Thursday, February 16, 2006

JSA Classified, Kal-El & Girl Power with some Justice on the side

Hey true believers, thanks for checking out the site and for your comments. FanBoyWonder aims to please.

Here’s FBW’s drive-by picks for the week of February 15:

JSA Classified #9

The upshot: The second of two parts, The Spear and the Dragon, spotlights Wildcat and The original Flash! The mysterious Dragon King and his cult have gained control of the Spear of Destiny, one of the most dangerous artifacts on earth, and is using its magic to pit the two heroes against each other!

Writer Peter Tomasi crafts a first-rate story while JSA veteran artists Don Kramer and Keith Champagne turn out another flawless issue. FBW is going to miss this art team after the big switch-a-roo One Year Later.

Unlike JLA Classified—which serves mainly as a warehouse/dumping ground for throw-away and forgettable JLA story lines—JSA Classified actually supplements and advances the plot of the main JSA book.

One question we did have, however, is when exactly this story took place. We initially believed this took place after the events of Infinite Crisis #4 but in the midst to the story, Flash made reference to the Speed Force, which was supposedly eliminated during IC#4.

Action Comics #836

The Upshot: Part 2 of the 3-part This Is Your Life, Superman! "Superman is caught by the one person he can't defeat: Lois Lane! Witness the undying love story of the greatest couple of Earth-2, and how their love could bring about the end of the universe."

That’s how DC Comics described the issue and we reasonably believed that it would be a re-telling of the origin of Kal-L the original/Earth-2 Superman.

However, this issue is told from Kal-El’s perspective in flashback form, in the midst of battle with whom the reader can presume is Kal-L…a ramp up to Infinite Crisis #5 perhaps. However, just as with Superman 226 and the Kal-L spotlight, key areas of Superman’s life are altered in the retelling—was history changed during Alexander Luthor’s cosmic tinkering?

One thing that is becoming a common refrain for us, there is a bakers dozen of artists providing visuals in this issue, just as with part 1 of the story in Superman #226. We can understand to a point everyone wanting a piece of this story, but the going from page-to-page of radically different art styles adds an unnecessary distraction to the reader—as if this whole story isn’t tough enough to follow.

Birds of Prey #91

The upshot: Guest writer Jim Alexander teams up with guest artists Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti for a stand-alone tale of a sought-after organ donor whose plight is personal to The Huntress and Oracle, while Black Canary has their back.

Jim Alexander does great job filling in for series regular writer Gail Simone, so much so regular readers such as ourselves forget this is a one-shot fill-in issue, while artists Walker and Palmiotti do an able job on the visuals.

If you haven’t been reading this book, jump on next month after One Year Later. Simone is one of the few writers that DC has allowed to stay on their book following OYL—and for good reason.

The only good thing about the god-awful Birds of Prey WB TV series from a couple years back was that it prompted DC to add the Huntress to the team, who until now has been a misunderstood, mishandled character. This is a chick book in the best sense of the word—smart, funny and sexy—the Birds are much more than the sum of their parts.

Justice #4

The upshot: The former super villains known as the Legion of Doom announce their plans for the betterment of humankind! But while they're behaving as saviors to the populace, they strike out as adversaries their ultimate target–the Justice League!

This series is Alex Ross’ non-continuity homage both to the Silver Age JLA and to the original Super Friends cartoon that we both grew up watching—with a grown up twist. Written by Ross, with scripting assist by Jim Kruger, Ross also provides the art via breakdowns by Doug Braithwaite.

The 12-issue Justice is Ross’ first attempt at a regular series in years. We admit, it took us a while to warm up to both the story and the Braithwaite/Ross art arrangement but both story and visuals seem to be hitting their stride.

Part of the problem has been that Ross’ detailed art style does not lend itself to a monthly book—which is why Justice comes out every other month…but in the eight months since issue one hit the stands, its been tough to remember what the heck the story is about.

But Ross is getting more comfortable stretching his artistic legs—we were starting to grow concerned that he had been doing posters for so long that he forgot how to draw paneled action. We’re a third-of the way through the series—keep it up Alex!


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