Finally, after suffering through numerous terminally slow, dull and plodding issues, we arrive at Amazing Spider-Man #545 which delivers the finale to this dreadful One More Day story arc. This review won’t be long. There really is no need. I won’t mince words. There is absolutely no chance in hell that I will even remotely enjoy this issue. Let’s hold our collective noses and do this review.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski & Joe Quesada
Penciler: Joe Quesada
Inker: Danny Miki
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 0 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with reiterating Mephisto’s offer to Peter and MJ. That Mephisto will save Aunt May’s life in return for Peter and MJ’s marriage. Evidently, taking people’s souls went out with making people wear a scarlet letter. Mephisto claims he will take joy in listening to the part of Peter and MJ’s souls that will scream throughout eternity due to their lost love.
MJ and Peter are back at the hotel room where Aunt May got shot. MJ is in the bathroom getting sick. MJ tells Peter that Aunt May had a good long life. That everyone dies at some point. That maybe they should let her go. Peter counters that he would agree with MJ if Aunt May died from old age. But, she didn’t. Aunt May died taking a bullet meant for Peter. That he can’t live with that guilt.
Peter says that he can only make this decision to save Aunt May together with MJ. That they both have to agree to sacrifice their love and marriage to save Aunt May. We see the two lovers holding each other in the dark. They don’t talk. They just feel each other.
Suddenly, Mephisto appears in the room. The devil explains that their marriage will be erased. That the two will have never been married. It simply never happened. However, everything else will remain the same. Mephisto then reminds them that their deadline to make a decision has arrived. Mephisto comments that Peter and MJ’s love is rare and only comes along once in a millennium. And for Mephisto to take this love way from God is a victory like none other imaginable.
MJ then tells Mephisto that she will only do this deal if Mephisto restores Peter’s secret identity. Mephisto agrees that Peter’s identity will be a secret once more. MJ then says that that isn’t enough. That Mephisto is going to put Peter’s life back just as it was. That he will give Peter a chance at happiness. Mephisto responds why would he do that? MJ then whispers something into Mephisto’s ear. Mephisto then tells MJ that they have a deal.
Peter and MJ then hold each other as they agree to Mephisto’s deal. Mephisto then seals the deal. After doing that Mephisto reveals that if they had let May die then they would have ended up having a child. A little girl. That she would have been the best of both of them. But, now that they have opted to save Aunt May that their little girl will never be.
Peter is pissed off. MJ tells Peter to let it go and to hold her. MJ says that they were always meant to be together. That no matter what Mephisto does, it doesn’t matter. That there is no power in the universe to keep the two of them apart. That they will find each other again.
Peter tells MJ that he loves her. MJ tells Peter that she loves him. Peter and MJ embrace each other and engage in a big kiss. MJ tells Peter “Face it tiger…you just hit the jackpot.” They fade to black.
Peter then wakes up in his old bed in Aunt May’s house. Aunt May is downstairs making breakfast. Peter runs downstairs complaining that he is late. Peter gives Aunt May a kiss and grabs some food and says that he has to run off in order to make the surprise party in time to yell “Surprise!” Peter then pedals off on his bicycle. (Are you kidding me? Is Peter 16 again?)
Peter arrives at the penthouse where the party is being held. Flash is there and he greats Peter. Flash asks Peter if things are still frosty between Peter and MJ. Peter responds that he doesn’t know if she will ever forgive him for… but before he can finish his sentence Peter is interrupted by being told to hush as the guest of honor is about to appear.
The door opens and in walks Harry Osborn. Everyone yells “Surprise!” Harry comments that the worst thing about rehab is that the parties suck. We see MJ leaving the party. Harry then tells Peter that it is great to be back. Peter says “To friends, new and old, and a new day!” Norman responds “Yes, to friends...and a brand new day!” Everyone in the party raises their glass and cheers “A brand new day!” (Oh god, I think I just threw up a little into my mouth.) End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #545 is going to be the first and only exception to The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. I have absolutely nothing positive to say about this issue at all. In addition, Amazing Spider-Man #545 is also going to get the honor and privilege of being the very first issue that The Revolution has given a 0 Night Girls out of 10 score for the story. Congrats, Joey Q on your various accomplishments with this issue!
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #545 was a slow, boring and dull read. This plodding story arc has moved at a snail’s pace ever since Civil War ended. This story has been limping along like a half-dead two legged horse since Amazing Spider-Man #537. It is mind boggling that JMS has wasted a total of 9 issues to deliver this story. Honestly, this could have easily been done in 4 issues at the most and been a much more riveting read. Instead, JMS stretched this tired story out for almost a year while managing to put the reader in a boredom induced catatonic state.
And Amazing Spider-Man #545 is more of the same as we get another poorly paced issue that creeps along as slowly as possible. JMS re-hashes the same dialogue and discussions that we got in the past issue. The scenes between MJ and Peter simply serve to regurgitate the same dull discussions about Aunt May and Peter’s role in her getting shot. The reader then gets the pleasure of once again having to re-read the motivation behind Mephisto offering his deal to Peter and MJ.
JMS serves up a heaping helping of overly dramatic and somewhat cheesy dialogue. We get plenty of the typical “our love will never die” and that “we are destined to be together no matter what” that you would find in your usual Hollywood romance movie. JMS failed in his endeavor to tug at my heartstrings.
I still find Mephisto’s deal to be supremely idiotic. Even in a world like the 616 Universe that requires the reader to engage in a large degree of suspension of disbelief, I still find Mephisto’s deal moronic and unbelievable. Honestly, Joey Q expects me to believe that the Devil finds claiming souls to be to passé? That instead of claiming souls, causing war, famine and pestilence that the devil has been reduced to nothing more than a marriage wrecker? Really? Seriously? Is that the plot device that Joey Q wants me to buy into as the vehicle for erasing Peter and MJ’s marriage?
Well, let me be blunt in saying that Joey Q fails miserably in trying to get me to buy into his story. I find the use of Mephisto and his silly little deal to be complete garbage and nothing more than base hack writing. This just might be one of the most pathetic retcons I have ever read. And I’m a Legion of Super Hero fan, so I know a thing or two about poorly done retcons.
Joey Q graces the reader with what is possibly the most pathetic and nonsensical retcon that you will ever read. Honestly, it would have been more believable if Joey Q broke the fourth wall and directly addressed the reader, explained his bizarre obsession with ending Peter and MJ’s marriage and then retconned the marriage out of existence. That would have worked better with me than the drivel that we have gotten in this story arc.
And maybe it is just me, but I completely fail to see what Joey Q is trying to accomplish by erasing Peter and MJ’s marriage. Peter has grown and evolved over the years. The marriage between Peter and MJ represents the natural growth of Peter’s character. I thought that the entire purpose of the Ultimate Spider-Man title was to give readers that young Spider-Man free of all the complex history of the 616 Universe Spider-Man as well as the marriage between Peter and MJ. If Joey Q wanted so desperately to read a Spider-Man story where Peter is single then pick up a damn issue of Ultimate Spider-Man.
I liked the fact that the 616 Universe Spider-Man was a grown up married character that had evolved from the skinny nerdy kid in high school and all those problems he used to have. And if I ever felt nostalgic for that version of Peter all I had to do was pick up an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man and get my fill of the young traditional version of Peter.
And, Joey Q didn’t just junk Peter and MJ’s marriage. He also bailed Peter out of the idiotic decision to reveal his secret identity during the events of Civil War. Mephisto is a convenient deus ex machina that Joey Q readily employs to give Peter his secret identity back. How does this affect the events of Civil War? Wasn’t Peter’s unmasking a pivotal moment of that story arc?
I have to admit that I am curious to know what MJ whispered into Mephisto’s ear when she demanded that Mephisto give Peter a chance at happiness. What could it have been? Maybe MJ was whispering to Mephisto how much Joey Q’s idea to erase her marriage sucked?
The ending was a joke. I laughed my ass off at the pathetically over the top and ridiculous exclamations toasting friends and a “brand new day.” Yeah, right. A brand new day would be allowing Peter’s character to continue to grow and evolve and not shunt him back to where he was thirty years ago. This “brand new day” is just the old day all over again.
We see Peter back at home living with Aunt May. Wow, way to grow a character. We then see Peter ride his bicycle to go to the surprise party. A bicycle? Seriously? Is Joey Q kidding me? What is Peter sixteen years old again? Ridiculous.
And then we get the revelation that Harry has been brought back to life. C’mon, what the hell did Mephisto not retcon in this issue? How much more did Mephisto change? It sure seems like Mephisto did more than just erase the marriage and nothing else.
So we end the issue with Peter at Harry’s welcome back from rehab party with MJ mad at Peter and avoiding him. Wow! Is this Spider-Man 2? That sure is the feeling that I got with this ending. How original. I just can’t wait to see what Joey Q has in store for us next! Maybe Peter will get an apartment with Iceman and Firestar. We certainly haven’t seen that before, huh?
I found Joey Q’s artwork to be nothing more than average at best.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #545 was a waste of 15 valuable minutes of my life as well as a waste of the trees that had to die for this issue. Joey Q junks the marriage between Peter and MJ that took place way back in 1987. I don’t understand Joey Q’s bizarre obsession with ending Peter and MJ’s marriage. But, with this issue, Joey Q manages to make a further mess of Spider-Man’s already complex continuity. Way to go pendejo!
