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What do you mean it’s almost February?!?

After a long hiatus, I’m back for a fluff post, sharing some of the goodies I just snagged from a bargain bin. 63 comics for less than the price of 4 Marvels.

I’d read Green Arrow: The Wonder Year almost a decade ago for a comics class I took. That was in a collected-edition, though. And come to think of it, this MIGHT be the second time I’ve purchased this mini from a quarter-bin; I have most of the first 30ish issues of the ongoing Green Arrow series this led into.

greenarrowwonderyear

And I recognized this Cap mini-series from around that time, as well…I may have bought the first issue as a new issue back in the day…maybe the whole mini, but not being sure, and certainly to avoid the issue of rummaging through dozens of boxes, snagged all three issues:

capdeadmenrunning

Realized there was a full run of the 8-issue Green Lantern Corps Quarterly, and given the sheer size of the issues and being a run…right up my alley:

glcquarterly

While NOT QUITE a full run, Blue Beetle 1-20 were all present, and given this price for the singles, far FAR cheaper than trying to get the trades:

bluebeetle1to20

Then I noticed some Justice Society stuff. And sure enough, speaking of full runs…the 1991 JSA series:

jsa1991

And the 1992 series:

jsa1992

And of course the characters’ return in the 1999 “mini-event” or whatever it was:

jsa1999

…plus a handful of other random issues I neglected to put back. As it was, I put back probably another 40+ issues that I now regret: a lot of the “Secret Files and Origins” type specials from throughout the mid/late 90s and early 2000s for Batman, Flash, and JLA. But considering I walked away with such a significant run of Blue Beetle, and the three JSA series and whatnot…I’m a pretty happy camper.

‘course, I’m only vaguely aware that Batman #5 was part of my stack of new comics and Ghostbusters #5.

Wondering more and more what it might be like to just drop new comics altogether, and instead raid quarter bins and such. Far better value on the older stuff…especially from this comic shop!

Brightest Day Checklist Part 2 [Checklist]

JULY 2010
Brightest Day #5
Brightest Day #6
Justice League: Generation Lost #5
Justice League: Generation Lost #6
Green Lantern #56
Green Lantern Corps #50
The Flash #4
Justice League of America #47
Justice Society of America #41
Titans #25
Birds of Prey #3
Green Arrow #2

AUGUST 2010
Brightest Day #7
Brightest Day #8
Justice League: Generation Lost #7
Justice League: Generation Lost #8
Green Lantern #57
Green Lantern Corps #51
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
The Flash #5
Justice League of America #48
Justice Society of America #42
Titans #26
Birds of Prey #4
Green Arrow #3

Blackest Night: JSA #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Blackest Night: JSA #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Magog #1 [Review]

Lethal Force

Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Hi-Fi Designs
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assoc. Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: Glenn Fabry (variant by Porter & Dell)
Publisher: DC Comics

I was rather surprised at this issue. I almost passed on it, figuring the character to not be something I’m interested in following long-term. But I gave it a shot, and I’m pretty much glad I did.

We open on a scene that provides us with some exposition–who Magog is, his recent past and what he’s about. We also see him into action with a couple pages that were seen originally in the “preview” in the back of a bunch of DC’s books a few weeks back, showing the more military/black ops side of Magog as the soldier. What he finds there leads him back to his current home and to confrontation with the JSA. After an exchange with Alan Scott, and an introduction to supporting cast members, we see Magog back into action. He’s currently the agent of the JSA who can or WILL get his hands dirty in ways the others can’t or won’t. Magog is not a super-hero; he’s a metahuman in a world of super-heroes, but he’s a soldier. (It would be interesting to see Magog interact with The Shield, come to think of it!).

Storywise, this issue is largely setup and contextualization. It does a good job of that–bringing one up to speed on the basics of the character, putting into place a supporting cast and status quo.

The art is high quality…I really like the visual style we’re presented with here. It’s not totally some grim ‘n gritty visual, but it’s not bright, hopeful and flashy, either. It feels very down-to-earth, and appropriate for the title character.

While this Magog is not the exact same character introduced in Kingdom Come nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, the similarities are there in tone as well as name and costume. One could envision this character developing into that one, but the differences are what add a layer of interest. Differences…or simply more information and insight into the individual…giving him depth rather than being a plot-point in someone else’s story.

