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Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: The Man who Murdered Prometheus

The true Prometheus finds himself free, and seeks revenge on the man who has used his name during his imprisonment.

facesofevilprometheus001Writer: Sterling Gates
Art & Color: Federico Dallocchio
Letterer: Swands
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Cover: Mauro Cascioli
Publisher: DC Comics

Opening with a fairly "classic" "one punch takeout" by Batman, we see the original Prometheus dealt with by Batman and Martian Manhunter in a flashback. Moving to the present, we find that Prometheus has been imprisoned for a couple years (comic time), and isn’t seen as much of a threat by the guards assigned him. Prometheus recalls his own origin (a simple story device/excuse to fill readers in on it). When he finds himself let loose of the Martian Manhunter’s control (J’onn’s death in Final Crisis #1 / Final Crisis: Requiem), he sets out to continue his mission of revenge against agents of justice as well as against the imposter using his name of late.

I was interested in this issue by its title alone: I vaguely recalled Prometheus from a couple of issues fairly early in the Morrison JLA run over a decade back, and thought it’d be interesting to see where the character is–or would be brought–in the present. Story wise, I was not disappointed. The plot is a bit cliched, but works for me as a one-shot though I doubt it’d work for me as a longer story. We have a reconciliation of sorts of the character (I never knew that someone other than one character has used the name "Prometheus" in DC’s continuity) that sets him up to be a big player in future issues.

Offhand I am not at all familiar with the artist’s name, but with art like that in this issue, I certainly hope to become familiar. There’s a gritty realism to the art that fits quite well with the story. I’m not a huge fan of the Prometheus costume–can’t quite put my finger on it, except it just looks…weird. I don’t have any old issues to reference to see how similar or different it is to the original, but hey…whatever.

I haven’t found the Faces of Evil bit all that engaging in most of the other DC titles (particularly Booster Gold, Green Lantern Corps, and Action Comics) so far. However, this issue seems to be exactly what Faces of Evil is all about, giving a solid, full story about a villain with insight into the villain him/herself. With quality like this, I’d even be somewhat interested in a regular series of spotlights on various villains if it kept to this price point.

This is a good one-shot–though it’s not an entirely new character, one can certainly see how this’ll be a launching point for a dangerous DC villain that hasn’t had much play time the last few years. If you can find it for cover price, this is well worth a look-see.

Ratings:

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

Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Faces of Evil: Deathstroke

After suffering a humiliating defeat, Deathstroke takes stock of his life and makes plans for moving forward.

facesofevildeathstroke001 Writer: David Hine
Penciller: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorist: Jo Smith
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Michael Marts
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

Last I recall seeing Deathstroke was in the Last Will and Testament special last Fall, when Deathstroke was defeated in combat by Geoforce. After that humiliating defeat, Deathstroke has had some time to recover, and to take stock of his life. This issue opens with him in the hospital–where those attending to him marvel at his very survival. Once he’s awake, Deathstroke arranges a meeting with his daughter, and the two deal with "family issues" they have with one another. Finally, we see Deathstroke beginning to set up what may be his new status quo.

Hine seems to get this character quite well. The story here is believeable and well within what I’d expect of the character despite my limited exposure to him. We have a man who’s been pushed to his limit and forced to reassess what he is going to do with his life. We get to see him contemplative and in action, see what makes him very dangerous.

The art is solid, too. No complaints here–everything’s nice and clear, with no problems following the action. There’s a slight change in the coloring for a flashback scene that sets that sequence apart from the rest of the issue–gives it a bit of a surreal effect without going hokey or cheesey on us.

Next to Meltzer‘s writing of this character in Identity Crisis and Last Will, this has to be the best depiction I’ve seen of Deathstroke. This issue is–at standard cover price, even!–well worth snagging if you’ve any interest in Deathstroke. And if you’ve never dealt with the character before, you could probably still quite enjoy this issue, as it deals with the here-and-now of the title character as he prepares for what he is going to do moving forward from here.

Ratings:

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

Green Lantern #37 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Supergirl #37 [Review]

Who is Superwoman?

