• August 2020
    S M T W T F S
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #40 [Review]

TMNT (IDW) #40 coverStory: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue gives us a brawl between Bebop & Rocksteady and the Turtles & Mutanimals, as well as Casey bonding with April’s father. All but three pages are the brawl, and while I normally wouldn’t consider myself a fan of all-fight issues (or issues this CLOSE to being “all-fight”), there’s enough characterization within the context of the brawl that I enjoyed it.

I’m getting a definite (nostalgic, perhaps) sense of Alopex as a stand-in for Ninjara, though “stand-in” may not be quite the wording I’m seeking. At the very least, seeing the way this current IDW TMNT continuity draws from seemingly “everything” that’s come before, I can’t imagine there’s not some influence from the Raph/Ninjara stuff (from the Archie TMNT Adventures) being drawn from in the current Raph/Alopex stuff.

I definitely appreciate the threat posed by this version of Rocksteady and Bebop–while they maintain the “dumb grunts” status that seems to have kept them so popular through the years, here they’re shown as the danger they really ought to–and can–be. They’re actually scary, and not ones that can be tricked into a cage or into knocking themselves out running into each other, etc (pick a random episode of the classic cartoon and how the turtles got out of being killed by ’em).

Amidst the brawl, we still get “moments” between various characters–Nobody and Alopex, Alopex and Raph, Splinter and Mondo Gecko, Mikey and Slash, etc. We see that these characters have more going on than just the brawl itself. Instead of paper-thin plot points we see how the battle is affecting the characters, and the various alliances…I just see a lot more “complexity” on display here than, say, in the classic TMNT cartoon or the comics adapting episodes of said cartoon. I also continue to LIKE the story-team of Eastman, Curnow, and Waltz over a single writer: I’m thoroughly enjoying this series, and attribute that to the team aspect and presumably more ideas being worked in and “tempered by committee” than we’d get following a single vision.

I also continue to REALLY enjoy Santolouco‘s art on this title. This look for the characters works very well to me and (perhaps for its immediacy) is probably my favorite contemporary look–especially for the overall consistency of the past number of issues.

The cover is a bit misleading and doesn’t really seem to indicate the issue’s story, but I have to admit it looks good in and of itself. I did have to look closer in the shop to make sure it wasn’t a variant, as it struck me as the sort of image that might be on a variant rather than this particular issue.

As the 40th issue, this series is getting “up there” in numbers–it’s hard to believe I started out and have kept up month to month with this title for forty issues now…but I look forward to this (ideally) making it to at least twice this number and perhaps the highest-numbered ongoing TMNT book ever in the 30+ year history of the property.

Also as the 40th issue, it’s another “divisible-by-4” number, which means “technically” the end of another arc based on the standard 4-issue collected volumes IDW insists on. Which means you’re probably better off holding for the collected volumes and jump in on the NEXT issue, or simply jumping in on #41 for the “start” of a new arc. But, following the single issues, certainly nothing to this that turns me off or seems like an issue worth skipping.

Magneto #12 [Review]

magneto012AXIS tie-in

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Roland Boschi
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles and Cory Petit
Cover: David Yardin
Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

It’s the cover that did it. I’ve had absolutely no purchase-level interest in Axis nor any of its tie-ins…but the cover of this issue grabbed my attention. Onslaught, with the Red Skull’s face, dwarfing a defiant Magneto. Talk about hitting the right buttons for me. The original Onslaught story was HUGE in my youth–in scope, in tying back to Fatal Attractions, in tying into that X-Traitor subplot that even touched the cartoon series, that played with the matter of Xavier, his relationship to Magneto, to “The Dream,” etc. The reason Magneto as a character is interesting to me is the way the character was handled in Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse and afterward–as well as the “Joseph” period and all that. I’d also seen some sort of “preview” or “solicitation” text on the issue referencing Erik dealing with his friend, and all that–I recall an apparent plot point being the Red Skull stealing Xavier’s brain–so that plus the cover, and I couldn’t bring myself to NOT buy the issue.

Getting into the issue was a different matter. I haven’t read anything else involved with this Axis “event”–Axis itself or tie-in issues–nor have I read the last 8-9 issues of this series, so my reading this issue was functionally jumping in “cold,” so to speak.

