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DC Futures End Month, Week Three

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1

futuresend_supermanwonderwoman001This issue caught me a bit by surprise, as apparently it’s the 2nd of a 2-parter, continued from the Wonder Woman issue. Not what I expected, and not something I was thrilled with, but hey…it is what it is. I read it anyway, even though I might’ve waited to track the first chapter down. But I wasn’t in the mood for that game, and since I feel like I’m always going on about how it isn’t horrible to “figure things out” in context, no reason not to put that to the test. Sure enough, I was able to figure out quite a bit just by reading alone…it helped that the nature of these stories is that there’s been a time gap anyway, so I’m already mentally wired for not having “the full story.” That said, this was one of the better issues in terms of story and felt like it really could have been setting things up for a new status quo in the ongoing if this wasn’t just a five-years-later deal. As I’m already following Soule’s run on this book anyway, it’s good–to me–to have this issue in there as well.

FUTURES END: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1

futuresend_batmansuperman001I expected an actual fight between Superman and Batman in this issue. What I got instead was a Batman-centric story, where the confrontation happened sometime in the five-year-gap and left Batman in bad shape for where this issue picks up. Not following the ongoing series, I don’t know where this fits…whether it’s dropping any hints or particularly drawing from that. This issue also felt rather familiar in terms of Batman suiting up against Alfred’s advisement and putting himself in a situation where his body’s ready to fail him and he’s doing irreparable damage to himself, etc. I picked this one up on a whim…I had not planned ahead of time to get it, and it unfortunately proved more disappointment than not: I should have left this one on the shelf.

FUTURES END: SUPERGIRL #1

futuresend_supergirl001Of the various DC titles, this is the one that I’m probably most torn on. I liked stuff last year enough that I went backward several months on the title and kept up with it for several months after, though I did eventually let it go. This issue plays off from last year’s introduction of the Cyborg Superman, bringing us a Kara who is now herself a cyborg…though it quickly becomes apparent that the Cyborg exerted a certain amount of influence over her that takes old friends to bypass and get her back into her right mind. While certainly not an “ending” story, this one definitely felt like–if not the start of a new chapter–certainly the ending of one. There are plenty of questions about what happened in the Five Year Gap, and I’m all the more interested in Kara’s story simply for the various places her story can go, and hoping that it would never turn out like this. I’m also left quite curious about her relationship with other characters, particularly Captain Comet and whether that’s just a possible development or if it’s been dealt with in the Red Daughter of Krypton arc or such.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

futuresend_justiceleague001This is the concluding/second chapter of the two-parter begun in Justice League United. On the whole it’s this massive battle between the heroes and former hero Captain Atom, who is determined to break free of Mars no matter the cost–to the heroes, to himself, to the planet itself. And of course, the heroes have to gang up to stop him, while also dealing with the other freed villains. While in some ways the cost to the characters is higher than it might be in a regular ongoing story, it doesn’t feel all that permanent. More like the end of an arc leading to a new creative team and/or new status quo on one or more books. All in all the issue isn’t particularly memorable for me except in seeing Captain Atom play Dr. Manhattan on Mars (the latter actually based on the former). I got my 2nd chapter of 2 that I intended, though on the whole nothing particularly special to this for me.

FUTURES END: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

futuresend_batmanandrobin001I don’t know much about this Heretic character nor do I much care. I was expecting something more Damian-centric, be it memorial or I don’t know what. Instead this is just some teaser issue with a possible future-Robin, who (from this issue alone) I know nothing about and haven’t a clue why I need to care (nor how Batman’s gotten along this long in his apparent condition over Damian…which is not to suggest anyone should merely “get over” such a hurt or loss just because it’s been 5 years. That the focus of the issue is Batman’s pursuit of the true identity of this Heretic, that he does indeed get his DNA sample…it’s infuriating to me (as this is a one-shot) that we as readers do not get let in on whatever the truth is…and this made me feel like the issue was a waste. Apparently I expected at least some sort of cliffhanger-like ending stating who the Heretic was…or even was NOT. If this were a continuing issue, I’d be totally fine with what I got as it’d be likely to pick up next issue. As-is…I’m directed into the Robin Rises stuff, and I’m not going there in single issues.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

futuresend_greenlanternnewguardians001I grew up with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. I get that I’ve hardly read anything with the character in years, and don’t know much about the status quo of the character for the last 30 or so issues’ time (and several GL crossover/”house events”). But from solicitation text and the cover, I sure expected more Kyle than I got. This was another passing-of-the-torch sort of issue, though I’m actually only GUESSING that this White Lantern was Kyle, based on the cover: nothing in the issue itself that I noticed confirmed or pointed out that this was Kyle, and at one point some name-dropping made me actually think perhaps this was Hal. Along with Batman and Robin this was definitely–for me–a stinker of a book and one I really would have been better off not getting. This is also the only one of the books this month with these 3D covers where the logo was given the treatment rather than just the image the logo and such is placed upon.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 3

