Sunday, August 31, 2008

Comic Book Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #45

It is always a good day in the bunker when a new issue of Jim Shooter's Legion of Super-Heroes arrives. Last month, Jim delivered a good story but the fill-in artist was a good match for it. This month sees the return of Francis Manapul. The hard part this month is seeing George Perez on Legion of Three Worlds then seeing the regular artist on this book. The good part is we get to experience multiple Legion books each month. Last month ended with a cliff-hanger and it will be interesting to see how Shooter wraps up this one.

Creative Team
Writer: Jim Shooter
Pencils: Francis Manapul
Inks: Livesay

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: The story begins the Legion's headquarters on the planet Earth in the 31st century. In previous issues, the United Planets government has been harassing the Legion. Now, President Kieselbach is appearing by remote linkup. She tells the Legion that a planet the size of Saturn has appeared just beyond the orbit of Jupiter. It's gravity is affecting the whole solar system. If something is not done soon, it will destroy the solar system. The Legion's business manager, M'Rissey, comments that this is going to be fun.

Legion leader Lightning Lad starts to tell the President that the Legion will help when he is stopped by M'Rissey. He tells Lightning Lad to tell the President that they cannot help. M'Rissey explains that the Legion is too busy being persecuted by the United Planets police and that one of their members is in jail. She grants full pardons for all Legionnaires. He says that they are traumatized by the constant persecution. She guarantees that it will stop immediately and that they will be granted full diplomatic immunity.

M'Rissey says that the Legion will address the rogue planet situation. Lightning Lad asks Brainiac 5 if he can fix the problem. He says that he can fix it if Jupiter's orbit has not been damaged, if Star Boy and Light Lass assist him, and if he does not have a headache like he has now.

Saturn Girl's team returns from a mission to Rimbor. They are in rough shape. They survived a battle with the alien destroyers(who have been attacking since Shooter took over the title) and a fight with the Science Police.

Light Lass returns from her mission on Velmar V with her team all beat up. Lightning Lad wants to know why Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl are not with them. Invisible Kid reports that they are gone but they left a note behind. Lightning Lad orders Star Boy and Light Lass to go with Brainiac 5 to save the solar system. The rest he sends to the infirmary.

Lightning Lad tells Saturn Girl to report to the president's situation room. She says no. She went without sleep for days, fought non-stop, and had a wall fall on her. He tells her he will see her later. Lightning Lad and Element Lad head out.

Atom Girl goes to the training center instead of the infirmary. She is beating a punching bag when Colossal Boy walks in. Her knuckles are bleeding. She is putting herself through this because a Science Police officer almost beat her on Rimbor. She wants to remember the pain so that she will never forget her fight. Then Atom Girl says that she will hunt her done and pound her face for what she did. He asks why she got into the fistfight. With her shrinking powers, she could have avoided the fight. The rest of the team was depending on her and she risked the mission by being too macho. Atom Girl shrinks down and disappears.

As Brainiac 5, Star Boy, and Light Lass arrive at the United Planets complex they are stopped by the Science Police. The message is relayed that they have full access to the facility. Brainiac 5 orders the head scientist to turn over all of the UP equipment to him. He begins to argue when a gravitational quake strikes. Brainiac 5 tells him that his chance for success has decreased when they were arguing. Full control us turned over.

Meanwhile, Lightning Lad and Element Lad are flying when they spot a United Planets Young Heroes recruiting station. The Young Heroes is the UP's attempt to replace the Legion. They are escorted into the President's situation room. Lightning Lad tells the president that Brainiac 5 will take care of their problem. General Oh blows up. All of the planets are experiencing quakes, moons are breaking up, and the Legion are going to "take care of it". The president orders him to control himself. She tells them that they have not found any signs of life on the planet.

Lightning Lad thinks that they may live underground like his people. Lon Norg, the Science Police sector chief(who happens to be Invisible Kid's father), says that their recon drones were destroyed. Lightning Lad wants to take the Legion's Espionage Squad to the planet. One of the president's advisors says the planet is a guest and they must use diplomacy. Another quake hits. The president feels their only hope rests with Brainiac 5.

Ultra Boy finds Saturn Girl in the Legion's kitchen. He challenges her to read his mind. She doesn't want to because he is disgusting. He tells her that she has a low opinion of herself. She thinks all the other girls are prettier than her. Ultra Boy says that he thinks she is a babe. Saturn Girl reads his mind and sees that he thinks she is dumpy. He counters with the statement that she is a sexy dumpy girl. He tells her that he does not mess with other guy's girls. Another quake hits and he jumps to protect her. He is leaving to check their headquarters when she asks him to stay.

Back in the Command Center Brainiac 5 has set up his operation. He straps into the system. He directs Star Boy and Light Lass in an attempt to augment the UP tractor network. The UP computers cannot keep up with him. Brainiac 5 starts slowing down the solar system's decay. He fails.

A riot breaks out in front of the president's situation room. Lightning Lad says the Legion can help. He tries to contact Ultra Boy but he does not answer. He takes Element Lad and goes to stop the riot.

Brainiac 5 says he failed because Star Boy and Light Lass did not supply enough power. They are too stupid to fully utilize their powers. They get mad and strap back into the machine.

Lightning Lad and Element Lad arrive at the riot. The Bludgeon Brothers are mad. The UP cancelled the tryouts because of the quakes. The Brothers plan to bust up the cops to show their discontent. But they will gladly bust up the Legionnaires. Lightning Lad takes out one of them by shocking him unconscious. Element Lad turns the oxygen around the head of the other brother into helium.

With the increase power from Star Boy and Light Lass, Brainiac 5 is able to move the planets back into their proper positions. He stablizes the system and puts a stasis field around the intruder planet. They receive a message from the planet. They are requesting peace.

Back at Legion HQ, Invisible Kid is looking for Ultra Boy in the kitchen. He sees the pantry door is open. When he looks inside he finds Ultra Boy and Saturn Girl, without clothes, in an embrace.

Comments
The Good: Another good issue by Shooter. He continues to build on the storyline he started in the first issue of his return to the Legion. I like the way he builds the personalities of the Legionnaires. Each one has a distinct personality. He breaks them up into teams that are suited to handle the situation at hand. Shooter maintained a great balance between action and character development. I like the way he is building upon the previous issues. The Legionnaires who were hurt is previous issues are still hurt in the current issue. Problems don't just disappear between issues.

The Lightning Lad/Saturn Girl/Ultra Boy situation has been built up over many issues. Too many writers would have had Saturn Girl and Ultra Boy together with out explaining how it could happen. The way Shooter did it made sense.

Fanboy moment: the people in line to try out for the Young Heroes. The girl in black with an owl symbol has to be Night Girl from the old substitute heroes. Hopefully we will see her again. This also reminded me of the tryouts they used to hold in the Legion comics.

Manapul is solid in the art department. My only problem with him is that he cannot draw every issue. He is no George Perez but he is a quality artist.

The Bad: Fans of all out action comics might not care for this series. Shooter slows down the story to take time to develop characterization. The soap opera aspect between Saturn Girl and Ultra Boy will not appeal to all readers. If you want a quick read, this is not the series for you.

Overall: It is great to have Jim Shooter back with the Legion. Another super issue to add to his run. I can't wait for the next issue.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comic Book Review: Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1

DC is really cranking up the Final Crisis frenzy this week. Part of that is Morrison’s Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. Evidently, this title is going to consist of Morrison getting all metaphysical on us as his delves deeply into the inner workings of the Multiverse. Since I am a huge fan of the Multiverse and I dig Morrison’s style of writing, I am pretty confident that I will enjoy this issue. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1.

Creative Team
Writer
: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Rodney Ramos, Tom Nguyen, Walden Wong and Doug Mahnke

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a shadowy caped figure using his eye beams to blast Superman into the ground. The figures cackles that Superman’s armor is no match for his eternal power. The figure asks Superman if he can hear the sound of the space between now and Lois’ final heartbeat. The figure says that this is the sound of Superman letting down everyone he promised to save.

We zip back in time to the scene in Final Crisis #3 with Clark at Lois’ bed side. Clark thinks how he would do anything to save Lois. Suddenly, the mysterious woman from Final Crisis #3 enters the room. Her name is Zillo Valla. Zillo Valla freezes time and tells Superman that if he helps her than she will help him.

Zillo Valla says that in the final moments of a civilization's catastrophic decline that she embarked on her desperate mission to recruit the greatest super-champions of the Multiverse. Zillo Valla says that if her world dies then all of existence dies with them.

Zillo Valla says that she will reward Superman with the Universal Medicine, the secret substance of life itself. Zillo Valla says that she has frozen time here on New Earth. That once time thaws then Lois’ heart will beat once and then stop without Clark’s aid. However, time is very different outside the walls of New Earth and Zillo Valla ensures Superman’s return before then.

Clark changes into his Superman uniform and follows Zillo Valla to her transport ship called the Ultima Thule. Superman asks Zillo Valla to explain this ultimate medicine to him. Zillo Valla says that there is a substance that her people call the ultramenstruum however in the germ worlds it is known as the Bleed. (Gross.)

Like crystals grow in solution, so have the 52 universes of the Orrery emerged within Bleed. Just a single drop of it is to control the ultimate power that is capable of healing or annihilation. Yet, Bleed can only be touched and handled by Zillo Valla’s people, the Monitors of Nil. Also known as the Masters of the Overvoid.