Apparently Magneto’s already mid-battle with “Red Onslaught” (how original, that name), and he’s gathered other “villains” and allies (Carnage, Doom, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, etc) to combat the Red Skull in Onslaught mode. He has his daughter (Scarlet Witch) cast a spell meant to access whatever there is of Xavier and bring that to the forefront. While this is going on, he recalls a happier time, in his younger days, when he and Xavier were new friends in Israel. The issue goes back and forth, present to flashback and we see an episode where Magneto revealed his powers to Xavier as they fled Baron Strucker and the two men sought to save Xavier’s lover Gabrielle Haller. Something happens and Magneto’s knocked unconscious, coming to to find the other villains gone and the Avengers present. As he wonders if the Scarlet Witch’s spell worked, he encounters the mind of Xavier–apparently the spell worked–and the two converse, the psionic image of Xavier essentially passing the torch to Magneto and telling him his way was right all along.

The art for the issue isn’t horrible, though I’m not terribly impressed–particularly compared to the cover. I know my attitude toward the visuals is partially the actual style and partially that I don’t care for some of the character designs or “new looks” or such. It’s also “tainted” by my presently re-reading old X-Men issues from late 1994 and loving those–for the nostalgia and the art and familiarity from my past. There’s really no way this issue can hold up visually to the likes of Kubert or Jim Lee or other artists whose work I particularly enjoyed twenty years ago. Yardin‘s cover drawing me in the way it did makes me think I’d enjoy his work on the interior, though.

The story itself seems solid enough, and I was absolutely THRILLED at the actual use of CONTINUITY, that the notion of Xavier and Magneto having become friends while working at a hospital in Israel is still there, and the presence of Gabrielle Haller. Stuff that I’d almost have “expected” to be swept under the rug in favor of some other “take” on the characters’ relationship, some other period of time instead of something that’s been touched on before. While I don’t care whatsoever for the Baron Strucker stuff, and struggled to recall what little I knew/know or thought I knew/know, I know the characters didn’t jump from what we see in Legion Quest to a “present day,” and so it makes sense they’d have other adventures and such. I just don’t much care for the constant “inbreeding” of the same body of established characters being constantly revealed to have had earlier and earlier and earlier interactions/involvements with each other, knowingly or otherwise.

But ultimately, while I WANTED to like this issue, it manages to fall short of my expectations–perhaps because this IS just a single chapter of something much larger, and I’m out of the loop and all that. I’m not overly thrilled to have spent $4 on the issue and had so little Magneto/Xavier as well as so little Magneto vs. Red Skull in direct confrontation, etc. I might be somewhat interested in this Axis event later if I can get a collected volume or the single issues cheaply, but despite being a bit intrigued (was it actually Magneto that set the entire Axis thing in motion, I’m curious about and don’t know from just this issue) I’m not motivated by this issue to chase down anything else for Axis, nor am I left with any particular desire to get the next issue.

This is probably a great issue for ongoing readers of the title; I can’t speak to its place or value in the overall Axis story, though…this doesn’t seem to convey anything one can’t get from the main series, and I actually have the feeling one would appreciate this issue more WITH the main Axis series being read.

There are worse issues one could randomly grab from the middle of a run, inside the middle of an event, I’m sure. But unless you’re specifically following the event or this title anyway, this does not seem particularly worth its $3.99 cover price and I am not going to keep chasing the bait of hoping to see more Magneto/Xavier stuff.

From Ad to Home: Quantum and Woody Omnibus

This past summer, I was rather excited at the announcement of the first-ever Valiant Omnibus volume, featuring the complete classic Quantum and Woody series.

quantum_woody_omnibus_ad

It just seemed such a great concept to me…and almost immediately I decided it was definitely a volume I was going to want to own. Rather than “only” 8 or so issues like the classic Bloodshot or Ninjak volumes I got a couple years ago, or even going back several years to the X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Archer & Armstrong hardcovers….I loved the idea of the ENTIRE SERIES being collected into a single volume.

quantum_woody_omnibus_home

And now several months later, my copy of the volume finally arrived, and I’m quite pleased with it!

While there are 20-some issues in the volume, it doesn’t seem OVERLY thick or unwieldy…as volumes like this go, it seems a nice, sturdy size. Larger than a “standard” oversize hardcover content-wise, with double the pagecount of the 12ish-issue volumes, but not some ginormous wrist-breaking thing, either.

quantum_woody_omnibus_home2

I like the look of the the book in general, the cover, and overall, I’m just very happy with this. EXCEPT that now it makes me want the upcoming X-O Manowar Classic vol. 1.

