as well as some tension between Buddy and Ellen.
I thought the move to retire Adam Strange and to replace him with jerk-off Steven Hazard was a brilliant plot twist. Steven is a dependable villain. Steven Hazard is your typical asshole blowhard that is easy to hate. It was smart of Beechen uses this tried and true template for a villain in Steven Hazard. Beechen only has eight issues for this mini-series to establish a conflict and then lead to the climax and then give us some sort of resolution.
When dealing with just eight issues, the writer can either use an existing villain for the mini-series in order to avoid wasting time setting up and establishing the villain. Or, the writer can do what Beechen does and use a formulaic villain that is quick and easy to establish. Plus, this type of villain is the kind of character that is easy to hate and makes the reader immediately root against this villain from the very start.
I feel terrible for Adam Strange. The poor guy went from a nobody on Earth to a hero on Rann. Adam finally found his place in life and truly relished his role as protector of Rann. And it wasn’t just an ego thing. Sure, Adam loved finally being a hero and someone respected and special rather than just a nobody. But, what really appealed to Adam was the chance to do something good. Adam took his role as protector of Rann seriously. Adam is a true hero who would gladly sacrifice himself to save Rann.
I’m definitely interested to see what happens next with Adam. This is going to be a tough adjustment for him. And there is no doubt that Sardath is going to rue his decision to appoint Steven Hazard as the protector of Rann.
Eddy Barrows serves up some great looking artwork. I always enjoyed Barrows’ artwork on the new Atom as well as over on 52.
Fabrizio Fiorentino delivers some solid artwork in the Forerunner story. It isn’t anything incredible, but it is certainly better than average.
The Bad: Justin Gray’s Forerunner back-up story was an average read. It was certainly nice to finally learn more about the Forerunner race. We finally know how their origin as well as their connection with the Monitors. We also learn that the Forerunner from Countdown is named Viza. And we learn that the entire race of Forerunners has been wiped out by the Monitors and that the Monitors are afraid of Viza since she is a loose cannon.
Having said that, I still found this Forerunner back-up story to be a bit boring. The dialogue was rather generic. Viza still hasn’t displayed much of a personality and I’m having a hard time getting interested in her character.
Also, I’m shocked that DC would place this Forerunner back-up story in a title outside of Countdown. This back-up story provided the reader with answers to many questions concerning Viza, the Forerunners and their connection with the Monitors. This was some rather valuable information that should have been delivered over on the main title Countdown. It is unfortunate that DC forces readers of Countdown to get Countdown to Adventure #1 just to learn the answers to all the questions concerning the Forerunners and the Monitors.
This continues the much larger problem with the entire Countdown storyline. DC seems completely unfocused with this Countdown storyline. DC is taking a shotgun approach and is carrying out the Countdown storyline so many different titles which makes it almost impossible for the reader to properly follow the story without going broke buying every single title that DC publishes. It is a cheap move by DC to artificially boost sales on all their titles across the board. The reader feels forced to buy issues that they normally would pass on out of fear that they will miss something critical to the Countdown storyline.
Countdown continues to be the absolute opposite of 52. The 52 storyline was tight and extremely focused. Plus, with the exception of the World War III issues, DC didn’t force the reader to buy a bunch of tie in issue in order to enjoy 52’s storyline. Part of the magic of 52 was that DC made it easy for the reader to follow the events of 52.
Countdown feels scatter brained and all over the place. DC is taking so many unrelated plotlines and mashing them together and then weaving them through so many different titles that the reader feels overwhelmed trying to follow Countdown.
Overall: Countdown to Adventure #1 was a fun read. The main story by Beechen was definitely more enjoyable and immediately hooked me. Beechen manages to build off the magic of 52 with this characters and I am confident that we are in store for a great story. I’d certainly recommend getting Countdown to Adventure if you were a fan of the lost in space plotline in 52.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Countdown continues to be a slightly better than average read. Last issue was at least fast paced and moved along several various plotlines. I no longer expect Countdown to live up to 52’s legacy. I’m just going to adjust my expectations and enjoy this lead in to the Final Crisis for what it is. Let’s hit this review for Countdown #35.
Writers: Paul Dini & Sean McKeever
Penciler: Manuel Garcia
Inker: Mark McKenna
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Jason, Donna, Ryan and “Bob” the Monitor all being held captive by the evil Queen Belthera. Belthera is interested in the Atom since he is as small as an insect, yet still a man. Therefore, Belthera turns the Atom into a little insect so he better fits his diminutive size.
We cut back to Shadowcrest, where Zatanna takes off the kid gloves and kicks ass on Mary Marvel. Zatanna blasts Mary out of a window of the mansion. The Mansion’s gate then informs Mary that she is hereby banished from Shadowcrest and that the mansion shall remain hidden for her forevermore.
Shadowcrest then disappears. Mary cries out that she was sorry. That the power is too much for her and that she needs Zatanna’s help.
We zip to the Justice League of America satellite where we see a bruised and beaten Mr. Action. Jimmy had asked the JLA members to attack him in hopes of kick starting his powers. It didn’t work and Jimmy is now sporting several bumps and bruises. The JLA members say they are sorry and that they tried their best to go easy on him. Jimmy says that is why his powers didn’t surface. That they have to attack him like they really want to kill him.
Superman tells Jimmy that the JLA ran every diagnostic on Jimmy and Superman even used his x-ray vision and they don’t see anything special about Jimmy. That Jimmy is perfectly normal. Superman says he understands that Jimmy would want to feel like he has super powers. Jimmy asks the JLA to leave him alone for a moment.
We hop over to the Amazon’s Women’s Center. Holly is in gladiator garb along with several other women. They are then lead into a Coliseum style arena. Athena announces that this is the purification ritual and that they shall be freed from their pasts and eradicates their insecurities and become warriors.
And we then get a huge catfight as the females go “Gladiator” on each other. Holly and another woman wearing a strange gold helmet and face covering with a smile on it are clearly the best fighters. Holly and the other woman tear through all the women. Holly and the woman in the strange smiling gold mask are the last ones standing and then they square off against each other.
We cut over to Karate Kid kicking ass on Equus. We see Mister Orr watching the fight and being impressed with Karate Kid. Mister Orr talks to someone over the phone. The voice on the phone says that it is important that they guide Karate Kid into position exactly.
Mister Orr then appears at the fight scene and calls off Equus. Orr tells Karate Kid that he is in luck since Orr has all the answers to Karate Kid’s questions.
We hop over to the Monitors gathered together. The “evil” monitor tells them all that Kyle Rayner must be eliminated since he is an anomaly that is going to cause havoc to the Multiverse.
We slide back to Jason, Donna, Ryan and “Bob” the Monitor still being held captive by Queen Belthera. Donna breaks free of her magical binds and attacks Belthera. Suddenly, “Bob” blasts Donna in the back. “Bob” is under the magical control of Belthera. Belthera says that the Great Disaster is dawning and can destroy them all. Belthera says that with the power of “Bob” that she can now travel to all the worlds known and unknown. That Belthera will be more than a survivor; that she will become the rule of all Creation. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story on the origin of Parallax. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #35 was a decidedly average read. I’m surprised that Dini and company have turned out such a pedestrian issue so late into this series. I really thought that Dini would have had this title rocking and rolling by this point.
Of course, there were some enjoyable scenes in this issue. We got the continuation of the cool fight between Zatanna and Mary. I absolutely love Zee and I always dig seeing her kick some ass. Mary is really starting to completely lose it. She is completely overwhelmed by Black Adam’s dark powers. Poor Mary is completely cracking under the strain of her dark powers that are lusting for more and more power.
This continues to be the best plotline as we watch Mary’s inevitable decline as she gives herself over to Eclipso’s evil influences. Hopefully, Mary’s heroic nature shines through at the end and she is able to begin that path of redemption as a true hero. At any rate, this plotline has gotten me interested in a character that I never really cared about before.
Jimmy Olsen scene was well done. I feel bad for Jimmy. All the guy wants is to follow in the footsteps of Superman and use his newfound powers for the greater good. I’m definitely more and more curious about the origin and nature of Jimmy’s powers. The fact that all the diagnostic tests run by the JLA real Jimmy to be perfectly normal makes his sudden outburst of super powers even more mysterious.
