Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ghost stories, more Teen (Titan) angst and Power Girls

FanBoyWonder is in the midst of packing for a trip to Chicago for our day job so we just have time for a quick and dirty review of our books for the week of May 5.

JSA # 85

The upshot from DC Comics: The thrilling new story by legendary Justice Society writer Paul Levitz and superstar penciller Rags Morales continues as the spirits of the JSA's past rise to fight the team today! Plus, more insight into the secrets of the Gentleman Ghost!

The plot of this story arc is progressing a little slower than we would like but we’ve still been pleased with the story—at least the JSA’s side of it. The segments featuring the Gentlemen Ghost’s origin, while visually appealing, have yet to really grab us. We can sense writer Paul Levitz is building to something here but we just wish he’d get to it quicker.

Meanwhile, an ill-phrased wish by Jakeem Thunder has him and the Thunderbolt facing off against ghosts and other poltergeists who were crooks and thieves and other bad sorts when they were alive.

But to fight fire-with-fire, the Thunderbolt summons to the rescue the spirits of JSA past including the deader than disco, The Sandman, The Atom, the original Mr. Terrific, Green Lantern’s newly dead daughter Jade (Boo! We still think that was a bad move DC) and the Earth-2 Batman.

It was nice to see them in action again, even in the after life. However, the scene-stealer of the book was the ghost of Jade seeing her father clinging to life in the JSA infirmary and pleading with him to hold on.

Given the crappy way her character was dispatched in the ultra-crappy Rann-Thanagar War, Paul Levitz gave father and daughter a scene of closure…even if it means that Jade is actually dead.

Teen Titans # 35

The upshot from DC Comics: Part 2 of "The New Teen Titans!" In an attempt to expose the insidious plans of the Brotherhood of Evil, a new member may sacrifice his or her life! Meanwhile, a strange romance begins to blossom and the secret below Titans Tower deepens. Plus, wait until you see which former Titans are involved with the new Doom Patrol — and why!

It’s not that we disliked this issue but on the other hand there wasn’t that much to like about it either. It’s One Year (and one issue) Later and we, like Cyborg, is still waiting for the “real” Teen Titans to show up.

Robin and Wonder Girl are both clearly hurting over the death of Superboy but it’s what unsaid between them that’s driving the tension in this book. Beast Boy is back with the Doom Patrol but we hope that’s only temporary.

Following the announcement by DC of a spin-off comic Titans East by Geoff Johns featuring an East Coast team of Teen Titans, we remain a bit wary. We’ve never believed that Johns has had a firm enough grasp on the current book.

We continue our call to bring classic New Teen Titans scribe Marv Wolfman on board as a co-plotter/co-scripter. Given the announcement that Wolfman will be penning a just announced Raven mini-series, the Teen Titan he created with George Perez back in the day, a renewed Wolfman/Johns (or Johns/Wolfman) collaboration may not be so far fetched.

Supergirl # 6

The upshot from DC Comics: It's One Year Later…and Kara and Power Girl have become the dynamic duo of the bottle city of Kandor as the new Flamebird and Nightwing! Don't miss the debut of new series writer Greg Rucka (WONDER WOMAN, THE OMAC PROJECT) and artist Ian Churchill!

The best thing we could say about this issue is that it was only ONE week late.

We had high hopes for this book after previous writer Jeph Loeb left the book. Loeb, who reintroduced Kara Zor-El into the DC Universe, gave us a character who was an enigma, wrapped in a riddle. What we did know about this Supergirl, we didn’t like.

Given his recent character defining run on Wonder Woman, we believed that if anyone could breathe life into this soulless character, it would be Greg Rucka. But guess what, Rucka’s first issue on Supergirl is also his last—DC Comics cited Rucka’s heavy workload but given what we read in Supergirl # 6, we think it was a case of getting out while the getting was good.

In his one time up at bat, Rucka has somehow made Kara even LESS likable. We should have enjoyed the “new” Nightwing and Flamebird team but it took us no less that four reads to figure out what the heck was supposed to be going on.

(A quick history lesson from FBW: Before Dick Grayson adopted the name after quitting Robin, Nightwing and his sidekick Flamebird in the pre-CRISIS days were the Batman and Robin of the bottle city of Kandor. Superman—who was powerless in the mini-Kryptonian city—and Jimmy Olsen adopted the secret costumed identities as the Dynamic Duo of the big little city. Now you know)

The art team of Ed Bendes on pencils and Norm Rapmund on inks (not Ian Churchill as DC had advertised) provide pleasing visuals but they are also one-shot wonders. Switching creative teams mid story arc—yea that’s the sign of a winning book all right.

Frankly the only thing good about this issue and the only thing that hasn’t made us drop this title already is Power Girl.

Power Girl has always been an interesting character from the time she was introduced in All Star Comics/Justice Society in the 1970s (and believe us nothing was interesting in the 70s, it would have been a violation of federal law).

More than just the Earth-2 Supergirl, Power Girl had her own name and her own distinct personality—she was a ball buster and she wasn’t afraid to let you know it.

So one of the bright spots of Supergirl # 6 was to watch Power Girl being the “mommy” character—the one that cooled off the hothead instead of throwing flames herself.

“Power Girl” has always been a mixed blessing for the last daughter of Krypton-2. By adopting her own name, she set out to be more than just Superman’s cousin but by rejecting the “S” shield, she has perpetually relegated herself to the back, or at least the middle of, the super-hero bus.

But our vow to DC Comics, if they change the name of this book to “Power Girl” and send the Super Brat packing, we’ll be a subscriber for life.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Capitol Ideas said...

Aces of JSA - worth the price of admission just to see the spectre of Wesley Dodds back in action again.
And would you leave Kara Zor-El alone for goodness sake? I really like this book. :)

12:27 PM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Capitol Ideas said...

Aces of JSA - worth the price of admission just to see the spectre of Wesley Dodds back in action again.
And would you leave Kara Zor-El alone for goodness sake? I really like this book. :)

12:28 PM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Capitol Ideas said...

Aces of JSA - worth the price of admission just to see the spectre of Wesley Dodds back in action again.
And would you leave Kara Zor-El alone for goodness sake? I really like this book. :)

12:29 PM, May 07, 2006  

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