Outside of the Supergirl issue, this week was pretty much a stinker for me, despite being one of the higher ones in terms of my expectation and such. Supergirl was definitely my favorite of the bunch, both the cover itself as well as the story. It may have been a circular logic sort of thing, but I didn’t even get around to reading these for a few days…and it was really only the Supergirl issue that pulled at me…the others I mostly read this week because I didn’t want to have NOT read them before the week four books would be out. Some of this is probably also blame to be lain at the feet of the price, and sticker shock this month, as virtually every one of these DC books has been a $3.99 book I would not normally get…and is on top of a bunch of other stuff, both regular and new.

Off the top of my head I’m most looking forward to the Booster Gold issue. Other than that, probably Red Lanterns and Superman…we’ll see what else may or may not grab my attention for the final week of the month…

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The Weekly Haul – Week of September 17th, 2014

Another monstrous week price-wise…outside of Batman Eternal and the $1 reprint/special edition of Gotham Central #1 (perfectly timed for Monday’s premiere of Gotham) (and the freebie Banned Books Week guide), everything was that price point I so despise…but at least they were the spiffy 3-D covers that sucked me in again this year!

weekly_haul_september_17th_2014a

And of course, perhaps conspicuously so, one might notice the absence again of anything from Marvel. Such a shame, especially considering how much I enjoyed the X-Men in the ’90s and certain parts of other stuff in the last 10-12 years.

weekly_haul_september_17th_2014b

Definitely a good-looking crop of the DC 3-D books for Futures End this week. Might be the classic-looking yellow-and-red logo against the blue field, but I think that Supergirl cover is my favorite this week.  I wasn’t going to pick up Batman/Superman…but figured it’s a one-shot, already spending a lot for the week, it’s Batman, and Superman…so I might as well add it to the pile.

So here’s to a lot of interesting reading and the third of four weeks of getting fairly deeply re-acquainted with a bunch of DC output.

Wrath of the First Lantern [Checklist]

FEBRUARY 2013
Green Lantern #17
Green Lantern Corps #17
Green Lantern: New Guardians #17
Red Lanterns #17

MARCH 2013
Green Lantern #18
Green Lantern Corps #18
Green Lantern: New Guardians #18
Red Lanterns #18

APRIL 2013
Green Lantern #19
Green Lantern Corps #19
Green Lantern: New Guardians #19
Red Lanterns #19

MAY 2013
Green Lantern #20
Green Lantern Corps #20
Green Lantern: New Guardians #20
Red Lanterns #20

wrathofthefirstlanternchecklist

From the back of the bandwagon: My DC New 52 thoughts, Week #4

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1

batmanthedarkknight001I think the main thing about this issue for me is the art. I tend to enjoy Finch‘s art, and here…it sure is lookin’ good. Jenkins being part of this project is what drew me to actually buy this…but the story just doesn’t really “do it” for me. Some of the narration’s good, but I’m reminded too much of Batman #1, which makes this feel like just a repeat of something I already read in a different issue earlier this month. Sure, there’s definitely something to the repetition (probably what Bruce is supposed to feel about getting stuck at all these “high society” events) but I don’t care for actually experiencing the boredom of the situation. We’ve got a possible new character–she’s new to me, anyway. And we get the beginnings of follow-up to Bruce Wayne having told the world he’s the financial backer of Batman (though I don’t believe we’ve had the scene in front of us in the New 52 as yet). Ultimately, the issue’s got potential and pretty art, but I think I’ve settled on the idea of sticking to only two Batman titles, and this doesn’t seem likely to be one of ’em. Maybe in the collected-edition format. (6/10)

THE FLASH #1

flash001This was yet another of the month’s last-second “decided-to-pick-it-up-to-try-after-all” issues. After a sort of promising start–I wasn’t blown away by the first part of the issue, but I found myself interested in this take on Barry–I was ultimately let down with an ending that was somewhat confusing and meaningless at best. I like the CSI-With-Superhero feel this started to have. But by the end, there just wasn’t ENOUGH for me. It’s kinda nice seeing someone other than Johns handling Barry, though. Visually I wasn’t too impressed. The stylized art isn’t entirely my cup of tea. It works for this issue…but also doesn’t do much to draw me in. Maybe I’m still too attached to the old DCU, and Wally, but this seems to be yet another Flash series that I’ve given an issue to hook me, but for now I’m not planning on coming back for #2. (7/10)