The scene with Karate Kid was enjoyable. I love watching Val kick some ass. I’m getting more interested in this plotline with each issue. Dini teases the reader with a mysterious person talking with Orr about their plans for Karate Kid. I have no idea where Dini is going with this plotline, but I am certainly enjoying the ride.
The Bad: Countdown #35 had a lot of weaknesses. There is no doubt that this was terribly average. The dialogue in this issue was unimpressive. It came across as rather generic and stiff. None of the characters displayed much personality, either. There was a real lack of chemistry in all the different plotlines.
The pacing and plotting is really beginning to show some serious flaws. I know that this is a weekly title so it is naturally going to move at a slower pace than a monthly title. However, I never remember 52 coming to an almost complete halt with practically every plotline becoming sluggish.
Dini really needs to pick up the pace and move these plotlines along. It seems that we just keep reading the same thing over and over again with each issue without ever seeing any real progress being made. It definitely feels like Countdown’s story has always been rather thin and that Dini is just trying to stretch the plotlines out for as long as possible in order to make this storyline last for an entire 52 weeks.
I could care less about Belthera. She is such a painfully generic magic based villain. There is nothing even remotely interesting, different or compelling about her character. We have seen her type of villain a million times before. This search for Ray Palmer plotline is really growing more and more stagnant with each issue. It is too bad, because this is one of the plotlines that originally I was rather interested in.
The ending to this issue with Belthera revealing her desire to conquer the Multiverse elicited a simple yawn of disinterest from me. This plotline and this ending did nothing to get me excited for the next issue.
I still could care less about Holly’s storyline. I don’t have any interest in what Athena is up to by pitting the various women together in a gladiator style battle. I didn’t even find the fight scene to be particularly fun or enjoyable. And there is no mystery in who is the woman wearing the smiling golden mask. We all know it has to be Harley Quinn.
The artwork was boring looking. A huge reason for that is Mark KcKenna’s inking. I have never been a fan of his work.
Overall: Countdown continues to be an underachieving title. This storyline has so much potential, but has failed to deliver up to this point. Countdown #35 continues this unimpressive trend. I can’t say that I recommend spending your money on this title. On the one hand, this title is important because it is the lead in to the Final Crisis. On the other hand, there isn’t enough substance to this story for me to say it is worth spending money on it each and every week. Maybe getting Countdown in trade paperback form would be a wiser choice.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
ACTION COMICS #855
COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE #1
TEEN TITANS #50
AVENGERS INITIATIVE #5
SILVER SURFER REQUIEM #4
Wow, what a surprise. I can’t remember the last time The Revolution had such a small shipment of comic books headed to the Bunker. This week comes to a total of just 6 titles. As always, I’ll try to post as many reviews as possible.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? I’m going to go with Countdown to Adventure #1. This title reunites our lost in space heroes from 52. Hopefully, this mini-series will be able to capture some of that 52 magic.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Teen Titans #50. This issue is burdened with not just writing by committee but also art by committee. It smacks of a typical filler issue that you get with many annuals.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Neither. I’m not really all that excited for either of the two Marvel titles that I’m getting this week.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? Neither. I’m not dreading either of the two Marvel titles that I’m getting this week.
I’m pretty neutral on the two Marvel titles for this week. I’m close to dropping Avengers Initiative. It isn’t bad. But, it isn’t anything great and I already collect way too many titles as it is.
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 10:52 AM
The Revolution doesn’t normally get the Green Lantern Corps. However, since the Sinestro War storyline is weaving between Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, I have decided to pick up this cross-over issue. I don’t want to miss any of the goodness that is the Sinestro War. I’m sure that Green Lantern Corps #15 will be a fun read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Dave Gibbons
Pencilers: Patrick Gleason & Angel Unzueta
Inkers: Prentis Rollins & Drew Geraci
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 Kilowog leading a large group of Green Lanterns to go protect Mogo. We cut to a large group of Sinestro Corps members attacking Mogo. There are only three Green Lanterns on Mogo against the horde of Sinestro Corps members. They start brawling with the Sinestro Corps members.
Suddenly, Kilowog and the Green Lantern re-enforcements appear on the scene. Now we have one massive brawl on our hands. Arisa reminds the Lanterns what is at stake in this battle. That Mogo is responsible for guiding the rings to find those who can overcome great fear. Without Mogo, the rings are directionless.
We cut to the Sinestro Corps members aboard Ranx, the sentient city. The Sinestro Corps plan is to kill Mogo since that will deal a fatal blow to the Green Lantern Corps. That the Green Lanterns rely on Mogo’s mental training for their survival. We then see that the Children of the White Lobe’s power will be combined with the Sinestro Corps’ power to attack Mogo.
We shift back to the surface of Mogo where Kilowog and the other Lanterns see Ranx open fire with gravity disrupters to dig into the surface of Mogo. Inside the yellow Sinestro Corps energy bombs are several Children of the White Lobe inside to increase the power of the attack.
We hop over to Soranick Natu leaving the hospital where she is tending to the injured to don her Green Lantern power ring and to join the Corps in their battle against Sinestro.
We slide over to Oa where Salaak is receiving information about the attack on Mogo. We then cut back to the Lanterns brawling with the Sinestro Corps members on Mogo. The Lanterns figure out that the Children of the White Lobe have psychokinetic powers and they can explode themselves like suicide bombs by sheer willpower. That if they get to the core of Mogo then they can blow up the sentient planet.
We then see Kilowog lock horns with a Sinestro Corps member that is just as tough and as big as Kilowog. The two brawl and eventually, Kilowog kicks ass on the Sinestro Corps member. Arisa then gets blasted by a yellow power blast. Kilowog comes to her aid and rallies the remaining Green Lantern Corps members around him to take on the rest of the Sinestro Corps forces.
The Lanterns then decide that the best defense is a good offense. They agree to lead a direct attack on Ranx and take the fight to the Sinestro Corps.
We cut back to Oa where the Guardians discuss how the Prophecy of the Blackest Night has begun. That they can already hear the hollow road of the final blink bomb. One of the Guardians mentions that a new Lantern named Sodam Yat is on Mogo and that if Ganthet knows the prophecy well then he should recognize Sodam Yat’s name.
The Guardians decide that they must act now. That they must rewrite the Book of Oa itself.
We hop over to Qward where the Lost Lanterns are searching for Ion. All of their power rings start to run low on power. The Lost Lanterns then cross paths with the Anti-Monitor himself. End of issue.
The Good: Green Lantern Corps #15 was a pretty solid read. Gibbons turned in a fast paced issue that sports tons of action. Gibbons stomps on the accelerator at the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end. Green Lantern Corps #15 does a good job cranking up the intensity of the Sinestro War storyline and increases the feelings of tension within the reader. After reading this issue, there is no doubt in the reader’s mind that the Green Lantern Corps is engaged in a full blown war. This isn’t just some small brawl between super heroes and super villains. It is all out war.
Gibbons delivers some decent dialogue. It isn’t anything special or particularly great. But, it isn’t bad and it gets the job done. Plus, this issue is all about kick ass action and not engaging and talkative dialogue.
I dig the use of Mogo as the setting for the huge battle in this issue. It is pretty cool to see both sides are pulling out their big guns as we see Sinestro Corps’ sentient city, Ranx combining his powers with the Children of the White Lobe to take on the Green Lantern Corps’ heavy hitter in Mogo, the sentient planet. This definitely makes for a very dramatic and exciting battle.
I also like that Mogo is the heart and soul of the Green Lantern Corps. It is pretty cool that Mogo is what allows the power rings to hunt out and locate appropriate members for the Green Lantern Corps. I’m not all that familiar with Mogo, so as a reader not steeped in the history of the Green Lantern Corps, this was a nice move to show unfamiliar readers how important Mogo is to the Green Lantern Corps.
Of course, Kilowog is a total bad-ass. It is always fun to watch Kilowog kicking butt. This Sinestro War is the perfect storyline for Kilowog to strut his stuff as he is in his element on the battlefield.
