Sunday, March 04, 2007

Green Lantern’s Light, Alex Ross' Super Friends, and It’s Mid-Nite Again

Here’s FanBoyWonder’s picks for the Week of Feb. 28, minus the latest Flash issue. We’ve saved our thoughts on that for a separate post.

Green Lantern #17

The Upshot from DC Comics: The explosive conclusion of "Wanted: Hal Jordan!" Wanted throughout the world, Green Lantern suffers the wrath of a new enemy who will plague him for years to come. But what does this alien want from Hal Jordan? And why is it impossible to give? Plus, witness the birth of the new Star Sapphire!

Well above all things we’re glad we were able to pick up this issue just one month after the previous issue. For a book that’s solicited monthly—that’s a very good thing.

Some think that we protest too much about the woes of our favorite Deadline Challenged (DC) publisher—but just last night when we were chatting with our best pal Kemosabe, he noted that he dropped Green Lantern because it was “too sporadic”—meaning a de-facto bi-monthly title wasn’t really worth buying.

On the merits of the issue, we expressed our dismay last month at how writer Geoff Johns tossed aside his really compelling plot—GL’s rouge status by Earth’s many nation-states in favor of the uninspired Amon Sur storyline.

This issue wasn’t as compelling as we would have liked but neither was it as bad as we expected—a lot of this is due to the much hinted at Sinestro Corps storyline taking a major step forward.

Watching Batman being selected by a Sinestro ring for his ability to instill fear and then rejected for his strong will and recent “exposure” to a Green Lantern ring was priceless and we give Johns two points for that little nugget.

Promptly rejected by Bruce Wayne, the yellow ring finds Amon Sur just as he is about to be defeated by Hal Jordan. It’s a welcome twist to be sure but it could have and should have happened several issues back and spared us this.

As we think about it the creation of the Sinestro Corps is a logical step—a counterforce to the Green Lantern Corps is so inevitable it seems obvious, yet no one has thought of it before now.

The closest we can recall to anything similar was in Issue 150 of the second GL series circa 1982 was the Anti-Green Lantern Corps. The AGLC was made up by the Weaponers of Qward whose anti-power ring was powered by a black light. But it was a one-shot deal and never made use of again.

Best of all in this issue was the return FINALLY of Green Lantern John Stewart to save the day. Either give John his own book or feature him more prominently here—he’s every bit as compelling as Hal Jordan and deserves better.

Justice #10

The Upshot from DC Comics: Green Arrow is the front-and-center focus of this issue, which also features the Doom Patrol, the Metal Men, the Titans, Supergirl and others on the battlefield! But whose side are they on? The villains' plot to exploit the innocent may even affect the heroes' comrades, colleagues and co-combatants!

Given the nature of this maxi-series, it’s tough to rate it by individual issues but that said we liked it—both for the action and for the stunning visuals.

But there is genuine characterization with shifting points of view and an earnest attempt to make the reader feel both like a part of the action and above the fray at the same time.

Although Justice is clearly influenced by Alex Ross’ love of the old Super Friends cartoon, we feel this series is a throw-back to the old 1978 Earth-1. We were never that nostalgic for much of the pre-CRISIS DC Universe/pre-1980, but we here at FanBoyWonder would STRONGLY consider extending the life of this universe past issue 12 with an All Star quarterly book—if Ross and Company are willing.

Alex, if you build it, we will come!

JSA Classified #23

The Upshot from DC Comics: Part 1 of the 2-part "Unleashed," written by J.T. Krul (Fathom, Soulfire) with art by Alex Sanchez (30 Days of Night)! The Justice Society's very own master of the shadows, Doctor Mid-Nite, returns to his home city of Portsmouth to investigate a bizarre string of crimes known as the "Vampire Murders."

Given that Dr. Mid-Nite was just featured in a two-part story arc a couple months ago, we can’t help but question the decision to feature him again so soon with a different creative team.

Also given that the previous Doc Mid-Nite story featured a good story and top shelf art by Rags Morales this story stuffers not so much on the merits but by comparison to the previous story.

It’s not to say that J.T. Krul’s story here isn’t bad—there’s actually something to be said for showcasing the contrasts between the hero man of science and the villain vampire—both children of the night.

The art by Alex Sanchez is a little too Vertigo style for our taste but it’s not totally inappropriate given it is a vampire story.

A note to the DC however, there’s a whole roster of JSA members past and present who deserve spotlight. For our money, we would love to see Liberty Belle/former Jesse Quick get some much deserved attention.

52 Week 43

The (same) Upshot from DC Comics: The month begins with one of the main players in 52 having everything — and everyone — taken away from him, and ends with messages from beyond the grave that will have a lasting impact on several DC heroes. Also, Ralph Dibny's fate — or is that Fate? — is at last revealed as he solves the greatest mystery of all. Plus, more Origins of the DCU!

It’s time to declare this weekly experiment a failure and just hold on until World War III and Countdown.

We say this because when even this week’s Black Adam story, our favorite storyline by far, can’t keep us from yawning, it’s time to cut our losses.

The fight between a guilt-stricken Osiris and Black Adam and the Marvel’s at the Rock of Eternity was more farce than drama and totally devoid of emotional connection. Talk about hysterical overacting.

Yet, Osiris’ demise by his lizard “friend” was indeed a shock—not so much for the betrayal but by the sheer graphic nature.

52 began with great intentions—to fill in the missing year between Infinite Crisis and One Year Later in real time, one week at a time.

But so many storylines competed for attention that it forced some stories to be put off for weeks at time. Since another weekly series, Countdown, is waiting in the wings, we can only hope that DC has learned from its mistakes or it could be another long, wasted year.


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