I was killing time this morning in between unpacking the PODS storage unit outside the new house and decided to check out Newsarama. They had a pretty interesting interview with Geoff Johns about the biggest and hottest event from either Marvel or DC: The Sinestro War. I did find it interesting that Superboy-Prime is getting a name change to Superman-Prime. I guess the legal issues necessitated this change.
There weren't too many spoilers as Johns is keeping rather tight lipped about the upcoming events of the Sinestro War. What was pretty neat was a short video that Newsarama posted at the end of the interview. It is a youtube video that someone posted dealing with the Sinestro War. I thought it was pretty cool. It definately got me pumped up for the next issue of Green Lantern.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I was killing time this morning in between unpacking the PODS storage unit outside the new house and decided to check out Newsarama. They had a pretty interesting interview with Geoff Johns about the biggest and hottest event from either Marvel or DC: The Sinestro War. I did find it interesting that Superboy-Prime is getting a name change to Superman-Prime. I guess the legal issues necessitated this change.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The Revolution continues to thoroughly enjoy Bedard’s take on the Legion. After having to slog my way through Waid’s dull run on this title, it is strange to actually look forward to the latest issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. I’m psyched to finally see Wildfire in action once again. I’m sure that Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 will be another exciting read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Dennis Calero
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 Wildfire in front of the President of Lallor. Wildfire says he is here to kill the President. Suddenly, Atom Girl appears and points a gun at Wildfire.
We hop back three hours earlier with Atom Girl, Timber Wolf and Shadow Lass brawling with the Lallor military. All three Legionnaires are vicious fighters. Atom Girl and Shadow Lass keep track of their kills as a contest between the two of them. Timber Wolf couldn’t care less. He just wants to rampage and kill.
Timber Wolf questions one of the soldiers as to why they attacked the Legionnaires. The soldier says the Legionnaires transmattered into the middle of a civil War. The pro-U.P. government is fighting with the anti-U.P rebels. Lallor intends on join the U.P. and that the anti-U.P. rebels have sent a metahuman to kill the President before he can get Lallor to join the U.P.
Shadow Lass tells the soldier to inform his president that he has a diplomatic visitor: Tasmia Mallor of Talok VIII.
We cut to the leader of the rebels, Randall, hooking a tank holding the energy essence of Drake Burroughs into a containment suit. Randall says it is time for Drake to go kill the President. Drake responds that if Randall wasn’t his brother then he would have to kill Randall.
Randall tells Drake that after Drake kills the President that they will blame the murder on the Legionnaires who just showed up on Lallor.
We slide back to the capital of Lallor. Shadow Lass is announced before the president as the Shadow Champion of Talok VIII. The President asks if Tasmia can help facilitate Lallor’s induction in the U.P. Shadow Lass responds that she is here searching for Cosmic Boy.
Timber Wolf and Atom Girl are tagging along with Shadow Lass in this meeting. Brainiac 5 then contacts Atom Girl so that only she can hear him. Brainy informs Atom Girl that the capital building that they are in is about to be attacked. That Brainy wants them to defend the capital and to let Timber Wolf lead the charge.
We cut to outside the capital building and see Wildfire on the scene. He blasts his way through the guards. He blasts through the roof of the capital building and then locks horns with the Legionnaires. Timber Wolf mentions that Drake looks familiar. Drake responds that he had an accident that turned him into living anti-energy. That he offered his serves to the Legion. Since Drake was a living Energy Release Generator, he asked the Legion to call him E.R.G.-1. Cosmic Boy said if Drake made the team then he would get a real codename.
During the mission, Drake’s containment suit’s faceplate got cracked. He vented through the hole and dissipated into the atmosphere. The Legionnaires assumed that Drake had died. Drake says that if the Legion had done a simple ion sweep then they would have recovered his energies. Instead, they abandoned him.
Timber Wolf then thanks Wildfire for telling him his weakness. Timber Wolf smashes Wildfire’s face plate. Unfortunately, this is a new containment suit that can automatically “heals” itself. Wildfire starts kicking ass on Shadow Lass, Atom Girl and Timber Wolf.
The roof collapses on top of Timber Wolf. Atom Girl contacts Brainy to find out if Timber Wolf’s ring is still transmitting life signs. Brainy responds that the blast was just what Timber Wolf needed. Atom Girl asks for what? Brainy tells her to stay clear of the rubble. That Timber Wolf is coming out.
We see a pissed off Timber Wolf rise out of the rubble. Brin has transformed into a sharp fanged wolf-man creature. End of issue.
The Good: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 was another great read. Bedard continues to impress me with his job as the interim writer on this title until Jim Shooter’s arrival with issue #37. Being the temporary writer is usually a thankless job and you rarely get much credit when shunted into that role. However, Bedard has made the most of his temporary status on this title and is delivering a well crafted story that displays a surprisingly good feel for the various characters in the Legion.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 was well plotted and paced. Bedard gives the reader an excellent balance of dialogue heavy scenes and fast paced action scenes. Bedard has constructed a tight story arc that is unfolding in a pleasant fashion.
Bedard has served up some wonderfully crafted dialogue. Bedard has a real feel for the various personalities of each Legionnaire. The dialogue has a satisfying flow that makes this issue enjoyable to read. The strong dialogue also helps to generate solid chemistry between the various characters.
Bedard engages in plenty of character development in order to make sure that each Legionnaire has a distinct personality and comes across as nicely well rounded characters. I dig the team of Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass and Atom Girl. These three characters are certainly some of the most vicious fighters that the Legion possesses. I liked the contrast between Shadow Lass and Atom Girl’s style of fighting which includes engaging in witty banter while keeping track of their kills with Timber Wolf’s bad-assed approach of less talking and more killing.
Bedard’s Timber Wolf is excellent. This is exactly how Brin’s character should be handled. Waid largely ignored Brin’s character and when you did see him Waid gave us a pretty generic version of his character. I like Brin’s blunt and no-nonsense attitude. Every team needs an ass-kicker who is direct and to the point. Brin fills that role very well.
I also like that Atom Girl and Shadow Lass are flirty and sexual and yet they are still tough ass-kickers. It is cool to see two girls who openly dig the bad boy. Men who want to talk about their emotions and that are good guys need not apply. These two ladies like them rough, nasty and violent. You rarely see writers comfortable having female characters openly admit to preferring this type of male.
I was very happy with Bedard’s take on Wildfire’s character. This is the first we have seen of Wildfire since Waid re-booted the Legion. Bedard does an excellent job keeping Wildfire’s origin consistent enough with his pre-Crisis origin without it being completely duplicative.
I liked Bedard’s cool new twist on Wildfire’s character. The pre-Crisis Wildfire also “died” when his containment suit was ruptured. The Legionnaires thought E.R.G.-1 was dead and went back to Earth. Drake followed them in his energy form. Eventually, Drake got his energy back into a new suit and arrived to save the Legion. He was then given the name Wildfire and admitted into the Legion.
Bedard spins it so this new version of Wildfire takes an entirely different approach to being left for “dead.” This new version of Wildfire is pissed and full of hate. He feels abandoned and has serious anger issues. I like that Bedard decided to do something a little different to take Wildfire’s character in a slightly different direction while still keeping the basic essence of Drake’s character. Hopefully, this new version of Wildfire will see the light and come around the joining the Legion. The last thing I want is for Wildfire to be re-cast as a villain in this newest incarnation of the Legion.
Of course, Bedard not only gives us nice dialogue and solid character work, but he also dishes out tons of quality action. It was cool watching the team of Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass and Atom Girl rip their way through the Lallorian army. Bedard puts the reader on notice that this team of Legionnaires is not to be messed with. They may be lacking the overt power of an Ultra Boy or Mon-El, but that doesn’t mean for a second that these three Legionnaires aren’t extremely deadly.
And it is a breath of fresh air to see characters outside of Supergirl kicking ass. Waid let Supergirl completely dominate and overshadow all of the Legionnaires. Superbarbie hogged all the action and made the rest of the Legionnaires look totally and completely irrelevant. Bedard doesn’t make that mistake. Bedard has wisely ignored Supergirl during his run on this title. Instead, Bedard has given other Legionnaires the opportunity to shine.
Bedard ends Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 with a fantastic hook ending. I definitely didn’t expect to see a feral Timber Wolf come clawing through the rubble. Obviously, Brin has been given some sort of serious power upgrade.
And once again Brainiac 5 demonstrates the fact that he knows secrets about every Legionnaire that maybe they don’t even know about themselves. I’m curious to find out how Brainiac 5 knew that Brin was capable of “powering up” to a whole new level. I’m also excited to see this powered up version of Brin kicking some ass in the next issue.
