Friday, October 31, 2008
Writer: James Robinson
Pencils: Renato Guedes
Inks: Wilson Magalhaes
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with news reports from across the globe about the Kryptonians from Kandor taking to the skies and flying across Earth. We slide to the Daily Planet where Perry is barking out orders to every single reporter that the Kryptonian story is to take priority over any other story. Perry tells Lois and Jimmy to cover the meeting in Metropolis between the President of the United States and a Kryptonian delegation led by Superman.
We cut to Superman flying to Kandor. Superman whispers “Oh, Dad.” Suddenly, Superman’s path is blocked by Alan Scott, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, Hawkgirl and Mr. Terrific. Wonder Woman states that they need to talk. Alan mentions how Superman is the most powerful person on the Earth and now there are hundreds of thousands of equally powerful people now on Earth with the return of Kandor.
Wonder Woman points out that the Kryptonians are no more Superman as all Amazons are like Wonder Woman. Mr. Terrific points out that “Twenty-seven of your race almost destroyed Metropolis not long ago.” (Actually, shouldn’t it be twenty-seven of Superman’s species?)
Superman counters that the heroes are talking about Zod and a bunch of criminal Kryptonians from the Phantom Zone. Superman insists that the people of Kandor are good people. And that the Kandorians know that they are guests on Earth. Superman tells the heroes to leave everything to him. Superman says that the solution is for America to recognize Kandor or New Krypton, whichever it is going to call itself. That such an action would be a good first step and get the rest of the world to sit up and take notice.
Superman continues that he will organize teachers to go to Kandor and teach the Kryptonians about Earth and our rules. Then these teachers will learn about Krypton. Superman says that this way both of his “races” (I still say it should be species.) will get something out of this. Superman promises the heroes that Earth will be a better place for all that is happening now. Superman then flies off to Kandor.
We see Superman arriving at Kandor and meeting with Zor-El and Aurora. Supergirl then also arrives on the scene. Superman points out that since Supergirl recently attacked the President’s plane that it probably is not a good idea for her to be a part of the delegation headed to Metropolis.
Superman interrupts the two friends and announces that it is time to leave. Zor-El tells Superman to lead the way and to show the rest of them Superman’s world. The Kryptonian delegation then takes to the skies.
We cut to Ma Kent back at home all by herself. Martha holds a picture of Jonathon Kent and herself back when they were young. We get narration boxes that state how Ma Kent told Clark that she would be fine by herself and for Clark not to worry. Martha then sits there by herself and just stares at the old picture.
We shift to Metropolis with Superman and the Kryptonian delegation flying into town. The people of Metropolis point to the sky and are stunned by the sight of the Kryptonian delegation.
We slide over to the building where the meeting is to take place between the President and the Kryptonian delegation. We see Lois Lane talking with Agent Liberty. Evidently, Agent Liberty is here because D.E.O. wanted a mask present for this meeting. That with all that has happened with the Amazons and everything that the government is concerned for the President’s safety.
We see Superman and the Kryptonian delegation landing in front of the steps of the building where Agent Liberty and Lois are standing. The President comes out surrounding by Secret Service agents. Agent Liberty stands in front of Superman and gives Superman a steely look. We pan back as see the massive horde of media members.
The President says that the honor is his to meet Zor-El. Zor-El responds that the Kryptonians are guests on Earth and that the honor is all his to meet the President. The two men then shake hands. The President states that he has been informed that Supergirl is Zor-El’s daughter. The President then says that Zor-El owes him a real big plane. Zor-El and Aurora share a nervous glance. The President then smiles, chuckles and says that he was just joking.
The Good: Superman #681 was a solid read. Robinson turns in a well plotted issue that continues to lay a sound foundation for the New Krypton story. This issue progresses in a very measured pace. Robinson clearly did not want to rush the story at all and allows the arrival of the Kryptonians on Earth as well as the reaction that it has sparked across the globe to really sink into the reader’s mind. The controlled pace of the story makes the climactic ending all that much more intense. I believe that Robinson intended Superman #681 to be the quiet before the storm.
I liked the frenzied feel at the Daily Planet. Robinson effectively conveys to the reader what a huge event the restoration of Kandor on Earth truly is. That with the arrival of so many Superman-class aliens on Earth that this world will never be the same again. This scene creates enough nervous energy in the reader that it gets the reader to keep waiting for something to go terribly wrong as we sit through the various slow moving scenes in this issue.
I dig that Robinson presented to the reader the reaction from the super hero community. I like the collection of heroes that Robinson assembles to go confront Superman. If anyone is going to give a lecture to Superman and get away with it then it would be Alan Scott and Wonder Woman. I was also impressed that Robinson respected what is going on in Batman RIP and did not needlessly shoehorn Batman into this scene. Such an action would have been a very easy and tempting thing for a writer to do.
The heroes expressed some valid concerns and made a good point about the fact that the Kryptonians from Kandor are no more like Superman than the Amazons who attacked America are like Wonder Woman. It is quite understandable that the heroes would be concerned over this many Kryptonians roaming the Earth. Especially in light of Zod’s attack on Metropolis. A hero does not have to be an untrusting and cynical bastard like Batman to be uneasy over the patent threats and concerns that a city full of Kryptonians presents to Earth.
Superman’s response to the heroes’ concerns was perfect. Superman truly embodies hope and promise. Superman always looks at the positive side of everything to the point where he sometimes turns a blind eye to possibilities that do not mesh with his positive view of life.
At this point, I side more with the heroes and think that Superman has simply clouded his mind with wishful thinking that the two species can peacefully co-exist. Superman is already in a fragile state of mind with the death of his father and it is only natural for him in this time of loss to cling to the unexpected return of his fellow Kryptonians. Superman’s ideals and wishes always sound great in theory but they often do not work out in the real world.