Zillo Valla says that they will be traveling through Bleedstorm space between the multiple universes. That Superman will have to upgrade to 4-D vision to truly comprehend what he will experience. (That is our cue to put on our handy dandy 3-D glasses.)

Superman and the Monitor board the Ultima Thule and they take off. Zillo Valla suddenly exclaims that something is wrong. We see a German Superman named Overman on the ship as well as Captain Marvel and a chrome Superman named Adam Allen. The multiple versions of Superman are all using their powers to fly the Ultima Thule.

The Adam Allen mumbles how the Multiverse needs no designer. That the Multiverse has a distinct emergent structure. That it is not like a machine. Instead, it is more like a plant or a symphony.

A massive ship then attacks the Ultima Thule and Superman covers Zillo Valla to shield her from an explosion. We then see the Ultima Thule traveling through the Bleedstorm space in between the Multiple Universes. We see the immense death ray eye shaped ship chasing out heroes. This type of ship is called a Destroyer.

We then see Ultraman appear on the scene and begin attacking the Destroyer. The Ultima Thule and the Destroyer pass through Earth-6. Captain Marvel shouts that they are plunging though universe after universe out of control. That the ship is completely out of tune. Either that or the whole universe is out of tune.

Ultraman’s attack has left the Destroyer out of control and it is now crashing. Superman flies out and pushes against the Destroyer to slow it down and keep it from crashing into Earth-6. Zillo Valla says that there is a graveyard universe located at designate 51. Zillo Valla says that the “madman” is going to crash the Destroyer into the Earth. That the Destroyer is 700 miles long and if it hits the planet at this speed then the core and mantle will split and 98% of terrestrial life will die.

We see the Ultima Thule and the Destroyer pass through Earth-20. Superman is still struggling to stop the Destroyer from crashing into the ground. Then they all pass through Earth-17. Finally, they arrive at Earth-51, the Earth with no life, and Superman lets go of the Destroyer and lets it crash to the ground.

We cut to Ultraman yelling at Adam Allen and asking him what he was doing while he and Superman were risking their necks. The chrome Superman answers that he was bonding with the onboard A.I. in order to properly plot their course to Earth-51. Ultraman yells that Adam Allen’s problem is drugs. Ultraman snaps “Don’t think I can’t see the chemicals coursing through your veins.”

Superman interjects that they have all been recruited from different multiple Earths and that each of their worlds are experiences crises back home. Superman says that they have to work together.

Ultraman snaps that the female Monitor offered all of them the same ultimate treasure. And that means only one man gets the ultimate treasure. And that means they are all rivals.

We cut to the Overman with Zillo Valla in her chamber. Zillo Valla says that the glowing spark that powers the ship’s engines through the Overvoid is her heart. That they are drifting into the void and there is only one way to replenish the beating engine.

We shift back to Ultraman yelling that they are being manipulated by the female Monitor. Ultraman tells Superman, Adam Allen and Captain Marvel to watch their backs. Superman reminds Ultraman that if the two of them touch then the resulting explosion will annihilate both of them.

Superman then narrates that Ultraman is his counter-part from an anti-matter Earth. That Captain Marvel is from Earth-5 which is a much kinder and simpler universe than the Marvel Family from New Earth. (Ain’t that the truth.) Overman is the guilt ridden Superman from Earth-10 where the Nazis won World War II. And we have Captain Allen Adam, the “Quantum Superman” from Earth-4 which is a condensed universe where the laws of physics are different.

Allen Adam then states that the music on this ship that comes from the Multiverse has ended. That they have run out of Multiverse. That they are off the charts. That the place they have just arrived is nowhere.

We see the Ultima Thule crash landed in oblivion. Superman and his counter-parts all exit the ship and are surprised to be met by a welcoming committee of sorts. We see Merryman, King of Limbo, flanked by other forgotten comic book characters. Merryman greets the Supermen and tells them “Welcome to Limbo.” Merryman then informs them that they will never be able to leave Limbo.

Merryman says that he was a super hero once until the world forgot him and he wound up nowhere, along with these other characters. Superman wonders if this is what happens when they die. Merryman explains that nothing happens in Limbo. That there are no heroes here.

Our heroes begin examining the world around them. Captain Marvel notices a shard from the Rock of Eternity that was broken off in his climactic battle with one of his enemies. Captain Marvel stammers and realizes he cannot remember the villain’s name.

Superman tells Marvel that if they stay here too long then they will lose their memories. Merryman chimes in that it is much worse than that. If the heroes stay in Limbo too long then they will disappear from everyone else’s memories, too.

Superman says that there must be a way out. Superman spies a temple looking structure and asks Merryman what it is. Merryman answers that it is the Library of Limbo. Merryman says nobody goes in there. That the Library of Limbo only has one book and that no one can read it.

Our heroes enter the Library of Limbo. Superman realizes that the one book has an infinite number of pages that are all occupying the same space. That is why no one can read it. Superman states that the book contains every book possible.

Superman says that the Ultima Thule’s onboard computer has infinite memory capacity. Captain Marvel interjects that the onboard computer could read every page of the book at once and download instructions for its own repair.

Superman says that he and Captain Marvel might be able to combine their strengths to carry a book with an infinite number of pages. Superman and Captain Marvel both grab the book and attempt to carry it to the Ultima Thule.

When our heroes touch the book everything goes white and we hear a voice that says that previously there was Monitor only and then a flaw formed at the heart of Monitor perfection. The Monitor made a concept to contain the flaw. The Monitor’s examination reveals within the flaw terrifying, unforeseen complexities and contradictions. That magnification reveals a structure of infinitesimal rippling manifolds upon whose surface intricate germ-like process thrive and multiply.

Captain Marvel mumbles that the book is too immense. That the Monitor is too immense to imagine. Marvel asks how can something be bigger than universes. Superman adds that the Monitor is some kind of abstract infinite intelligence. A conscious living void with the entire Multiverse growing inside it.

Superman says that it is some kind of primal origin story of Zillo Valla’s people: the Monitors beginning with the first Monitor. The voice begins again and says that the Monitor extended a probe designed to blend with its surroundings, the probe secured contact with something the Monitor had never before encountered. That inside the flaw was a chaotic froth of events. Lives, deaths, heroes, villains, lovers. Stories.

The voice continues that with no precedent for the concept “story” and no understanding of the damage “story” might do to an immense awareness without limits or definiteness the Monitor had zero defenses. Blinded and split in two, the probe withdrew.

The flaw was sealed and scabbed over with diving metals and made safe. Until all that remained of that ill-fated first contact was a vast uncanny form. The mystery of the silent sentinel haunted the Monitor and infected the immaculate intelligence with questions, speculations, pestilential and crawling narratives. Legend took root and story like contagion spread unchecked.

We see an armored statue of Superman standing next to the Ornery. We see the Monitors assembled and staring at the Superman shaped suit of armor. The voice continues that this story became the history of a once mighty race of hyper-gods, direct descendents of the first immense unknowable Monitor. This epic elegy for a doomed civilization declining from splendor to squalor. This Final Crisis.

This last ditch attempt to save creation itself from a loathing and greed beyond measure. But, first eons pass of peace and plenty while the haunting relic of first contact rusts neglected. It has always been, it will always be yet its shadow grows ever longer, ever cooler in a deepening twilight.

The voice continues that after extensive study, the Circle of Monitors made its evaluation. That it can only be a weapon. A doomsday machine engineered by genius to defend us against some ultimate enemy.

The voice states that the dread of the thing grew and rumor spread. Only on the last day will it yield up its secrets it is said. Only then will the story of Novu’s final gift be understood. Drax Novu, the radiant one, the first son of Monitor and bravest of the science gods.

Novu whose brilliant rebel intellect first probed the flaw and mapped its horrors. Who wrestled the angel of contamination. Who brought knowledge and the riches of the Bleed. Who gave his life to chain the beast in darkness. Who knew the day of holocaust would come again. Deep within the sepulcher of Mandrakk there is a restless stirring. In the plague pit, the prime eater of life senses its freedom.

We cut to Superman and Captain Marvel being blasted by lightning from the book and dropping it. Merryman says that that should not have happened. That nothing happens in Limbo. We see that the lightning blast turned Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson and knocked him out. Superman grabs Billy and carries his toward the ship.

Billy wakes up and then realizes that he cannot remember his magic word to turn into Captain Marvel. Billy then says that he does not even know his own name. Superman arrives back at the ship with Billy. Allen Adam mumbles that the drugs that dampen his quantum senses to acceptable levels are wearing off. Allen Adam mumbles that his sense are expanding beyond infinite and are too fast and too hot to handle all at once.

Superman then enters Zillo Valla’s chamber and demands to know who sent the Destroyer after them. Superman demands to know who is Mandrakk. Superman is stunned to see that Zillo Valla has drained Overman of all his life blood in order recharge her power.

Zillo says that the Dark Monitor has risen. Mandrakk awakes. That Mandrakk sent the Destroyer. Suddenly, Allen Adam calls out for Superman and Zillo. Adam says that the sky just shattered. Zillo says that all is lost. That Mandrakk has found them.

They all go outside and see several Destroyer vessels bearing down on them. We also see Ultraman carrying the infinite book all by himself. Ultraman yells that he has proof here in the book that evil triumphs and that there is nothing that Superman can do about it. That evil wins in the end. End of issue.

