Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night #8

GOOD THING: This moment. Just... THIS.

BAD THING: We're left with a lot more questions than answers at the end of this and while I'm sure this is going to lead to some really good stories, it's just really annoying that in the wake of the mass resurrections we see here that there are people who were excluded from the final "Get Out Of The Afterlife" free card and that we have no explanation for WHY they didn't come back.

I'm also seriously peeved that - with Blackest Night now firmly set BEFORE Cry For Justice, there's no chance of a miraculous resurrection for Lian Harper.

The Final Verdict: The failure of some characters to be resurrected at the end may piss you off. And it raises more questions than it answers. But the annoyance raised by those questions is balanced out by some very awesome character moments.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #42

BAD THING: The crossover with "The Green Lantern Corps" is actually a prologue with the Green Lantern characters Gail Simone created in this book sometime earlier. It's a pretty effective story but I was sorta hoping to see some of the alien lanterns from Tomasi's Green Lantern Corps showing up.

GOOD THING: The jaw-dropping final page in which we find out just who one of the Space Amazon invaders in... and her relation to Diana.

No, I'm not going to reveal it here. You'll have to buy the issue to see. Or send me a Private Message and ask me nicely.

The Final Verdict: Despite a bit of false advertising, a solid issue which has Diana facing a new enemy alone... a new enemy who turns out to be part of a race of space amazons with a link to Diana's past.

Monday, March 29, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #52

BAD THING: For all the build-up regarding the White Lantern, surprisingly little is done with the concept in this issue. Indeed, Sinestro spends most of the issue incapacitated and the whole part of the plot centering upon the idea of an avatar of Life itself is basically placed on hold for an issue.

GOOD THING: We DO get some page-time for the long-neglected John Stewart, who has to fight the Black Lantern of his wife AND the planet he killed through his negligence. And his main ally in this fight? Fatality - a serial killer of Green Lanterns with a special hatred for John Stewart.

The Final Verdict: The main plot is put on hold for a month as we head into Blackest Night #8. This is made up for by some GREAT scenes for John Stewart. Good solid issue that whets the appetite for the conclusion of this excellent mini-series.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern Corps #46

GOOD THING: Some very tense emotional scenes here, with Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner being confronted by the Black Lanterns of the women they loved and lost.

BAD THING: The artwork is amazing, but the layouts leave something to be desired. It gets a little confusing what panel comes before another at times.

The Final Verdict: A wonderful character-driven issue for Guy and Kyle and some good action scenes, beautifully depicted. Only some odd choices in the panel layouts keeps it from being perfect.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About The Guild #1

GOOD THING: The art style and general layout are nicely separated, with Cyd's life both in and out of The Game being distinct but still blending well.

BAD THING: The scenes with Cyd's boyfriend and his band seem like they were taken from a Scott Pilgrim comic and don't really fit in that well with the rest of the narrative. I guess I was expecting more gamer humor and less page-time being devoted to just how bad Cyd's life is.

The Final Verdict: A solid first issue with excellent artwork, despite this introductory issue lacking a lot of the gamer humor that the series is famous for.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Brave And The Bold #32

GOOD THING: It's about Aquaman and Etrigan teaming up to fight Lovecraftian horrors under the sea.

So... yeah. What else can I say?

BAD THING: I read this issue first among all the comics I read this weekend. And then I wept, knowing that nothing else I would read this week would ever be so perfect as this.

The Final Verdict: Aquaman and Etrigan fight Cthulhu! If that doesn't sound awesome to you, consult your local shaman about finding out what happened to your soul because it has clearly been removed.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Power Girl # 10

GOOD THING: This whole scenario in the comic book store and how Karen agrees to go with there with the teenage boy who is blackmailing her. The artwork is just perfect and filled with lots of cute little jokes to match the dialogue and Karen's own blatant lies regarding why she is there.

BAD THING: Not really a complaint about the comic itself but there are three pages of this comic that are taken up by a truly stupid ad cheering "75 Years Of The Hero Getting The Girl".