Again, I don’t read this title normally, so I’m not completely familiar with some of the characters. I am definitely interested in learning more about this new Green Lantern Sodam Yat and just what exactly is his connection with the prophecy. That was a pretty neat plot twist. And we learn of the Guardians drastic method to rewrite the Book of Oa. That certainly got my attention.
And Gibbons certainly ended with an excellent hook ending with the Lost Lanterns running across the main man himself, the Anti-Monitor. We should certainly be in store for plenty more action in the next issue of Green Lantern.
This issue sports artwork by committee. It isn’t anything incredible, but the styles blend well and don’t create a jarring look.
The Bad: This issue is all about the action. The dialogue isn’t anything great. The story isn’t going to wow you. The character work is average at best. You pick up this issue because you want to see a entertaining and massive brawl between the Sinestro Corps and the Green Lantern Corps.
Overall: As far as tie-in issues go, this was pretty good. Normally, I dislike buying a title I normally don’t get just to follow the storyline of a big event. However, Gibbons did a good enough job so I didn’t feel cheated or that I wasted my time buying an unimportant tie-in issue.
Green Lantern #15 was an entertaining brawlfest. If you don’t normally get this title but are following the Sinestro Corps storyline, then this title is worth picking up. Especially if you like plenty of fast paced action.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Bedard and Calero had done what I thought was impossible. They have gotten me actually excited again about reading the latest issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. Bedard is turning out the strongest story arc that we have gotten on this newest incarnation of the Legion of Super Heroes. I’m confident that Bedard will deliver another entertaining read in Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #33.
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Dennis Calero
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Star Boy making all the members of the Cult of Validus so heavy that they collapse to the ground and can’t get up. The Mayor then summons enough energy to blast Star Boy with lightning. The members of the Cult of Validus then stand up and Sun Boy and Mekt quickly retreat leaving Star Boy with the cultists.
We cut to Tenzil Kem using his powers to the test by eating his way through the mountain of grain that was dumped on top of him as well as the locked steel silo door.
We slide over to the temporary Legion headquarters where Invisible Kid warns Brainiac 5 that the Wanderers think Brainy set Mekt up to fail and that the Wanderers may get violent soon. Brainiac 5 walks out of his lab and finds the Wanderers waiting outside the door to talk to him.
Vrax, the Wanderer’s Coluan, says he his calculations show that Brainiac 5 sent Mekt on a mission in order to eliminate him as a rival to the position of leader of the Legion. Brainy disparages Vrax’s lowly 10th level intelligence and reminds everyone that Supergirl is the Legion leader and that she picked the teams.
We hop back to Winath where Mekt tells Sun Boy that the Cult of Validus members must be mimicking Mekt’s lightning abilities by using nano-capacitators in their blood stream. And that the Coluans lead the universe in nanotechnology and miniaturization.
We cut to the two kids in the Cult of Validus dragging Star Boy into a holding cell. Tenzil appears on the scene and takes out the two kids. We then see Sun Boy and Lightning Lad confronting the members of the Cult of Validus. Mekt and Sun Boy agree that Brainiac 5 is going to pay for what he has done to them. Mekt’s parents tell him to join the Cult of Validus. Mekt snaps and tells his father to shut up and then blasts his father with lightning.
We then shift to Star Boy and Tenzil then stumble across the giant transmitter that is giving the Cult of Validus members their lightning powers. Tenzil eats his way through the lock on the door protecting the transmitter and then Star Boy destroys the transmitter.
We cut back to Sun Boy yelling at Mekt for just blowing away his own father. Mekt rants that Brainiac 5 has turned them all against him. Suddenly, the Cult of Validus members lose their lighting powers. They then act like they just woke up from a dream and ask Sun Boy what is going on. That they were under some form of mind control.
Mekt’s mother then yells out that her husband is badly hurt. Mekt’s mother yells “What have you done!” at Mekt. Mekt tells his mother not to blame him, but to blame the person who used them against Mekt. To blame Brainiac 5. Tenzil and Star Boy then appear on the scene and Tenzil says that he agrees with Mekt that they should blame the person behind this scheme.
Tenzil reveals that he found the transmitter that gave the cult members their powers and also controlled their minds. Tenzil said he scanned the transmitter and the nanotech receivers in the cult members with his hi-tech glasses. That they all bear the same maker’s mark. Tenzil says it is Coluan indeed, but not Brainiac 5. It is the work of the Wanderer’s Coluan, Vrax Gozzl.
Mekt then sticks out his pointer finger and reminds Tenzil that Mekt’s promise to poke his finger through Tenzil’s eye and fry Tenzil’s brain. Tenzil stares at Mekt and then suddenly bites Mekt’s pointer finger clean off. (DAMN!) Tenzil spits out Mekt’s finger onto the floor. Mekt screams and then passes out.
Tenzil then places Mekt under arrest for the charges of murder, attempted murder of a government official, mind control and anything else Tenzil can dig up.
We cut to Star Boy and Sun Boy arriving back at Brainiac 5’s lab. Star Boy gives Brainiac 5 Mekt’s Legion flight ring who in turn gives it to Invisible Kid who had lost his. Sun Boy agrees to re-join the Legion of Super Heroes as long as Sun Boy’s Terror Firma members also get to stay with the Legion. Brainiac 5 agrees to have Sun Boy’s request put to a vote.
Brainiac 5 mentions how the Wanderers immediately fled the Legion headquarters once they heard about Mekt’s arrest. Brainiac 5 then reveals that he never trusted Vrax so Brainy tapped into Vrax’s computer system a while back. Brainiac 5 discovered that it was Mekt’s idea to destroy the Dominator Homeworld. Mekt’s telepath, Jeyra, then planted the idea in Cosmic Boy’s head.
Tenzil then appears on the video screen and informs Brainiac 4, Sun Boy, Star Boy and Invisible Kid that the data that Brainy discovered officially lets Cosmic Boy off the hook and that all charges are dropped. Tenzil does add that the U.P. is upset the Legion let the Wanderers escape and that the U.P. is worried that the Wanderers will turn into some sort of “Legion of Super Villains.”
Sun Boy then asks Brainiac 5 if the other teams are having any luck finding Cosmic Boy. Brainy responds that it depends. Does bad luck count? We then see a panel shot of a bunch of flames with Wildfire standing in the middle! (Hell yes!! He’s back! He’s back! Wildfire is finally back!)
The Good: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #33 was a great read! I have to give Bedard a ton of credit. I have never been all that impressed with his fill-in work on other titles I have collected. So, I was not all that excited when I heard that Bedard would be filling in on my beloved Legion. Well, I clearly had no need for concern. Bedard has done a sweet job on this title and has managed to do what Waid failed to do during his run: Actually getting me excited about reading the Legion of Super Heroes.
For the first time in forever, I have been looking forward to the newest issue of the Legion of Super Heroes. And I haven’t had as much fun when reading an issue of the Legion in quite a long time. Bedard really has surprised me with an impressive feel for the Legion and its characters and history.
Bedard gives us plenty of solid dialogue. Each character has their own distinctive personality and are rather well developed. Bedard also generates enjoyable chemistry between the various characters. Bedard understands that the Legion has always been about characters with very different personalities who sometimes clash, but have to work past the differences in order to achieve a common goal. And the little conflicts always provide for plenty of entertaining drama.
Bedard writes a great Brainiac 5. He has his requisite condescending attitude along with his dick personality and huge ego. Brainy always gets the best dialogue. No doubt about it. Bedard also does a nice job giving the reader a completely unhinged Mekt Ranzz.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #33 was a very well paced and plotted issue. Bedard has crafted a solid and rather tight little two issue story arc. This two issue story arc did everything that a good story arc should do. This two issue story arc moved at a pleasant pace, quickly hooked the reader’s attention, provided for a satisfactory pay off at the ending and moved along several plotlines.
Bedard managed to clear Cosmic Boy of any war crimes and also wipes away any shades of grey concerning Mekt and the Wanderers as Bedard exposes Mekt as the insane villain that he truly is, evolves the Wanderers into a classic group of villains.