Robinson does a fine job with Agent Liberty and his personal take on the Kryptonians from Kandor. Agent Liberty makes a valid point when he brought up the Amazon War and how Supergirl attacked the President as a source for his inability to fully trust the people of Kandor. It is totally understandable that Agent Liberty would not be very trusting of a city full of Kryptonians.
In the scene with the heroes confronting Superman and then in the scene with Lois and Agent Liberty, Robinson does a fine job showing both sides of this issue concerning the people of Kandor. Robinson is able to treat both viewpoints fairly which succeeds in making it even tougher on the reader to decide if they should trust the people of Kandor or not. I appreciate it when a writer takes the time and effort to craft a moral dilemma that the reader struggles to resolve. Superman is very persuasive in his support of his fellow Kryptonians, but the other heroes make a compelling case for their distrust of an entire city full of Kryptonians.
I found the Thara Ak-Var and Supergirl dynamic interesting. Thara appears to be a bit hostile and I get a strange vibe from her. I could see a possible Thara versus Kara fight at some point down the road.
The final scene in Superman #681 was well done. I enjoyed the hint of hostility in the air as Superman squares off in front of Agent Liberty. This was an enjoyably tense scene before the President cuts the tension by warmly greeting Zor-El and then joking with the Kryptonian leader.
Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalhaes team up to deliver plenty of enjoyable artwork. Guedes does a fine job packing plenty of emotion into this characters which helps to bring Robinson’s story to life.
The Bad: Superman #681 is a slow issue that has absolutely no action at all. Not much really happens at all until the very end. We get very little in the way of plot development in this issue. And what we do get is a bit repetitious as we re-hash the dialogue from Superman: New Krypton Special #1 concerning the threat that an entire city of Kryptonians poses to Earth as well as Superman’s goal of teaching the Kryptonians about Earth and its customs and rules and in turn teaching Earth about Kryptonian culture.
The lack of action and the limited plot progression will likely turn off some readers. I have to admit that I was surprised to see Robinson taking such a slow burn approach with Superman #681 considering the sound foundation that was constructed by Superman: New Krypton Special #1. I thought that having a special one-shot issue to install the underpinnings for this New Krypton story would have allowed Robinson to come out of the gate a bit faster than what he did with Superman #681. It is clear that New Krypton is being written for trade format and not for a monthly format.
Overall: Superman #681 was a solid read even if I was expecting more than what we got with this issue. Robinson does a good job setting the stage for what should be a dramatic showdown between the Kryptonians and Doomsday over in Action Comics. The New Krypton is in intriguing story that has numerous interesting plotlines and tons of potential. I would certainly recommend giving Superman and Action Comics a try. It is an exciting time for the Superman franchise and I think that this story will appeal to readers who have never been big Superman fans before.
Bleach 85: Deadly Battle of Tears: "Rukia vs Orihime"
Well this episode was an improvement on the past couple of episodes of Bleach. Still this episode continues to show the problem with the Bounts not being very interesting outside of Kariya and the deceased Yoshino. The big problem might lie that it each fight versus the Bounts is taking two or three episodes to defeat which should only be one at most half of two not three episodes. Mabashi is a perfect example of this because his doll is not very interesting to start of with but with a two episode focus on Mabashi and his doll Ritz have just annoyed the shit out of me. The only saving point for this episode is Lieutenant Hisagi appears who gives this episode the necessary badass Bleach has been missing since Ichigo is being used as a punching bag, Renji was taken out quickly, and Uryu still doesn't have his powers so Hisagi, mostly from his character design, feels like a nice addition to this arc.
I will say that it was great to see Rukia back in her Soul Reaper gear again since the first episode of Bleach. Hopefully Rukia will start fighting as a Soul Reaper instead of using her gigai to fight. It was nice to also see Orihime finally coming out of her shell and show a much stronger will since her power fluctuates when she hesistates, which is how she has been since the show started, and hopefully Orihime will start acting more confident in future episodes like she did here. It was these two factors and the addition of Hisagi, as well as a promise of the other Soul Reapers sent to the real world, made this episode feel average and berable.
Episode Rating - 6.8/10
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion 25: "Zero"
For people that are expecting answers to a lot of the questions that haven't been answered about this series in the past 24 episodes of this series will be disappointed by this episode. In truth this doesn't really answer anything about any of the characters and instead mostly sets up this series for the second season of this series, called R2, especially with the cliffhanger ending, which I will talk about a bit later. I will say that this episode was not as good as the past three excellent episodes but I felt it did its job in getting me excited to finding out what is to with R2.
One of the important thing we find out, and really only thing we do, is how important Zero is to the Black Knights and that without Zero the Black Knights would have all died long ago since they are a bunch of terrorist. As soon as Lelouch leaves the battle field and turns control of the Black Knights to Todou the battle soon gets to out of hand for Todou to handle the second Lelouch cuts all of his contact with the Black Knights to save Nunally. This helps reinforce how important Lelouch is as Zero not only as a strategist but also a symbol of hope to all the Black Knights and the Japanese. Seeing how quickly the Black Knights were overwhelmed and confused I can see Lelouch as Zero having more influence with other nations that oppose Britannia for R2.
This episode also had some great scenes involving all secondary characters that were gathered at the Ashford Academy. Nina was perfect with how psycho she has become in willing to blow up the whole school in order to kill Zero for killing Euphimia. It was great seeing how Milly, Shirley, and Rivalz reacted in this scene when they finally realize how crazy Nina has become. But the real star of this scene, and one of the best characters of the series, was Lloyd. He perfectly played up his intrigue that Nina was able to finish her bomb as a scientist while still worried about his own life. I hope that Lloyd gets much more scenes in R2 since he felt like the most underutilized character in the series.