Giffen seems to have a good handle on this character, and though I’m not entirely ready to “commit” to this series, I’m sufficiently hooked for at least another issue to see if the magic holds beyond this premiere issue.

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

Justice Society of America #27 [Review]

Ghost in the Darkness

Script and Pencils: Jerry Ordway
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Hi-Fi Designs
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Rachel Cluckstern
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics

As the various JSA members go about their lives after the latest incident with Black Adam and their membership issues, a new threat shows up. First, Alan Scott’s son traps several members in the house, forcing the team to act against him, despite his claims of just trying to protect them. It’s quickly discovered that there’s more at play than first suspected, and that it is yet another “ghosts issue” for the team.

I passed on this issue when it first shipped last week–I wasn’t interested in sticking around post-Johns, and was content to go out on the high note Johns left this book on. But guilt at being in a comic shop and otherwise walking out empty-handed, I chose this issue as my token purchase…based largely on noticing Ordway’s name on the cover.

I was definitely correct in my assumption that the visuals would be top-notch for the issue, given Ordway’s being the artist. This is beyond a passive “no complaints” about the art–this is an active recognition that the art is very strong top-level stuff that I greatly enjoyed.

The story on the other hand feels rather…generic. I’m not a fan of generic “ghosts” stories, and actually avoided the Gentleman Ghost arc that closed out the previous version of this series around Infinite Crisis.

Though the characters here all seem familiar, and I want to like ’em with OR without Johns…there’s still a shift all around, and I can’t honestly say one way or the other whether I’ll be picking up the next issue or letting this title go.

Recommended for the art and for the die-hard JSA fans. Those following the book specifically for Johns’ writing may be disappointed–at the least, don’t leap into this issue thinking it a seamless change from Johns’ tenure on the series.

Story: 6/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Justice Society of America #25 [Review]

Black Adam & Isis part three: Family Feuds

Story: Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek & Jerry Ordway
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

We resume the story with “Black Mary” asserting influence on Billy–creating “Black Billy” and illustrating an interesting point of the nature of the Marvel Family’s use of the power that flows through them. While the Marvels clash with the JSA, Jay Garrick accompanies Billy’s father as things race toward pivotal “Marvel family” events.

The art on this issue is fantastic, and for me works perfectly with this story. In addition to being high quality art, the fact that it is Ordway–who has more than just passing familiarity to the Marvel family–is icing on the cake.

The story itself is accessible to me as a reader who never paid much attention to any of the Marvel family characters until relatively recently, and yet it is so obvious that this draws on continuity put down over the past couple decades (Ordway’s involvement is testament to that!)

As part three of an only four or five-chapter story, this isn’t the best point to simply jump in exactly, but as a whole if you’ve any interest in the Marvel family, this is a story you ought to be reading. And if you’re looking for a crash course or playing some wikipedia-catchup and the cover intrigues you, give this a shot!

Highly recommended.

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

Justice Society of America #23 [Review]

Between a Rock and a Hard Place part one: The Power of Shazam

Story: Geoff Johns & Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

Having survived the Gog ordeal, the team finds itself picking up the pieces left behind. We see Hawkman reprimanded for initiating a divide in the team, as well as seeing where several of the characters are at present, post-Gog. The latter part of the issue focuses on the Marvel family in its current incarnation, and sees Isis returned to her husband a changed woman, and the stage set for much trouble to come.

Given the emphasis on the Marvel family, it’s great to see Ordway involved with the writing alongside regular series writer Johns. Together, they compose a story that is quite compelling and interesting–and despite coming off a year-long saga, this issue is fresh and interesting, dealing with ramifications while also ramping up the new story in a great blend of the two points. Though I’ve not read The Trials of Shazam nor The Power of Shazam, I have no real trouble following along–and am actually interested just from this issue in tracking those down to read.

The art is quite good…I enjoy it in and of itself, as well as for the fact that Ordway’s had a significant hand in the Marvel family in earlier stories and thus is a very appropriate artist to take things on now.

As the first issue in a new arc, this is a great point to jump on to check this series out…and honestly, if you’re not reading this series, you should be. If you enjoyed Black Adam in 52 or elsewhere the last few years, and have any interest in the character, this is not an issue to skip.

