Friday, January 11, 2008

Emerald Fallout, Teen Titans Re-Imagined and The Dangers of Drinking & Magic

FanBoyWonder continues to catch up on our delinquent comic book reviews and we expect to be current by the end of this weekend. So without further ado, here’s our take on the books we picked up during the first week of the New Year.

Green Lantern #26

The Upshot from DC Comics: Who are the Alpha-Lanterns? What bizarre cosmic surgery have they undergone? And how will they affect the future of the Green Lantern Corps? In the aftermath of the Sinestro Corps War, the Green Lanterns are undergoing an unprecedented reconstruction and reinvention, and the controversial Alpha-Lantern project is in full effect.

Meanwhile, with Sinestro's true machinations for his war revealed to Earth's prime Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan and John Stewart, debate rages across Oa as lines are drawn and crossed, new bonds are formed, and old ones broken.

Whereas the issue of Green Lantern Corps following the conclusion of the Sinestro Corps War was an Epilogue for the various individual Lanterns, this issue of Green Lantern deals with the Fallout—the peacetime consequences of the decisions made during the fog of war.

As we had suspected and hoped, the Guardians’ new law has had unintended and far-reaching consequences.

The removal of the power rings’ “kill switch” and the allowance of lethal force to be used by Green Lanterns was the deciding factor that turned the tide for the GLC. But as Sinestro knew all too well is that victory achieved in such a manner comes at a high price.

As word spreads of Green Lanterns’ killing actions—they will no longer been seen as protectors but as enforcers.

Even with Sinestro imprisoned and on death row on Oa, his Corps continues to spread fear. Their latest terror tactic includes targeting the families of Green Lanterns—every cop’s worst nightmare and a sure fire way to provoke a lantern into crossing the lethal line—and diminishing the Corps reputation that much more.

This plays out almost immediately with “Lost Lanterns” as they encounter Sinestro Corps member Amon Sur—fresh from murdering the family of one of their fallen brethren. Green Lantern Laira promptly kills Amon, not just crossing the line but erasing it forever.

It seems the Guardians’ answer to the first law is the second law in the form of the newly minted Alpha Lanterns. The GLC’s own internal affairs division. An elite group within an elite group does not bode well for members of the whole.

However, for our money the best scene of the book came as we saw John Stewart in silent contemplation within the ruins of Xanshi—the planet whose destruction he failed to prevent.

We had been quite vocal about the shoddy treatment John has been receiving over the past couple of years—he vanished from the GL books and from the Justice League virtually the same moment Justice League Unlimited (featuring John Stewart as GL) went off the air.

Now writer Geoff Johns has seen fit to start including John Stewart in the story again. To Geoff Johns credit, once he’s engaged he does right by Stewart by getting into his head and showing the reader his feelings of remorse for his failure and how living with it has made him a stronger, better, GL for it. Keep it up Geoff.

Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files #1

The Upshot From DC Comics: For the first time ever, the secrets of the Book of Oa and the Book of Parallax are revealed in short stories looking at the past, present and future of the Corps! This 64-page Special features new tales of both the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps!

THIS is what a Secret Files should be. Rather than larding this Secret Files edition with lame and useless filler stories (as DC has done so much), this edition serves as an encyclopedia of (nearly) all things Green Lantern as well as a road map to the new status quo in the Green Lantern books.

Our only complaint is that Alan Scott—the original Green Lantern of Earth was omitted.

We think that it is past time that writer Geoff Johns address the relationship of the Green Lantern who is NOT of the Corps with the GLC and the Guardians of the Universe.

Frankly we would love to see an alien GL react in confusion to Alan. Also, it would seem to us to be huge plot potential for a separate “Starheart Corps” of Green Lanterns who possess not the emerald light of the guardians but the power of the magical Green Flame.

Teen Titans: Year One #1

The Upshot From DC Comics: Writer Amy Wolfram of the Teen Titans animated series on Cartoon Network joins rising star artist Karl Kerschl for a colorful reimagining of how the Teen Titans came together! See how these teammates bonded, and overcame the sheer awkwardness of being teenagers in this explosive 6-issue miniseries that guest-stars the Justice League of America! You may think you know Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and Aqualad...but you don't really know the original Teen Titans!