Now for those Lelouch-CC shippers you do get your moment with CC kissing Lelouch and Lelouch entering CC memory to see her past. I don't really have much to say about these scenes since I don't see this series as a romance show since this show has always been more about the action and strategy of war and think of this show as a cross between Deathnote and Gundam Seed.
The cliffhanger ending to this episode definetly had it suprises. First of I did not expect Kallen to be involved in the "final" confrontation between Lelouch/Zero and Suzaku since she has been more of a secondary character to this point. With her finding out Lelouch is Zero it seems the writers are going to have a much bigger role for Kallen now that she knows Lelouch's secret when R2 starts.
It is also interesting to see how much Suzaku has changed from how he started the series also nice and optomistic to blinded by revenge for Euphimia's killer. And Lelouch falls in the same category since he is so blinded by saving Nunally he doesn't see how insane he has become. The screen turning black and a one gun shot heard is a nice mystery of who was the one who fired the shot. Was it Lelouch? Suzaku? or Kallen? Also what are the intentions of the mysterious VV for kidnapping Nunally in the first place? All this helps build excitement for R2 that starts on Saturday though I still wish Cartoon Network and Adult Swim would air this series at a more resonable hour than 5am since I have to wait till it is uploaded on YouTube to watch the episode since I don't have a Tivo. But still this was a great episode and bring on R2.
Episode Rating - 9.2/10
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Shane Davis
Inks: Sandra Hope
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin the issue with the statement that this issue takes place between Final Crisis #1 and #2. We start on Ysmault and witness the birth of the first Red Lantern: Atrocitus. Atrocitus narrates how the liquid fire of the red light fills his veins. Atrocitus begins throwing up blood. Atrocitus continues that the Guardians were responsible for the slaughter of his people in Sector 666 at the hands of the Manhunters. Atrocitus states how he was them imprisoned by Sinestro. Atrocitus recited the Red Lantern Oath. (Which is a bit heavy handed and over the top.)
We cut to Coast City where Hal is having lunch with his brother and Cowgirl. Hal thinks how with Ganthet gone that the Guardians have become even more removed and aloof. Ganthet was the only Guardian that Hal could ever speak his mind to.
Suddenly, John Stewart contacts Hal over the power ring and informs him that Sinestro has been scheduled to be executed. And that the execution will not be on Oa. That the execution will be held on Korugar instead. Also, the Guardians want Hal, John and some other Green Lanterns to act as escorts.
Hal replies that it is about time that the Guardians decided to execute Sinestro. Hal says that he will be right there. Hal then tells Cowgirl and his brother that he has to go on official Green Lantern Corps business. Hal thinks how he needs to talk to someone and that he feels guilty that as much as it should be Cowgirl that Hal is thinking about someone else.
Hal then adds that Sinestro probably knows him better than anyone other than Carol. Carol responds that it sounds like Hal needs someone to tell him that it is okay to support Sinestro’s execution. Hal replies that he was not looking for justification. Carol answers that Hal is justified. Carol talks about how the Guardians banished Sinestro in the power battery where Sinestro proceeded to make contact with Parallax and then unleashed Parallax on Hal.
Hal states that Sinestro still blames Hal for his expulsion from the Corps. Carol interjects that it was not Hal’s fault. Hal answers that he could have handled the situation better. Carol insists that it was not Hal’s fault and that Sinestro is not the friend that he once was. That that Sinestro was executed a long time ago.
Hal states that it is finally the end. Carol responds that endings are never easy to face even when you want that ending to come. Hal then flies off in space.
We cut to the scarred Guardian making contact with Ash. Ash informs the scarred Guardian that he found a piece of the Anti-Monitor’s husk. Ash says that he has traced the trajectory of the Anti-Monitor to Space Sector 666. The scarred Guardian instructs Ash to go into Space Sector 666 and retrieve the Anti-Monitor’s corpse.
We cut to the rest of the Guardians in their main chamber. One of the Guardians asks the scarred Guardian who she was talking to. The scarred Guardian responds that she was merely meditating. The other Guardians notice that the scarred Guardian has not fully healed. They offer to join into a mass meditation to help her heal totally. The scarred Guardian rebuffs the offer stating that her scars serve as a reminder that the Guardians must never grow as arrogant as they have been in the past.
The scarred Guardian then says that the Guardians must extinguish all of the other lights. That is why the Guardians are headed on a diplomatic mission to meet with the Zamorians and have also agreed to rid the universe of the Sinestro Corps. The scarred Guardians states that they must keep the fact that Sinestro is being transferred to Korugar a secret. That it would be very dangerous is that information leaked from the halls of Oa. We then see the shape of the Sinestro Corps symbol inside of the scarred Guardian’s eyes.
Hal responds that it is not justice. That it is what Sinestro deserves for betraying the Green Lantern Corps and betraying Hal. Sinestro asks “I betrayed you?” Sinestro then says that Hal is going to murder Sinestro. Hal says that it is punishment. Sinestro agrees saying that it is Sinestro’s law and that Sinestro is proud of Hal. That Hal is turning into quite a Green Lantern.
We cut to Atrocitus initiating the first class of Red Lantern recruits. Among them are Bleez, Vice and Laira. Atrocitus states how all of the recruits have great anger in their hearts. We see all of the recruits throwing up blood. Atrocitus goes on that they will spill the blood of those who wronged them. That their blood shall anoint them. That their rings need to feed. Atrocitus says that they shall begin with feeding on Sinestro.