And speaking of Brainiac 5, I dig how Bedard has handled his character. The reader is conflicted on how to view Brainy. Is Brainiac 5 a tremendous asset who always has a solution? Or is he a secretive and manipulative person who is working toward some personal and sinister goal? Or maybe he is a combination of both? At any rate, Bedard has made Brainiac 5 a delightfully complex character rather than being a generic egotistical smart guy.
Denis Calero whips up his usual excellent artwork. I dig Calero’s style and loved him over on X-Factor. I’ll admit that I never thought Calero’s style of art would be a good match for a title like the Legion of Super Heroes. I have always found that a title like the Legion benefits from more detailed, slick and smooth looking artwork.
Well, Calero has proven me wrong. At least as a fill-in artist, I really enjoy Calero’s unique and interesting take on the Legion. Plus, Calero’s style of art is a perfect match for the creepy and sinister tone that Bedard is giving this storyline.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34 was another well crafted issue. Bedard and Calero have successfully revived my moribund interest in this title. Bedard is making the Legion a quality read and should provide Shooter plenty of momentum as he takes over this title with issue #37. I’d definitely recommend giving this title a chance. This is a great point for new readers to hop aboard this train.
For the most part, The Revolution enjoyed McDuffie’s Justice League of America Wedding Special #1. I didn’t find it as satisfying as Meltzer’s version of the JLA, but it was fast and entertaining. I’m sure that we will get more of the same with Justice League of America #13. I expect a fast and fun read. Let’s hit this review for Justice League of America #13.
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller: Joe Benitez
Inker: Victor Llamas
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 Batman in a straight jacket. It is the kind that only the Joker has escaped from. And if Joker can do it so can Batman. Batman dislocates both shoulders and slips out of the straight jacket. Batman thinks how his willingness to take pain is a specialty of his.
Batman then finds where the Injustice League is holding Wonder Woman captive. Batman wants to free her first since Wonder Woman is the best melee fighter in the world. Unfortunately, Lex, Joker, Cheetah, Dr. Light and Gorilla Grodd appear on the scene.
We cut to John Stewart, Black Canary, Superman, Hawkgirl, Red Tornado, Black Lightning and Vixen planning their next course of action. They decide to split into two teams. Superman, Black Canary and Vixen go to the crime scene. John, Red Tornado and Hawkgirl go to the hospital. Black Lightning stays at the Hall of Justice in case it is attacked.
We shift to John, Reddy and Hawkgirl arriving at the hospital. We get some banter between John and Black Lightning about Lightning’s old afro and his current bald head look. Thankfully, Killer Frost, Fatale and Shadow Thief appear on the scene to kill that conversation. Hawkgirl and Reddy are taken down. But, not John Stewart who gains the upper hand on Fatale. Then Poison Ivy appears and viciously takes down John.
We slide over to Superman, Black Canary and Vixen searching the crime scene. Black Canary walks off to investigate a bit. Superman takes the opportunity to tell Vixen that he knows she has lost her animal powers and has been leeching off her teammates' super powers. Superman tells Vixen that she should be honest with her teammates. That between all of them, if there is a cure then they will find it.
Black Canary walks back over and says she hasn’t found any clues. Suddenly, Gorilla Grodd, Cheetah and Dr. Light teleport onto the scene. And we have another brawl. Our heroes get the upper hand on the villains until Parasite suddenly appears and takes down both Vixen and Superman. Cheetah attacks Black Canary. Black Lighting suddenly shows up and blasts Cheetah. Parasite, still holding Vixen’s unconscious body, teleports himself, Vixen and the villains out of the crime scene.
Black Lightning tells Superman that he lost the com-link with Superman’s team and with John’s team. Therefore, Black Lightning came to investigate what was going on. Superman comments that the villains now have capture eight Leaguers. Black Lighting comments that Flash still hasn’t called in. Superman wonders what they should do next.
Suddenly, Lex Luthor appears and answers “I’m glad you asked…” End of issue.
The Good: Justice League of America #13 was another fun read. McDuffie delivers a quick paced issue that makes for a fast and enjoyable read. I loved Meltzer’s run on this title, but his issues were definitely more lumbering and plodding. McDuffie has a clear direction and purpose with his storyline and is not wasting time unfolding it to the reader.
I am impressed with the McDuffie’s tight plotting. The storyline is well constructed. McDuffie is laying a solid foundation for what should be a very fun ride.
McDuffie also provides tons of action in this issue. The reader doesn’t have to go more than a couple of pages between fight scenes. Many people complained about the general paucity of action during Meltzer’s run on the JLA. Those readers should be more than happy with the two fisted action that McDuffie cranks out in Justice League of America #13.
Another common complaint with Meltzer’s run was a lack of any real villain during his run, especially during the Lightning Saga story arc. Well, that is definitely not going to be a problem with McDuffie’s JLA.
We get tons of fantastic villains in this story arc. McDuffie is unleashing a very colorful collection of villains. This Injustice League is an extremely entertaining plot device. These villains are all rather cartoonish and outlandish in nature. And that is part of what makes this story so much fun.
The Injustice League reminds me of some of the one-dimensional and campy villains from the 1970’s. McDuffie chooses to eschew giving the reader villains that are complex and full of different shades of grey. Instead, McDuffie gives the reader very black and white heroes and villains. While I definitely prefer complex and nuanced villains, this approach by McDuffie with the Injustice League actually works very well with his much more simple and straightforward approach to the JLA.
I did like how McDuffie employed Poison Ivy’s powers in her fight with John Stewart. That was a cool and unique way for Poison Ivy to defeat a character in John who, on the surface, seems to be much more powerful.
I dig McDuffie’s take on Batman. McDuffie’s Batman is a serious bad-ass and definitely a classic tough guy who has the necessary take-no-shit attitude that his character requires. However, McDuffie doesn’t make Batman a dick and actually has him display a sarcastic sense of humor.
McDuffie’s Batman is a nice balance between the touchy feely wimp Batman that Robinson gave us in the One Year Later storyline and the hard-ass psycho that Frank Miller gives us on All Star Batman. Personally, I like my Batman to be more of a dick, but McDuffie’s Batman is sure to have mass appeal.
McDuffie ends Justice League of America #13 with a solid hook ending. I’m definitely excited to see more of the Injustice League’s conflict with the Justice League of America. I have a feeling that McDuffie hasn’t even come close to showing us the real fireworks that are going to happen in this titanic battle.
I love the artwork of Benitez and Llamas. They create one beautiful looking comic book. Their artwork is eye-catching and extremely dynamic. The action practically leaps off the page at the reader. This style of art is a great match for McDuffie’s fast paced action. And I absolutely love how Benitez draws the Injustice League. Benitez’s Gorilla Grodd is evil! This is the coolest rendition of Grodd.
The Bad: McDuffie’s dialogue and character work continue to be the two weak links in his writing. McDuffie dishes out some pretty unimpressive dialogue. None of the characters have much of a unique external voice. Everyone speaks in either a generic voice or a stereotypical voice. Some of McDuffie’s dialogue was rather hackneyed. Particularly groan inducing was dialogue such as John shouting “You want some, come get some.”
There is scarce character work with this issue. McDuffie’s characters are one-dimensional and continue to be more caricatures rather than actual fully developed characters. I had hoped to see a bit more character work on this issue than what we got on the wedding special one-shot. Usually, one-shot tie-in issues don’t boast great character work. Unfortunately, McDuffie fails to deliver any character development with Justice League of America #13.
McDuffie’s storyline is not deep or complex at all. The story isn’t as mature or as developed as what we got with Meltzer. The story is a bit shallow and continues to read like the comic book version of the JLU cartoon. And since we already have a Justice League Unlimited comic book, I don’t really want that experience over here on the Justice League of America title.
Overall: Justice League of America #13 was a fun read that put a smile on my face once I was finished. Do I still think that this title is one of DC’s premier titles like it was when Meltzer was the writer? No. It isn’t up there anymore with DC’s other top flight titles like Green Lantern and Justice Society of America. However, McDuffie’s Justice League of America is a solid second tier title and still delivers an entertaining read.
If you were less than pleased with Meltzer’s run on the JLA, then you will love McDuffie’s version of the JLA. And if you were a fan of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon or if you simply like fast paced titles with plenty of action then you should certainly check out the Justice League of America. You won’t be disappointed.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The Revolution continues to be disappointed with Countdown. This title has completely failed to live up to the hype or my initial expectations. I was hoping that this was going to be a fast paced story with plenty of action and lots of touring around the newly re-created Multiverse. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten much of that with this title up to this point. Having said that, the ending of the last issue gave me hope that Dini might be about to turn the corner on this title. Will Countdown #31 finally give us an entertaining read? Let’s hit this review and find out.