Ignoring the implication that "the girl" can't also be a hero and the general theme of women being prizes to be won by heroes rather than individuals... there has to have been two characters who were better suited to this treatment than Wonder Girl and Robin. Superman and Lois Lane? Barry Allen and Iris West? Ralph and Sue Dibny, maybe?

The Final Verdict: Still one of the most fun, best-drawn comics out there. I'm going to miss it in two months time.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who #9

BAD THING: They brought back Martha Jones for a story. And much of the action is focused on her. And she's still kvetching about how badly The Doctor treated her.

Since I love you all too much to expose you to this sort of thing (we got enough of this during Season 3 and those three episodes in Season 4) here is a much better scan of The Doctor and new companion Emily

This is doubly funny if you know that David Tennant -who plays this version of The Doctor - recently played Hamlet to rave reviews.

GOOD THING: I'm glad to see that SOMEONE has finally taken Martha Jones to task over the fact that for all of her talk about being a healer and wanting to save lives first and foremost... that her first act after leaving The Doctor was to join a military organization whose main reaction to everything is Five Rounds Rapid and that she would have BLOWN UP THE EARTH in the name of "The Greater Good" had the Daleks not stopped her.

The Doctor is wrong though. She's just as much of a whiny, petulant child pretending to competence as ever. She isn't better than this. Indeed, the last glimpse we see of Martha in the recent bout of television specials... she is still with UNIT.

The Final Verdict: A solid issue, despite the presence and focus upon Martha. The story premise is a good one and the new artist manages the neat trick of making everything look cartoony without looking childish... which is just as Doctor Who should be. This looks like a kids book but adults can enjoy it too. There's also a lot of clever in-jokes for fans of the series, such as the revelation that Martha has taken over The Doctor's old job as UNIT's Civilian Science Adviser and is continuing the tradition of shouting orders at people who shouldn't officially be listening to her.

One Good Thing And TECHINCALLY One Bad Thing (With Some Ranting) AboutThe Fall of Aresnal #1

GOOD THING: This issue did give us a lot of scenes that SHOULD have been in JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE. Chief among them are scenes where Roy Harper finds out about Lian's death and our FINALLY seeing the fight scene where Prometheus cuts off Roy Harper's arm.

BAD THING: J.T. Krul's grasp of the characters and continuity is still very uneven. Most of the characters - Roy in particular - are written true to form, but the scenario just doesn't work. And it all falls apart when Krul has to deal with a character he (or his editor) clearly didn't research that well.

Case in point. The scene in which Dinah confronts hospital-escapee Roy, as he has just finished fighting off a band of looters who had broken into the home he had just got for himself and Lian in Star City.

There's a lot of things wrong here, even if you ignore the asinine idea that an adoptive parent cannot possibly love their child as much as a biological parent.

1. Dinah's Fertility Or Lack Thereof: Dinah's infertility - which was a big issue back in the Mike Grell Green Arrow run - doesn't logically apply anymore. It was said outright that Dinah's inability to have children was due to injuries she suffered during Longbow Hunters - the same incident that took away her Canary Cry for a time.

Those injuries were healed near the end of Chuck Dixon's run on Birds of Prey when a near-death Dinah was dunked in a Lazarus Pit, which returned her superpowers. Admittedly, nobody has said outright that Dinah still can't have babies since then but there's no logical reason why The Lazarus Pit shouldn't have healed her baby-making parts along with her vocal cords.

2. Dinah's Adopted Daughter: Given that Dinah spent a few days thinking her adopted daughter Sin had been killed (see Tony Bedard's four-issue Black Canary mini-series), I rather think that Dinah DOES know how it feels to lose a daughter, Flesh-And-Blood or no.

3. Dinah The Foster Mother: Granting that Roy is hurting and lashing out at the world, it still seems a little unbelievable that he would be poking at Dinah with this talk about not knowing what it's like to be a flesh-and-blood parent... considering that Dinah was the one who stayed with him and got him through rehab. Indeed, in most ways Dinah is the closet thing Roy ever had to a maternal figure in his life - particularly in his darkest hour when he most desperately needed someone to care for him.