But…Valiant just continues to put out excellent product that rewards the fans. So long as they don’t rush a bunch of these out, I could see picking up the later omnibii editions…and as long as they keep their deluxe hardcovers in-print awhile longer, I certainly want to get those–particularly the Harbinger Wars one.

Last Week’s Books Reviewed (Week of 9/24)

Over the weekend, I posted several reviews. Excerpts below, or click the cover/links to go to the full text of the reviews.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

 

 

Superman: Doomed #2

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

 

Armor Hunters #4

Context is vital, and while there’s no gigantic singular event in this issue that in and of itself will HERE change the Valiant universe, if you’ve been following the whole thing or just this mini, or X-O Manowar, this is definitely an issue to get, not to be arbitrarily skipped for some random reason. It’s good and worthwhile, and a solid issue in itself. Of course, if you have not been following anything associated with this, it would thus be a rather strange-ish point to attempt to jump into stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a jumping-on point. (Yet every issue is bound to be SOMEONE’s first).

DC Futures End Month, Week Four

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN#1

futuresendsuperman001While the Green Arrow one-shot gave some interesting background details to get me a bit more interested in getting back into the ongoing Futures End book, and the Booster Gold issue added to that, those were general things, and more interesting than anything else. This issue is the first of these one shots to specifically address any of the “mysteries” I was expecting to be dealt with in this manner. Namely…who IS the masked Superman? It seems the secret was revealed a number of weeks ago, but I’d missed that. So here, now, this finally shows me who’s behind the mask…and why. And it makes sense on the powerset, and even the motivation…though Lois makes a good point, and it’s good to see the characters tep back out of the shadow of Superman to do their own thing by the end. Given the Superman title itself seems to be off doing its own thing while the other Superman-related books have been dealing with Doomed, it’s nice to have this issue firmly in-sync with the other DC titles. Also love the cover…quite a nice one and certainly one of my favorites of the month.

FUTURES END: FLASH#1

futuresendflash001It’s been quite awhile since I’ve read/checked in on Flash. To be honest, I’m not even sure I bothered to give the title a chance at the relaunch–I grew up on Wally, and was thoroughly tired of Barry being forced back to the forefront in his place toward the end of the pre-52 (though I was ok with Flashpoint). That said, this issue seemed to have *A* Wally, just obviously quite different than the one I was used to, and unfortunately set in a future that may or may not ever come to be, so it’s more tease than not. I’ve always enjoyed the “legacy” nature of the Flash stuff (I think in some ways that’s part of what drew me to the title initially), and that’s on display here, making for a rather enjoyable issue. I’d be interested in more with the characters seen in this issue, and further expansion on the situations hinted at. For an issue that I wasn’t certain I’d get until I actually grabbed it off the shelf, this was worthwhile as a one-shot…though I’m not sure it changed my mind any regarding the current ongoing series.

FUTURES END: RED LANTERNS#1

futuresendredlanterns001One of the earliest comics I can recall getting at the start of my “second phase” was Guy Gardner #1. I had no idea who this character was, what his story was, but hey…it was a #1 issue, he’d cameoed in that Action Comics Annual, so hey, check it out, right? And through the years I’ve had mixed feelings on the character, but here it was rather interesting to me to see him as a hopeful character, seeing the positive and good in the universe rather than the aggressive, angry, in-your-face sort. Sure, that’s partially the influence of a blue ring, but it’s far from inconceivable that Guy would be capable of such a change, and it adds another layer to the character. I snagged this issue to round out having gotten the other Lantern books this month. Yet–perhaps for simply being the most recently-read–I think this one was my favorite, sort of capping off Guy’s story as well as stuff with the Red Lanterns (that I have not been following) and it seemed more fitting and certainly a happier ending than in the other Lantern books.

FUTURES END: SINESTRO #1

futuresendsinestro001While I quite enjoyed the role Sinestro took on during Johns’ run on the GL title, this is the first solo issue I’ve picked up. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s Sinestro, and come to think of it…it’s thus a Lantern book (five now?). I’m not sure I totally “got” the way things worked for harnessing the yellow, or any light energy, as shown in this book and Sinestro’s escape. However, this touched on some “interesting” points, and the way it ended, giving Sinestro a whole different spin, certainly seemed feasible and far from being out of the realm of likelihood. I don’t know that I’d want to read anything ongoing with that, but I’m quite glad to see the continued use of the various Lantern Corps and that they seem to have “legs,” to have become a fairly permanent element/addition to things. I’d worried they’d be a limited time thing heading up to and as part of the “fallout” from Blackest Night. As a character practically as old as Green Lantern in general, it’s good to see Sinestro fleshed out, fairly complex-ish, and not just some “joke” of a villain. I’m glad I didn’t pass on this particular issue…though again, it’s not enough to hook me into the ongoing series.