Writers: Paul Dini & Sean McKeever
Penciler: Manuel Garcia
Inker: Rodney Ramos
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Kyle, Donna and Jason brawling with the Crime Syndicate. Check that, they are now called the Crime Society. “Bob” the Monitor teleports away during the battle. During the brawl Kyle and Jason argue with each other. Jason doesn’t believe that Bob would ditch them while Kyle does.
The Jokester arrives on the scene and immediately attacks the Crime Society. Our heroes are stunned at who their new ally is.
We slide over to Holly writing a letter to Selina Kyle filling Selina in on everything that has gone on lately at the Amazon’s Women Center. Holly also mentions that she is going to Paradise Island to investigate what Athena is up to. Holly believes that something rotten is going on with the Amazons. Holly gives her letter to an Amazon in charge of sending the mail at the Women’s Center. Once Holly leaves the room, the woman tears up Holly’s letter.
We cut to Zrrf in the 5th Dimension. We see Mr. Mxyxptlk walking with his girlfriend. Suddenly, Mxy, as his girlfriend calls him, disappears into what appears to be a fabric tear in their dimension.
We hop over to Mary Marvel talking with Eclipso. Mary doesn’t trust Eclipso and claims that she is just out to use Mary like Zatanna and Klarion were. Eclipso says she is powerful enough and doesn’t need Mary’s powers. Eclipso says that Mary is still too angry and isn’t ready to trust again. Eclipso leaves.
Suddenly, some military guards arrive on the scene of the ruins where Mary and Eclipso were meeting. The military guards draw their guns on Mary. Mary turns them into stone statues. Eclipso arrives back on the scene and compliments Mary on her work. Mary says it felt good to kill the guards. Eclipso tells Mary to come with her and she will help Mary reach her final destination.
We shift to Karate Kid and Una arriving at Buddy Blank’s house. Karate Kid tells Blank that he needs to take him to the Pseudo-People. That Karate Kid needs to see Brother Eye.
We slide over to Jimmy Olsen hooked up to a nuclear spectrograph as Dr. Sterling Roquette prepares to perform some tests on Jimmy. Suddenly, there is a problem with the machine. Jimmy begins to morph as all his powers begin to appear at one time.
We cut back to Jokester and our heroes battling the Crime Society. Suddenly, “Bob” teleports back and informs the heroes that he scoured this Earth’s resources and that Ray Palmer is not on this Earth. That they will now leave this Earth. “Bob” creates a teleportation portal for him and Jason, Kyle and Donna. Jokester then says wait for him and he hops through the portal as well.
Suddenly, Monarch and Forerunner teleport onto the scene. Monarch asks the Crime Society to come join his forces and that they will have the opportunity to rule the Multiverse.
We shift to the Monitors at the Multiversal Nexus. The “evil” Monitor rants that the contagion is spreading. That their wayward brother is causing more and more people to jump between the multiple Earths. That their traitorous brother must be stopped at all costs. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story on the origin of the Joker. End of issue.
The Good: Well, can you believe it!? We finally got an issue of Countdown that lived up to my initial expectations for this title. Countdown #31 delivered exactly the type of read that I was expecting from this title ever since the beginning. Countdown #31 was tightly plotted and well paced. The story moved along quickly without seeming rushed. Dini and McKeever supplied the reader with plenty of action. They also finally kick started several of the plotlines which had grown stagnant. Seriously, the amount of progression with the various plotlines was much appreciated.
A huge part of what I was looking forward to with Countdown was the chance to tour the new Multiverse. I figured that was going to be the centerpiece of this title. However, Dini and company have certainly failed to do that up to this issue. Finally, we get some adventuring through the Multiverse and it makes for an entertaining read.
I love the Crime Society. I always enjoyed the original version of this group and it is great that they are back and better than ever. An evil version of the Justice League of America is always a fun plot device.
EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the Crime Society is the evil version of the JSA. I wasn't too sure if that was the case or not.
All the scenes involving our heroes brawling with the Crime Society were great. I dig the continued tension between Jason and Kyle. These two simply have to come to blows at some point. I also liked how Jason reacted happily to Donna rushing to his aid during his fight with Owlman. Jason is thrilled to see that Donna truly does care for him. I still think the two of them as a couple would be entertaining if only to see how the other Titans would react to their relationship.
It is wild seeing the Jokester coming to the rescue as the hero on Earth 3. And I loved our heroes’ look of stunned amazement watching the Jokester leap to their aid. And then we get the extra twist of the Jokester deciding to hop through Bob’s portal and tag along with our heroes. It should definitely be every interesting to see how our heroes take to the Jokester coming with them.
Particularly intriguing will be Jason’s reaction to the Jokester tagging along. Obviously, Jason has a nasty history with the Joker and he may not be able to separate the differences between the Joker and the Jokester. I expect Jason to take a swing at the Jokester.
I dig the move of having Monarch recruiting the Crime Society to join his forces in his quest to conquer the Multiverse. We know that Monarch is building a monster army made up of some of the nastiest characters across the Multiverse. The Crime Society is a nice addition to this army of villains.
The teaser scene on the 5th Dimension with Mr. Mxyxptlk was more of what Countdown desperately needed. More hopping around the various universes and dimensions. I have always like Mr. Mxyxptlk and he is a fun literary tool that a writer can employ for plenty of insanity. I’m interested to see what Dini has in store for Mxy.
The scene with Mary and Eclipso was well done. We finally kick started this plotline that had become quite bogged down over the past several issues. We see Mary giving over to the darkside as she kills the guards and actually feels good about her actions. The inevitable slide to evil appears to be over as Mary decides to trust Eclipso and look to her for support and guidance. This plotline had lots of potential and I’m glad that Dini is finally getting it moving once again.
The scene with Jimmy Olsen was pretty cool. Evidently, all his powers are manifesting at one time and Jimmy is totally unable to control them. I liked this short teaser scene, but Dini really needs to start giving the reader some answers concerning Jimmy’s powers. We have really drawn out this plotline just about as far as it can go at this point.
Garcia and Ramos deliver some quality artwork on this issue. This is certainly the best looking issue since Countdown #44.
The Bad: The Karate Kid scene was largely useless and rather boring. This plotline continues to lumber along at a plodding pace. Hopefully, the Karate Kid plotline will finally get a boost in its pacing like some of the other plotlines did with this issue.
The Holly Robinson scenes continue to bore me to tears. I could absolutely care less about Holly and whatever Athena is planning. Nothing about this plotline has managed to capture even a fraction of my interest.
Overall: Countdown #31 was an enjoyable issue. This is the first time that I finished an issue of Countdown and was seriously excited for the next issue. Is it possible that Dini has finally gotten this title on track and will now deliver consistently good reads each week? I really hope so. The only problem is that it might be a case of too little too late. So many readers have been turned off by the rather lackluster beginning of Countdown and it might be hard to get them to jump back on board of this title.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #7
COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE #2
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #13
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #34
TEEN TITANS #51
AVENGERS INITIATIVE #6
IMMORTAL IRON FIST #9
IMMORTAL IRON FIST ANNUAL #1
IRON MAN #22
MARVEL ADVENTURES IRON MAN #5
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #114
All right, this week looks to be a pretty heavy week. Add to that the fact that I will be moving into a new house over the next week and it looks like I will be struggling to post reviews this week.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Well, that is certainly a tough choice. We have McDuffie’s first issue on the Justice League of America with issue #13. We have the new creative team kicking off on Teen Titans #51. And then we have the always entertaining “goddman” Batman on All Star Batman. And to round things off, we have the dramatic return of one of my favorite Legionnaires in Wildfire over on Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34.
I’m going to have to go with Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34. I know that probably isn’t the issue that most people would pick out of those four titles that I listed, but I’m a huge Legion fan and I have been waiting a long time for Wildfire to make his return to this newest incarnation of the Legion.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Countdown #31. This title has been such a disappointment for me. I keep hoping that Dini is going to get this story rolling, but each week I leave unsatisfied with the efforts Dini & Co. are giving us.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? It comes down to Immortal Iron Fist #9 and Iron Man #22. Both titles are incredibly well done comic books. Immortal Iron Fist #9 just edges out Iron Man #22. Brubaker and Fraction have been white hot on Immortal Iron Fist ever since the debut issue. I am completely enthralled with this current tournament story arc and can’t wait to read this issue.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? This one is easy. X-Men #203. This title is so poorly written. All I get each month on this title are hyper-kinetic and disjointed brawls laced together with some rather generic dialogue.
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 5:10 PM
The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of X-Factor. David never disappoints on this title. At the moment, X-Factor is arguably the best written comic book from Marvel. There is no doubt in my mind that X-Factor #23 will be another excellent read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Pablo Raimondi:
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with Quicksilver pulling Layla from the river. Quicksilver gives Layla CPR and saves her life. Quicksilver thinks how Layla can only die at his hands and no one else’s. Quicksilver then knocks out Layla.
