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Green Lantern #50 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

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Green Lantern Corps #44 [Review]

Red Badge of Rage part 2

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne & Gleason
Colorists: Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, & Mayor (Variant by Greg Horn)
Editor: Adam Schlagman

We left off in the previous issue with the arrival of Mogo at Oa. Mogo, of course, being the Green Lantern that “don’t socialize,” due to…well, being a planet. Gravitational pull and all that. Of course, the Black Lanterns devouring will, intent upon destruction of the central Green Power Battery, seems to be enough of an emergency to bring Mogo. While the GLs deal with the arrival of their largest representative, they also have a rage-fueled Red Lantern Guy Gardner to contend with…and the fact that Guy is currently filling the role of the Red Lantern he and Kyle initially sought to unleash upon the Black Lanterns. Though one problem gets at least a temporary solution…the GLs are left with the other problem, which is ready to do them great bodily harm.

The story here is interesting enough, if not entirely entertaining. I certainly appreciate Tomasi’s keeping focused on the events of Oa–while other Blackest Night books focus on Earth and other individual characters, much of the battle at Oa unfolds in this series. If the Sinestro Corps War applied significant change to Guy and Kyle, Blackest Night will certainly leave a mark on them, and the potential–at the very least–is exciting.

Unfortunately–as I seem to be commenting on with every single issue I review of this book–the art is not to my liking. It’s not bad in and of itself, but it is very stylistic, and I just don’t care for the look. A double-page spread of Guy flying at the reader, for example, seems so much like a caricature that I have to remind myself that it is supposed to be Guy Gardner.

Important as the issue’s events are, this is hardly the best chapter tying in to Blackest Night. Obviously if you’re following the event as a whole, this’ll be worth picking up; ditto if you’re following the series itself. As a new entry point, though, I definitely cannot recommend this issue.

Story: 7/10
Art: 4/10
Overall: 5.5/10

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Art: Bong Dazo, Jose Pimentel, Matt Milla, Kyle Baker, Rob Liefeld, Das Pastoras
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Production: Rev. Paul Acerios
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso

Since the announcement of the Deadpool Corps mini-event some time back, I’ve looked forward to this issue, as it promised to set things up for that, introducing (in particular) Lady Deadpool. Does it measure up to expectation? Hate to say it, but…nope.

Issue 6 pretty much wrapped up the first arc, as a dimensional portal was open, and Deadpool was set to follow “Headpool” to see that the zombie head was returned “home.” This issue follows the two on their journey (leaving Dr. Betty behind). First, the duo meats “Major Deadpool,” that reality’s Deadpool. Of course, fighting ensues, particularly when Deadpool discovers this counterpart is NOT scarred and in general the ugly specimen he is. Leaving that world behind, Deadpool and Headpool next make the acquaintance of Lady Deadpool–obviously a female counterpart. After a fairly disturbing scene, we’re off to yet another world–where a Western feel is to be had, and The Deadpool Kid is encountered. Finally, the journey concludes with the arrival of someone whose presence signifies something big about to go down.

The art for this extra-sized issue is shared, with different creative talent covering each “world.” The art for the Major Deadpool segment is decent, but something sorta out there about it–it simply LOOKS like it was computer-edited, with a combination of art styles being forced together. The Lady Deadpool segment features art by Liefeld, and gives off mixed vibes. Deadpool and Lady Deadpool–in costume–work quite well here visually. The other characters…well, the visual style doesn’t work quite so well for me. The Deadpool Kid segment reminds me of early issues of the current Cable series, and while it isn’t bad, also somehow doesn’t seem to quite “fit.” The framing sequence seems to be the best of the book, visually, and seems the most “traditional” in style.

Despite the overall not-so-thrilled sentiment regarding the book’s visuals, I do like the conceit. Rather than simply having a myriad of talent on the book, having each creative team cover a specific alternate reality allows the differences in art styles to give each reality a distinction from the others.

Story-wise, this seems little more than an excuse to introduce the alternate Deadpools–the issue both starts and finishes at the same point, albeit the addition of the character appearing on the last page. While those characters are introduced, the story itself is not moved forward in any meaningful way. The introduction of three new characters AND their surroundings doesn’t allow for a whole lot of depth–but there’s a lot of potential here…especially with knowledge that these characters are slated to star in the Deadpool Corps stuff in a couple months.

This issue is “extra sized”–don’t let yourself be fooled by any claims that it is “double sized.” The issue is also $3.99 compared to the usual $2.99 for this series, accounting for the extra pages…but I’m not convinced it was worth it.

On the whole, a rather disappointing issue, that I really can’t recommend to new readers, or those planning to dive into the Deadpool Corps stuff, as this likely is basically a prologue or prequel or whatever that comes before the actual series.

Story: 4/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 5/10

Superman/Batman #68 [Review]

The Big Noise, part one: Rumble Face

Writer: Joe Casey
Pencils: Ardian Syaf
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes & David Enebral
Color: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Syaf, Cifuentes and Arreola
Assistant Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Eddie Berganza

I wanted to like this issue. I was even looking forward to it, on hearing the book would come back into continuity with stories revisiting previous events. In this case, Summer 2001’s “Our Worlds at War” crossover event. I couldn’t remember which issue would begin this new “format” or “focus” of the series, but when I saw the Our Worlds at War banner across the top, I was excited. A bit of nostalgia flooded in seeing the tag “Casualties of War!” included–several of those Casualties of War issues back in 2001 were among the most powerful comics I read that year. So to say that I had high hopes for this issue would probably be an understatement.

And as one might expect from my phrasing…this issue was extremely disappointing in its execution. Other than the time-frame it’s supposed to be set in, and references to the world having just been through a war, there’s not much that seems to solidly place this issue’s events as coming on the heels of Our Worlds at War itself.

I suspect this is another “standard” story arc…that is, six-issues and well-paced for the eventual “graphic novel,” which might even have some sales crossover with the 2-volume collected edition of the event, or the large “omnibus” TPB. As a single issue, though…this is entirely forgettable.

The story doesn’t even begin to hook me–the “hook” was the OWAW tie-in. The hope that I’d see something that would make this feel like a long-lost chapter of that story. That expectation never did deliver. I’m confident that once all 6 issues are assembled, and read in one-go, possibly following a re-reading of the original event…the OVERALL story is likely to come across much better.

The art is very solid throughout, and not at all a bad depiction of Superman nor Batman. I really have no complaint with the visuals…they’re actually quite good overall. Nothing memorable, exactly…just good, clean work.

Unless you don’t mind a slow build, and an issue that’s nothing more than introduction to a standardized-arc format, I’m highly disinclined to recommend this issue.

Story: 4/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 5/10

Action Comics #885 [Review]

Divine Spark, part 3

Writers: Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann
Artist: Pere Perez
Colorist: Javier Mena
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover: Cafu with Santiago Arcas
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

With Chris safe (for now) from the aging that was killing him, Nightwing and Flamebird confront The Guardian and his Science Police as well as Mon-El. The confrontation sees revelations shared as to what the two are doing on Earth, and new alliances as the “true” “enemy” emerges. Lois confronts her father, and everyone’s lives are in jeaopardy at issue’s end.

I continue to hope for another spark of enjoyment of this title like I had during the Brainiac arc. While I still don’t like that Jonathan was killed off, there was something to Johns’ story then, and Frank’s art, that as a whole made for a very enjoyable product. Fair or not, that’s the standard I find myself holding this title to, and it’s a standard that–for me–is not met.

The story itself is fairly straightforward, and well within the bounds of the overall story being played out in the Superman family of comics from the past year-plus. It continues to hold potential, but somehow just doesn’t quite fully take off and actually do anything with it.

The visuals also are pretty solid, but not much to my liking–but as with all art, that can be very subjective. Characters are all recognizeable and no one comes across as particularly abnormal-looking, and there’s little trouble following the action. The art certainly fulfills its role that way…it just doesn’t have anything that leaves me in awe or particularly marveling at the issue’s visuals.

Taken in a vacuum, the story’s worn thin and worn out its welcome with me–I’m ready to see Superman restored to the blue and red as well as to his own title and this one. Taken in context of solicitations, previews, and the like…it’s great to know that the “status quo” is about to change, if only to see what the next “phase” of the overall Superman corner of the DCU will be like.

Captain Atom, Chapter Seven
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Cafu
Colorist: Santiago Arcas
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

In this issue’s second feature slot, Captain Atom battles a number of other DC super-heroes in typical fashion before ultimately having a chance to explain himself and what he’s doing here. Others then step in, leaving us on a “cliffhanger.”

Visually, this segment isn’t all that bad, though the characters all come off with a somewhat generic appearance, almost a lack of some sort of detail I can’t quite put my finger on. The story is typical and seems to break no new ground, and really just serves to fill in a continuity hole, bridging events involving this character over the past six years.

While Captain Atom’s story is presently tied to the Superman books by story itself as well as being a second feature, it seems that his segment shortchanges the lead story, taking valuable space from that. It’d be preferable to have a separate bi-monthly or quarterly regular-sized-issues series to tie this character into things.

As a whole, this is another standard issue of the title. If you’re already following things, it’s worth continuing. If you’re on the fence…I can’t say this issue would really convince you to hop on in. I’m obviously not blown away by the issue…but neither am I convinced to drop it. Just disappointed that this doesn’t in any way feel like required Superman reading.

Action Comics
Story: 4/10
Art: 5/10

Captain Atom
Story: 4/10
Art: 5/10

Overall: 4.5/10

Starman #81 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Blackest Night: The Flash #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

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