We cut to the Green Lanterns escorting Sinestro in his cell off to Korugar. John tells Hal that if he wants to speak out then he better do it now. Hal responds that he has no problem with the execution. John asks Hal if he is sure about that. Hal says that it is the law and this time he is not going to fight it.
Sinestro then calls out to Hal and says that Hal never asked Sinestro his question. Hal responds “Forget it.” Hal says that he will live. Sinestro smiles and says whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger just like Abin Sur used to always say.
One of the Green Lanterns, Arx, suggest that they not waste any more time and just put a beam in Sinestro’s brain and be done with it. Boodika then tells Arx to stand down. Arx then gets up in front of Sinestro’s cell. Sinestro replies that he knows what Arx is afraid of. Arx answers that he is not afraid of Sinestro. Sinestro asks “What about death?” Before Arx can respond a yellow beam blasts his head off.
Suddenly, a bunch of Sinestro Corps members attack. Kilowog yells that it is an ambush. John wonders how the Sinestro Corps members knew that they were here. We cut to the scarred Guardian with one of her eyes filled in with the Sinestro Corps symbol and her other eye filled in with the Green Lantern Corps symbol.
We cut back to the brawl between the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps. We see the Alpha Lanterns springing to action and killing several Sinestro Corps members. While the Green Lanterns are battling the Sinestro Corps members we see a member of the Red Lantern Corps appear on the scene.
The Red Lantern pukes some blood that burns the head off of one of the Sinestro Corps members. Sinestro’s cell then begins to blaze with a red flame. The rest of the Red Lanterns then appear on the scene and attack. The Red Lanterns start slaughtering Green Lanterns and Sinestro Corps members.
Laira then blasts Hal with her red power ring. Hal thinks how her red energy is burning away his aura. We see John Stewart unconscious with his power ring warning that it is incapacitated. Hal’s power ring states that its power levels are unknown. That its power is corrupted.
A voice then says that Ganthet sense Hal’s anger and the Red Lanterns’ anger. Suddenly, Hal’s power ring’s power levels rapidly increase all the way up to 200% power levels. We see a blue light emerging from Hal’s power ring. The voice continues that he has been chosen to uplift those in need. The voice says that there will be others.
We then see the Blue Lantern appear on the scene. The Blue Lantern states that he is Saint Walker. Saint Walker says that it is imperative that they retrieve Sinestro before he is sacrificed. That if the universe is to survive the Blackest Night then they will need Sinestro alive. End of issue.
The Good: Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 was a solid read. Johns turns in a well plotted issue. Johns basically picks up where we left off on the last issue of Green Lantern and continues to build a strong foundation for the upcoming Blackest Night event. Johns has a fine attention to detail and is quite skilled at crafting long term stories with multiple plotlines full of unexpected twists and turns.
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 was a well paced issue. And the reason that this issue has such a good flow is that it is nicely balanced as we get a good mix of dramatic scenes, mysterious teaser scenes and all out action scenes. Johns does a fine job with the scene transitions which seamlessly tie the various scenes together.
There is no doubt that action junkies will enjoy Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1. Johns delivers a wild three-way brawl near the end of this issue. There is certainly no shortage of death, gore and ultra-violence in this issue. Johns lives up to his reputation as a writer who cannot resist butchering characters as often as possible.
As a general rule, I am completely sick and tired of the endless amount of death, gore and ultra-violence that has become mind numbingly ever-present in DC’s comic books. However, I did not mind it at all in Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1. This is a war story dealing with competing paramilitary police forces. It makes sense that in a universe spanning war story there would have plenty of violence and death.
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 does not contain some of Johns’ best dialogue. As a matter of fact, this is some of the most uninspired dialogue that I have read from Johns in a while. Still, there were several scenes like the one with Carol and Hal as well as the scenes with Hal and Sinestro that present some enjoyable dialogue.
Character work was clearly not a priority in this issue. However, that does not mean that Johns doesn’t try and pull of some character development. Johns continues to do a nice job with Hal Jordan and Sinestro. I dig how Johns is handling the complex relationship between Hal and Sinestro. I know that the theme of mentor, friend and enemy that Sinestro has played in Hal’s life may not be the most original theme, by Johns has done a fine job with it and it makes for an interesting read. I do think that before the Blackest Night is over that Hal might be forced to realize how he and Sinestro are more alike than he would want to admit.
The scene with Hal and Carol was great. I have always been a fan of Carol and I prefer Hal with her versus him being with Cowgirl. I like that despite that Hal is now dating Cowgirl that he still only feels comfortable talking to Carol about certain things. And the line from Carol about how endings are never easy was a nice comment that applied to both Hal’s relationship with Sinestro and Hal’s relationship with Carol.
I dig how Johns writes Sinestro. I was never much of a fan of Sinestro prior to Johns getting his hands on Sinestro’s character. And that is a surprise since I usually find Johns’ villains to be rather one dimensional, unoriginal and uninteresting. That is not the case with Sinestro. Johns gives Sinestro plenty of depth and makes him a nicely textured character with many levels. I find Sinestro to be the most charismatic character in this story.
Then Johns has the scarred Guardian flashing the Sinestro Corps symbols in her eyes just as we see the Green Lanterns getting ambushed by the Sinestro Corps members. Clearly the scarred Guardian has her own agenda. And I am wondering of she is working with Sinestro or if she is simply playing every single side against each other in an attempt to demolish all of the different colored Corps.
The scene with the Controllers continues their search for the orange power source that we have seen over in Green Lantern. However, we did learn in this issue that someone else also wants the orange power source. It appears that Johns has several surprises in store for the reader when it comes to the chase for the various colored power sources.