Monday, December 31, 2007
Finally, after suffering through numerous terminally slow, dull and plodding issues, we arrive at Amazing Spider-Man #545 which delivers the finale to this dreadful One More Day story arc. This review won’t be long. There really is no need. I won’t mince words. There is absolutely no chance in hell that I will even remotely enjoy this issue. Let’s hold our collective noses and do this review.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The Teen Titans under Geoff Johns underwent a renaissance, and McKeever has, to date continued the writing duties on the comic quite well and the Titans of Tomorrow Today is his chance to really show us his stuff. How does he far? Read on.
Writer: Sean McKeever
Penciler: Eddy Barrows, Joe Prado, Greg Tocchini
Inker: Rob Hunter, Julio Ferreira, Oclair Albert, Joe Prado
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Part 4 and Conclusion of the Titans of Tomorrow:Today storyline. As we rejoin the story in progress Miss Martian is ferrying Robin to the original Titans Lair in Gotham City. It is surrounded by the Starro controlled Titans Army, Titans of the future that have come back to make sure their future occurs just how they want it. Just inside the lair is Blue Beetle, wanting to free the captured Flash(Impulse) from the future. As the future Titans make it through to the lair, Flash agrees to help Blue Beetle, but just drags him out of the lair and runs away. Blue Beetle fights the Sinestro Corp'ed Starro, and starts to complain when Flash comes back with Capt. Cold's Cold Gun. He shoots Starro, and then runs right through him, shattering him into a million pieces, and freeing the Titans Army from their Starro control.
Wonder Girl is speaking with her future counterpart. Future Wonder Girl not to trust Kara, that she will come between Wonder Girl and Superboy..er Connor (sorry DC) in the future. the future Superb.. I mean Superman (sorry again) chimes in to agree. Wonder Girl tells him he has nothing to worry about after that night in Smallville, which Connor (got it right this time) seems to not remember. Wonder Girl flies off in a huff.
Everyone frees themselves of their dead Starro things, and Luthor gets back to the task at hand. Eliminating the (he reveals) three thorns in his side in the future, Blue Beetle, Ravager, and Supergirl. Not having much luck, we switch our POV to Batman (future Robin) and Robin. Batman still tries to convince Robin, who seems to bend a little when Wonder Girl shows up and tells him that Connor and Bart Allen (future Flash) were clones. She kisses Robin, and Connor (future you-know-who) comes screaming in, feeling betrayed and ready to do a little Superman Prime action on him when Future Robin/Batman steps in front of him and shoots SuperConnor with a kryptonite bullet. Luthor and company get mad, but quickly fade away, showing that the future has been changed.
Eight years from now, Robin is talked into taking over as Batman and starting a similar plot again by Miss Martian (in her "evil" guise) and a Lex Luthor from the past. "Not the End"
The Good: Like most multiple part storylines, the conclusion to this storyline is quite satisfying. The characters, past and future, are presented truly, and the plot unfolds in a logical and clever manner. As the Titans are full of newer characters and still finding a post Infinite Crisis status quo, this story does a lot to set up future story lines, putting a lot of ideas from their future selves in their heads, and even the Titans not knowing what might have been true and what isn't. The art tells the story effectively, dramatically, and most importantly, emotionally. The action is meaningful and clever and the story makes sense without having to have read the other issues in this storyline.
The Bad: The art is a little rough (sketch lines and such) but that is a nitpick over style. The epilogue does provide a twist ending, certainly, but knowing that the Titans of Tomorrow may try this again with a modern day Luthor robs the climax of the story of some of its strength.
Overall: Fans of the Titans, and of the DCU in general should enjoy this issue. Not a good jumping on point, but for previous Titans readers, not a bad place to catch up.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I think that Countdown to Final Crisis #18 might actually be an enjoyable read. Yeah, I know that sounds like crazy talk. But, the cover of this issue sports a nice splash shot of the one true Atom: Ray Palmer. I’m a huge Ray Palmer fan and have been anxiously awaiting his return. It looks like Countdown to Final Crisis #18 is finally delivering what I have been not so patiently waiting for. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writers: Paul Dini, Sean McKeever & Keith Giffen
Artist: Scott Kolins
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback to the end of Identity Crisis. Ray has Jean Loring committed into Arkham Asylum. Ray is so distraught over the events of Identity Crisis that he just wants to get away from it all. Ray shrinks down to subatomic size.
We see Ray suddenly waking up in his bed after another nightmare. We see Jean sleeping next to Ray. Ray walks into the bathroom and tells himself that it is time for him to forget the past. Unfortunately, the past is refusing to let go of Ray. Ray thinks that he can’t change what has happened, but he can change the future. We see that Ray is on Earth-51.
We cut to outer space where Black Mary is lying listlessly on some wreckage. Eclipso appears back on the scene and thinks that after being alone for this long in deep space that Mary should be weak enough that Eclipso can take Mary’s power. Mary then reveals that she was just playing possum. Mary attacks Eclipso exclaiming that Eclipso just wanted Mary’s power just like everyone else. Black Mary proceeds to beat the hell out of Eclipso.
We slide back to Earth-51, where Ray is visiting his therapist, Zatanna. Except on this Earth Zatanna is definitely not a hottie at all. Zatanna and Ray talk about how the heroes on Earth-51 suited up for five fun years and battled crime and then their mission was accomplished. They won and crime was eradicated.
Zatanna no longer uses her magic and prefers to use psychiatry to battle Ray’s problems. Zatanna prescribes some more medication for Ray’s “nightmares.” Ray comments that no matter all the good that they have done that he has the feeling that it is so fragile and that everything is going to fall apart.
We cut to a little Christmas Eve party at the Palmer’s house. We see Ralph and Sue Dibny, Barry and Iris Allen and Ray and Jean Palmer all together around the Christmas tree. Ralph tells a funny story about a case he cracked involving Dr. Light. Ralph jokes that he calls it Crisis of Identity.
Ray goes outside to get some firewood. There he sees the silhouette of Bob the Monitor. Ray walks back inside the house accompanied by the Challengers. Ray confesses that he is not the Ray Palmer of Earth-51.
Ray recounts how he disappeared into subatomic space after Identity Crisis. That there he met a mystic who filled him in on the true story of the new Multiverse. Ray learned how to travel between the multiple Earths and then decided to search the Multiverse for the Earth that could bring him peace of mind.
Ralph found it when he arrived at Earth-51. He came across the Ray Palmer of Earth-51who was working on a portal designed to access the multiple Earths. Evidently, Ray of Earth-51 had also learned about the Multiverse. Ray of Earth-51 was killed by an explosion of the portal due to a miscalculation.
Ray also decided to continue Earth-51 Ray’s project. Ray learned that Earth-51 Ray had discovered not just the Multiverse, but a reason for Ray to stay and a reason for Ray to take Earth-51 Ray’s life as his own. That if Ray didn’t continue the research then the entire Multiverse would be doomed.
Ray then discovered that Earth-51’s Ray had not met Jean Loring, yet. Ray and Jean had a blind date scheduled. Jean falls in love with our Ray. Our Ray then fights alongside of the heroes of Earth-51 in their mission to rid the world of crime. Ray and Jean got married. Ray continued Earth-51 Ray’s research on the Multiverse.
Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny are stunned by Ray’s story. Jean is distraught. Donna Troy tells the heroes that Ray’s story is true. Bob then steps forward and says that Ray’s mission is why the Challengers are here. Bob says that his sole purpose as a Monitor is to become aware of and eliminate Multiversal anomalies. Bob then tells Ray to consider himself eliminated. Bob powers up to blast Ray. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of Dr. Light. End of issue.
The Good: I almost don’t know what to say. I’m stunned. I actually really enjoyed Countdown to Final Crisis #18! I didn’t think I would ever say that about an issue of Countdown given the horrible reads we have gotten on this title. I will admit my bias up front. I love Ray Palmer. And any issue that sports the dramatic return of Ray Palmer and explains what he has been up to is automatically going to be a good read in my eyes.
Countdown to Final Crisis #18 was a well paced issue. Dini takes his time to unfold Ray Palmer’s story. The reader has been teased with this moment for a long time. We haven’t seen Ray since December of 2004. It has been three long years. Given the long wait and all the build up going on since the beginning of Countdown, I’m glad that Dini didn’t rush his way through this issue.
Dini and McKeever construct some solid dialogue. The characters were also fairly well developed. Of course, since Dini is the writer we simply have to get another version of Zatanna in this issue. Dini’s obsession with Zatanna is beginning to wear thin, but I have to admit that I dig this version of Zatanna. It is cool to see a character that is normally a highly sexual character being re-imagined as a rather non-sexual character. We certainly get a different take on Zatanna in this issue.
The best part of this issue was the excellent job that Dini and McKeever did with Ray Palmer’s character. The two writers gave the reader an excellent look into the mind and soul of Ray Palmer. The reader gets such a great feel for Ray’s raw feelings of pain and loss.
We also see Ray’s undying hope for the future. And there is Ray’s happiness in being able to relive the good times. Being able to fight alongside his friends like Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny and being successful in vanquishing crime. And of course, Ray’s passionate desire to have his loving Jean back once again.
I dig the juxtaposition that Dini fashions between Ray’s quest through the Multiverse and Superman-Prime’s quest through the Multiverse. Both characters have suffered loss and carry great sorrow in their souls. Both characters are desperately searching the Multiverse for an Earth that they can call home that will bring them peace. The difference being that Ray doesn’t “blow shit up” like Superman-Prime does when he doesn’t like an Earth. Also, that Ray is a true hero and is committed to preserving all life across the Multiverse while Superman-Prime is only concerned with preserving life on his Earth.
