Monday, August 31, 2009

Thoughts on Blackest Night August Releases

BLACKEST NIGHT: BATMAN #1 - Quite a few clues dropped here, as whatever is animating the dead superheroes is doing it without their souls/spirits/whatever Deadman is, as we see Deadman attempting to possess his own zombified body. And the interplay between Dick and Damien as the new Batman and Robin is nice for those of us who haven't been reading the Bat Books.

My one quibble with the set-up, as numerous dead Batman villains are resurrected over Gotham in-route to The Hall of Justice? I can understand wanting to keep the remains of dangerous metahumans like KGBeast hidden away from graverobbers seeking superhuman organs for transplant... but who the hell is going to want to steal the body of The Ventriloquist? It's not like he had superhuman vocal cords. At least, I don't think he did. But even if he did, how useful would that be?

BLACKEST NIGHT: SUPERMAN #1 -Now, THIS is the James Robinson we know and love. Though I'm a little confused as to why the Zombie Earth 2 Lois and Kal-L are harassing Ma Kent and Smallville as opposed to Power Girl and all of the New Krypton stuff with Supergirl was lost on me, this was still a good read if somewhat inaccessible. The coolest part? Unlike everyone else we've seen so far, Superman seems to radiate multiple emotional energies at once - at one point being a rainbow of Rage, Fear, Will, Hope and Love.

BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #1 - I'll admit to not being the greatest Titans scholar but a lot of the characterization in this one seemed off to me. Most of the issue features the current team of Titans and Teen Titans mourning/honoring the dead. A fight breaks out between Beast Boy and Cyborg/Starfire over why Terra has a statue when she was a traitor and why GeoForce mourns her. You'd think this issue would have been raised BEFORE the statue was put up in their Hall Of The Fallen or that at the very least Vic would - as Gar's best friend - be a little more tactful about dissing the guy's ex-girlfriend when Gar is feeling blue.

Given that, it's hard for me not to be rooting for the zombies in this one, especially since Lilith has returned. Lilith, you might remember, got royally shafted when she got killed, as it happened just before Donna Troy died(again) and everybody was too busy talking about how great Donna was to remember - oh, yeah... we lost another teammate too! And full creepy props for Donna Troy's son returning in a spectral baby carriage, even though I'm pretty sure he was out of diapers when he died.

BLACKEST NIGHT #2 - If you had told me a year ago that the best comic series I'd read all year would feature a scene where Aquaman comes back from the dead and starts killing his family, I'd have called you a damn liar. But damn me if that whole sequence isn't kind of awesome.

In fact, all the awesome action scenes - like where The Spectre himself is corrupted by The Black Power or where Barry Allen uses basic chemistry to take down a zombified Martian Manhunter - are eclipsed only by the nice little character touches, like Jim Gordon slyly talking about Batgirl as if she were a different person while talking to Barbara, because neither can be sure who is listening at that moment.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #39 - Quite a lot of stuff here involving on-going plots. All of it pretty good. To sum up...

* When put under the influence of a Star Sapphire beam that was supposed to reveal his one true love, Kyle lied about who he saw as his true love. It was, in fact, dead girlfriend Jade rather than current girlfriend Soranik. Personally, I'm disappointed it wasn't Kyle's original dead girlfriend Alex. I'm also disappointed that we apparently won't see her in this storyline because bringing back the original Woman In A Refrigerator as a vengeful zombie would be awesome on so many levels.

* Guy, not surprisingly, radiates Rage rather than Will in a fight, even when using his ring.

* Arissa abandons Daxam to it's fate, cursing the death of her partner, Sodam Yat and how he sacrificed himself to save a world full of racist xenophobes who weren't worth saving.

* Mongul continues his coup of the Sinestro Corps.

* Everyone in the Green Lantern Corps crypts on Oa comes back. Hilarity ensues.

GREEN LANTERN #45 - This issue is wall-to-wall fighting. And thank goodness for it!

* The entire dead planet of Xanshi returns from the dead - as a big black ball with the Black Hand symbol on it, ala Mogo.

* Carol Ferris fights Sinestro, as the Loyal Sinestro Corps followers assault Zamoran, for what the Star Sapphires did/tried doing to convert many of their members into soldiers of Love. Then they get surrounded by Black Lanterns, recruited from the ranks of dead Sinestro Corps Members.