I dig how Bedard took Mekt to the next level as a truly villainous character. Waid gave us a wonderfully complex version of Mekt who was various shades of grey as the reader couldn’t tell if Mekt was a good guy or a bad guy. It was enjoyable that Mekt wasn’t immediately introduced as a clear villain.
Bedard takes what Waid left him and builds off of it as we see just how truly sick and twisted Mekt is. Bedard makes Mekt a clear villain as we see Mekt blast his own father without remorse. Mekt is incredibly deranged and becomes a true villain. But, Bedard doesn’t reduce Mekt to a one-dimensional standard issue villain. Bedard makes sure that the reader gets a good feel for Mekt’s tragically fractured soul that makes the reader sympathetic for Mekt even though he is a reprehensible villain.
I also loved the little reference to the Legion of Super Villains that Bedard has Tenzil mention at the end of the issue with regard to the Wanderers. This was a cool nod to the Pre-Crisis group of villains that the Wanderers were clearly modeled after. I definitely am looking forward to the Legion locking horns with the Wanderers at some point in the future.
All right, I know what everyone is thinking. You are all thinking that “Hey, The Revolution makes some good points about this issue, but a 10? Is this issue really worth 10 Night Girls? Maybe 8 but no way it gets 10! What in the world in The Revolution thinking?”
Fair question. There are two reasons that I kicked this issue up from 8 Night Girls to a perfect 10 Night Girls. The first is the kick-ass Tenzil Kem action that we got in this issue. Tenzil actually bit Mekt’s finger CLEAN OFF! That was awesome! That was by far the best scene involving Matter Eater Lad in his entire history. I actually yelled out loud “Damn!” I was not expecting that to happen.
And the second, and much larger reason, is that Wildfire is finally back! Cosmic Boy and Wildfire have always been by far and away my two favorite Legionnaires ever since I was a little kid. I absolutely love Wildfire. And this is a character that has really gotten the shaft ever since the Legion got rebooted the first time. Well, actually Wildfire’s character started his decline with the fan-fiction writing of the TMK Legion that had Wildfire inhabit Sun Boy’s corpse.
We then got the first re-boot after Zero Hour. Wildfire didn’t make an appearance for years. And when he finally did, it was a truly craptacular version of Wildfire with a radically different origin and character. Wildfire never assumed the same position within the Legion that he had prior to Zero Hour. Then we got the second reboot and have had to wait thirty-three issues to finally see Wildfire in this newest incarnation of the Legion.
I can only hope and pray that Bedard gives us a Wildfire that is closer to the Pre-Crisis version than the Post Zero Hour version. At any rate, it is awesome that Wildfire is finally back and that alone is enough to crank up my excitement level totally off the charts and have me give Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #33 a perfect 10 Night Girls.
Denis Calero serves up plenty more of his well done artwork. Normally, I wouldn’t be crazy about Calero’s style of art on a science fiction title like the Legion, however it is a wonderful match to this creepy two issue story arc.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #33 was a great read. Bedard has really impressed me with his crisp and tight stories that have been entertaining and fun. And I will openly admit that I am totally biased since I’m a huge Wildfire fan so that alone made me absolutely insanely happy with the ending of this issue. Bedard has restored my enjoyment in my all-time favorite title.
Monday, August 27, 2007
The last issue of Iron Man was a pretty good read. It certainly was one of the few obligatory World War Hulk tie-in issues that I actually enjoyed reading. Gage is doing a nice job filling in for the Knaufs on this title. However, I’m a huge fan of the Knaufs and I’m glad that they are returning with Iron Man #21. I’m positive that the Knaufs will deliver yet another excellent read. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Iron Man #21.
Writers: Daniel and Charles Knauf
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with two super heroes, Paragon and Gadget, who are a part of the Initiative assigned to Nebraska investigating an alarm at a water supply facility. They investigate the old abandoned pumping station. There they find Graviton hiding behind a machine. When Gadget tells Graviton to come out from behind the machine, Graviton responds “The machine is behind you, child.” We then hear Gadget scream.
We cut to Tony in his penthouse at Stark Tower. Suddenly, captain America appears before him. Captain America attacks Tony. Tony says that Steve is dead and he can’t be real. Captain America takes off his mask and says he is a figment of Tony’s imagination. Captain America then says “The writing is Malukkian.”
Tony wakes up and goes to his computer and look at footage of the writing on the wall at the Chinese facility where the Mandarin was being kept. We zip forward to the morning with Tony meeting with Secretary of Defense Jack Kooning. Tony says that only the Mandarin can decipher Malukkian script. That a month after the Mandarin went missing a John Doe was admitted to the Chinese mental facility. The John Doe had no hands.
That Najeeb was on a quest for ancient artifacts which were the Mandarin’s rings. Najeeb was going to give them back to the Mandarin in hopes to forge an alliance between the two. Mandarin killed Najeeb and then Najeeb’s former right hand man, Faraz started working for Mandarin. Faraz recruited terrorists and supplied them with advanced biomods. It was all a distraction to keep SHIELD busy while Mandarin went after what he truly wanted: Maya Hansen and Extremis.
Jack Kooning doesn’t buy Tony’s theory since Jack says Faraz took responsibility for all the terrorist activity. And also because five hours ago Maya Hansen was found dead in her hotel bathroom. She killed herself and left behind a suicide note. Jack tells Tony it is time to stop chasing ghosts.
Suddenly, Maria Hill calls Tony and tells him they have a situation. We cut to Tony on the SHIELD Helicarrier just arriving in Omaha, Nebraska. Tony is filled in on the situation concerning Graviton and the two Initiative heroes in Paragon and Gadget. Gadget has gone missing and Paragon is in the hospital and should recover just fine.
Iron Man then arrives at the hospital where Paragon is located. There Iron Man meets up with Captain Ultra who is responsible for the Nebraska team. Ultra tells Iron Man that he heard Gadget was Tony’s protégé. Iron Man responds that he didn’t know her. That a million gifted kids who cobbled together armor in their garages sent him letters and considered them his protégés. Tony remembers getting letter from Gadget when she was a little kid.
Iron Man and Ultra then talk with Paragon. Paragon mentions how Graviton paralyzed Gadget in some kind of force field, she started screaming and then there was an explosion. Paragon then tells Iron Man that just before Graviton attacked he said “The machine is behind you, child.”
Iron Man contacts the Helicarrier and orders a search team to sift through the material already taken from the blast site and look with mass-analysis scanners. We cut to Iron Man and Mariah Hill in the Helicarier that is located over the blast site. They are examining a ball of flesh, bone, silicon and alloys that was Gadget all compressed into a ball the size of a billiards ball. Maria comments on what a horrible way to die that must have been. Iron Man responds that it was actually relatively quick and painless.
Suddenly, Gadget as a little girl appears in front of Iron Man and says “Who’s behind the machine, Tony?” Iron Man orders Maria Hill to have Graviton transferred to a holding cell within the Helicarrier and to have a medical team on hand.
We cut to the headquarters of Prometheus Gentech where Tem Borjigin is standing with Maya Hansen. They stare at the SHIELD Helicarrier that is in the sky near their building. Maya is nervous and says that Tony is too close for comfort. Tem reassures Maya that Tony will be gone soon and that Maya needs to focus on her Extremis research.
Maya says that they are still years away from animal testing and decades from clinical trials with human subjects. Tem agrees that medical research takes a long time and that they rarely see the full benefits of their efforts in their own lifetimes. They sacrifice the present in exchange for the future. A brighter future for all mankind.
We then see a lab full of containers with human bodies inside of them. End of issue.
The Good: Iron Man #21 was another excellent read. The Knaufs deliver a well paced and plotted issue. I like the steady and measured pacing of this story. The Knaufs are masters at employing a deliberate pace while putting into place a complex story with multiple detailed plotlines. Brubaker is the only other comic book writer that can come close to the Knaufs with this style of storytelling.
I dig how every single detail and plotline no matter how small is important. The Knaufs don’t do anything without a purpose. It is enjoyable watching all the different plotlines, large and small, all fit together and build off each other.