My favorite scene was definitely the scene at the Palmer residence on Christmas Eve. It was awesome seeing Ralph and Sue Dibny, Barry and Iris Allen and Ray and Jean Palmer all together once again. It was simply fantastic. This scene put a huge smile on my face and gave me the warm fuzzies. For at least a fleeting moment all was right once again.
It was cool to see Ray falling in love with Jean and getting married. It was great to see Ray fighting alongside his friends in their mission to rid the world of crime. With all that Ray has been through with the events of Identity Crisis, it was great to see him finally experiencing some happiness.
Dini teases the reader with the mysterious research of Earth-51’s Ray Palmer that our Ray has continued. Obviously, Ray has discovered whatever leads to the Final Crisis event. I’m certainly looking forward to learning more about what Ray’s research has uncovered.
Dini serves up an excellent hook ending in this issue. I certainly didn’t see this swerve coming with Bob powering up to eliminate Ray Palmer. Was Bob lying to the Challengers from the beginning? It should be interesting to see what happens next.
The Bad: The Mary Marvel scene was simply horrible. I can’t believe we have waited all this time just to finally get to the fact that Eclipso wants Mary’s power. This could have been done the first time that they met and it would have saved the reader time and energy. Instead we have had to slog our way through a terribly slow and purposeless plotline just to arrive at the predictable conflict between Eclipso and Mary. The Mary Marvel plotline has been horribly plotted and paced.
The only downside to Dini bringing Ray into the mix means that Ray is probably slated to be slaughtered in some gruesome fashion. And the only downside to seeing Ralph and Barry once again on Earth-51 is that Superman-Prime will probably appear on the scene and kill Ralph and Barry and then blow up Earth-51.
I found Kolins’ art in this issue to be average at best. This issue has a rather boring and dull look to it. This was the type of generic and unimpressive artwork that dominated 52.
Overall: Countdown to Final Crisis #18 was an enjoyable read if you are a Ray Palmer fan or if you have missed seeing Ralph and Sue Dibny and Barry and Iris Allen. It was also nice to finally have the Challengers find Ray Palmer after having to trudge our way through a brutally slow paced search for Ray. I’m sure that Countdown to Final Crisis #18 is an aberration and just a temporary moment of enjoyment and that this title will rapidly revert back to its normal state of suckiness.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
ACTION COMICS #860
COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #18
GREEN LANTERN #26
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #37
TEEN TITANS #54
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #545
CAPTAIN AMERICA #33
CAPTAIN MARVEL #2
IRON MAN #24
MARVEL ADVENTURES IRON MAN #8
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #117
X-MEN EMPEROR VULCAN #4
The Revolution is back after enjoying our Christmas. I had a blast this year. There was plenty of food and drink from the 23rd, Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I had a great time hanging out with family and friends. I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a blast and those who don’t then I hope you guys enjoyed some time off from work and saw a good movie or two.
Because of Christmas, Diamond Comics won’t be delivering the new comic books here in the States until Friday. And since I took a bit of a holiday for three days, I’m fine with the delay this week.
Now, I was surfing the net and I came across the Top 10 creepiest fast food mascots. I love mascots. Be it for a college, sports team or business. This Top 10 was compiled by fanpop.com.
10. The Quiznos Hamster
9. The Noid (Dominos)
8. Jack (Jack in the Box)
7. Grimace (McDonalds)
6. Colonel Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
5. Mister Softee
4. Modern Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s)
3. Original Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s)
2. The Tastee Freeze Twins
1. The King (Burger King)
I can’t say that I totally agree with this list. Personally, I don’t find anything creepy at all about the Noid. As a kid, I thought he was a pretty funny little cartoon character. I definitely don’t think that Grimace belongs on this list. As a matter of fact, I’d place Grimace in my Top 10 for the coolest mascots. Grimace is the man! I also wouldn’t put the Colonel on this list. I have always found the Colonel to be a nice nod to the old Southern roots of KFC.
Now, I totally agree that the remainder of the mascots completely deserve to be on this list. I would have placed the original Ronald McDonald number one. He is just downright hideous and clearly something from a childhood nightmare. I’d then place the modern Ronald McDonald number two. Yeah, you can tell that I hate and loathe clowns with all my heart and soul.
I’d bump that damn Quiznos hamster creature up to number three. The gross Tastee Freeze Twins would be a solid number four with The King rounding out the top five. And one mascot that I would have added to this creepiest mascots Top 10 would be the The Hamburglar from the 1970’s and 80’. He was one sinister looking bastard. Seriously, between him and Ronald McDonald, you couldn’t get me to step foot in a McDonald’s when I was a kid.
All right, let’s talk about this week’s shipment of comic books that we have headed to the Bunker today. It looks like we have a total of 17 titles this week. This is yet another large week for The Revolution. This week is slightly heavier with Marvel titles.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Wow, there are so many excellent titles headed our way this week from DC. We have Action Comics #860 that continues the story arc involving the Pre-Crisis Legion. I have been a bit disappointed so far with this story arc. However, I have to believe that Johns simply has to have something big in store for us.
Batman #672 should be an interesting read if only to see if this title can bounce back from the moribund Ra’s al Ghul story arc that flat out crashed and burned for me.
We also get Teen Titans #54. McKeever has been doing a good job with his debut story arc on this title. I fully expect another quality read with this Titans Future story arc.
Then we have Green Lantern #26. Absolutely no title has been as hot as Green Lantern. There is no doubt that Johns is going to deliver another excellent read with this issue. And normally, on any other week this issue would have been the issue I am most looking forward to reading. However…
This week I’m going with Legion of Super Heroes #37. Yeah, that’s right. Check out that damn title. No “Supergirl” anywhere to be found in the comic’s title. And that is exactly how it should be. Legion of Super Heroes #37 is the debut issue of the new creative team of Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul. I am extremely curious to see how this old school/new school creative team gels together on this title. It has been such a long time that the Legion was a consistently good read. The Legion desperately needs a quality long term creative team that can breathe some life in this title.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? Flash #235 doesn’t excite me that much. Waid has seriously stunned me with an amazingly underwhelming debut on this title. Flash is one dull and plodding read. Being a huge Wally West fan, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but what Guggenheim gave us with Bart Allen was far superior to what Waid is giving us with Wally at this point.
However, the issue that I’m least looking forward to reading has to be Countdown to Final Crisis #18. I don’t expect much out of this issue, but I’ve come this far and I’m not giving up this late in the game.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Well, the House of Ideas counters DC’s strong week with an excellent selection of titles for this week as well. Captain Marvel #2 should be another good read. I enjoyed the first issue and it is great to see Mar-Vell back in the saddle again.
Daredevil is always a wonderfully constructed title. Brubaker is tacos in the bank. Few writers can match his quality of work that he puts out each and every month. It should be interesting to see if Daredevil is able to finally track down the elusive Mr. Fear in Daredevil #103.
We also get treated to another Brubaker title in Captain America #33. Man, any week that sports a double shot of Brubaker is an excellent week. Captain America #33 is being billed as an issue with a huge surprise ending. I avoid spoilers, so I’m interested to see what happens in this issue.
Loyal followers of The Revolution know that I’m crazy for the Knaufs’ work on Iron Man. They have made this title one of Marvel’s stronger reads. Iron Man #24 should be a fun read since Tony is going to have to rely on one of his old school suits of armor.
All these issues should be great reads, but I’m going to have to go with X-Men #206 as the issue I am most looking forward to reading. The Messiah Complex continues to be a fantastic ride and I have no doubts that X-Men #206 will be another riveting installment of this monster story arc.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? I’m not nearly as enthused to read Thor #5 as I was the first several issues. JMS really needs to get this story moving with a point and purpose or he runs the risk of this title falling to The Revolution’s dreaded axe.
However, the issue that I’m least looking forward to this week is Amazing Spider-Man #545. JMS is delivering what I find to be quite possibly the worst story arc I have read in my entire life. I really have nothing else to say.
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 10:37 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The Revolution has been summarily unimpressed with the Ra’s al Ghul story arc. It has failed to live up to the hype and has been a generally pedestrian read. I have to think that the writers planned something big for the climax of this story arc. Let’s hope for the best and hit this review for Detective Comics #839.
Writer: Paul Dini
Pencils: Ryan Benjamin & Don Kramer
Inks: Saleem Crawford & Wayne Faucher
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Batman plowing his way through the Seven Men of Death in order to get to Ra’s al Ghul who is about to transfer his soul into Damien’s body. Batman breaks Ra’s arm off his body. Batman continues to beat down Ra’s. Batman tells Damien to grab a sword and join Robin and Nightwing in their fight against the League of Assassins.
Talia is pissed that Batman would place Damien in harm’s way. Batman snaps that it is no less than what he asks of Robin and Nightwing. And no son of his could do any less.
We cut to the White Ghost holding Ra’s broken and dying body. We learn that White Ghost is actually Ra’s son born of a union between Ra’s and a long-extinct people. That Ra’s kept White Ghost alive out of pity, but always viewed White Ghost as a freak. Ra’s says that it has been too long since he called White Ghost “son.” White Ghost offers Ra’s his body commenting what son could risk any less for his father?
Ra’s takes over White Ghost’s body and White Ghost dies. Ra’s comments that of all his offspring, only White Ghost never faltered. The one that he called the flawed child. The unworthy one.
