Hope everyone has been having a great holiday season!
The year is almost over and with 2010 just hours away all of the comic book companies have already revealed some of their plans for 2010. With so many different announcements that have been made by the various comic book companies there looks to be a lot of big things happening in the world of comics in 2010. Because of that I asked the guys here at the Revolution to put together a top 5 things they are most looking forward to in the coming year, in no particular order.
1. Paul Levitz writing the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Levitz has written some of my favorite stories on one of my favorite series. I recently was in a discussion where I had trouble deciding between Shooter and Levitz as my favorite Legion writer. If he is teamed with the right artist and can bring back some of the magic he had previously, this could be my favorite book of the year. It seems like DC is supporting his return more than they did Shooter's return to the book.
2. Jim Shooter writing Magnus, etc.
Another favorite of mine was the original Valiant books written by Jim Shooter. I fully expect this to be a quality relaunch when Dark Horse starts publishing the new version. If these are close to the Valiant books in writing, art, etc. I will be thrilled.
3. Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans graphic novel-Games.
The team of Wolfman and Perez produced one of the all time classic series on Titans. From the introduction of the new team through the Judas Contract, Titans was a must read book. This book has been years in the making but sounds like it will finally happen this year.
4. Return of Bruce Wayne by Grant Morrison
Morrison is another favorite of mine. His stories don't always make sense when you first read them but when the story is finished I can see what I missed when I read it. I always enjoy trying to understand where he is going. I prefer the down to earth Batman stories but it is fun to read the science fiction stories occasionally. This is a side of Batman that is rarely seen today.
5. Matt Fraction writing Thor.
I have been disappointed by much of Fraction's work at Marvel. Based on comments he made when this was announced, I am looking forward to what he has planned for this book. It sounds like he is returning to the Walt Simonson type of stories. Simonson's Thor was amazing. I look forward to a return to the cosmic adventures done by Simonson. I think this pick will surprise our regular readers but I am willing to give Fraction a chance on this title.
1. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol 3: Century - Ch. 2 Paint it Black by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
There is entirely not enough LoXG in the universe. This kaleidoscopic retro-futuristic recombinant story blows by way too fast in its beautiful nine-panel grid melodies. I will always welcome more of Moore and O'Neill. The new format of longer and more self-contained chapters suits Moore's intricate stories and rich subtext and O'Neill's addictive clarity. As the plots timeline catches up to our own it will be interesting to see the referential elements resonate with contemporary works.
2. The rest of Daytripper by Moon and Ba
A quiet grenade for your eyes. The artistwriters seamlessly integrate styles and generate slices of life that set fire to things. They are sweet and brutal simultaneously like licorice armed with a knife.
3. Freakangels continuing by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
Ellis and Duffield generously crank out the ensemble sci-fi drama for free every Friday on their website. Periodically, they publish chunks in TPB form. This story concerns a group of unrelated people, born simultaneously and possessing violet eyes, who both caused and survived the end of the world. They have powers of the mental variety and use them to maintain order in a small bastion of civilization on the roofs of Whitechapel, England. The story examines what it is to "succeed to death."
4. Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy
Morrison returns to creator-owned territory with a story I know next to nothing about. Murphy will set your teeth on edge with a murky crispness. The previews in the back of recent issues of Vertigo series demonstrates Morrison will again be working in his Post Post-Modernist fever dream. Murphy demonstrates his huge versatility by stepping outside his neon chiaroscuro of Criminal. I suspect is about a child examining his pastiche imaginary world and self-actualization - territory well articulated by Morrison.
5. Re-printing of Cages by Dave McKean
I have never read this. I love Mckean as an artist and writer. He generates stories of simple weirdness. I look forward to Dark Horse getting this thing out there again. For examples of prior McKean greatness check out the movie Mirrormask where cities crumple like paper and unfold like roses or check Youtube for the short film "The Week Before" about what God spent his time doing the week before (S)He created the cosmos. These are your assignments. You cannot refuse.
1. New Year's Resolutions
I know it just clears the way for the next series of events, but the seven-years in the making - as in seven years of non-stop events - "Siege" will finally end this roller coaster, which peaked around "House of M" and has been going steadily downhill since. No more skrulls, no more Norman, if for no reason other than the fact that individual books' editors can't even keep up anymore. Ares wants to kill Nick Fury. The Black Widow was apprehended 6 different times in 6 different ways, each one contradicting the other, over a period of several weeks. Oh, and we hope you weren't enjoying "Reborn" too much, 'cause heeeere's Cap!
2. Superman vs. Muhammad Ali reprints!
The Kryptonian Pandemonium vs. the guy played by Will Smith! Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams! A return to ridiculousness! I'm all for it!
3. Del Rey Comics
It's difficult to imagine a more auspicious debut for a comic company than Del Rey's adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub's "The Talisman". And the world is very much ready for a new comics company with a new approach. The big two and the not-so-small indies, along with industry kingpin Diamond, have become stagnant and out of touch. New distribution methods like iPhone apps, and new publishers, are the first signs that the status quo is finally beginning to change. And although they're new to comics, Del Rey is a proven publishing pro with a history of doing "genre" material right.
4. More Stephen King comics!
Stephen King's comics, beginning with Marvel's Dark Tower books, accomplished what I thought was impossible ever since I saw Tim Curry in "IT" - namely, making me take King seriously. I'm a total King comic fanboy, and N is finally coming out. Over at Marvel in the Dark Tower-verse, the Battle of Jericho Hill is just getting started and the Stand is still standing, and I can't wait to see more of King's work over at...
5. Blackest Night: Canceled series - RISE!
Atom and Hawkman? Starman? The Question? SUICIDE SQUAD?!? Viva Los Muertes!
1. Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.
I adore everything about the Multiverse and I like Morrison. So, a mini-series involving the Multiverse and being written by Grant Morrison is a tailor made title for me.
This is going to be a seven-issue mini-series with each issue starring a different Multiple Earth. One of the issues is going to star the original Charlton Comics characters from Earth-4. I adore the Charlton Comics characters and have hated how DC has butchered and killed them off in the modern DCU. So, I am looking forward to seeing them in all their glory.
Another one of the issues is rumored to take place on Earth-5 starring the classic Marvel Family. Morrison has displayed a better feel for Captain Marvel’s character during Final Crisis than any other current writer at DC. Unfortunately, DC has also poorly handled these Fawcett Comics characters. It will certainly be nice to see the Marvel Family in all their glory once again.
Earth-X is going to be the setting for another one of the issues. This issue will star the Freedom Fighters, a collection of great Quality Comics characters. These are also a set of characters that DC acquired and proceeded to do little with and then simply killed off. Again, it will be nice seeing these characters back and better than ever.
2. Earth One Original Graphic Novels.
Like I said, I love the Multiverse. So, I was thrilled to hear that DC is going to trot out some Earth One graphic novels in 2010. I still have my reservations that Geoff Johns is the proper writer to handle Earth One Batman. Johns has never displayed any like or enjoyment for Batman’s character. However, I dig the selection of JMS to handle Earth One Superman. JMS should deliver an iconic and mythic version of Superman.
3. Bruce Wayne’s Return.
I know Morrison’s Batman was an acquired taste. I completely understand why some readers strongly disliked what Morrison did on Batman. Having said that, personally, I loved Morrison’s Batman. So, I am looking forward to Morrison continuing the story he had cooking in Batman RIP and Final Crisis.
The Batman titles have suffered since Bruce’s “death.” The Batman titles have always been DC’s strongest performers, but their sales numbers have slipped since Bruce was taken off the table. The most recent sales numbers show both Batman and Detective Comics selling less than they were when Bruce Wayne was starring in both titles.