I loved the exciting hook ending with the appearance of the Blue Lantern. Saint Walker is a great name and an interesting character. I am looking forward to learning more about the Ganthet’s Blue Lanterns. Johns also delivers a surprising reveal that Hal is going to have to help Saint Walker save Sinestro and that they will need him alive in order for the universe to survive the Blackest Night. That is sure to chap Hal Jordan, but I am looking forward to the drama that is sure to unfold between Hal and Sinestro during the Blackest Night event.
Shane Davis and Sandra Hope did a good job with the artwork. This was a dynamic looking issue with the best artwork being reserved for the action scenes.
The Bad: Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 certainly has its fair share of defects. Many readers may not dig the dark somber nature of this issue and the graphic violence and killing. Many readers, including myself, have already had their fill of the ultra-violence and gore that DC seems determined to deliver in just about all of their titles.
I found the Red Lanterns to be simply way too over the top. Johns went a bit overboard and gave us some extremely hammy and heavy handed dialogue with the scenes involving the Red Lanterns. And the constant blood puking and how the Red Lanterns all manage to synchronize it with their teammates was too much. And the fact that the Red Lanterns can evidently burn people to death with their blood puke just made it that much more silly. It was virtually impossible to take the Red Lanterns seriously. I do not know if Johns was trying to be campy with the Red Lanterns, but if he wanted me to take the Red Lanterns seriously and not chuckle at them then he failed.
Another problem with this issue is that it had nothing at all even remotely to do with Final Crisis. I have no idea why DC even bothered to call this a Final Crisis tie-in issue. This issue simply read like the newest issue of Green Lantern. It might have been wiser for DC to delay this issue until the end of Final Crisis and then bill this issue as a Blackest Night prelude instead.
Once again, DC seems determined to flood the reader with a myriad of “big events.” It would have been a smarter move for DC to let one big event end before cranking up the hype machine for the next big event. I swear, readers are going to end up getting “big event” fatigue at the rate that Marvel and DC are going.
Even there I liked the artwork, there was one moment where the artist and the writer were clearly not on the same page. In the scene with Hal having lunch with his brother and Cowgirl, Johns has John contact Hal via Hal’s power ring and asks if Hal is sitting down. Hal proceeds to answer “No”, yet the artist clearly has Hal sitting down in that scene. The artist needs to pay a bit more attention to the writer’s script.
Overall: Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 was a solid advertisement for the upcoming Blackest Night event. Johns made this issue as new reader friendly as possible and presented enough interesting mysteries to try and drum up interest in the Blackest Night event.
The Sinestro War story was extremely popular and a very strong performer in terms of sales numbers. I expect that readers who enjoyed the Sinestro War story will also be interested in the Blackest Night event. On the other hand, if you were unimpressed with the Sinestro War story then do not bother with picking up this issue. The Blackest Night event appears to be more of what we got during the Sinestro War.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
FINAL CRISIS RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #26
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #47
SUPERMAN BATMAN #53
TEEN TITANS #64
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #575
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THEATER OF WAR: OPERATION ZERO-POINT #1
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #122
MARVEL 1985 #6
ULTIMATE CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #3
WOLVERINE FIRST CLASS #8
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #29
We are getting yet another monster sized shipment of comic books headed to the Bunker today. We are getting a total of 17 titles. This selection of titles is heavier with Marvel titles this week.
Of course, it is no surprise that I am looking forward to Legion of Super Heroes #47. Thom and I have not been shy about our love for Shooter’s work on this title. I have completely enjoyed Shooter’s run and I will be reading these final issues of Shooter’s Legion with a tinge of sadness knowing that DC is going to once again rip up the Legion.
However, Superman #681 is the DC comic book that I am most looking forward to reading. Johns and Robinson completely wowed me with their fantastic work on Superman: New Krypton Special #1. That issue immediately hooked my interest in the New Krypton story arc and I am excited to see what Robinson has in store for us with this issue.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? I am not that excited to read Justice League of America #26. McDuffie has completely lost me with this goofy spider-god villain that we are getting with this story arc.
However, Teen Titans #64 is the DC comic book that I am least looking forward to reading. Now, I have enjoyed McKeever’s work in the past. But, what McKeever is giving us on Teen Titans is simply awful. I am talking Fan Fiction awful. Teen Titans is rapidly becoming completely unreadable.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? I am looking forward to Wolverine: First Class #8. This title is always a blast to read. And it is so much fun reading a title that giving us Wolverine back when he was actually cool.
Now, any regular follower of The Revolution knows that I am a huge fan of Charles and Daniel Knauf. So, naturally, once I found out that these gentlemen were writing Captain America: Theater of War: Operation Zero-Point #1 I just had to add this to my pull list. Normally, I do not bother with special issues like this one. However, if the Knaufs write it, I will read it. I expect this issue to be a quality read.
Still, Incredible Hercules #122 is the Marvel comic book that I am most looking forward to reading. I finally followed the advice of Islandliberal (a regular follower of The Revolution who has been urging me for months to try this title) and gave this title a try a couple of weeks ago. And I absolutely fell in love with this title. Incredible Hercules is simply flat out fun. I expect more of the same with Incredible Hercules #122.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? That would be Wolverine: Origins #29. This title has been doing its best to make Wolverine less cool with each issue. I was happy to see Mike Deodato take over as the artist for this title. I dig Deodato’s work. Now if we could just get Way removed as the writer then maybe this title might actually become an enjoyable read.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns - Other than having Final Crisis in the title all of Geoff Johns supposed tie-ins to Final Crisis don't have anything to do with Final Crisis. This issue should really have been the next issue of Green Lantern and not a Final Crisis "tie-in." Now that aside I am looking foward to this one-shot dealing with the Red Lanterns and anything related to "The Blackest Night."
