Thursday, April 20, 2006

Savage Justice & Preying Birds

Welcome faithful readers and to those of you just joining FanBoyWonder for the first time. We hope you like what you see.

We are banging out a quick post of our pics for the third week of April before FBW and Kemosabe hit the road early tomorrow morning to Steel City for the weekend long Pittsburgh Comic Con. Look for dispatches upon our return. Now on with the pics

JSA Classified #11

The upshot from DC Comics: Part 2 of 4-part "The Fall and Rise of Vandal Savage!" Vandal Savage sets in motion his plan to destroy Alan Scott. His scheme might get a bit more complicated when an unexpected friend from the past arrives to help the Golden Age Green Lantern!

FBW was dismayed (to say the least) to hear about the impending cancellation/final issue of the main JSA book in July following the end of Paul Levitz’s current story arc. We are hopeful that since JSA Classified was also not listed on the chopping block, that JSA is due for a reboot (just like Justice League of America for the millionth time)…but DC has love/hate relationship with the Justice Society…meaning DC management has screwed the world’s first super team early and often. We remain guarded but hopeful.

But onto the issue at hand.

The story of the immortal Vandal Savage’s life continues to unfold as he is dying. After 37,000 years of raping, pillaging and murder, he has three days to life and he’s going to spend it getting revenge on Alan Scott—the first “super hero” he ever fought and keeper of the Green Flame, also known as the magical Starheart—the emerald magic which we find has plagued Savage through the ages.

The story by Stuart Moore unfolds at a decent but not overly fast pace and the art by Paul Gulacy is consistent. Read an interview Moore at Mile High Comics’ Newsarama here--

While we’re pleased with the story over all so far, there are little glitches and inconsistencies that true Golden Age fans are wise to.
1) Gulacy’s rendition of Alan Scott’s power ring—it looks like and has the symbol of the Green Lantern Corps—Alan’s lantern shaped ring is the coolest of all of the GLs
2) In the JSA Flashback March 25, 1950 with GL, Sandman and the Atom, The Atom is wearing the wrong costume—post World War II he was wearing the “atomic” symbol costume with the “fin head” mask (which we always preferred).
3) In the last 2 pages, GL is wearing the power ring on the ring finger, not the middle finger—but at least it’s on the correct (left) hand.

So far so good. We look forward to part 3 next month.

Justice #5

The upshot: The bimonthly miniseries by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite continues! The conspiracy of villains has found a way to use Superman's powers against him. He's beyond control and there's only one solution — which may kill him!

Last issue we described this mini-series as Alex Ross’ homage to the Silver Age…but we would like to revise and amend our previous statement (sorry, we work in Washington, D.C. and sometimes lapse into “Hill speak.”

Justice is the old Super Friends cartoon the way we (not the royal “we” this time...Alex Ross and I are the same age and grew up with the same books and cartoons) would have done the Super Friends—without that 1970s cheese.

The bimonthly nature of the series has made it difficult for us to keep up with this story. Last issue we noticed a marked improvement in the scripting and the art and this issue kicked up another notch.

This is where the series is really hitting its stride. Ross, with able assistance of Doug Braithwaite puts out his best artistic effort yet of this series. Early in the series we had chided Ross’s art after years of mainly drawing comic book covers and posters, the ability to portray action is finally coming back to Ross—the art in this book is near Kingdom Come-level good.

Of course it hurt not at all that entered stage left was the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel. Watching him kick the crap out of Superman’s villains—the Parasite, Bizzaro, Solomon Grundy and Metallo—as a Kryptonite fallen Man of Steel watches helplessly made the issue for us.

On the weird side, given the events of Infinite Crisis, it was eerie to see Elongated Man with Sue Dibny as well as Jean Loring-Palmer at the hospital bedside of a fallen Ray Palmer/The Atom. One wife murdered the other wife the murderer.

As an added bonus, Jim Krueger was interviewed by Newsarama about his part in Justice…check it out

Birds of Prey #93

The upshot: One of the newest Birds of Prey introduces her own brand of vengeance to the Society — as time runs out for the defector they're determined to reclaim and kill!

Former Justice League (Detroit) member Gypsy is the latest heroine to join the girls’ club good gals. The story is split between the Birds’ efforts to protect the Crime Doctor’s daughter from the Injustice Society and the Black Canary’s training at the hands of Lady Shiva’s teacher.

Canary and Shiva have traded lives as part of Canary’s training. Canary is taking all the lumps that Shiva had to during her martial arts training while Shiva is experiencing life on the side of the angels for a change.

Gail Simone continues to raise the intensity level on this book. Next issue, the Birds take on JLA bad-guy Prometheus—the bad guy who beat Batman and could even give Shiva a run for her money. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Justice League Unlimited—Far From Home a.k.a. Supergirl & the Legion of Super Heroes

The upshot: Supergirl, Green Arrow and Green Lantern are abducted to the 31st century, home of the Legion of Super Heroes, where it is destined that the girl of steel will never return.

We’ve never been huge fans of the Legion but we enjoyed this episode.

The episode opens with Supergirl and Green Lantern in the training room battling Queen Bee and Dr. Cyber, then later Blockbuster (actually incredble simulations). She aces the test and GL says he’s taught her all he can.

The two of them and Green Arrow are engulfed in a bubble and materialize in the 31st Century to be greeted by Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy.

The Legion of Super Heroes has been captured by the Fatal Five and they’ve reached back into the past to retrieve Supergirl and the other heroes for help because history says Supergirl disappeared on the day they plucked her from the 21st century.

The Fatal Five attack and GL gets mind controlled and captured. Apparently Green Lanterns are scarce in the 31st Century galaxy so they take him along to use him with the rest of the mind-controlled Legion to attack the United Planets capital.

While Brainiac 5 and Green Arrow attempt to infiltrate the Fatal Five’s ship, Supergirl takes on GL and the Legion. It was a decent fight. We saw Lighting Lad, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, Wildfire, Ultra Boy and many others.

In the end they of course prevailed and Supergirl decided to stay in the 31st century and to chart her own path. As JLU comes to an end, it was a nice bit of closure for Kara Zor-El and not coincidently it dovetails nicely with the current Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes title.

The saddest part of all is that the Supergirl in JLU actually had a personality, which more than can be said for the Supergirl in the comics, but it was a nice send off for the character.

As we keep count, the Far From Home marked the 10th of the 13 remaining JLU episodes before the series goes dark. But in an amazing coincidence, Cartoon Network is warming up a brand new Legion of Super Heroes series coming soon.

Updated on April 17:

A recently posted article in Mile High Comics’ Newsarama by Michael San Giacomo has affirmed what I had suspected in Cartoon Network’s neglectful death of Justice League Unlimited.

My opinion here, but the people at Cartoon Network did not help the series by airing it 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. Could there be a crappier time to air a show? If they were going for a young audience it was on too late. If they were going for an old audience, it was the wrong night and time.” We couldn’t agree more.

The article also features an interview with JLU writer and editor Matt Wayne…check it out here.

As we noted above, we were never really into the Legion of Super Heroes. Our annoyance what we see as JLU’s forced demise may be coloring our thinking, but we’re not much excited to Cartoon Network’s upcoming Legion cartoon series.

If it’s anything like the comic, we can expect that LSU to restart the series from scratch ever 6-8 episodes.
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