We have to admit we have mixed feelings about this mini-series. Don’t get us wrong, it has nothing to do with the quality—both the writing and the art are both top shelf.

For us, we’ve been Titan’s fans since we were 9 years old when we were first introduced to the Wolfman/Perez version of the team but their run was a re-incarnation of the original team, so we never saw how the original bunch of sidekicks banded together as a team.

Given her wonderful work on the Teen Titans cartoon—a perennial favorite of Brianna the Girl Wonder—we have enough faith in Amy Wolfram to let her lead us to where she is going.

Yet is it a bit disconcerting to see the origins of these particularly characters retroactively re-cast. Watching Robin at the Batcave computer surfing the chat rooms for fellow sidekicks and instant messaging Kid Flash was just darned odd.

Wolfram does manage to replicate the “cuteness” of the Titans cartoon here in the story—thanks in no small part to the art of Karl Kerschl—but it’s cute very nearly to a fault.

Wonder Girl, who with another apparent continuity tweak is Wonder Woman’s kid sister again, channels her animated Starfire as the sweet, naive girl who declares her love for the first boy she sees.

We would like to say that this is SO much NOT like Donna Troy but who the Hell knows who is Donna Troy anymore?

Meanwhile, Robin has his own worries as he is getting hassled by the (Bat)man. At first we thought that Frank Miller’s Godd**m Batman was making a guest appearance here as he berates Robin at every turn.

But it seems that we’ve gotten so used to seeing the Dark Knight behave like a royal d**k (especially in Richard Grayson flashback stories) that we didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary in the story until Batman punches Robin and sends him packing.

As for the Aqualad, we’re reserving judgment until we can see a little more of him. Wally West’s Kid Flash meanwhile, did little more than remind us of Bart Allen/Impulse, which just made use miss him and annoyed us that DC threw away a great character for no good reason.

Countdown to Mystery #4

The Upshot From DC Comics: Kent Nelson, feeling sorry for himself, falls off the wagon and into despair…which would be miserable enough for an obscure, powerless individual — but Kent possesses the helmet and identity of Doctor Fate! Plus, a shocking new development in the life of Eclipso — unlike everything you've seen in a DC series before.

We’ve read this story numerous times at this point and we’re still blown away at how good this chapter of the new Dr. Fate was—the story was both deceptively simple and it contained the mother of all storytelling curveballs that left us in shock.

Like the upshot indicated, Dr. Kent Nelson decided to go on a bender following his recent mystic excursions on the astral plane, the good doctor relaxes from his sobriety a bit decides that he can have a drink or 12.

What could it hurt?” Famous last words.

It was amusing to see a s**tfaced Fate floating over the Las Vegas Strip until he lost his concentration and dropped into the fountain pool in front of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino.

Proof that the Gods look out for fools drunks and foolish drunk novice mages, a Good Samaritan dives into the pool and rescues him. Her name—Inza Fox.

Inza and Kent, together again for the first time. The name rings a bell with Kent also as Inza drives his drunken ass home. He realizes he had a great aunt named Inza and Kent was named after her husband—who we the reader know was the original Dr. Fate.

It turns out Inza is a comic book artist who created a comic called “More Pain Comics”—writer Steve Gerber is enjoying some inside irony with the reader.

Inza and Kent have a good chemistry together—especially as she has climbed into the shower with him to scrub and wash his drunken ass. Just as we think we are starting to see the beginning of a beautiful friendship, it turns decidedly dark as the shower head rains down mystic acid and Kent watches Inza liquefied before his eyes—without his helmet he is helpless to stop it.

And just like that Inza is dead. A spiteful act by Negal—killing an innocent woman just to torture Kent. But in a very real way, Kent killed Inza too—she was dead the moment he went on that bender and had to be rescued by her in the pool.

Kudos to writer Steve Gerber for totally surprising us—we were as much pleased with this plot twist as we are disappointed at such a tragic and needless death—especially someone we had so quickly taken a liking too.

The art by Justiniano and Walden Wong was top shelf as usual but it looks like they went the extra mile to help sell the story visually via the facial expressions of Inza as she is dying and Kent when he realizes what is happening and why.

One small nit-picky point—Justiniano’s first couple pages featuring the Las Vegas skyline leaves a lot to be desired—it wasn’t nearly neon and gaudy enough.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Online Universities