* Several Green Lanterns fight the Red Lanterns, on the Red Lantern base-world of Ysmault, only for both groups to be besieged by Black Lanterns, formed from the ranks of those killed by the Red Lanterns.

* The Orange Lantern assault on the Blue Lanterns ends, after Larfleeze is attacked by an army of Black Lanterns made up of... everyone he killed to create the Orange Lantern Corps.

* And in the middle of all this, everyone waits for the Indigo Power to show up...

Thoughts On Nearly Everything I Read In August

There's a few things I feel the need to write full reviews for. So apart from all those books (and all the Blackest Night tie-ins, which are going to get their own post), here are my thoughts on everything else I've read this mont.

CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #12 - The Black Colossus adaptation comes to a close but not quite soon enough for my tastes. Don't get me wrong - this was a good read. But it did feel slightly padded in the middle chapters. Some characters can benefit from decompressed storytelling but Conan is not one of them. And they fail to save the ending of the story (Conan ravishes a princess on the altar of the evil god he just saved her from being sacrificed too) from seeming cliched, even though this is probably one of the most definitive sword and sorcery tales ever.

DOCTOR WHO #2 - Your love of this issue will depend upon two factors; how much of a Doctor Who fan you are and your ability to cope with a silent-film tribute in the middle part of the issue, where the Doctor's pursuit of the villain becomes a Keystone Cops skit. Take that as you will - but note that I loved it.

DOCTOR WHO: COLD BLOODED WAR - Another Doctor/Donna tale, this one centers upon the duo being dragged into a civil war regarding sexism and monarchies in the Draconian empire. Ugly artwork distracts from a decent story where Donna does more to save the day than The Doctor. Only required reading for the most dedicated of Whovians.

EX MACHINA #44 - The plot thickens. More is revealed about the source of Mitchell Hundred's amazing powers and the purpose he was meant to serve. It is awesome. Get the trades and start from Issue #1 if you aren't already reading this book.

FABLES #87 - Oh good. After last month's origin of just how Mr. Dark escaped from his prison and a crossover which has nearly ignored the mental breakdown of one of my favorite characters in the whole series (Rose Red), I'm overjoyed to see that this issue... continues to ignore her breakdown and instead focuses upon all the bad evil magic stuff that is now running loose and the power struggle among the witches of what was the 13th Floor.

*sighs* You'd think at least Snow White would give a damn about her sister and what might have happened what with Jack raping her. But no - Red Rose doesn't even get a bloody mention, though Bigby, Beast and Cole can't stop talking about what a scoundrel Jack is without even MENTIONING Rose.

HELLBLAZER #258 - Crap. Utter crap. The art is about the same as ever - and that's not a good thing - but Milligan makes multiple continuity mistakes that only further aggravate the problems with his portrayal of John Constantine. To make a long story short, John tries to use his magic powers to resurrect his murdered girlfriend - something which, according to the widely available and very popular Hellblazer story Son of Man - you CAN NOT do with magic under any circumstances. Throw in John, who is no idiot, trying to use a magical device that depends on the user being pure... yeah. John hasn't been written this sleazily or stupid since the Brian Azzarello days. In my personal continuity, these stories DID NOT HAPPEN. Period.

JACK OF FABLES #37 - Jack is going bald and fat. Gary lost his power to make inanimate things come to life. And somewhere in the Homelands, Jack Frost - son of Jack Horner - is embarking upon a quest to become a great hero or at least a much better person than his parents. At last this book is still awesome and knows how to keep a plot thread going.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #153 - Most of the comic space is devoted toward some of the series regulars playing a Car Wars style board game, which is quite amusing. The on-going stories advance somewhat, with magical things being afoot in Bagworld and the fight for who owns Hackmaster getting ready to go into overdrive.

The Gaming At The Movie column continues to be a blight upon the printed page, with this month's column advising you on how to best rip-off the Pirates of the Caribbean movies for your D&D campaign. Yeah - I'll still clear of anything which advises me to use Jack Sparrow as an GM NPC who "wouldn't overshadow the player characters."

Son, if you're doing CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow any justice, he'll steal every scene he's in. Savvy?

