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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

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

Supergirl #36 [Review]

New Krypton part eight: Death in the House of El

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Tom Chu
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Joshua Middleton (variant by Chris Sprouse, Karl Story & Laura Martin)
Publisher: DC Comics

After a brief reunion with parents she already thought were dead, Supergirl finds herself facing the death of her father, assassinated during an attach on the Kryptonians by Reactron and Metallo. While the loss is mourned, other more sinister elements build toward fruition, and Supergirl meets a Kryptonian calling herself Superwoman and wearing a mask.

This issue plays nicely within the overarching New Krypton story, while having plenty of space to do its own thing, focusing on its primary character. Given the recent “fixing” of the problems with her earlier appearances half a decade ago, this issue gives us a chance to move forward after those and give some development to Supergirl’s character as she faces the loss of her father–something her cousin is also dealing with in his own life…perhaps a point that’ll help bond the two in whatever’s to come.

The art is a mixed bag for me. Perhaps a personal thing, but something just gets me about the way characters’ ears are drawn that puts me off. Other than that, the art is quite good, and fits the story quite well.

On the whole, this is a solid issue. While Zor’s death could have just been an action point in the overall story, this issue allows for that to be dealt with in greater detail–a strength I’m seeing in this story as elements that most impact someone are dealt with by a creative team that will be playing with them the most. Whether you’re falling just this title, or the New Krypton story, this one’s well worth picking up.

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

Supergirl #35 [Review]

New Krypton part five

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Nel Ruffino
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Stephane Roux)
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue largely focuses on Kara and the fact that she suddenly has a family–her parents–back in her life. They want her to give up her human life (including “Linda Lang”), while she argues for her independence, that she’s just begun to make a new life for herself on earth, amidst the humans. During their conversing, Zor-El realizes something horrible about his daughter which explains her mood swings and other issues…Kryptonite Poisoning. While this is being dealt with, Kara regains some memories, and through flashbacks we, the readers, are filled in on her past as well. Sprinkled throughout we also see General Lane and Codename: Assassin reacting to the Kryptonians’ presence, and even a bit of Reactron and his possible future role. The cliffhanger promises more challenge for Kara and begins to raise a question about the place she and her cousin might have in this “New Krypton” world.

The story in this issue is quite believable. It’s a nice touch seeing a sort of “typical” parents/daughter dynamic–it humanizes Zor and Alura, and shows a further range of feelings with their daughter–going beyond simple joy at her being alive & reunited with them. We also get to see that there’s been growth on Kara’s side as well–she has actually invested herself in earth, and we get a feel for that conflict in her as these two parts of her life clash.

Igle’s art comes across a lot better to me this issue than the previous–I get the feeling my enjoyment of the visuals for this series will increase as he gets more familiar with the characters and gets to cut loose. While there is a noticeable difference in style from the Action Comics issue to this, the characters remain visually consistent enough that I have no real issue–artists are not clones with 100% identical styles; as such, there will be that difference in stle.

On the whole, I enjoyed this issue. I did not feel we got much forward advancement on the main New Krypton aspect of the story, but we did get a peek into Kara’s past, and a rather plausible explanation that deals with her personality the last few years since her introduction and a bit of slate-wiping that clears the way for future stories to come.

Well worth getting if you’re following New Kryptong, and if you’re only following this series, you really only need to know that there is an entire city of Kryptonians on Earth right now and go from there.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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