FUTURES END: HARLEY QUINN#1

futuresendharleyquinn001Harley’s become a sort of “DC’s Deadpool” it seems, and for that reason alone, I wasn’t gonna even bother considering this issue. But then it was the last copy there, and after some annoyance earlier in the month tracking down issues, I figured I’d grab it–worst case, the issue sucks, but at least I wouldn’t change my mind and face the hassles of tracking the issue down LATER. This wasn’t a bad issue, though I wasn’t particularly enthralled. I get that characters have to grow and change rather than be chained into their original appearance (literal and in the sense of being introduced to us), but I’ve not care much for the “New 52-ization” of Harley in general. This issue, though, was fairly “fun” in putting Harley and Joker back together, dealing with a wedding for the two and reminding me of the messed-up nature of both characters, and how much better Harley is having HAD a history with Joker but getting beyond it. I would not have picked this up as just some Harley issue..u.but as a one-shot it was worthwhile, and I’m glad to have gotten it and having this “check-in” with the character, though (like a lot of the other issues this month) it doesn’t necessarily tie directly to the “core” story running through the ongoing weekly Futures End title.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 4

futuresendboostergold001I’m definitely quite glad to be done with the month, given how wildly expensive it got! Still, it’s a once-a-year thing, and having been through two of these now…three if we count the initial launch, as I skipped the Zero Month a couple years ago. I might actually look forward to next year’s thing and pre-order to get more of a discount. I still wound up with more than half of the books, and am convinced that I’m going to go ahead and catch up on the main weekly book, and maybe follow this thing through to the end after all…or at least further than I left off!

Definitely loved the Booster Gold book–it was such a standout that I gave it the solo treatment for a review. But as it is, for the upcoming week’s worth of books, looks like it’ll be more than 50% cheaper than any of the past month’s weeks, which is a releif, though I might offset that a bit with a bulk catch-up unless I go with a several-week thing.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Futures End Booster Gold #1Pressure Point

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Moritat, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thopson, Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz, Scott Hanna, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Jurgens, Rapmund & Hi-FI
Editor: Joe Cavalieri
Asst. Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

I wasn’t going to cover any of these Futures End one-shots as a singular/full review, but then, that was partially due to the fact that all these others have just been the month’s iteration of an ongoing monthly book. But to the best of my knowledge, Booster Gold has not had an ongoing series since that final issue that tied into Flashpoint pre-New 52; and I haven’t a clue where he wound up via Justice League International and whatnot.

But knowing his creator–Dan Jurgens–was the writer on this issue in that way alone made it a no-brainer for me to pick this up, once I’d given in on getting ANY of these one-shots. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the issue and hadn’t seen anything for it in promotional stuff outside of the title itself. So seeing the cover was a thrill–this is definitely one of my favorite covers of the month. I’ve always loved the blue-and-gold contrast…the pairing of Booster and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as well as simply the contrast of the two colors against each other. That makes for a striking cover. It’s also great to see the same title logo used as the last ongoing series…it lends an extra bit of recent-nostalgic familiarity to this.

As this isn’t just the month’s “five years later” glimpse of an ongoing character/series, we actually get a look at a Booster bouncing through time/dimensions trying to remember a mission, as we see Booster imprisoned, being interrogated for something…and eventually see that rather than some disjointed story there’s more going on than it seemed initially…and certainly gives me a “selling point” to catch up on and keep up with Futures End.

I was initially put off looking at the issue’s credits seeing a number of artists credited with ranges of pages…couldn’t one person (say, Dan Jurgens himself) do the entire issue? But I almost immediately realized then that hey…multiple worlds/dimensions…different artists lend some variance to the worlds, and contrary to my initial snap-judgment, I quite enjoyed that element here.
Booster himself looked familiar, yet there was something a bit different to the character that I couldn’t place…I vaguely recalled that he’d had a “new” costume in the New 52, so I wasn’t sure where this fit. Thankfully, that actually worked with the story.