I think - with Dinah's silence here - they were TRYING to go for a feeling similar to the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode Robin's Reckoning, where Dick Grayson finally confronts the man who is responsible for killing his parents, nearly goes over the edge in fighting him and curses out Batman, who has been trying to keep him out of the fight the whole episode...

"Stuff your advice, Batman! You and your stone-cold heart! You don't know how I feel! How could you?!"

To his credit, Dick quickly realizes just how STUPID it is to tell Batman that he has no idea what it is like to lose your parents and want revenge on the man responsible and apologizes.

The problem with this scene relative to that scene is that Roy does not have that moment of realization and that Dinah - to her credit - does not call him on the stupidity of his statement, recognizing that it has come out of pain and that he doesn't really mean it.

There's also the fact that Roy is - at the moment - on enough Vicodin to make Dr. House say "Dude, that's too much!" so it's likely he's not thinking all that clearly to begin with. So Dinah probably knows that Roy won't remember any of this and that arguing with him about that point won't do anyone any good.

And all of this is ignoring the fact that this is Roy Harper talking about the importance of Flesh and Blood family.

Roy Harper, whose mom died in childbirth.

Roy Harper, whose dad died in a forest fire when Roy was young, leaving him in the care of Brave Bow, a Navajo shaman who adopted Roy as his son.

Roy Harper, who was orphaned AGAIN and cast out by the tribe he had lived among his entire life only to be adopted - a second time - by Oliver Queen.

Roy Harper, who was cast out of his home by an angry Oliver Queen once his drug habit came to light, and set about building his own life on his own?

Roy Harper, the twice orphaned, twice adopted and twice abandoned self-made superhero/master marksman... THIS man is going to put a lot of store on the idea that Family is a matter of blood?

Bollocks, I say. And the history backs me up on that.

From Superboy #82, in which Roy Harper meets with the clone of his great Uncle and tries to establish a relationship.

The Final Verdict: It's like watching John Wayne in The Conqueror - he plays his usual tough guy character well and the dialogue is well-written... but that doesn't change the fact that the scenario just doesn't work relative to the actors and the script. Everyone sounds like themselves, for the most part, but the parts which are wrong just drag you out of the story and break the fourth wall.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #19

GOOD THING: Ragdoll. Just... Ragdoll.

BAD THING: The unpleasant sense of irony that Gail Simone of all people is guilty of a minor degree of Fridging here, with Cheshire being beaten up and humiliated so as to indirectly provide drama for Catman through the son they had together.

The Final Verdict: Still the funniest and yet the most disturbing book on the market today.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Hornet #1

GOOD THING: Kevin Smith's gift for dialogue really comes through here and his usual jokey-style seems a natural fit for a Golden Age hero like The Hornet.

BAD THING: The ads for the many other Green Hornet mini-series coming out soon are a distraction from the comic. This is an odd bit of criticism, I admit, but there are some page breaks where the reader can be thrown by just how much the advert art looks just like what they are reading now.

The Final Verdict: A solid first issue, establishing the classic Green Hornet for those who are unfamiliar with the original character. Smith's writing is solid pulp at its' finest with the artwork by Hester and Lau being picture perfect. This is one to keep an eye on, folks!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan The Cimmerian #19

BAD THING: The flashback framing device that has set up all of the individual parts of the previous Free Companions arc is starting to get really old. Having Conan hallucinate his former commander demanding to know how his men got killed is but one more cliche on the pile.

GOOD THING: The scenes of Conan and his men when they aren't fighting are hilarious and do help the reader to feel for the characters, despite knowing their inevitable end.

The Final Verdict: Telling the stories in flashback is starting to get a bit old. But once the story gets going, this is still the best sword-and-sorcery book on the market. Great art and epic stories worthy of the Howard tradition.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love #5

BAD THING: The subplot with The Shoemaker really didn't add a lot this time around and provided an unwelcome distraction from the main story.

GOOD THING: The main story, centering upon Cinderella: Super Spy, is as good as ever. And the twist at the end is actually worthy of the term "twist ending".

The Final Verdict: A gleeful reminder of how good Fables used to be. A shame it will be ending in one issue and that this creative team won't be taking over the main title.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Batman: The Widening Gyre #5

BAD THING: Kevin Smith had done a pretty good job of keeping his usual gutter humor out of this book... until this moment.