Superman/Batman #53 - I enjoyed the last two issue arc though that was do to how much I enjoyed little Batman than anything else. Still the premise of this story has peaked my interest enough to pick up this title for one more arc.
Teen Titans #64 - Since "Titans of Tomorrow...Today!" Sean McKeever work on Teen Titans has ranged from average to bad and he has not impressed me at all. It doesn't help that McKeever took out my favorite Titan, Ravager, from this title. And after the last issue I am considering dropping this title unless McKeveer can turn it aroun on this title and stop taking out or killing off Titans currently on the team.
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 - This is it folks the most controversial topic on Earth, or at least in the US, "sex." With that dramatization of what some people think out of the way I am interested to see where Bendis takes this Peter/MJ "will they, won't they" debate in this issue. The only thing that I am disappointed in seeing is that Mark Brooks isn't doing the interior art as he did in the previous two annuals and I am not at all familiar David Lafuente art.
Posted by Kevin at 10:21 PM
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Luke Ross
Inks: Fabio Laguna
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene in 1942 in Shanghai, China. Steve, Bucky and the Human Torch meet up with one of the local resistance fighters. They arrive at a warehouse where a bunch of Japanese soldiers are stationed. The three Invaders suit up and attack the Japanese soldiers. Human Torch starts blasting away at the Japanese soldiers while Bucky whips out a machine gun and starts mowing down the Japanese soldiers.
Bucky retorts that it is mostly Sam’s doing. That the Falcon’s word goes a long way. Natasha counters that it is also Bucky’s actions that is getting the acceptance from the other super heroes. Bucky counters that his actions also keep him up at night. Bucky confesses that he remembers every single thing that he did as the Winter Soldier. Natasha snaps that Bucky is not responsible for the Winter Soldier’s actions.
Bucky then states that he needs to go out and get some fresh air. Bucky asks if Natasha will be here when he gets back. Natasha replies that he will be lucky if she is still here.
We cut to the United Nations Scientific Research Facility in New York City. We see Batroc leading a team of soldiers into the facility. We slide to Bucky zipping down the road on his motorcycle. Bucky wonders what is wrong with himself. That he did something that Steve would have been proud of in defeating the Red Skull. Bucky then admits that the victory seems temporary just like it did during World War II.
Suddenly, a police alert concerning a break in at the U.N. facility comes across the police scanner on Bucky’s motorcycle. Bucky then takes off toward the U.N. facility. We cut to the U.N. facility where Batroc and the soldiers are walking out of the building. One of the soldiers informs Batroc that he made a copy of the entire archive. Batroc then orders the soldier to call in their EVAC.
Bucky plows his way through the soldiers and then squares off with Batroc. Bucky recognizes Batroc. Bucky thinks how Batroc is a master of Savate and gave Steve lots of trouble over the years. Bucky thinks how Steve was faster and a better fighter than Bucky. So, Batroc is clearly a formidable opponent.
A soldier then blasts Bucky in the back. Bucky flies into a nearby car. His jacket is ripped to shreds and Batroc sees the Captain America shield strapped to Bucky’s back. Batroc and the soldier then make a quick getaway.
We zip forward two hours later with Captain America and Black Widow meeting with one of Black Widow’s contacts in the U.N. The contact tells the two heroes that Batroc and his mercenaries copied the archives. The contact says that he has an idea what Batroc was looking for. Natasha asks the contact what kind of research facility is this. The contact answers that this is the type of research facility that the two heroes do not want it to be.
We fall back in time to Shanghai, China in 1942 with Captain America, Bucky and the Human Torch blasting their way through the Japanese soldiers. Bucky heads to the main part of the laboratory in the warehouse and finds the Chinese boy genius, Professor Zang Chin. The Invaders were sent here to rescue the boy genius from the Japanese. Professor Chin stares at Human Torch in action and marvels at how astonishing the Torch is.
We shift back to a Chinese restaurant in New York City in the present. We see Batroc meeting with a shadowy figure. Batroc mentions how Captain America tried to stop them and then offers pictures of the new Captain America without his mask on. The shadowy figure says that he does not care about Captain America appearing on the scene and simply asks if Batroc carried out his mission.
Batroc replies that the mission was a success and that they found records of the remains being under examination at two facilities in the past year. Batroc says that it will not be too hard to track from this point. The shadowy figure states that his leader will be pleased by this news.
The Good: Captain America #43 was another strong read. Brubaker keeps the ball rolling on this title. I was worried that this three issue story arc might not be as good as what we have been accustomed to getting on this title. We have seen this over on Brubaker’s Daredevil. Once Brubaker finished up the mammoth story involving Matt clearing his name, there was a noticeable drop-off in the quality of the issues. Don’t get me wrong, I still find Daredevil to be a good read, but it is not as intensely good as it was during the wild story arc when Matt was in prison and then escaped and tried to clear his name.
Luckily, that does not happen with Captain America #43. Obviously, this three issue story arc is not going to be as grand a story as what we just finished up. However, this story arc is going to be important nonetheless as it is clear that Brubaker is intent on performing some serious character work with Bucky during this story arc.
Captain America #43 was properly paced. Brubaker employs his usual slow burn method. Brubaker always takes his time and methodically constructs the foundation for his story arcs. Captain America #43 is also nicely plotted. Brubaker almost always serves up a detailed and complex story that has plenty of subtle clues and hints tucked inside of it.
We get plenty of action scenes which keep this issue a lively read. Of course, Brubaker keeps this a balanced read as we also get plenty of well crafted dialogue. Brubaker also continues to deliver excellent character work. I enjoy how Brubaker is handling the relationship between Bucky and Natasha. These two characters work well with each other.