After all these years, I really enjoy seeing Jurgens work on the character–particularly the story, but the art as well. There’s also that Booster Gold is one where time-travel is an intrinsic part of the character himself…which adds to the logic of this issue’s existence. Even if the character does not have an ongoing and may or may not (for my ignorance) be a regular part of any ensemble cast of an ongoing book–for anything involving time travel, I’d expect him to be a part of it in some form.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

By the end of this issue it became apparent that this was not a matter of Booster being imprisoned and the bouncing-through-time-and-worlds-and-dimensions being merely a mind-thing with someone screwing with him to convince him to give up a secret. We’re actually dealing with the New 52 Booster Gold as well as another version…and it seems to me that this other version is either THE pre-52 version or darned close to it. I don’t know where DC officially stands anymore on stuff, but this “hint” that the DC Universe *I* grew up on is still out there is a welcome treat, whether isolated to this title, this issue alone, or something bigger.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

All in all, like the Swamp Thing issue and the Supergirl issue, I ultimately found this to be an issue independently interesting and engaging (particularly by the ending and the “new view” of the earlier pages it generated for me), and very well worthwhile to have bought and read.

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

Armor Hunters #4 [Review]

Armor Hunters #4Kill

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artists: Doug Braithwaite, Tom Fowler, Trevor Hairsine, and Clayton Henry
Assistant Editor: Josh Johns
Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I can say from the start that this did not end with quite the grandiose hugeness I was expecting. For an 18-issue (now 19 including the upcoming Aftermath issue) thing, I don’t know what I was hoping for exactly, but this wasn’t it.

But then, I wasn’t buying this because it was Armor Hunters. I wasn’t following the story because of it being “an event” or the “latest event” or anything like that. I wasn’t following it because of chromium covers or variant covers. I wasn’t following it BECAUSE of any of the marketing or checklists or whatever. I was buying this because it was Valiant, and from May 2012’s relaunch to present, I’ve been “all-in” on Valiant.

That said, I found this issue to be a solid one, wrapping up this particular “core chapter” in the ongoing story that is Valiant continuity as a whole.

The art is very good as usual…I really had no complaints there. The style works and fits the story, and I was never taken out of things because of some visual quirk or stylistic twinge or otherwise anything distracting about the “meta” nature of anything with the art. The characters all looked good, the action was easy to follow, everything seemed consistent with what I’ve seen before. The art thus was good in the best way: only consciously “noticeable” because I’m choosing to comment on it in the capacity of this review. In the reading, it simply “was.” Nothing stand-out distractingly “great” but nothing distractingly bad–it allowed the story to take the stage.

Through the issue, we see Aric armor up again with the X-O suit, and reconnect with Bloodshot and the Unity team, as all come back together and the immediate threat of the team of “Armor Hunters” themselves is brought to a close.

The story is relatively simple on the surface for the issue–a lot of fighting as the hunters are laid low while the Earth-heroes take their own share of physical punishment for the trouble. But we also get some interesting elements for moving forward, and I feel like a key “promise” was indeed fulfilled–and satisfyingly so. While I don’t recall now if it was in some preview or interview or such (it may have been outside the “normal, organic” nature of following the comics themselves withOUT having comic news sites or such involved) but in my mind I’ve had the notion that we’d learn more about Aric’s armor in particular, and then as an event we’d have some lasting elements to carry on beyond.

We’ve learned that the armor is one of many, that they exert a parasitic influence over the “host” (that they’re a “host” rather than simply a being that is wearing the armor says plenty), that it’s not some one-shot thing of the armor being able to heal the host, and so on.

We have the lasting impact of Mexico City’s destruction–a city does not just get wiped off the map and get forgotten. That will be a long-term lasting thing in the Valiant continuity, setting it apart from the “real world” where we as readers know Mexico City has NOT actually been destroyed during an alien attack.

We also have the impact of things on Aric with the armor now totally bonded with him, and the limitation that he now lives with–he’s in control of the armor and it won’t just take him over, won’t heal him automatically. He now can WILL the armor to heal him…but in so doing, he cedes that much more control TO the armor, such that if he takes enough physical damage in need of the armor’s brand of healing, eventually he WILL be lost to the armor.

We also have a new relationship between Aric and MERO…as well as the first explanation I can consciously recall of the title X-O Manowar being given beyond some arbitrary X-O class armor also known as manowar armor…as an “Executive Officer” titled “Manowar,” Aric sort of has a “superhero name” now, yet not…but the title is given to him, as a thing, rather than merely being a description of the armor that he happens to wear.