GOOD THING: That being said, the man CAN write dialogue like nobody's business and his take on most of these characters - from Robin to Batman himself - are a welcome change from the gloomy, emo take on the characters that has dominated the page in the last year.

The Final Verdict: It's light on plot and short on story but the character moments make it well worth the read. I just wish I knew how all the plots were going to end in the next issue because right now... I have no idea what may happen next.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord #12

BAD THING: Good as Grell's artwork is, it is over-inked at times.

GOOD THING: This is a fitting ending for the story of Travis Morgan. You could easily end the comic here and it would be good. Still, I am glad to see the series will continue, apparently centering upon the adventures of Joshua "Tinder" Morgan.

The Final Verdict: Great art and story, as Mike Grell brings the story of his most popular creation to a conclusion of sorts. This would be a good place to end the series and yet it is going on. I can't wait to see what Grell has planned next!

Like Trading Filet Mignon for Dog Food...

I just read that the new writer on Power Girl is going to be Judd Winick.

In related news, God apparently hates me and has decided I can never be happy about anything ever again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Arrow #31 - The Worst Comic Ever? It's a Contender.

I'm just going to get the Good Thing out of the way first and say that despite all of my problems with this book, Ollie as a character is actually written pretty well throughout.

That being said, there are a LOT of problems with this book that far negate that bit of praise.

1. In nearly every single fight scene in this book, Ollie is seen punching and kicking people... completely ignoring the quiver full of all those nice pointy ranged weapons he took his name from. Especially the ones that were built for handling whole crowds of people in a non-violent way. And we know he has glue arrows and flare arrows and the like handy because of...

2. ... the one fight scene where Ollie DOES use the trick arrows! Fighting his fellow superheroes. That's not the problem. The problem is that Ollie already fought Black Canary, Green Lantern and The Flash at the end of Justice League: Rise and Fall and made his escape using the Cosmic Key he stole from Prometheus's corpse.

It's also really unclear if this fight is happening AFTER that point, in which case one wonders why Ollie doesn't use the key to make his escape again, except as an excuse for a superhero fight scene. As it is, the fight scene here plays out without making any reference to the events that happened before... and you can interpret the way it is written to say that the scene at the end of JLA: Rise and Fall didn't happen... which REALLY makes no sense as J.T. Krul wrote both stories and you'd think he'd be able to keep the events of both books straight.

3. Hal's speech here is REALLY off, for two reasons.

First, because while Hal still takes full responsibility for what he did to Coast City in a moment of weakness, Hal can't really say he CHOSE to do what he did given that he was being mind-controlled by Parallax.

Second, Hal should know better than to give Ollie the lecture about how doing this sort of thing can get you killed. Ollie knows that just as well as Hal, his own death having come about because of a long chain of events that started with... oh yeah... Ollie killing a guy in Longbow Hunters! You'd think they'd remember that fact since Ollie's death played such a critical role in the last issue of this comics!

And speaking of weird characterization, Barry Allen's portrayal here is just jarring. It's really weird to see Barry speaking of Ollie as if they were never friends (what about Barry racing Ollie's arrows in the afterlife in Quiver?) much less going out of his way to trash talk Ollie in front of his best friend, his wife AND his son. Whatever happened to the Barry Allen - The Blue Lantern - who was a greater avatar of Hope than Superman - the man who couldn't help but be optimistic and hope for the best at all times?

4. The artwork, at times, is just hideous. Dinah, on this page for instance, looks like she's just been infected with Joker toxin. On the bright side, at least she's wearing her own costume this time...

5. Okay. So having escaped from his friends... AGAIN... Ollie's big plan is to find Electrocutioner and to kill him, by hiding out in the sewers. I can buy the idea that Barry is stupid enough not to check the sewers. I can even buy that a city in Northern California which is based on the coast can have extensive underground caves.

What I can't buy is that given the sewers/catacombs under the city are still intact given the devastation to the rest of the city.

Incidentally, remember Ollie's plan as stated here. It will be important later.

