Monday, January 15, 2007

Living Legacies and Dark Emerald Ops

Hello fair readers,
Here is our review of the books from last week and now we are all caught up…until new books come out on Wednesday. Enjoy.

Justice Society of America #2

The Upshot from DC Comics: The new adventures of America's greatest super-team continue! After a deadly arrival at their new headquarters, the JSA must discover who's hunting down their descendants. Will the youngest member, Cyclone, be the next victim?

This was a pretty good follow up to the this title’s debut last month…whereas issue one could be described as a fastball down the middle, issue two was more of a breaking ball--you know there will be misdirection coming but it’s still a surprise when it breaks.

Here we have last issue’s cliffhanger of Mr. America’s still warm corpse literally crashing the meeting of JSA rookies, but this issue the homicide becomes something of a subplot as we watch all of the characters react to the sudden death at their door step even as writer Geoff Johns introduces Nathan “Buckeye” Haywood--grandson to the original Commander Steel and cousin to Steel II of the Detroit JLA--who we know is slated to take up the mantle of the Indestructible Man.

The meeting of Wildcat Ted Grant and Tom, the son he never knew he had, was in perfect keeping with the character. Tom’s mother, now deceased, was a one-night stand after Wildcat saved her life during a bank robbery and the resulting love child is nothing like his father--definitely not a fighter.

Yet since the developing plot has to do with a mystery villain going after and eliminating the bloodlines of past and current Justice Society members, we strongly suspect Tom Grant will be playing a role in future issues--one way or another.

Hawkman’s brief but forceful appearance was welcome and we actually approve of the splitting up of the Hawkman/Hawkgirl duo. In the JLA, Hawkgirl is her own hero, much as she was in the early issues of the last JSA title before Hawkman was reincarnated.

Meanwhile, Hawkman belongs with the JSA and under Geoff Johns--it was Johns who reinvigorated Hawkman but we always felt he left the Hawkman title too soon. Hopefully Johns can work some rehab on the winged wonder.

Our only complaint comes with the introduction of the “Fourth Reich,” the Nazi-fied team of bad guys sent to kill the Haywood family and wipeout Commander Steel’s bloodline. This bugs us…not only because the JSA are, in our opinion, WAY too over-identified with fighting Nazis and ONLY Nazis to the exclusion everything else, but by churning out a bunch of costumed baddies wearing the swastika, Johns (however inadvertently) continues pop-culture’s long-trend of belittling the EVIL that the symbol represents and the MALEVOLENCE that was perpetuated by Hitler and his ilk.

Green Lantern Corps #8

The Upshot from DC Comics: Undercover alongside teammates Von Daggle and R'amey Holl on the Dominion Homeworld, Guy Gardner grapples with the moral implications of being ordered to kill for the Corps. Plus, the squad finds itself facing off against a Dominator unlike any it's ever encountered before.

We had our doubts last issue with guest writer Keith Champagne’s first part of this three-part fill-in story arc but the second act really takes off with the three members of the Corpse--the GLC’s secret black ops team--all alone in the heart of the Dominion.

It was interesting to see Green Lantern Guy Gardner not only so far out of his element acting as a covert agent WAY behind enemy lines but also playing the order-taker rather than the order giver for a change.

For someone who is knows he works best as a battering ram and not a scalpel, Champagne makes Guy totally believable when he defers to Von Daggle’s behind the lines. The reader shares Guy’s confusion as he never quite knows what is going on--such is the way of a black op.

The Corpse is an interesting concept, both for the covert aspect of what until now has been seen as a above-board peace keeping paramilitary organization but for the outfit’s use of digestible, limited duration “power-pills” which allow to act as a living power ring for as long as the charge last.

More interesting, it’s not the easily identifiable emerald Oan energy of a power ring but a more purple Star Sapphire energy signature. A future plot point we wonder?

One last thing, Guy Gardner’s hesitance to act as a sniper/assassin has opened up a whole new level of complexity to what had been previously viewed as a one-dimensional character. We are looking forward to the return of regular writer Dave Gibbons but we’ve been championing for Gibbons to have a co-plotter or some sort of collaborator--maybe Champagne could stick around for a little while.

The art team of Patrick Gleason and Prentis Rollins is as good as ever--they really do complement each other and their style really complements the dark story line but in more than a few panels their visuals cross the line from dark to just plain opaque, making it more than a little difficult to make sense of what we were reading--at least at first glance. If it were a TV, we would be trying to adjust the “brightness” on the set--lighten up fellas…literally.

52 Week 36

The Upshot from DC Comics: The New Year begins with the deadliest day Metropolis has ever seen — and by the end of the month a villain will stand revealed, a hero will fall in the outer reaches of the galaxy…and the reveal of Supernova will deepen his mysteries even further.

Yawn. The Cosmic story line finally comes to a head. The art was crystal clear but we still don’t understand what happened nor do we much care. In that big jumbled mess, Animal Man somehow bought the farm--if we were a hard core Buddy Baker fan, we would be feeling really cheated about now.

It turns out the Question didn’t die after all…but he continues his long goodbye, even as Renee Montoya impulsively decides to drag the dying hero to the Himalayas where he first trained--perhaps one last chance at life or at least a peaceful place to die.

We did like the teaser at the end of the issue with Rip Hunter and Supernova hiding in the bottle city of Kandor in Superman’s Fortress--seemingly safe from Skeets--or so they think.

One issue we did want to bring up with two page origin of Power Girl. The good news is that after two decades of crazy made up on the fly retroactive origins, the powers that be have gone back to having Power Girl last daughter of Krypton--Krypton 2 that is.

But Mark Waid in his synopsis of PG’s powers, he lists all the standard stuff for a Kryptonian under a Yellow Sun but then he notes her vulnerability to Kryptonite. Yet in Infinite Crisis, it was established that her cousin, Kal-L, the Earth-2 Superman as immune to this universe’s Kryptonite as it didn’t come from HIS Krypton…the same should apply for his cousin Kara Zor-L/Power Girl--shouldn’t it? Can we get a ruling down here please?

Amazing Spider Girl #4

The Upshot from Marvel Comics: As Spider-Girl continues her hunt for Hobgoblin and the lethal legacy of Wilson Fisk, the former Kingpin of Crime, a vicious new player enters the fray: Mad Dog--the bounty hunter who employs the weapons of the former super-villains he’s captured.

This title continues to deliver. We all know that May Parker will eventually fully embrace her role as Spider-Girl (while else would Marvel green light a new comic) but May is not letting go of her new found social life without a fight.

As May is drawn back into costume bit by bit (each time vowing it will be the last), she is watching all of her accomplishments gained during her ‘retirement’--her high grades, her social standing, her boyfriend--slip through web-swinging fingers.

The beauty of the scene that Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz have established is that it’s familiar and new at the same time. Back in the day, we watched “Puny Parker” juggle his responsibilities at school with his web-swinging but he was the social outcast and no one cared if he was there or not. With May, she has a lot more to lose and stands poised to lose it.

We are definitely looking forward to Spider-Girl’s upcoming confrontation with The Hobgoblin.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Online Universities