I love seeing Bucky kicking ass in these World War II scenes. While the Human Torch relies on his super powers and Steve Rogers relies on his mighty shield, Bucky acts like a true soldier and uses guns and knives. This emphasizes the fact that Bucky is and always was a soldier and not a super hero.
This is why I enjoy Bucky as Captain America so much. Steve was more of a traditional super hero. To me, Steve came across more like a commanding officer than a grunt. Even though Steve certainly fought on the frontlines, I rarely got the impression that Steve was a veteran who pulled heavy combat time.
On the other hand, that is exactly how I view Bucky. While Cap was slinging his shield and serving as a symbol of hope during WW II, Bucky was pulling off covert operations and getting knee deep in blood and guts. Bucky acts, thinks and reacts like a veteran who has seen more than his fair share of blood and death. Bucky has that vacant stare that many veterans possess when they simply have seen and done too much.
I am glad that Bucky is earning the respect and acceptance of the other super heroes as the new Captain America. It is about time that Bucky finally steps out of Steve’s shadow and receives some respect and praise that he richly deserves. At the same time, Brubaker has done a masterful job making sure that Steve’s presence is heavily felt in every single issue. Brubaker continues to do one of the best jobs of handling the impact of a character’s death that I have seen. Steve is almost like Obi-Wan Kenobi in that his impact and reach is even stronger after death than it was when he was alive.
I like that Bucky constantly thinks about what Steve would have done or if Steve would approve of what he is doing or be proud of him. Brubaker always gives the proper respect to Steve by having Bucky admit that Steve was a better fighter or that Steve was stronger or that Steve was faster. This is a smart way to try and win over comic book readers who might still be upset that Bucky has replaced Steve as Captain America.
I am curious to learn more about what type of research facility the UN facility is. The cryptic statement that it is the kind of facility that Captain America and Black Widow do not want it to be certainly piqued my interest. We also learn that the archived information that Batroc stole contained records of “the remains” being under examination at two facilities in the past year. The question is what “the remains” are? It is possible that they are referencing Steve’s remains. There is no doubt that other governments would like to reverse engineer the Super Soldier serum.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Captain America #43 was a well balanced issue. Brubaker keeps this train rolling as it appears that we are not going to lose any momentum at all with this new story arc. Captain America is still one of Marvel’s better titles.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Writer: Geoff Johns, James Robinson & Sterling Gates
Pencils: Pete Woods, Gary Frank & Renato Guedes
Inks: Pete Woods, Jon Sibal & Wilson Magalhaes
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 Jonathan Kent’s funeral. Clark stands at the podium next to Pa Kent’s casket. Clark is distraught. We see a figure standing at a great distance from the funeral at the gravesite. (I am guessing that this figure is Bruce Wayne.) We see Clark step down from the podium. Lois is holding Ma Kent. Jimmy clasps hands with Clark. Lana is there, but she does not approach Clark. Clark and Ma Kent then hold each other.
We see Clark in the barn looking through his father’s toolbox of gifts that Clark gave him over the years. Clark looks at a baseball cap that has Interlac on it that Clark got from the future and gave to his dad for Father’s Day. We see the horse shoe that Clark engraved the words “World’s Greatest Dad” with his heat vision.
We cut to a U.S. general talking to Assassin about how Superman must be the happiest man on the planet now that an entire Kryptonian city has been restored on Earth. The general wonders how long it will before until the Kryptonians in Kandor begin displaying powers like Superman. The general continues that he won’t deny that Superman has done many great things for Earth. The general says that he has a vested interest in Superman and has been forced to accept him as a visitor who has made Earth his home.
The head scientist comments that Superman took Brainiac’s ship to Kandor. The scientist continues that Brainiac’s ship had hundreds of shrunken cities in it, but that all the information from them is stored in Brainiac’s mind.
Suddenly, the machines bring Brainiac’s mind online. Brainiac then wakes up and begins to attack all of the scientists. Brainiac commands that the Earthmen tell him where his ship is and where the Kryptonian is. Assassin quickly destroys the machine that brought Brainiac’s mind back online. Once the machine is destroyed, Brainiac falls unconscious once again. The general tells Assassin that they need to learn everything that Brainiac knows about Kandor.
We slide back to Clark at his parents’ house. Clark tells Ma Kent that he does not have to go and that he can stay here with her. Ma Kent insists that Clark go. That he just found an entire Kryptonian city. That Clark just found his people. And that they need him. Clark responds that Ma needs him, too. Martha points out that they have many friends in Smallville and points to all the food and gifts in the room.
Clark states that Kandor won’t change anything. That it won’t change who Ma and Pa made Clark into. Ma Kent turns her back on Clark and lowers her head and closes her eyes. Clark then says that he is sorry that he couldn’t save Pa. Ma Kent snaps that Clark has nothing to apologize for. Ma orders that Clark leave and go do his job right this second. Clark lowers his head and then rips open his shirt.
We see Superman streaking toward Kandor. When Superman arrives at the Kryptonian city he is absolutely in awe with its beauty. Superman lands at Zor and Alura’s house. Superman’s aunt and uncle greet him warmly with hugs. His aunt and uncle comment that Kal-El has grown into a fine man. Superman responds that it was easy. That he learned it from his father. Zor-El comments that Kal-El was fortunate to have the recordings of Jor-El. Superman stammers “No, I…Yes, I was fortunate.”
Superman asks Zor-El if the inhabitants of Kandor are beginning to experience super powers due to the yellow sun. Zor-El answers that some of the Kryptonians are beginning to exhibit some of Superman’s powers, but not all of them like the power of flight, for example.
