Friday, September 14, 2007

Looking To The Stars - 09/17/07 - The Week In Reviews

Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Marko Djrdjevic, John Romita Sr., Al Milgrom, Gene Colan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alex Maleeve and Lee Bermejo.

Like Daredevil #50 over four years ago, this comic makes use of multiple artists in order to justify it being a "very special issue". However, unlike Daredevil #50, rather than switching artists at random in the middle of one long fight scene, the art styles are used to mark a change in the hallucinations Matt Murdock experiences after being doped-up by long-absent nemesis Mr. Fear.

This approach is, to my mind, a much more effective use of the format. And what is more, Brubaker’s script caters to the artists and allows them to showcase their strengths relative to whichever portion of Daredevil history they were famous for doing art for in the past. The classic romance-comic style of John Romita Sr., the slightly harder pencils of Gene Colan and even the painted abstract expressionism of Bill Sienkiewicz are all in evidence and displayed quite well.

My one complaint; for all this book does to showcase some very fine artist and for all Brubaker’s skill in constructing a fast-paced story that moves us through Matt Murdock’s various visions of his past, not much else really happens, save that Matt finds out at the end of the book about the major event that occurred last issue. There are no amazing revelations in this issue. No sudden reveals, sudden deaths or even so much as a good-old-fashioned twist ending.

But in the end, that’s fine. Who ever said a 100th issue (especially when it’s actually #480 depending on how you count) had to be a be-all, end-all, extravaganza?


Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

I think it's safe to say, by this point, that anyone who would want to read this series probably is.

It has been two months and a recent poll on an independent blog, showed that Sinestro Corps is the most popular "event" series by a wide-margin right now. This is no surprise to those of us who have been reading the series since the first issue and were floored by the sheer audacity of teaming the two villains between the two biggest Crises in the last 25 years, the ultimate villain at the end of the highest-selling graphic novel of all time and a squadron of the worst the universe has to offer and letting them loose.

It would have been easy for the series to go downhill from there but it didn’t. Building off the mythology of one obscure story written by Alan Moore before his falling out with DC Comics, Sinestro Corps has become The Book of Revelation for Green Lantern fans as The GL Corps becomes a house divided and the wheels of Fate turn as piece by piece of a dire prophecy is set into place. And every single issue has ended with what I call a Doctor Who moment – a line, a revelation or a visual so amazing that the only basis for comparison I have is the kind of sudden cliffhangers that were routinely found on the very best episodes of Doctor Who.

If you haven’t gotten into this series by now, it’s not too late. The first book is on its’ fourth reprint and the rest should be easily available from any decent comics shop. You’ll thank me later, trust me. This is easily the best comic-crossover in decades – possibly of all time.


Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Mike McKone and Andy Lanning

In all honesty, this book should have been Justice League of America #13. Because apart from some brief comedy at the start with Hal Jordan trying to get rid of a group of unwanted strippers and a quick flash of Dinah Lance's own bachelorette party, this issue had precious little to do with the upcoming wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary.

And you know what? That’s just fine. Though part of me will always wonder whose idea it was to have a bunch of superheroines go out – in costume – to a place called “The Meat Locker” and if it was Diana who requested the Spartan Strippers.

But what this issue lacks in nuptial-related material it more than makes up for with sheer awesome including 100% recommended amounts of:

• Joker being written as the gods intended him; not taking anything seriously and quoting Mel Brooks..
• Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our generation and the greatest Joker straight-man ever.
• The Hall of Freaking Doom, baby!

But wait, there’s more! You also get the best scene with the new Firestorm ever, a guarantee of more John Stewart doing Green Lantern things by 2008 and a promise that the new Justice League comic will feature far less stories about people sitting around and talking to other and more stories with superheroes fighting actual super-villains!

If McDuffie can keep this ride going, this promises to be the best run any writer has had on Justice League since Grant Morrison.

Shame that McKone’s square-faced figures and uniform hairstyles (his Big-Boy Hal Jordan and jarhead Roy Harper scare me) are horrifying enough to force me to lower my grade on this one.


Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Oliver Coipel

By now everyone has seen the previews which showed the first few pages of this issue. Enough was seen to know that an epic smackdown of godly proportion was about to begin.