We cut to the X-Factor brownstone where Beast and Cyclops arrive since Jamie has called them in to listen to Josef Huber’s plan to save mutantkind. Huber tells Beast and Cyclops his plan to use the Endangered Species Act to protect mutants. Cyclops is interested and tells Huber to tell him more.
Layla wakes up in a room with a creepy Quicksilver staring at her. Quicksilver rambles on about how he has to kill Layla. Quicksilver lunges at her and Layla manages to slip past him and run out of the room. Quicksilver curses at how slowly he moves now without his powers. Layla runs out of the room and realizes that Quicksilver has taken her to an empty carnival. Quicksilver chases after her.
Quicksilver is on the carousel that is rotating around and doesn’t see an iron bar headed for his face. Quicksilver smashes into the iron bar and is knocked out.
We cut to Solo and Clary with the two kids that Monet and Siryn are after. Solo puts them on an elevator in a hotel that is to take them to the penthouse where Clay is waiting for them. Suddenly, the elevator jerks and begins to rise up in the air. Clay and Solo force open the elevator doors and notice that there is a hole in the elevator shaft where the elevator was airlifted away.
We see Monet and Siryn flying away with Monet carrying the elevator by its cables. Clay then calls Huber and informs him that Monet and Siryn have the kids and that they should be occupied for a little while longer. Huber is pleased. Huber hangs up his cell
Huber thinks how he is glad that he has all the telepaths out of the way. That Cyclops and Beast are susceptible to his powers since they didn’t bring a telepath with them. And that Huber has taken care of the three X-Factor members in Layla, Siryn and Monet that would be able to ferret out his plans. Huber does notice that Rictor, even though he has no powers, seems to be resistant to Huber’s influence.
Suddenly, Jamie’s cell phone rings. It is Layla on the other line. Layla frantically tells Jamie that Nicole tried to kill her and that Nicole is working for some guy named Huber. Jamie puts down the phone. Huber realizes that his cover has been blow. We now have a brawl as Huber immediately attacks the members of X-Factor.
Huber has all the different powers of just about every member of the X-Men. Huber thinks how he has been manipulating all the events over the past several months. That Huber supplied X-Cell with the weaponry to approximate their lost powers. That Huber arranged for Monet and Syrn to be elsewhere so their mind-based powers wouldn’t threaten him. Huber had Nicole take care of Layla so her abilities wouldn’t threaten him. That Huber was a silent partner in Singularity Investigations. That Huber is their god.
Huber opens up a mechanical portal built courtesy of Forge’s skills and transports them to a frozen arctic location. End of story.
We get an Endangered Species back-up story. Beast is visiting with Forge for help. Forge comments that there are countless possible futures and that mutants exist in many of them.
Forge shows Beast a machine that he built that combines the mutant detecting Cerebra technology with the chronal machinery that powers Nimrod’s time travel. That it can scan various timelines. It can search them for mutants. That ever since M-Day, all the different timelines that we have seen in the pages of X-Men have either ceased to exist or they still exist but there are no mutants in them. There is no registering of any mutants at all in any of the various timelines.
Beast refuses to accept what Forge has shown him. Beast totally freaks out. Forge offers his help to the Beast. Beast rebuffs Forge’s offer and says that none of them can help him.
We cut to the Beast arriving back at a motel room he is sharing with Dark Beast. Beast says that they have been wasting their time. That mutants came from human parents whose DNA combines to create the X-Gene in their offspring. That Scarlet Witch destroyed the X-Greene, but she couldn’t have destroyed its building blocks. That they can isolate chromosomes from normal humans that combine to create mutants and then rebuild a viable X-Gene from scratch.
Dark Beast counters that mutation is a one-in-a-million occurrence and finding the right humans would be life finding a needle in a genetic haystack. Beast responds that he already knows where to look. End of issue.
The Good: X-Factor #23 was another wonderful read. David dishes out a well plotted and paced issue. This story has been moving along at David’s typical restrained and steady pace as he has slowly constructed this story arc. X-Factor was the crescendo as the pacing significantly increased and David delivers a rather dramatic turn of events with the end of X-Factor #23.
Of course, David spins his usually finely crafted dialogue. I never doubt for a moment what enjoyable dialogue we are going to get with each issue of X-Factor. The dialogue has such a pleasant and natural flow. And this is a huge part of what pulls the reader into the story. You never get that typical comic book dialogue that seems stiff, forced or a bit over the top. David is able to generate such realistic dialogue that each of the characters seem as real as you and I.
And this strong dialogue goes hand-in-hand with David’s incredible character development that makes each member of X-Factor such deep and complex three-dimensional characters. And I definitely am digging David’s version of Quicksilver. I have always found Pietro to be a rather boring and bland character. Not anymore.
David is giving us such a creepy and twisted version of Quicksilver. Pietro embodies all the desperation and delusional behavior of a man who once possessed great power and the ego to match. I’m interested to see what David has in store for Quicksilver. Pietro has certainly fallen about as far down as a character can go. But, we all know that Pietro is going to make a rebound at some point.
David continues to tease the reader with some strange circumstances surrounding Rictor ever since he defeated Quicksilver. We know that Rictor has some of the Terrigan crystals embedded along his spine. Evidently, these crystals are giving him some sort of psychic abilities that shield him from Huber’s powers. I’m definitely interested to see what David has in store for Rictor.
David does a brilliant job of blowing the readers mind with this issue. David manages to seamlessly tie Huber into all of the various disparate plotlines which succeeds in creating a cohesive and unified story since the very first issue of X-Factor. Nothing that has happened has been an isolated incident or random. That everything has been a part of what is obviously a much grander plan. And what exactly is this grand plan that Huber is hatching? I cannot wait to learn more about why Huber has been playing the puppet master with X-Factor for the past twenty-three issues.
X-Factor #23 has such an impressive construction and flow to the story. David frames every scene just right. I dig how David has Jamie and Huber face to face at the Brownstone as each one of them gets their phone calls one after each other. I love how all the different pieces click together with the two phone calls and everything is set in place for the big showdown between Huber and X-Factor.
Often it seems that writers overlook the general framework and flow of an issue. That they simply dash scenes together with no rhyme or reason. David takes the effort to make the transitions between the scenes seamless and artistic. He takes the framing of the story and uses it to make the issue have a more rhythmic and imaginative flow
David definitely serves up a fantastic hook ending. We have Huber kicking ass and then suddenly teleporting Jamie, Strong Guy, Rictor and Rahne out into the middle of some arctic region. And none of our heroes in trouble can teleport or fly. It should certainly be interesting to see how our heroes get themselves out of this mess.
Raimondi cranks out his usual nice artwork. Raimondi’s style is a good match to David’s tone on the title. It is also enjoyable to finally see the artist carrousel on this title stop spinning. A consistent artistic vision to a title is vitally important to its long term success.
The backup story was average. At least we finally got some direction and movement on what has been a lumbering and listless story. It was a cool plot twist that there are no mutants in the various future timelines. Hopefully, the Beast’s plan that he devises at the end of this issue actually turns out to be more successful than all of his previous ideas. This is part 11 of a 17 part story so it is definitely time for this storyline to get moving.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: X-Factor #23 was an exciting issue with David dropping several bombs on the reader as we finally see how the different ongoing plotlines on this title all relate to each other. If you still haven’t given this title a try, then definitely do so. David delivers one of the strongest reads that Marvel publishes. And David does so on a consistent level each and every month.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Captain America has been white hot lately. Brubaker is doing a masterful job delivering what is possibly the best Marvel title currently on the market. I continue to be so amazed that Brubaker could actually make Captain America an even better read without Steve Rogers. It is a credit to the interesting supporting cast in this title and Brubaker’s impressive writing prowess. I’m positive that Captain America #30 is going to be an excellent read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
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 Tony Stark talking with a SHIELD search team in Dr. Benjamin’s home. Dr. Benjamin did all the psychiatric evaluations for all the SHIELD agents who have gone off line and is the only link between all the agents. The search team reports that they found Dr. Benjamin’s dead body in a freezer. That it looks like he has been dead for a while. Tony orders the search for the man posing as Dr. Benjamin.
We cut to Bucky kicking ass on Sin and Crossbones. Bucky grabs Crossbones by the throat and is ready to kill him. Red Skull stands there and comments how Steve Rogers would never kill. Bucky then throws Crossbones down and grabs the Red Skull. Bucky says it is Red Skull who deserves to die. Red Skull then says the word “Sputnik.” Bucky immediately falls to the ground unconscious.
“Sputnik” is an old shutdown code that the Soviets had implanted in the Winter Soldier. Unfortunately, it only works once. Red Skull mentions how he was waiting to see if Bucky would kill Crossbones in order to know if Bucky still had any value to him.