The Knaufs dole out plenty more of their usual excellent dialogue. The dialogue is richly crafted and has a pleasant flow. The Knaufs have also made a serious effort to deliver fully developed characters. These complex characters interact nicely together.
The Knaufs still write the best Tony Stark that I have read in an extremely long time. Possibly ever. I love how Tony is always in command and takes no shit from anyone and always seems to have a plan. Tony has an ego and is supremely confident in his brilliant mind. However, in private we see a deeply troubled Tony who is clearly plagued by inner demons.
I dig the two scenes where Tony is visited by ghosts. First Captain America and then Gadget as a young girl. Each time, the ghost provides Tony the information necessary to make the next step in deciphering a mystery. It is cool seeing The Knaufs channeling their inner David Lynch and giving this title an unusually surreal feel. Iron Man has always been a title rooted in Science Fiction. The Knaufs’ approach has been a real departure with a metaphysical approach to this title. And for anyone familiar with Daniel Knauf’s work on HBO’s Carnivale this style of storytelling should come as no surprise.
I enjoyed how Tony handled Gadget’s death. It was a neat twist that Tony revealed that Gadget was not a protégé. That Gadget was just one in a million of kids who idolized him. It was unexpected to see Tony reduce Gadget to just one of a million faceless kids who sent him letter throughout his career. And this is further magnified by Tony’s rather cold scientific analysis of Gadget’s death. Hill’s reaction is what any normal person would think upon seeing such a horrific death. Tony’s matter of fact logic based reaction is totally foreign to the reader.
The Knaufs then contrasting Tony’s detached scientific approach to Gadget’s death is then highlighted by the appearance of gadget’s ghost who asks Tony the question “Who is behind the machine.” The Knaufs have done an incredible job showing how Tony is increasingly hiding his human side behind his armor and technology. Tony is becoming more iron than man.
Graviton is a character that I have always thought was a bit cheesy. Not anymore. The Knaufs give us one incredible dark, twisted and creepy version of Graviton. I’m interested to learn more about Graviton’s cryptic statement about “the machine.” The scene with Graviton and Gadget continues the eerie and bizarre feel that the Knaufs are bringing to this title.
It was cool seeing a couple of Initiative heroes at work. We see a news report mentioning how there are increasing issues and protests over the quality of the government training for the super heroes operating under the Initiative. And that there have been numerous deaths. I guess this is the approach that Marvel is going to take to show the deficiencies of the Initiative in order to lead to the repealing of the SHRA.
I also liked the touch of showing how Ultra has been put out to pasture in Nebraska. The Initiative has not only provided an avenue for new heroes, but it has also given old worn out heroes a new chance at reviving their careers.
The Knaufs serve up a great hook ending with the revelation that Maya Hansen is actually alive and well. Prometheus Gentech staged Maya’s “suicide” in order to throw Tony off her trail. Tem continues to display his craftiness as Maya honestly has no clue how evil of a man she has aligned herself with. And what is up with that lab full of containers with human bodies in them? This plotline should definitely be rather interesting.
De La Torre is not the artist that I would ever pick for a title like Iron Man. Having said that, De La Torre’s artwork is certainly a perfect match for the dark, eerie and surreal mood that the Knaufs are creating on this title.
The Bad: My only quibble would be that De La Torre draws one of the dullest looking versions of Iron Man.
Overall: Iron Man #21 was another excellent read. The Knaufs continue to craft gem after gem on this title. Iron Man is absolutely one of the best written titles that Marvel is currently publishing. If you enjoy strong writing and a touch of the bizarre then definitely give Iron Man a try.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Last issue of Iron Fist was a boring read that was just a filler issue to burn time between the first story arc on this young title and this new story arc that we get with Immortal Iron Fist #8. Brubaker and Fraction have done an amazing job on this title and there is no doubt in my mind that Immortal Iron Fist #8 is going to be a blast to read. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
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 a flashback scene of Wendell Rand searching through the snowy mountains for the mystical city of K’un L’un. Wendell arrives at the gates of the city and then collapses.
We zip back to the present with Danny studying the Book of The Iron Fist and using his chi powers is ways never imagined. For example, Danny uses his chi powers to heal himself of all his wounds from the last story arc.
Lei-Kung the Thunderer comes and gets Danny as they go to meet with Yu-Ti. They appear before Yu-Ti who proceeds to tell Danny that every eighty-eight years the seven heavenly cities align in a heavenly convergence and hold a mighty tournament. That sections of each city join together creating the Heart of the Heaven, a palace where their contests take place. That each heavenly city has their own immortal weapon with their own icon and fighting style.
Yu-Ti says that during the last tournament, the Iron Fist (Orson) decided not to fight and killed another city’s champion and then fled. This ended the tournament in disgrace for K’un L’un. Yu-Ti then asks Danny if he has any questions. Danny then asks Yu-Ti why Danny’s father didn’t become the iron Fist.
We flashback to Wendell waking up in a bed. Lie-Kung stands before him and tells Wendell that he made it to K’un-L’un. Lie-Kung asks Wendell to spar with him. Lie-Kung immediately recognizes Orson’s fighting style in how Wendell fights. Lie-Kung tells Wendell to hide deep inside his mind his thoughts of Orson. That Yu-Ti would be outraged to find out that Orson was not long dead. Lie-Kung takes Wendell before Yu-Ti who welcomes Wendell to K’un L’un.
We see Wendell begin his training under Lie-Kung. Wendell finds a new home in K’un-L’un and a new teacher in Lie-Kung the Thunderer. And Wendell finds a new friend in fellow student, Davos.
We cut back to the present and see Jeryn Hogarth and Mr. Xao in the mountains of K’un L’un. Davos contacts them via a video screen. Davos tells Hogarth that he wants an update. Hogarth hold up four fingers and says they have four problems. The first being Hogarth having to supervise construction of a theoretical project. The second is that they are in the Himalayas, the third is that the crew is inexperienced, the fourth is that the crew doesn’t speak English. Davos reminds Hogarth what else has four fingers: Hogarth’s mother. Davos then signs off.
Hogarth tells Xao that Davos is asking for the impossible. We see the giant bridge construction site. Hogarth tells Xao that Danny will save him. Xao replies that Danny won’t be able to this time since he is indisposed.
We shift to Danny meditating in front of a small pond. Danny thinks how Yu-Ti told him that now was not the time to discuss Danny’s father, Wendell. Danny then concentrates and asks where is the location of Hogarth. A small drop of water levitates from the pond and Danny sees the mountains of K’un L’un in the water drop.
Lei-Kung then silently appears and tells Danny that it is time for them to go. The two men then meet up with Yu-Ti who tells Danny that he will be fighting for K’un L’un’s place on the Earthly realm. That the tournament decides the order of the cities of heaven in the Celestial Clockwork and failure will lock them away from Earth for half a century, not a decade.
Danny, Lie-Kung and Yu-Ti then enter the Heart of Heaven Palace. We see the other heavenly cities leaders and their immortal weapons. You have Fat Cobra, The Bride of Nine Spiders, Dog Brother #1, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, The Prince of Orphans and the Steel Serpent (Davos).
Danny immediately gets up in Davos’ face and demands to know where Jeryn Hogarth is located. The Crane Mother tells Yu-Ti to control his Iron Fist. Yu-Ti responds that his Iron Fist’s anger is just even if it is inappropriate at this time.
The Crane Mother then says it is time to select one of the champions to entertain everyone in combat with one hundred of the best Shaolin Terror Priests. The champion selected is Fat Cobra.
Fat Cobra kicks all sorts of ass on the Shaolin Terror Priests. During the fight, Danny is distracted by one of the female servants. Lie-Kung tells Danny to concentrate on Fat Cobra and not girls. Danny realizes that Fat Cobra knows fighting forms that Danny has never seen before. Danny thinks how he has no idea how he would defeat Fat Cobra.
Fat Cobra finishes his exhibition. The Crane Mother then tells Fat Cobra to choose who his first opponent shall be. Fat Cobra says that since Iron Fist’s blood is clearly hot and eager for combat then he chooses the Iron Fist as his first opponent.