The Battle for the Cowl story was dull and uninteresting. Batman and Robin has been a disappointment as it has failed to live up to my high expectations. I love Dick Grayson’s character, but his run as Batman has been largely unimpressive. Dick is a much more compelling character when he gets the chance to be his own character rather than simply being Batman Lite.
4. Marvel’s Cosmic Characters.
I grew up more of a Marvel fan than I did a DC fan. So, it does not please me that I could largely care less about the core Marvel titles dealing with the 616 Universe.
Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man and Uncanny X-Men are shallow and unoriginal reads that are recycling old themes. The X-titles in general are in a state of disarray. The X-titles have become so bogged down in continuity and are simply spinning their wheels re-hashing old stories. Honestly, the return of Jean Grey is about the last thing that is going to get me interested in reading an X-title. Even X-Factor, which was one of my favorite Marvel titles and the best X-title, is a shell of what it was prior to Messiah Complex.
Bendis’ New Avengers delivers slow and pointless stories starring C-list characters. Mighty Avengers has not been as good as I had hoped. Amazing Spider-Man has been hit or miss due to the constantly rotating stable of writers. Loeb’s Hulk is just not a well-written title. Wolverine and his titles get less and less cool with the more overexposed his character becomes.
I am so completely worn out and bored of Dark Reign and all the related Dark Reign titles. Siege does little to excite me. Especially given the unimpressive preview for Siege where Bendis recycles the beginning of Civil War in order to kick off Siege. For the most part, Marvel’s big events have been a miss with me and I do not see that trend ending with Siege.
At this point, the only non-cosmic 616 Universe titles that I find to be consistently compelling reads are Brubaker’s Captain America, Hickman’s Fantastic Four and Pak and Van Lente’s Incredible Hercules.
For my money, the best aspects of the 616 Universe are the cosmic titles that DnA are handling for Marvel. Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard have all become incredibly compelling characters. DnA have made Marvel’s cosmic characters the most exciting, creative and dynamic aspect of the 616 Universe.
I have no idea what in the world DnA are going to unleash on us in 2010. However, I do know that whatever DnA are planning for Marvel’s cosmic characters that it is going to be fresh, exciting and quite entertaining.
5. The Marshal Law Omnibus.
Marshal Law is one of my all-time favorite characters. This character was the brainchild of two comic greats in Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neil. Mills and O’Neil deconstructed the super-hero genre like nobody else had at that time.
If you are impressed by what Garth Ennis is doing with The Boys then check out Marshal Law. Mills and O’Neil did it first. And, personally, I think Mills and O’Neil did it better. Ennis needs to send a royalty check to Mills and O’Neil from any money that he makes on The Boys.
The Marshal Law Omnibus is a full color deluxe oversized hardcover that weighs in at 7 5/8” x 11 ¾” and a whopping 512 pages. Unfortunately, even though this gem of a hardcover comes out in 2010, I am going to have to wait all the way to December 2010. Top Shelf, why must you torment me so with such a long wait!
1. Amazing Spider-Man: Gauntlet and Beyond
The most consistent title in my opinion that turned in good to great reads in 2009 was Amazing Spider-Man. And as a long time Spider-Man fan it has been a while since I have been able to say that this is a title I look forward to reading each month but the Spidey Brain Trust have brought back my favorite title since I was a kid to being one of my favorite's once again. With Marvel coming out with three different puzzle like images with the title saying "The Year of Spider-Man is 2010" I can't wait to see what the Spidey Brain Trust has in store for this title in 2010.
2. Earth-One Original Graphic Novels
This an very interesting concept that DC is doing in order to penetrate a different market than the typical comic book stores. Though I am not a fan of the name I am very interested to see what JMS and Geoff Johns will be able to do with Superman and Batman without any restrictions. JMS was a no brainer as the choice to write Superman. I expect him to bring the same epic feel he brought to Thor. With Johns I am interested to see his take on Batman since he has never written the character in a Batman series to my knowledge.
3. Return of Bruce Wayne
Even though I have had my problems with Morrison's writing I got to commend the man for always drawing me into his of the wall stories. From what has been said about this mini-series so far I expect another crazy story that I will not completely understand in single issues but will read great in one sitting. And how can you not love Caveman and Pirate Batman!?
4. Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre's Daredevil
Since the Lady Bullseye arc early in 2009 Daredevil has been a must read all year. With the new status quo for Matt and his supporting cast I don't remember the last time I was this into Daredevil. I have loved what Diggle and De La Torre have done with the character so far as they are doing a wonderful job exploring what makes the character tick. I have no idea where the creative team for this title are going to take the character which is great since there isn't this much unpredictability with other comic books by the Big 2.
5. DnA's Plans for Marvel Cosmic Universe
DnA have been pure gold with Marvel's cosmic line of title ever since the start of the original Annihilation. The cosmic side of Marvel has been just excellent. And with everything that happened in War of Kings DnA have just continued to be pure money with their new story Realm of Kings that is running through all of the cosmic titles over at Marvel. I can't wait to see where they take the Realm of Kings storyline as they really seem to building towards something epic.
1. Young Avengers coming back
Ever since the initial first series ended the YA have been in a bit of a limbo. Inching their way through the Marvel Universe in waiting for Heinberg and Cheung to return for one last hurrah with the characters they created. It's been a long time coming.
Now luckily Marvel hasn't totally let the team just sit around and do nothing. A random mini-series here and there to keep them up with the current status quo. Teaming up with the Runaways and recently the excellent Dark Reign mini-series. So far the YA have still been fairly prominent but it's obvious that they have yet to really come full circle from prior developments of the original series.
Sure Patriot and Hawkeye got together, sort of, and Vision and Stature got together but other then 2 hookups the characters haven't been able to really go too far with the limitation that was set when Heinberg planned to eventually return to the characters. They haven't been able to do all they can do.
But now that's all finally changing as the creators are returning and hopefully going to wrap up all their developments and set a new status quo for the team that other writers could take and run with later on. It would be great to finally see all these points come full circle.
For one there's Kang of the future, his younger self who wants to be a hero. We saw a glimpse of him in the second half of the first series but since then he sort of just disappeared. I can't tell if I want him to come back or not. While he was a decent character, him coming back would create a love triangle with Kang/Stature/Vision and I'm rarely fond of a love triangle. They are often very boring.
Then there are characters like Patriot and Hawkeye who both have some legacies to live up to. With Cap coming back I'd think they should touch on Patriot's thoughts on this and I'm sure Hawkeye wants to talk to Clint Barton some more. These seem like 2 obvious things they should touch on.
I would hope that Stature and Vision would still take place in the series but with their current roles in the Mighty Avengers it seems unlikely that the mini could change them too much since it could have trouble matching up with their current status. It's all up in the air at this point.
There's also Wiccan and Speed and the possible return of the Scarlet Witch. I believe Heinberg said he wanted to bring her back and since it would clearly impact these 2 that would be a really fascinating twist and a really interesting read.
There are other things like Hulkling and his ties to the Skrull and Krees but those seem like more far off possible stories. Right now I just hope the 8-issue/bi-monthly mini can wrap up all these plot points so we can have some closure and maybe even a fun shake up of the team. So while 2010 is looking to be an exciting year for new possible stories, I'm mostly excited for a story that wraps up a long developing group of stories. Go figure. Well I've always loved the YA so I can't wait to see more of them come Summer 2010.
2. More Image
I really could fill this entire list up with Image Comics if I wanted. Jersey Gods, Invincible, Haunt, Image United, Witchblade, Angelus, Spawn, the list goes on. Image had another great year with 2009 and I expect 2010 to be no different.
