Thursday, September 23, 2010

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

GOOD THING: This is a sold action-filled issue, with a horde of repressed machine beings and our long-hunted Lanterns turning the tables on the Cyborg Superman.

BAD THING: Despite being a solid action story, the ending is rather anti-climactic. Don't get me wrong! It's nice to see that Boodika and the rest of the Alpha Lanterns are back to their old selves mentally, if not physically. I just wish that I could really believe this is the end of the Cyborg Superman. After all he's survived, it's a little hard to believe that his spirit could be vaporized by the willpower of a single Green Lantern.

The Final Verdict: Not a bad book, by any means - but nowhere near as Epic as the Green Lantern Corps should be and has been. Of course that could just be because I'm burned out on Cyborg Superman stories at this point. Regardless, it is still nice to see the Alpha Lanterns concept has been scrapped - no pun intended.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Brightest Day #10

BAD THING: More Firestorm scenes we don't really care about. This time around we learn that basically the only thing stopping Ronnie Raymond from accidentally destroying the universe is Jason Rusch repressing his very natural desire to beat the living snot out of the jackass who killed his girlfriend and is ruining his life. So yeah... look for the DCU to reboot itself again in three months.

GOOD THING: I think this may well be the first time this sentence has been used before so bear with me: The scenes with Aquaman and Black Manta kick ass!

Seriously, Geoff Johns needs to abandon this storyline and get to work on writing a monthly Aquaman title.

The Final Verdict: The Aquaman stuff is cool. The Firestorm stuff is annoying. All in all, it balances out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Birds of Prey #5

GOOD THING: We get some closure from the past four issues of craziness. Suffice it to say, the cat is out of the bag regarding Creote's feelings for Savant and Oracle has officially brought them back onto the team. Everyone survived the encounter with Gotham's less-than-finest and Huntress managed to resist the urge to return to her old ways and off the Penguin.

BAD THING: The scenes with Hawk and Dove seem to have been added in as an afterthought - as if they were desperate for some kind of tie-in to Brightest Day.

Additionally, it seems rather odd that Oracle talks about the team needing to become outlaws and then Huntress has no problem getting into the hospital to visit Hawk, Dove and Lady Blackhawk in her civilian identity. Granting that the corrupt Gotham cops who were hunting them probably do have a lot of explaining to do regarding all the property damage, it still seems rather jarring that the authorities suddenly don't seem to care about the associates of an internationally-wanted murderer.

The Final Verdict: A solid issue, despite leaving us with some questions about exactly how The Birds stand legally. A lot of other issues get explained, though, so hopefully there will be some clarification next time.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2

GOOD THING: Peter Tomasi continues to write the characters as well as he did when he was the writer on Green Lantern Corps. What is more, it looks like Guy will not be totally alone on his quest - with old friends Killowog and Arisia coming along for the ride.

BAD THING: We're still not any closer to getting some of the big mysteries answered, such as what is Guy holding back that has him thinking nobody among the Earth-born Lanterns - especially Hal - is ever going to trust him again and what kind of deal did he and Ganthet make with the red Lanterns.

And while we do learn a little bit more about the mysterious villain who first showed up in the previous issue - enough to know that he isn't Bolphunga the Unrelenting (as I thought he was) and that he may be part of the same race as Despero - we still don't know much.

The Final Verdict: While the road before us is still somewhat unclear, it's gratifying to see that this will still be an ensemble book of sorts and that Tomasi hasn't forgotten how to write the Green Lantern Corps after a few months away from them. And the art is good too!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #57

BAD THING: The cover. Plenty has been said about it already. But ignoring the fact that it is sexist, with the image of a woman in bondage front and center, this comic fails to advertise its' content since this scene does NOT take place in the comic.

GOOD THING: Not only does the scene on the cover not take place in the comic but the entire action of the story shows Carol Ferris being far more competent than Hal Jordan in a crisis situation, involving an out-of-control avatar of the Power of Love taking possession of an obsessive stalker.

The Final Verdict: The phrase "don't judge a book by its' cover" has never been more apt. Look past the image of Star Sapphire in bondage and you'll find a darn good story that shows just why Carol Ferris is the leading member of her Corps. A story in which she is depicted as the confident, powerful and capable woman she is.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #25

GOOD THING: There's quite a lot of good stuff going on here, with Gail Simone seemingly taking up characters from other books she has written in the past and bringing them together for something new.

In one corner, with have Gail's new female Spy Smasher (the one from her final arc on the original Birds of Prey book) showing up looking to recruit the Secret Six.

We've also got Giganta, most recently seen in Gail's Wonder Woman book having girl-talk with Diana about their romantic lives, of all things, on the NEW Secret Six.

And if you don't think that things are going to get interesting between Giganta and Dwarfstar (aka the guy who paid Deathstroke to kill off the All-New Atom aka Giganta's semi-boyfriend)... well, does the phrase Chekov's Gun mean anything to you all?

And then there's the on-going plots with our regular cast, including Catman's apparently suicidal feelings and Deadshot trying to do something nice for Black Alice... in the most screwed up way possible, of course.

BAD THING: There's a bit TOO much going on here. Granted, as a devout Gail Simone fan, I love it but I'm not sure how accessible all of the layers upon layers of back-story between all the characters is to a newbie. And I'm afraid that the transition between the new Secret Six being recruited by Spy Smasher and their sudden appearance in some tropical jungle somewhere leaves very little hint as to just where they are. Giganta makes a reference to a gate and Bane's actions at the end seem to suggest that they are Skartaris... but that doesn't seem totally right either.

The Final Verdict: A real treat for all Gail Simone fans but a right confusing mess for everyone who hadn't been reading Birds of Prey, The All New Atom and Wonder Woman. Probably. Hopefully the next issue will be a little clearer.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Brightest Day #9

BAD THING: The plot with Hawk, Dove and Deadman has stalled and stopped being interesting. What is worse, this issue, it distracts away from the really interesting things that have been happening to Aquaman and Mera.

GOOD THING: Green Arrow finally gets drawn into the action of the main Brightest Day book and we get to see him paired up with Martian Manhunter to boot, as we get a little more insight into the power of the Star City forest (which managed to instantly repair most of the damage caused by J'onn's presence) and exactly what J'onn's destiny is.

The Final Verdict: As per usual, the main storyline seems to be a distraction from the more interesting subplots. Still, at least Ollie finally gets a direct tie into what is going on. And the stuff with J'onn is pretty cool.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Red Sonja #51

GOOD THING: The series has rebooted itself and with the new start comes a return to the Hyborian mythos. From the opening narration, which establishes our location as being on the border between the Hyborian nations of Shem and Argos, to the run down of Sonja's new supporting cast (a motly crew of hired mercenaries from many nations), this issue makes it abundantly clear that this book is firmly set within the same time and place as the adventures of Conan.

This is quite welcome after the formless and generic fantasy written by Brian Reed, which was nominally set in the same reality as the Hyborian-based stories written by Mike Carey and Michael Avon Oeming, which seemed to be based more around finding ways to allow the artist to put Sonja in a variety of different outfits than it was on any prior established setting.

BAD THING: There is a gratuitous bathing scene where we get the series' first use of full nudity. I'm not a prude by any means but to have true nudity in a book that had been more timid in its' use of cheesecake (remember the magical disappearing/reappearing leather boy-shorts?) is somewhat jarring. Particularly considering that Sonja is in a much more realistic - to say nothing of protective - outfit this time around, having traded her scale-mail bra for a true chain-shirt.

Still, in some respects, this is a welcome change. This series has always been promoted as being Older Teen (16+) and one might argue that nothing should stop the creative team from going all the way, as it were. Still, the "woman warrior ambushed while bathing" cliche is not a good thing for inspiring confidence that this new Red Sonja book will be something new.

The Final Verdict: Meet the new Red Sonja. Same as the old Red Sonja. The new creative team opens strongly, returning Red Sonja to her roots as a leader of mercenaries and firmly establishing her within the realm of Hyboria. Apart from some gratuitous cheesecake - which includes the series first example of full nudity - in one cliched scene, this issue is perfect and a good start for the new team. If you've been at all interest in the world of Red Sonja, now is the perfect time to jump in.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Queen Sonja #9

GOOD THING: There's a very good multi-faceted plot here that - for once - bucks the cliches of romance in a Red Sonja story. Usually some contrivance is found to deny Sonja happiness when it seems she finds a man who she can love but is unable to satisfy the conditions of her oath to only seek love with a man who can beat her in single combat.

In this case, the conflict comes from Sonja's desire to marry an exiled noble - son of the former line of Kings, who reported consorted with dark powers - which disturbs Sonja's devout entourage of noble warrior women. And there's the rest of the nobles, who are just plain uncomfortable with having a warrior queen, period.

BAD THING: The only problem with this plot is that it seems highly unlikely - no matter what suspicions they might have about Sonja's betrothed - that they would ally themselves in an plot of any kind with the weaselly noble who has been after Sonja's blood since she spurned his advances. We can only hope that the next issue opens with him being trapped in the act and that their seeming betrayal was a bluff.

The Final Verdict: A lot of readers think Red Sonja stories are nothing but a lot of flimsy plots propping up a collection of gratuitous cheesecake art. Don't you believe it! This book has a richer plot than many fantasy novels and the only gratuitous nudity involves a male hero fighting the assassins who interrupt his bath. You're welcome, ladies and gay men!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan The Cimmerian #23

GOOD THING: Quite honestly, everything. Choosing one thing about this series right now is difficult. It has, to be honest, found the perfect balance between form and function, pastiche and original, art and story.

So spoiled for choice, I will say that I liked how Tim Truman added in some appropriately Lovecraftian chanting to the script for this tale based directly on a Robert E. Howard story, since - for those who don't know - Howard and Lovecraft were pen-pals and apparently agreed that Conan's world was the precursor to Lovecraft's.

BAD THING: Well... I could really have done without seeing this guy with a shirt off.

The Final Verdict: One of the best books on the market, period. All fans of good comics, to say nothing of a good sword-and-sorcery yarn - should be reading it.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who #15

BAD THING: Again, the artwork is the worst aspect of this book. This style might work for a darker horror series but on a book like sci-fi series like Doctor Who, it just looks incomplete. Indeed, I had to double check to make sure that Paul Grist wasn't the artist on this book, because Matthew Dow Smith's style so is reminiscent of Paul Grist's... only somehow even more sketchy.

GOOD THING: The writing, as one would hope for a Doctor Who story, is top-notch. There's several subplots in action but they're all very well paced. And the issue ends with a classic cliff-hanger/sadistic choice for The Doctor.

The Final Verdict: Highly recommended for all Whovians who can look past bad art for the sake of a good story.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Thought Upon This Day, Nine Years after 9/11.

This past week, I've had to cope with a lot of decisive behaviors - both personally and professionally. And the news has been filled with stories of those who would take this day and exploit it for various reasons, turning people against one another for no reason other than to fuel their own sense of personal importance.

Today, I've decided to take a stand and say no to all efforts to divide me from the rest of humanity. To remember that whether we are Black, White, Muslim, Christian, DC, Marvel, Mac, PC or whatever great divides seem to separate us most of the time, we are all people.

So for today - if only today - let's all try and be excellent to one another, despite our differences.

With that in mind, I've elected to share a page from a comic that is very special to me.

In the recent past I've come down hard on Marvel Comics and I've been severely critical of J. Michael Straczynski's recent work. But in this instance, published a little under nine years ago, I think they got it exactly right.

Friday, September 3, 2010

How Different Networks Would Handle A Sandman Series

SOURCE: Enter Sandman? How Might Eric Kripke Bring the Graphic Novels to TV?

Rather amusing look at how different networks might twist Sandman into something fitting their demographics. I rather like how they agree with me that HBO would be the best equipped to stay true to the original series but I'm rather shocked they didn't mention the absolute worse case scenario.

The Sandman: A Syfy Channel Original Series

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Conan Movie Definitely Going For The R-Rating!

How do we know this? Because the latest photos from the set of the movie show the one image of Conan more iconic than him standing over the corpse of a monster, a sword in his hand and a maiden curled about his legs

That would be Conan, in a tavern, enjoying a drink and the attentions of a lusty serving wench or dancing girl.

SOURCE: New (R-rated, NSFW!) Conan pictures surface.

Seriously. These images are not safe for work. Or anybody who has problems with bare chested men or women.

Suffice it to say, any worries I had about the new Conan movie are dead. I'm firmly convinced the minds behind this film are trying to stay as true as possible to the general feel of a sword and sorcery epic as possible.

Neil Gaiman's Sandman being adapted into TV Series.

SOURCE: "Sandman" comic book being adapted as a TV show

I was skeptical about this when I first heard the rumor a few days ago. But since Yahoo is running it on the front page - well, bigger people than me are risking looking foolish, so I might as well spread the word.

On the whole, I think we have reason to be hopeful. I'm somewhat wary that they're apparently shopping the show around because this could mean we'll wind up with angsty teen Endless on the CW in Fall 2011 if nobody else picks up on it.

Ideally, we should have it on HBO or Showtime where they can stick pretty faithfully to the script without having to worry overly much about covering up naughty bits or the fact that The Devil Hisself is a sympathetic character.

But hey - having the guy behind Supernatural is a good sign that they're going to stick to the horror roots of the book if nothing else.