We then get the a bracket for the tournament listing the other matchups. End of issue.
The Good: Iron Fist #8 was a fantastic read! Brubaker and Fraction continue to do an excellent job on this title. Iron Fist #8 was well paced and plotted. You can Brubaker’s influence on this title in the pacing and plotting. The story on Iron Fist is complex with several different detailed plotlines. The story is moving at a steady and measured pace while slowly but surely building tension in the reader. That is vintage Brubaker for you.
Brubaker and Fraction serve up plenty of well crafted dialogue. All of the characters are wonderfully developed. Brubaker’s trademark commitment to character development is certainly showing through on this title. Brubaker and Fraction are doing a nice job cultivating the personalities of Lie-Kung and Yu-Ti in order to establish them as important supporting characters for Danny. And I am definitely liking Lie-Kung the Thunderer more and more. He is one seriously bad-assed character.
I absolutely love the new ways that Danny is learning to use his chi powers. It is a brilliant move by Brubaker and Fraction to expand and grow Danny’s powers that have practically limitless potential to be used in so many different and creative ways. I dig that literary device of the Book of the Iron Fist in order to allow Danny to gain knowledge of new and original ways to use his chi powers.
This is very similar to how fighting mangas have characters study and progress in learning how to use their powers in different ways and receiving various power upgrades as the story progresses. Since I love fighting mangas, I obviously like how Iron Fist feels to be inspired by fighting mangas.
Brubaker and Fraction have certainly placed Jeryn Hogarth in a real pickle. The poor guy is stuck on in the Himalayas with what seems to be an impossible task to achieve while his mother is being held captive and having her fingers chopped off one by one. I’m interested to see what Wai-Go and Davos are up to with this project and how this plays into the bigger picture.
And what is up with the servant girl who got Iron Fist’s attention? Brubaker never does anything without a purpose. I’m sure we will see more of this plot as the story unfolds.
The entire storyline surrounding the tournament of the immortal weapons is fantastic. I love the fighting manga feel that this tournament has. I totally dig the concept of the seven cities and the tournament for position in the celestial clockwork. The location for the tournament being a palace made up of a piece of each of the seven cities is a pretty
Each one of the immortal weapons seem to step right out of a Japanese fighting manga or a Wuxia movie. This is one fascinating collection of characters. Each one has a neat distinctive look and theme. It should be fun watching each immortal weapon in combat and displaying their own unique fighting styles.
The tournament bracket at the end of this issue was classic! That is a trademark move that all fighting mangas employ. The beloved bracket shows up in so many mangas like my personal all time favorite manga, Kinnikuman. The bracket at the end of this issue was a nice touch. Watching Iron Fist work his way through these phenomenal fighters is going to be a blast to read.
I’m enjoying the flashback scenes about Danny’s father, Wendell. See connection to Davos. Excited to learn more about what happened with Wendell.
What is so amazing is the phenomenal job that Brubaker and Fraction have done each and every issue of fleshing out the Iron Fist mythos. Each issue further develops the Iron Fist mythos through a combination of the flashback scenes, further examining the world of K’un L’un, evolving Danny’s powers and developing Danny’s supporting cast. Brubaker and Fraction have managed to take a rather one-dimensional and cheesy Kung Fu character from the 1970’s and mold him into a rather intriguing character.
Brubaker and Fraction were wise to make a strong effort to expand upon the Iron Fist mythos and making it much more rich and complex. The world of K’un L’un and the legacy of the Iron Fist is becoming a more important and fascinating part of the 616 Universe.
Aja provides for plenty more of his usual excellent artwork. Aja’s style of art is the perfect match for the dark and otherworldly mood that Brubaker and Fraction are creating on this title. Aja is capable of cranking out some panels that are truly beautiful.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: I have said it over and over and I’ll keep on saying it. Iron Fist is one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. It is sad that the June, 2007 sales numbers had Immortal Iron Fist #6 only at the 58th place with 36,708 copies sold. That puts Iron Fist with lower sales numbers than so many grossly inferior titles. Immortal Iron Fist is a phenomenal read and is absolutely worth the cover price. I definitely recommend giving the Immortal Iron Fist a try.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It is no secret how much The Revolution has thoroughly detested this unbelievably horrid story arc that we are getting on Amazing Spider-Man. Luckily, this terrible story arc should be coming to an end since Amazing Spider-Man #543 is the final installment of this five part story arc. I cannot wait to get JMS off this title and to get all these lousy stories behind us. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Amazing Spider-man #543.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker: Bill Rienhold
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 1 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Peter at Aunt May’s bedside. We cut to the nurse on duty taking some of Aunt May’s blood and getting a report done on the analysis of the blood. Peter manages to get his hands on the blood test report and is upset. Evidently, Aunt May has built up an immunity to his spider-blood and that the transfusion he conducted isn’t going to do anything for Aunt May.
We then see a priest arrive and ask Peter and MJ if they had gotten the funeral plans together and if they know what May’s last wishes are.
We cut to the police station where a cop named Delint gets assigned May’s police file. The cop is to investigate this supposed “drive-by” shooting case.
We hop back to Peter and MJ at Aunt May’s hospital room. Peter is mad at the priest for suggesting that they prepare for the possibility of May dying. MJ asks Peter what religious service would May want. What did May believe in. Peter responds that May believed in him and that belief may have cost May her life. Peter asks how can he live with that?
We slide outside the hospital room where the cop, Delint, is talking to the nurse on duty about May. The nurse says that she thinks May’s niece brought her here under an old last name and that it was probably the niece’s husband who shot May and that the niece is trying to cover it up. The nurse says that they also discovered a sudden increase in a radioactive toxin in May’s blood. That the niece probably snuck her boyfriend in to try and finish off May by poisoning her.
The cop then enters May’s hospital room and tells MJ to come with him to the police station. Peter then appears and tells the cop to unhand MJ. Peter then punches out the cop. Peter realizes that he is quickly becoming a criminal just like the people he has fought in his entire career as Spider-Man.
Peter then continues his crime spree by stealing an ambulance. Peter then steals some surgical scrubs and impersonates a doctor. MJ then steals some transfer papers from the nurses’ station during a code blue emergency.
Peter then puts Aunt May on a gurney and covers her up like she is a corpse and wheels her out of the hospital and into the stolen ambulance. Peter and MJ then arrive at another hospital where Peter poses as a doctor and presents the transfer papers that he forged. The new hospital is full of patients, but they go ahead and admit May anyway.
MJ asks Peter what is going to happen to them. MJ asks when all of this is going to end. Peter responds that he doesn’t know, but that he can’t stop fighting for May or for MJ. Peter says he is going to drop the ambulance off somewhere far away so they can’t track them. Then, MJ and Peter will plane their next move.
Peter leaves the hospital thinking about the nine felony counts that he has just committed in the past hour. And that these felonies were committed by Peter Parker and not Spider-Man. That Peter’s fingerprints are all over everything. That Peter has become everything that he set out to fight. A criminal.
Peter thinks how he is trapped in a nightmare and that he feels so lost. End of issue.
The Good: What the hell? That was the big ending to this ridiculously too long five issue story arc? There is no way that I can follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. There were truly no redeeming qualities to Amazing Spider-Man #543. Let’s see, well, the two panels where Peter attacks the cop were well drawn and looked cool. All right, that’s all I’ve got, people.
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #543 was truly a craptacular issue. This was a fitting end to what has been a completely horrendous story arc. This issue was terribly paced and miserably plotted. This is yet another incredibly slow, pointless, boring and rambling story. This entire story arc has been a meandering mess that has lacked much purpose or direction.
Once again, not much happens in this issue. Peter and MJ’s plan does get exposed by the cops which causes them to switch hospitals. That’s it. Yay. How exciting. We get treated to the same tired dialogue and inner monologue that we have gotten over and over again over the past four issues. It is beyond repetitious. We also get the same over the top and ham handed scenes that are supposed to be emotional and poignant, but just come off overacted and cheesy.