But are the fists of a god of thunder the surest thing to humble a man of iron? Nay, there is one thing better for inflicting wounds than the righteous might of the Odinson…

… and that is the righteous words of the Odinson!


Straczynski’s dialogue hasn’t shone like this in years and he seems to slowly be building an epic tale worthy of his reputation and the name of Thor. And Coipel’s pencils crackle on the page with every crack of lightning and thwoom of thunder.

The only flaws I see in the thunder god’s armor is that this book is not for the impatient and that I can see new readers being lost since much of the story thus far depends upon the reader already being a fan of Marvel’s Asgardian Pantheon and familiar with what happened at the end of the last Thor series. Still, if one can bravely venture past these thorns in the path, they may fine a comic worthy of the gods themselves!



  1. Thor's speech was definitely nice. Better than the bizarre crap Tony was spewing earlier. Still want a "Thou darest" though...


  3. wha?? Zatanna sitting on a a counter? Or climbing a stripper pole? And is that guy standing behind Black Canary doing the Cabbage Patch? What the hell????
    At least they made sure to get a shot of Power Girl's breasts from a bizaare angle. Lord knows you couldn't draw a scene without that.
    But having the Hall of Doom does make up for it all.

  4. Yeah. I kept hearing complaints from Iron Man fans about how Tony isn't that much of an officious dick.
    I wonder what books they've been reading lately...

  5. Yeah. I just realized that there's someone in the crowd at the bachelor party that is supposed to be Jack Knight... but the dude is so baby faced that only the goggles and the jacket give it away...
    ... except that IIRC, Jack gave his goggles and jacket to Stargirl in case she ever wanted them, along with his Cosmic Rod.

  6. Re: wha??
    Yeah. I'm also kinda curious why Babs is there in the background without her wheelchair, why someone as security-paranoid as Babs would go out in public with a bunch of superheroines in costume and why Hal and Roy picked up on the fact that having a party in public was a bad idea but that none of the superheroine's thought "you know - maybe us indulging in some normal- but somewhat frowned upon by certain vocal members of society - fun, in costume, is just asking for trouble if someone shows up with a camera."
    Supergirls Gone Wild, indeed.
    But yes... The Hall of Doom, the whole fight scene with Firestorm, the opening scene with Hal and Batman and this little exchange make it worth all the bad artwork and the questions brought up by it.

  7. I agree that IronDickery is rampant. But he's even more of some kind of Bush-ite parody in this book. I'm never been a huge Iron Man fan, but Tony's speech just came off as clumsy. JMS can and HAS done so much better writing bad guys...
    Also you have to wonder how Marvel editorial plans to turn his character around by the time his movie hits...

  8. Daredevil 100!
    Well, I must say that I quite liked #100. The driving idea for the guest artist insert was cleverly conceived, and it is a good issue for jumping in. It is true that there are no grand reveals or twist endings, but this is still the beginning of a new story-arch (think that "the real conclusion of the story starting in "The Devil in Cell Block D" was when "The Devil Takes a Ride" ended)
    I believe, though, that there were quite a number of things happening... and beyond Matt getting a bit of introspection (and maybe getting some conclusions out of it) we have Matt doing something which may bring him into trouble with the Boys in Blue, we have a scared, unknown man in Cranston's apartment... also, we have Foggy, whom I thought to be knees-down to Lily's pheromones, being able to tell her to shut up and focus on Milla's plight (and search for Matt). But of course, it all will read much better -i hope, when we have issues 100 to 104 at hand and are able to read the full story without a month of interval.
    In previous stories I have seen Brubaker sowing little details here and there that were ultimately revealed to be hints at some unexpected event, I have kept a close watch over every pannel (though I'm afraid I'm in a wild goose chase of several red herrings)

  9. Re: wha??
    So which of the many evil super-intelligent gorillas in the DC Universe is the one in the middle panel? 'Cause it's just not Hall of Doom without Gorilla Grodd.

  10. Duh. It will turn out Tony is a Skrull.

  11. Re: wha??
    I believe that is Monsieur Mallah.
    Grodd, last time I checked, did not wear clothes and I think we see him earlier in the book in all his naked glory!