Comments
The Good
: Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 was a fantastic issue. Morrison crafts such a delightfully intricate tale that gives the reader plenty to digest. Like always, Morrison makes the reader engage their mind and work in order to truly enjoy this issue to its fullest extent. And I always love trying to unravel what Morrison is trying to tell the reader.

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 actually moved at a faster pace than I expected. Since we only are dealing with two issues for this story, Morrison steps on the gas and gets this story moving quickly out of the gate. Morrison tries to cram as much as he can in this one issue.

Surprisingly enough, we actually get a fair amount of action in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. It was certainly more action than I was expecting from this issue. The action scenes are well timed and keep this issue lively.

I dig the cast that Morrison assembles for this tale. I always enjoy the psychotic Ultraman. He is a great villain who always is a monster to deal with. Overman is a strange twist on Superman. Allen Adam is a very intriguing version of Superman. Adam was probably my favorite of all the alternate Supermen.

And of course, it was wonderful to see the real Captain Marvel back and better than ever. It was nice to be reminded how cool the Marvel Family used to be before Judd Winick’s uninspired, boring and “trendy” re-imagining of the Marvel Family.

This was a strongly plotted issue as Morrison loads the reader down with plenty of dense story. This story is certainly not thin or transparent at all. This is a meaty story that keeps the reader satisfied.

Morrison’s primary task is to use Final Crisis: Superman Beyond as a vehicle to further flesh out the origin of the Multiverse and the Monitors so that he does not have to waste panel time over in Final Crisis on back-story. And this is a brilliant idea. This is exactly how a big event tie-in issue should be utilized.

The last thing I want is to Morrison to unload two issues of back-story over in Final Crisis when we are only getting seven issues on Final Crisis. Instead, the proper place to further expand upon the origin of the Multiverse and the Monitors is on a tie-in issue so that it does not interrupt the flow of the big event itself in the pages of Final Crisis.

As any regular follower of The Revolution knows, it is no secret that I absolutely adore the Multiverse. And I love how Morrison handles the concept of the Multiverse. For my money, Morrison is the perfect writer to handle the Multiverse’s full re-introduction into the mainstream DCU.

I liked how Morrison constructs the inner and outer structure of the Multiverse. The Bleed existing between the multiple universes that acts like a buffer is an interesting concept. I like that the structure of the Multiverse is not akin to a simple machine. Instead, Morrison goes the organic route and has the Multiverse’s structure more resemble that of a plant or a symphony. That the Multiverse is a living harmonic creation.

Morrison even investigates what is outside of the Multiverse. That there is the Overvoid and then the void which is the space that exists outside of the Multiverse. The void outside of the Multiverse is known as Limbo.

And that leads me to what was by far and away my favorite aspect of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1: the appearance of Limbo and Merryman. Merryman is a goofy character from the Inferior Five who first appeared in 1966 in Showcase #62.

More importantly, is that the last time we saw Merryman was back during Morrison’s run on Animal Man. Morrison had Buddy undergo an out of body experience and visit comic book limbo where forgotten and unused characters go to reside. Buddy’s trip to Limbo leads him to the realization that everyone in the DCU, including himself, are just comic book characters in a story.

I adored the use of Limbo during Morrison’s run on Animal Man. And once the Multiverse returned, I always thought that Morrison’s Limbo was a great concept that would work perfectly with the Multiverse. I am thrilled to see Morrison reaching back into DC’s past and bringing Limbo back and weaving it into the tapestry of the Multiverse. I was hoping that Limbo would make an appearance during Final Crisis and I am pleased that Morrison made it happen.

I liked the book with infinite pages. This was a great convenient literary device for Morrison to use in order to unveil the history of the Monitors to the reader. And Morrison certainly crammed tons of background information about the origin of the Monitors into this issue.

Now, this is the point of the issue where Morrison just lets loose with both barrels on the reader with his trademark metaphysical style of writing. Morrison attempts to give context to the origin of the Monitors and the Multiverse itself. Evidently, the original Monitor is an abstract infinite intelligence. That it is a conscious living voice with the entire Multiverse growing inside of it.

Interestingly enough, Morrison relates the growing Multiverse as a flaw within the original Monitor. Morrison continues to play with the theme he started in Animal Man as he describes the fact that inside of the flaw were heroes, villains, lovers and other characters. And more importantly, there were stories.

This flaw prompts the Monitor to probe the Multiverse. There is a first probe and that probe is split in two before it eventually withdraws and the flaw is sealed. This version of the Multiverse is certainly radically different to the original explanation for the first Multiverse that it was born thirteen billion years ago due to the tampering with the creation of the universe by Krona.

Morrison also reveals to the reader that the Monitors are the descendents of the first Monitor. That the Final Crisis is to save them from a greed and loathing beyond measure. Morrison also tells us about the first Monitor named Dax Novu and a suit of armor that he made that looks just like Superman. We also learn that Novu brought the Monitors the knowledge of the riches of the Bleed.

Morrison reveals to the reader that Novu was the brilliant rebel intellect who first probed the flaw and mapped its horrors. That Novu wrestled with the angel of contamination. That Novu was who brought knowledge and the riches of the Bleed. Morrison also tells us that Novu gave his life to chain the beast in darkness. And that Novu knew the day of holocaust would come again.

I am curious to learn if Novu is the original Monitor that starred in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. When Morrison talks about the first probe from the original Monitor we do see A panel with our DCU characters fighting the shadow creatures that we saw in the original Crisis. And Morrison tells us that the first probe split into two which is consistent with the original Monitor and the Anti-Monitor from the original Crisis.

This is also consistent with the fact that the original Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths does indeed map the Multiverse and he also is the one who fights the Anti-Monitor and also gave his life in order to stop the Anti-Monitor. And it works well with the end of the original Crisis since the two probes are then withdrawn as the flaw is then sealed.

Also in this scene, Morrison reveals in his usual cryptic manner the very crux of the Final Crisis event. That this epic elegy for a doomed civilization declining from splendor to squalor is the Final Crisis. That it is a last ditch attempt to save creation itself from a loathing and greed beyond measure. I am sure that Morrison will continue to answer these cryptic comments over on Final Crisis.

Morrison certainly whets my appetite for more information concerning the armor that Novu created. And Morrison got me more interested in the Monitors in a single issue than Dini managed to do over the entire course of Countdown.

Morrison ends Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 with an awesome hook ending. We have this cosmic villain in Mandrakk who is wielding seemingly infinite power breaking has risen. We then see Mandrakk’s destroyer ships appearing over top of our heroes. And if that was not enough, we also have an insane Ultraman now in possession of the infinite book. There is no doubt that the next issue should be one wild and furious ride.

After reading the ending to Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1, the dramatic beginning scene in this issue makes more sense. It appears that Superman is wearing the cosmic armor that Novu created. And it also appears that Mandrakk is individual who is righteously kicking Superman’s ass.

Doug Mahnke is awesome. And that is despite the fact that there are five different inkers on this issue. Usually, inks by committee can ruin the look of an issue. Not with Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. Mahnke’s artwork shines through no matter who inks his pencils. I have been so incredibly impressed with Mahnke’s work as of late.

I have to wonder why in the world DC has not given Mahnke a monthly title yet. Seriously, Didio is an absolute moron if he does not get Mahnke working on a monthly title ASAP.

I loved the addition of the 3-D glasses for the scene when we are travelling throught the Bleedstorm. The addition of 3-D was a cool blast from the past that gave this issue an enjoyable old school feel. And I appreciate that the 3-D art was only for a portion of this issue rather than the entire issue. It was just enough to add a fun factor to the issue without it being a gimmick that overstayed its welcome.

The Bad: As it is with most Morrison penned stories, the strengths are usually also the weaknesses. Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 is a challenging read. Morrison requires the reader to work and engage their mind in order to decipher the story. And some readers simply want a comic book that will provide them with fifteen minutes of mindless entertainment. Some readers do not want to have to think and to do any work in order to enjoy the story. And there is nothing wrong with that. There are times when an easy to read and entertaining piece of mind candy is exactly the type of comic book that I am in the mood to read.

Readers who prefer linear and straight forward comic books will probably not enjoy Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. There is no doubt that this issue can get a little difficult to follow at certain points. Morrison unleashes his patented abstract style of writing on the reader with this issue as we get an extremely metaphysical story.

Overall: I enjoyed Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 immensely. Of course, it must be noted that I like Morrison’s style of writing, I am enjoying the Final Crisis event and I love the Multiverse. Having said that, setting aside my personal biases, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 was still a well paced read, had a nice blend of action and drama and was impressively constructed. This was an enjoyable and well written issue.

Still, I would not recommend Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 to readers who are not that interested in the history of the Multiverse or who are not that interested in the Final Crisis event. I do not think that those readers will enjoy this issue. And it goes without saying that if Morrison’s style of writing is not your cup of tea then you will certainly not enjoy this issue.

However, I would recommend that everyone give Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 a try. Surprisingly enough, despite the dense story and the fact that Morrison deals heavily with DC continuity, this issue is actually rather new reader friendly. Morrison does an excellent job integrating enough back-story about the Monitors, Limbo and the other characters who appear in this story so that a newer reader will never feel lost or confused.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man #125 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 7.8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 7.65/10

Issue Development
Eddie Brock wakes up in a prison cell like containment field in Trask Enterprise. Eddie sees the President and CEO of Trask Enterprise Bolivar Trask who is the person that hired Silver Sable and her crew to capture Eddie and the Venom symbiote. Trask says that he captured him so that he with from Doctor Adian Toomes they can seperate Eddie and the symbiote to make billions of dollars.