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Joshua Middleton
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue has a large focus on Superwoman…whether that’s specifically for this being a Faces of Evil tie-in or not, I’m not sure…though I suppose it works in that it builds on the “mystery” of who this character actually is.

The issue opens from Superwoman’s point of view–though we conveniently are not shown her face without the mask. We then transition to a conflicted Supergirl who is attempting to adjust to recent changes in life. Supergirl is given a new mission by her mother–to return to Earth–and it seems that Superwoman has her own mission that conflicts with Supergirl’s.

The art for the issue is solid…nothing new to say there that I haven’t said on other recent issues.

The story is decent–it definitely feels like a continuation of the numbered New Krypton story. We get setup here for upcoming issues, though it almost seems a bit forced–that Supergirl had to be taken away from Earth for a plot element of that story, and yet here has to now be sent BACK for status quo elements set up in the first issue of Gates’ run.

I’m not really engaged with the “mystery” of Superwoman’s identity–we’ve not seen enough of her for me to care, and we’ve been given too much for me to really sympathize with whoever she is.

I recall really liking the first issue of this run, as it showed a lot of promise and potential. That was immediately interrupted by several issues participating in the New Krypton story–which started off as an awesome story but fizzled at the end. Now this feels a bit lukewarm–I’m interested in where things are going, but am not particularly engaged.

All in all, still much stronger than most issues I’d read of this series prior to this run, and worth getting if you’re following the series.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Justice League of America #29 [Review]

Star Struck!

Guest Writer: Len Wein
Penciller: Chris Cross
Inkers: Rob Stull w/Chris Cross
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Ed Benes & Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

Breaking from the storyline introducing Milestone characters to the DCU, this Faces of Evil issue focuses on Starbreaker.

…Who is a character I don’t think I’d ever heard of before seeing this issue at the store this week.

The character narrates his history to the reader, recounting how he first came to fight the JLA and then to make his way to Earth for revenge. After the JLA has defeated him, he finds himself in company of another villain whose name I do recognize.

The art for this issue is a solid mix of “classic” and “contemporary”–it pulls off the appearance of a contemporary comic, while also hinting at a silver age visual style for the characters (and page layout). It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Chris Cross’s work (I remember enjoying his work on the Genis-Vell Captain Marvel series from Marvel a few years back), and I’m glad to say that it does not disappoint me here at all.

The story on the other hand does not work for me. I appreciate the writer’s background, but did not feel this the place to showcase his work. There is a VERY silver-age feel to the story that does not serve in its favor (unlike the origin for Libra in the Final Crisis Secret Files). To be honest, it took me two attempts to get through this issue–I got a few pages in the first time and set this aside where it waited until I’d read all my other new comics for the week, and then finished this off on principle.

I’ve seen nothing obvious stating how long an arc is in this title, but was expecting at least one more chapter of the Milestone arc–strike #1 against this. That this was a guest-written gig–basically a one-shot, I presume–this should have been Faces of Evil: Starbreaker as a standalone instead of an issue of Justice Leaue of America…strike #2 against this.

If you’re interested in a one-off tale with a silver-age feel about this apparently “classic” villain, this issue will probably be very much to your liking. If you’re checking the title out JUST for the Milestone characters, they’re not in this issue at all so you could skip this without missing any of that stuff.

Story: 3/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 5.5/10

Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Action Comics #873 [Review]

New Krypton part ten: Birth of a Nation

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Pete Woods, Renato Guedes & Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: Brad Anderson & David Curiel
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

New Krypton the crossover/mega-arc concludes here, but the story is far from over.

The issue opens with the world reacting to Supergirl’s punch at Superman in the previous chapter, with General Lane and Luthor politicking over Doomsday’s for-now dead body. Some Kandorians are fighting the Justice Society and Green Lanterns (with a few other heroes), before a Superman Returns style solution is implemented that then takes on a Counter-Earth feel. We’re then treated to several prologue scenes to close out the issue.

The art on this issue isn’t bad, but for the most part is not all that appealing to me. It gets across what’s going on visually, but leaves me missing Gary Frank’s art, particularly at the way Superman himself looks.