And what makes Amazing Spider-Man #543 even more of a lousy read is that there is no payoff at the end. We have been forced to slog our way through a dull, slow, meandering, overly dramatic and repetitious story arc for an incredible five issues. That is a long story arc. And for what? To find out that these past five issues have been nothing more than a set up for “One More Day” story arc? That these past five issues have been nothing more than a teaser? A mere lead in? That is fucking insane. What a total waste of five issues. What a total waste of time and money.
This five issue story arc could have been easily done in two issues. First issue, Kingpin has May shot. Peter beats up Kingpin and threatens to kill him if May dies. Second issue, Peter’s blood transfusion doesn’t work. May still in a coma. End of two issue story arc. Now we can move on to what appears to be the real meat of the story which is this “One More Day” four issue story arc. It is a joke that this story arc has lasted five issues.
Honestly, can Loki just show up and pay back his debt to Peter and hit the re-start button on this title to about a year or two ago?
Other than the two panels where Peter attacks the cop, Garney and Reinhold’s artwork is incredibly drab and uninteresting. The story is boring enough, but when combined with rather dull artwork it serves to make this title an even more unbearable read.
Overall: It is only fitting that a story arc as lousy as this one would have an ending as lame as what we got in Amazing Spider-Man #543. It is practically mind boggling how bad this five issue story arc has been. I have no idea who would enjoy this story arc. I imagine that only hardcore JMS fans or hardcore Spider-Man fans would enjoy this issue. I definitely wouldn’t recommend Amazing Spider-Man to anyone else.
The Revolution can barely remember the last issue of Astonishing X-Men since it has been nearly four months since it came out. The pathetic scheduling of this title has been the only downside to what is otherwise an outstanding read. I’m sure that Whedon will serve up another great read in Astonishing X-Men #22. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Kruun’s second in command informing Kruun how Agent Brand offered him Kruun’s throne and Colossus if he would help them defeat Kruun and destroy the missile moon base.
We cut to Danger standing over the defeated X-Men. Emma mocks Danger and asks why Danger doesn’t kill the X-Men. That it is clear that Danger has won. Emma reveals that Danger can’t kill the X-Men because of her parent programming that has stopped Danger from killing them. That is why Danger enlisted Ord’s help to do what Danger can’t do. Emma then tells Danger that she has an offer for Danger.
We shift Kitty and Colossus after they just finished having some evidently quite enjoyable sex. They are informed by one of Aghanne’s aids that their teammates have been located that and that Kitty and Colossus are to leave at sunrise. Colossus is disturbed about what is to happen next. Kitty tells Colossus to just enjoy the moment together with her.
We hop over to Agent Brand and Beast. Beast tells Brand that they are going to take a ship and go get his teammates. Then they will head to the moon base where Kruun is most certainly waiting for them with plenty of defensive measures.
We slide over to Emma, Scott and Danger meeting up with Lockheed and Brand’s soldiers. We then cut to Kruun being informed that the X-Men and Brand’s soldiers have all rendezvoused together and are now on a transport headed to the moon base.
The then shift to the transport where we see Kitty gleefully greeting Lockheed. Kitty coos over Lockheed like he was a puppy. Brand snaps at Kitty to stop simpering over Lockheed. That Lockheed works for Agent Brand and to stop infantilizing intelligent alien races. That Lockheed can speak more languages than Professor X. That he isn’t some starlet’s Chihuahua. That Lockheed has some homeworld issues that they are helping him with. Lockheed flies off to sit by himself and looks at the X-Men over his shoulder.
The transport arrives at the missile moon base. They are stunned to see the ten mile long missile that the moon base is built around. Suddenly, a bunch of Kruun’s warships appear on the scene. Beast says that they cannot outrun the warships.
Scott says that there is a repair ship in the back of the transport that fits just one person. That Scott will take the repair ship and buy the team some time. That Scott is the only one without powers and wouldn’t be much help in the fight on the moon base. Brand exclaims that Scott is the leader, that he can’t do this. Scott replies that he is the leader and that is why he is acting like one.
Scott instructs Emma that the most important thing is to keep Kruun from finding out about their ace in the hole: Leviathan. That they should lay low until Leviathan shows up. That Emma should contact Aghanne. Scott tells the X-Men to stay away from Kruun and his prison even if Scott is captured. Scott tells Emma that she is now in charge of the X-Men.
Scott takes off in the small repair ship. The warships all chase after Scott. Scott does some pretty ballsy flying and takes out several warships before finally the other warships blast Scott’s small ship. Scott goes flying out of the cockpit and into deep space.
Emma says that “He’s going…I’m so close…”
Scott’s body expands and his eyes get bloodshot. Slowly he drifts off into space. Scott sees a bright white light. In the light we see a young Jean Grey saying how nice it is to meet Scott. Then we see Professor X telling Scott what a future he has ahead of him.
Scott’s eyes close and he floats in deep space. End of issue.
The Good: Damn! Astonishing X-Men #22 was another great read! Whedon gives us a nicely paced and plotted issue. Whedon employs nice quick scene cuts that keep this issue moving briskly. There is an enjoyable blend of action and dialogue heavy scenes. Whedon can sometimes come down with Bendisitis, but he makes sure that this issue isn’t a talky bore.
Whedon’s dialogue is well crafted as always. Whedon continues to amaze me with his incredible feel for the different personalities of the various X-Men. Each character is wonderfully developed and three-dimensional. This enables Whedon to generate plenty of emotional scenes as well as nice chemistry between the various X-Men.
I liked the plot twist that Danger is unable to overcome her parent programming and, therefore, cannot kill the X-Men. Danger is forced to recognize her impotent rage and has to enlist the help of people like Ord in order to have them carry out Danger’s ultimate mission of killing the X-Men.
And leave it to Emma to figure out Danger’s fatal flaw in her programming. Emma is one crafty bitch. And I love that Emma then goes ahead and cuts a deal with Danger. Only Emma would immediately think to try and forge an alliance with a villain who has attempted to kill The X-Men over and over during Whedon’s run on this title. I’m interested to find out what kind of deal Emma made with Danger in order to get Danger to agree to work with the X-Men.
Whedon serves up a rather touching scene between Kitty and Colossus. Amid all the chaos, death and destruction, these two souls manage to make a connection and get a brief taste of happiness. Kitty is right; happiness is a fleeting thing in life. That amid this war, these Kitty and Peter should enjoy the good moments and not worry about tomorrow. Life can end tomorrow and there is no use not enjoying the good moments when they come.
I totally dig the scene with Kitty and Lockheed. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the little dragon. Whedon surprised me by getting me to actually agree with the mega bitch Agent Brand when it comes to Lockheed. Brand’s tongue lashing actually seemed appropriate.
Maybe we have always been discounting Lockheed since he first appeared to Uncanny X-Men #166. Whedon has piqued my curiosity with the situation surrounding Lockheed. I’m can’t wait to find out more about Lockheed’s character, his past as well as the pressing issues that Lockheed has with this homeworld.
Now let’s get to what made Astonishing X-Men #22 such a fantastic read: the ending. Whedon serves up one incredibly balls to the wall ending. Absolutely incredible! That is how you deliver an ending with a real impact on the reader that makes them eager for the next issue.
I have been impressed with how Whedon has handled Scott during his run on Astonishing X-Men. I have never found Cyclops to be an interesting character. I have always found Cyclops to be dull and boring. A boy scout with a rather vanilla personality. If Cyclops was a color then it would be beige. Not anymore. Whedon has taken Scott’s character and shown us what a ballsy leader Scott is. That Scott is to the X-Men what Captain America is to the Avengers.
Scott comes across as a total stud in the ending of this issue. Scott exemplifies what a true leader he is. Scott shows hoe he never cracks under pressure and always has a battle plan in mind for his team. I love the way Scott barks out all the different orders for his team and then goes and makes the ultimate sacrifice for his team without any hesitation.
That was a fantastic death scene. Rarely am I impressed with a death scene. I believe that most comic book deaths are cheap literary tools used by writers who need to artificially create some drama. Not this death scene.