Sadly Image United hit a snag as I predicted, but at least Image is trying to fill the void with new material such as Image United #0 having some extra goodies and Interlude, which will have Invincible! Everyone's been clamoring for something with Invincible and here we go.
I'm reading Image United mostly just for the characters and the art and 2 parts in and the story has hit a snag. Already it's feeling dull but I'm really hopeful that Kirkman can bring us back with #3 if it can make it to January on time. Supposedly something back happens there so I've got my fingers crossed. Though either way I'll still enjoy the art at the very least.
Invincible returning to his old costume should be a lot of fun. Though a recent cover teases the idea of him leaving Eve over something and that of course worries me. I'm dying to find out what happens to Eve with her pregnancy. Does she keep the baby, abort it, miscarriage, who knows! Knowing Kirkman though the baby will probably die.
My best guess is that Eve either tells Mark and he leaves her. Or she gets an abortion without telling him, that upsets him that she did that without telling him first so he leaves her for that. Both would be heart-wrenching for the readers so that's' where I figure Kirkman is going.
Though obviously there's a lot more to be excited over Invincible for. It's just the pregnancy that's at the forefront of my attention, though the looming Viltrumite war is also exciting as all hell and should be great. Also hopefully this means that we'll have a reunion of father and son finally.
Jersey Gods hit a little delay but that's okay. This series is good enough for the wait and it has been my favorite new ongoing series of 2009. Definitely the best new series Image is putting out (sorry but I'm not reading Chew) and it is tons of fun to read each month so I'm really excited to see where the book goes in 2010.
Witchblade seems to be taking a little bit of a breather and having more short and easy story arcs after following up on the somewhat disappointing War of the Witchblades from this year. That's a good thing since I've been enjoying the shorter and more easy arcs since they are a lot more fun and interesting to read then the long dragged out stories.
Also Angelus started this year but it wraps up in 2010 and I'm really excited to see where Marz and Sejic go with the mini-series. I think it could easily have potential to be the mini-series of the year!
Haunt wraps up it's first arc in 2 months and that should be exciting though really the entire series has me excited for more. 2010 is looking even better for the young series with Greg Capullo actually lending his brilliant pencils to issue #6 which I'm sure will look gorgeous.
Haunt has definitely been a very interesting series and where Krikman takes it after it's first story arc is crucial. He's built up the mystery and is slowly unraveling just a few pieces of it but he's also got to make sure this series works for more then just it's mystery, that these 2 brothers can still do the hero thing even after all is revealed otherwise this might as well have been a mini-series or something.
I hate to say it but I'm not very excited for Spawn actually, which is why Image is not higher on the list. Spawn for me was the flagship Image title when I was a kid. It was always my favorite Image comic and now it's just all falling apart it seems. McFarlane seemed to know what he's doing but now it's all just crumbled.
For one he can't seem to get the damn book out on time. #196 was solicited for September of this year, and now it won't make it until January of 2010. I call bullshit. I did so on twitter and McFarlane said it was his fault. That Rob Liefeld (guest artist for the issue) had done his part but it was on Todd since he was so busy. That doesn't make this delay any more frustrating.
Then after the big 200th issue, we get a new team of 2 people I've never heard of. Now I am willing to give the new team a try, after all David Hine paid off big time and I'd never heard of him, but it really just seems like McFarlane has do idea what he's doing with Spawn anymore.
I love Spawn and I always will but nowadays it's just getting harder and harder to read this series. It's the comic that got me back into a comics a few years ago and if not for Spawn I wouldn't be writing this very post for you all. But I feel like I'm in a relationship with someone who I'm totally committed to and care about, but who doesn't give a damn about me or anything else.
I really am glad that McFarlane gave some new changes to Spawn. It's nice to see him trying again but really it just seems like he totally lost all focus and direction. First he fired Brian Holguin from writing the series which was a huge mistake. If McFarlane wants someone to write Spawn, get Holguin for god's sakes. He's a 1,000 times better writer then McFarlane ever has been and I can already tell he's better then the new guy.
Maybe I'm just a scorned fan who feels like he's been done wrong. But I love Spawn a lot so seeing the series just so unfocused and rocky is really hard for me. I'm really hopeful that by mid-2010 McFarlane can get his crap together and fix his series or I may do something I never thought I'd do, drop Spawn.
Image as a whole though seems to be having a really exciting year with 2010. Every series is doing something new or interesting and I can't wait to read more as the new year rings in.
3. Batman Beyond Returns
It was announced a long while back that DC has plans for Batman Beyond in 2010. Not much else has been said since and I've been dying to find out what their plans are for him. I just recently picked up the animated film Return of the Joker (unfortunately it came packaged with the mediocre Mystery of the Batwoman movie) and it was great. It reinvigorated my love for the Batman Beyond series.
My real hope is that the team of Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami all got together for a new animated film. While we did get a good amount of closure from the JLU/Batman Beyond story I still want one final hurrah for this series. Something really big for Terry. He deserves it.
Also I want to see Max again! Whatever happened to her? She was just as important to Batman as Bruce Wayne or Terry's Family was. She was his main intelligence person. But she never showed up in Return of the Joker or the JLU story. What the hell, DC? She deserves to come back.
But most of all I want Terry to have his one last final hurrah that's all him. Much as I absolutely loved Return of the Joker, that was more then just Terry's movie. It served as filling the gap between the original cartoon and Beyond. While I loved that 10 minute flashback, it was my favorite part of the movie, Terry deserves a movie that's 100% his.
There has also been talk about a new animated series but I think that's a much more far off dream. DC seems to be focusing all their extra animated power into the animated films like the new Justice League film as well as the prior movies for Superman/Batman and Green Lantern. So a new animated series seems very unlikely, but if that was the case that would be even better!
Though sadly my best guess is that it's just going to be a mini-series. While that would be nice too, I'm more used to Batman Beyond in animation so that's how I'd love to see it. Though if the mini was written by Paul Dini with art by Bruce Timm or Glen Murakami that could be great as well.
Either way I'm excited as all hell to see what DC has planned for Batman Beyond. I'm much more excited for this then whatever the hell it is they plan to do with bringing back Bruce Wayne. We all know how that's going to go. I'm more excited for a more interesting come back.
4. Blackest Night's End
A typical choice I know but up until the last 2 issues of the event I probably wouldn't have said this. Blackest Night was solid, but painfully predictable in it's first half but now that it's entered it's second half it seems like the real show has begun. I'm excited as all hell to see where it goes.
One thing I'm curious about is the Earth Lantern Heroes. Could Ray still be an Indigo Lantern, or Mera still a red lantern? I know damn well that Barry will be back to normal as will Lex Luthor and probably Scarecrow as well but it's hard not to hope this may change at least one or two of these heroes.
I'm not 100% certain I'll be reading Green Lantern after Blackest Night. I want to, but it's a budget thing. Either way I'm excited for this event all over again and I'm really pumped to see what Johns does next with it.
5. Arkham Asylum 2 Info
Funny how I'm not really all that excited with the return of the real Batman, but the return of him in a video game has me excited as all hell. Yes the recently announced sequel to my game of the year, Batman: Arkham Asylum, has me jumping with anticipation.
But sadly I'm well aware that we won't be getting the sequel in 2010, unless it's very late 2010. Usually game sequels are at least a good solid year apart and that's for a steady series. So while I'm excited for the game, for now I'm just dying to find out more about it.
It would seem the original team of gave designers are behind it, and it would seem that Paul Dini, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin will be reprising all their roles at least it would seem that way but so far we don't really have anything definitive saying what the game will be like or any info on it.
There's no doubt the game will be getting lots of press through 2010, trailers, behind the scenes stuff, etc. They would be crazy not to hype up this game after all the hype and praise the first one got. 2010 will hopefully give us a good amount of knowledge about the game in preparations for what I'm hoping will be an early 2011 release.
