Monday, July 02, 2007

Fear The Sinestro Corps, Armageddon 1991 Do Over and Teen Titans Dropped Again

Apologies all around for FanBoyWonder’s lack of recent postings. A busy work schedule, technical difficulties with the computer and just plain writer’s block have kept us from our appointed rounds until now.

However as an aside, over the weekend we rented Rocky Balboa at the video store and darn if it wasn’t pretty good.

It doesn’t matter that we knew or had figured out pretty much the whole movie before we ever pressed “play”—Rocky is Rocky and how can you not like the old lug?

Also, Mr. and Mrs. FBW went to see Live Free or Die Hard at the theatre’s over the weekend. We both quite enjoyed ourselves. Nothing will ever top the first Die Hard because it broke new ground for the action film genre but by our reckoning, both Bruce Willis and John McClain have proven that things can get better with age.

Anyway, here’s our take on our books for the week of June 27.

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special

The Upshot from DC Comics: Hal Jordan has struggled to regain his reputation. Kyle Rayner has suffered great personal loss and reluctantly gained great power. Guy Gardner's trust in the Guardians is wavering. John Stewart's unbreakable loyalty soon will be tested. Together, these four men are the Green Lanterns of Earth…but why are so many Earthmen recruited into the Corps? What is their ultimate role in the future of the universe? And how will the secret of the rings' power threaten the Guardians and affect Hal Jordan's future?
Sinestro was called the "greatest" of the Green Lanterns; now the renegade has vowed to bring terror to the universe he once protected. The worst murderers, thieves and deviants in the universe have gathered into Sinestro's Corps for one purpose: to instill great fear. Armed with the truth behind Parallax, Sinestro's intergalactic insurgents strike hard and fast at the very heart of the Green Lantern Corps. The Sinestro Corps is about to change everything you know about the Green Lanterns. Fear them. Everyone else will.

After more than a year of coasting creatively, Team GL appears ready to raise the stakes and kick things up a notch with the long-teased introduction of the Sinestro Corps.

Following the aforementioned long and steady build up, this one-shot special provides the promised payoff. Writer Geoff Johns hasn’t delivered something this buzz worthy in Green Lantern since re-introducing Hal Jordan back from the dead in Green Lantern Rebirth.

Not coincidently artist Ethan Van Sciver produces stunning visuals that equal or perhaps exceed his worth in Rebirth.

As an aside, about a year or so ago, FanBoyWonder took Sciver to task as an example of deadline challenged artists. For the record, we never doubted or had issue with his ability—to the contrary Van Sciver single-handedly managed to re-define the visual representation of the Green Lanterns in much the same way that Todd McFarlane did for a certain wall-crawler when he drew the Amazing Spider-Man.

Each page of Sinestro Corps is dead bang perfect and we tip our hat to the man. We don’t know how much time it took him to complete this 64-page special but given how long this story-line is in the works, the lead-time for art must have been ample.

Yet our issue is (and not just with EVS to be sure) that artists on monthly books should be able to produce….well monthly.

Not being able to carry a monthly book shouldn’t be a career-killer if you’re good enough and don’t pretend otherwise so there should be a place for artists of quality (think Alex Ross). There are plenty of great pitchers in baseball who are closers rather than starters—know your limitations and play to your strengths. But we digress.

What we liked about Geoff Johns story the most is that he has attempted and succeeded in giving Sinestro, the one-time “greatest Green Lantern” an actual personality, a plausible reason for going “renegade” and a purpose in forming his Sinestro Corps that’s far beyond just being the dark-mirror image to their emerald opposites.

The earlier comparisons between this special and Rebirth are appropriate because Johns finally takes up again the theme of fear and the GL Corps and the role that fear plays.

The forced possession of Kyle Rayner as the new Parallax would seem to bring the story full circle. We’ve missed Kyle since we skipped the really unreadable Ion 12-issue maxi-series from last year but Johns’ story is strong enough that Ion wasn’t required reading to get Kyle’s part of the story.

