Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night #5

GOOD THING: Oh, there's so many good and amazing moments... but none can really compare to the final pages, in which we find out that Nekron can not only raise the dead... he can control those who have died and come back from the dead, because he allowed them to come back from the dead in the first place. So suddenly... Superman, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, Superboy, Kid Flash, Ice, Animal Man and Green Arrow... ALL of them are now zombified. And a set of Black Rings are moving in on Hal Jordan and Barry Allen... who have both come back from the dead, also.

BAD THING: We have to wait TWO WHOLE MONTHS for the next issue!

The Final Verdict: Awesome. Totally awesome.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #48

GOOD THING: A lot of good character moments here but for my money, the best is Blue Lantern Walker attempting to empathize with Atrocitius, as we learn about just what caused the Red Lantern leader to see out the power of Hatred in the first place. Namely, that his entire world/space sector was all but slaughtered by the Manhunter Robots for no good reason and The Guardians apparently covered the whole thing up.

BAD THING: Not a lot of action, as this issue is mostly dedicated toward the Rainbow Connection trying to win over Atrocitius and Larfleeze.

The Final Verdict: Good issue and a must read for anyone interested in keeping up with the main story of Blackest Night

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Justice League of America #38

GOOD THING: Lots of good fight scenes, but my favorite has to be Zatanna vs. her father, Zatara!

BAD THING: Kind of a big whopping continuity error toward the end, where Dr. Light (the good one), calls Dr. Light (the bad one) "Curry". Looks like someone got Arthur Light (a.k.a. The Bad Dr. Light) mixed up with Arthur Curry (a.k.a. Aquaman). You'd expect better in a James Robinson book...

The Final Verdict: Not a bad issue, by any means. Great Mark Bagley artwork and this is the kind of writing I'm used to seeing from James Robinson. Not sure how essential it is to the Blackest Night readers but you could do a lot worse than to pick up this book.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Teen Titans #77

BAD THING: The cover is rather misleading. Rather than dealing with the various Teen Titans who might or already have returned from the dead as Black Lanterns, this issue focuses entirely upon the dead family and friends of Titans villain Deathstroke.

GOOD THING: If you can get past most of this issue building upon the ancient past of Deathstroke and the days when he was a semi-respectable professional mercenary rather than the amoral criminal mastermind he's been written as for most of the last decade, this is actually a rather effective read.

The Final Verdict: An effective deconstruction of the character of Slade Wilson which flies in the face of his most recent portrayals. This is, I think most Titans fans will agree, a good thing. Not really essential for Blackest Night collectors but a must-read, I think, for all Titans fans.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #38

GOOD THING: Artemis gets a LOT of cool moments here, including a nice little shout-out to the animated Wonder Woman movie which Gail Simone had a hand in plotting and writing.

BAD THING: Without spoiling too much, the revelation on the last few pages just kinda comes out of nowhere. Hopefully all will be explained next time.

The Final Verdict: Wonder Woman the way she is mean to be written. Practically perfect in every way, despite a bit of an out-of-left-field ending.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Queen Sonja #2

GOOD THING: A very complex (well, compared to the last few years of Red Sonja anyway) plot, involving a corrupt emperor who is slowly enslaving what lands he cannot conquer, warrior princesses turned bandit trying to free their kingdom from tyranny and Sonja trying to play the mercenary but turning into a noble champion in spite of herself.

BAD THING: Granting that there is a certain degree of folly in complaining about Sonja's traditional costume being unrealistically portrayed, Mel Rubi used to draw it as actually being capable of supporting Sonja's more assets as opposed to just sorta covering them.

The Final Verdict: The She Devil of Hyrkania is back in full fighting form! A great story as rich as any fantasy novel is unfolding here and it feels like a Red Sonja story rather than the curious generic fantasy Brian Reed was writing until recently.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Batman And The Outsiders #24

GOOD THING: Not surprisingly, with Peter Tomasi (who also does Green Lantern Corps) writing, this issue feels a lot more like a part of the Blackest Night storyline than just a random tie-in issue. The plot feels more organic and builds nicely off of what we saw in the Blackest Night: Titans special.

