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Adventure Comics #0 [Review]

Quick Rating: Decent
Story Title: The Legion of Super-Heroes / Origins & Omens

Superboy meets super-powered teens from the future, and a new Luthor/Brainiac team is introduced.

Writer: (AC247) Otto Binder, (O&O) Geoff Johns
Artist: (AC247) Al Plastino, (O&O) Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Swands
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is primarily reprint material, reprinting the story from Adventure Comics #247…a silver-age comic. This was the story that introduced Superboy to a super-hero club–the Legion of Super-Heroes. Encountering several individuals who know that he is Superboy AND Clark Kent, Superboy agrees to go 1,000 years into the future with these super-powered teens, who invite him to join their club as an honorary member if he can pass their initiation.

At the end of the issue is a 6-page sequence–the Origins & Omens story (one of which will be found in each of a number of other DC titles this month). This one continues a thread from the recently-concluded New Krypton story and sets the stage for the earliest issues of this series.

The story and art on the reprint are instantly recognizeable as silver age fare. While I appreciate concepts of the silver-age and greatly enjoyed time spent reading through my grandfather’s collection of comics half a lifetime ago, these days I find such stories in a bit of opposition with my interest. However, this story was decent, and it IS interesting to see the early/original version of the characters that would go on to have so much more depth in the years since this introduction.

The Origins & Omens bit seemed extremely short, but it has me interested in what’s to come. And I couldn’t help but recall Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as I read this latest version of a Luthor/Brainiac interaction. The writing’s familiar–it’s Johns, after all–and the art is solid.

However, I’m doubtful that the Origins & Omens sequence is itself enough to justify the cover price. If you want the reprint and/or especially enjoy the Lopresti cover, this issue is well worth the $1. And if you’ve never read this story, there are few better ways to get a piece of history added to your “read” pile.

Ratings:

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

Green Lantern #38 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Robin #183 [Review]

Last Rites: Robin Dies at Dawn!

Storytellers: Fabian Nicieza & Freddie Williams II
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Colors: Guy Major
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Freddie Williams II
Publisher: DC Comics

Robin’s ally on the GCPD receives a note suggesting that at dawn, Robin will die. It is quickly determined that it is from Lady Shiva–one of THE most dangerous individuals in the world (and the woman against whom Tim Drake proved his mettle at the beginning of his career, showing that he had what it takes to BE Robin). As he faces his own “final night,” Tim/Robin touches base with–or tries to–with some key individuals in his life. Toward the story’s end, having prepared himself for what he is to face, Robin once again goes up against Shiva in mortal combat.

The art for this books is pretty good. I’m not sure if the artist’s style has changed or if I’m thinking of a different artist, but I like this far better than I liked the artwork on this title pre-One Year Later. I still find it sorta strange seeing Robin’s black-and-red costume after so many years of the other; ditto Tim’s longer hair. But really, both aspects of the visual show growth and change in the character–it’s great to be able to see that even as the character has matured, the visuals have matured to go with the overall maturation.

I’ve been following this title rather sporatically lately–an issue here, an issue there, so I can’t speak to where this plays in terms of the overall continuity. The story I found here was rather fitting, though, for a final issue–we got to see Tim interact with a number of characters who I’m familiar with (and one I think I am, but not sure), sorta touching base with them on this possible final night, before he steps up to face his responsibilities. I’m not sure how many issues now (between the actual RIP tie-ins and the Last Rites semi-arc) this title has featured Robin solo withOUT Batman. It’s rather like the series’ beginnings during the Knightfall arc when Jean-Paul kicked Robin out of the Cave to fend for himself. Bruce was gone then, and Bruce is gone now…but the details and characters are different.

Though pretty well done, this does feel a bit rushed–and we know Tim’s part of the Battle for the Cowl–so this basically just touches on stuff, offers some sentimentality, but then we’re going to follow the character to another writer and possibly huge status quo changes.

Origins & Omens
Story: Fabin Nicieza
Art & Colors: Freddie Williams II
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Ass’t Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts

This backup–like the “main story”–touches on stuff going all the way back to the earliest days of Tim Drake–I believe back to even before his very first MINI-series. We see him fighting the man who killed his mother, and facing a choice between vengeance and justice–a choice that apparently is going to have some definite impact on the future of this character.

The art’s decent, but not wonderful–I don’t like it nearly as well as I liked the art in the main story. On the whole I could’ve really done without this backup (or enjoyed a text/prose page or journal entry from Tim in its place).

All in all, as final issues go, this isn’t the best, but certainly isn’t the worst. As a standard comic with no fancy covers or extra pages/higher price and such–that just happens to be the last for this title–it’s fitting…especially since we know it’s not the end of the starring character.

