Sunday, April 30, 2006

Chess games, bad guys and Ion

FanBoyWonder has been busy this weekend and we didn’t get to the comic store until yesterday so here are our drive-by pics and pans for the last week of April.

Checkmate #1

The upshot from DC Comics: Checkmate holds the line. Cross it — and they'll take you off the board. Permanently.In this thrilling new ongoing series, the team behind the blockbuster OMAC PROJECT — writer Greg Rucka and artist Jesus Saiz — returns with a different spy agency for a different world. Infinite Crisis has changed the DCU, and Checkmate has shaped its hard-learned lessons into a new game plan.In Checkmate, it's all about the balance of power.

Between Black and White; between human and metahuman; and between the familiar faces who have become its new Kings and Queens. It's also about the propaganda wars, black ops combat, and political maneuvering that fuel Checkmate's critical missions — missions that take a grueling toll on the agents' day-to-day lives.First, however, they must prove their right to exist — to the U.N. And they only have hours to do it in this breathtaking first issue!

FBW was initially going to give this series a pass given the way writer Greg Rucka blew the OMAC mini-series so badly but all is forgiven Greg. It was the original Green Lantern Alan Scott as Checkmate’s White King that drew me the book but it’s Rucka’s top shelf political story that will keep me.

White King Scott is paired up with White Queen Amanda Waller, the former head of the Suicide Squad…talk about your unconventional marriages. It’s only the first issue but I do hope they’ll explain why Alan is sporting an eye-patch. Joining Alan as his White Bishop is fellow JSA-member Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt. Former Justice Leaguer Fire is also part of the organization the Black Knight—black as in “Black Ops”—this is NOT the bimbo we remember from the Justice League---thank goodness.

As in the Omac Infinite Crisis special, Jesus Saiz provides solid visuals. Not only is there good comic book action but the plot and political intrigue equals anything Tom Clancy put out before the (Berlin) Wall fell down and he jumped the shark.

Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special

The upshot from DC Comics: Ripped from the pages of Infinite Crisis! The Society has orchestrated one of the biggest acts of terror the world has ever seen — a global prison break. But when all of Earth's mightiest heroes are missing in action, who will be there to stop the tide of evil that threatens to engulf the entire planet?

Writer Gail Simone packed a LOT into this book and we admit we haven’t fully processed it yet but it’s a lot of good action going on. Lesser artists than Dale Eaglesham could have allowed this complex story to slip away and become white noise but his consistent pencils—with inks by Art Thibert with Guy Major-hold to the story together.

This has definitely wetted our appetite for the upcoming Secret Six series. Who knew that bad guys could be so good to read?

Hawkgirl #51

The upshot from DC Comics: Life isn't the same for Hawkgirl now that Hawkman isn't around. Strange things keep happening in her civilian life — is it all just part of a dream, or has she awakened an ancient horror deep beneath the walls of the St. Roch museum?

The storytelling in the form of Walter Simonson’s story with Howard Chaykin’s art continues to leave us very satisfied. Simonson’s words and pictures both demonstrate a definite sense of who Hawkgirl/Kendra Saunders is—a most welcome change of pace following how lost her character seemed to be pre-issue 50.

The name of this book should be HawkWOMAN but whether by accident or by design (we vote for design) Kendra Saunders is well on her way to becoming a character/hero in her own right and not just the girl wonder eye candy—although as we noted in our chat with Chaykin at Pittsburgh Comicon, he’s having a fun time drawing Kendra as “a buxom Keira Knightly”…so far so good Howard.

Ion #1 (of 12)

The upshot from DC Comics: Following the events of INFINITE CRISIS and the RANN/THANAGAR WAR SPECIAL, writer Ron Marz (GREEN LANTERN) returns to the character he created, giving Kyle Rayner an entirely new lease on life in a new ongoing series with art by rising star Greg Tocchini (1602: New World, Thor: Son of Asgard)!

A distraught Kyle Rayner has emerged one year later, transformed with abilities that may surpass those of any Green Lantern ever. So beware his power...because his might may not be on the side of right.

We had high hopes for this title when we heard that Kyle Rayner was going to be getting his own spotlight after being pushed out of the way as THE Green Lantern by the return of Hal Jordan. We were further pleased that Ron Marz, the man who created Kyle, was reunited back to his character.

Unfortunately Marz’s character has changed dramatically following the events of Infinite Crisis so perhaps the old Kyle-the Everyman playbook may not work. His story isn’t bad but it’s definitely not his better outings.

However, even if Marz hit it out of the park on the story, the art by Greg Tocchini is a mismatch. For his style, it’s competent enough, although we hate the style, but for a Green Lantern story in space should be crystal clear….but it feels like we are trying to read it through a fish bowl.

And another thing, what is it about Kyle Rayner and his super-gay costumes. His last GL costume at least resembled a Corps uniform but egad!!! We’ll stick around but this series has nowhere to go but up.


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