We shift to Natasha arriving at the Falcon’s apartment. Natasha tells Sam that they are on a common mission and should be working together. Sam agrees. The two then go off to see if Sharon Carter will agree to work with Natasha.
We hop over to Sharon in her apartment. She is staring at a pregnancy test. She is pregnant with Steve’s child. Sharon is distraught.
We slide to Tony reading the letter from Steve Rogers. Tony curses Steve that he is making Tony want to drink. And Tony says that he knows him drinking wouldn’t make Steve happy. Tony then uploads the video of Steve’s shooting and intently studies the screen.
We cut to Bucky held captive in a room full of TV monitors. Dr. Faustus enters the room. Dr. Faustus says that he looks forward to getting inside of Bucky’s mind. That Faustus has been looking forward to this day for a long time.
We shift back to Sharon in her bathroom. She is thinking about Steve’s death. Sharon says that Steve knew that she killed him.
We hop back to Tony Stark still studying the video of Steve’s death. Tony thinks how the video doesn’t show a shooter at all. How Sharon was right there and didn’t see anything. Suddenly, it clicks in Tony’s mind that Sharon was right there. Tony contacts his assistant and asks her to check if Dr. Benjamin’s list of patients also included any non-active agents, too.
We slide back to Sharon’s apartment where she is slipping on her white jumpsuit and her gun. Dr. Faustus appears in her mirror and tells Sharon that it is time for her to get back to work.
Natasha and Sam then enter Sharon’s apartment and announce themselves. Sharon calls out from the bathroom that she is getting dressed. We cut over to Tony who is armoring up and contacting Natasha. Tony yells that they have a big problem. That there is now a change of plan. That he wants Natasha to take Sharon into--suddenly, before Tony can finish his sentence, Sharon walks in the room and shoots Sam and Natasha with a stun gun.
Tony puts his helmet on and orders a SHIELD strike force to go to Black Widow’s location. Tony thinks how it is all falling apart without Steve here, just like Tony knew it would.
We see the letter from Steve Rogers to Tony. In the letter, Steve urges Tony to take care of Bucky and to not let Bucky drift back into anger and confusion. Steve asks Tony to “Save him for me!” Steve then tells Tony to not let the dream die. That America needs a Captain America. That it has always been bigger than Steve. End of issue.
The Good: Incredible. Brubaker turns in one of his strongest issues yet with Captain America #30. And that is saying something since I have found to be Brubaker’s entire run on Captain American to be nothing short of brilliant.
Captain America #30 moves along at an excellent pace. Brubaker has employed his usual steady and measured pace on this story arc that is designed to create plenty of tension. Brubaker’s plotting on this story arc has been impressive. And Captain America #30 is the culmination of Brubaker’s steady foundation that he has put into place over the past several issues.
Brubaker picks up the pacing with this issue and increases the intensity of the story as we see several of the different plotlines merging together as everything begins to fall into place. Brubaker certainly takes his time setting up his story arcs, but once he starts to hit his stride he delivers some pretty phenomenal climaxes that completely engross the reader.
Brubaker crafts his usual strong dialogue. The dialogue has a pleasant flow and each character has their own unique voice. Brubaker is a master at excellent character work and we certainly get plenty of that in this issue. Brubaker continues to impress me with his ability to flesh out supporting characters like Sharon, Sam, Bucky and Natasha and allow them to carry this title. It is beyond rare for a big name title like Captain America to center on just the supporting cast. And it is a testament to Brubaker’s talents that this title is just as good of a read without Steve and just his supporting cast to carry the story.
I love how Brubaker writes Bucky and I dig that Brubaker uses this issue to emphasis how different Bucky is from Steve. The brawl at the Red Skull/Lukin’s office shows that unlike Steve, Bucky is a killer. And there is no doubt that Bucky would have killed Red Skull if he hadn’t used the failsafe word to deactivate Bucky.
I dig that Steve’s old sidekick is so radically different from him. It makes Bucky that much more interesting. The fact that Bucky idolizes Steve, yet continually conducts himself in a totally different manner is a great source for internal conflict for Bucky’s character.
It appears that Brubaker might just return Bucky back to his former role as the Winter Soldier. Dr. Faustus clearly is charged with the task of re-fashioning the Winter Soldier into a mindless weapon who will carry out the orders of the Red Skull. Personally, that is how I like Bucky the best. I dig him in the role as the ultimate urban legend that slinks in and out unseen while pulling off his kills.
Steve’s letter to Tony urging Tony to not give up on Bucky emphasizes the relationship between the two very different men. The letter shows to the reader the love, and feelings of responsibility that Steve had for Bucky. It is unfortunate that these two men weren’t able to reconcile before Steve’s death. I think that Steve’s gut feeling that Bucky would slip back to the dark side after Steve’s death are going to come true. At least they will if Dr. Faustus is successful in his experiments with Bucky.
And as always, I love it anytime we get plenty of Bucky kicking ass. Brubaker certainly doesn’t deny the reader some quality action with this issue.
Unlike some writers with the initials JMS, Brubaker continues to do an excellent job with Tony’s character. Brubaker actually takes the time and effort to give us a rather textured and well developed Tony Stark. The result is a story that is actually a compelling and complex read that engages the reader.
Brubaker writes an intelligent and heroic Tony who appears to be the knight on the white horse who is going to rush in and save the day. Wow, what a breathtakingly fresh and novel approach in the Post-Civil War era.
Brubaker also does an incredible job handling the relationship between Tony and Steve. Despite what writers like JMS may wish, Tony is a good man with the heart of a true hero. Just like Steve Rogers. And Tony and Steve were best friends. Brubaker understands this fact and that is why he delivers a Tony who is racked with pain over the loss of his best friend.
Brubaker peels back Tony’s ever confident and always in control exterior and shows the reader that Steve was a rock that Tony depended on for support and guidance. That Tony always turned to Steve during a crisis and that Tony completely understands that without Steve, Tony won’t be able to hold everything together.
One of the most powerful lines to this issue was when Brubaker has Tony mention that Steve’s death and the resulting problems is making Tony want to drink. And that Tony drinking wouldn’t make Steve happy. The fact is that despite their differences, each man truly cared for each other. And ever since Steve’s death, Tony hasn’t dwelled on the negative about Steve or their philosophical differences over the Registration Act. All Tony has done is remember what a great man Steve was and what a dear and loyal friend Steve was. Tony only remembers the good about Steve and doesn’t harbor a single bitter thought stemming from the Civil War.
And even after the events of Civil War and Steve’s death, Tony still turns to Steve for strength. The only reason that Tony isn’t taking a drink is that Tony doesn’t want to disappoint his friend even after death. I found this line to sum up perfectly the touching relationship between Steve and Tony. It is far too easy to paint the events of Civil War and the Initiative with broad brush strokes. Steve as an angel and Tony as a goose stepping Nazi. To do so is a serious disservice to both characters and does nothing more than to cheat the reader.
Speaking of Steve’s letter, Brubaker unveils the fact that Steve is urging Tony to not let Captain America die. That it must live on. I have to agree with that point. Even though Steve Rogers is the only one true Captain America, they did replace him after he went M.I.A. during WW II. It isn’t a novel or original idea, but it certainly should be interesting and provide for some incredible drama.
The real interesting twist is that Brubaker has made it clear that the last thing Tony wants to do is to replace Steve. Tony is completely and totally against there being another Captain America. Brubaker has shown that Tony doesn’t believe anyone is worthy to wear Steve’s outfit and carry his shield.
Yet, Tony is going to have to honor Steve’s wishes. Why? Because Tony is Steve’s best friend and will not be able to ignore Steve’s request. Now, you know that Tony won’t tell anyone about Steve’s letter and that everyone in the Marvel Universe will hate Tony. And JMS will write an issue where Tony eats little children and laughs about his new Captain America. But, Brubaker is smart to pull this off in this fashion. Brubaker is showing the reader that Tony will always do what he thinks is the right course of action and then willingly take the abuse from ignorant people who don’t have all the information.
It should certainly be interesting watching Tony agonize over authorizing a new Captain America. But, Tony’s agony will be private. In public he will come across unwavering, resolute and strong. I am interested in finding out if Tony keeps the letter from Steve and his last wishes private or if he mentions it to the public.
Brubaker delivers a hard hitting hook ending to this issue that leaves the reader on the edge of his seat wanting more. First, Brubaker drops the bomb on the reader about Sharon being pregnant with Steve’s child. Wow! Just when you think Brubaker can’t top himself, he goes out and manages to do so. I love this little plot twist and it should certainly make for some interesting reading.
Then we have Tony finally figuring out that Sharon was the triggerman behind Steve’s death. And that Sharon was treated by the person impersonating Dr. Benjamin. And we end with Sharon under the control of Dr. Faustus shooting Natasha and Sam and Tony is frantically trying to locate Natasha and get Sharon into custody.