POWER GIRL #4 - Pure unadulterated win. The best new book to come out this year.

RED SONJA #47 - Last issue, Sonja was racing northward against her sworn enemy toward their mutual vague goal. This issue... they are both still racing northward toward their mutual vague goal. But Sonja does kill her traitorous sister and give her niece up to another family. And then at the end of the issue, everyone is STILL racing northward toward their mutual vague goal.

The one bit of good news? Apparently the series is ending and restarting as Queen Sonja, with Mel Rubi returning as artist and a good writer this time!

BREAKING NEWS: Disney Buys Marvel Comics

SOURCE: Disney to Buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 Billion


Hannah Montana/Spider-Man Comic Crossover In The Works

Howard The Duck Now Former Resident of Duckberg

Hugh Jackman To Star In Animated Wolverine Musical;
Claws To Be Replaced With Rainbow Beams

Garth Ennis - "Thank God I Still Have Vertigo!"

Marvel Fanboys Lose Their Shit; Promise Boycott

Starman Enjoys Lamentations of Marvel Fanboys;
Finds Their Panicky Tears "Sweet, yet greasy".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Brief Rant on Cry For Justice #2

I flipped through this one in the store. Curiosity won out over better judgment. And damn me if I wasn't disappointed by the end of the very first page.

*face palms*

I'm far from alone in being annoyed by this. Heck, no less a personage than Gail Simone herself has explained in detail why a Lady Blackhawk/Huntress threesome WOULD NOT HAPPEN.

I mention this only because I believe there are only three logical explanations for this... this... this page.

1. Judd Winick, not happy with having set the stage for Black Canary to be destroyed as a character, has kidnapped James Robinson and - unbeknown to anyone - been ghostwriting James Robinson's work, in an effort to stay relevant and to destroy the rest of The Birds of Prey.

2. Hal's mind has been taken over by Hector Hammond again and this is Ollie's way of testing to see who is in the driver's seat by seeing if Hal agrees to a truly outlandish statement.

3. Ollie, being Ollie, is just yanking Hal's chain and Hal, being Hal, is refusing to admit that the rumors aren't true.

I'm inclined to believe it's #3 because... Ollie heard it from Dinah? Seriously? I find that more unbelievable than the idea of a Lady Blackhawk/Huntress/Hal Jordan threesome, for three good reasons.

1. A Kiss and Tell guy like Hal Jordan is going to keep quiet about pulling off a feat like that and not tell everyone himself?

2. Ollie isn't going to be the first one he brags to?

(Read the Secret Six #12 preview before reading this next line. It will be funnier that way.)

3. Dinah hears about Hal apparently getting two of her closest friends drunk and taking advantage and her reaction isn't to give Ragdoll and Deadshot company in the Soprano choir that Wonder Woman is forming?

It's bad characterization for Hal (who had a girlfriend, last I checked) and Ollie, even ignoring the sexism and cheapening of two of the DCU's cooler heroines.

Curiosity won't overwhelm me again.

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 08/05/09

Because I only had two books this week, and not much to say about either one.

SECRET SIX #12 - Rocks in Socks. Great art, with a great story. And we get a lot more insight into Jeanette and just what exactly she is. (Here's a hint - it turns out she's been telling the truth the whole time and she's able to take out Wonder Woman) Previous little Ragdoll comedy, but he does steal the scene in two very good moments. All this, and Artemis kicking ass.

WARLORD #5 - A fairly standard "lead-in to the final battle" issue. Still the same great artwork and action we've come to expect, though I'd swear the brief speech about Northern Ireland was recycled from one of Grell's old Green Arrow stories.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green Lantern: First Flight

I'll keep this short and sweet.

It's not a bad film, but not that great either.

It commits the cardinal sin of requiring a little too much previous knowledge of the characters to be newbie friendly while altering the characters and circumstances to a degree that some purists may be annoyed. For instance, we see Arisia and she's featured quite prominently in the final battles... but I don't recall her ever being introduced by name.

Me? I wasn't annoyed. But I know quite a few Boodikka fans who won't be happy to see her transformed into a softer-featured, softer-spoken character. And this is just me personally... but I've always imagined Sinestro as being too classy to use the phrase "I own your ass."

I'd say it is worth a rental but not a purchase.