I love the first game so much and while the downloadable content has been great I'm dying for more. If Rocksteady can wake their magic wand and improve on some of the small problems the first game had then I think we could be in store for something real special here.
First Wave, Flash monthly, Hickman/Eaglesham Fantastic Four, Siege, Miracleman, THUNDER Agents, Fall of the Hulks, Marvel Boy mini-series, Incorruptible, Invincible, Blackest Night Ending and Aftermath, Jeff Parker's Agents of Atlas.
We all hope everyone has a great new year. There are some big things coming in from all of the comic book companies so let us know what you are looking forward to in 2010.
Now just don't do too much drinking at your New Year's Eve party. ;)
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Hope everyone has been having a great holiday season!
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story – The New Guardians
Yeah I know I said earlier that I was not going to be able to get Blackest Night #6 but somehow found myself going to the comic shop after having a very busy morning. In any case I got this 6th issue of DC's big event and like the other five issues of this event Geoff Johns seriously disappoints with another issue. This issue more so than the last five issues relied heavily on Ivan Reis's artwork to deliver the "WOW" moments.
I am going to be honest in saying that the last part of the issue where each one of the leaders of the 7 different Lantern Corps choose seven different heroes of Earth was entertaining more so for the fact it was something I was hoping would happen in Blackest Night than what it means to the story. Johns did a very good job giving the reader a reason why each character was chosen to be a member of their respective Lantern Corps. The only weird one I found was Wonder Woman as I have never seen her as the DC character who symbolizes love but that is more because I have never being a fan of the character and have never actually read her ongoing series.
The one thing I will praise Johns for is his characterization of the various characters he is handling. Each of the leaders of the Lantern Corps was all great. I especially liked how they acted when Ganthet revealed that all of the Lantern rings have the power to clone a ring and give the power of a Lantern to one person. Also I did like the scene with Barry going into the future by two seconds in order for the Black Lantern rings that were chasing him and Hal to stop.
The problem with what Johns wrote, however, is that there is absolutely no plot progression in the first half of the issue. The first half of the issue was just one giant recap of what the reader already knew and all the scenes we got where just recycled scenes from previous issues. And with us being in the latter part of this event and only three issues left in this event I should not feel like I read most of these scenes before. It is just unacceptable for Johns to continue to do this after we already got five issues of the same thing, not counting the Green Lantern tie-in issues.
Also because the first half of the issue felt like a recap what happened in the last issue with the resurrected heroes who were turned into Black Lanterns had absolutely no consequence in this issue. The roles Johns gives the various heroes turned Black Lanterns in this issue could have been taken by any of the Black Lanterns, even the ones without a connection to the heroes on the scene. We never see the Johns play up the emotions that Hal, Barry, Wonder Girl, the Titans, and the JLA that are on the scene actually react to what is happening. The heroes that where turned into Black Lanterns is yet another example of Johns employing flashy cliffhangers and spread pages that don't add anything to following issues as he instead continues to waste page space on scenes we have seen in other Blackest Night issue and in Green Lantern.
Also though I liked the explanations that Johns gave for deputizing the various DC characters as temporary Lanterns I did think that was a waste of pages as well. I probably would not have felt that way if the first half of the issue did not feel like a bunch of recap BS. But after Johns dedicated half the issue of recapping what the reader already knew to waste another 7 pages on just choosing the characters felt like Johns was again wasting time.
Another good example of Johns providing us nothing but filler was the scenes with Atom and Mera in the Black Lantern ring fighting Jean and John Stewart heading to Earth. Those two scenes were just recycled material of what happened in Green Lantern #49, which came out last week. And though I can understand why the scene with John heading to Earth may have been needed the scene with Atom and Mera did not anything to move the story forward and was just felt like Johns was trying to fill the page count.
And honestly the only plot progression we actually got in this issue was Ganthet introducing the fact the leaders of the Lantern rings can clone their rings, which was about two pages, and the last page which gave us a two page splash page of the seven new Lanterns. That is a total of four pages of development if you count the splash page as two pages. That is unacceptable at this point in the event. And the reason that the last page got me excited for the next issue was more to do with Reis's artwork than Johns writing.
The other problem with this issue is the other problem I have had with Blackest Night so far aside from the poor plotting. And that is that there is no sense of the epic scope of this event. Even though I was not a big fan of Grant Morrison's Final Crisis the one thing I thought he did very well with the event was portray how big and devastating what Darkseid was doing had huge ramifications for the entire DC Universe and the Multiverse. For all of its faults at least in Final Crisis I understood why it was such a big event as it had huge ramifications for the DC Universe if the heroes were unable to stop Darkseid.
That is what Johns fails to do here as Blackest Night feels more like an event that only affects the Earth and not the entire DC Universe. Even with the involvement of the other leaders of the various Lantern Corps it feels like they are just there to save the Earth and not the entire universe. If anything Blackest Night feels like a Justice League story and not one deserving of a company-wide event. And what hurts Blackest Night the most is that even though this is supposed to be the main book Johns and Peter Tomasi have done a much better job making this event epic in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps than this main book.
Which makes for another case why this event should have stuck to being in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps and not its own mini-series event. But in the end Blackest Night has just turned into what Secret Invasion turned into over at Marvel last year with the main story being told in what are supposed to be side books while the main mini-series is nothing but popcorn for the brain.
And that brings me to my final point, what the hell happened to Nekron and Black Hand. They did not even appear in this issue. For the two characters that are supposed to be the end bosses of this event they have done very little to make them a true threat. Johns has done nothing with the characters to make them come across as deserving villains for our heroes to band together to fight them. Nekron himself continues to come of as nothing better than a B-List villain at best.
As has been the case with Blackest Night so far the one part that does not disappoint is Ivan Reis gorgeous pencils. Along with his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair they turn in some stunning artwork. For all my complaints about the story what helps Johns snail-like paced story out is Reis's artwork. Without Reis this event would have been even worse.
Reis is near perfect with all of the artwork and with all of the spread pages and action Johns gives him to draw Reis is able to make Blackest Night at least look like a big event. From Barry running two seconds into the future to the choosing of the various DC characters to become Lantern Corps members to the final spread page the issue looks absolutely fantastic.
The only complaint I had against the art of this issue is the uncreative look of Lex Luthor's Orange Lantern costume. It just looked like Sinclair colored Lex's kryptonite suite orange. But that is just a very minor complaint as Reis artwork looked incredible throughout the issue.
Story: 5.2/10 – Again Johns provides very little in terms of plot progression even though now he only has two issues left in this event. Though I still will give Johns credit for some quality characterization even though it did not equate to making the story any better than the previous installments of this series.
Art: 9.6/10 – Outside of one character design Reis's artwork was incredible yet again. Reis and his inking and colorist crew are really the one's carrying this event. The artwork is just awesome.
Overall: 7.8/10 – Blackest Night #6 was another disappointing issue by Geoff Johns as he continues to stretch out the story to fit the eight issues of this series. The snail like pace that this event has been moving at is just unacceptable. Those who are waiting for the trade paperback of this event made the right choice as this event might read much better in one complete sitting than in single issues. Though because of all this recapping that Johns continues to makes me wonder about how it will read as a trade/hardcover.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Blackest Night has not blow us away here at The Revolution. Having said that, this story has gotten better with the last issue of this title. I am confident that Johns is going to end Blackest Night in an entertaining fashion. Let's go ahead and hit this review for Blackest Night #6.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Rainbow Raiders on their heels as they react to the various DCU heroes who have died and come back to life suddenly becoming Black Lanterns. A black power ring calls out for Hal and chases after him. Another black power ring calls out for Barry Allen and chases him. Sinestro wants to use lethal force against Black Lantern Superman, Black Lantern Wonder Woman and Black Lantern Green Arrow. Hal tells Sinestro to not use lethal force.
