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Blackest Night #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

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Archie #601 [Review]

Archie Marries Veronica, part 2: The Wedding

Script: Michael Uslan
Pencils: Stan Goldberg
Inks: Bob Smith
Letters: Jack Morelli
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito
Editor/Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick
Cover: Goldberg and Smith
Publisher:Archie Comic Publications

Second issue in, and the story’s even better (perhaps because we’re into the thick of things, with no silly walk-UP-memory-lane as the vehicle to facilitate an “easy out” of this major story).

This issue sees the wedding itself of Archie and Veronica, with a lot of great moments, cliche though some may be. We see Archie and his groomsmen dealing with the woes of tux-fitting, while Veronica and her bridesmaids have a fitting of their own. The couple-to-be shares some concern over what their future is to be. Then we get the “core scene” of the issue in the wedding–with a double-page splash of the big moment, a couple of full-page shots, and then a montage (including the classic Archies’ song “Sugar, Sugar”) that perfectly captures “a wedding.” The tail end of the issue moves the story ahead a year as we find the newlyweds facing another new step in their lives as Veronica shares some significant news with her husband.

All told, there’s not too much to be said on the art on the surface. It’s got that classic Archie style to it, and all the characters seem perfectly recognizeable to me–even if I couldn’t tell you their names offhand, they’re visually familiar from one thing or another of Archie I’ve read in the past. The declaration of the newly married couple and the full-page panels that followed reminded me of the Superman Wedding Album issue and took me out of the story a bit, as I noticed these as being those (newly) “iconic” images that would seem more appropriate for marketing than within the pages of this story. Still, one does not really get to have those double-page splashes, even for huge/important moments in real life…so getting them in a comic isn’t that bad a thing–especially as double-page splashes or even a full-page image seem such a rarity for an Archie book (in fact, I can’t think of any Archie story in the past that has had such pages).

The story itself isn’t terribly complex…but it definitely rings true to life. I’ve been to a number of weddings the last few years as a number of friends have gotten married, and the montage found in this issue made it easy to connect to the characters and the experience. There’s still some drama and conflict…even questions…as the story goes along, but they seem to be the usual sort of human drama…wondering how relationships will be affected, or seeing the various relationships play out in the shadow of an event as important to two lives as a wedding is.

What struck me as particularly interesting with this issue is the Betty/Veronica relationship. The two have always been rivals–one might argue that the rivalry is built into the fabric of the characters themselves in the Archie-verse– but I’m not used to seeing them portrayed as having such meaning to one another…that this is played up a bit does great credit toward making the characters more well-rounded and believable.

All the good of the issue not to say it’s without cliche…there’s nothing particularly shocking–even the issue’s end (while done as a cliffhanger) is only natural in a story like this. The nature of the story at hand allows for such huge things since we’re invariably going to be returned to the status quo after this arc is complete. But while I’m confident I see what the ending will be since the beginning of the arc, the ride is still very enjoyable–so much so that I’m honestly probably going to be disappointed to see the status quo return.

Perhaps Archie comics are aimed at kids…but these are not “just” for kids by ANY means. I’m a 28-year-old male…and I’m enjoying this arc as much or more than most other comics I’m reading these days. If you can find the first isue of this arc, I highly recommend giving the story a chance…whether you’ve ever read an Archie book before or not, if you know anything of the characters, you should have no trouble following right along.

While the story and art taken alone don’t rank quite as highly…this issue’s rating is based on the whole, which is greater than the parts.

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

Blackest Night: Batman #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Green Lantern Corps #40

Heart of Darkness

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen & Prentis Rollins
Colorists: Randy Mayor, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason and Buchman (variant by Billy Tucci & Mayor)
Publisher: DC Comics

This is another high-action issue as we see a lot of things going on all at once. The Black Lanterns continue attacking the living on Oa, with strategically-chosen individuals facing those living, seeking the most powerful emotional response. Kyle faces old flame Jade, while Arisia faces lost family, and Guy Gardner faces old comrade Bzzd. While this battle is going on we also see other events unfolding, as the Star Sapphires help Kryb, seeing the genuine “love” Kryb has for her “children” and the various lanterns face the Black Lanterns.

While I continue to find Gleason’s art not quite to my personal tastes, there’s something to it here in this issue that actually doesn’t put me off the way it has with other issues recently. In and of itself, the artwork is certainly solid, and the style has a sort of consistency that adds to the “history” a number of these characters have–with each other, and in the recent DCU.

The story’s solid, as we pick up on earlier plot threads and they’re given more depth, while the overall scope of Blackest Night continues to ripple outward as the threat-level ratchets upward beyond even what we saw in the Sinestro Corps War. The scene with Bzzd–though rather morbid–actually made me laugh at first, with the way it just makes perfect sense, showing how Bzzd WOULD be so extremely dangerous to one who underestimates him.

While this doesn’t really move the overall plot of Blackest Night forward, it’s a solid issue that fleshes things out, developing the situation and showing how this is more than just any other threat the GLs have faced in the past.

Well recommended.

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

Photos From Home #4

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
Donatello; Michelangelo; Leonardo; Raphael; Hun; Shredder; Foot Ninja (multiple); Foot Elite Guard (multiple)

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