Ra’s now invigorated with his young powerful body jumps into the battle. Batman and Ra’s lock horns and engage in a sword fight. During the fight, Talia knocks out Damien and flees the battle scene. Talia comments that she refuses to allow Batman’s legacy to die.
Batman and Ra’s engage in a titanic battle. They slice away at each other. Suddenly, a massive bolt of lightning interrupts the fight. The monks of Nanda Parbat announce that Rama Kushna shall be heard. That Rama Kushna has decreed that Nanda Parbat shall be closed forever to Ra’s al Ghul. That all shall leave now or suffer death everlasting.
Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Alfred all make a quick getaway from Nanda Parbat before the bridge out of the city crumbles. Ra’s al Ghul makes his getaway as well.
We cut to Alfred, Bruce, Dick and Tim all on Bruce’s private jet headed back home. Bruce hopes that Talia takes Damien some place far away from the life they have known even if it is far from Bruce. That Damien has to choose his own life like Dick and Tim did. That he deserves a life free from destiny, Bruce’s or anyone else’s. Alfred then serves up some hot chocolate and reminds everyone that it is Christmas. Bruce, Time, Dick and Alfred all make a toast to family. End of issue.
The Good: Uh, wait a minute. Seriously? That was it? After all the build up and hype and having to slog my way through seven issues, this is all I get at the end of this story arc? Unbelievable. And now I have to try and fulfill The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue.
Well, there were some positive aspects of Detective Comics #839. Dini certainly delivers a fast paced read. This is a fast story from start to finish. And Dini serves up to the reader tons of action. And Batman is one serious ass-kicker. It was great to watch him tear through Ra’s men and then put a hurting on Ra’s. The final battle between Batman and Ra’s was furious and both men were intent on killing the other.
The dialogue was slightly above average. Dini certainly knows how to properly write Batman’s short and terse voice. The other characters, however, talk in relatively generic voices.
Dini did a nice job exploring the father and son theme and the complex relationship that exists between the two. We see it in four different pairings: Bruce and Dick, Bruce and Tim, Bruce and Damien and Ra’s and White Ghost.
Obviously, the most flawed paring is that of Ra’s and White Ghost. Even though the father has consistently rejected the son and viewed him with disdain, the son still willingly sacrifices himself for his father. This scene stressed the fact that no matter how horrible a father might be that the son will have a desperate desire for approval from his father and will be willing to do just about anything for that approval.
We then have the relationship between Bruce and Damien. While this one isn’t as bad as the one between Ra’s and White Ghost, it still is an unhealthy relationship. Damien sees his father as more legend and legacy than man. That Damien has to walk in Bruce’s footprints and not his own.
Oddly enough, out of all the pairings, the most loyal and true father and son relationships are the two that are not biological. The relationship that Bruce has with Dick and Tim is one where his “sons” willingly risk their lives for their “father.” And this isn’t done out of some notion of destiny or some desperate attempt to gain approval. Dick and Tim risk their lives for Bruce out of love and respect.
The Bad: Detective Comics #839 was a terribly anti-climactic ending to what was a massively disappointing story arc. I can’t believe this is all we got. A fight that ends in a draw and a cheesy Christmas themed ending.
Honestly, was the revelation that the White Ghost is Ra’s son supposed to be the big pay off? If so then that certainly falls woefully short of my expectations for the finale of this story arc. I mean, it was a neat moment, but hardly fitting for a climactic ending of what was supposed to be a huge story arc since it involved a character in the White Ghost that most people don’t know or care about.
I’m completely stunned at what a horribly over-hyped and unimpressive read this Ra’s al Ghul story arc was. This seven issue story arc could have easily been done in three issues and been a much tighter and enjoyable read. Instead, DC decides to stretch it out across seven issues and hype it as a huge story arc. In reality, this was a minor story arc that would have been much more enjoyable contained to one title for no more than three issues.
The reader feels cheated with the use of Rama Kushna as a convenient plot tool to bail Dini out of an almost impossible situation with the duel between Ra’s and Batman. Dini was painted into the corner where Ra’s and Batman were locked into a duel to the death. Dini couldn’t have Batman kill Ra’s since we had already wasted six issues hyping the return of Ra’s. Therefore, you knew the Demon’s Head wasn’t going to die. And, obviously, Dini isn’t going to kill off Batman.
So, Dini had to employ Rama Kushna as his own little Deus ex machine to bail him out of this impossible dilemma. I despise that this is how the supposedly climactic battle between Batman and Ra’s ended. It was lame and completely unsatisfying. I felt utterly cheated with this pathetic ending.
I still find Damien to be a boring character. None of the writers on this Ra’s story arc were able to do anything with Damien to get me to like his character more. Damien lacks any personality at all outside of being a brat. Part of my dislike of Damien may be that I still find this concept of Batman having a son to be thoroughly lame. Bruce already has Dick, Jason and Tim. I just don’t see a need for Damien.
The final scene to Detective Comics #839 was so cheesy. Look, I love Christmas probably more than anyone. It is hands down my favorite holiday and I dig all the traditions and foods connected to Christmas. However, this Christmas themed ending simply felt forced and didn’t work with the rest of the story.
I didn’t like the artwork by committee that we got in Detective Comics #839. It gave this issue a schizophrenic look. I’m shocked that DC decided to use artwork by committee on the final issue of a supposedly big event story arc like the Return of Ra’s al Ghul.
Overall: The Return of Ra’s al Ghul story arc was so amazingly underwhelming. And Detective Comics #839 was a fittingly dull finale to what was a disappointing and boring story arc. If you passed on getting this Ra’s al Ghul story arc then you certainly didn’t miss anything at all. Hopefully, all the Bat-titles can rebound from this story arc.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Revolution was disappointed with the last issue of Justice League of America. McDuffie gave us a rather generic and anti-climactic ending to his debut story arc. Justice League of America #16 is an important issue for McDuffie. He has to demonstrate to the reader that he has something of substance planned for this title. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Pencils: Joe Benitez
Inks: Victor Llamas
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with two crooks breaking into a storage unit. They root through the boxes looking for something of value to steal. One of the thieves spies a green paper lantern. The thief holds it and is suddenly engulfed in green flames. We then see the Atom from the Tangent Earth, Earth-9, standing where the thief was standing.
We cut to John Stewart at the Hall of Justice. We see that Red Tornado’s body was too badly damaged for him to be returned to it. So Reddy’s AI was downloaded to the JLA’s computer. This was done after Batman refused to let Reddy get downloaded to his Batcomputer complaining about possible viruses. However, Batman is working with Dr. Magnus to build Red Tornado a new body. Reddy then alerts John to a police report that requires their investigation.
We shift to John Stewart, Black Canary and Red Arrow arriving at the storage unit. The police fill them in on the fact that one of the thieves transformed into a metahuman. And that the initial responding officer has gone missing. The police then reveal that the storage unit belongs to Guy Gardner.
John Stewart contacts Guy via his power ring. Guy is busy fighting a space monster and tells John that he will call him back and then hangs up on John. John is shocked, shocked I say, that Guy would hang up on him.
Black Canary and Red Arrow then cross paths with the Atom. The Atom phases Black Canary through the floor and all the way to the basement. Red Arrow and Atom then start brawling. Red Arrow shows off his Kung Fu as he gets ready to kick ass on the Atom.
John then goes and unlocks the door to the storage unit in the basement that Black Canary is stuck in. Black Canary then uses John’s power ring to contact Guy. Black Canary cracks the whip and Guy doesn’t hang up on her. Guy tells them that the green paper lantern was given to him by Kyle. Guy says that it is some transdimensional item. Black Canary informs Guy that the JLA will keep it at the Hall of Justice until Kyle comes back for it.
Black Canary and John then meet up with Red Arrow who is standing over Atom’s unconscious body. John says that the lantern is a portal to another reality. That it swapped the burglar from their world for a super hero from Earth-9. John then uses his power ring to swap them back.
We see the two thieves being taken away by the police. We then see the Flash from Earth-9 standing on a rooftop watching the scene. She thinks how the policewoman who was the initial responding officer was taken to her dimension by the lantern while Flash was brought to this dimension. The girl says “My name? They call me Flash. And I’m afraid my adventure is just beginning…” End of issue.
The Good: Justice League of America #16 was a very disappointing read. But, I have to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity, so let’s dwell on some of the enjoyable aspects of this issue.
I continue to be impressed with McDuffie’s handling of Batman’s character. Yeah, I know that Batman doesn’t appear in this issue, but McDuffie is able to use the scene with John Stewart and Red Tornado to further establish Batman’s reputation and image. I like that Batman refuses to load Reddy onto the Batcomputer. Yet, he is busy working with Dr. Magnus to build Reddy a new body.
McDuffie is doing a great job balancing Batman’s hard-assed tendencies with his willingness to do anything for a teammate. Writers struggle to find the right balance to Batman’s personality. Some writers make Batman a pussy like James Robinson did when we got a touchy feely Batman. Others go too far the other way like Frank Miller does in All Star Batman. I feel that McDuffie has given Batman just the proper amount of dickish attitude without him coming across as a raging asshole.
I love how McDuffie writes Red Arrow in this issue. Red Arrow comes across pretty bad-assed in his scene with the Atom. I like that McDuffie is giving Roy some edge to his personality and an appropriate cocky attitude.
Benitez and Llamas provide for some solid artwork. It is certainly Image style artwork, but it succeeds in giving this issue a dynamic look. I also enjoy the amount of detail that Benitez gives the reader.