Barry quickly escapes Black Lantern Bart Allen's attack. Barry then tells Hal to create a green energy chain that Barry can grab onto. Barry takes Hal's green energy chain and wraps it around his torso. Barry tells Hal to hang on. Barry kicks it into high gear and races off.
The two black power rings chasing the two heroes follow. Hal says that the black power rings are fast. Barry replies that he is faster. We see Barry run two seconds into the future. The two black power rings then say "Connection severed." The two black power rings then de-power and drop to the ground.
Hal asks Barry if they stop Nekron will Superman and Wonder Woman die? Hal asks if both he and Barry will die. Barry looks at Hal and says "I sure as hell hope not." Barry then races off with Hal in tow as they head back to Coast City and the battlefield.
We shift to Black Lantern Jean Loring, The Atom (Ray Palmer flavor) and Mera inside of a black power ring. Deadman hops into Black Lantern Jean's body. Deadman says that he cannot control zombie Jean's body for very long. Deadman quickly warns Mera and Ray that Deadman has been hearing whispers inside of the black power rings. Deadman reveals that all of the Black Lanterns are headed for Earth.
Zombie Jean then yells for Deadman to get out of her body. Black Lantern Jean then regains control of herself. Mera asks Ray if they need Zombie Jean in order to get out of here. Ray replies "No." Mera says "Good" and proceeds to rip out Black Lantern Jean's tongue and impales Black Lantern Jean with her trident.
Zombie Jean cries out to Ray that she loves him and for him not to leave her like this.
Mera yells for Ray to ignore Jean and not look. Mera grabs Ray's hand and the two of them begin to grow and exit the black power ring.
We then cut to John Stewart streaking into the Earth's atmosphere with every single Black Lantern in the universe hot on his tail.
We hop back to Coast City and see Ray and Mera popping out of Wonder Woman's black power ring. Mera glows red with rage. Mera tells Atom to go find the Flash. Mera says that she will take care of Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Black Lantern Wonder Woman says that Mera cannot handle her. Mera replies that they are going to find out if that is true or not.
We see Barry and Hal arriving back on the scene. Sinestro is suprised to see the two heroes. Barry says that they outran the black power rings. Sinestro replies "Too bad." The Rainbow Raiders continue to blast away at the Black Lanterns.
Hal says that when they tried to combine their lights that they were only able to form a fraction of the white light. Evidently, destroying Nekron will require everyone channeling the light of life. Ganthet replies that they need all of their Corps to unite and use every beam of light they have to take down Nekron.
Indigo-1 agrees but points out that it will take some time getting all the members of the different Corps to Earth. Ganthet says that they will just have to find a way to hold off Nekron until then. Ganthet tells Hal that Hal's ring can replicate itself and has done so in the past during times of great need. Ganthet then reaches out and Hal's power ring splits into two. The second green power ring flies onto Ganthet's hand.
Ganthet says that the Rainbow Raiders can double their numbers. Ganthet explains that even though they all wield different colored lights, that all their technology that their power rings are based on are from the Guardians' technology. And unknown to the different Corps, the power rings contain the same safeguard.
According to the Book of Oa, during the Blackest Night, the rings are capable of deputizing a person for twenty-four hours. Ganthet says that as his last act as a Guardian he is now activating that safeguard in the power rings of each Rainbow Raider.
We see the power rings of each member of the Rainbow Raiders replicate themselves and then fly off and scan for a proper recruit for each respective Corps. The blue power ring flies to Barry and says that Barry Allen of Earth has the ability to instill great hope. Larfleeze yells for his replicated orange power ring to come back. Larfleeze yells that he will not share his power with anyone.
We cut to Lex Luthor in his hideout. Lex is in his battle armor. The Black Lanterns of all the people that Lex has killed come breaking through the hideout's main door. One of the Black Lanterns is Lex's father, Lionel Luthor. Lex starts blasting away at the Black Lanterns.
We hop over to Scarecrow torturing some woman with his fear gas. Scarecrow rants that he wishes to feel fear and only the Batman is capable of doing that. Suddenly, a yellow power ring flies onto the scene. The yellow power ring slides onto Scarecrow's finger and says that Jonathon Crane of Earth has the ability to instill great fear.
We slide back to Coast City where our heroes are battling the Black Lanterns. The indigo power ring flies over to the Atom and says that Ray Palmer of Earth has the ability to feel great compassion. The indigo power ring slides onto Ray's finger and says "Welcome to the Indigo tribe." Ray's eyes glow indigo and Ray says "Nok."
We see the violet power ring and the red power ring flying over to where Black Lantern Wonder Woman and Mera are battling each other. The red power ring replies that Mera of Earth has great rage in her heart. The red power ring then slides onto Mera's finger.
Carol tells Hal that Wonder Woman is bursting with love and that no one loves the planet more than Wonder Woman. The violet power ring wins the battle and the black power ring breaks apart and falls off Wonder Woman's finger. The violet power ring tells Wonder Woman "Welcome to the Star Sapphire Corps."
Hal is stunned by what he sees. We then see our newly assembled additions to the Rainbow Raiders, Lex Luthor, Scarecrow, Barry, Ray, Mera and Wonder Woman in their respective Corps' uniforms. Barry says "No more worries, Hal. All will be well." End of issue.
The Good: Blackest Night #6 was a fun read. This issue was much like cotton candy for the brain. It was enjoyable but certainly was not filling or anything extraordinary. Johns does a nice job constructing this issue.
The first half of Blackest Night #6 summarily unimpressed me. I was concerned that this issue was going to be another slow and pointless read. Luckily, Johns revealed a neat little plot twist of having the Rainbow Raiders' power rings replicate themselves. This plot twist in the second half of this issue was the clear strength of this issue and saved Blackest Night #6 from being a slow and dull issue.
I love the new recruits for the Rainbow Raiders that the replicated power rings sought out and recruited. Scarecrow was a natch for the Sinestro Corps. Lex Luthor as an Orange Lantern was spot on perfect. Few characters in the DCU exhibit the level of greed that Lex Luthor possesses. I absolutely adore this selection. I cannot wait to see Lex wielding the orange light in the next issue.
Also, with this plot twist that brings both Scarecrow and Lex into the Rainbow Raiders, Johns makes both characters' earlier appearances in this title make more sense. Originally, I found both the Scarecrow and Lex's insertion into Blackest Night as a bit odd and a time waster. Johns does a fine job proving me wrong in my original assessment.
Ganthet as a Green Lantern was an obvious choice. I have always liked Ganthet and I liked seeing him wielding the green power ring. Barry, who after his "death" in the original Crisis became the ultimate super hero martyr inspiring countless of other heroes in the DCU, was a natural selection for the Blue Lantern Corps.
Having the red power ring recruit Mera was a bit of a surprise. In the prior issues of Blackest Night, Johns made a point of showing how Mera was in tight control of her emotions thereby enabling her to come up "blank" on the emotional spectrum vision of the Black Lanterns. Of course, given the losses that Mera has sustained as of late with both Aquaman and Aqualad's deaths, her simmering rage is more than understandable.
Ray's selection for the Indigo Tribe based on his incredible amount of compassion was consistent with how Ray's character has been written since Identity Crisis. Ray's selection for the Indigo Tribe also hearkened back to the tribal aspect of his character from the 1983 Sword of the Atom mini-series.
The choice of Wonder Woman as a Star Sapphire was probably the one that I found the least exciting. I never really equated Wonder Woman with an incredible capacity for love. Of course, I will openly admit that I know next to nothing about Wonder Woman beyond her Golden Age roots. So, maybe her selection as a Star Sapphire was as spot on perfect as the rest of the recruits.