It was nice to see John Stewart however briefly and we hope he gets some of the spotlight soon. He is WAY overdue.

Johns has also done a great job of setting up insurmountable odds. Not only do the GLC have to face off against an army that’s their mirror image, but Sinestro has recruited the Cyborg-Superman (as an aside , where does Hank Henshaw fit into the newly retro-coned Superman universe), Superboy-Prime—all of whom are doing the bidding of the back from the dead Anti-Monitor.

We will agree with what we’ve heard other reviews say, just how well Sinestro Corps has been rolled out and given just how boring Countdown has become (short trip to be sure), Sinestro Corps should be the “event” of the DC universe.

Countdown #44

The Upshot from DC Comics: This year-long weekly series featuring a cast of hundreds kicks into high gear in its second month, under the watchful eye of head writer Paul Dini! See Mary Marvel undergo a surprising transformation! Learn why Donna Troy and Jason Todd are integral players in a cosmic chess game! And see Jimmy Olsen as you've never seen him before!

Wow. Monarch from the 1991 DC Event “Armageddon 2001” is back and in the pages of Countdown. We just don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

A quickie history lesson. The premise behind Armageddon was that in “the future” year of 2001, a hero whose identity had been lost to history would betray all the other heroes, assume massive power and use that power to rule the Earth as a freedom-choking despot.

That hero was set to be Captain Atom but someone at DC editorial let the cat out of the bag so in a last minute change up they switched it to be Hawk from Hawk and Dove. If you don’t remember or have scarcely heard of Armageddon, you know how well things went.

On the one hand, we can see how some 15-years later, DC is tempted to try to move forward with the character and original concept. But on the other hand, the original concept was never that good…or original.

Meanwhile, the Mary Marvel story line, the one thing the series has going for it (and the only thing that keeps ups from dropping this book) is starting to falter.

A confrontation between Mary and her brother, the new white-haired “Wizard Marvel” fell flat.

The art this issue did not help advance the weak story. While the breakdowns by Keith Giffen were as strong as ever, the pencils by Carlos Magno with inks by Jay Leisten failed to deliver. We don’t know it if was a clash of artistic styles but some pages were just plain opaque while the close-up facial expressions were all over the board.

JSA Classified #27

The Upshot from DC Comics: The 2-part story concludes as Wildcat's investigation into an underground superhuman gambling ring results in a surprising discovery about himself!

It’s funny that we were talking about Rocky Balboa earlier. Ted Grant, the DCU’s resident boxing champion and all around tough guy gets a refreshing bit of characterization during this two-part story.

We learn that Wildcat’s compassion and disgust with the Sportsmaster’s comes from Ted Grant’s own unresolved feelings of his father’s gambling which left Ted penniless and an orphan and forced to make his way in the world of boxing to survive.

He hates his father for being weak and it’s this fear of weakness that has driven him all these years. This story by Frank Tieri—while digging deeper than anyone else over the last 60 years—only scratched the surface of this character. We’d love to see more, especially as we (and Ted Grant) have learned that he is a father to a next-generation Wildcat.

Teen Titans #48

The Upshot from DC Comics: An AMAZONS ATTACK tie-in issue guest-starring Supergirl! How far will Cassie and Kara go in the impending battle — and how will their choices affect their relationship with the Titans?

We didn’t actually pick up this issue. It had been on our pull list but we looked at it in the store and put it back and asked that Teen Titans be dropped from our pull list, this time for good.

Beyond throwing good money after bad to read a crossover for a series we’re not reading, this book has been slipping for a couple years now. We gave it another chance when it was announced Geoff Johns was leaving and they have promised a roster and creative change with issue 50 but we don’t have the patience.

And from what we’ve seen of the roster, this is not our generation of Teen Titans. We wish the new guy luck but we’re getting off here.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Online Universities