Saturday, February 25, 2006

SUPERficial-girl, Dark Emerald Grudge Match and Diana’s Swan Song

FanBoyWonder’s day job has been keeping us busy this week so we are catching up with our posts, including part 2 of our R.I.P. Flash analysis, and upcoming review of Sci-Fi Friday’s offerings of Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1.

Meanwhile, here are FBW’s drive-by pics and pans for the week of Feb. 22

Green Lantern # 9

The Upshot: It’s rematch you've been waiting for since the end of GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH! Strange deaths in Gotham City point to an all-new Tattooed Man. But can Green Lantern and Batman work together long enough to stop this artistic string of murders? Plus, Batman gets a power ring…sort of.

Yes they can work together, after, of course, a little bit of fisticuffs. The mad on/grudge that has been brewing between Green Lantern Hal Jordan and the Dark Knight finally comes to a head.

Batman hasn’t trusted Hal Jordan since he became the renegade Parallax, where he murdered many fellow Green Lanterns then attempted to accumulate the power needed to destroy and remake the universe via time travel during the 1994’s Zero Hour. The fact that we all now know that Jordan was influenced/possessed by an alien entity didn’t assuage the Dark Knight’s paranoia.

When Hal Jordan died as Parallax saving the world during the 1995 Final Night event, Batman’s grudge didn’t die with him. When Jordan became the Spectre (a cosmic mismatch if there ever was one), Batman remained distrusting…but during 2003’s JLA/Spectre: Soul War limited series, Batman and Jordan appeared to make peace.

But yet again, the antagonism was reborn after Hal Jordan returned from the dead to reclaim his Green Lantern ring.

It is a tad funny that Batman didn’t think Hal Jordan was to be trusted, given his track record of keeping secret files on his friends, his iron grip on Gotham, his negligent complicity in the murder of Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle and oh yeah….his artificially intelligent spy satellite that was stolen from his control and used to maim, kill and destroy thousands across the globe….but we digress.

Suffice to say, the buried hatchet between GL and Batman felt just as forced and artificial as their prolonged feud. And the Batman with the power ring gimmick at the end was a disappointment to be sure.

One intriguing foreshadowing early in the issue was tool place Oa when fellow Green Lantern Salaak warned Jordan that although he has been officially absolved of his crimes committed while influenced by Parallax, apparently all is not forgotten or forgiven with his fellow Green Lanterns. Stay tuned.

Supergirl #6

The upshot: Supergirl is on a rampage, there's no one left to stop her except…Supergirl?! The story that will have all of fandom talking explodes as The Girl of Steel takes on the Mistress of Might! –That was DC’s description and we’re talking all right.

The best thing that can be said about this story arc and about the re-introduction of Kara Zor-El into the DC Universe is that it’s over. This was really, really awful!!

Even when factoring in the understandable delay (due to the recent death of writer Jeph Loeb’s teenage son) the truncated conclusion, we spent 5 issues of her own comic plus a six-issue introduction of Kara Zor-El in Superman/Batman and we still have no idea who this character is or what she’s about!!!!!

Thanks to the effects of Black Kryptonite (?????Black Kryptonite????), Supergirl was split into two a la Superman III and of course they fight. But these two Supergirls together couldn’t add up to one dimension of personality. Oh how we miss Peter David and his Matrix/Linda Danvers version of Supergirl.

Don’t even get us started on the art. Penciler Ian Churchill’s and inker Norm Rapmund’s provide little more than a series of animated Maxim pin-up shots with lots of superhero posing with little apparent knowledge or inclination to draw action.

The visuals not only do nothing to help advance the weak script, it’s a downright distraction. “When in doubt, draw a naked chick” isn’t clever, it’s a Hail Mary attempt, hoping that the reader won’t notice a go-nowhere plot and uninspired art. It’s SUPERficial.

If it were not for One Year Later and the resulting change in creative team, we would have already dropped this book but we respect oncoming writer Greg Rucka enough to give him a chance.

Wonder Woman # 226

The Upshot from DC: Astonishing final issue! With the universe in turmoil, Diana prepares to face her ultimate challenge. Looking back on her relationship with Superman from the way it began to its recent turmoil, will she find a way to rebuild what she's lost?

Although writer Greg Rucka wrapped up his major plots threads last issue, he didn’t disappoint loyal fans who stuck with the book until the end. This last story is a though-the-ages look at Wonder Woman/Diana from her arrival in “man’s world” to today in a series of flashbacks.

The focus is on the relationship between Diana and Superman through the years—their friendship is strong based on mutual respect and perhaps a little bit of (unacted upon) attraction.

The reader is reminded just how strong their friendship was…all the more tragic now that their friendship has been shattered by Diana’s decision to kill Max Lord in order to free Superman from his telepathic mind control.

The cancellation of this Wonder Woman title paves the way for a re-launch later this year with a new creative team but during the twenty year run of this title, we’ve tagged the best Wonder Woman writers as George Perez, Phil Jimenez and Greg Rucka.

Perez gave Diana life, Jimenez gave her soul and Rucka brought freshness and depth to a character that’s been around for some 60 years but whom we hardly knew.


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