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Deadpool #19 [Review]

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Carlo Barberi
Inkers: Juan Vlasco, Sandu Florea
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Jason Pearson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

For the most part, I’ve been looking forward to this issue since the Deadpool issue of Amazing Spider-Man several months back. This issue picks up on Peter Parker being the typical version of the character. After a near run-in with Deadpool, he hopes trouble’s not following…but soon finds trouble when a murder is discovered that seems to have Deadpool’s “fingerprints” all over it. Parker tracks Deadpool and beats the guy mercilessly before finally realizing perhaps he’s not the culprit…and Deadpool provides some new information as to who the culprit most likely is–as well as some background on this “Hitman Monkey” character.

This is the best Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time. In fact, it’s the only Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time…and so this story is all the more enjoyable for getting to read a character I like again–the Deadpool issue being the sole issue of Amazing Spider-Man I’ve been able to bring myself to buy since One More Day (and it read like an issue of Deadpool more than it did Spider-Man). Way captures a good part of the character–keeping him recognizable and believable, while leaving out details that date the character. Deadpool seems to be his usual self, which considering Way‘s still the writer, is a good thing. What I don’t care for is this Hit-man Monkey…from what I understand, this is a character created for some sort of webcomic on Marvel’s site, and he’s now being pulled into this title. Were he simply a random character being introduced here for the first time, it would seem far more fitting, and I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing out on some in-joke.

The art is quite good, and I really like the way the characters are depicted throughout the issue. Though I’d enjoyed the Deadpool story in Amazing Spider-Man, I recall the art being a complete turn-off…here, Spidey looks normal, if not very good as a whole…certainly significantly better than the last time I’d seen him. Additionally, this version of Deadpool has a certain visual “feel” that adds to me liking this book.

Story, art…this is a very good issue of Deadpool, and as the start of a new story–one involving Spider-Man–seems a decent point for new readers to jump in and check things out. Of the various Deadpool books, this (for the moment at least) is my favorite…perhaps for being rooted in actual ongoing main Marvel continuity rather than playing in its own sandbox off to the side or with what are–while good stories–still fairly inconsequential done-in-ones.

Highly recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

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Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #8 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Bong Dazo
Art: Jose Pimentel
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Production: Damien Lucchese
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

After last issue’s walkabout through several alternate realities (introducing us to Lady Deadpool, the Deadpool Kid, and Major Deadpool), our Deadpool is back on his own Earth, still with Headpool…and facing Dr. Voodoo, the Sorceror Supreme. (And Dr. Betty, and the AIM guys). Voodoo fixes the dimensional portal, and Deadpool takes Headpool through to his home dimension…though the two are followed by Dr. Betty and the AIM guys, who figure it’s safer than in the swamp. Once on the other side and with the portal closed, everyone finds out just how dangerous Headpool’s home dimension really is–having been overrun by super-powered beings who are all now zombies, desperately searching for any non-zombie flesh to be found for consumption. Of course, Deadpool’s prime for that–he won’t die, so they figure they could feast off him long-term. Deadpool does his usual bloody thing, while the others also fight for survival…and some new guests arrive rather unexpectedly on the scene.

This issue’s art is good as usual. No real problem here…things seem as they should for comic art, and nothing’s particularly offensive that isn’t likely intended to be (such as a zombie cut in half, guts ‘n bits spilling around as Deadpool’s sword does its business).

The writing’s not bad, either. The story’s progressing quite well, and keeps in-character with Deadpool as I’d expect. The only real drawback to this issue is that it’s not really connected to the Marvel Universe…sure, it’s set there…but this title doesn’t seem to really be “participating” in the main continuity. In and of itself, though…if you want an ongoing Deadpool story that doesn’t require any real knowledge of that main continuity, isn’t held to whatever boundaries of the continuity, and is still a great read…this is the title for you.

While there’s far more to appreciate having read the prior arc, this is–I believe–the start of a new arc, and not a horrible place to jump in and check things out a bit.

Recommended.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #45 [Review]

Red Dawn

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, Mayor
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Published by: DC Comics

For the most part, this issue is Red Lantern Guy Gardner fighting against his friends, trying to kill them. As a Red Lantern he’s enraged at the Green Lanterns. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) for Guy, the very planet he stands on is a member of the GL Corps, and where the other Green Lanterns fail to stop Guy, Mogo is–at Kyle’s persistence that Guy not be simply killed–is moved to provide a solution for his miniscule-by-comparison comrade.

The story here is fairly simple, but it’s effective. A couple issues back, Guy was possessed by a red ring when his rage flared at what he thought was the death of his best friend. Though Kyle was brought back, Guy remained a Red Lantern and did some nasty stuff to wipe out a bunch of the Black Lanterns threatening Oa. With the immediate threat of the Black Lanterns taken care of by Mogo, the remaining threat became Guy himself, who was in possession of both a red and a green ring. Tomasi uses this issue to give us some serious Guy time, as we see the battle for his heart play out. The writing and art blend particularly with a double-page spread that shows us moments from throughout a lotta years of Guy’s history.