The scene shifts to Empire State Museum of Art were Spider-Man explains to the cops what happend ealier in the museum with Venom and Silver Sable. After talking to the cops Peter is back in his basement having a "date" with Mary Jane to study his blood. It seems that Peter still has some of the Venom symbiote in his system. Peter ends his "date" with Mary Jane and goes back out as Spider-Man to find Eddie.

Back at Trask Laboratories Toomes is beginning procedures to seperate Eddie and the symbiote when the Beetle breaks into the lab and sets Eddie free. Once he is set free Eddie starts going crazry and attacks everyone in the lab and actually eats one of the lab assistants as Venom. Venom than escapes the lab and starts a huge brawl in the city with the Beetle.

As Venom and Beetle fight Spider-Man sees all the comotion and tries to stop the fight and wanting to talk to Eddie. After a small fight between Spider-Man and Venom the symbiote decides to leave Eddie's body and take over Spider-Man once again. the symbiote completely takes over Spider-Mans body and we see Peter screaming as the issue ends.


Highlights of the Issue

"Venom is so hungry he can eat a horse"

"It's good to be home"

Review

Overall Ultimate Spider-Man #125 was another enjoyable issue by Bendis. But at the same time there wasn't really anything special about this issue and that is because the issue went by so fast with the Spider-Man/Venom/Beetle fight taking up a good part of this issue. That is not to say it's a bad thing but Ultimate Spider-Man has always been at its best when the focus is not on Spider-Man but on Peter Parker and his life outside the mask.

As a kid Venom was probably one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. I just thought Venom was one of the coolest villains but now Venom has become one of my least favorite Spider-Man villains. One of the reasons for this is because the whole novelty of an evil version Spider-Man, which is what Venom basically is, has been gone for long time now. Also the other reason I don't like Venom anymore is because there really hasn't been any good storylines involving Venom or the other symbiote characters since the first few stories were Venom originally appeared.

In saying all that I have to say that the Ultimate version of Venom and of Eddie Brock is a much more interesting character than his 616-counterpart. I like that Peter and Eddie have a much deeper connection to one another with being childhood friends and their parents being the creators of the symbiote. It actually makes it a lot easier to draw parrallels between both Peter and Eddie lives to how they each reflect what the other would have been if they swapped places.

I also like that Trask Enterprise is involved with the symbiote as well and it is starting to look like Trask has a much greater involvement in the Ultimate Universe. Because not only do they have the rights to the Venom symbiote that they took from Peter and Eddie's parents, the company has also been involved with Doc Ock, Sandman, Vulture, Osborn, and Silver Sable. So it will be interesting to see if SHIELD gets involved with the company or if Trask will be involved with the Ultimatum story in one way or another.

Now while I did enjoy the brawl in the story and am interested about the Ultimate Beetle and who he works for I wish Bendis would show more of Peter's supporting characters other than just Mary Jane and Kitty, and only MJ is in this issue. The great thing about Ultimate Spider-Man, and Spider-Man in general, has always been Peter Parker and his supporting characters like Aunt May, Mary Jane, Kitty, Flash, Kong, Liz, and The Daily Bugle staff are involved in the story. But when the supporting cast is reduced to only MJ and Kitty the stories have tended to be boring since the focus is on Spider-Man and not Peter Parker. Hopefully after, or even during, this story arc Bendis uses more of Peter's supporting cast then he has been in these past few issues.

On the art side I have to say that Stuart Immonen art is actually getting better and it seems he is getting better at Peter Parker and everyone that is not wearing a superhero mask. This was the best art Immonen has done since he has come on to this title. Now let just see if he can keep up the art on a more consistent bases before I start comparing his art to Bagley's.

Comic Book Review: DC Universe: Last Will and Testament

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament is a one-shot Final Crisis tie-in issue. It is brought to us by Brad Meltzer. Since I dig most of Meltzer’s work and I am enjoying Final Crisis, I figured that it would be worth my while to give this one-shot a try. This issue is supposed to deal with various characters across the DCU as they prepare for what they believe is going to be the end of the world given the events that we have gotten over on Final Crisis. Hopefully, this issue offers the reader some substance rather than just a flimsy big event tie-in issue designed to bilk readers of their money. Let’s go ahead and do this review for DC Universe: Last Will and Testament.

Creative Team
Writer
: Brad Meltzer
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Joe Kubert & John Dell

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Geo-Force demonstrating his new powers to Black Lightning. Brion states that he can no longer be hurt or feel pain. Brion harmlessly passes his hand through the flame of a candle that is burning on Jeff’s table. Brion thinks how his name in his native tongue means “Superman.” Brion states that he has made his preparations for today which will be the last day of his life.

Brion informs Jeff that he is going to track down Deathstroke the Terminator and kill him as revenge for Deathstroke killing Brion’s sister, Terra. Brion reveals to Jeff how he has been manifesting his sister’s powers. That somehow Deathstroke is behind this strangeness with Brion’s powers.

Brion narrates how the entire world believes that the end of the world is going to happen tomorrow. Evidently, all electricity and technology has ceased to function. The entire world is in a state of blackout. And the sun has not risen for two days. Brion thinks about the other times that they thought the world was going to end, but unlike the first Crisis, there are no shadow demons or anything to punch.

Jeff attempts to urge his friend to stay here with him and his wife and children and have dinner. That if the world is going to end tomorrow then better to spend it with friends and family rather than trying to engage in a pointless fist fight with Deathstroke. Plus, Jeff points out that Deathstroke cannot be beaten.

Brion spits that the JLA promised to hunt down Deathstroke. That Batman and the Outsiders promised to hunt down Deathstroke. That the heroes attempted to capture Slade at Dinah and Oliver’s wedding and failed. Brion points out the fact that Slade is still free and has not paid for his crimes.

Brion points out that Slade framed Jeff for murder. Brion asks for Jeff’s help and states that if Judgment Day is tomorrow then isn’t it time for evil to be punished?

We cut to Wonder Woman and Donna Troy arriving at Valhalla. Diana talks about how the ancient Greek soldiers would bury some of their personal possessions at the graves of their loved ones before going into battle. The purpose was to give the soldiers an incentive to come back from battle alive in order to reclaim their possessions.

Diana states that the soldiers usually buried coins. Diana then buries a few coins at the Crimson Fox’s grave. Donna then takes off her wedding ring and buries it. Diana mentions that it is about time that Donna let go of her husband and move on. Donna retorts that she knows that her husband is out there and that is what is driving her to fight on.

We hop back to Brion and Jeff still discussing Brion’s plan to go get Deathstroke. Jeff tells Brion that Deathstroke will kill him. That nobody fights like Deathstroke. Brion agrees that Deathstroke always wins because he studies the heroes and uses their weaknesses against them.

Brion then states that he has studied Deathstroke and has found a weakness in his son Jericho. To be specific, the night that Jericho lost his voice. That Deathstroke actually missed that night and that is how Jericho got his throat slit and lost his voice. Brion says that Slade’s son is his weak spot and that is how they will defeat him.

Jeff asks Brion if he plans on capturing Slade or killing Slade. Brion states that Slade has cost him his family and is now messing with Brion’s powers. Brion asks Jeff to help him do what is right.

We slide over to Gotham City with Starfire arriving at the tombstone of Dick Grayson’s parents. Kory figures that Dick would come here to be with his parents on the night before the world ends. Kory simply wants to be with Dick since tonight is a time to be with loved ones. Kory waits for a couple of hours and Dick never shows up.

We shift to elsewhere in Gotham City where Batman and Robin are getting ready to swoop down from a tall building into another building to bust up some criminals. Tim thinks how this is his favorite part of being Robin and working with Batman. Not the costumes, the wonderful toys or the car. That it is the rush he gets with that single fearless leap that they take before battle.

Tim asks Batman if they are going to go top speed and straight in. Batman says yes. Tim thinks how Dick always made Tim feel welcome and how Batman, after what happened with Jason, did his best to treat Tim like his own son.

Suddenly, Nightwing appears on the scene and asks Batman and Robin if there is room for one more. Batman mentions that he figured Dick would be with his parents tonight. Dick responds that he is exactly where he wants to be. Batman gets a small smile.

Tim thinks how that even with all of Bruce’s careful and methodical attention-- to any younger child the first born is still the first born.

Nightwing then asks Batman if they are going to go top speed and straight in. Batman responds “Why mess with what works?” The three heroes then swoop down toward the criminals. Tim thinks “That’s where I see it…the first hint of his conversation.”

We slide over to a makeshift Church where Rocky Davis from the Challengers of the Unknown is acting as a priest. Evidently, cheating death has given Rocky a sense of religion. Rocky is sitting in a confessional booth.

Grace enters into the booth and asks for guidance. Grace stares at a bible sitting in front of her. Rocky tells her that it does not matter what religion Grace believes in. That Rocky is here to listen to her.

Grace comments how her teammates either expect her to spend this night before the world ends out slutting around with her girlfriend or drinking herself stupid or a combination of both. Rocky responds that despite those expectations that Grace is here instead.

Grace opens the bible and sees that it belongs to Gar Logan. Rocky then says that it does not matter what people think of her or expect from her. Rocky states that Grace wraps herself in tattoos and piercings and calls herself “Grace” instead of a super hero name just to prove that she can give the big middle finger to the world’s expectations.

