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THE REST OF THE STACK #1

I’d love to be able to review every comic I read–for comixtreme.com as well as this blog. However, as a volunteer thing for which I’m not paid and yet devote considerable time, the effort it’d take would sap all the fun out of it. I still like to weigh in on new comics, throw my opinion and thoughts out there, and even just vent about something that strikes me that doesn’t merit a full review. As such, I’m going to periodically post one of these Rest of the Stack pieces to cover–as the title implies–the rest of the week’s stack of comics not covered by individual reviews.

I don’t know that I’ll post this on any particular schedule–I know that as soon as I would make an attempt to post this, say, every Monday then next Monday something will come up and I’ll have broken the schedule as soon as it was set, so I’ll just leave this to be something I’ll likely post after I’ve finished the week’s reviews, before the next week’s reviews are posted.

Red Circle: The Shield one-shot

This issue read really quickly, and somehow did not feel like there was much of a completed ending to it. Sure, it gives us the quick ‘n dirty origin/introduction of the character, but it felt like more of a bridge or stepping-stone to what I expect to see in the Red Circle ongoings than it did a full story in itself–unlike the Web or Hangman one-shots. Not bad, but somewhat disappointing on the whole. I’ll be interested, though, to see how this Shield character plays out within the DC Universe.

Flash: Rebirth #4

This issue gives a new look at the origin of the Speed Force which also provides a role for Barry and reason for him to be back. I’m curious as to where the “modern” Zoom has gone with the return of the “classic” character–if that’s been shown in this book, I don’t recall it. While I tend to enjoy Johns’ work and Van Sciver’s art, this series has been fairly disappointing when compared to its Green Lantern counterpart. I expect it’ll make more sense in two more issues when I have a full story in front of me, but for the moment it’s something I’m buying more for its potential than actual monthly enjoyment.

Wonder Woman # 35

My first question with this issue is–where’s the story title on the cover? I rather like those banners, and often find myself mentally keeping track of a story by the story chapter number moreso than the title’s number. Between the previous issue and this, I’m enjoying the dynamic between Diana and Dinah…and would certainly enjoy seeing Dinah a permanent co-character in this series. There are a few things to Wonder Woman I’m still sorting out, and it was a bit odd the character’s suggestion to Tom at the end of the issue. I recalled an interview with the writer where she said she’d be exploring that facet of the character a bit (or that’s the take-away I recall getting from the article), and then it made sense. Still…can’t quite bring myself to simply wait for the trade, as I’ve come to enjoy Simone’s take on Wonder Woman–both the character AND the title.

Superman #691

This wraps the 4-part “crossover” Codename: Patriot story, and it certainly does what “they” said it would do: the story has provided things that will reverberate throughout the various Super-family books for awhile. We do get to see exactly who Codename: Patriot is, and while it fits in the context of what’s been established in the Super books, I’m not all that thrilled with the “reveal.” It’s cool seeing some different opposing forces beyond Luthor and his minions, but I don’t really “buy” this character as an opponent…or at least, not in any original way.

Superman Annual #14

I don’t know if the “origin” of Daxam had ever been explored before…to MY knowledge it’s always just been said that Daxamites are like Kryptonians–super-powered by a yellow sun, but weak to lead instead of Kryptonite (and their homeworld is still intact). The explanation of the planet’s history here make sense and nicely ties the two together, while contextualizing Mon-El a bit more. It also provides for what’s going on in GL Corps presently with the incursion of the Sinestro/Mongul Corps and whatnot. Not a bad issue for its price…though very glad it was NOT a $5 issue. Seems a bit of a take-it-or-leave-it thing…but if one’s immersing one’s self into the Superman books lately, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Wonder Woman #34 [Review]

Birds of Paradise part one: A Malignant Isolation

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

After following this title for the Rise of the Olympian arc, I found myself still interested (actually, more interested) in the character of Diana/Wonder Woman. Though I don’t feel I “know” the character all that much, I’ve found that the last eight-some issues have been quite enjoyable and shown me that good, solid stories can be told with the character.

This issue opens in the aftermath of last issue, with Wonder Woman now alone, having turned her back on the Amazons and her gods. Simone provides a touching moment as Morrow informs Diana that Genocide is not dead, and begs her to destroy it. In order to begin tracking down Genocide’s whereabouts, Diana turns to Black Canary for an assist, despite their recent differences. Dinah takes the lead as the two concoct costumes to hide their identities as they seek to infiltrate an underground arena fighting group. The results the two find in going undercover raises some question, as well as introducing us to someone likely to cause both of our heroines plenty of trouble next issue.

The art here continues to be very well done, and I have no real complaint with it. The stor itself for this issue does a good job of following the previous major arc, while setting things up for the current arc. We get forward movement and character development in light of what’s already happened and in what’s coming. Simone continues to demonstrate an excellent understanding of the characters she writes–specifically, in Wonder Woman–portraying her as a strong, realistic person…all the more in Diana’s willingness to seek help when she’s in over her head or otherwise knows someone better-suited for accomplishing a particular task.

Though there’ll be a certain deeper appreciation for things talked about in this issue if one’s already read Rise of the Olympian, this seems to be a decent jumping-on point for readers curious about the ongoing Wonder Woman series. There’s plenty to draw one in, and enough detail to give a general idea of who characters are, what their status quo is now, and a lot of potential in what is to come.

Highly recommended.

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

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