6. Did I mention that Ollie keeps punching people in this comic and doesn't use his trick arrows at all, apart from in that one fight?

Just checking.

7. Because Nobody Demanded It! Yes, this issue also brings us the return of Brian Nudocerda Nudocerdo - the corrupt Chief of Police/Police Commissioner from Judd Winick's run on Green Arrow.

Now, some of you may be wondering how this guy is still in power given that his incompetence and corruption was at the heart of why things were so bad in Star City during No Man's Land One Year Later - i.e. The LAST Time A Gang Of Super-Villains Blew Up Star City And Green Arrow Failed To Save Everyone.

That's a very good question. Shame we don't get an answer. It's a safe bet that even with Ollie's deputy mayor in charge now, the sheriff may still be too "bought" to be removed from office in spite of his blundering aggravating things during One Year Later. But this is never said outright or even hinted.

Another good question is this: Why, since this guy hates Green Arrow and everything that he stands for and has just been bucking for an excuse to bring him down for years, doesn't he make even a token effort to arrest Green Arrow at this point? He's got him dead to rights for assaulting a police officer and interfering in police business, at the very least.

And here's yet another good question; Why don't the cops know Green Arrow is wanted by The Justice League regarding a murder? You'd think with a straight arrow like Barry Allen (who is, himself, a cop in his day job) running around the city, the first thing he'd do is to tell all the cops that Green Arrow is a murderer and they should call the JLA if they see him.

8. The whole scene with Connor, which goes out of its' way to justify Meltzer's Folly from The Archer's Quest (i.e. Ollie knew about Connor's birth and faked ignorance before his death) and Winnick's character assassination from Green Arrow/Black Canary #14 (i.e. Connor gets amnesia and loses everything that made him interesting or unique, including his vegetarianism and his Buddhism).

Now, thanks to the events of Blackest Night, Connor has apparently recovered all of his memories and tells Ollie off for... well, everything. Including Ollie telling off Connor for not telling him sooner that he was Ollie's long-lost son and pretending to just be a devoted fan - a fact nobody has acknowledge since Chuck Dixon wrote that story nearly 15 years ago...

... which would be fine, except that every OTHER story that J.T. Krul brings up here is dependent on Connor having been ignorant of Ollie's abandoning him as a child and honestly believing that his mother was responsible for never telling Ollie the truth. That and for Ollie to have been lying back then, he would have had to have pulled one over on a version of Hal Jordan who had the collective omnipotence of all The Guardians of the Universe. So... yeah.

But the biggest problem is that Connor's complaints here just don't ring true. He claims to no longer believe in the Buddhist philosophy that led him to forgive Ollie for his mistakes and that he no longer respects Ollie.

So let me ask this, Connor; why are you still out here fighting gang members when your only reason for becoming a hero in the first place was to honor your father's legacy? If you no longer believe in the Buddhist teachings that enabled you to become such a great fighter, why doesn't it seem to be affecting your fighting talent? And if your idealism is not gone along with the rest of your training and personality, and you still have some sort of belief in using your training responsibly to uphold justice and/or the law, why in the many names of the frozen Hell of Buddha are you just letting your father the murderer walk way?!?

Oh, and Connor? That whole "manning up for once in your life" comment? If Ollie hadn't done that once - during Quiver - you wouldn't be around to be having this conversation. Just a reminder - your amnesia doesn't seem to be fully cured.

9. Remember how I asked you to keep in mind that Ollie's plan was apparently to run around the city, hoping to find the Electrocutioner before Barry and Hal found him?

Yeah. It seems his plan was actually to run interference so that Speedy could track down and capture The Electrocutioner.

Not that his thought balloons ever indicated this.

Or that he's ever had the time in all of this to contact Speedy.

Or the opportunity, given that cel-phone communication is probably nil given the destruction in the city and the regular JLA channels aren't available to him.

10. The general flow of time and events in this comic makes no sense! Ignoring the earlier problems regarding how Ollie seems to escape from Black Canary, Flash and Green Lantern twice and that he stole a Cosmic Key last issue that would have been REALLY useful for him to still have this issue, there still seems to be rioting in the streets of Star City, even though Justice League: Rise and Fall ended with a newspaper article showing most of the major heroes, including Green Arrow, attending a memorial service for the fallen.