While an 18 or 19 part “epic” is a bit grandiose for such a small family of titles as Valiant puts out, and rather large for ANY “event” or “crossover” as an independent thing…it totally makes sense as it has played out. The core story’s been in this 4-issue mini-series. Given the ties to the X-O Manowar title itself, we’ve gotten Aric’s story here and background on Malgam and the Armor Hunters in that title. Something of this scale would certainly affect the world as a whole, hence Unity’s involvement. Bloodshot’s recruitment fits and as one of the main/big players in the Valiant Universe his action should not be relegated to off-panel “mentions.” And as Generation Zero steps out into the world in general it’s logical that they–and the remnants of the Renegades–would become involved in disaster relief efforts.

Granted that’s a much larger-scale view than “just” this fourth issue, but having read everything, this is “just” a part of that.

Context is vital, and while there’s no gigantic singular event in this issue that in and of itself will HERE change the Valiant universe, if you’ve been following the whole thing or just this mini, or X-O Manowar, this is definitely an issue to get, not to be arbitrarily skipped for some random reason. It’s good and worthwhile, and a solid issue in itself. Of course, if you have not been following anything associated with this, it would thus be a rather strange-ish point to attempt to jump into stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a jumping-on point. (Yet every issue is bound to be SOMEONE’s first).

Superman: Doomed #2 [Review]

Superman: Doomed #2Evolutions

Story: Greg Pak & Charles Soule
Art: Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes, Norm Rapmund
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey
Assistant Editor: Anthony Marques
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

This issue is late. I believe it was originally solicited/scheduled for at least a month ago, sometime in August. I’m not certain of course, but I’m guessing that also accounts for so many involved on the art team for the issue. With all the one-shots I’ve been reading this month on the Futures End stuff, in some ways I’d even forgotten about this story for several weeks, only last week realizing “Hey…Doomed #2 never DID come out, did it?!?”

This issue sees the “last stand” of Earth and its heroes against Brainiac. With Superman having given himself over to Doomsday, his “essence” is basically a passenger along for the ride, or in the mind or such, where Brainiac reaches out, showing how much better things would be with Brainiac free to do his thing, why he should be allowed to, etc. Perhaps most pressing is that if Doomsday–Superman–“Superdoom”–destroys Brainiac, it’ll mean the destruction of all human life on Earth, as the stolen minds will be done for and not returned to their bodies.

While showing Superman visions of what could be, Brainiac continues taking down the last remnants of Earth’s heroes–having apparently utilized Superman somehow to “find” them and get through their defenses. He also reveals his core, true motivation to things, which on one hand could be sympathetic but for the notion of “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few” and all that. Lois plays a key part in things, and ultimately the minds–and thus lives–of all on Earth rest with Superman and a gambit to take down Brainiac before he can remake the universe itself.

Visually, this issue is a jumble. A lot of artists involved, but that can be forgiven as they seem to be utilized for the visions of what-could-be and such. I’ve never been a fan of the “Superdoom” look and have found it ridiculous–still do–so that lends a visual weirdness to stuff for me anyway on top of numerous artists. That said, having made it through all the tie-ins and such to this point–all those styles and renditions of involved characters–I can’t complain too much here. The issue is what it is, and whether utilized to show alternate realities or that’s just a fortuitous element given so many involved, I’ll take it at face value. The only point that I REALLY consciously noticed a huge difference was a sequence that reminded me of Darwyn Cooke‘s art.

Story-wise I’m left with a fair bit of frustration at the sheer length of this “event” and such. It seems that SO MUCH was made of the “Doomsday virus” and Superman fighting it/becoming a Doomsday and so on–that Brainiac’s involvement feels like a bait-and-switch. Like this whole thing could have been done in just a couple issues–perhaps Doomed #1, a single month’s slot of tie-ins, then this #2.

Then there’s the fact that this issue itself doesn’t even definitively end but rather kicks down the door onto something else.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

In “trying to find a place for” Brainiac, Superdoom–powered by all that Brainiac had sought–pushes Brainiac’s ship into a black hole of sorts, ready to sacrifice himself as well to see that Brainiac’s threat to the universe is over. But in this we see shards of something broken, and in those shards, we see what look to me like glimpses of the pre-52 DC Universe…particularly recognizeable to me are Nightwing and his classic first costume (circa 1989) and of course, Superman himself with the “trunks.”