BAD THING: Shockingly, this is one of the few Blackest Night tie-ins that doesn't do a lot to introduce new readers to the cast of this book. I was wondering since when Nite-Owl from Watchmen was a part of the mainstream DCU when I first saw Owlman and it took me a moment to remember who Halo was.

The Final Verdict: It doesn't do as good a job as introducing the characters as some of the other Blackest Night tie-ins, but it's still a damn good read.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Superman/Batman #66

GOOD THING: It's got a great concept that builds upon a very simple principle; everybody loves a good monster fight.

The crux of this issue is Grant Morrison's new Frankenstein teaming up with Francine Langstrom, to try and cure her husband (a.k.a. Man-bat), in the midst of an attack by Bizzaro Superman (who want hurt good woman who give powers to Bat-Man) and a Black Lantern Solomon Grundy (who just wants to kill everyone).

BAD THING: The execution doesn't quite live up to the concept. I want to like the idea of a three-way fight between Grundy, Bizzaro and Man-Bat, but the comic just works too hard to add reasoning and pathos to what should and could be a very simple monsters fighting monsters comic.

Also, I'm still trying to wrap my head around just why the Black Lantern ring brought back Solomon Grundy and not Cyrus Gold.

The Final Verdict: Easily skipped by all but the most hard-core of Blackest Night collectors. The idea of a Man-Bat/Bizarro/Solomon Grundy fight sounds much cooler than it actually is.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Adventure Comics #4

BAD THING: Your enjoyment of this issue may be limited by how much you enjoy The Legion of Superheroes and how amused you are by the concept of Superboy Prime being an unsubtle parody of the stereotypical comic book fan.

GOOD THING: That being said, if you do like metatextual humor, this is a REALLY funny issue. The plot, such as it is, centers upon Superboy Prime (who is currently trapped in our universe) reading this comic, finding out that he is supposed to die in the next issue and desperately trying to find any information he can about the next issue... all while being taunted by a Black Lantern Earth-3 Lex Luthor.

Oh, and the Legion back-up story isn't too bad either, even though I really don't care about Legion and some of the backstory was lost on me, though it was explained well.

The Final Verdict: A good issue, if you have a decent sense of humor regarding the character of Superboy Prime and the concept of characters who know they are in a story. I found it hillarious but your mileage may vary.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan The Cimmerian #16

GOOD THING: After last month's one-shot set in Conan's far future, this issue returns us... albeit through a flashback... to where we last left off, with a relatively green Conan finally breaking free of his current lofty position of responsibility in favor of doing what he does best; kicking ass with an army of brothers.

BAD THING: While it is good to see the story moving forward and the flashback device here is fairly effective, I think I would like to have seen the actual battle that killed most of Conan's comrades rather than seeing the aftermath and Conan fighting a dinosaur while trying to escape from the enemy army while flashing back to just how he got into this mess.

The Final Verdict: We're back to the main plot after last month's reprieve. Not a lot of action, since most of the story is told in flashback. Still, a must-read series for any fan of sword-and sorcery and fans of Conan in particular.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern Corps #42

In this case, they are both one and the same thing...

BAD THING: Kyle Rayner, the character who got me into reading comics in the first place, is killed at the end of the book.

GOOD THING: If this truly is the end for Kyle Rayner (and I very much doubt it is), then at least he was given a truly epic death, sacrificing himself to save the Green Lantern Power Battery and - since the GLPB is the source of all the Green Lanterns' power - the whole bloody universe, since the Green Lanterns are so pivotal to stopping the Black Lanterns.

So take THAT, HEAT members! Sure, you got your dead Kyle... but he got a much better death than Hal Jordan ever did.

The Final Verdict: If this be how it ends, then it be a worthy end. But I don't think this is the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. A must read, either way.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About REBELS #10

GOOD THING: Ummm... they do make it easy for new readers to identify all the characters and learn their names and superpowers.

BAD THING: That's about all you learn about most of these characters.

The Final Verdict: Avoid it. I actually like Space Opera and even I couldn't be buggered to care about most of this issue. It has jack and squat to do with Blackest Night up until the very end and the main character treats the intrusion of the Black Lanterns as an annoyance rather than the threat they should be.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Booster Gold #26

GOOD THING: The flashback scene to Ted Kord's funeral and Booster's thoughts on the event are the farewell the character SHOULD have been given when he was killed off before Infinite Crisis.

