Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Four #9 - A Review

As Superman and Wonder Woman engage in a trial by combat for the fate of the Regime, Hal Jordan watches... and thinks. It's not something Hal Jordan does much, being more a man of action than a philosopher. But that was before the most honest and brave man on Earth gave himself over to the power of Fear. And that fear brings Jordan to an upsetting conclusion about what Superman has become...

Out of all the startling changes to the familiar characters of the DC Comics Universe that have been brought about in the world of Injustice, one of the least commented upon is Hal Jordan's transformation into The Yellow Lantern. With this issue, Buccellato gives us some much needed insight into how a man once thought fearless might have become an avatar of everything he fought against. In this, we see the more subtle effects that Superman's fall from grace has had on his allies.

The artwork remains at its usual high standard. Bruno Redondo has a fine eye for detail and his layouts for the fight between Superman and Wonder Woman, inter-cut with flashbacks to other battles Superman has fought since the death of Lois Lane, look amazing.  Inker Juan Albarran finds the perfect level of shade to enhance every panel. And the colors by Rex Lokus are stunning.

The Flash: Season Zero #22 - A Review

Like the previous issue, The Flash: Season Zero #22 is a flashback devoted to Len Snart and Mick Rory and their criminal careers before they became Captain Cold and Heatwave. It is revealed that the two crooks exemplified their respective elements long before they got their hands on high-powered super-guns. More, we see why the calculating Snart works with a loose cannon like Rory.

The script captures the attitude of the characters from the show perfectly. Nevertheless, some of the action doesn't make a lot of sense. I can swing with Rory's plan to throw off the police by setting the museum they're robbing on fire before they go in. The problem is the plan doesn't work (despite the burglar alarms being disabled) and the police somehow beat the fire department to the museum, purely because we need a reason for Joe West and his partner to be there. This issue is a great character piece but it strains credibility as an action sequence.

Thankfully, the artwork saves the issue.  This is the kind of story Phil Hester draws best and the inks by Eric Gapstur beautifully enhance Hester's pencils.  But what really makes the artwork pop is Nick Filardi's colors, with a palette of strong oranges and cool blues creating a perfect visual representation of our two main characters.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Starman Plays Blade Runner - A Let's Play Adventure - Part One

In which we first enter the far off future of 2019, interview a creepy pedo animal breeder and my editor Jeff goes ape when he's given a little creative control.

Incidentally, if you like my Let's Play videos, you'll love Jeff's videos - https://www.youtube.com/user/CentaurProductions

The Tithe #2 & #3 - A Review

Through my own fault I missed the second issue of The Tithe after greatly enjoying the first issue. Now that I'm caught up, I can happily say that I'm still enjoying this series and am quite happy to hear it has been extended past its original four-issue order. That, and I sincerely want Matt Hawkins to take over writing Green Arrow, as this whole series tackles moral complexity and current events with far greater skill than anything I've seen in recent memory that tried to uphold the Dennis O'Neil ideal of the outlaw hero.

The second issue delves into the background of the four members of the hacktivist group Samaritan. Samantha the hacker is a true idealist, out to expose those who use organized religion as a means to power and wealth. Kyle is in it to pay the debts his brother Mike owes to Mexican gangsters. And Mike and Rachel? Well, they're just in it for the kicks.

This dynamic adds another level to the drama unfolding between the forces of law and outlaw in the third issue. And the question of who is right and who is wrong has never been muddier. However murky their motives, Samaritan are doing good work but in a bad way. By contrast, the lawmen chasing after them seem to be indirectly covering-up crimes they should be exposing.

The artwork by Rahsan Ekedal remains brilliant.  The action of the story flows well from panel to panel. And everything looks a little stronger in these two issues thanks to a more vibrant palette provided by Mike Spicer.

Sons Of The Devil #2 - A Review

Travis Crowe isn't the sort of man to worry about the past. His thoughts are mostly about the future - moving in with his girlfriend and building a life and a family with her. But Travis' past keeps coming back to haunt him, making his future look increasingly bleak.

An orphan bounced around the foster-care system, Travis had little interest in finding his birth family and even less interest in getting help from his former foster-brother Klay, whom Travis blames (quite rightly) for Travis never getting adopted. Now, Klay is dead and Travis is the lone witness to the murder as well as the prime suspect. Because the police don't completely buy Travis' story about struggling with a strange man who called Travis "The Chosen One".

Where did Travis Crowe come from? What did Klay uncover that might be worth his life? And what connection does it have to a mysterious cult from Northern California in the late 1980s?

As I noted in my review of the first issue on KabOOOOOm.com, the best part about this series is the character of Travis. Despite having a violent temper and rough edges you could sand a deck with, Travis is a likable protagonist who demands attention. This is fortunate as the actual plot of Sons of The Devil is still being revealed at a leisurely pace. This is not to say that this issue is not full of action but that there's been very little explanation of the events we've seen so far and how they connect. Thankfully, the script by Brian Buccellato makes this slow boil thrilling rather than tedious.

The artwork by newcomer Toni Infante is equally gripping.  Infante avoids the heavy inks favored by most artists working in horror comics, using subtle changes in the coloring to denote shadows. This gives the artwork a unique look as well as a greater sense of visual clarity.