Recommended mainly for regular readers of the most recent stuff…but as a lapsed reader who read all 3 original minis and then followed the first 120-some issues of this title…it’s also worth while to see where Robin’s wound up.

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

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

Green Lantern Corps #33 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part one

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Rebecca Buchman
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman & Nei Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

Mongul arrives on Daxam, where his arm (powered by yellow rings) makes short work of defenses. Mongul is here to set up a new home base for the Sinestro Corps, of which he now considers himself the leader. He sends out a signal to draw remaining members of said corps to Daxam, while he terrorizes native citizens. Meanwhile, Kyle and Soranik discuss where they’re going to go in terms of their blossoming relationship, particularly in light of the latest new law added to the Book of Oa by the Guardians–that there can be no romance between Corps. members. A short segment at the end of the main story brings someone from Sodam Yat’s past back into his life.

The story holds potential, and is heightened a bit simply by the billing of “Prelude to Blackest Night on the cover (as well as the loaded story title Emerald Eclipse, given prior major GL arcs Emerald Whatever). Mongul having his amputated arm acting in his stead seems really over the top to me (even in a book with aliens and little rings that harness the emotional spectrum and all that). Though technically focusing on the GL Corps as a large body, this book feels like it’s Kyle and Guy’s book…and that’s something I’m liking. That I’m so greatly enjoying the Kyle/Guy interaction is certainly testament to Tomasi’s writing.

Not a huge fan of Gleason’s art, but it holds a fairly solid consistency from recent issues, so though not my preferred visual style for these characters compared to depictions in Green Lantern, I can’t fault it in and of itself.

The main story here is fairly solid, and moves the story forward, fleshing out reactions to events and setting into motion stuff that’ll obviously be touched on as this arc builds.

Origins & Omens

This backup seems rather out of place as it doesn’t feel like it quite fits the title. However, it certainly does what a good backup should: though a mere six pages, it tells a nice little story that expands on stuff found in the main story. Basically, Kyle and Guy are priming the surface of a building that Kyle’s going to draw a mural on–the history of the GL Corps. He’s determined to do it by hand, no cheating with the ring (much as Hal is about flying a plane without the ring), and adds that little bit of characterization to Kyle. We also get to see some other lanterns with tidmits of insight into them, as well as the way they’d react to the actions one Lantern is about to undertake.

All in all, not a bad issue, though not stellar, either. That the backup expands as it does on Kyle’s artisitic undertaking justifies the shortened main story, and so the backup works, giving for a solid issue on the whole.

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

Booster Gold #17 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Action Comics #874 [Review]

Suspicion!

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Pablo Raimondi
Inkers: Pablo Raimondi & Walden Wong
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue picks up with Superman having a bit of a tantrum on New Krypton at the fact that General Zod not only has been freed of the Phantom Zone but that he now lead’s New Krypton’s army. After fists fail, talking ensues, and Superman grudgingly seems to let things slide for now, though he makes known his misgivings.Back on Earth, Kryptonians–with a specific exception made for Superman–are banned, which sparks the new Flamebird and Nightwing into action as their clock is ticking (and a blurb informing readers to follow them into next month’s Action Comics). Superman and Lois visit his fortress while he ponders things, and then a voice from his past cries out, leading to the issue’s cliffhanger.

The story isn’t bad, but really lacks some “oomph!” I find myself actually bored by the New Krypton stuff, especially given the abrupt ending of the titled story while this still feels like it should fall under that heading. This story also feels like filler, just sorta moving pieces on the board around to force stuff into a new status quo for next month with the Superman family of books.

The art also is not bad, but doesn’t particularly thrill me. Not bad, but not spectacular. It gets stuff across that needs gotten across, but doesn’t begin to get in line to be art I’d specifically choose for Superman.

Origins & Omens

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

This backup stars The Guardian, and basically follows him through some (for him) relatively normal activities in his new job as head of the Science Police. Some of his history is touched upon–particularly recent developments/revelations, with some hints of what may be in store for him given.

Though I don’t particularly care for Guedes’ art style, it works for me pretty well here–perhaps because it’s not Superman/Clark himself depicted but other characters I don’t have so firm an idea in my head as to what they look like. The story is basic, but then, six pages is hardly room for any great storytelling for the most part.

If you’ve been following everything New Krypton, or the “triangle numbers,” this is worthwhile, This is probably also worthwhile as a bit of a prologue to the new status quo for Superman and Action Comics to come. That the main story is shorted for the backup doesn’t exactly make the issue all that enticing.

Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6/10

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