The Bad: Justice League of America #16 was pure filler. This was nothing but fluff from start to finish. This issue was a rather dull read. The pacing was slow and the story had a disjointed flow. Justice League of America #16 failed to provide the reader with quality action scenes or well crated dramatic scenes. For some bizarre reason, McDuffie chose to show the reader John unlocking the door of the storage unit holding Black Canary and Black Canary talking with Guy rather than showing us Red Arrow in action kicking ass on the Atom. Why the big fight of the issue would be handled off panel made absolutely no sense to me.
The dialogue in Justice League of America #16 was pedestrian at best and cheesy at worst. Some of the “humor” in this issue came across like what you would get in a Saturday morning cartoon. I felt like there was supposed to be a laugh track running when Guy hung up on the phone with John as Benitez has John mug to the camera. Honestly, it is Guy Gardner. He has never been confused with a conversationalist. His hanging up on John because he was busy was totally in character and John would never have even thought twice about it.
The dialogue reads like a journeyman effort on part of McDuffie. It isn’t downright cringe inducing, but it certainly isn’t anything above average. The reader gets the feeling that we have read this unoriginal dialogue a million times before.
Also, it is alarming the complete and total lack of any character development during McDuffie’s run. The various members of the JLA are still just caricatures rather than fully developed characters. None of the members have much of a unique or textured personality. And the fact that all the members have the depth of cardboard cut outs, that translates into a total lack of chemistry between the characters.
Red Tornado is an extreme example of the lack of character development. In Reddy’s case, his character has actually horribly regressed since McDuffie took over. Meltzer managed to impressively flesh out Reddy’s personality and evolve his character. McDuffie, in short order has returned Reddy back to his bland android personality and reduced him from a man struggling with his humanity into just a talking computer for the JLA.
Also alarming is the lack of many complex and intriguing plotlines during McDuffie’s run on this title. Meltzer managed to craft numerous detailed and interesting plotlines at the same time during his run on this title. McDuffie hasn’t shown the reader that he has any long term plans at all for this title. McDuffie has taken a title that was thick with numerous detailed plotlines and reduced it to a rather shallow title.
And the ending to this issue did absolutely nothing for me. First, isn’t this perky little Flash from Earth-9 dead? Didn’t she get killed by the evil Johnny Quick in Countdown: Arena #3. That, by the way, was probably the first death during this Countdown event that I actually rooted for. If she is actually dead in Countdown: Arena #3 then adding her to the story in this issue made no sense at all.
Now, if Flash somehow managed to survive the fight in Countdown: Arena #3 then I could still care less about her insertion to the end of this issue. The solicits for JLA #17-19 on DC’s website don’t mention anything having to do with this Flash at all. So, I have to presume that this issue was just a lead in for a story that is to take place on another title. That is terrible. I hate it when plotlines are introduced in one title for the purpose of being further explored in an unrelated title. Plus, after just reading about this Flash in Countdown: Arena #3 and in Justice League of America #16, she already irritates the hell out of me.
Now, even though I mentioned that Benitez’s artwork is solid and gets the job done, it still has its faults. Since Benitez employs an Image Comics style of artwork this means that everyone looks like they are eternally constipated. All the characters constantly grimace or grit their teeth angrily. And also, like all Image Comics style artwork, the ability to draw feet it totally unnecessary.
Overall: Justice League of America #16 was a dull read. McDuffie has failed to impress me with his run on this title. For my tastes, Justice League of America has rapidly declined in terms of the quality of writing since McDuffie took over for Meltzer. However, this title isn’t unreadable. So, if you are a big McDuffie fan or a die-hard JLA fan then you will probably enjoy this title. However, I cannot recommend this title to any other fans other than those two aforementioned groups. There are simply too many other well written titles on the market that are far more worth your hard earned money than Justice League of America.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Revolution absolutely loves the Messiah Complex story arc. This has been the best thing to happen to the X-titles in a long time. There is no doubt in my mind that New X-Men #45 is going to be another exciting chapter of the Messiah Complex. Not even Ramos’ artwork can dampen my enthusiasm for this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Carlos Alberto Cruz Cuevas
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Lady Deathstrike telling Cable to surrender the baby to her and in return she will grant him a quick death. (God, I wish I had a nickel for every time I have read that exact line from a villain in a comic book. I would be a billionaire by now.) Cable declines her offer and tells her that she should look behind her. Lady Deathstrike turns around and we see that X-Force is on the scene. X-Force starts battling Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers.
We shift to Jamie and Layla into the future. They are being processed into a mutant internment camp. Layla tells Jamie that he won’t die and eventually he will forget the pain.
We slide back to the brawl between X-Force and Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. Lady Deathstrike confronts Wolverine and says their feud is not finished. Wolverine says now is not the time for their feud and steps aside and lets Wolverine-ette fight Lady Deathstrike while he goes after Cable.
We cut to Predator X still hungry and hunting for the baby that it desires so badly.
We hop back to the X-Mansion where Beast is in the medical bay frantically working to keep Hellion alive despite his massive injuries. Nightcrawler is also critically injured. Beast hopes that Elixir regains consciousness soon in order to heal all the critically wounded X-Men.
Surge is beating herself up for getting Hellion so badly hurt. Emma tells Surge that if the New X-Men had stayed at the mansion then they might have been killed by the Sentinels like many of Emma’s students were. Emma tells Surge that she is perfect for the job as leader for the New X-Men because she will protect them from anyone even Emma herself.
Emma leaves the medical bay and walks into the main meeting room where Cyclops has assembled the remaining members of the X-Men along with the members of X-Factor. Cyclops tells Emma that Wolverine has called to inform them that Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers are also on the scene. That the X-Men and X-Factor are going to fire up a Blackbird and go assist X-Force.
We cut back to Lady Deathstrike insulted that Wolverine ducked fighting her and sent a child after her instead. Wolverine-lite gets her ass kicked by Lady Deathstrike. The imitation Wolverine girl then suckers Lady Deathstrike in and damages Lady Deathstrike’s cybernetics. Wolverina then way too quickly and easily takes down Lady Deathstrike. (Booooo!)
During the brawl, one of the Reavers comments to Wolfsbane how Reverend Craig told them all about her. Rahne demands to know what Reverend Craig told them and what does he know about her. Unfortunately, the Reaver gets killed before Rahne can get any answers.
Wolverine and Warpath are following Cable’s footprints. A Reaver aims at Warpath’s back and pulls the trigger. Caliban heroically throws his body in the way of the bullets and takes three to the chest. Warpath turns around and cries out for Caliban. Warpath throws his knife through the head of the Reaver and kills him. Warpath runs to Caliban’s side. Caliban is dead.
Wolverine notices that Cable has backtracked to the direction that X-Force came. Wolverine runs to catch up to Cable when suddenly we see the Blackbird blast off into the sky. Cable and the baby are inside of the Blackbird. Wolverine wonders what Cable is up to and how many people have to die before it is over. End of issue.
The Good: New X-Men #45 was a solid read. Yost and Kyle deliver a fast paced issue that keeps the reader’s attention from start to finish. We get tons of kick-ass action in the massive brawl between X-Force and Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. It was certainly enough quality fighting to keep any action junkie satisfied.
Yet, Yost and Kyle don’t short change the reader and give us a brawlfest of an issue that is lacking in substance and depth. The reader also gets treated to some well done dramatic scenes. Even though I’m not familiar with the characters in the New X-Men, I still liked the scene between Surge and Emma. Yost and Kyle do a good job showing that despite the mess with the Reavers that led to Hellion’s grave injury, that Surge still possesses the necessary attributes to take care of her team and be a good leader.
It was a touching scene that displayed the growing pains that all young heroes go through. The road to being a top notch leader involves making mistakes and learning from them in order to avoid them again in the future.
I thought that Caliban’s death well done. This is a fine example of how to kill a character and make it powerful and actually relevant. Caliban goes out in a blaze of glory willingly sacrificing himself to save his dear friend in Warpath. This was a great scene. It made for a dramatic climactic ending to this battle scene.
I had a feeling that Caliban was slated to be killed off in this story arc once he was placed on the team. Caliban is a total C-list character, but he still has enough name recognition with X-fans that his death will have some impact. Killing off a C-list character like Caliban rather than one of the big named X-Men was a wise move. This death lends a more realistic feel of a true war in the Messiah Complex. Yet, it won’t piss off any fans like the death of a big named X-Man would. Plus, if it was a big named X-Man who was killed you would know that it would only be a matter of time before they were brought back to life.
Caliban’s death, along with the massive casualties and severally wounded characters, has created an excellent sense in the reader that this is a huge event. That is an all out battle for the very survival of the mutant race. It is just enough to make the reader buy into the scope and size of the Messiah Complex event. However, the writers have shrewdly not gone overboard with the killing of characters like we get over in Countdown which only serves to massively devalue the impact and meaning of the death of a character.
Because Caliban is the first character to die, his death has plenty of impact on the reader. If Caliban’s death was just another one in a long list of deaths then the reader would be numb to it and would have simply shrugged it off and moved on. The writers continue to impress me with their ability to properly manage this big event in nearly every aspect of the story.
I loved Warpath’s reaction to Caliban’s death. Warpath brutally kills the Reaver by throwing his knife through the Reaver’s face. Nice. That is how I like my Warpath. Vicious and rage fueled. I feel bad for Warpath. He has lost a close friend in Caliban. This is sure to have an impact on Warpath and how he approaches the upcoming battles with the Purifiers and the Marauders.
