Saturday, March 04, 2006

Super-switch, Guy Power and JSA OYL

Here's a rundown of FanBoyWonder's pics and pans for the week of March 1. We are still digesting the events of Infinite Crisis #5 and we will be posting our comments on the issue soon.

Adventures of Superman # 649

The upshot from DC: The conclusion to the 3-part "This Is Your Life, Superman!" Relive the climactic adventure of Earth-2's Man of Steel as his world falls apart during the events of the original CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

How do you say “bait and switch” in Kryptonian? We were expecting the origin of Kal-L, the original Superman from Earth-2. We don’t think it was an unreasonable expectation given the advertised plot summary, the title of the three-part story arc “This is Your Life” and the covers.

The story that we have are force-fed by Joe Kelly makes no sense—there is no cohesive plot flow. The reader is shown what is supposed to be alternate versions of key points in the histories of the two Supermen—we guess Kelly; doesn’t give us much of a clue.

As in parts 1&2, part 3 featured “various” artists of wide ranging style. Solid or even coherent art could have salvaged this train wreck of a story but the art not only doesn’t help the reader, it actually compounds the confused story.

As the story cuts from Earth-1 to Earth-2, the two Supermen—Kal-El and Kal-L—are nearly indistinguishable from one another—including during the Earth-2 segments where they got Kal-L’s “S” symbol wrong—how or why did this ever get past an editor?????

The real shame here is the missed opportunity to showcase and reacquaint readers with the original Last Son of Krypton. Given that Kal-L is the focal point and the catalytic agent in Infinite Crisis, it seems like a no-brainer to us.

We now know how South Park’s Stan and Kenny felt when they wanted their money back from Mel Gibson after viewing The Passion.

Green Lantern Corps Recharge #5 (of 5)

The upshot from DC: In the exciting conclusion of GREEN LANTERN CORPS: RECHARGE — which leads directly into the new monthly ongoing series GREEN LANTERN CORPS — veteran Lanterns and raw recruits stand shoulder to shoulder in a last-ditch battle to save Oa from the clutches of the evil Spider Guild of Vega!

Green Lantern Guy Gardner saves the day! Nuff said.

During Green Lantern: Rebirth we were glad to see Guy get his power ring back and now thanks to writers Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons this character has come a long way from the buffoon that Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis made him in Justice League and even the evil good-guy that he was under Steve Englehart in Green Lantern.

Thanks to his heroics in rallying the Corps to repel the Spider Guild, Guy is promoted to first prime of the Corps’ honor guard—he’s the wild card who will be sent wherever he’s needed to aid GLs in need. Very cool!

The art by Patrick Gleason and Prentis Rollins was also quite serviceable. We hope they stay on the new extended series.

We were further heartened to see the return of the Green Lantern Corps—the second attempt at resurrection in as many decades—but this time it looks like it will take.

The new Corps is a more strictly organized peace-keeping organization—now double the size of the original 3,600 Green Lanterns assigned per space sector (that’s 7,200 GLs for any Ivy League fanboys reading this).

We also like that the power ring’s design malfunction against anything yellow is a weakness that each Green Lantern can overcome through their mastery of their ring and of their fear—as well as the renewed emphasis of the power ring as a quasi-sentient computer.

We are not so hot about the as-yet unexplained shift in the mechanics of the ring from requiring a charge from the power battery once every 24 hours for unlimited emerald energy use to a finite percentage of power held in the ring without a time limit.

While the change makes sense—both mechanically and editorially—given the number of times in the past months that a GL has run out of power or run low on power during different stories, the most powerful weapon in the universe should be able to hold more juice than a cell-phone battery.

This is something worthy of further exploration during the upcoming new GLC series.

If you missed this mini-series, pick up the trade-paperback when it comes out. It’s a keeper.

JSA #83

The Upshot from DC: It's One Year Later…and the JSA has been torn asunder! Legendary JSA writer Paul Levitz, award-winning artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS, WONDER WOMAN) and inker Dave Meikis (HOURMAN) deliver a moving 5-part tale of heroes picking up the pieces of their lives as they face of against one of their deadliest enemies! Featuring flashback sequences illustrated by Luke Ross (JONAH HEX)!

Current DC Comics Vice President (i.e. a big shot) proves he hasn’t been too busy running the company to keep up current events with the world’s first super team.

Levitz, who is pinch-hitting for series regular writer Geoff Johns, demonstrates a seamless grasp of the characters—particularly the new characters who weren’t around during his time writing the JSA in the 1970s such as Stargirl, Mr. Terrific and Jakeem Thunder.

He not only keeps up with current events but as issue #83 takes place One Year Later, he deftly provides reader the small hints of character growth that has occurred with these characters in the twelve months that the reader has missed.

Old JSA baddie The Gentleman Ghost is haunting members of the JSA with skeletons in their proverbial closet. This issue is a little slow because of the set up as this is the first of a 5-part story arc, there is a definite sense that things are just getting started.

Outsiders # 34

The upshot from DC: It's One Year Later…and The Outsiders are finished. Done. No team by that name exists. Unless they're coming for you…

We will admit to our well-formed (and deserved) bias toward writer Judd Winick.

His usual M.O. is on display in this issue—his sanctimonious preaching on social issues masquerading as plot and character development, his penchant to superimpose the same personality traits on every character and his John Byrne-like inclination to unilaterally hijack shared characters and let other writers deal with the fallout (just ask Devin Grayson or Tony Isabella or even current Nightwing writer Bruce Jones).

The current line up of the Outsiders One Year Later is Nightwing as leader, Katana, Grace, Captain Boomerang (Junior), Thunder (Black Lighting’s daughter) and Metamorpho.

Up until now we had stuck with Outsiders because of Jade (the daughter of the original Green Lantern) and later for Captain Marvel Junior (we are dismayed and more than a little frightened that DC has entrusted Winick with penning a new Captain Marvel/SHAZAM limited series—the damage he could do the character is incalculable).

But Jade is dead and Captain Marvel Junior is gone…and so are we. As much as we love Nightwing, we’re just going to read his book and pretend the Outsiders is just a bad dream.


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