Rocky says that not everybody searches for family or God when the end of the world is coming. That some people simply search for themselves. Grace sits there silently. Finally, Grace says that Rocky is better at this than she thought he would be. Grace grabs the Bible and asks if she can go light some of the candles. You know, because she likes the scent of them. Rocky tells her to go light as many as she wants.

Grace leaves and then Geo-Force sits down in the confessional. Geo-Force asks Rocky if he is still a hero even if he wants to kill a man. Or does that make him one of the bad guys?

We shift to Captain Cold in a pawnshop to purchase some batteries for his cold gun. A young punk is in there making a big stink about a watch that his girlfriend pawned to the pawnshop owner earlier. The owner of the pawnshop says that the guy can pay for the watch if he wants it.

The punk snaps and whips out an angle “gun” and calls it an “Angle Man weapon.” Captain Cold sighs to himself and wonders if that is how he has sounded before when pulling off a heist. Captain Cold figures that this was a sign from God giving him a peak from the other side.

Captain Cold whips out his cold fun and freezes the punk. We see the police arrive on the scene and see a note on the frozen thug that says “From your friendly $#@&!’n Captain Cold.”

Captain Cold thinks how at the moment the rush he got from stopping a crime was the same as pulling off a crime. But, afterwards the big difference is that being a hero means you walk away with nothing. Captain Cold then asks who in the hell would want to live a life like that?

We cut back to Brion talking to Rocky in the confessional. Brion gets mad and his powers get uncontrollable and instinctively lash out and move the mountain that the Church is located on. Brion states that Deathstroke did this to him and his powers.

Rocky asks Brion to tell him about Slade. Brion says that Slade is a born and bred soldier. Rocky mentions that so was Brion’s father. That like Slade who put his own son, Jericho, at risk, Brion’s father conducted tests on Brion in hopes of creating a super hero for their country.

Rocky reminds Brion that he is talking about murder. That this is not like Diana and Maxwell Lord which was a tough spot where she had to make a tough choice. That Brion is plotting and planning murder.

We cut to Deathstroke the Terminator uncovering some cameras that Geo-Force had set up to track him. Slade says that he must go deal with Brion before he goes and sees his daughter, Ravager.

We see Brion walking out of the confessional. We then see Deathstroke arrive at the Church and ask Rocky if he talked with Geo-Force. Rocky states that Geo-Force is even worse than Slade said he was. Rocky says that he does not rat on anyone. Rocky says that he took an Oath and if he stays quiet on this one then that is one more funeral they are having tomorrow.

We cut to Deathstroke in an alleyway calling out Brion stating that he knows Brion is following him. Brion suddenly appears on a rock high above Deathstroke. Deathstroke immediately throws something at Brion. Brion thinks that he avoided whatever it was, but then realizes that there are several syringes stuck in his upper thigh.

Suddenly, Brion's powers begin to fluctuate and then they totally disappear. Slade reveals that some the mad scientists who worked on him fled to Markovia once their work on Slade got outlawed here in America. Slade says that they are able to temporarily repress Brion’s powers.

Brion then falls toward the ground. Deathstroke comments that Brion was stupid for picking a rooftop to meet Deathstroke instead of a place with rocks.

We hop over to Clark sitting on the porch swing with Pa Kent. Pa Kent comments that Clark always comes to him when he is scared that he will lose. Pa Kent says that Clark is worried that he is going to lose. Clark comments that Ma and Pa are getting older and that good things do not last forever.

Pa Kent tells Clark not to worry about him for one second. That Clark should worry about those who need it. Pa Kent then tells his son to go fight like hell. Clark answers “Yessir.”

We cut back to Brion falling to the ground. However, Brion picked this place for a reason. Brion lands in a trash dumpster that breaks his fall. Deathstroke suddenly realizes that this is the alley where Jericho had his throat slit.

Even without his powers, Brion refuses to give up. He thinks how his great-grandfather commanded Markovia’s brigade that kept the Nazis out of their country. And how his grandfather stared down Khrushchev and did the same with Mother Russia. Brion says that ever since he was a young boy that he trained with Markovia’s most decorated generals. That they were a small country and even then the lessons were clear: They survive because they prepare.

Brion spits out that this is the one place where Deathstroke actually lost. Deathstroke responds that after all the enemies he has made and the bodies that he has left behind that Brion is not the first person to try him with this.

Brion charges Deathstroke and Deathstroke throws both swords faster than the human eye can see. The swords impale Brion’s legs and pin him to the dumpster. Deathstroke says that this fight is over. Deathstroke says that he will not kill his best investment. Deathstroke says that Brion is no different from Tara.

Deathstroke continues that Brion got Tara’s powers and then suddenly displayed bursts of anger and sudden mood swings. Deathstroke says that it will only get worse. Brion screams that he will kill Deathstroke. Slade responds that if Brion is contemplating murder then they are well ahead of schedule.

Deathstroke says that the problem with Tara was that they waited too long and by then the psychosis was so bad that she tired to kill everyone. Brion says that Deathstroke cannot control him. Slade responds that it took a few years, but now they have got the formula reworked out. That it is like sliding a little more poison into each and every meal.

Brion mumbles that he is Prince Brion Markov. That nothing will change that. Slade continues that pretty soon paranoia will hit and you will start cutting yourself off from family and friends. We cut to a panel of Tim in the background watching Bruce and Dick shake hands.

Slade continues that they will just have to aim Brion at the right target. Slade says that Brion is so weak just like his sister, Tara. Slade says that he can help Brion be strong. Slade says that Brion is just a C-Lister like his sister, Elongated Man and the dead Blue Beetle. That in this day and age and in all of this darkness that Brion does not stand a chance.

Brion continues to repeat “I am Prince Brion Markov! There is nothing that will change that!” over and over throughout Slade’s big speech. Brian then manages to pull out one of Slade’s swords from his leg. Slade stands there looking at Brion as Bio flails the sword about helplessly as his other leg is still pinned to the dumpster. Slade says that Brion’s name does not translate as “Superman.” That Brion’s staff told him that to pad his ego. Slade says that he will help Brion change that.

Brion hangs there and thinks that Deathstroke is right that Brion is a C-list hero. And that Deathstroke is right about the evil inside of him and what it will ultimately do to his friends. But, that does not mean that Deathstroke gets to write Brion’s fate.

Brion thinks about a 1930 Walther, a rare gun, that his grandfather kept at his bedside table. And it was passed to Brion’s father and then Brion’s brother and then on to Brion. It had no instructions, but they knew what to do with it if anyone breached the castle walls and all was lost.

Brion thinks how the generals always told him that the power is not in the crown. The power is in you. Brion says that it was just cowardice. Just a way to hide their fear of admitting defeat by killing themselves instead. Brion lifts his head up and says “I’m sorry, Tara. I couldn’t beat him.” Brion then slits his own throat with the sword.

Deathstroke is stunned and says “No! This is my victory! You know how much I invested? You don’t get to take that from me!” Deathstroke grabs Brion and holds him close and yells that this is his not Brion’s to take.

Brion then thinks that all he feels and sees is blood. Then Brion sees his sister, Tara. Then Brion then sees unexpected opportunity. Brion then whispers “I still have your sword.” We pan back and see Brion gutting Deathstroke with his own sword. Deathstroke falls to the ground as blood pours out of his mouth and nose. Brion also falls to the ground with blood pouring out of his neck.

We then cut to Brion waking up in a hospital bed with Black Lightning and Dr. Mid-Nite hovering over him. Jeff explains that he did not think Brion had it in him, but that Brion beat Deathstroke. Jeff says that Deathstroke stabbed Brion’s legs and sliced his throat, but that Brion never gave up. Jeff says that he knew Brion was no murderer. Jeff says that Brion just beat Deathstroke. Jeff smiles and says that Brion is a hero.

We slide over to Wally West hugging Linda. Linda does not want Wally to fight in this new crisis because they now have kids. Wally responds that he has to go fight and save people. Wally says that he will be okay.

We cut to Commissioner Gordon hugging Barbara Gordon. Barbara says she will be okay. We see Wildcat hugging Wildcat version 2.0 with the son saying that he will be okay. We then cut to Hourman and Liberty Belle having sex.

We shift back to Wally meeting with Hal Jordan. Wally says that he told Linda he would be okay. Wally says that Clark says this is the end of the world. Wally asks Hal what he thinks. Hal responds that this is life. Hal says that he will see Wally tomorrow.

Comments
The Good
: DC Universe: Last Will and Testament was a great read. Meltzer serves up a wonderfully crafted issue. This issue is strongly plotted as Meltzer is able to effectively use the night before “Judgment Day” as the spine for the various unrelated plotlines. This enables DC Universe: Last Will and Testament to have a pleasant flow and make it a cohesive read despite the fact that the various plotlines have nothing to do with each other.

The real magic of DC Universe: Last Will and Testament is the incredible dialogue and character work. Meltzer’s strength is his excellent narration and his impressive ability to develop three dimensional characters. The dialogue has a wonderful flow and each character has a nicely developed external flow.

Meltzer has a strong feel for the personalities of each character which enables him to deliver nicely fleshed out characters. The strong dialogue and character work allows Meltzer to create some fantastic chemistry between the various characters. Meltzer is able to perfectly nail the personal relationships between the various characters.

Meltzer is able to make the various characters come across as real people who possess emotions that are absolutely palpable. The strong emotions that Meltzer is able to cultivate on this issue are also one of this issue’s greatest strengths. Meltzer is able to convey intense emotions and a sense of drama without ever going over the edge and descending into the arena of complete overwrought melodrama. Certain writers could take notes on how Meltzer is able to properly handle the dramatic element in a story.