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

Justice Society of America #22 [Review]

One World, Under Gog part VII: Thy Will Be Done

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencilers: Dale Eaglesham
Painted pages by: Alex Ross
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Eaglesham & Hi-Fi)
Very special Thanks to: Mark Waid
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue wraps up the ongoing “Thy Kingdom Come” saga in this title. This issue jumps a lot, beginning with the JSA doing their thing with Gog while Superman and Starman have a few moments together before the former is sent “home.” The rest of the team deals with the effects of the loss of the “gifts” that Gog had bestowed, and the issue ends with a slight twist on the signature Johns end-of-saga look-ahead.

The art on this story was just what I’ve come to expect for the book. It’s high quality and yet looks like a comic book. There are also painted panels/sequences interspersed done by Ross that as usual are top-notch. While it’s a bit jarring to go from one style to the other, I for one would not trade it–it’s great to see the “Kingdom Come” world done by Ross–it lends a certain authenticity to the world, as well as a bit of a notion of things coming full-circle.

The story aspect of this issue is also quite good. There’s not a lot of “conflict-action” in the issue, as it seems largely about tying up loose ends and capping off this huge saga. A number of characters get “moments” that kinda set their status quo post-saga, showing us where they are at right now, moving forward.

After just over a year–12 prior issues, 1 annual and 3 specials–the saga concludes in this single standard-sized issue for $2.99. No extra-sized, extra-priced issue; no spinning off to another title or special for the actual conclusion; no weaseling in a virtual “to-be-continued” to get one buying even more books.

We have high quality art, solid high quality story, and a fitting conclusion to all the events. The story is capped here, though it by no means slams the door or leaves stuff closed. The scenes of Earth-22 prompted me to grab the original Kingdom Come story–I was curious if there was “recycled art,” but no–the words were the same, but the angles different…and something about the way it was done, I thought it was fantastic. (It was also quite classy that Mark Waid is thanked in the credits, as so much has been built upon his original story).

This really is not an issue for new readers–new readers can probably pick this up and appreciate it in general, but this issue is very much for the long-term readers who have followed this story, and is quite the reward for doing so. Of the comics I picked up this week, this was by far my favorite.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9.5/10

Justice Society of America #21 [Review]

One World, Under Gog part VI: Saints and Sinners

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Dale Eaglesham & Jerry Ordway
Inkers: Nathan Massengill & Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham and Nathan Massengill)
Publisher: DC Comics

Coming off of the Kingdom Come Specials, the story picks up with Gog having asked those he’s helped to worship him. While some are ready to kneel immediately, others are less than comfortable at this proposition–that you don’t ask worship for helping, you help TO help and nothing more. The JSA is divided and fighting amongst itself, and we see the older members who have either not been helped or who have refused help confronting those swayed by Gog’s “persuasion”…and things begin to unravel as Gog starts to show a side previously unseen by our heroes.

The art on this issue surprised me a bit–something about it seems slightly “off.” It is far from being bad, but just doesn’t seem quite what I expected. However, the characters are all plenty recognizeable and look like they (mostly) should (I feel like they have a “90s look” to them somehow). It’s interesting to see several characters (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Hawkman) taking on a Kingdom Come appearance–it’s a nice nod, but for me forces a comparison to the original–visually–which might be part of what seems “off” about the art…this hardly compares to Alex Ross’s painted imagery.

The story is quite solid–after however many issues it’s been of building, things are coming to a head, with the JSA split and fighting within its own ranks and Gog finally showing what’s been hinted at: an actual menace/threat to the JSA…and the world as a whole. I would assume Green Lantern creating the green armor around himself, and what happens to the Flash to be an intentional story element and not just the art team giving us an homage to Kingdom Come. While it at first doesn’t make much sense, upon further reflection, it does, as Superman gets to see these people becoming more and more like those he knew on his world, which really ups the ante a bit, so to speak.

I was a bit disappointed, somehow convincing myself that this issue would be the resolution of the story, that the specials all led to this. At the same time, I’m actually anticipating the next issue–it will be something I’m looking forward to, actively interested in reading, and not something to be read just because it’s something I bought “last month” and so buy “this month.”

All in all, if you’re following the JSA, this issue’s well worth while. I’m not sure it’d be the best read if you’re coming in cold. Quality wise, this is a title that has held my attention for the last half-year, and I’m interested enough in the backstory to want to track down the earlier issues I’ve missed.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Please note: Credits for this issue acquired from a pdf preview found at DC’s website…it appears that they were to have printed on a black bar, but the colors have zero contrast, effectively nixing creator credits for the issue. Preview found here

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