Like this week’s Futures End: Booster Gold issue, this sees to show that in some fashion or another, the DC Universe that *I* grew up on is still out there somehow, and perhaps something involving Brainiac would be a key to–if not bringing it “back,” then at least accessing it.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

Despite the enormity of what we see on the last pae of the issue, I still don’t feel this story warranted all the chapters it carried, and that this could have been handled in just a handful of issues. Chances are, with the likes of Bleeding Cool and other online spoilers, this issue will wind up being fairly signifiant in the long run and thus in that regard probably worth seeking out, I wouldn’t particularly recommend it in and of itself unless you’ve been following the story in general.

I’m actually (overall) glad I went and hand got it–despite that hefty $5 cover price–for the feelings elicited by that last page, for capping things off, and giving me an “out” to drop back to spending far less each month.

Except that this issue–and event–leads directly to an aftermath issue in October’s Action Comics, at minimum. The story isn’t over. And rather than a definitive conclusion, an actual “bookend” to things…we’re simply propelled on to “The next thing.”

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

DC Futures End Month, Week Three

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1

futuresend_supermanwonderwoman001This issue caught me a bit by surprise, as apparently it’s the 2nd of a 2-parter, continued from the Wonder Woman issue. Not what I expected, and not something I was thrilled with, but hey…it is what it is. I read it anyway, even though I might’ve waited to track the first chapter down. But I wasn’t in the mood for that game, and since I feel like I’m always going on about how it isn’t horrible to “figure things out” in context, no reason not to put that to the test. Sure enough, I was able to figure out quite a bit just by reading alone…it helped that the nature of these stories is that there’s been a time gap anyway, so I’m already mentally wired for not having “the full story.” That said, this was one of the better issues in terms of story and felt like it really could have been setting things up for a new status quo in the ongoing if this wasn’t just a five-years-later deal. As I’m already following Soule’s run on this book anyway, it’s good–to me–to have this issue in there as well.

FUTURES END: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1

futuresend_batmansuperman001I expected an actual fight between Superman and Batman in this issue. What I got instead was a Batman-centric story, where the confrontation happened sometime in the five-year-gap and left Batman in bad shape for where this issue picks up. Not following the ongoing series, I don’t know where this fits…whether it’s dropping any hints or particularly drawing from that. This issue also felt rather familiar in terms of Batman suiting up against Alfred’s advisement and putting himself in a situation where his body’s ready to fail him and he’s doing irreparable damage to himself, etc. I picked this one up on a whim…I had not planned ahead of time to get it, and it unfortunately proved more disappointment than not: I should have left this one on the shelf.

FUTURES END: SUPERGIRL #1

futuresend_supergirl001Of the various DC titles, this is the one that I’m probably most torn on. I liked stuff last year enough that I went backward several months on the title and kept up with it for several months after, though I did eventually let it go. This issue plays off from last year’s introduction of the Cyborg Superman, bringing us a Kara who is now herself a cyborg…though it quickly becomes apparent that the Cyborg exerted a certain amount of influence over her that takes old friends to bypass and get her back into her right mind. While certainly not an “ending” story, this one definitely felt like–if not the start of a new chapter–certainly the ending of one. There are plenty of questions about what happened in the Five Year Gap, and I’m all the more interested in Kara’s story simply for the various places her story can go, and hoping that it would never turn out like this. I’m also left quite curious about her relationship with other characters, particularly Captain Comet and whether that’s just a possible development or if it’s been dealt with in the Red Daughter of Krypton arc or such.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

futuresend_justiceleague001This is the concluding/second chapter of the two-parter begun in Justice League United. On the whole it’s this massive battle between the heroes and former hero Captain Atom, who is determined to break free of Mars no matter the cost–to the heroes, to himself, to the planet itself. And of course, the heroes have to gang up to stop him, while also dealing with the other freed villains. While in some ways the cost to the characters is higher than it might be in a regular ongoing story, it doesn’t feel all that permanent. More like the end of an arc leading to a new creative team and/or new status quo on one or more books. All in all the issue isn’t particularly memorable for me except in seeing Captain Atom play Dr. Manhattan on Mars (the latter actually based on the former). I got my 2nd chapter of 2 that I intended, though on the whole nothing particularly special to this for me.