That is how you end an issue in style! If that doesn’t hook you into wanting to read the next issue then I don’t know what will. That ending was absolutely insane and I am eager to see what Brubaker has in store for us with the next issue.
Epting and Perkins provide more of their excellent artwork. These two artists complement each other very well and make for a fine team.
The Bad: No complaints with this issue.
Overall: Captain America #30 was a fantastic read. Brubaker continues to make this title one of Marvel’s strongest reads each and every month. If you still haven’t given this title a try then you must do yourself a favor and give it a chance. Brubaker treats the reader to an incredible blend of dialogue, drama, character development and action like you don’t see on too many comic books on the market. Captain America is by far and away worth the cover price.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Revolution absolutely loves what JMS has done with the return of Thor. JMS has done an excellent job bringing Thor back into the 616 Universe and making this title a fantastic read. Unfortunately, Thor #3 is going to be a crap issue. Why? Because I am beginning to hate the Initiative storyline more and more with each month. And because I’m a big Iron Man fan and I know I’m going to have to watch JMS punk out Iron Man in this issue and write a Tony Stark completely inconsistent with his character over his forty plus year history. I’m just going to hold my nose and get through this issue as fast as possible. Let’s hit this review for Thor #3.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Olivier Copiel
Inker: Mark Morales
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Thor arriving in New Orleans on his mission to find his fellow Norse gods. Thor arrives and comes across some beleaguered locals who are still suffering in the post-Katrina chaos that surrounds New Orleans. There is one man who is particularly haunted by the events of Katrina who tells Thor to get the hell out of their town. That they don’t need more outsiders coming into their town with false promises.
The locals walk away and suddenly, Iron Man appears on the scene. (Oh boy, here we go. Nothing sucks more than JMS’ hatchet jobs on Tony Stark’s character.) Iron Man acts completely unlike his personality over his forty-plus year history by acting like a total cocky cowboy getting in Thor’s face and telling him that either Thor is with the U.S. government or against it.
Iron Man says despite the fact that Thor owns the property that Asgard is built on and despite the fact that it is no longer on U.S. soil, that Thor can either move Asgard somewhere more appropriate and work with the government or the U.S. government can take control of Asgard if they choose so and then force Thor to move it.
Thor responds that he isn’t friends with Tony anymore after he perverted Thor by creating Clor. (Ah yes, Millar’s idiotic plotline that would have been better left being edited out by a smart editor.) Thor powers up and we have a brawl. Thor proceeds to kick Iron Man’s ass and comments that Thor is no longer going to hold back his power during a fight.
JMS proceeds to punk out Iron Man. Thor totally destroys Iron Man and then JMS further embarrasses Tony by having Thor state the fact that Iron Man is a mere mortal in an little iron suit while Thor is a god. Thor says that if any mortal invades Asgard then Thor will flood Washington D.C. killing thousands of innocent lives and destroy all of our airports killing more innocent lives. (Errrr, okay.) Thor then states that with regard to the Registration Act, he is going to remain totally neutral.
Iron Man then offers up a compromise. (Which is actually what Tony should have offered in the first place if JMS was concerned with writing Tony's character even remotely close to his history.) Iron Man says that the United States will treat Asgard as a separate entity like a diplomatic embassy and then it is not officially in United States territory especially since it is hovering eight feet above U.S. territory. That would place Asgard and any of its inhabitants outside of the jurisdiction of the Registration Act and give Thor diplomatic immunity. Thor agrees to Tony’s proposition.
But, JMS isn’t done humiliating Tony’s character just yet. Tony says that his armor is totally busted and asks how he is going to get back to base? Thor turns his back and tells Tony to walk. And just when you thought JMS was done with his character assignation on Tony, Thor reminds Tony that at some later date the two of them are going to finish “discussing” Tony violating Thor’s person, his genetic code and what was once a friendship that he valued.
We then see Thor approaching the local from earlier in the issue who told Thor to leave their town. The man’s niece tells Thor how her uncle hasn’t been the same since he saw his loved ones drown during Katrina.
Thor comments how the mortal’s grief is compounded by the grief of gods never meant for mortals to bear. Thor places his hand on the man. Thor whips up a storm with his hammer and commands Heimdall to come forth and live again. We then see Heimdall emerge from the mortal man. Thor welcomes Heimdall home.
We cut to SHIELD headquarters with Tony looking at his ruined armor. A SHIELD agent informs Tony that engineering will have the replacement armor ready within the hour. (I refuse to believe that Tony would let a government agency have the knowledge and blueprint of how to construct his armor.) Tony informs the agent that for now they leave Asgard alone.
We slide over to Asgard and see Heimdall standing guard while Thor watches. End of issue.
The Good: Thor #3 was a nicely paced issue. JMS gave the reader an enjoyable balance of dialogue heavy scenes with just enough action to keep the reader from being bored. JMS is continuing to use a restrained pace on this title, which I actually enjoy so far. It works with the Thor slowly but surely repopulating Asgard. It conveys what a daunting takes Thor has in front of him and that it will take a long time before Asgard ever resembles its former glory.
I love how JMS writes Thor. Thor’s mythological nature lends itself perfectly for JMS’ trademark wordy and overly dramatic dialogue. Thor also is a perfect match for JMS’s penchant for the mystical and magical. While this type of dialogue and story is a horrid match on a title like Amazing Spider-Man, it is perfectly suited and quite enjoyable on a title like Thor.
JMS gives us a Thor that is exactly how he should be. I have always disliked it when Thor was written as just another super strong metahuman. Often, Thor would be written like Wonder Man with old English dialogue. JMS understands that Thor isn’t a super hero. Thor is a god. Period. And Thor should act like a god, ego and all. Thor has the haughty attitude fitting for a god. Thor’s inflated ego is exactly as it should be for a god of his stature.
Thor should be somewhat dismissive and detached from the mere mortals around him. Thor doesn’t have to act like an asshole, but he shouldn’t act like a mortal. Thor shouldn’t act like Superman. JMS does an excellent job making Thor act appropriately godly without coming across like a vain asshole.
JMS also does a great job displaying Thor’s awesome powers. I loved how Thor flexed his muscles and showed that his power is mightier than any metahuman’s power. I also dig that JMS had Thor mention that he isn’t more powerful now, that he just always held back his powers whenever fighting mortal super heroes in the past. Couple that statement with the manner that Thor easily dispatched Iron Man and it is easy to say that any losses that Thor may have had to Iron Man or Hulk can be chalked up to him holding back his full powers.
And I’m glad to hear that. That is how it should be. Thor should be the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe. Thor should be able to kick Iron Man’s ass. Thor should be able to kick the Hulk’s ass. I’m glad that JMS is taking the approach that on the power spectrum you have Thor at the top with everyone else below him. That is exactly how the God of Thunder should be written within the context of the Marvel Universe.
I loved the dramatic return of Heimdall. It was great to see the guardian of the Bifrost Bridge back and better than ever. It is neat seeing how these various Norse gods are trapped inside mortals. And it makes sense that the mortals that house the spirits of the gods inside of them would be absolutely overwhelmed with grief.
Heimdall’s return was handled perfectly. And what made it powerful is that JMS kept Heimdall silent. All we needed to see was the brooding face of Heimdall to understand his pain and grief. All we needed was to see Heimdall silently back at guard over the entrance to Asgard to know that he was ready to once again serve his role as the guardian of Asgard.
Copiel and Morales crank out some fantastic artwork. Copiel draws one phenomenal Thor. I’m also impressed with the amount of emotion that Copiel manages to pack into his artwork. The reader gets a wonderful sense of the various characters’ emotions and feelings. This enables JMS to shut the hell up and allow the art to convey to the readers the various emotions of the characters.
The Bad: Seriously, JMS should be banned from ever writing Iron Man’s character again. JMS has consistently and repeatedly shown that he has no regard for Tony’s history in the 616 Universe. JMS is more concerned with performing continual character assignation on Tony just to further JMS’ own agenda with regard to this Registration Act storyline.
That is pathetic, inexcusable and unprofessional.
A writer only completely disregards a character’s long history when writing that character for two reasons. One, the writer is a total hack and doesn’t know any better. Two, the writer does it on purpose in order to advance their own agenda. The first is a product of incompetence. The second is a product of unprofessional behavior.
Since JMS is certainly a very talented writer, I feel confident that his constant butchering of Tony’s character just shows a serious lack of respect for Tony’s personality and history over the past forty plus years. That is simply unprofessional and drastically reduces any respect I might have for JMS as a writer.
JMS’ pathetic version of Tony Stark is completely inconsistent with his forty plus year history. Tony has never acted in such an over the top fascist manner spouting out such black and white ultimatums and then showing a brash eagerness to brawl. It was all so unbelievable and stupid.
The compromise position that JMS had Tony offer after getting his ass beat by Thor was what actually sounded like vintage Tony. The compromise position was actually extremely consistent with Tony’s character and history. And the compromise position was absolutely what should have been Tony’s first and only approach with Thor.
But, JMS couldn’t do that. Why? Because in JMS’ little mind, Iron Man now represents the Bush/Cheney administration and JMS is going to use Iron Man as a plot device to bash on the Bush/Cheney administration. JMS is going to transfer all the brash and overreaching actions of the Bush administration directly into Tony within the context of whole Registration Act storyline.
So, JMS uses Iron Man in a fashion completely inconsistent with Tony’s character in order to push his own little agenda and to lampoon the Bush/Cheney administration. Look, I think the Bush/Cheney administration has sucked big time. And I have no problems bashing them. But, don’t completely stomp all over my boy Tony Stark in an effort to bash the Bush administration.
JMS’s continual character assignation of Tony Stark’s character is actually becoming comical because it is so blatantly contrary to Tony’s long history in the Marvel universe. It comes across as a hack job pure and simple.
Also, JMS trying to shove Thor into the Registration Act is like a child trying to jam a square peg in a round hole. It lacks any internal logic or common sense. The Registration Act applies to masked vigilantes operation in the United States. The Act forces masked vigilantes to register their secret identities with the government and then operate under SHIELD authority.
Ok, now here is the deal, Thor isn’t a masked vigilante. Thor isn’t a metahuman. Thor isn’t a super hero. Thor isn’t even an old school mystery man. Thor is a fucking god. And Thor’s secret identity? He doesn’t have one. Want to know his real name for Registration purposes? It is Thor. No middle name. No last name. Just Thor.
At no point would a god and his mythical city even remotely come under the jurisdiction of the Registration Act. This is so stupid and far reaching. It was just a transparent excuse for JMS to punk out Iron Man and make him look like Iron Dick Cheney on yet another JMS title. I guess all the preaching and whining on his soapbox over on Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t enough for JMS. He just can’t resist pushing his little agenda even more.
Now, even though I dig the haughty attitude that JMS has given Thor, I think JMS went way too far with Thor’s promise to attack Washington, DC if the government tries to attack Asgard. Do I think for a moment that Thor would willingly flood Washington, DC and kill thousands of innocent people? Um, no. I guess JMS was in such a lather with his chance to bash on the government that he went a bit overboard with Thor’s threat.
I also have to admit that I am getting a bit concerned over the pacing of this title. I have enjoyed the restrained and subdued approach that JMS has taken with this title. It has been a pretty cool and unique way to kick off a new title. However, the pacing is going to have to pick up soon or else this title runs the risk of becoming a plodding read.
Overall: Thor #3 was potentially a great read that was made dreadfully average due to JMS’ continued bizarre obsession with butchering Iron Man’s character. I love how JMS is handling Thor’s character. I also dig Thor’s mission of recreating Asgard to its former glory. I’m just glad that we got this obligatory Initiative bullshit tie-in issue over with. Maybe we can move past the mind numbingly boring Registration Act crap and get on with some kick-ass Asgardian action.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Revolution has been less than impressed with Marvel’s smashfest known as World War Hulk. Now, I dig a brawlfest as much as the next person, but this one in World War Hulk isn’t even a good brawl. It has been one-sided and incredibly predictable. I’m sure that we will get plenty more of the same with World War Hulk #4. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Dr. Strange powered by the demon Zom opening up a massive can of whoop-ass on the Hulk. During the serious beat-down of the Hulk, Strange punches the Hulk into a building that causes it to collapse over top of some innocent bystanders. The Hulk uses his body to brace the impact of the building and save the innocent bystanders. Strange is totally unable to control the anger and rage of Zom.
Strange finally has a moment of sanity as he realizes what he almost did. That moment of weakness gives Hulk the opening to pound away at Strange. Hulk ends up easily dispatching Strange just like we knew he would.
Hulk fits Strange with an obedience disk and places him with the other heroes in the Hulk’s arena. Hulk assembles all the captured heroes in the arena and has them listen to citizens complain about their actions. Some woman steps up and speaks about how her husband was killed when Black Bolt declared war on America.
Bill Foster’s nephew gets up and talks about how Tony Stark and Reed Richards created Clor who killed Goliath. (Thanks, Millar. You really thought ahead when creating that stinker of a plotline.) Then some wacky chick gets up and rambles on about how magic is evil and Dr. Strange nearly killed everyone while he was powered by Zom.
Hulk then releases a big space alien monster on our heroes. Strange can’t use his magic since his hands are broken. Tony has no armor. Black Bolt’s powers don’t work. But, thank god Reed can still stretch! Our valiant heroes quickly take down the alien monster using their gladiator weapons.
The Hulk then orders the heroes to fight each other in gladiator battles. The obedience disks force the heroes to pick up weapons and attack each other.
We cut to the President arriving outside of the Sentry’s house. We see the Sentry thinking about his conversation with Tony. The Sentry says that his agoraphobia is preventing him from leaving the house and that he can’t help them with stopping the Hulk. Tony says that without the Sentry they will lose. The Sentry says he is afraid that he might lose control of his powers while fighting the Hulk and that it could cause so much damage.
Tony says that he is scared about Sentry’s power, too. Tony then says that every day Tony has to choose courses of action that could affect millions, even billions of lives. With stakes that high, how dare Tony decide? But, doing nothing is a decision in and of itself. That billions could die no matter what Tony does or doesn’t do. That he has to take the responsibility whether he wants it or not. Tony says that he knows the Sentry isn’t ready to hear this, but it is time to play God.
We cut back to Tony, Reed, Strange and Black Bolt in their gladiator fight beating each other up. The other captive heroes cry out for Hulk to stop the madness. The crowd in the arena chants for death.
Reed and Tony are locked in combat. Tony refuses to fight Reed and just hides behind his shield. Tony then manages to overwhelm the obedience disk for a moment to control a nearby robot guard to shoot at Hulk. Unfortunately, the obedience disk kicks back in. Reed then takes out Tony and stands over Tony waiting for Hulk to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
The crowd chants for Hulk to give the thumbs down so Reed will kill Tony. We then cut to Sentry watching the events in the Hulk’s arena on the TV. The Sentry stands in front of his door and looks outside. The Sentry then says “You hear that, Bruce?”
We then see the Hulk give the thumbs down. The Sentry then blasts off into the air and says “It’s time to play God.” (Hell yeah!!) End of issue.
The Good: World War Hulk #4 definitely provides the reader with tons of action. We get brawling all over the place. This issue is fast paced and makes for a fun quick read. Pak gives us some enjoyable popcorn for the brain.
Pak continues to impress me with his handling of Tony’s character. This is by far the best job writing Tony’s character outside of what the Knaufs have given us on Iron Man. Pak actually delivers a Tony Stark that is consistent with Tony’s forty plus year history in the Marvel Universe. I know, what a novel concept, huh? Maybe Pak can give JMS lessons on how to do this.
At any rate, Pak gives us a heroic Tony Stark that is true to his character. Tony displays his heart of a lion by being the only hero in the arena who is capable of overpowering the obedience disk and refusing to attack Reed and then actually managing to take control of one of Hulk’s robots and use it to attack the Hulk. Pak displays Tony’s grit and unwillingness to surrender to the enemy even while saddled with an obedience disk and stripped of his armor.
Pak also delivers a fantastic scene between Sentry and Iron Man. This scene had by far and away the most depth to it out of any other scene in this issue. Pak also crafted his strongest dialogue in this scene compared to the rest of the issue. Pak deftly shows how Tony has assumed a thankless job that your average person could never handle. Tony remains strong and resolute making hard decisions knowing that he has to. That running away and avoiding tough decisions are just as bad as not always making the right decisions. Pak shows Tony’s convictions and Tony’s ability to withstand the enormous pressures of his job that would make your average person wilt.
Pak serves up one incredibly kick-ass ending. Basically, the scene with Iron Man and Sentry and this fantastic ending are what saved World War Hulk #4 for me. I love how Pak spliced together the scene with Hulk giving the thumbs down in the arena and the Sentry finally accepting his role in this entire matter and blasting off to take care of the Hulk. That was a wonderfully framed final sequence that left a powerful impression on the reader. If this doesn’t get you excited for the next issue, then I don’t know what will.
Even though this ending was painfully predictable, it was still totally enjoyable. Pak knows that this ending was obvious and uses that to his advantage by finally giving the reader what we have so desperately wanted to see: a fired up Sentry ready to whip ass on the Hulk.
I have really enjoyed Pak’s unexpected twist of having the Hulk play the role of the villain in this story. I thought that the Hulk was going to be presented as the sympathetic protagonist. Instead, Pak has the Hulk come off as a monster villain and has the reader anxiously waiting and rooting for the Sentry to kick the Hulk’s ass.
The Bad: World War Hulk #4 continues what has been a plodding story. This mini-series has been rather mindless all together. It has also suffered from the fact that it is mind numbingly predictable. You knew that Strange wouldn’t be able to handle Zom’s powers. You knew Hulk would defeat Strange. You knew from the first issue that there would be gladiator fights between the captured heroes. You knew that Hulk was going to give a thumbs down at the end of this issue. And above all, the reader has known since the first issue that the Sentry was going to come racing to the rescue.
This entire mini-series has been nothing but a collection of terribly transparent scenes stretched out over four issues in order to kill time for the inevitable arrival of the Sentry. The predictability of this story has led to it failing to create any tension or sense of wonder in the reader. It comes across more like killing time until the inevitable showdown between the Sentry and the Hulk.
Now, I definitely am excited to see the brawl between the Sentry and the Hulk, but this mini-series really didn’t need to be five issues long. I think three would have been more appropriate and would have made it a much more enjoyable and less tedious read.
And I understand that World War Hulk was supposed to be a giant smashfest. That is exactly what Marvel’s goal was. However, the fact that the vast majority of the fights have been so one-sided and that all the results of the fights have been completely predictable all makes World War Hulk a pretty dull smashfest.
Romita and Jansen are certainly two talented artists. However, I’m just not crazy about their style of art. It looks a bit too sloppy and muddy for my taste.
Overall: World War Hulk #4 was a dependable read that gave the reader a fast paced issue with plenty of action. It also served as a great set-up issue with a sweet hook ending that gets the reader pumped up for the final issue of World War Hulk. If you are a fan of rampant destruction then you will certainly enjoy this issue.
Last issue continued the downward trend of this title. Countdown has been a rather disappointing read with no real sign of things turning around anytime soon. We are now 20 issues into this title and that is certainly long enough to give a fair prognosis of how strong of a read we can expect from this title. Countdown should be a much more entertaining read than it is at this point. Is it possible that Countdown #32 will buck the trend and deliver a quality read? Let’s do this review and find out.
Writers: Paul Dini & Tony Bedard
Penciler: Al Barrionuevo
Inker: Art Thibert
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Mary Marvel agreeing to give Klarion a tiny fraction of her magic powers in return for Klarion agreeing to help Mary master the forces inside of her. Unfortunately, once Klarion grabs Mary’s hand it turns out to be a trick and he says that he is now going to drain Mary of all her powers. Mary breaks free and blasts Klarion which knocks him out. Mary then flies off. Eclipso’s voice resonates in Mary’s head and tells Mary to come meet with Eclipso since only Eclipso can offer Mary the help that she is so desperately seeking.
We cut to Piper regaining consciousness and seeing the mummy in front of him and Trickster. Piper takes out his pipe, but before he can do anything Flash appears out of nowhere and calls off the mummy. Flash then confiscates Trickster’s bag of tricks and Piper’s pipe. Flash says he will be back to get them after the wedding is over. Flash warns the Rogues that Hassan the mummy will remain on guard outside of their hotel room.
The two Rogues decide that they can’t just wait in the hotel while Deathstroke and his bad friends arrive at the wedding scene and cause a huge fight and then have Zatanna come back to the hotel and perform a mind wipe on them. So, Piper uses the telephone keypad to play some musical notes that makes Hassan the mummy fall asleep. The two Rogues then run out of the hotel.
We shift to Jimmy Olsen arriving at Cadmus Labs. Jimmy is greeted by a young perky scientist named Serling Roquette who is the head of Genetics at Project Cadmus. Jimmy says that he tried to be a hero because he wanted to finally sit at the same table as all the great heroes who he has admired so much. That Jimmy didn’t want to sit on the sideline anymore.
We slide over to the strip bar where Black Canary’s bachelorette party is in full swing. We see Supergirl and Wonder Girl trying to sneak some alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, the watchful eye of Zatanna turns their drinks into ginger ale.
Suddenly, our two loveable rogues bust into the building and realize that they have stumbled onto the wrong party. Hassan the mummy is in hot pursuit and is immediately attacked by Big Barda who was bored with the party. (Big Barda doesn’t like looking at ass. She enjoys kicking ass.)
Zatanna turns Hassan back to dust. Meanwhile, our two Rogues use the distraction to sneak out of the strip club and steal some keys to a Porsche from the valet stand. As they drive off, Piper gleefully talks about the male strippers in the club. Trickster is doing his best to forget what he just saw.
We hop to Moscow on Earth-30. Our heroes are travelling in a green time sphere created by Kyle Rayner and powered by “Bob” the Monitor. Evidently, the other Monitors are using their powers to try and buffet our adventurers off course so they won’t be able to locate Ray Palmer’s location in the Multiverse.
Kyle is still angry with Jason for leaving Ryan Choi behind. Jason is sick of Kyle and wants to bash Kyle’s face in. Our heroes then pop over to Metropolis on Earth-3. There they cross paths with the Crime Syndicate.
We then cut to Mary arriving in front of Eclipso. Eclipso tells Mary that they are going to be good friends. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story on the origin of Eclipso. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #32 was another average read. However, that isn’t to say that there weren’t some bright spots in this issue. As always, Piper and Trickster steal the show. These two Rogues continue to be a funny team. It is hard for the reader to not root for these two loveable losers as they continue on their hard luck journey. It has been entertaining watching these two characters continually jump from the frying pan into the fire. The writers continue to create excellent chemistry between Piper and Trickster as well as plenty of humorous dialogue.
I also enjoyed seeing Donna, Jason, Kyle and “Bob” bopping around the Multiverse. Since I adore the Multiverse, the more that we see of these various multiple Earths the better. Also, I have always been a big fan of the Crime Syndicate. It should be fun watching our heroes mix it up with the members of the Crime Syndicate.
Finally, Dini is using this team of heroes searching for Ray Palmer in the manner that I had hoped for since the beginning. I thought that Dini would use this team’s adventure as a plot device to take the reader on a tour of this new Multiverse. It is too bad that it took Dini twenty issues to get this plotline finally going in the right direction.
I liked the little pissing contest between Jason and Kyle. It provided for some entertaining drama. Especially considering that Donna, the ex-girlfriend of Kyle and current object of desire of Jason is stuck in the middle of these arguments. You know that Kyle is way more powerful than Jason, but man, if Kyle took that power ring off for just one second I’d like to see my boy Jason just wax him.
The artwork in this issue was solid, but it wasn’t the best work I have seen from Barrionuevo. Barrionuevo was inconsistent in this issue. Some panels looked fantastic while others were below average and awkward.
The Bad: Countdown continues to suffer from incredibly slow and plodding plotlines. It becomes clearer with each issue that the plotlines in Countdown were not properly designed to be a weekly title over the course of one year. Also, Countdown continues to suffer from a lack of internal continuity as all of these plotlines seem terribly disjointed and mix mashed with each other.
The Mary Marvel scenes were rather uninteresting and predictable. The reader knew that Klarion was lying about wanting to help Mary. I was just glad to finally see the inevitable meeting between that wife murdering bitch Jean Loring and Mary finally taking place.
This meeting between Eclipso and Mary took way too long to happen. Having Mary wander around for twenty issues really bogged down this plotline. Mary Marvel’s plotline has had little direction or excitement for the past several issues. And that is too bad, since at the beginning, this was by far the most intriguing plotline.
This is just another example of how these plotlines are better designed as short individual mini-series rather than ongoing plotlines in a 52 issue weekly title. Hopefully, now that Dini has finally gotten Mary together with Eclipso, this plotline will increase in its pacing and intensity.
Now, even though I have continually praised the misadventures of our two loveable Rogues, I have to admit that this plotline is beginning to get a bit repetitious and stale. While the witty banter and continual bungling of these two character constantly bouncing from sticky situation to even stickier situation has been entertaining, this plotline is quickly losing any point or direction. Dini needs to provide some real progress and purpose to this plotline soon.
The bachelorette party scene was largely pointless and nothing more than pure fluff. I imagine that it was just a way to try tie into all the various special Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding issues that are coming out in hopes that the reader will be enticed into purchasing those issue.
The Jimmy Olsen scene was mostly useless and incredibly quick. Jimmy Olsen’s plotline is similar to Mary Marvel’s plotline in that it started out hot and was very entertaining, but it has seriously cooled over the past several issues as the pacing continues to get slower and slower.
Overall: Countdown #32 was simply an average read. And the reality is that an average read is pretty much all I can expect to get on this title. Now that we are twenty issues into this title and are getting close to the halfway point, it is safe to say that the chances of Countdown suddenly turning into a story as hot as 52 are pretty slim. I still say save your money and purchase Countdown when it is released as a trade paperback. The pacing may actually seem better when in trade paperback form.