Friday, July 11, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 7/10/08

COMIC FOUNDRY #3- The least enjoyable issue of this magazine so far, but I'm willing to concede that's a personal thing. See, I can't stand G4TV or any of the people on it. So while there probably are people who will enjoy a interview with Blair Butler, I'm not one of them.

Give them credit though - she's sensibly dressed in jeans and a t-shirt throughout. None of the bikini model shite you see in other comic-book/pop-culture magazines.

Thankfully - from an article on the much maligned art of inking to a profile of several couples who both work in the comic business - there's a lot in this issue to enjoy despite the cover story. And there's plenty of humor, as always. My favorite bit is the Summer Comic Convention Bingo card featuring such entries as "Rob Liefeld Lynch Mob" and "Hungover Creators".

FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM - This is the comic Final Crisis #2 SHOULD have been. At the very least, it is the send-off that J'onn J'onzz deserved.

How do I love it? Let me count the ways...

1. I love the extended fight scene, because it reveals that what we saw in Final Crisis #2 was just the first blow and not the death blow.

2. I love that it reveals that J'onn was tranquilized WELL before the scene in Final Crisis #2 and that it was Effigy - who I've always liked as a villain - who brought him down.

3. I love that the villains - at the very least, Effigy and Libra - treat J'onn as the threat that he is.

4. I love that even tranquilized and on fire, J'onn is STILL able to take on at least a dozen villains at once. Nice someone remembered how powerful he is.

5. I love how J'onn telepathically attacks the villains with their vision of their respective enemies and that nearly all of them imagine dying at the hands of a hero. Luthor imagines Superman punching through his chest. Effigy imagines drowning in a Green Lantern construct. And I love that Talia - by contrast - imagines Batman sweeping her off her feet and kissing her.

6. I love the subtle clues for the fans that "the cavalry arriving" is an illusion, even before the "killing" starts. Hints like Aquaman still being human and Ralph Dibny still being alive.

7. I love how Dr. Light apparently still lives in fear of a pissed-off Ralph Dibny constricting him to death.

8. I love the five perfect choices J'onn made to continue his legacy. Hal and Dinah, because they are the only two members of the original five JLA members left. Bruce, because of their days running JLI together and their connection as detectives. Clark, because of their bond as survivors of a dead world. And Gypsy, as his adopted daughter and the last surviving member of The Detroit Justice League.

9. I love this exchange - when Dinah gets a telepathic message and an illusion of her body being on fire as J'onn is dying. I apologize for the lack of a scan, but my scanner is still busted.

PANEL 1: SCENE: Ollie and Dinah in bed.

PANEL 2: CLOSE-UP: Dinah suddenly sits up with a start. Half of her face is Martian, as a foxfire glow fills the room.

PANEL 3: SCENE: Dinah looks down as the fiery glow covers her body.

Dinah: Um, Ollie? I'm on fire.
Ollie: (half-asleep) I know, babe. But I'm just too tired.

10. I love the quiet scene with Hal and Ollie and the conversation which appears to be leading into James Robinson's upcoming Justice League book. And I love that Ollie made the "My Favorite Martian" joke.

11. I love the history of the character - and the references to past stories in JLA and his all-too briefly published solo book - and how beautifully recounted it is. And I hate that nobody could think of anything better to do with him than give him a new costume and make him more "hard-core" in the wake of Infinite Crisis.

12. I love Batman slipping the Oreo into the coffin at the end. 80's JLA reference for the win!

RED SONJA #35 - This is the first issue with the new, permanent creative team of Brian Reed and Walter Geovani and it's a pretty good first issue, though I'm uncertain where we stand or where we are going. It starts in the usual fashion, with the quote from The Nemedian Chronicles regarding Sonja...

"Know also, O Prince, that in that selfsame days that The Cimmerian did stalk the Hyborian Kingdom, one of the few swords worthy to cross with his was that of Red Sonja, warrior-woman out of majestic Hyrkainia. Forced to flee from her homeland because she spurned the advances of a king and slew him instead, she rode west across the Turanian steeps and into the shadowed mists of legendry."

We then get this little addition, summing up the book until this point.

"Know this, reader of these texts - Red Sonja has perished! Fallen in battle with the vile sorcerer Kulan Gath, Sonja gave her life to save all of Hyboria. For a time, the red-maned warrior did journey through Hades at the side of the boatsman Charon. Here, she did learn the truth of her own creation at the hands of the face Goddess Scathach.

Twenty winters have passed since last Sonja walked the land. However, now that she has returned, her new incarnation has yet to learn the truth of her existence or the reason for her miraculous rebirth..."

The rest of the issue moves between two different storylines. The first involves a man - a warrior and shaman from the look of him - who battles a voice in his head as he tracks down Sonja's false goddess at the request of a shadowy figure who may or may not be Kulan Gath.

The other story involves a red-haired noblewoman named Sonja, the conflict between her husband's family and another noble house that is trying to take their lands and her awaiting his return from a quest to find a magical artifact that will protect them. This Sonja - though not the warrior we know - certainly has an admirable strength of character and her story is an intriguing one.

I'm not exactly sure where this story is going and what it has to do with the Red Sonja we all know and love. And I love that - for once - a story has not been spoiled for me and that I can't see where things are going. I have some idea that this may be Sonja's equivalent of "For The Man Who Has Everything" and that we may be seeing an ideal life made for Sonja - where she has power, safety and a man who respects her as an equal.

I'm reserving judgment until there's a few more issues. Color me intrigued but concerned. As for you new readers, now is the time to give Red Sonja a shot if you had ever hesitated before.

WONDER WOMAN #22 - The art isn't really helping this story at all. It looks good enough at times, but it's very difficult to identify certain characters. I didn't recognize anyone amongst the heads on pikes in the opening scene but Circe and Darkseid and I just now realized that the Conan look-alike from last issue was meant to be Wildstorm's cursed Conan-lite character Claw.

Still, Simone's writing is as good as ever. Though I suspect Ends of the Earth (hmm... Robert Howard reference?) may read better in one sitting. And now I really want to see Gail write a Red Sonja story.


  1. Do you mean Klaw the Conqueror? When did he become a Wildstorm character? Or is their a different barbarian dude named Claw?

  2. J'onn??? Awwwwwww... :(
    and SWEET still a founder .. HAHAH...

  3. Actually, it's Claw the Unconquered. And his brief revival series in 2006 was published by Wildstorm.

  4. Well, it's implied if not said outright. The five people J'onn contacts as he is dying in order to ensure that his life and the Martian people are remembered forever are Superman, Batman, Gypsy, Hal Jordan and Dinah Lance.
    There's no reason for Dinah to be on that list unless she was a a JLA Founder. :)
    And hey... how do you like that Ollie/Dinah moment? :)

  5. I cracked up and want to see the scan, though what it clearly needs is Ollie going "OW!" from the big fat pinch he clearly earned.

  6. Really? Weird. Last time I remember seeing the guy in a comic was when DC had like three or four terrible Justice League team books. He was in the magic one I think with Jack O'Lantern. Some time in the 90s...

  7. He redeems himself later, though...
    Hal: If the people responsible for J'onn lying here were outside this door... God help me... I'd incinerate them without a moment's hesitation.
    Ollie: No, you wouldn't. That's why we are who we are and they're who they are. Which is not to say that I would lose any sleep watching you toast an arm or two while I tickle one of those freak's major nerve bundles with a Turkey Tearror broadhead.