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52 Week #36 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: How to Win a War in Space

The space heroes confront Lady Styx, Montoya’s spurred to action, and Supernova’s in a spot of trouble…

52week36Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Jamal Igle
Inks: Keith Champagne
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

There’s a lot going on in this issue. We pick up with Lobo delivering the space-heroes to Lady Styx, and betrayal mounts. As the heroes face the threat posed by Styx, one of them falls, delivering on the expected death. On earth, Montoya comes to a decision on what to do about her friend, rather than sit around waiting for him to die without his dignity in the Gotham hospital. Finally, as promised on the cover’s ticker, we get to see Rip Hunter’s ‘secret location’ as well as glean a bit more information on Supernova.

I remember with earlier reviews of this series, talking about the slow build and hoping there’d be payoff later on; that establishment of a foundation was a necessary evil (well, they may not have been my exact words then, but they are now.) We get a fair amount of payoff in this issue, as well as some forward movement (if not outright teasing) of what’s to come in the near future.

I for one have quit looking for individual voices in scenes, content to know that the writers are all contributing in one form or another, maintaining a consistency from issue-to-issue. On that note of consistency, we get to see a logical progression of Lobo’s character, maintaining both what has been established of him in this series over the last 4 months or so as well as much earlier in the character’s existence, with a nice nod to a couple specials, even. There even seems to be some room to question some translation–I for one derived a bit of twisted amusement contemplating the authenticity versus some other motivation.

Montoya’s scene seems to straddle a nice line between the real and the fiction that is comic books–her frustration/desperation and sadness at what seems to be a foregone conclusion is blended with the supernatural that is commonplace in the comic book world, allowing a glimmer of hope that may not be realistic in terms of our real world…but it seems to fit very well into the universe we know of through this series.

Supernova and Rip Hunter are shown briefly–and for the moment weigh as the weakest part of the series for me at present. While I expect some cool payoff later on, right now I find that I’m just not that interested in Supernova as a character–I don’t feel anything’s really known about him, and other than "teases" as to identity (and I for one have not picked up on clues that apparently have been dropped here and there, nor "gotten" any that I’ve spotted) there seems to be very little TO the character as yet. It certainly doesn’t help when so few pages have been afforded the character thus far.

The art stays fairly subtle–it’s there, but doesn’t overstep its bounds; it serves the story without offending the eye. My one gripe visually would be the panel when Lady Styx first strikes Lobo–I can figure it out based on context, but without context it’s hard to clearly make out exactly what is happening there. Still, the complaint’s one panel of many, and may just be my own eyes.

Overall, this is another very good issue of the series, and reminds me that I do indeed enjoy the story and format, and look forward to next week’s issue.

The Origin of Power Girl
Writer: Mark Waid
Art & Color: Adam Hughes
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Michael Siglain

Another standard-ish origin. Pretty much a simplified version of the telling of what I’d already figured out from pre/during Infinite Crisis stories. Still not a big fan of these, though that DOES seem to be tempered in part on whether or not I’m (personally) familiar with the character. Visually, may be a treat for certain folks, but doesn’t appeal to me. Still, it’s two pages…hardly enough to "break" an issue…and it certainly beats the pages being used for ads.

Ratings:

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

Green Lantern #55 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

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

Green Lantern #53 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Green Lantern #52 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

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

Adventure Comics #7 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Green Lantern Corps #44 [Review]

Red Badge of Rage part 2

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne & Gleason
Colorists: Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover: Gleason, Buchman, & Mayor (Variant by Greg Horn)
Editor: Adam Schlagman

We left off in the previous issue with the arrival of Mogo at Oa. Mogo, of course, being the Green Lantern that “don’t socialize,” due to…well, being a planet. Gravitational pull and all that. Of course, the Black Lanterns devouring will, intent upon destruction of the central Green Power Battery, seems to be enough of an emergency to bring Mogo. While the GLs deal with the arrival of their largest representative, they also have a rage-fueled Red Lantern Guy Gardner to contend with…and the fact that Guy is currently filling the role of the Red Lantern he and Kyle initially sought to unleash upon the Black Lanterns. Though one problem gets at least a temporary solution…the GLs are left with the other problem, which is ready to do them great bodily harm.

The story here is interesting enough, if not entirely entertaining. I certainly appreciate Tomasi’s keeping focused on the events of Oa–while other Blackest Night books focus on Earth and other individual characters, much of the battle at Oa unfolds in this series. If the Sinestro Corps War applied significant change to Guy and Kyle, Blackest Night will certainly leave a mark on them, and the potential–at the very least–is exciting.

Unfortunately–as I seem to be commenting on with every single issue I review of this book–the art is not to my liking. It’s not bad in and of itself, but it is very stylistic, and I just don’t care for the look. A double-page spread of Guy flying at the reader, for example, seems so much like a caricature that I have to remind myself that it is supposed to be Guy Gardner.

Important as the issue’s events are, this is hardly the best chapter tying in to Blackest Night. Obviously if you’re following the event as a whole, this’ll be worth picking up; ditto if you’re following the series itself. As a new entry point, though, I definitely cannot recommend this issue.

Story: 7/10
Art: 4/10
Overall: 5.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #41 [Review]

Hungry Heart

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne & Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason and Buchman (variant by Greg Horn)
Publisher: DC Comics

As with a number of Blackest Night issues, this issue deals with a number of different ongoing scenes, with a couple dominating the book. While we see Soranik and crew dealing with the Black Ring/Lantern assault on wounded GLs, we also see Arisia facing her uncle, father, and mother who were GLs before her and who had died in service to the GL Corps. We also see Kilowog cut loose against the Black Lantern version of his old mentor and trainer from his own days as a rookie GL. And as the cover shows, we see a bunch of children of the GLs raised by the black rings…and “backup” arrives, ready to kick butt.

All in all, a swiftly moving issue. Tomasi–as with his other Blackest Night chapter this week in the Batman tie-in–shows that he’s got a great handle on the characters involved and things that make them tick–such that the manipulations of the Black Lanterns have something to grab hold of to try to move these characters to particular emotions in preparation for harvesting their hearts. While it’s easy to give Johns much of the credit for Blackest Night, Tomasi‘s getting a lot of moments to shine…and even this issue seems like it may have a huge event in it that isn’t explicitly followed up on.

Gleason‘s art fits the usual expectation for this title, keeping a good handle on what’s going on from place to place/scene to scene. While I (as usual) care little for this style on a number of characters, the artist’s style works well for me in terms of the Black Lanterns. Something seemed really “off” when it came to the visuals of Kilowog, though, and that really pulled me out of the story.

We’re not even halfway through Blackest Night as a whole…there are still 5 issues of the main series, a couple more issues to the first round of minis, a bunch of tie-ins in other titles in november, another round of minis, plus a month of one-shots, plus the requisite GLC and GL issues and probably some wrap up stuff that’ll technically be part of the event.

It’s a lot of elements that make this what it is…while I’ve not been overly ENJOYING this title’s chapters due to the art style, on the whole I’m finding a lot to enjoy with the event…so it’s quite cool that unlike the first round of minis, we’re not ALREADY hitting some conclusion.

I’ve said it before and expect I’ll continue to reiterate it in the coming months: this truly feels like what Infinite Crisis and/or Final Crisis combined SHOULD have been. Length, scope…sheer depth for the characters.

This issue is hardly the point to jump in cold…but for readers following Blackest Night, this is well worth getting and reading–we even see where at least a couple of the shorts from this summer’s Tales of the Corps come into play–they provided context that otherwise would’ve left two key scenes in this book to fall flat.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7/10

The Mighty #3 [Review]

Dirge

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi & Keith Champagne
Art: Peter Snejbjerg
Colors: John Kalisz
Lettering: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Dave Johnson
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue sees Cole move fully into his new leadership position, accepting the “signal-brand” of Alpha One, and learning more about his hero and ally. After being able to relate to a child who Alpha saved but whose parents weren’t, Cole helps Alpha to relate to the kid, and Alpha reveals his own need for Cole’s presence on the job. The two spend some time in Alpha’s home/headquarters (male bonding and all that), and we see a new “normal” settle in for all.

The art for this book works really well, and fits with the characters. I’m not all that familiar with the artist, though, so don’t come in with any expectations…I almost like it better that way, as it contributes to letting the art be the art, with no other expectations of quality or style heaped upon it. There’s a certain feel to it that does not make me think of super-hero comics, and I think that adds to a nice realistic tone to this book, putting my mind in more of a place to see the characters as entities that “could” exist in a real world somewhere that isn’t full of the usual super-hero figures.

The story is surprisingly good. On the one hand, I’d expected this series to be much more generic and like any other comic with a “realistic” super-hero in a world NOT chock full of super-heroes. However, while there is a bit of a generic feel, it seems to be because the title is still so young, and virtually anything new dealing with any kind of super-hero is going to feel like something we’ve seen before. There’s a lot of potential–at least for my own experience–for this to move away from anything I’ve read in super-hero comics in the past.

That the creative team co-created the character and are the ones setting things up–this isn’t just a new team on an established character/series–is a definite bonus. This is only the 3rd issue–if you can find the first couple of issues, this is well worth checking out, and a very good read so far.

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

Supergirl #38 [Review]

Who is Superwoman? part two: Clashes

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

I’m finding myself with mixed feelings on this book. True, Kara finally has some depth and personality, motivation and complexity, and most of the crap from the earliest issues of the book has been dealt with to satisfaction and we’re moving forward. While that’s all a good thing, I also find myself growing a bit bored of the New Krypton stuff. The trouble with it is that I have no idea how long this will be a part of DC’s continuity for these characters–I feel like it’s still a bit of a bubble that’ll burst in some deux ex machina that’ll take us back to something resembling the recent post-Infinite Crisis status quo. I also don’t see how this title would have or could play much with Final Crisis–even if the Kryptonians would be too aloof to want to help earth, wouldn’t the New Gods have detected the presense of all these Kryptonians and sought them as hosts far more powerful?

All that aside, this issue picks up with Supergirl back on Earth–where “all Kryptonians except for Superman” have been legally banned. She’s there by order of her mother to retrieve Reactron–the man who murdered her father, Zor-El and bring him back to New Krypton to face the Kryptonians. At the same time, a Superwoman with questionable loyalties fights Kara, insisting that she not be on Earth and return to New Krypton at once, mission unfulfilled. After this battle, we cut (no pun intended) to the pending autopsy of Agent Liberty, and a squabble over who has rights to the body. Back at Lana and Linda Lang’s apartment, Supergirl staggers in, battered and beaten. Meanwhile, Superwoman faces Reactron herself–and poses a very interesting question.

The story itself maintains a solid flow–we’re building on events from the last few months, both from this title and the other Superman family books, particularly the New Krypton story. As said above, I’m growing a bit tired of it, though, and it’s not really holding my interest. Which is not to say it’ll hold no one’s interest, but it doesn’t hold mine the way the opening chapters of New Krypton did.

The art is solid–as with previous issues, for whatever reason my only real gripe is with the way the artist draws ears. Aside from that, I have no particular complaints visually–the art is distinctive, clear, keeps one in the action and does not leave me scratching my head as to what’s going on.

Origins & Omens
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Matthew Clark
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

I’m definitely growing a bit tired of the Origins and Omens backups–they take away valuable pages from the main story, rather than being an entire extra batch of pages tacked onto the existing full-sized issue. This one expands upon the fact of Kara’s being torn between Earth and New Krypton, the choices she faces by giving full loyalty to one or the other. This short also suggests a rather harsh road ahead for Lana, which may tie into a story done in this title before the current team took over.

Story was brief and simplistic…not much in the way of plot–it’s more a feeling or environmental, almost surreal sorta scene. The art was fine–I recognize the artist’s name, but can’t quite place it, unless this was the previous artist on Supergirl.

All in all, a good issue of this title, but not really flying to greatness just yet. I do expect the story will actually come across better down the road–in collected-edition format and/or simply with some time given to be able to look back on it and see where everything was headed, rather than wondering what IS.

Worth snagging, especially if you’re a fan of the character, the creative team, or those slightly-questionable-at-this-point green pentagonal “triangle numbers” still showing up.

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

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