It is clear that the black power rings do not have as strong a control over the living reincarnated characters like Superman and Wonder Woman as they do over corpses. Johns very well may have been showing the reader exactly the manner in which the other reincarnated Black Lanterns can and will be saved.
Johns presented the reader with some nice character work in this issue. Johns continued to do a fantastic job with the buddy team of Hal and Barry. I love both characters, so seeing Hal and Barry in action together is the aspect of Blackest Night that I am enjoying the most. Johns clearly loves both characters and it shows in the nice chemistry that he whips up between Hal and Barry. Johns did a fine job showing the reader how Hal and Barry's personality differences compliment each other and, thereby, make them one seriously formidable team to deal with.
However, what has impressed me the most about Johns' character work in Blackest Night has been the surprisingly good handling of Mera's character. I strongly questioned Johns' heavy use of Mera at the beginning of Blackest Night. I have always viewed Mera as a rather lame character. Johns has pulled off the impossible and actually made me a big fan of Mera's character. I am thrilled that Johns has used Blackest Night as an opportunity to breathe life into a lower tier character like Mera.
I dig the edge that Johns has given Mera's character. However, Johns has not made Mera just a stereotypical and one-dimensional angry brawler. Instead, Johns has made Mera rather fascinating by giving her character some depth by showing the reader the personal sorrow and conflict that resides beneath the more overt rage and anger. Personally, I thought letting Mera go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman was a brilliant idea. It immediately elevated Mera's character into a force to be reckoned with.
Johns also cranks out some good dialogue. Johns has a fine feel for the various characters in this issue. The banter between Hal and Sinestro was spot on. The dialogue had a good flow and helped keep the reader's attention despite the lack of much plot progression in this issue.
Johns also treated the reader to a solid amount of action. This is not an action packed brawlfest, but Blackest Night #6 delivered enough action to keep the issue from being dull and dry.
Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado continue to craft plenty of beautiful artwork. Blackest Night #6 was a fantastic looking issue. Reis is capable of delivering incredibly dynamic action scenes just as well as he is at delivering emotional dramatic scenes. Reis was able to breathe so much life into a story that often lacks much depth or substance.
I particularly liked Reis' incredible two page splash shot of the new additions to the Rainbow Raiders. Ray Palmer's Indigo Lantern costume was an awesome design. Reis does a great job taking the old look that Ray sported back during the 1983 Sword of the Atom mini-series.
The Bad: Unfortunately, Blackest Night #6 suffered from the same defects that afflicted the previous issues of Blackest Night. The pacing on Blackest Night #6 was just terrible. Johns continues to move this story along at an excruciatingly slow pace.
There are only two issues left in this big event and the story is still advancing at the slowest possible pace. I honestly thought that Johns would have finally picked up the pacing on this story and kicked things into high gear for the final three issues. Instead, the slow pacing in this issue gives me the feeling that Johns is simply stalling for time in an effort to stretch Blackest Night out over the course of eight issues.
The plotting on Blackest Night #6 was unimpressive. Yes, there were a few neat plot twists, but for the most part, the plotting remains rather average. There is a lack of plot lines in this big event. Usually, Johns penned stories have multiple layers of plot lines running at the same time. That is not the case for Blackest Night as Johns has kept the number and nature of the plot lines rather simple and sparse.
There was practically no plot advancement at all for the first twelve pages of Blackest Night #6. There was a lot of sound and fury in this issue, but largely nothing happens at all in this issue other than the Rainbow Raiders getting some new recruits.
The first half of Blackest Night #6 was chock full of the same repetitious dialogue discussing how to beat Nekron and the Black Lanterns. Johns re-hashes once again how Nekron's plan involves using the reincarnated heroes in the DCU.
The fact that Blackest Night is so incredibly repetitive only serves to make it seem that much slower and shallow. There is nothing complex about the story in Blackest Night. Certainly, the plot lines and themes do not bear repeating so many times in order for the reader to understand them.
Even the final eleven pages dedicated to assembling the new recruits for the Rainbow Raiders seemed unnecessarily stretched out. The assembling of these back-ups could have been done in a much more economical fashion.
As entertaining as I found some of these new recruits, the fact is that these final eleven pages felt more like Johns was simply arranging game pieces on a game board than actual story development and plot progression. I understand that arranging the pieces is a necessary element of any story, however, I would have thought that Johns would have been done with that this late into Blackest Night.
Blackest Night #6 was another thin story that lacks much substance to it. Blackest Night has been a shallow read and this issue does nothing to change that fact. With only two issues left in this big event, it has become obvious that Johns had enough material for a four issue mini-series.
Unfortunately, someone within DC decided that Blackest Night should be an eight issue mini-series instead. The result is that a thin story appears even more shallow as Johns has had to stretch it out over the course of eight issues requiring the pacing to be slowed down to a crawl and a liberal amount of filler having to be added to the mix in order to puff up this story.
Blackest Night #6, and this mini-series in general, feels rather small in scale. At no point do I feel like I am reading a cosmic threat that is endangering the entire DCU. Final Crisis certainly had its faults, but at least it felt grand in scope. Final Crisis felt like a massive DCU big event. Blackest Night #6 feels more like just a Justice League of America story.
Overall: Blackest Night #6 followed Johns' normal formula for a comic books: Perform little plot progression, move the story along at a slow pace and then whip out a cool ending that gets the reader excited for the next issue. Readers who decided to wait and read Blackest Night in collected form made a wise decision. Blackest Night should be far more entertaining in the collected format.
When I first finished Blackest Night #6, I thought it was pretty entertaining. However, after thinking about the issue and writing this review, I realize that I like this issue much less now than I did once I finished reading it. The reason for that was because the final pages were so cool that they made me forget the fact that very little actually happened in this issue.
Having said that, I do believe that I will be in the minority when it comes to Blackest Night #6. I think that your average comic book reader will enjoy Blackest Night #6. Readers who have been enjoying Blackest Night up to this point will more than likely also enjoy Blackest Night #6.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Super-hero nostalgia is publicly executed and buried for the purposes of enriching the Jungian soil.
Various would-be-J. Robert Oppenheimers around the world create superhumanity for the purposes of tactical arms advantages and we, the readers, observe the ensuing car wreck.
The story opens shortly after the earth has been burned down to its skeleton. A British scientist, responsible for the U.K.'s foray into superhumanity, sits on some steps near the Old Bailey and dictates the step-wise end of the world to a counterpart in the U.S. While he drinks alcohol of an appropriately high proof, the story shifts between the various versions of superhumanity created by the different nations of the world. The story is a slowed-down and dissected car-wreck of how humanity created beings whose perception of the universe was so vastly different from ours that they could not care for us.
Does it Work?
Warren Ellis is the master of short-form science fiction in the modern era. The mechanisms of the style are very specific. You establish a concept in the form of a question and then design a plot to explore the world wherein that question is answered. The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone populate televised examples of high quality.
Comic books, however, are largely dominated by Super-Hero stories that endlessly examine conflicts between good and evil inherited from a simplistic Golden-Age morality. Notions of modern complexity inform modern comics only so far as it comes to accounting of the living and the dead.
The Big Two have wisely anchored there newest stories in the realm of zombies where the living and the dead can expeditiously co-mingle. Now they can effortlessly reshuffle their 1950's morality parable ad infinitum ad nauseum while forcing their accounts cum readers to play the same game, just faster.