Messiah Complex continues to be a well plotted story. The writers are doing an incredible job by teasing the reader with a new and intriguing plotline in every single issue. In New X-Men #45 we learn that Reverend Craig knew all about Wolfsbane’s secret identity and other information concerning her past and her future. David has done a nice job over in X-Factor hinting that something sinister is going on with her visions of killing Jamie and Layla during their wedding night and Rahne’s feelings of being cursed. Clearly, Rahne is a confused and tormented soul. I’m curious to find out more about this connection between Reverend Craig and Rahne.
We get a solid hook ending with Cable stealing the Blackbird and making a quick getaway with the baby. Messiah Complex continues to be a riveting read where the reader is on the edge of their seat waiting for the next chapter of this story.
The Bad: New X-Men #45 is the weakest issue that we have gotten so far on the Messiah Complex. Still, if getting 7 out of 10 Night Girls is the worst an issue of a big story arc has received then the story arc is doing pretty damn good. Even a weak issue of the Messiah Complex story is better than your average comic book on the market.
I found the dialogue in this issue to be rather pedestrian. Nobody really had much of a developed voice. The dialogue that we got was just your standard issue comic book dialogue. It had that re-tread and slightly hackneyed feel to it like you have read all of it before.
I thought the fight between Lady Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike was too quick and easy. Since Lady Deathstrike is a big time Wolverine villain I would much rather see Logan lock horns with her. Having to watch Logan step aside and allow Wolverine-lite to fight Lady Deathstrike was like watching Batman step aside to let Batgirl take down the Joker. It just isn’t right.
I will admit that I am quickly getting bored with the Predator X plotline. The Predator X scenes feel largely like filler and I can’t say that the mindless beast is particularly intriguing. Hopefully, if nothing else, Predator X will lead to an entertaining fight scene at some point.
The Jamie/Layla plotline has been the only plotline that has suffered from the least amount of attention during the Messiah Complex story. We finally got some progression of this plotline when David got a crack at this story in X-Factor #26. However, any momentum that the Jamie/Layla plotline was finally building with X-Factor #26 once again came to a screeching halt with New X-Men #45.
The Jamie/Layla scene was rather pointless and boring and it accomplished nothing at all. It read like a weak gesture to pay some attention to this plotline. There was really no need for this scene at all other than to burn a couple of pages in an effort to waste time.
There is no doubt that Ramos is a talented artist. However, the fact remains that his artwork just doesn’t suite this story at all. Ramos is much better served to be delivering the artwork on a shonen manga type title. Also, all the characters pretty much have the same face. And Ramos’ versions of Emma and Monet were way too cute, wide-eyed and friendly looking. These two ladies are mega bitches and The Revolution likes our bad girls drawn bad not cute and perky.
Overall: New X-Men #45 was another solid installment of the Messiah Complex. It is only natural for even the best of story arcs to have a slight dip at some point during the story. And that is what this issue was. Messiah Complex is still a fantastic story and I still encourage everyone to give this story a try.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Countdown to Final Crisis just might be one of the worst titles I have ever read in my entire life. This title is abysmal. But, at least it is consistent since it manages to deliver a pathetic read each and every week. I’m sure that Countdown to Final Crisis #19 will be another unimpressive read. Let’s just hurry up and do this review.
Writers: Paul Dini, Tony Bedard & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Jesus Saiz
Inks: Rodney Ramos
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Pied Piper dragging Trickster’s corpse through the desert. Piper is now imagining that Trickster is talking to him. We get the same gay jokes and banter that we got from Trickster when he was alive. Piper then stumbles across a small pond of water and starts drinking. Piper then spies hoof prints in the sand and decides to use his pipe to try and call the animal that left the hoof prints since Trickster is getting too heavy to carry.
We cut to the Challengers on Earth-51 where Liberty Belle is the President of the U.S. (And looking decidedly poochie, too. What a shame.) Earth-51 is a utopia where there is no crime, war, poverty or disease. (Well now, where is the fun in that?) Bob is worried that his fellow Monitors haven’t come after them yet. That it means he must have missed something.
We shift to Paradise Island. An Amazon reports to Athena that Holly and Harleen have gone missing. Athena transforms into her true identity: Granny Goodness. The Amazon warriors around Granny transform into her Furies. Granny Goodness says that she doesn’t tolerate failure and blah, blah, blah. (Insert standard despotic villain dialogue here.) The long and the short of it, the Furies are ordered to kill the Amazon guard.
We see Harley and Holly in the cave. There they stumble across a bunch of weapons and armor. Out of the shadows steps Queen Hippolyta. Hippolyta reveals that all of the Amazons are frauds and that Athena is also a fraud.
We hop back to Piper having called a burro over to them and now has Trickster’s corpse over the burro as Piper walks along side them. Trickster’s corpse tells Piper that he is wasting his time dragging Trickster’s body around with him.
We slide back to Paradise Island where we see a war hound enter the cave and attack the three ladies. Hippolyta ends up killing the war hound. Hippolyta tells Holly and Harley to go back to “Athena” and serve as Hippolyta’s spies in order to give her inside information about what “Athena” is up to.
We see Holly and Harley returning to Athena with a leg from the war hound as an offering. Athena is impressed that they slew the war hound by themselves. Holly and Harley explain that they weren’t deserting their training. They were just bored and wanted to look for a new challenge. Athena says that there is room for women like Holly and Harley in her elite forces. But, that the two of them should never let this happen again.
We cut back to Piper and Trickster setting up camp for the night. Trickster’s corpse taunts Piper about how he always thought he was so superior to the other Rogues. That he was the good one. But, the fact remains that Piper stood there while they killed Bart Allen and did nothing. Just like Piper did when Deadshot killed Trickster. That Piper is no better than the rest of the Rogues. That Piper just likes to watch.
Trickster then asks how much longer Piper is going to watch him rot before he does what needs to be done. Piper takes a knife and is about to cut off Trickster’s hand to free the corpse from the cuffs. Piper mutters that Trickster is the worst damn friend ever.
We cut to Apokolips where Jimmy Olsen is fighting Forager. Jimmy’s eyes light up and suddenly, Forager snaps out of her rage. Forager apologizes for trying to kill Jimmy. Forager comments that Jimmy has a mother box inside of him. That is why his eyes are glowing.
Suddenly, Desaad’s sister, Bernadeth, enters the room and lock horns with Jimmy. Jimmy uses his porcupine powers and shoots several quills into Bernadeth. Evidently, she gets off on pain and is now desirous of having Jimmy as a consort and to give her more pain. (Kinky little minx. I like it.)
Jimmy rebuffs Bernadeth’s offer. (Ah, no sense of adventure.) Bernadeth then attacks Jimmy again. Suddenly, Darkseid’s eye beams flash in and blast Bernadeth. She comments how Darkseid favors Jimmy. Jimmy then wishes that he and Forager were out of here. Suddenly, the two disappear in a flash and a large “Boom!” sound.
Bernadeth calls out for forgiveness from Darkseid. Bernadeth then looks up at a character off panel. The mysterious figure says that forgiveness is no longer an option. The mysterious figure announces that “The Fourth World is coming to an end. I am the harbinger.” The mysterious person then kills Bernadeth. (And the body count keeps growing.)
We see Jimmy and Forager appearing somewhere else. Jimmy is stunned that he summoned a Boom Tube. Forager comments that she saw “The Source” in Jimmy’s eyes. Jimmy thinks he may be turning into a New God. Forager disagrees and says that Jimmy is something else. Something unique. That is why Forager hunted Jimmy down. And evidently, Jimmy now makes Forager quite randy because the two start playing tonsil hockey. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of the Scarecrow. End of issue.
The Good: Countdown #19 was another weak read. No surprise there. However, I have to admit that I was actually somewhat intrigued by the Jimmy Olsen plotline. Dini finally gives us some plot progression on this storyline. Somehow Jimmy has access to a Mother Box as well as the ability to summon a Boom Tube. And on top of all that, it appears that Jimmy also has The Source inside of him.
After months of this plotline being completely and totally moribund, we finally get some more information about Jimmy’s abilities. Clearly, Jimmy is something that represents the evolution of the New Gods. Maybe Jimmy is what replaces the New Gods after the end of the Fourth World.
And who is the mysterious figure that kills Bernadeth? Even though the slaughtering of the New Gods hasn’t appealing to me in the slightest, I have to admit that I am curious about the identity of this mysterious character.
For the first time in several months I am actually somewhat interested in one of Countdown’s plotlines. Actually, I can’t tell if I think that this Jimmy Olsen plotline is all that great or if I’m just giddy over the fact that Dini is actually progressing a plotline. That is about as rare as a Loch Ness Monster sighting.
And what also stunned me is that Dini manages to progress the Holly Robinson plotline as well. Imagine that! Two plotlines that actually move with a point and purpose in a single issue. That is simply unheard of on Countdown. Even though I don’t like the Holly Robinson plotline, at least we have some plot movement now that Hippolyta is in the story and that the girls know that Athena is a fraud. Dini is actually giving the reader the impression that he is interested in progressing plotlines rather than wasting time with filler issue after filler issue. How refreshing.
Saiz and Ramos serve up plenty solid artwork. If nothing else, at least Countdown has managed to treat the reader with better artwork than what we got with 52.