I enjoyed the scene with Diana and Donna. It effectively reaffirmed the fact that these two characters are warriors first and not your traditional super heroes. Still, I felt just a little bit lost. Beyond lusting after Donna when she was Wonder Girl and drawn by George Perez, I have no connection at all with either character and I have limited knowledge of their histories. I am not too sure if Donna’s wedding ring is from when she was married to Terry Long. I was under the impression that Terry was dead.

I liked the scene with Grace and Rocky. I have never been much of a fan of Grace, but Meltzer managed me to like her character a little bit more than I did before. Meltzer adds a dash of depth to a character that I have always viewed as rather one dimensional.

I liked how Meltzer points out that at the end of the world, some people search for family while other search for God. And then you have the ones like Grace who search for themselves. I liked the touch of Grace leaving the confessional booth hugging the Bible and then going to light some candles under the excuse of her liking the smell they make.

I enjoyed the use of Rocky as a “priest.” Meltzer’s logic is that as a member of the Challengers of the Unkown that Rocky has cheated death and it follows that such a person might develop a sense of religion.

However, my favorite scene was the one with Batman and his two sons: Dick and Tim. Meltzer did a fantastic job handling the complex relationship that exists between the father and his two sons. There is always some sibling rivalry even in families that are loving and healthy. And the baby of the family always feels like the firstborn is valued more by the father. And on the flipside, the firstborn always feels that the baby of the family gets spoiled more and gets away with more.

Meltzer does a nice job showing the subtle way that Bruce reacts to Dick spending the night before “Judgment Day” by his side. The reader can tell that Bruce has done his best to treat Tim like his real son. But, Bruce has done it out of a sense of commitment in order to make up with what happened with Jason Todd and because of Tim losing his own father. Meltzer shows the reader that there is that unspoken and subtle connection between Bruce and Dick. There is that chemistry that only exists between the two of them. And in the end, in Bruce’s eyes, Dick is probably the heir to the throne and not Tim.

I loved that Dick spent the night before “Judgment Day” with Bruce and Tim and at the graveyard by his parents’ graves. This reinforces the fact that Dick’s family is Bruce and Tim and that at some point a person has to start living for those loved ones who are still alive rather than clinging to the past.

The scene with Batman and his sons was nicely contrasted with Kory waiting at the graveyard for Dick to appear. Kory thinks how this is the time to be with loved ones and that Kory instinctively wants to be with Dick. However, the fact is that despite all the various differences, Dick is still a lot like Bruce and Dick’s personal relationships have not always been that healthy.

Despite these other small scenes, the main plotline that dominates DC Universe: Last Will and Testament is the plotline involving Brion. I have always liked Geo-Force and it was fantastic to see Brion taking center stage in this issue. Meltzer did a wonderful job with Brion who is a complete C-list character. Meltzer pulls off some incredible character work and treats the reader to possibly the most intriguing and complex version of Geo-Force that we have ever seen.

Meltzer does an excellent job conveying Brion’s emotions to the reader. We get a strong feel for Brion’s visceral anger and hate. The reader is able to get a great sense for the turmoil that is raging inside of Brion’s spirit.

Meltzer finally gets the opportunity to finish off the dangling plotline concerning Brion’s powers that he introduced during his run on the Justice League of America. Yeah, we had to wait a while for this resolution, but it was well worth it. I loved the sickening realization that sets upon Brion as he realizes that Deathstroke is behind Brion suddenly getting Terra’s powers and the sudden spike in Brion’s hostile attitude.

It was pretty cool seeing Deathstroke working his mind mojo on Brion much like he did with Tara. It was typical Deathstroke to replace one pawn with another. Tara was a failed experiment so Deathstroke tried again with Brion.

The fight scene between Deathstroke and Geo-Force was insane. Without his powers, Brion was painfully outclassed. And Deathstroke toyed with Brion like a spider does with a fly trapped in the spider’s web. The best part of the fight was when Deathstroke threw his two swords through Brion’s leg and skewering him to the dumpster.

Deathstroke then attempts to manipulate Brion’s mind and get Brion to give into his urges and follow Deathstroke. Meltzer gives Brion tons of heart, determination and balls as Brion refuses to let Deathstroke manipulate his mind as Brion keeps repeating who he is.

Then came the crescendo as Brion does what I never thought he would which was slit his own throat in an attempt to kill himself and, thereby, deny Deathstroke of his prized possession. After loosing Tara, Deathstroke could not handle defeat once again. With this move Meltzer showed the reader that Brion would choose death over being a villainous tool of destruction to be used by Deathstroke.

With this action, Brion unexpectedly realizes Deathstroke’s weakness: losing another powerful weapon in Brion like he did with Tara. As Deathstroke held Brion close and cursed at the possibility of losing his investment, Meltzer delivers the final stunning blow of this battle as Brion seizes the opportunity and uses Deathstroke’s own sword and stabs Deathstroke through the gut. My jaw was on the ground. That was one hell of an ending to an incredibly dramatic and intense fight scene.

The scene with Brion being tended to by Jeff and Dr. Mid-Nite was fantastic. Black Lightning goes on and on about how Brion never gave up even after Deathstroke impaled his legs and slashes his throat. That Brion was no murderer and that Brion is a hero. I loved how Brion laid there listening to all this and knowing in his heart that his friends was completely wrong. Brion did give up. Brion did try to kill Deathstroke. And that Brion may end up becoming a villain. Meltzer managed to get me to care more about Geo-Force than ever before. I am interested to see what happens next with Geo-Force.

The use of Geo-Force in this issue is a prefect example of how to use a big event like Final Crisis as a means to elevate C-list character up to a higher level. After this issue, Geo-Force becomes a much more interesting character and certainly one that has more credibility than before.

Adam and Joe Kubert offer up plenty of serviceable artwork in this issue. Personally, I have never been a fan of either Adam or Joe Kubert’s style of artwork. However, I would imagine that most readers will enjoy the artwork in this issue.

The Bad: DC Universe: Last Will and Testament is a slow read. There is tons of narration that dominates this issue. If you prefer fast paced issues that have plenty of action then you will probably get bored with this issue.

This issue also focuses mainly on Geo-Force. If you have zero interest in Brion’s character then the chances of you enjoying this issue will probably be slim.

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament is also not a new reader friendly issue. Meltzer expect the reader to have a solid command of DC continuity for several readers. Now, that is not to say that a newer reader cannot enjoy this issue. But, some newer readers might be turned off or feel a bit lost due to their lack of knowledge of DC’s history.

Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed DC Universe: Last Will and Testament. Of course, it should be noted that I like Meltzer’s style of writing and enjoyed his run on Justice League of America. Meltzer delivers a deep story that is intense, well crafted and has incredible character work.

Meltzer managed to get me completely engrossed into his story. I think that most readers who enjoy stories with plenty of substance will like DC Universe: Last Will and Testament. However, readers who like a faster pace and get bored with Meltzer’s lengthy narration would probably be better served to avoid this issue.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artists: Adam Kubert, Joe Dell, Joe Kubert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10
Art: 7.6/10
Overall: 7.8/10

Issue Summary
The issue starts with Brion Markov better known as Geo-Force making preperations to fight Deathstroke in revenge for corrupting his sister Terra. He ask his firend and teamate Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, if he will help him get revenge on Deathstroke by hitting him were it hurts his family, Jerico and Rose Wilson. Even though Black Lightning would like nothing more but take out Deathstroke he cannot help Geo-Force kill Deathstroke by using his kids.

Elsewhere, various DC superheroes are making their final "goodbyes" before the final battle. In Valhalla Diana Prince and Donna Troy bury some items they swear to come back for, Diana some gold coins and Donna her wedding ring.Over at Gotham City Memorial Starfire is wating for Dick Grayson, Nightwing, to show up at his parents, John and Mary Grayson, graves but Dick does not show up.

In Gotham City 40 stories above the city Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake as Batman and Robin prepare to take one final leap before the final battle. Before they leap of the roof Batman and Robin are joined by Nightwing. Batman ask Nightwing why he is not at his parents grave and Nightwing just says "I'm exactly where I want to be." Batman, Nightwing and Robin swing off the roof as a family.

Shifting to Challengers Mountain, Grace Choi is in a confessional to confess her sins to Rocky Davis. With some advice from Rocky, Grace leaves with the confidence everything will be alright. As Grace leaves Geo-Force goes into the confessional to get some advice on what he should do but Geo-Force does not like what he hears and leaves.

At Kent Farm Clark Kent, aka Superman, is talking to Pa Kent telling his pa that he doesn't know if they can win the battle that is to come. Pa Kent gives Clark some advice that lift up his spirit and Clark says he is ready to fight.

Over in Star City Roy is thaking Olly for building and teaching his daughter how to use a bow. And over in Central City Captain Cold stops a couple petty crooks from robbing a conviniece store on his way out of the store.

In a New York City alley Geo-Force finally tracks down Deathstroke, who was waiting for him, and they have a brutal battle. Even with his powers Geo-Force can't even touch and is beaten by Deathstroke who starts taunting Geo-Force as nothing but a C-list hero. Geo-Force is able to take one of the swords Deathstroke stab him with in the leg and starts to swing it wildly to try and cut Deathstroke. Geo-Force then takes the sword and slices his throat with it and Dezthstroke gets a flashback to when Jerico did the same thing. Deathstroke grabs Geo-Force before he hits the ground but doesn't realize Geo-Force still has his sword and is stabbed through the heart. Both men fall to the ground in a bloody mess.