Zor-El then points out all the different styles of architecture in Kandor. That each Guild has their own style of architecture. Zor-El points out a building in the style of the Solider Guild. Zor-El reminds Kal-El that Zod is still considered a hero in Kandor for his valiant battle against Brainiac.
Superman points out that Zod recently broke out of the Phantom Zone and attacked the people of Earth. Superman states that the people of Earth are not going to be that trusting of the Kryptonians of Kandor. Superman says that he wants to show Earthlings that they can trust the Kryptonians. Superman says that he wants to bring Earthmen to Kandor. Aurora states that for now it probably will be a good idea for the people of Kandor to keep to themselves for a bit.
Superman comments that there is so much that the people of Kandor can learn about the Earthlings. Earth’s culture and customs. Zor-El replies “Why would we want people to teach us to be less Kryptonian.” (Zing!) Superman retorts that that is not what he meant. Superman says that they can discuss this later. Zor-El against replies “Why would we..” Superman cuts off Zor-El saying that they can talk about it later. Right now, they have a visitor.
We cut to a military graveyard in Washington, DC. (Actually, it looks like Arlington National Cemetery which is located in Virginia and not inside of the District.) Lois Lane is setting flowers at her father’s tombstone. Lois’ sister, Lucy, appears on the scene. Lois asks Lucy if her career in the military is what she always wanted. Lucy responds that their father always wanted a son who could follow him in the military. So, it is what their father would have wanted. Lucy comments that her following Lois to Metropolis was a pathetic attempt to live Lois’ life and not her own.
Lucy says that she did not want to be known as “Lois Lane’s younger sister.” Lois retorts that now Lucy is known as “The late General Sam Lane’s daughter.” Lucy quips that what Lois called her sounds much better. Lois responds that as long as Lucy for herself as much as she is for their father then Lois supports her. Lucy retorts “I’m not.”
We slide back to Kandor where we see the inhabitants suddenly gaining the ability to fly. Superman comments that it is starting. Zor-El muses that if only they had these wonderful powers when Brainiac attacked them. Zor-El states that Kandor will never be in harm’s way again. (Oh, you shouldn’t have said that. It is now only a matter of time before Kandor gets attacked and devastated.)
A Kryptonian holding a blue whale flies up to Zor-El’s balcony. The Kryptonian says that he found this creature in the water and that it tried to eat him. Therefore, the Kryptonian punched it. Superman comments that the Kryptonian killed the whale. The Kryptonian responds that it threatened him. Superman answers that it is just a whale. Supergirl adds that blue whales are endangered species on Earth. Zor-El says that he understands and promises that the Kandorians will be more careful in the future.
Superman retorts that this is exactly why he wants the Kandorians to meet the people of Earth. So that they can teach the Kandorians the rules. Superman says that he has had a lifetime to learn them. And that Superman in turn taught Kara the rules.
Zor-El comments that he understands Superman’s position, but while Zor-El and Aurora may be in charge of the city, that they do not control the people. Zor-El says that Kandorians are free to do what they please. Zor-El says that it appears that the Kandorians choose to go visit the Earthmen rather than having the Earthmen come to Kandor. We see Kandorians flying from the city. Superman says that the Kandorians must be supervised. Zor-El responds that they will be careful. That the Kandorians will be friends to Earth. Just like Superman.
Zor-El then summons Kal-El and Kara-El into the house. Zor-El says that it is time to have their first El family dinner in years. Supergirl tells Superman to not worry and to trust her father. The El family then enters the house of El for dinner.
We cut to the Kent home in Smallville. It is dark and raining. Ma Kent is at the kitchen table by herself with a plate of food. She just sits there motionless.
We hop over to the Daily Planet where Jimmy is sitting there waiting for Clark. Jimmy tells Lois that he has something important to talk to Clark about. Lois says that Clark is busy helping out his mother so it is best that Jimmy not talk to Clark for a while. Lois notices that Jimmy is extremely bothered. Lois then tells Jimmy that he can trust her and tell her whatever he wanted to talk to Clark about.
Jimmy then recounts the events told in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen Special #1. Jimmy says that the bottom line is that the military is amassing all sorts of Kryptonite weaponry. Lois comments that the military wants a way to defeat the Kryptonians. Jimmy adds that the military project is designed to defeat just one Kryptonian: Superman. Jimmy thinks that the military doesn’t just want to defeat Superman. That they want Superman dead.
Lois asks who is the officer in charge of the military project. Jimmy responds that he never found out who was in charge of the operation. Jimmy says that whoever it is, he is doing everything he can to make sure no one finds out his identity.
We slide over to Lex Luthor’s jail cell. Lex is drawing a blueprint on the wall for a rocket that will save the world. Suddenly, the cell door opens and a figure enters and says that it is odd that a rocket would save Earth considering that a rocket from Krypton put Earth on its path of destruction.
The Good: Superman: New Krypton Special #1 was a great read. DC hit a home run with this special issue. The purpose of Superman: New Krypton Special #1 is to generate fan interest in what Johns and Robinson have planned for the Superman franchise over the course of the upcoming year.
The writers did a fine job plotting this issue. Superman: New Krypton Special #1 effectively pulls together all of the various plotlines from Action Comics and Superman into one cohesive major story. This issue does its job of laying out a clear direction for both Superman titles and also manages to hook the reader’s interest into picking up both titles to follow this monster story.
The first three pages had absolutely no dialogue. Franks’ artwork was unbelievably powerful as he conveyed such a range of emotions from Clark’s heart wrenching sorrow, Lana’s feelings of regret and shame to Bruce Wayne’s ever constant distant personality. Most writers would have not had the restraint to allow an artist to tell the story. I appreciated the fact that we were not flooded with narration boxes.