The Bad: All right, enough of trying to fulfill The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Let’s be honest, Countdown #19 continues the trend of weak and dull reads on this title. The reader has to suffer through more of the usual pedestrian dialogue. None of the characters display unique personalities. They all talk in the same generic voice. The dialogue is simply average at times and at other times, like with Granny Goodness; the dialogue is downright groan inducing. Seriously, Granny delivers such standard issue villain dialogue.
And since none of the characters are well developed there is a complete lack of chemistry between any of the characters. Dini and company have failed to get the reader to care about any of the characters in this title.
Even though I found the Jimmy Olsen scene to be mildly interesting, the sudden romance between Jimmy and Forager seemed dippy and forced. I just didn’t buy into it at all. And part of that is because Dini and company have failed to flesh out the two characters. Also, Dini and company have completely failed to lay a foundation for this romance in previous issues that would have made this sudden make out session make sense.
The Challengers scene was a total waste of time. This scene was pure filler. Once again, this plotline receives practically no movement at all. This plotline has been trapped in stasis for months.
Despite getting some much needed plot development; I still could care less about the Holly Robinson plotline. I find all the characters involved to be completely dull and uninteresting. And, unlike in 52 where the writers managed to get me to fall in love with characters that I found boring beforehand, Dini and company have failed to do the same with Holly and Harley.
I still don’t understand the point of Trickster’s death (other than Didio’s mandate for mindless slaughtering just for the sake of blood) or the entire Piper plotline. I guess it is all a way to examine the Piper’s guilt in being associated with the Rogues and Bart Allen’s death.
This plotline doesn’t seem important enough to merit being in Countdown. Last time I checked, Countdown was supposed to be a grand story on a cosmic scale that serves as a lead in to the big event known as Final Crisis. Hence the name of the comic book “Countdown to Final Crisis.” The Piper/Trickster plotline is neither grand nor cosmic by any stretch. The Piper/Trickster plotline has lacked a point and purpose since the very beginning and it appears that it isn’t going to have one any time soon.
Overall: Countdown #19 was another dull read. I just can’t imagine what readers this title would appeal to. I guess if you are a fan of mindless death and destruction then you might enjoy this title. Even then, having to wade through so many pages of slow moving and pointless plotlines would probably turn off even those fans. Countdown continues to be a weekly train wreck. Steer clear of this title and don’t waste your money on the trade paperback whenever it is released.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #3
COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #19
DETECTIVE COMICS #839
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #16
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES IN THE 31ST CENTURY #9
SUPERMAN BATMAN #44
CAPTAIN AMERICA CHOSEN #5
IMMORTAL IRON FIST #11
IRON MAN ENTER MANDARIN #4
MIGHTY AVENGERS #6
NEW X-MEN #45
ULTIMATE X-MEN #89
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #20
So Forbes.com just released a list of the top 10 vainest cities in America. The list is based on the amount of plastic surgeons per 100,000 people. That tends to hurt cities that have large medical centers for training plastic surgeons. At any rate, I was not surprised in the least bit to see that my hometown Miami on that list. Here is the complete list:
1. Salt Lake City
2. San Francisco
3. (Tied) Miami
8. (Tied) Virginia Beach
What I am surprised about is that the 305 could not do any better than tied for third place with two other cities. C’mon Miami, we wrote the book on vain! And we have the hottest women in America to back up our love of all things beautiful either natural or enhanced by cosmetic surgery.
Some of the other cities that made the list were surprising. I have had to go to Louisville and Nashville for business several times and those two cities never struck me as particularly vain. I have a couple of cousins who moved to Los Angeles so I have been out there numerous times. Los Angeles definitely comes across as more vain than most of the cities that ranked ahead of it. And I lived in Virginia Beach for a short time. It definitely isn’t a vain city nor does it have many attractive people. Virginia Beach came across more as a tame and somewhat bland suburban city that would be a great place to raise a family in.
I don’t think that using the number of plastic surgeons per 100,000 is a true indicator of just how vain a city really is. Even though I found this top 10 list by Forbes.com to be flawed, I still thought it was pretty interesting.
All right, let’s talk about this week’s shipment of comic books that we have headed to the Bunker today. It looks like we have a total of 15 titles this week. That is a good sized week for The Revolution. This week is pretty balanced between DC and Marvel.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Honestly, none of the issues this week offered up by DC particularly excite me. The last issue of Justice League of America really took a lot of my interest out of this title. However, I am curious to see what McDuffie is able to do with this issue. Justice League of America #16 is a pivotal issue for McDuffie to prove to the reader that he has an interesting long term plan for this title.
I guess I’ll go with Detective Comics #839. So far this Ra’s al Ghul story arc has been a real dud. For all the hype, one would have to think that there has to be something large in store for the reader as we near the end of this story arc. Hopefully, things will heat up dramatically in Detective Comics #839.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Countdown to Final Crisis #19. Yeah, no real surprise there, huh? This title continues to be an abominable read each and every week. There is no reason for me to expect anything different this week.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? Immortal Iron Fist #11 is sure to be an entertaining read. Brubaker and Fraction have done a superb job on this title. Iron Fist is certainly one of Marvel’s better reads and I love how Brubaker and Fraction have managed to freshen up a dated C-list character like Iron Fist.
However, the Marvel comic book that I am most looking to reading this week is New X-Men #45. The Messiah Complex story arc keeps rolling along and I see no reason that this issue isn’t going to be another excellent read.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Wolverine Origins #20. Daniel Way continues to bore me with his run on this title. The sooner that Marvel takes Way off this title the better.
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 10:53 AM
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
All right, it is time for The Revolution’s Weekly Awards. Here are the nominees for The Che for the best read of the week:
Booster Gold #5
Green Lantern #25
The Winner: Green Lantern #25.
Yeah, like there was ever any doubt about which issue was going to win The Che this week. There were some nice reads this week. X-Factor #26 kept the ball rolling on the Messiah Complex story arc. Marvel should be proud of the excellent effort that the writers on the X-titles have cranked out during the Messiah Complex story arc. Messiah Complex is one of the best big events to come out of the House of Ideas in a long time. It just has the unfortunate timing of coming out during the end of the best big event from Marvel and DC in the Sinestro War.
Booster Gold #5 was another wonderfully done issue. And if it weren’t for the white hot Sinestro War, this title could have certainly nabbed its first Che. But, the fact is that Green Lantern #25 was the beast of the week. This issue by far and away dominated every other title this week. As a matter of fact, Green Lantern #25 is definitely in the running for The Revolution’s award for the best issue of the year. I already praised Green Lantern #25 in my review and there isn’t much more I can add here.
And now the nominees for the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst issue of the week are:
Countdown to Final Crisis #20
New Avengers #37
Ghost Rider #18
The Winner: New Avengers #37
Oh, c’mon, I can’t just hand the Sequential Methadone Award to Countdown to Final Crisis each and every week! Well, yeah, I guess I could, but where is the excitement in that? As usual, Countdown to Final Crisis offered up another pedestrian read in issue #20. There is no reason to read this wretched title and certainly no hope that we are going to get a sudden turnaround on this title for the remaining issues.
Ghost Rider #18 was another dud of a read. And that is to be expected as Daniel Way’s run on this title has been horrid from the very start. I can’t say that I liked Way’s retcon of Ghost Rider’s origin. The big bad rider is now an angel? Uggh. No thanks. I’ll pass. In my mind, The Rider is still a demon. And that is how he should be.
However, the winner of the Sequential Methadone Award has got to be the stinker of the week known New Avengers #37. It is mindboggling how dreadfully slow and dull this title is each and every month. The Hood is the most unworthy villain you could possibly pick for Marvel’s premier super team in the Avengers. I continue to be completely bored by the Hood and Bendis continues to creep along at a snail’s pace without any particular purpose to his story.
So, congrats to Green Lantern #25 for winning The Che and congrats to New Avengers #37 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Booster Gold has been a wonderful read. Johns and Katz make for a great team and have quickly made Booster Gold one of DC’s strongest titles. And I think that Katz deserves a lot of credit for the success of this title. I know he isn’t the big name that Johns is, but Katz’s influence is obvious in the dialogue and the generally brighter feel to the story. Booster Gold #5 is sure to be another excellent read as we deal with one of my all time favorite Batman stories: The Killing Joke. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Booster Gold #5.
Writers: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Artists: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
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 Batgirl (Barbara Gordon flavor) taking down the Scarecrow. Batgirl meets with Commissioner Gordon next to the bat signal. Gordon compliments Batgirl on a job well done. Batgirl thanks him and takes off. Batman steps out of the shadows. Gordon comments that Batgirl is almost as good as Batman. Batman responds that she will be better.
We cut to the present day with Booster Gold and Rip Hunter back at Rip’s time lab. We see more scribbles all over Rip’s two chalkboards. Rip tells Booster that their mission isn’t over even though they captured Jason, the time master wannabe going by the name Rex Hunter. That Booster needs to go back into time and save Barbara Gordon. That she wasn’t supposed to be paralyzed. Then once Booster returns they will go save Ted Kord.
Rip says that he is going to stay at the time lab. That he made modifications to Skeets and Booster’s uniform so he can send them directly into the time stream from the lab. Rip is going to stay and analyze the Justice League certificate to make sure it doesn’t’ transform into another death certificate after Booster rescues Batgirl. And Rip is going to interrogate Jason about who he has been working for.
Rip then sends Booster and Skeets into the time stream. Rip then tells Jason that he is going to torture him until Jason gives him the answers he wants. Rip boasts that he has the entire timeline at his disposal at his time lab. That his computers were designed by Brainiac 5. Then Rip shows off his collection of torture tools from the Marquis de Sade.