FUTURES END: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

futuresend_batmanandrobin001I don’t know much about this Heretic character nor do I much care. I was expecting something more Damian-centric, be it memorial or I don’t know what. Instead this is just some teaser issue with a possible future-Robin, who (from this issue alone) I know nothing about and haven’t a clue why I need to care (nor how Batman’s gotten along this long in his apparent condition over Damian…which is not to suggest anyone should merely “get over” such a hurt or loss just because it’s been 5 years. That the focus of the issue is Batman’s pursuit of the true identity of this Heretic, that he does indeed get his DNA sample…it’s infuriating to me (as this is a one-shot) that we as readers do not get let in on whatever the truth is…and this made me feel like the issue was a waste. Apparently I expected at least some sort of cliffhanger-like ending stating who the Heretic was…or even was NOT. If this were a continuing issue, I’d be totally fine with what I got as it’d be likely to pick up next issue. As-is…I’m directed into the Robin Rises stuff, and I’m not going there in single issues.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

futuresend_greenlanternnewguardians001I grew up with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. I get that I’ve hardly read anything with the character in years, and don’t know much about the status quo of the character for the last 30 or so issues’ time (and several GL crossover/”house events”). But from solicitation text and the cover, I sure expected more Kyle than I got. This was another passing-of-the-torch sort of issue, though I’m actually only GUESSING that this White Lantern was Kyle, based on the cover: nothing in the issue itself that I noticed confirmed or pointed out that this was Kyle, and at one point some name-dropping made me actually think perhaps this was Hal. Along with Batman and Robin this was definitely–for me–a stinker of a book and one I really would have been better off not getting. This is also the only one of the books this month with these 3D covers where the logo was given the treatment rather than just the image the logo and such is placed upon.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 3

Outside of the Supergirl issue, this week was pretty much a stinker for me, despite being one of the higher ones in terms of my expectation and such. Supergirl was definitely my favorite of the bunch, both the cover itself as well as the story. It may have been a circular logic sort of thing, but I didn’t even get around to reading these for a few days…and it was really only the Supergirl issue that pulled at me…the others I mostly read this week because I didn’t want to have NOT read them before the week four books would be out. Some of this is probably also blame to be lain at the feet of the price, and sticker shock this month, as virtually every one of these DC books has been a $3.99 book I would not normally get…and is on top of a bunch of other stuff, both regular and new.

Off the top of my head I’m most looking forward to the Booster Gold issue. Other than that, probably Red Lanterns and Superman…we’ll see what else may or may not grab my attention for the final week of the month…

TMNT: Turtles in Time #4 [Review]

tmntturtlesintime004Writer: Paul Allor
Artist: Dan Duncan
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: David Petersen
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I didn’t pay attention to the issue’s credits when I started reading, but there was something familiar to the visuals. As it should be–with art by IDW‘s first regular TMNT artist, Dan Duncan. While Duncan‘s art grew on me after a bit, it did seem a bit clunky here, not being as used to it. Still, it worked quite well for the issue.

I feel like I hardly remember details from previous issues (just the general sense of the story, having read them in month-apart segments), but just knowing the turtles have been time-hopping was enough for me for this issue’s story. We find the turtles some years in the future, in what used to be Manhattan. The brothers are surprised at the lack of alarm to their appearance walking in open daylight…until they learn the entire island is hostile territory for mutant turtles of the ninja variety. Escaping to the sewers they find a potentially paradox-inducing ally, as well as a new fight in this time…but this one is of their choosing, rather than allowing Renet to simply send them home. And by the end of the story, one of the turtles is left wondering about the present in light of the future they’d just witnessed.

Even without the 2014 Annual or the previous 3 issues of this series, I quite enjoyed this issue. There’s a definite history not only of time travel in general with the turtles, but with future versions of the turtles themselves. Fondly recalling the various “future turtles” stories in the old TMNT Adventures series from Archie, I was drawn in all the more and looking at details here than I might have otherwise been. One panel alone suggests that the world’s been divided up between the Foot, Krang, and Baxter Stockman (apparently recognized as a Fly).

The only real drawback to this series–and this might just be the immediacy of this issue–is that off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything all that poignant from the previous issues to carry back into the main continuity, while this issue has some key stuff that would be great to see carried over. In a way, I’d even say this issue could (in tandem with the Annual) be read by itself, just knowing that the turtles had bounced around through several time periods before landing here.

As this is definitely a side story, I’m glad it didn’t interrupt the “flow” of the main series. But given this is the concluding issue of a 4-part mini series, unless you’re following this one specifically or single issues in general, I’d say you’re about as well off waiting for the collected volume as trying to track down the previous issues. At the same time, if you read the 2014 Annual, you should be able to dive into this issue without much problem, even without the first 3.

All told, I enjoyed the issue, and to me, that’s the main thing.

%d bloggers like this: