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THE REST OF THE STACK #1

I’d love to be able to review every comic I read–for comixtreme.com as well as this blog. However, as a volunteer thing for which I’m not paid and yet devote considerable time, the effort it’d take would sap all the fun out of it. I still like to weigh in on new comics, throw my opinion and thoughts out there, and even just vent about something that strikes me that doesn’t merit a full review. As such, I’m going to periodically post one of these Rest of the Stack pieces to cover–as the title implies–the rest of the week’s stack of comics not covered by individual reviews.

I don’t know that I’ll post this on any particular schedule–I know that as soon as I would make an attempt to post this, say, every Monday then next Monday something will come up and I’ll have broken the schedule as soon as it was set, so I’ll just leave this to be something I’ll likely post after I’ve finished the week’s reviews, before the next week’s reviews are posted.

Red Circle: The Shield one-shot

This issue read really quickly, and somehow did not feel like there was much of a completed ending to it. Sure, it gives us the quick ‘n dirty origin/introduction of the character, but it felt like more of a bridge or stepping-stone to what I expect to see in the Red Circle ongoings than it did a full story in itself–unlike the Web or Hangman one-shots. Not bad, but somewhat disappointing on the whole. I’ll be interested, though, to see how this Shield character plays out within the DC Universe.

Flash: Rebirth #4

This issue gives a new look at the origin of the Speed Force which also provides a role for Barry and reason for him to be back. I’m curious as to where the “modern” Zoom has gone with the return of the “classic” character–if that’s been shown in this book, I don’t recall it. While I tend to enjoy Johns’ work and Van Sciver’s art, this series has been fairly disappointing when compared to its Green Lantern counterpart. I expect it’ll make more sense in two more issues when I have a full story in front of me, but for the moment it’s something I’m buying more for its potential than actual monthly enjoyment.

Wonder Woman # 35

My first question with this issue is–where’s the story title on the cover? I rather like those banners, and often find myself mentally keeping track of a story by the story chapter number moreso than the title’s number. Between the previous issue and this, I’m enjoying the dynamic between Diana and Dinah…and would certainly enjoy seeing Dinah a permanent co-character in this series. There are a few things to Wonder Woman I’m still sorting out, and it was a bit odd the character’s suggestion to Tom at the end of the issue. I recalled an interview with the writer where she said she’d be exploring that facet of the character a bit (or that’s the take-away I recall getting from the article), and then it made sense. Still…can’t quite bring myself to simply wait for the trade, as I’ve come to enjoy Simone’s take on Wonder Woman–both the character AND the title.

Superman #691

This wraps the 4-part “crossover” Codename: Patriot story, and it certainly does what “they” said it would do: the story has provided things that will reverberate throughout the various Super-family books for awhile. We do get to see exactly who Codename: Patriot is, and while it fits in the context of what’s been established in the Super books, I’m not all that thrilled with the “reveal.” It’s cool seeing some different opposing forces beyond Luthor and his minions, but I don’t really “buy” this character as an opponent…or at least, not in any original way.

Superman Annual #14

I don’t know if the “origin” of Daxam had ever been explored before…to MY knowledge it’s always just been said that Daxamites are like Kryptonians–super-powered by a yellow sun, but weak to lead instead of Kryptonite (and their homeworld is still intact). The explanation of the planet’s history here make sense and nicely ties the two together, while contextualizing Mon-El a bit more. It also provides for what’s going on in GL Corps presently with the incursion of the Sinestro/Mongul Corps and whatnot. Not a bad issue for its price…though very glad it was NOT a $5 issue. Seems a bit of a take-it-or-leave-it thing…but if one’s immersing one’s self into the Superman books lately, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Green Lantern #45 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Blackest Night: Titans #1 [Review]

When Death Comes Knocking

Written by: J. J. Krul
Pencils: Ed Benes
Inks: Rob Hunter, Jon Sibal & JP Mayer
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: Rob Clark Jr.
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editors: Eddie Berganza & Brian Cunningham
Cover: Benes, Hunter, & Rod Reis (variant by Brian Haberlin)
Publisher: DC Comics

I’ve been out of the Titans/Teen Titans loop for some time now. The issue opens with the various Titans observing Heroes Day–setting this on the same day as the opening of Blackest Night #1, as everyone is paying their respects to fallen heroes around the world. The Titans discuss lost allies, and even whether or not someone who once served as an ally should be memorialized alongside everyone else who had not betrayed the team. The argument leads Beast Boy to seek some alone time which makes him a perfect target for a particular Black Lantern to work with. The other focus to the issue is on the current Hawk and Dove, as they face an appropriate Black Lantern, who pushes a number of buttons for the duo.

The art for this issue is top-notch…I really enjoyed it, and never found myself wanting for clearer depictions of what’s going on. Benes is an artist wose work I’ve tended to enjoy since I “discovered” his art years ago on Superman. The entire creative team provides for a well-done visual that gets the story across very well.

I’m not familiar offhand with the writer, but found the story here to be perfectly solid. This is the tie-in mini I was least anticipating for Blackest Night, and had originally considered passing on entirely…but something to it actually pulled me in, and I’m glad I did not pass on it. My limited Titans knowledge was stretched a bit here, but with the current arc in Booster Gold, actually caught references and context that would otherwise have been lost on me. Some of the expositional dialogue in the early pages of the issue seems a bit strained, and yet is believable given the characters’ context.

I was surprised at the presence of Hawk and Dove, and am curious about the way dialogue danced around exactly what happened to the original Hawk (I’m unsure, for example, if post-Infinite Crisis the events of Armageddon 2001 still happened). Still, the timing of this issue’s release is fortuitous as I just a few days ago watched an episode of Justice League Unlimited starring the original Hawk and Dove, which added to my contextual knowledge and appreciation of the characters.

Overall, an enjoyable issue in itself, and I expect it’ll be even more enjoyable (or at least able to be further appreciated) by longer-time Titans fans or those more knowledgeable with the property than I.

Recommended for Titans (or really, classic Teen Titans, given the characters involved) fans, and/or those simply following the whole of the Blackest Night story.

Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Batman and Robin #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Invincible #65 [Review]

Conquest Epilogue

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Aubrey Siterson
Cover: Ryan Ottley & FCO Plascencia
Publisher: Image Comics

This issue provides the wrapup/epilogue to the Conquest story arc. As such, this issue is pretty low-key action-wise (though the visuals don’t hold anything back). Invincible wakes up in a hospital room where he finds out how Atom Eve survived. We’re then moved along to the funeral of Rex Splode, who actually did die, and see the reactions of key characters (and there are plenty of other Image characters to be spotted in the crowd attending the funeral). Invincible gets some closure as he sees the mangled body of Conquest, and we also see some ominous foreshadowing of what’s to come. The issue closes out with Invincible stating an official change in personal policy regarding his dealing with supervillains…one that makes plenty of sense, and should be interesting to see explored in coming issues.

The story itself is solid as usual. No real complaints there…it’s what I’d expect of an epilogue. While a couple of scenes seemed a bit drawn-out, it’s the same sorta thing I found charming/enjoyable in early issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, so I don’t have any real issue there. I’m not chomping at the bit for the next issue…but I’m suitably engaged, and can’t see just arbitrarily stopping here. This story came out of the single-issue Invincible War, which was a point I decided to try “jumping on” this title. I’m interested to see where the next arc goes, as I expect it to tell me more on whether I’m enjoying the title in and of itself, or just enjoying seeing direct follow-up to an issue I decided to try.

The art’s also quite good. Things look as they should, and probably my only complaint is that the remains we’re shown of Conquest are quite…gory. That’s fitting in the story, but none to pleasant to look at (even though being such is the point and so the intent of the art seems achieved).

I don’t see this issue being a great jump-on point for new readers; though just because it’s an epilogue is no time to jump off for newer/continuing readers. A good issue that continues to be worth its cover price.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

Red Circle: The Web #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Booster Gold #23 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Booster Gold
Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5

Blue Beetle
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

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