As usual, I’m not a fan of Gleason‘s visual style, but with that spread particularly, scenes are recognizable and that is definitely a good thing. The final page of the issue has a fairly iconic sort of image that works fairly well despite my not liking the style.

This issue feels fairly epic despite its localized setting and there really not being any Black Lanterns. We have the “redemption” of Guy, and a solidification of some important elements to the character. Though this could just as easily have been a send-off, it is more a celebration of the character, firmly establishing him (if there remained any doubt) as one of THE Green Lanterns. Mogo’s solution to deal with the red ring seems to be Tomasi providing a bit of retconning of Guy’s character…but in a way that keeps the past intact while fully freeing the character to move on without being tethered to the past.

Overall, a nice character-driven issue, and well worth getting–particularly for fans of Guy Gardner.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 5/10
Overall: 7/10

Supergirl #50 [Review]

Queen

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inkers: Jon Sibal & Mark McKenna
Colorists: Nei Ruffino, Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artists: Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics

After quite a bit of foreshadowing, last issue provided the culmination (or so I’d thought) of Lana’s story. Where I’d thought it was going to be cancer or some other terminal illness and that DC would actually allow the character to be killed, that issue ended with Supergirl barging into the morgue and finding a cocoon where Lana’s body should have been. This issue opens some time after that with General Lane and his grunts finding the re-grown body of his daughter Lucy and discovering that she’s actually alive, despite being thought dead when her super-suit exploded awhile back. We then pick up wtih Gangbuster (in a new, weird-looking costume) busting into some alien hive and getting Supergirl out…as she’d been captured off-panel since the previous issue. The hospital Lana was in has been grown over by a cocoon, as we find out that the Insect Queen lives once again, having spent the past year preparing Lana’s body to be taken over. Supergirl and the Queen fight, and it’s not hard to guess what happens by the issue’s end. We have some definite closure to things, while elements are left open to coming stories…but this issue’s events are not likely to be simply brushed under a rug.

The art by Igle is quite good. In and of itself, I have no problems with the art.

The story is also quite strong as what it is. I have never had any interest in the Insect Queen stuff with Lana, and have zero nostalgia for the silver age stuff…it was actually the Insect Queen story in the main Superman book several years ago that led me to bail on the Superman titles entirely for a brief time. As such, I was quite dismayed to see it becoming a focal point for this storyline. To its credit, the actual, overt Insect Queen stuff is basically limited to a couple brief bits last issue, and now this issue, rather than being a huge part of the overall arc. I’m interested in seeing where Supergirl herself goes from here, as Gates has continued to grow the character and give her surprisingly realistic reactions to things instead of the usual, simplistic cliches one would normally expect.

What I dislike most about this issue is the ties back to the Superwoman story, as I to this day cannot be convinced that the Lucy Lane I’ve read for 15-some out of the last 20ish years is the same character…whether this is Gates claiming the character or simply doing the best with the hand dealt, I’m not sure.

In addition to the 40-page main story (which has a 26-page chunk with no ads!), we also get a short bonus tale by Jake Black and Helen Slater (the actress who played Supergirl in the Supergirl movie in the 1980s).

A Hero’s Journey

Writers: Jake Black, Helen Slater
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Wil Moss
Group Editor: Matt idelson

This short is pretty simplistic and straight-forward: it’s a recap of much of these first 50 issues of Supergirl. I recognize Black from his TMNT work, and it’s cool to see his name popping up like this. While the story is basically recap, it does add a bit to the Supergirl character, as we are reminded how far she’s come, and the changes over the past 17 issues or so have been brought both betterment and clarity to the title as well as the character in the title. I also quite enjoy the fact that Ron Troupe is still around and being used again lately…he is just as important a character to me as any of the supporting cast of the Superman family of titles…and I like a great deal better than, say, Steve Lombard or the current interpretation of Cat Grant.

The art for this story is clean and fairly simple, reminding me of any of a number of animated works that don’t use too much in the way of detailed lines to get things across. Again, that works for this story, though I don’t think I’d care much for the style on any ongoing basis for this title.

As a whole, I think the only “weak point” of the issue is the cover. Turner had a significant role in bringing this version of the character into contemporary continuity, but the art used for the cover just doesn’t work for me–it seems extremely out of place, especially given how far this title and the character have come over the past few years. Maybe it’s just over-nitpicky, but Supergirl’s ears on this cover make her look like an elf, and her physical build just seems out of proportion with the way she’s portrayed lately. As with most books, though…the issue can’t be judged solely by the cover.

Story: 3.5
Art: 3.5
Overall: 3.5

Green Lantern #51 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Blackest Night: The Flash #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

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