The story is a definite let-down. While this is supposedly the “conclusion” to this epic, I’m left at the end feeling like we’ve had a whole bunch of filler leading to this issue, just to kick off some outside mini-series. There’s been a lot of potential built up that doesn’t get resolved and seems to fizzle out, and just results in a hearty disappointment. As a Faces of Evil issue, supposedly we get a story from Luthor’s point of view. However, Luthor is really only on the first two pages as a pawn to General Lane. This isn’t the writer’s fault–this issue has no business being included in the Faces of Evil stunt.

All in all, what began as a very interesting premise with loads of potential comes down to this issue and a completely anti-climactic conclusion. Recommended only if you’ve been following the story thus far; otherwise, you’ll be just as well served finding spoilers online and spending your money elsewhere. If you want a story from Luthor’s point of view and how he interacts with Superman, I’ll recommend the Lex Luthor: Man of Steel mini-series from several years back.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #32 [Review]

Sins of the Star Sapphire part four: Hearts and Minds

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Rebecca Buchman
Color: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, Nei Rufino
Publisher: DC Comics

While a Lantern gives birth, fellow Green Lanterns fight Kryb in order to keep the Sinestro Corps member away from the baby. During the battle, the latest revision to the Book of Oa is made known to all GLs, prompting yet another decision to be made–one that is echoed throughout the Corps. with significant implications for down the road.

I think I’m finally getting used to the art on this book. It’s probably never gonna rank in my tops list of fvorite art, but it works with the GL Corps concept with the various aliens and all that. Kryb comes across as both creepy (presumably intended so) and rather stupid looking…almost like some sort of “emo alien” type.

The story continues to move forward as the GLs (with some help from a Star Sapphire) attend to Kryb who has been kidnapping children of GLs for awhile now. We have several good moments in this issue…between the parents and their new child; Kyle and Soranik; and between Kyle, Soranik, and one of the Star Sapphires. However, I’m still not clear on who Star Sapphire is or was, and thus far can’t tell any of the new Star Sapphires apart…they just don’t come across as distinct to me, nor do they come off as all that interesting–certainly not enough for me to bother researching them online.

Right now, this feels like a filler story even though it’s introducing us to one of the numerous Lantern Corps. I haven’t cared about Kryb, and being a relatively young, single adult with no children and no spouse of my own, I’m not really all that engaged with the story of the GLs’ children being put in danger…especially not when it follows on the earlier story of the GLs PARENTS being in danger.

You could do worse than this issue, but unless you’re intent on following the GL franchise in general, this is nothing special to seek out (though I hope that that’ll change soon as we head into Blackest Night later this year).

Story: 5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 5.5/10

Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1 [Review]

The Curse!

Writer: Geoff Johns & Scott Kolins
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Hi-FI
Letterer: John J. Hill
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Cover: Shane Davis, Sandra Hope & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

This one shot focuses on the longtime DC character Solomon Grundy. After a bit of a flashback to the character’s in-continuity history, we come to the present where Grundy’s awoken once more after his latest death, but with a change. We follow him through a week of death and rebirth (and a fight with Killer Croc) until he’s confronted finally by a couple of faces familiar to him (and to us as readers) who propose fighting this curse he’s under while in a small window of opportunity to do so.

This is another well done one-shot worthy of the Faces of Evil “hype” and “event.” This is all about Grundy, offering us a look at the world from the character’s point of view while acknowledging the fact that he’s had a number of different incarnations in the last couple of decades at least, and building on that. As this is essentially set-up for a mini-series, one might be able to look at this as the tv-movie pilot for a special series coming soon.

The art fits the character and the story both quite well, and I enjoyed it. Kolins’ art seems to fit well with villain-centric stories, assuming I’m correct in recalling him as the artist on the Rogues’ Revenge mini from several months back.

This is a fairly decent one-shot; though as it is largely set-up for the upcoming mini-series, doesn’t feel complete: it feels more like a proglogue than a self-standing story.

If you’re interested in or curious about the character, it’s worthwhile–just be aware that it has a cliffhanger going toward the mini series.

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

Booster Gold #16 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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