You know - if Star City is holding big ceremonies/press-conferences in honor of the dead while there are still riots in the streets and people being beaten senseless by the cops... screw it, the people of Star City deserve to get blow up. Twice, even!

In the words of Linkara, THIS COMIC SUCKS! The continuity is non-existent, with the same stories being referred to or ignored as it is convenient. The artwork is very inconsistent with some characters just looking weird. And Green Arrow literally walks away from two confrontations with people who have every reason to try and stop him!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Justice League: Rise And Fall Special

GOOD THING: J.T. Krul has a real feel for most of the characters and how they should sound. There's a lot of good character moments here, particularly the scenes written from Ollie and Dinah's perspectives and the scenes of Dick Grayson and Wally West working together.

BAD THING: Notice how I said MOST of the characters? There's a reason for that and the reason is that either Krul has seriously missed the mark on several characters or there's more going on here than meets the eye.

Case in point. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan go looking for The Shade, to see if he knows anything about how to find Prometheus. Shade helpfully takes them right to Prometheus' home in The Ghost Zone and notes that "they are not the first ones he's brought there." Cue the shot of Prometheus' body, with an arrow through the forehead.

Now, I know what you Starman fans are thinking - Since when is The Shade - granting that he is more anti-Hero than anti-Villain now - ever directly this helpful? Since when does The Shade rat people out for crimes? Particularly crimes of revenge? Particularly murders?

That's a very good question.

And when Shade says "first ones", is he referring to someone besides Ollie? If not, then why does he say "first ones" with the emphasis on the plural?

That's also a good question.

Yet another good question is what happened to Prometheus' helmet. The one that Ollie shot an arrow through which is now curiously absent, despite the arrow being intact inside Prometheus' shaven-skull.

And where is the drooling imbecile I.Q. (last seen in The Ghost Zone when Ollie killed Prometheus) in all of this?

It's possible that all of this is hinting at something bigger and - quite probably - Prometheus having found a way to cheat death and masquerade as another person... Perhaps The Shade? Unfortunately, it seems equally likely that Shade's characterization was screwed up and that the missing helmet is a MacGuffin that doesn't signify anything other than someone else is running around with a very dangerous weapon. Either way, it's a sad commentary that after two issues of handling these characters, I still can't tell if Krul is being clever or stupid.

The Final Verdict: Good character moments throughout, but one can't tell if there is something bigger going on here or if the clues are just plot-holes given some of the characterization. The art styles of the three artists don't blend well, either, with Black Canary's costume looking just plain ridiculous in the final pages.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Check Out My New Icon!

Free For the Sharing, But Please Give Me Credit... Behold, The Canary Facepalm!

Suitable for any and all *facepalm* worthy posts, including...

* Anything involving Frank Miller or Dave Sims
* Marvel's Girl Comics reviews
* WiR moment discussions.
* The Death of Lian Harper

And MANY More!

Cry For Justice #7 - What REALLY upsets me...

I have had a rough few days.

Tuesday, my car broke down on the way to work, leaving me stranded on the highway for an hour waiting on a tow truck. I spent another hour IN the tow truck trying to find a garage that was still open that early in the evening. I then spent another hour waiting for a friend to give me a ride home.

Wednesday, I wound up missing an entire day of work so I could sit in a garage with no reading material besides old Redbook magazines, as the time my car would be fixed got pushed further and further back.

The car repairs cleaned out my bank account AND my emergency credit card. I'll be lucky to have the gas to get to work for the next week without pawning more of my DVD collection...

... and yet, this was not enough. This 24 hours of Hell was not over yet.

I got home to find an IM from a friend telling me what had happened. I had further e-mails and messages on LiveJournal. All telling me the news.

The news? That my favorite comic writer of all time (James Robinson), the man who wrote my favorite comic series of all time (the same one which gave me my nickname) had not only found a way to make the most critically panned comic of the last year (JLA: Cry For Justice) even worse. He had done so by committing character assassination on my all-time favorite superhero, Green Arrow. And he did so by turning Cry For Justice into a third-rate remake of Longbow Hunters.