BAD THING: There's a few things that are inaccessible to those of us who haven't been reading this series and the references to The Black Beetle are just confusing given that this issue features the 2nd Blue Beetle's return from the dead as a Black Lantern.

The Final Verdict: The most accessible of the Blackest Night tie-in issues so far. The scenes with Booster revisiting Blue Beetle's funeral are very touching and make me want to go back and read the past issues of this book.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Fables #90

GOOD THING: Well, the scene with Gepetto apparently trying to coax some magic wood out of the father of all trees (oh, get your minds out of the gutter!) is interesting if all too brief.

BAD THING: Really, there's not a lot going on and what IS going on isn't all that interesting. Nearly every scene of this issue is characters sitting around and talking about what they SHOULD be doing. No, really...

* Baba Yaga sits around with the Magic Mirror and asks it what to do to fight against Bufkin.
* Beast, Beauty and Mayor Cole sit around trying to figure out how to use Frau Tottenkinder's gift.
* Beast, Bigby and Snow sit around and discuss how to start raising a new army.
* Ozma sits around with the other magicians and witches and starts pleading her case to take over as their new leader, instigating a coup against Frau Tottenkinder.
* Bufkin and the rest of the resistance sit around and plan.
* Mister Dark sits around while ordering his minions to build him a hall on the ruins of Fabletown.

All this and STILL no mention of Rose Red and her condition.

The Final Verdict: Wait for the trade if you MUST have this story. I think I lost 20 IQ points reading this thing.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Jon Sable: Freelance - Ashes of Eden #2

GOOD THING: The issue does (re)introduce us to all of Jon's supporting cast and set up what promises to be a rather daring heist scene in the next issue, as we get the details of the security guarding the diamond displays John has been hired to protect.

BAD THING: This issue is heavy on the setup/exposition and light on the action. Quite a rare thing to say about a Mike Grell book!

The Final Verdict: It's a gorgeous book that does a masterful job of reestablishing Jon Sable's support team for new readers or old readers who haven't read the series in a while. Its' one failing is that nothing much really happens in this issue while a heck of a lot of things are set up.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who #5

GOOD THING: Seeing The Doctor having to confront one of his past mistakes without an easy answer is always a rare treat. It is a fleeting moment but to see The Doctor actually considering the indirect consequences of his actions is a sobering moment for him and the reader who cheered him on in his defeat of aliens who were hostile though not evil.

BAD THING: The art is still merely average with the caricature of David Tenant being merely decent and the one of Anthony Stewart Head being bloody miserable.

The Final Verdict: Still a must read for all New Who fans, despite some artwork that is merely standard instead of stupendous.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Comic Book Comics #4

Well, one good thing and one bad thing besides "this fourth issue finally being here" and "us having to wait so long for the damn thing", respectively.

GOOD THING: More of the same from Evil Twin Comics - educational material presented in a fun way. It's hard to single out just one page or panel as particularly exemplary, so we'll just go with good ol' fashioned author appeal and show the panels with my three favorite heroes!

BAD THING: With a subject this big, some subject matter was bound to get shafted. And for all the details we get on the Super Silver Age Sixties at Marvel, there is surprisingly little about Mainstream Comics in the 70s.

Most of the last half of the book is devoted toward Robert Crumb and the Underground Comics movement of the 60s and 70s. - something important to cover and no mistake about it! But the end of the book seems to be taking us right into the 1980s and the Age of Lawsuits without any examination of how Stan Lee's defiance of the Comics Code Authority in the early 1970s (mentioned in the above one panel) led to a host of reforms in the American Comics Industry, including a diversification of genres and the return of horror books.

And then there's the improved representation of female and minority heroes during that same period. Misguided though it was, at least the creators were trying when they introduced characters such as Ms. Marvel, Black Lightning, Power Man and Power Girl.

I'm sure this will be coming late on in the series. It's just a bit jarring that A did not smoothly lead into B as it did in previous issues.

The Final Verdict: At this point, it may be easier to wait for the Trade of this series than to find the back issues. But either way, you'll want to pick this up. History - even comics history - has never been this fun!

Monday, November 9, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doom Patrol #4

BAD THING: You know those comics which claim to tie-in to a bigger storyline that are just an excuse to get the regular readers to care about the crossover and a means of suckering in all of the fans of the crossover who wouldn't buy this book any other way? This is one of those comics.

On the bright side, at least there's three pages of history explaining who the Black Lantern Doom Patrol members are and and who the current Doom Patrol is for those of us who don't read Doom Patrol. So at least you don't spend the whole book confused as to who is fighting who and why. That being said, there's no reason to buy this book if you're just interested in Blackest Night.

GOOD THING: The real treat comes at the end of the issue, where there is a non-Blackest Night affiliated story about The Metal Men.

Now I know what you're thinking - why do I care about the Metal Men all of a sudden? I don't. But I do care about anything Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire do together. Because it's always worth reading and frequently hilarious.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #15

GOOD THING: John Ostrander is the guest writer, in this special issue which reconciles Deadshot's origins as a Bob Kane creation back in the 1950s with the development Ostrander gave the character during his beloved (and criminally uncollected) run on Suicide Squad.

And if all that continuity speech just gave you a rash, don't worry - you don't have to have read ANYTHING to enjoy this issue.

BAD THING: This is a personal pet peeve but I am somewhat disappointed to learn that the visions of killing people we've seen in the past storyline were less about Floyd Lawton developing some sense of humanity and more his psychosis shifting from suicidal thoughts to homicidal ones. While I admit this is a lot more in-line with the way the character has been written, the idea of an amoral thug like Floyd having to struggle with unfamiliar feelings of compassion is an interesting one I'd like to see explored.

All in all, a fine issue and a fine jumping-on point for those of you who still aren't reading this, for some reason.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Knights of the Dinner Table #155

GOOD THING: More convention-based hilarity, as the gang reunites and finds out that that the LARP they signed up for is a war game: not a fantasy RPG.

BAD THING: The Gaming The Movies column still stinks on ice.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan the Cimmerian #15

GOOD THING: The art by guest Artist Paul Lee is amazing, looking more like a painted mural or an ancient drawing on parchment than a comic book.

BAD THING: It's not that the story isn't well written. It is. But this story - set during Robert E. Howard's novel The Hour of the Dragon - seems oddly told at this point when - in the chronology of the series - things have been running in a fairly direct line from Conan's earliest days leading up to when he becomes King of Aquilonia.

To jump from the end of Conan's first command as a general to a story from his days as a King is jarring to say the least. And out of all the many characters Howard created who could use a bit more development or a "Point of View" story, the Stygian vampire princess Akivasha doesn't even make the top ten.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord #8

GOOD THING: Like I said last month - It's Mike "My God" Grell doing the writing AND the art.

BAD THING: I had to go back and reread last month's issue and then reread this one to realize just how the story flowed. To make it clear, the first part of #8 happens... then we cut to the beginning of issue #7... and then come back to the end of #8 for the real ending. There's no real reason to do the story in this fashion, other than to do the artificial fake-out regarding the identity of the virginal maiden Morgan saves.

Give you a hint: she's the ancient Atlantean war goddess.

Not a bad story by any means but I think it could have benefited from a more straight-forward time progression. That being said, it's good to have the master back in the saddle.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Queen Sonja #1

GOOD THING: This is the first Red Sonja story in a good while that has felt like a Red Sonja story. Most of the issue is devoted towards a standard "recover the stolen treasure" quest.

BAD THING: For a book called Queen Sonja, there's surprisingly little about Sonja having ascended to a throne. Indeed, apart from the three page introduction which brings us the news that Sonja's land is being invaded, the entire book is told in flashback. It just seems kind of sloppy to have this scene THEN go to telling the story of how Sonja became a queen in the first place. We already know from the title that she's going to succeed on her quest and survive another four months.

This issue represents a reboot of the franchise and a good jumping on point for new readers. There is no reference to the previous series, save for a note on the title page that says "For a time... the world was a different place and time ripped asunder."

In other words, the entire Brian Reed run DID NOT HAPPEN and we are back in the true Hyboria. And thank goodness for it!

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the original artist for the previous Red Sonja series, Mel Rubi, is returned and has proven himself as capable as ever. Gone are the endless splash pages that polluted the Brian Reed run on the book - say hello to panels and well-blocked action sequences!

The short version is that despite a little too much fan-service (even by the standards of sword and sorcery comics), this is a return to form and a good start on revitalizing the character after nearly two years of ambiguity and nonsense.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #3

Kevin Smith brings us something we haven't seen in a long time: a fun story where Bruce Wayne and company are allowed to be happy.

I've save you all the lecture but I've made the point in the past that there are very few comics which allow themselves to be fun anymore. That is to say, there are very few comics that allow themselves to be comics with all that entails, no matter how ridiculous. Give us talking gorillas! Bring me more good-natured ribbing between colleagues. Show us something with some imagination and a sense of humor!

The Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League was fun. Dan Slott's She-Hulk was fun. Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman was fun. Power Girl is fun. Pretty much anything by Gail Simone is fun. It's a bit hard for me to describe that elusive quality in words and your mileage may vary... but those are some books which I feel have that common factor. So why am I bringing this up in a review of a Kevin Smith comic when everyone knows that Smith's work is a loose collection of dick and fart jokes built around the exploitation of women?

Because Kevin Smith has done the impossible or, at the very least, the blasphemous. Blasphemous at least to the vast majority of Batman fans who like their Dark Knight extra dark with a side order of angst.

He has written a story where Tim Drake is allowed to smile and crack wise like a real teenage boy.

He has written the first story I can recall since the days of Steve Englehart when Bruce was allowed to pursue a love interest and was depicted as actually WANTING a life outside of being Batman.

And gods help us - he's actually done a story where Aquaman is presented as a likeable smartass.

On one level, I know that this totally breaks the status quo of several years. Tim Drake is supposed to be a moody, troubled young man, totally obsessed with his own quest for heroism in the face of both his parents dying and the death of his best friends. Batman is a chaste samurai with no use for the pleasures of the flesh. And I'm sure that there are any number of Peter David fanboys who will emerge from their Hobbit holes to remind me that the only true Aquaman stories are those in which he is the proud warrior king of Atlantis with a hook-hand and a beard.

Well, you know what? The status quo stinks. And I like Smith's vision of these characters a lot more than I've liked anything else done with them in recent memory.

I just hope that this isn't the build up to a Fridging for Silver St. Cloud and an uping of the angsty ante for Bruce. Because that would lower what has thus far been a very original and wonderful mini-series into Yet Another Batman story. I'm certain that Bruce will wind up alone again (naturally) at the end of this tale... but is it wrong that I like seeing one of my favorite boyhood heroes be happy, if only for a little while?

Heroes: Season 4 - Episode 8: Shadowboxing

What? I told you all last week. I'm done with this show.

Seriously. There's nothing here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Heroes: Season 4 - Episode 7: Once Upon a Time in Texas

Here it is: the episode which is either going to break my heart or make me start to believe in this show again.

From the look of the preview, it looks like Hiro may try bargaining his knowledge for Charlie's safety... which could explain a lot of how Sylar kept surviving everything.

I'm going to keep this short because... well, there's not much to discuss except the four things that REALLY pissed me off about this episode.

1. The Whole "Noah Having An Affair" Subplot

It was wholly unneeded and unnecessary, save from the perspective that they can't have an entire episode center on just one character (i.e. Hiro) for some reason. What's worse is that the subplot served no purpose other than making Noah Bennet look like an even bigger jerk.

The really jarring thing is that Noah having an affair with a co-worker not only doesn't jibe with the image we have of him being an insanely devout family man - it makes him look like he's slacking off at work since he is meeting said co-worker at a hotel ON THE DAY HIS DAUGHTER IS SUPPOSED TO DIE!

2. Sylar the Psychic Surgeon

I know Sylar is awesome. The entire show at this point is dedicated to showing us how awesome Sylar is. That being said, I cannot justify how Season One Sylar - who is still relatively green at this point - is capable of mixing his Intuition AND Telekinesis so that he can identify a brain disorder JUST BY LOOKING AT A PERSON and then can perform surgery on them without cutting their head open.

He had to cut Claire's head open in Volume Three to begin understanding her power - don't try and say that he can just look at people and see brain tumors and blocked blood vessels now!

3. Claire's Presence At A Homecoming Event

One of the few good moments in this episode was a nice scene between Noah and Claire where they discussed what Noah really wanted to do with his life. Turns out Noah was a drama geek and loves Shakespeare.

One problem - this is occurring on the day that Claire is destined to die. The same day that, back in Season One, Noah grounded Claire and forbid her to go anywhere near the school in uniform.

This is so huge I don't even feel the need to point out that Claire's hair is visibly different.

4. The Timeline is officially broken!

See if you can follow me on this.

Volume One started with an eclipse on October 1st, 2006.

The events of Volume One took place over five weeks, with the destruction of New York being averted on November 8, 2006.

Volume Two started four months later, with an episode called Four Months Later filling in the gaps of what happened between the end of Volume One and the start of Volume Two.

Volume Two officially begins on March 11, 2007. The events of this volume take place over the course of a little over a week, ending on March 20, 2007 when Nathan calls his press conference in Odessa, Texas.

Volume Three picks up right where Volume Two left off on March 20, 2007. The events of this volume take place over a few days. No exact dates are given after March 23, 2007, but we do know that it is sometime in April when Volume 3 ends, "three weeks later", when Nathan is showing talking to The President about the existence of superpowers.

Volume Four doesn't start with an exact date either but we do find out later on, as Matt is ripping memories from Noah regarding how the government-backed power-hunting team was formed, that it all started five weeks earlier.

This puts a gap of two months/eight weeks between the end of Volume Three and the start of Volume Four, making it sometime in the middle of June, 2007 when Volume Four starts.

Volume Four takes place over the course of a couple of weeks, ending sometime in July.

Volume Five doesn't start with an exact date but we do know that six weeks have passed since the end of Volume Four. This information, coupled with the fact that Claire is just starting her first semester of college, puts the date at somewhere in late August/early September 2007.

So why is this a problem? Because Once Upon A Time in Texas made repeated references to it having been three years since Hiro met Charlie and Hiro being "Three Years Ago" when he time-traveled back to save her! But a cursory glance at the timeline proves that it's barely been 11 months, much less three years!

The Final Verdict: It broke my heart AND my brain. I really am done with this show now. Seriously.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night #4

I'm limiting myself to One Good Thing and One Bad Thing on this one, because while I found this issue to be awesome incarnate, detailing all the good moments would require me scanning the whole comic.

GOOD THING: Barry Allen finally doing something to show himself worthy of the respect and praise everyone was giving him in The Flash: Reborn

BAD THING: Blink and you'll miss it, but Ollie and Dinah appear to be fighting a zombie Black Canary a.k.a. Dinah's mom. This is a great idea that deserves to be covered in full. I hope this is covered fully in a Blackest Night tie-in later. And that it is NOT written by Alan Kreisberg.

By the by, I just love how even in the midst of worldwide devastation, Barry STILL can't stop being a dick to Ollie.

Green Lantern #47

There is one bad thing in the middle, but for the most part this is all about good, cool things I liked and vital information we learn in this issue.

1. The Red Lanterns are basically immune to the Black Lantern's preferred attack (i.e. ripping the still-beating heart of an enemy out and feasting on their emotion) since their rings have actively taken over the job of keeping them going.

2. The fight between Sinestro and the Black Lantern of his wife. I don't usually cater to attempts to change villains into tragic anti-heroes, but in Sinestro's case... it actually works.

We even get an answer to that age-old question as to whether Sinestro is his first name or last. It turns out that it is his last name and that his first name perfectly fits within the tradition of alien spellings of appropriate words. His full name is Thall (Fall) Sinestro.

3. It is pretty much confirmed that the special ability of the Indigo Tribe is that their staffs can replicate the effect of any other ring type but they can only do it for a limited amount of time and there seems to be some need for proximity or prior exposure.

4. Hal standing up to Sinestro's attempts to take charge of the current situation.

5. John Stewart exploring the resurrected world of Xanshi - a planet whose destruction he failed to stop.

6. Larfleeze, a.k.a. Agent Orange, fleeing in terror before the Black Lanterns formed of all of his victims... only to run into a very angry Red Lantern Leader, Atrocitus

For the most part, I loved this whole issue. Still, I wish there was more page space being devoted to John Stewart dealing with his hubris and less time being spent on upon Hal and The Rainbow Coalition. I hope the next issue will give us more of a focus on John.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night: Titans #3

Fair warning: I was hard pressed to limit it to just ONE bad thing.