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MEN #1

furyoffirestorm001I’ve never been a huge fan of the Firestorm character. I did give the character a chance in the Jason Rusch series back in ’04 or so, and didn’t care one way or the other when Ronnie was killed off in Identity Crisis. Firestorm was a title that I drifted away from and never got back to. I thought it an interesting dynamic what we saw in Blackest Night, and on hearing this title would feature both Jason and Ronnie, I figured I’d give it a chance. All the hubbub over multiple Firestorms didn’t really grab me…but it’s an interesting concept. I liked that this issue gives us a fresh start–this is certainly the sort of thing I want out of a #1 issue. Introduce the bad guys, introduce the heroes, show us the costumes and powers, etc. And this does it quite well. The story’s solid…the visuals are fantastic. And for simple enjoyment alone, I think this is one of my favorite of the New 52. Definitely coming back for the next issue! (8.5/10)

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

greenlanternnewguardians001I figured I’d pick this one up for a look-see, given I’ve sampled the other 3 titles in this franchise. Wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so went in pretty open. The first few pages took me by surprise, wondering if this was set after events in the Green Lantern Corps issue somehow, or what…it was not clear from the start that we open on a flashback. Of course, it very quickly became apparent, and lit me up realizing this was a retelling of the scene that introduced Kyle Rayner way back in 1993, slightly expanded, updated visually, and focusing solely on Ganthet and Kyle with no reference to Hal and what had just happened. As the issue progressed…I liked what we got of Kyle. Didn’t really care about the other Lantern representatives, I have no idea what’s going on with the rings, and while I’d love to simply read a Kyle-centric book…I’m not interested in the other Lanterns enough to fully engage here. Depending on timing and pricing, I could see coming back to this in collected volumes…but while it’s another title with a lot of potential, it doesn’t quite make the cut for a book I’m going to put on the monthly list. (7/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1

justiceleaguedark001This was one of the titles I decided ahead of the time to get, and for me the main reason was that it’s the book with John Constantine in it. However, there’s no real reference, even, to the character in this issue, and I care NOTHING for stuff with the Enchantress. The appearance of the Justice League seems superfluous at best…and they seem really out of place here–at least, Superman and Wonder Woman do. There’s one panel with Superman that just looks horrendously ugly that if I hadn’t already read and so enjoyed Superman #1 would risk souring me altogether on his new look. I’m also not all that familiar with Madame Xanadu…I think she was in Demon Knights #1 as well, which raises some questions with me about the character. And ultimately…I’m just really disappointed that Constantine wasn’t even in this issue, and that this is another title starring a team that doesn’t truly feel like it’s even headed toward being a team book. At the least, it seems that my favorite character, for whom I was interested in the title at all will be at best a small player in the title. The story’s not bad in and of itself…though not enthused about the art despite it fitting the atmosphere of the story overall. So chances are, this’ll be a title that I’m not going to bother coming back for another issue. (5/10)

TEEN TITANS #1

teentitans001Yet another title I honestly hadn’t planned on buying at all, even to try. But something of the last several weeks–maybe it was Batman #1 seeing Dick, Tim, and Damian with Bruce…or Superboy, catching a glimpse of the Red Robin outfit…maybe other stuff: I decided I had to check this out. And while I just groused above about not having a team fully assembled in this one issue…I was buying this for interest in Tim Drake, and doggone it…I got Tim Drake and loved the depiction put forth here! Tim seems very much a leader here more than I’ve really seen him. And I actually really, REALLY like the new costume. It takes the best of Tim’s Robin costume as well as the “classic” Red Robin uniform and makes a great getup for this version of the character. The “wings” are a great touch, and as the most “bird-like” costume to date, so fits the character I’m amazed it’s taken this long for this costume to be developed. Story-wise, I like where things seem to be headed, and the introduction of Kid Flash and Wonder Girl, and the place these teen costumed characters have in this revised DCU. Though Tim might only be front ‘n center for the moment, gathering the team…that that’s his role at all suggests a great maturity to the character, and somehow works in just the right way that I’m excited to read more. Surprisingly, I may be back “into” a Teen Titans book for the first time since hopping off at the final pre-One-Year-Later issue of the last Teen Titans series. (9/10)

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

Blackest Night #7 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

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