Now for those of you - like me - who have been skipping Cry For Justice since the first issue, let me explain the idea behind the series, briefly.

Sick of seeing their friends die because of supervillain attacks that could be prevented, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) quit the Justice League to form their own team. They recruit some similarly minded heroes (Supergirl, the Ray Palmer Atom, Batwoman and Captain Marvel) and they go around torturing super-villains in order to find out about big criminal acts before they happen.

Eventually, this new team uncovers a plot by the super-villain Prometheus to murder several superheroes. This turned out to be a feint regarding a greater plan to use the JLA's own teleporters to destroy the hometowns of numerous superheroes by sucking them into the void. This plan is revealed after Prometheus (who has been masquerading as Captain Marvel this whole time) somehow severs the arm of Roy Harper (aka Red Arrow).

The series has been panned by critics and fans for a number of reasons that aren't worth going into at the moment. Suffice it to say that all of those complaints were a drop in the bucket compared to the bile that has risen regarding Issue #7.

To make a long story short, Prometheus blows up Star City - Green Arrow's hometown - to show that his is serious and threatens to destroy 50 more cities if he isn't let go. Reluctantly, the heroes let him escape to his personal dimension. Ollie and company find out that among those killed in the destruction was Lian Harper - Roy's daughter and Ollie's granddaughter.

Upon returning home, Prometheus gloats and lets his guard down. Enough that he doesn't see the arrow with his name on it coming...

Now, there are a lot of reasons why people are upset about this story.

The Lian Harper fans are upset that she's been killed off for the obvious reasons but also because this death has come at a time when DC Editorial is making a big deal about making the universe lighten-up. It's harder to come up with many things darker than killing a little girl to give her father and grandfather more angst.

The old-school DC Comics fans are pissed for pretty much the same reason above - more death and angst. With a young girl, no less.

The Women In Refrigerators crowd is upset because Lian has become the latest statistic - one more female character sacrificed upon the altar of Drama, in the name of giving a male character motivation.

The Roy Harper fans are upset that all of these bad things happened to him as a secondary consideration. Yes, he has suffered, but not because of anything he was doing as a character. He was a supporting cast member in this story and - by proxy - Roy's injury was less about developing Roy as a character and more about pushing Ollie one step closer to the line he crosses at the end of this issue.

And then there's all the James Robinson fans who can't believe that the man who gave us Leave It To Chance, Starman and The Golden Age could ever be responsible for... this. Those of us who cry so we do not rage and rage so we do not cry. Like the kid who watched Shoeless Joe Jackson leaving the courthouse, we want to cry out, "Say It Ain't So, James! Say It Ain't So!"

These are all fine reasons to be upset. But that's not what has me upset.

What has me upset is not what has happened or even why it happened, but WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

The only reason this was done was to set up two upcoming stories - The Rise of Arsenal and The Fall of Green Arrow.

From the DC Comics NewsBlog

... the hunter becomes the hunted ... as the FALL OF GREEN ARROW begins. I personally guarantee that Ollie’s life will be drastically changed following these two issues, as the Justice League of America comes after the Emerald Archer.

Roy Harper’s lost his arm, his daughter and now a chance at revenge. What does Red Arrow think of his former mentor’s killing spree, and what dark path is he journeying toward that even his friends and teammates won’t be able to prevent?

This too, has a lot of people upset.

Quite a bit of the fan base is upset that Cry For Justice is being used as a springboard for any story, much less THIS one, after all of the various continuity conflicts and bad characterization that filled Cry For Justice.

(To mention a few brief examples, how Ray Palmer - the man held up as an avatar of compassion for his enemies in Blackest Night is pictured gleefully torturing supervillains in Cry For Justice and how Oliver Queen - the one hero who objected to the torture and the idea of using extreme violence throughout Cry For Justice - ends the story by killing a villain.)

The Roy Harper fans are less than happy with the implication that the end result of Cry For Justice is Roy Harper becoming a villain.