Warren Ellis takes those 1950's concepts of conflict that super-hero readership refuses to mature and extends its antecedent paranoia that is always ignored. That paranoia provides the psychological fuel for an arms race of intelligent weapons that raze cities as reflexively as breathing. Humanity stumbles around flabbergasted as dozens of Hiroshimas and Nagasakis change the landscape into something befitting post-humanity and its weaponized physical tolerance. Warren postulates that post-humans of such an awesome power that they might populate a comic book would have psychologies so alien to our own that we could only observe their actions and comment.
These super-people are clearly rendered. The layouts are exceptionally clean grids. Ellis through his economy of dialogue and Gastonny through his fluency in placing the incredible next to the mundane achieve a documentarian effect: like Ken Burns stripped to the waist, covered in soot and blood, with a necklace of fingers while brandishing his beloved baseball bat.
In all: this comic is delightfully scary.
Issues of Execution:
From Anna Mercury to Black Summer, Ellis has been very consistent with his brief series from Avatar. The overall structure remains to be seen. The first two issues have revealed the mechanisms of the story but not the scope. If you are a plot-oriented reader of mainstream superhero comics consider picking this up in trade format to avoid frustration. If you are well versed in comics outside the mainstream then go ahead and pick this up. It will run for 5 issues.
Note:Future reviews will be less conceptual and I will actually talk about things like art in detail. In light of my introductory splenetic rant I chose to be philosophical for my overdue first review. If you have anything to say about that, remember the screwdriver.
Amazing Spider-Man #616
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Javier Pulido
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Story – Keemia's Castle
Sometimes saving the day does not always mean that the hero and those he or she saved get a happy ending. That is what Fred Van Lente and Javier Pulido reminded us with Amazing Spider-Man #616 that ended this short Sandman arc. It is a refreshing change of pace when a comic can give us this type of ending instead of a cliffhanger type ending that leads into another arc that has become common place during this modern era of comics.
What makes the ending that we get at the end of this issue is that it plays up the old Peter Parker luck. Even when Peter does something good it somehow turns out bad for Peter and making him look bad as himself or as Spider-Man. And I liked what Carlie told Peter after he saved her job in saying that making the tough choices is what makes a person a hero which is a great way for Van Lente to sum up why Spider-Man is amongst the greatest of heroes.
Fred Van Lente did a great job in creating a very fun, classic feeling two-part Sandman story. Sandman, like other classic villains from Spider-Man Rogue Gallery, has been underutilized over the past few years. It is a shame to since Spider-Man has one of the better Rogues Gallery in comics which is why this Gauntlet overarching story arc running through Amazing Spider-Man has been fun to read so far. Van Lente prove that you can take a villain like Sandman and give him a story that as a reader I will remember and still enjoy when I read it again in the future.
Also, Javier Pulido and Javier Rodriguez deserve a lot of credit for this two-part story as well as they combined to deliver some great artwork. I really enjoyed all of the art for the Spider-Man vs. Sandman. The fight was a lot of fun as Pulido and Rodriguez combine to deliver a great looking comic and the art in these two issues is amongst my favorite artwork we have gotten on this title up there with Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr. and Jr., and Marcos Martin.
Story: 9.5/10 – Fred Van Lente knocks another issue out of the park as he is proving to be one of the better writers on the Spidey Brain Trust.
Art: 8.8/10 – Pulido and Rodriguez combined to deliver a great looking Spider-Man book.
Overall: 9.15/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #616 was another great read in what has become one of the most consistently well written comics on the market. It is great that I am able to say this about Amazing Spider-Man again. I have said it before but I am going to say it again, if you haven't been picking up Amazing Spider-Man because of all the OMD/BND stuff than you need to come back to this title because it has gone back to being a great title.
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Butch Guice and Luke Ross
Colorist: Dean White
Story – Who Will Wield the Shield?
Before I say anything about this issue let me get this out of the way. Marvel seriously mishandled the return of Steve Rogers. Sure it was obvious that Steve would return in Captain America: Reborn, it is in the freaking title, but that is no excuse for how Marvel spoiled the hell out of the ending of Brubaker's story before it was even done. And if my memory is correct Reborn has only missed one month since the start and Marvel even added an extra issue to the series meaning the story would end in January. Something like this is known by a publisher for a while which should allow them to tell their writers like Fraction and Bendis, both of who spoiled Reborn's ending in Invincible Iron Man and Dark Avengers Annual, to tell them to calm down Steve's return story is still not officially over. Just some common professionalism for both the writer, Brubaker, writing Steve's return as well as the readers reading the story is all a fan asks for especially when comics are coming out on time with little to no delays. Just a poor management job by Marvel's editorial team.
Alright, now that mini-rant is done. As for this issue even though the recap page spoiled how the Reborn ends by giving us most of the details of how issue #6 will turn out Brubaker, Guice, and Ross turned in a very good issue with an unexpected twist at the end. Like many I expected Steve to take back the Captain America mantle even though I have like Bucky being Captain America much more than when Steve was in the role. I was glad that didn't happen as Brubaker gave us a valid reason for why Steve is not ready to take back the role upon his return to the Marvel Universe.
Bucky in many respects is in the same position that Dick Grayson is currently in over on all the Batman titles as he has taken over the role of his mentor. The big question in comics when it comes to sidekick characters has always been when are we going to see them take over for their mentors. But because of how comics work when a sidekick is allowed to grow he usually takes another separate role instead of taking his mentor's role, like Bucky becoming Winter Soldier and Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing.
Because of that the work Brubaker has done to make Bucky a fully realized character as Winter Soldier and when Bucky took over the role of Captain America is so great. Brubaker has shown that there is a way to allow a former sidekick to actually take over the role of his mentor and make it be an accepted change of the guard to many fans. And that is what Brubaker does a great job in reinforcing Bucky has been doing a great job as Captain America in this issue.
I like that the way Brubaker chose to reinforce this is by having Steve in his Captain America costume watch Bucky, in his Captain America costume, fighting Hyde and his crew. Even though Steve was still trying to recover from the events he just went through you could tell through his inner monologue that he was proud of Bucky, like a father is of a son when the son grows up. Even though Steve did feel weird watching someone else as Captain America he knew that for now it is for the best that Bucky continues being Captain America as it is has become an important part of who Bucky is now.
And I am curious to the image of the future that Steve did see at the end of Captain America: Reborn #6, which has yet to come out. It is clear that it played a part in why Steve didn't want to resume being Captain America and with his meeting with President Obama I do wonder what kind of role Steve will play in Siege. From the covers to Siege and all the related material to the event I kind of figured Steve would be leading all of the heroes as Captain America in their fight against Norman Osborn but now I am not sure.
Story: 8/10 – Brubaker provide a great story that showed why Bucky is still going to be Captain America while Steve takes on a different role.
Art: 9/10 – Butch Guice and Luke Ross combined to deliver some excellent artwork that is very similar to their and Eptings work on Captain America. Though I am enjoying Bryan Hitch's work on Reborn the artwork by Guice and Ross is more of the look I expect now from a Captain America book.
Overall: 8.5/10 – Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? was a great read that would have been better if Captain America: Reborn was over before this one-shot came out. But you can chalk it up as another one of Marvel's editorial screw ups in how they have handled Steve's return to the Marvel Universe. Still a must read if you are a Captain America fan and have been reading Reborn.
Green Lantern #49
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ed Benes, Marcos Marz, and Jerry Oroway
Inkers: Ed Benes and Luciana Del Negro
Story – Sempte Fi; The Birth of Nekron
Aside from a few brief appearances in Green Lantern here and there John Stewart has become the most underutilized member of the Green Lantern Corps post-Sinestro Corps War but finally Geoff Johns gives John some much deserved screen time. This whole issue was a look at what John is up to during Blackest Night as we see him fighting a planet filled with Black Lanterns.