Next we see Geo-Force waking up in bed were Black Lightning tells him that he beat Deathstroke.

We then shift to various scenes were Wally and Linda, Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon, Wildcat and his son telling each other it will be alright, and Liberty Bell and Hourman having sex. Wally as the Flash than meets Green Lantern Hal Gordon and ask him if he really thinks everything will be alright. Hal just tells Wally "What're you talkin abou? This is the life Wally. I'll see you tomorrow." End of issue.


Highlights of the Issue

"Burying old memories"

"One Final Swing"

"There will be a tomorrow"

Review

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament was a very good read. The thing about this issue is that the title should actually be changed to read "DC Universe: Last Will and Testament of Geo-Force." Some readers might be disappointed because the title really is misleading. Most people that pick up this issue are probably expecting to see all the DC Universe characters in their final moments before the last battle. And even though there are a few short scenes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Greeen Lantern, Nightwing, Robin, Barbara Gordon, Donna Troy, and a few other minor DC characters appear, this is really a Geo-Force story masked as a DC Universe story. Geo-Force story alone takes a little more than half of the issue itself. Which is sad since if Meltzer decided to show more of what other DC Universe characters where doing in these final hours and less on Geo-Force this issue could have been a 9 or 9.5.

Personally I am not a big fan of Geo-Force and didn't even know or cared about this character before he appeared in Meltzer's Justice League run. Even then Geo-Force was never really interesting and thought that there were/are many other characters that are well deserving of having a spot in the Justice League than him. Also while I know that Meltzer really tried to get me to like his character in this issue I thought that the Geo-Force story made the whole issue feel a bit slow and started dragging a bit towards the end.

Also the motivation for Geo-Force revenge on Deathstroke really doesn't make much sense in the present DC Universe. I get that he is pissed off that Deathstroke was the reason Terra was evil and died but that was easily at least 6 or 7 years ago in DC Universe time and since then Terra has been resurected and killed again by Black Adam. It just makes Geo-Force a bit to pathetic of a character that it is now after so long that he decides to get revenge for his sister's first death. If anything I would have to think that Geo-Force would want revenge on Black Adam not Deathstroke since he not only lost his sister again but was actually there to witness it when it happend and did nothing to Black Adam at the time.

Even though I did not leave this issue caring more about Geo-Force than I already did, which wasn't much to begin with, I will give it to Meltzer for providing a badass fight between Geo-Force and Deathstroke. Deathstroke completely dominated the fight and only lost because of a momentary moment of weakness which lead to the fight to be a draw at best. Next to the Joker and Lex Luthor, Deathstroke is my favorite villain in the DC Universe and I love how in these past 5 years DC has made Deathstroke into one of the most dangerous villain not only to the Teen Titans but the whole DC Universe. As a Teen Titan fan and a huge fan of Wolfman and Perez run it was pretty cool to see that Meltzer refenced that run with the small flashback to when Deathstroke could not stop Jerico from slicing his neck and causing him to be mute. That is really Deathstroke biggest failure and awsome to see Meltzer reference that.

And speaking of the Teen Titans I really liked the scene with Starfire waiting for Nightwing at his parents grave. It shows that even though Starfire and Nightwing have not been together for a while and both have had many relationships with other people that Starfire is still in love with Nightwing. It also shows that while Starfire is still living in the past while Nightwing has moved on with his life even though he may still have feelings for Starfire he knows that relationship has long been over. I just hate that Winnick back in The Outsiders and in his current run on Titans he is trying to get Nightwing and Starfire back together. I get that Winnick and other writters are like me and many other fans who loved the Wolfman/Perez era but it is time to move on and both characters should just stay good friends and nothing more.

My favorite scene in this whole issue was the scene with Batman, Nightwing, and Robin. I just think it is awsome anytime these three characters are in a scene together. Most time writers will write Bruce as having his own adventures as Batman and doesn't like having people help him. They forget that for Bruce, Tim and Dick are the two people outside of Alfred he trust the most and are the two people he would actually spend time with outside of being Batman. Also seeing the three characters together just shows how close they have become and that even with all the crap they have been through they are still a family. Though I am not to sure what to think of Tim being jealous of Dick being "firstborn" since both Dick and Tim have always been portrayed as being even closer than Bruce and Tim are and haave never been jealous of one another. So I think that was a bit of an out of character moment for Tim.

My other favorite scene in this issue is the last scene with Hal and Wally. I just love that even in the face of death Hal believes they can still win and is not scared of death like many people are.

The scene between Diana and Donna was a nice touching moment between two sisters. The only thing I have to say is that I thought it was weird that Cassie, the current Wonder Girl, wasn't with them in the scene. But overall the short scene was nice and to the point of a final battle type situation there in.

Also while the scene between Clark and his dad was nice I thought it wasn't needed. The reason I say this is because over in Action Comics there was a scene just like this about a month or two ago and the scene just felt repetitive and not as good as the one Geoff Johns did in Action Comics.

Now the one question that is brought up with this issue since it is suppose to be a Final Crisis tie-in were this issue fits with Morrison's story. It could be that the issue takes place after the virus hits the internet and the one month gap at the end of Final Crisis #3 but that would not make sense for a number of reasons: 1) Batman was captured in issue 2 of the series; 2) Superman was taken away somewhere by a mysterous figure to help; 3) Green Lantern was taken into custody by the Alpha Lanterns and back to Oa; 4) Wonder Woman was captured before the virus hit the net in issue 3; and 5) Wally was travaling through the Speed Force with Barry ending up one month into the future so he wouldn't be present after the virus hit. But even with all these errors and a few others this was a very well written issue and if anyone wants to know when it takes place maybe it takes place before the big fight at the end of Final Crisis that is still to be told in the coming months.

Now the art for this issue was good but the problem I have with the art is that Adam Kubert didn't draw the whole issue. Both the action scenes and the quiet moments Kubert drew were great but I wouldn't have minded waiting for another week or two to give Kubert enough time to draw the whole issue. It's not saying that John Dell's art is bad but his art art just doesn't transition well with Kubert art and is the reason I did not give the art an 8.

Comic Book Review: Eternals #3

The Revolution has enjoyed The Eternals. I have always liked Kirby’s cosmic characters and I think that the Eternals have plenty of potential. Unfortunately, I do not know if this title is going to make it. The Eternals have never been that popular and the Knaufs are going to have a tough time convincing comic book readers to hop aboard this title. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Eternals #3.

Creative Team
Writers
: Charles and Daniel Knauf
Artist: Daniel Acuna

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 Makkari sitting in his loft in San Francisco. Makkari begins meditating and suddenly makes contact with the Dreaming Celestial. The Dreaming Celestial reveals to Makkari scenes from when the Deviants gained control over the Earth. The Celestials returned to Earth to witness which of their creations prevailed. The Dreaming Celestial went by the name Tiamut the Communicator. His function was to alert the others about his findings and then signal to the Horde to gather the aggregate planetary life-force.

For some reason, one of the Celestials, Arishem aborted Tiamut’s contact with the Fulcrum. Arishem then states that the Fulcrum ordered them to thin the Deviants’ influence on Earth. The Celestials proceeded to cull the Deviants. Tiamut states that the order was illogical and he made the judgment that Arishem was malfunctioning and proceeded with protocol and attempted to discharge Arishem and assume command.

During the titanic battle, Tiamut detected hatred inside of Arishem.

We cut to Vorozheika, specifically General Stoyanovich’s residence. The General enters his home and sees his family frozen in place at the dinner table. Next to them is Ajak. Ajak informs the General that he wants to know how Druig is discovering the names of the people he has the General seek out. Ajak then reads the General’s mind and discovers that the General has found Gilgamesh.

Ajak continues to read the General’s mind and discovers that they have found twenty-three other Eternals. Ajak tells the General that he will inform Druig about Gilgamesh’s location tomorrow night rather than his scheduled time of tomorrow morning. Ajak tells the General that he now will secretly work for Ajak and in return Ajak promises to protect the General’s family. Ajak then departs the scene and the General’s family un-freezes.

We slide over to Olympia, the Eternals home located in Antarctica. We see Joey complaining to Zuras about how bored he is. We see the Horde inside of Joey reporting that Zuras is easily manipulated and can reveal much to the Horde about the Eternals' defensive capabilities and contingent strategies.

Zuras tells Joey that appears angry. Zuras gives Joey permission to speak his mind. Joey tells Zuras that he hates this place and that all Zuras does is yell and that Zuras is a big fat old hippie. Zuras begins to laugh.

Zuras agrees that he is fat and old, but states that Olympia is a place of wonders. Zuras then tells Joey to come with him.

We shift back to Dreamspace where the Dreaming Celestial continues his story of his fight with Arishem. Suddenly, the other four Celestials on the scene attacked the Dreaming Celestial. At that point he realized that all the Celestials had planned this culling of the Deviants. The Dreaming Celestial states that their battle shaped continents and carve valleys and forged mountains.

Eventually, the Dreaming Celestial was overwhelmed. Since a Celestial cannot be destroyed, his fellow Celestials decided to do the next best thing and “silence” the Dreaming Celestial.