And the Green Arrow fans are downright pissed that - at a time when DC Comics is boasting about how things are going to lighten up and be happy and wonderful post-Blackest Night - our hero is going to become a pariah among his own kind and a fugitive from justice.

And THAT, is what has me the most upset about all of this. That all of this death and stupidity has been brought about to set up that story: Green Arrow kills someone and the entire world turns against him.

Is it because I hold to the idea that Ollie is too good of a good guy to ever kill someone?

No. Given what happened to his city, his son and his granddaughter, I'd be very surprised if he COULD hold his temper in check. In fact, given how she gets when she's in Mama Bear mode, I'm amazed Dinah didn't beat him to it.

Is it because this basic idea was already done nearly 25 years ago in The Longbow Hunters (Ollie kills to avenge a loved one) and later on in Mike Grell's Green Arrow run during The Black Arrow Saga (Green Arrow #35-38. Ollie is accused of a crime and becomes a fugitive)?

No, but it is a bit worrisome that the one old-school Green Arrow story they keep in print in TP format is now being ignored for the purposes of acting like Ollie has never killed in the past under questionable circumstances.

What really bothers me is that it makes no frelling sense for the vast majority of The Justice League and most of the big-name heroes to have ANY issue at all with Ollie's actions here.

Superman? I can't imagine he'd be happy about Ollie doing this but it's not like he can throw stones. After all, he became judge, jury and executioner for three Kryptonian super-criminals in a parallel dimension.

Wonder Woman? Ignoring that the Amazon code allows for killing enemies in battle and the various sentient monsters Diana has killed for being a threat to humanity (Medusa ring a bell?), there is also that incident with Maxwell Lord to consider.

Batman? Okay, he WOULD have issues with this but Bruce is still pushing up the daisies and joined the bleeding choir invisible. For now, anyway. And yes, I know Dick Grayson is Batman now. But given that he once beat The Joker to death when he thought The Joker had killed Tim Drake, I figure he'd cut Ollie some slack even ignoring Dick's friendship with Roy Harper.

The Flash? Barry Allen killed Professor Zoom to save the life of his wife. BEFORE Crisis On Infinite Earths, no less!

The Green Lanterns? They're allowed to kill in the line of duty now. Hal Jordan and John Stewart are military or ex-military, so they're likely to be understanding that some people just need killing.

Hawkman? Yes, I'm sure the guy who is basically Conan with wings and a huge mace is going to give Ollie a lecture about not losing your temper when it comes to your family.

Black Canary? Well, even if you ignore that Dinah killed to save Ollie's life in Mike Grell's Green Arrow and that Dinah tested as a killer on the magical radar of the murderer-hunting hero Harvester in Birds of Prey... again, Mama Bear instinct regarding Lian? Prometheus is just lucky Ollie got to him first and made it quick.

Yes, I am worried that this proposed story is already built on a weak foundation and that it's rehashing territory that has already been explored quite well. But even that is not what upsets me the most.

What upsets me the most is that after last week's Green Arrow book by J.T. Krul, I was really looking forward to seeing what he was going to do with the characters in this storyline. That enthusiasm is gone now, replaced with a sense of dread that this relative newcomer won't be capable of making something good grow out of the earth that James Robinson and DC Editorial have salted.

I don't envy Krul the task he has before him. Still, if nothing else, there is hope. A slim hope. A blind hope. But hope nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Comments on Cry of Justice #7 To Come. Later.

I've already been asked in e-mail and IM if I had seen this issue (I haven't) or if I had heard the news (I have) and if I am going to write anything about Green Arrow being mistreated?

The answer to this last one is I am. But not right now. Not tonight. I'd like to see the comic in question first before I comment on it or at least some relevant scans.

Then and only then shall I unleash hell. And very likely say some very uncomplimentary things about the man I was counted as my favorite comic writer.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #41

GOOD THING: This. Just... this whole panel and the following scene. No context is needed. Trust me.

BAD THING: I feel very, very dirty for reading this and very, very guilty for laughing at it as hard as I did.

The Final Verdict: I think Gail Simone just did an entire issue in the vein of the old 30s and 40s Wonder Woman stories where there were all sorts of excuses for bondage and spankings... and it is glorious!