We shift to Booster Gold and Skeets in the past in Gotham City at the carnival where the Joker is hiding out. Booster is ambushed by Joker’s henchmen and is injected with a poison that paralyzes him. Booster is then knocked out by Joker.
We see the new Blue Beetle with some guy named Mr. Smith at a Lucha Libre fight. Suddenly, a Blue Beetle from the future appears and says that Jamie is needed. The two then teleport away from the scene.
We zip back to the past where Joker is questioning Booster Gold. Booster refuses to answer any of his questions about who sent him. Joker then knocks out Booster once more.
We hop back to the present to Rip Hunter’s time lab. Jason refuses to answer any of Rip’s questions about who he has been working for. Suddenly, Jason screams in pain as chronal energy consumes him and then Jason dissipates into nothingness. Rip comments that Jason never followed the Time Master code and always had to brag. That Jason made the greatest mistake he could have made which was told whoever he was working for what his real name was.
We cut to the past with Per Degaton, Ultra-Humanite and Despero standing next to Jason’s crib when he was a baby. Per Degaton kills the baby Jason. The villains comment that it was a shame to lose a soldier as valuable as Jason so early into the war. The villains agree to go and retrieve Supernova immediately. That their army continues to grow in their ageless march to victory.
We shift back to the past with Booster Gold escaping from the carnival where Joker left him captive. We see Joker outside of Barbara Gordon’s apartment. Booster races toward the apartment hoping that he is not too late. We see Joker knock on the apartment door. Barbara answers and the Joker shoots her in the stomach. Booster then appears on the scene just a couple of seconds too late.
Booster takes out Joker’s henchmen. Booster and Joker then lock horns. During the fight, Joker grabs Skeets and uses him to beat Booster to a bloody pulp. Joker pulls out his gun, but before he can shoot Booster, Booster and Skeets both disappear.
We see Booster waking up in a hospital bed in the sick bay of Rip’s time lab. Booster immediately demands that Rip send him back in time again. Rip pleads that Booster lost a lot of blood and took a real beating. Booster screams for Rip to send him back now.
We see Booster back in time trying to stop the Joker and failing again. Booster tells Rip to send him back. We see Booster failing to stop the Joker a third time. Booster then tells Rip to send him back again. We see Booster failing to stop the Joker for a fourth time. Each time Booster sustains more injuries.
Broken and beaten Booster tells Rip to send him back in time once more. Rip tells Booster that this had gone on far enough. That Rip was trying to teach Booster to make him understand. That the Joker is always going to win. That they can’t change it and never could. That Jason and Supernova had nothing to do with what happened to Barbara Gordon. That there is no abnormal wormhole. That it is solidified time. Just like the death of Ted Kord.
That the Joker is always going to shoot Barbara Gordon. That she was destined to become Oracle. That Booster would only die trying to save Barbara. Rip then apologizes to Booster.
Booster is pissed off and screams at Rip that Rip lied to him. That Rip made him watch that maniac shoot Barbara over and over again and now he says he is sorry? Booster tells Rip “Screw sorry and screw you.” Rip counters that Ted Kord is dead and that Booster needs to move on.
Booster agrees that he has to move on. That Booster is leaving. That he has been helping Rip on his mission because of the promise that they would save Ted Kord. Booster says that Rip has betrayed him.
Booster hugs Skeets and begins to cry. Booster says that all he wanted was his best friend back. That’s all. Suddenly, three Blue Beetles appear in the time lab. We see the Blue Beetle from the future, the current Blue Beetle and the original Blue Beetle. The future Blue Beetle says that despite the so-called “rules” of time travel put in place by Rip Hunter that Ted Kord can and must be saved. That the very future of space-time itself depends on it. End of issue.
The Good: Booster Gold #5 was another strong read. Johns and Katz continue to impress me with their quality work on this title. This issue was a wonderfully paced issue. Johns and Katz manage to give the reader the perfect blend of action and drama. The issue steadily builds in intensity as we arrive at a rather powerful and poignant ending.
Booster Gold continues to be a well plotted title. I have to give credit to Johns for the excellent plotting given that few writers can rival him in terms of being able to plot large story arcs with detailed plotlines.
And I’ll give Katz credit for the strong dialogue that we get in Booster Gold #5. The dialogue has been such a joy to read in every issue. Katz brings a lighter and funnier tone than what we normally get with Johns. Katz has managed to create unique voices for Booster, Rip and Skeets. The three main characters are all well developed with their own distinct personalities. Katz also manages to create some entertaining chemistry between these three characters. This also leads for some enjoyable witty banter.
Johns and Katz continue to do an excellent job with the maturation process of Booster’s character. Booster continues to grow and blossom into such a delightfully complex and heroic character. It is great to see what was once a shallow and superficial character evolve into one of the more interesting characters in the DCU.
Booster hasn’t always displayed the qualities of a real hero throughout his checkered past. That certainly isn’t the case anymore. It is great to see Booster displaying the heart of a true hero. Johns and Katz really hammer that point home with Booster’s bulldoggish determination to save Barbara Gordon no matter what. His willingness to die trying to save Barbara and his single minded belief that he can change the past if only he tries hard enough was impressive. A hero never gives up and there is certainly no quit in Booster.
I loved the use of The Killing Joke in this issue. I thought the mission of saving Batgirl actually turning out to be a lesson in how time works was a cool twist. Certainly, I was glad that Booster failed in his mission. I never liked Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. However, Barbara Gordon as Oracle is fantastic. Batgirl is nothing but a boring unoriginal derivative character. Just an example of a writer being lazy when creating a character. On the other hand, Oracle is a unique and interesting character. Oracle is a great example of a writer actually putting forth some effort and energy in creating a character.
This lesson was certainly some very tough love on the part of Rip Hunter. And Booster’s outrage upon learning that it was all just an effort by Rip to prove a point about solidified time was certainly understandable and justified. Booster’s rage at being used in such a fashion just to prove a point showed the reader the passion inside Booster’s heart.
And this set up what was a powerful and emotional ending. The scene with Booster hugging Skeets and crying that all he wanted was his best friend back was quite touching. Johns and Katz do a great job showing the depth of Booster’s personality. We usually see Booster’s funnier and more positive side. However, in this issue, we get a glimpse of Booster’s rage, passion and sorrow.
Booster’s undying devotion to his best friend, Ted Kord, is moving. Most readers can relate to Booster’s sense of loss with Ted’s death. And most readers have probably had that desire and wish that they could undo the death of a loved one.
However, Katz and Johns don’t leave the reader on a down note. Instead they drop a huge bomb on the reader with the sudden appearance of the original Blue Beetle, the current Blue Beetle and the Blue Beetle from the future. And we learn that Rip Hunter’s rules about solidified time aren’t as ironclad as Rip claims that they are. That in fact, Ted Kord can be saved and, in fact, must be saved since the future of the space time continuum depends on it. Now that is how you deliver a dramatic ending that immediately hooks the reader into wanting the come back for more.
Katz and Johns also dropped a bomb on the reader with the revelation of who Jason and Supernova were working for. Their bosses are none other than Ultra-Humanite, Per Degaton and Despero. We haven’t seen them since Justice League of America #9 during the Lightning Saga. I dig all three villains and I can’t wait to learn more about what these bad men are plotting.
Now, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Booster Gold #5 was the return of Rip’s chalkboard. This was one of my favorite literary tools from 52. There is always plenty of interesting little tidbits of goodness on Rip’s chalkboard. I suck at prognosticating the future, but I’ll take a quick stab at what was written on the chalkboard.
On the chalkboard we see “The ghost detectives have it all.” That must be a reference to Ralph and Sue Dibny. “No Ray Palmer = Disaster.” That must be a reference to Ray’s key in Countdown. “Lightning Saga(s) strike twice?” I guess this means that the Pre-Crisis Legion of Super Heroes will be making another return to our present time. We know that Brainiac 5 was trying to use the Speed Force for some purpose. We got the return of Wally West with the last Lightning Saga. Could we be getting the return of Barry Allen with the second Lightning Saga? “Death of the Supermen.” Could that be a reference to Superman-Prime and the Kingdom Come Superman? “Who does Supernova work for?” We learned the answer to that question with this issue.
Then we have the cryptic statements that are a mystery to me. Those include: “Who controls the Wildebeast society?” “The sun devils will save us all.” “3000+8.” “Who will escape the Book of Destiny?” “Steve is watching.” “No trophy = Stephanie.” “Gog is dead. The age of Gog is upon us.” “The Vigilante knows the traitor, the League does not.”
Jurgens and Rapmund serve up plenty of nice artwork. Jurgens’ clean style is a good match for this title.
The Bad: I found the torture scene where Rip breaks out the torture tools from the Marquis de Sade to be too over the top. I know Rip isn’t shy about doing whatever it takes to protect the time stream, but this seemed just too gruesome and evil for Rip. This had to be Johns’ idea.
Overall: Booster Gold #5 was another excellent read. Johns and Katz continue to make Booster Gold one of the stronger reads currently on the market. I strongly recommend that you give this title a try. It is certainly worth the cover price. I will admit that to truly enjoy this title to its fullest potential, that the reader needs a solid knowledge of the history of the DCU. Having said that, I do think that Johns and Katz give enough back ground information to make this title an enjoyable reader for readers with a limited knowledge of the history of the DCU.