GOOD THING: The conceit that Dove radiates a pure white light that shorts out the Black Lanterns. No indication is given if this is due to Dawn Granger being so emotionally well-balanced (all of her emotions are in perfect moderation) or due to some special ability granted by the Lords of Order, who would presumably be against the Black that is raising the dead and bring about the destruction of all life. Either way, it would make sense and is quite cool.

BAD THING: Since I don't want to look lazy for saying "It Has Donna Troy in it" for two reviews straight, I choose 'Ed Benes is allowed to draw Starfire'. Granting that it's hard for most artists NOT to go all fan-service with Kory... well, just look at it.

Starfire: Proof You Can't Spell "Titans" Without T and A.

Definitely the weakest of the Blackest Night tie-ins so far.

The biggest problem is that there's no real character development and apart from the scenes with Beast Boy/Terra and Donna/her family, the story doesn't really exploit the sheer horror of being confronted with an undead version of a loved one. And even those seem a bit flat when the characters are forced to "toughen up" to fight back.

You'd expect to see a little more emotional torment in a situation like this, especially given they are fighting people who they didn't know were dead, like Tempest and the new Hawk. But you don't. Hell, Donna even goes as far as to snap the neck of the zombie Omen.

Omen, for the record, is a magic-using Teen Titan heroine who died in the same Titans/Teen Titans special in which Donna Troy died (again)... and the narrator outright said that nobody much cared about Omen dying but EVERYONE missed Donna Troy. So having Donna be the one to take her out... yeah.

This whole state of affairs is especially problematic given that this is the Teen Titans we're talking about. I've haven't particularly been a fan of this series - or any Titans series, for that matter - but I do know from conversing with fans who are that one of the biggest selling points of the series has been the relationships between the characters.

You don't see any of that here. Hell, you see the other characters acting like jerks to one-another, like when Cyborg and Starfire give Beast Boy a hard time regarding his feelings for Terra to the point of wondering out-loud why they even built a memorial statue for someone who turned traitor and nearly got them all killed.

Granting that this is a valid concern, I can't help but wonder why wasn't this brought up when they were building the statue garden in the first place? And did I mention this is happening at a ceremony to honor the dead?

And I hate to keep harping on about this... but Donna Troy needs to die and stay dead. Seriously.

No, you CAN fight like that, Donna. Unless they changed your origin story again in the past hour, last I checked you're a frelling Amazon! You can fight naked in the rain, in a muddy pit with nothing but a pointy stick for a weapon (in fact, Ed Benes probably has a sketch of that somewhere) so you can damn well fight zombies in your bed clothes.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #37

GOOD THING: Simone's ability to perfectly capture a character in a one-page internal monologue.

BAD THING: I'm still lost as to how - on ANY level - Donna becoming convinced that Diana is responsible for her family dying works. Unless something major happened that I'm not aware of, wasn't all of Donna's bad luck due to an evil version of herself from a parallel universe putting her through hell in order to ensure her own creation? Or have they changed Donna's background again?

Aside from the inclusion of Donna Troy (who I am coming to believe makes any book worse for her presence), this was a very good issue and a very good book. I liked the shout-out to the end of last week's Secret Six issue, as Artemis and the rest of the enslaved Bana-Mighdall Amazons return home. The art seemed a little off this time around for some reason (is it just me or do the eyes look weird?) with none of the Amazons seemingly nearly as well-muscled as they should be.

And the last page shocked me so much that I'm not going to tell you what happened so that you HAVE to go and buy this book. :)

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Jack of Fables #39

GOOD THING: I can honestly say that the ending of this book - and exactly what was happening to Jack - was a surprise to me.

BAD THING: None of the rest of the book was a surprise to me. And that's a very bad thing. Particularly when the best part of the book continues to be the one-page internal adventures of Babe The Blue Ox and the main storyline centering on Jack The Younger seems like a generic fantasy story taken from some other book.

Honestly, what's happening with Jack Jr. isn't nearly as interesting as the one page of Babe or - holy crap - Jack Sr. becoming a bleeding big dragon. Hopefully the book will shift gears again soon because while Jack Jr's adventures aren't BAD by any means, they don't seem like a proper Jack of Fables story.