I loved the use of the bright light and Scott’s remembrance of the first time he met the two people dearest to him: Jean Grey and Professor X. This death scene is incredibly dramatic and noble and certainly had an impact on the reader. This is a death scene that makes Scott even cooler than he ever was before and cements his position as arguably the greatest X-Man ever.
Unfortunately, as much as I loved this death scene, we all know that Scott isn’t really dead. This is the X-Men where nobody ever really dies. You know that Whedon isn’t really going to kill off Cyclops. It appears that Emma pulled off some sort of trick at the end of this issue to save Scott.
Cassaday provides the reader with plenty more of his excellent artwork. Astonishing X-Men is certainly one of the better looking books currently on the market.
The Bad: The shipping schedule for this title is a complete joke. There was a three month delay between issues #20 and #21. Then we got almost a four month delay between issues #21 and #22. That means Marvel only managed to publish three issues in a seven month span. That is ridiculous.
The terrible shipping schedule is really breaking up the momentum of Whedon’s story. I think that Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men will make a much better trade than it has a “monthly” title.
Overall: Astonishing X-Men #22 was another excellent read. Despite the pathetic shipping schedule I still love this title. Whedon consistently delivers quality reads each and every issue. Whedon is serving up some of the best X-Men stories since Chris Claremont’s original run on Uncanny X-Men.
The last issue of Countdown was a real disappointment. Dini has failed to build up much excitement or momentum with this title. I honestly thought that Countdown was going to be a good read that would rival 52. I was absolutely wrong. However, I’m still holding out some faith that Dini will be able to get this title on track and deliver some quality issues. Plus, any comic book that has Mary Marvel with Zatanna tied up in chains has got to be good. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Countdown #36.
Writers: Paul Dini & Tony Bedard
Penciler: Jim Calafiore
Inker: Jack Purcell
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Jason, Donna, Ryan and “Bob” the Monitor battling with the large insect creatures who can also cast magic. Bob tries to teleport our heroes from this plane, but discovers that someone or something is jamming his abilities.
We cut to Pied Piper and Trickster trying to talk their way out of trouble with Poison Ivy. Piper is obviously immune to Ivy’s pheromones unlike the Trickster. Poison Ivy believes that someone sent the Rogues to spy on her and tells them that once her partner gets here that he will get the two Rogues to admit who sent them to spy on Poison Ivy.
However, the Trickster manages to bullshit his way into making Ivy think that Trickster and Piper work for her partner and that her partner wanted to meet them at Ivy’s place. Trickster refuses to say the name of Ivy’s partner since her partner is the type of man to kill people who reveal his identity.
We shift to Mary Marvel reading through a bunch of boring old magic books. Zatanna is amazed that Mary can even read these ancient languages. Mary demands to ditch the books and start playing with some of Zatanna’s powerful talismans in the library. Zatanna says that Mary is not ready and such an action would be akin to giving a child a loaded gun.
Mary snaps and says she isn’t a child. Mary grabs a magical scepter and feels its great power and accuses Zatanna of wanting to keep all this magical power to herself. Zatanna uses her magic to wrest the scepter away from Mary. Zatanna says that Mary is just a brat who is about to get spanked. (Oh, yeah! That is what I'm talking about!)
We cut to Jimmy Olsen and Superman in the JLA satellite and standing before the assembled roster of the Justice League of America. Batman is irritated and demands for someone to tell him why all of this isn’t just a total waste of time. Jimmy nervously asks for just one chance to show the Leaguers what he can do.
We hop to Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl entering what appears to be an abandoned military base which was the location that Oracle said that Orr was located. We see a man watching the young heroes via security cameras. The man directs his super thug, Equus, to go deal with the intruders. Equus attacks Karate Kid. Karate Kid then opens up a can of whup ass on Equus. Equus then takes a different approach and grabs Triplicate Girl and threatens to kill her if Karate Kid doesn’t surrender.
We zip back to the brawl between Mary Marvel and Zatanna. Eclipso watches from afar and mentions how Mary doesn’t realize that the lust for power that she is suddenly experiencing is Eclipso’s gift to Mary.
Zatanna is purposely pulling her punches and trying not to hurt Mary. On the other hand, Mary is going all out and is trying to take out Zatanna. Mary blasts Zatanna to the ground. Zatanna asks Mary to stop. Mary then flies toward Zatanna saying that this will be over before Zatanna knows it.
We cut back to Jason, Donna, Ryan and “Bob” the Monitor all falling in defeat to the magical insect creatures. We see mysterious figure watching our heroes fall in defeat. The mysterious figure says that it would be rude for the heroes to depart without first visiting his palace.
We slide back to Poison Ivy freeing Trickster and Piper. Ivy’s partner shows up and it is none other than the man himself, Deathstroke the Terminator. Deathstroke is pissed and demands that Ivy explain to him why the two Rogues are here or should Deathstroke skip that part and just kill the two Rogues. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story dealing with the origin of Deathstroke the Terminator. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #36 was a good read. This issue was much better plotted than previous issues. Dini nicely blends the various plotlines together with well crafted transitions. The pacing on this issue was also a big improvement over recent issues. Countdown #36 moved rather briskly and featured plenty of action. Dini and Bedard deliver some solid dialogue. As always, the best dialogue is found in the banter between the Trickster and Piper.
The Mary Marvel plotline continues to be one of the strongest plotlines on Countdown. If it already isn’t obvious, let me say it again, I love Zatanna. I dig that Dini included her in this storyline and is giving her plenty of panel time and establishing her character as a major player within the DCU. Zatanna always has had lots of potential. It is great to see Dini making the effort over in Detective Comics and in Countdown to try and further flesh out Zatanna’s character and give her a power boost and a more important position within this New Earth.
This Mary Marvel plotline has been slowly building to the inevitable moment where Mary Marvel completely snaps. And this issue is where it finally happens. Mary is completely drunk with power and has now totally gone over to the darkside. Dini really begins to increase Eclipso’s role in this plotline as we see that Eclipso’s powers have finally fully rooted inside of Mary’s soul. Poor Mary seems like she has a real rough ride ahead of her. I’ll be interested to see if Mary is able to reach down deep inside and become the hero that she used to be.
The Ray Palmer plotline wasn’t great, but it was all right. I am curious to find out who would be powerful enough to jam a Monitor’s powers. And just who is this mysterious person who had the magic insects take down Jason, Donna, Ryan and Bob? For the first time in many issues, this plotline is finally starting to show some promise and has recaptured my interest.
The Jimmy Olsen scene was funny. Dini and Bedard go a nice job conveying the sense of awe and intimidation that an ordinary person would have in the face of such famous and great heroes. Batman is certainly going to be one tough customer to convince that Mr. Action deserves a spot on the JLA’s roster.
The Karate Kid scene was cool only because we got to see Val in action kicking some ass. I’m still not sure where this plotline is going or how it will tie into the bigger picture.
The Trickster/Piper plotline continues to provide some quality comedic relief while at the same time giving us a fun adventure as these two bumbling Rogues stumble from the frying pan into the fire. Piper and Trickster are an excellent team. These two Rogues have wonderful chemistry and routinely steal the spotlight of ever issue of Countdown.
The Trickster/Piper plotline serves up one awesome hook ending with the appearance of one of my all time favorites in Deathstroke the Terminator. I’m anxious to find out what Slade and ivy are up to and just how our two loveable Rogues can get their way out of this latest predicament.
The Bad: Dini still isn’t paying attention to the New Gods plotline and the Darkseid plotline. These two plotlines are supposed to be two of the biggest plotlines and should certainly take center stage more than they have up to this point. Also, these two inter-related plotlines are extremely fascinating and would serve to boost reader interest in Countdown.
The artwork was very average. I like Calafiore’s pencils; however, I’m just not crazy about Purcell’s inking.
Overall: Countdown #36 was a solid read. It was certainly the best read that we have gotten in the past several weeks. Dini smartly picked up the pacing and provided the reader with several plot twists as well as plenty of action. I have come to terms with the fact that Countdown will never live up to the legacy of 52. So, I have let go of those expectations and am just enjoying Countdown for what it is. And there is plenty to enjoy with Countdown.