After being neglected for so long Geoff Johns did a very good job writing John Stewarts character and reminding readers why he is a Green Lantern. Even though John was against all the odds facing down a planet filled with Black Lanterns that have even given all of Earth's heroes and the Lantern Corps trouble he stood up and fought back with a vengeance.
And I really dug the flashback to John's time in the war was a good way to inform readers unfamiliar with John's history and show give some background why he creates military constructs with his ring. The final few pages with John creating his own military with his ring and then leaving the planet he is on only to see he is right by Earth was great. This actually has me looking forward to Blackest Night in hopes that Geoff Johns is able to pick up on this plot thread in an effective way.
Ed Benes provided some solid artwork. He did a very good job with showing how powerful John's will is and I especially like the moment when Jon made his own military corps. And the artwork Marcos Martz provided for the flashback scenes were equally impressive even if there was a noticeable difference in art styles.
The only problem I had was with the back-up feature that was a month to late. The art by Jerry Oroway was good the back-up didn't do much other than give us a look at something that happened before. Though I am interested to see what role Deadman will play in Blackest Night #6 with his appearance at the end of the back-up.
Story: 7.6/10 – It was good to see John Stewart's character gets some attention as he showed why he is a Green Lantern.
Art: 8.1/10 – Even though we have three artists working on this single issue Benes, Martz, and Oroway combined to provide a great looking comic as there were three different stories being told in this issue.
Overall: 7.85/10 – Green Lantern #49 was a nice spotlight issue on John Stewart. And again this Green Lantern issue was a good lead into Blackest Night as there seems to be big things that will be happening in that issue. Now I just hope Geoff Johns can follow up this development and actually deliver with Blackest Night #6.
Wolverine: Weapon X #8
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Michel Lacombe
Colorist: Nathan Fairbarin
Story – Insane in the Brain
It is a shame that I have not been able to review Weapon X often because Jason Aaron has been doing a spectacular job with this Wolverine series. Aaron has reminded me why as a kid Wolverine was one of my favorite superheroes. What is great about Weapon X is that Aaron is going back to making Wolverine a great character by not being brought down by the whole Wolverine remembers his past that the character has been stuck on since House of M.
And this "Insane in the Brain" arc is something new for the character as I never expected Wolverine to end up in the type of setting Aaron puts him in. It is a great idea placing him in an insane asylum. Aaron is doing a lot of quality character work as he is exploring the characters psyche in these past three issues.
And he has really created some interesting characters in this setting that are as awesome as they are creepy. Aaron shows he has the creative mind to create some new characters in a story and instantly make them a threat. It is always good to see a writer take time to create new villains with depth and that challenges the title's hero in a new way instead of the usual villain that gives the hero something else to fight (cough*Rulk*cough).
Yanick Paquette provided some excellent artwork in this issue as he has throughout this arc. This is some of Paquette best artwork. He does a great job putting a lot of detail into the issue and with this arc being mostly talking heads and very little action he has done a great job with all of the characters facial expressions. He does an especially great job with the doctor's lab in making it just a creepy mad science lab.
Story: 9.6/10 – Aaron continues to prove that he was born to write Wolverine and that he is still able to find new stories to tell with the character.
Art: 9/10 – Paquette again provided some spectacular artwork especially for a story that has been mostly talking heads.
Overall: 9.3/10 – Wolverine: Weapon X #8 was another great read. Weapon X is one of the better comics on the market and if you are interested in reading stories about Wolverine than pick this title because it has been great. Aaron is telling some of the best Wolverine stories that I have read in a long time.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Marvel started this "family event" off with a bang. Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier crafted a great opening story to set the stage for this one. For this issue, Marvel has assembled a classic art team in John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson.
In the previous issue, we saw how the Intelligensia (Marvel's league of intelligent villains) was formed. They were helping each other behind the scenes. Then Dr. Doom betrayed them. M.O.D.O.K. presented his new plan to the Leader. They would create their own Hulk. A stronger red Hulk who would help them with their plans.
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colorist: Mark Paniccia
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins at the Washington monument. Doc Samson, Ms. Marvel, and Capt. America are studying a crime scene. General Thunderbolt Ross (in the Redeemer armor) ambushed the Red Hulk. Ross was able to beat the Red Hulk in this armor. When the Red Hulk was down, Ross let his guard down. When he opened his helmet, Red Hulk struck. He killed Ross. Samson says that what Ross did amounted to suicide but they will tell the world that he died a hero. When the funeral is over, Samson vows to kill the Red Hulk.
Arlington National Cemetary, General Ross' funeral...various superheroes are there to pay their respects. Doc Samson speaks first. He tells the history of Ross' career. Ross married and fathered a girl named Betty.
Intelligensia Monitoring Station...Red She-Hulk is watching the funeral on numerous view screens. She says it would have been fun to be there. A voice off panel says there is enough speculation that she is connected to the Red Hulk. She does not care. Samson went to the funeral. The voice says that is a different circumstance.
The off panel person grabs her wrist. It is Lyra (She-Hulk- the daughter of Hulk, Earth 616, and Thundra, Reality-8009). They get into a fight. M.O.D.O.K. breaks it up.
Back at the funeral...various people speak then Rick (A-Bomb) Jones goes next. He introduces Bruce Banner. Banner talks about Ross' relationship with his daughter Betty. Ross hated Banner. It broke his heart when Betty married Bruce. Ross ranted against the Hulk. Even though Banner was the Hulk, he believes Ross saved more lives by raging against the Hulk.
Later that night at the cemetery...Betty Ross and Glenn Talbot show up. Glenn tells her it is not safe to be there.
Intelligensia war room...Doc Samson is discussing the situation with the rest of the group. M.O.D.O.K. says that with the murder of Ross, the Red Hulk has fired the first shot. Now it is their turn.
The cave...the Red Hulk and another person are entering the cave. Red Hulk says no one would believe he is working with the other person. The other person is revealed to be Bruce Banner. Banner says that they want the same thing. For them to succeed, Ross had to die.
The Good: John Romita Jr. knows how to draw. He is comfortable drawing people and the big scenes. The energy explodes off the page when he draws the Hulks in action. His two page spread of the Hulk/Thing battle was amazing.
The page where Red Hulk takes out Ross in the Redeemer armor was one of those wow moments. The page showed the massive amount of effort it took for the fallen Red Hulk to throw that punch. The armor shattering told you that Ross was in serious trouble.
After looking at this issue I would like to see Romita Jr. draw a star spanning Fantastic Four story. He is able to incorporate the Kirby style with a modern take on comics.
Jeph Loeb has been turning in very light scripts for the Red Hulk. Most issues have been all action. This one was different. This story reminded me more of his Batman stories than his Red Hulk ones. Although we still don't know who the Red Hulk is we at least got a story in this issue.
This story is centered on Thunderbolt Ross' death and funeral. Ross deserved to be the focus of this issue. It was nice to see that his good qualities and shortcomings were both recognized. Even Banner admitted that Ross did a lot of good in his life.
I like it when author's remember things that happened in the past. The return of the Redeemer armor fit into this story. It makes sense that Ross would use it to attack the Red Hulk.
The surprise at the end did catch me off guard. I did not expect to see Banner and the Red Hulk working together.
The Bad: My complaints about this issue are few.
I do think it is time to reveal the identity of the Red Hulk. This has drug on for too long.
The other complaint I have is the return from the dead of Betty Ross and Glenn Talbot. While reading this story, you just knew that Betty was returning.
Overall: A good book. It was my favorite Loeb Hulk story to date. If Loeb had written the Red Hulk like this, I would have enjoyed his series more. Even though he is not credited it seemed like Jeff Parker contributed some ideas to this story. I hope we see Romita Jr. on the Hulk again.