We cut to Thena visiting Phillip Stoss at his home. Thena is posing as an attorney handling the estate of a cousin of Stoss who left Phillip the only heir. Thena begins asking all these questions about Phillip’s parents. During the questioning Phillip begins to give different answers to the same questions. Phillip then becomes totally unsure of any of his childhood and his parents.

Then tells Phillip that his real name is Phastos. Phillip begins to totally lose it. Phillip’s wife then asks Thena to leave. Then gets up to leave and says that she will be in contact.

We slide over to Goiania, Brazil where Ajak is meeting a carnival performer named O Guerreiro. Ajak tells the carnival performer that his real name is Gilgamesh. Ajak tells Gilgamesh that it is time for him to remember himself and his enemies: Zuras, Thena, Sersi, Makkari and Ikaris. Gilgamesh passes out. Ajak tells Gilgamesh to sleep and to dream of carnage.

We shift back to Olympia where Sersi is using the Eternals’ computer to record and analyze the Dreaming Celestial. The computer states that psi-bursts are emanating from the Celestial. That there are two sources coming from the Celestial. One source is a protracted local two-way transmission located in San Francisco.

We cut to Makkari asking the Dreaming Celestial what happens next. The Dreaming Celestial states that Earth is an unprecedented source of life-force. That Earth has gone un-harvested for eons and that no planet has produced base specimen’s harboring such prodigious aggregate energy. The Dreaming Celestial says that a catastrophic event will result in such power be acquired by either the Celestials or the Horde. That the balance of power will be skewed heavily in favor of the recipient of such life-force which will throw order into chaos and therefore displease the Fulcrum.

Makkari asks the Dreaming Celestial what he is going to do. The Celestial answers that he will gather information for transmission to the Fulcrum before the Horde arrives for the harvest. What happens after that is unknown. The Dreaming Celestial states that his function is to gather and analyze and transmit information and if that is compromised then he must initiate “the Song.”

The Song will lull ever living creature into a state of catatonia and the Fulcrum will extract all energy and re-sculpt the planet starting anew. Makkari asks incredulously if every cosmic being in this universe is a total tool. The Dreaming Celestial answers that they are all tools of the Fulcrum. The Dreaming Celestial states that the planet’s fate rests in Makkari’s hands as well as the Dreaming Celestial’s.

We hop back to Sersi at the Eternals’ computer. The computer states that the second source of psi-bursts from the Dreaming Celestial is an intermittent transmission into deep space. The computer cannot calculate the location of the destination of that transmission.

We cut to Zuras and Joey in the Eternals’ trophy room that stores weapons and technology captured from their enemies. That their mission has been to protect this planet from any threat. Joey is duly impressed with all the cool weapons and gadgets. Zuras adds that the Eternals reverse-engineer the weapons and technology in order to develop defensive counter-measures. That everything the Eternals have learned is then entered into their computer data-base.

Joey then asks if he can see the computers. Zuras says “Of course.” The Horde sentinel inside of Joey says “Monitor and disseminate.”

We slide back to Brazil where Gilgamesh as “awoken” and is standing in all his Eternal glory. Ajak tells Gilgamesh that their fellow Eternals have joined with the Deviants and that they are raping and destroying their world. Ajak says that only Gilgamesh is strong enough to stop them. That for the sake of Earth, Gilgamesh must destroy the Eternals. End of issue.

Comments:
The Good
: I found Eternals #3 to be another wonderfully written issue that presents the reader with an incredibly complex and dense story. The Knaufs are known for weaving thick tales that give the reader plenty to chew on. And the Knaufs always prefer to craft plot heavy stories that rely on strong character work and quality dialogue in order to carry the issue.

As always, the Knaufs whip up plenty of nicely crafted dialogue. Each character has their own fully formed external voice. The Knaufs continue to employ plenty of strong character work as the various characters are fairly well fleshed out and three dimensional. In just three issues, the Knaufs have been able to establish the basic personalities for each of the Eternals in this title. Even a new reader can quickly get a feel for the personalities of the various characters.

The Knaufs move Eternals #3 along at a controlled and measured pace. Personally, I am quite pleased that the Knaufs have not rushed anything on this title. I am glad that they are taking their time to properly construct this story and create plenty of mystery. These first three issues are all about laying a solid foundation and creating tension and confusion within the reader concerning what is going to happen next.

I would imagine that the story is going to pick up in pacing the in the next issue as shall the amount of action.

The Knaufs are treating the reader to a plot heavy story with the Eternals. This is not an action title. That is not to say that the Knaufs will never deliver any action on this title. However, the fact remains that the Knaufs simply do not write mindless action heavy titles and I do not expect that when I purchase the Eternals.

I find the various plotlines that the Knaufs have manufactured on this title to be intriguing and have succeeded in hooking my interest. With each issue, the Knaufs peel back another layer on this story and present the reader with even more complex and unpredictable plotlines. It seems that the more the reader learns the less the reader knows about what is going to happen next.

The Knaufs finally dole out plenty of information concerning the Dreaming Celestial’s back-story. I am glad that the Knaufs did not drag this out any longer. It was wise to go ahead and get the reader fully educated about the Dreaming Celestial. I found the Dreaming Celestial’s back-story to be rather interesting.

I found the fact that the Deviants won control of the Earth surprising. And even more stunning was that the supposedly unemotional Celestials were burning with hatred towards the Deviants and decided to break with procedure and slaughter the Deviants.

The reader also learns that the Dreaming Celestial lost his battle with his fellow Celestials and was placed into a deep sleep and then buried on Earth. This explains how the Dreaming Celestial came to be on Earth. We also learn that the Dreaming Celestials function is to analyze and record the planet and then send that information to Horde.

The Knaufs also reveal that the entire point of the Celestials’ experiment on Earth is to cultivate Life-Force and then harvest it for the use of the Fulcrum. Such a cold and harsh reality is almost impossible for Makkari to comprehend. It is a natural human desire to place some mystic importance and value on life.

Humans have always tried to establish some special purpose and meaning to life and creation. I enjoyed this twist that life on Earth is truly devoid of any special purpose at all. That life on Earth is nothing more than an energy source for a cosmic entity like the Fulcrum.

The Knaufs move along the plotline involving Makkari and the Dreaming Celestial as we see Sersi makes the discovery that the Dreaming Celestial is sending out psi-bursts to two different locations. One is a local two-way transmission located in San Francisco and the other one is to an unknown location in deep space. The second one must be the Celestial contacting the Horde.

I dig that the Knaufs are setting the stage for some serious tension between the two lovers in Sersi and Makkari. It should be interesting to see how Makkari reacts when he realizes that Sersi confronts him with this information. Clearly, Makkari is not going to stop connecting with the Dreaming Celestial and Sersi seems adamant on getting Makkari to sever his connection with the Celestial.

The Knaufs threw a nice curveball at the reader with the interesting plot wrinkle of having Ajak working against Ikaris and Zuras. I did not see that coming. What is interesting is that Ajak is not working with Druig either since Ajak is scooping Druig with the General. It appears that Ajak is simply working on his own or for some unknown third party that we are not aware of yet. This was a great plot twist and I am looking forward to seeing what Ajak is scheming.

The scene with Phillip Stoss and Thena was well done. The Knaufs give the reader an excellent sense of the confusion that plagues and clouds the minds of these Eternals when the process of “waking up” begins to kick in. It was neat watching Stoss constantly switching the facts to his faux life.

I am enjoying how the Knaufs are writing Zuras in this story. I like that Zuras is begin portrayed as a monarch who is past his prime. While it appears that Zuras’ mind is beginning to deteriorate, I have this nagging feeling that Zuras may simply be playing possum.

The Knaufs end Eternals #3 with a great hook ending. We see how the Horde is using Joey as a tool to learn all of the Eternals’ secrets. The sly way that the Horde manipulates Zuras through Joey was nicely done.

Then we get the dramatic one page splash shot of Gilgamesh back in all his Eternal glory and ready to kick some ass. I am definitely looking forward to some action on this title and Gilgamesh is exactly the ingredient needed to accomplish that goal.

The Bad: To be sure, Eternals #3 is a slow issue. The pacing on this title is likely to turn off some readers. There is also a lack of any action in this issue. Again, readers who require at least a bit of action in their comic books will be disappointed with Eternals #3.

While Daniel Acuna is capable of producing some nice looking panels the fact remains that his style of art is incredibly stylized and unique. And it is a style of art that readers will either love or hate. And while I would not mind a fill-in issue or two by Acuna, I just cannot stomach a steady diet of his style of artwork. After three issues, I am already tired of Acuna’s style of art and wish that this title had artwork that was brighter, cleaner and more detailed. Acuna’s art is beginning to look like a wash of extremely heavy paints that does nothing to make the Knaufs’ story more enjoyable to read. Acuna also fails to convey any emotion through his artwork as his facial expressions are all vacant.

Overall: Eternals #3 was another good read. The Knaufs are such talented writers and they always deliver well constructed plotlines that fit together impressively in order to form a detailed and intriguing story. Still, this title is thin on action and it does move at a slow pace. And Acuna’s artwork is doing nothing to help this title.

If you like more action themed titles that move at a brisk pace then Eternals is simply not for you. And if you prefer more realistic and street based characters then I would not recommend Eternals.

However, if you enjoy plot heavy stories with strong dialogue and character work then you should give the Eternals a try. And certainly if you dig Jack Kirby’s old characters then this title will also appeal to you. I also think that most Sci Fi fans will dig the story that the Knaufs are weaving on this title.