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Zero Hour Revisited – Outsiders #11

90srevisited_zerohour

outsiders_0011Final Blood II

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Penciller: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Robert Campanella
Colorist: Stuart Chalfetz
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

This incarnation of the Outsiders is one I’ve long been aware of, but really never read. It came to my attention back in the day thanks to the use of the Eradicator character–moving from the Superman books, I was at least "interested" in the title, though it was not one I ever got around to acquiring during its actual publication. If this isn’t my first issue reading, it’s at least the first I can consciously recall reading…and though I know OF several of the characters, recognize them at least in name if not by appearances elsewhere over the years…I just felt lost.

This issue basically sees the outsiders fighting vampires (or werewolves? But I think they’re supposed to be vampires), and arguing amongst themselves as the fighting and such happens. Even when the team would seem to have emerged victorious, there are breaks between characters, and outcomes from recent events I have not read that play into their relationships and the team dynamic, leaving the team quite splintered. Most disappointingly, the only actual tie that I noticed to Zero Hour (on the single "casual"/"reading for the experience as with every other issue of this project" read-through) is that two characters who appear in this issue also appear in Zero Hour.

That this issue carries that Zero Hour banner is very disappointing as such, and I’m not at all thrilled at the virtual "deception," as I did not enjoy the characters, the story, nor get anything "new" for Zero Hour. There was a throw-away line by Katana in Zero Hour #4 that I suppose references what happened here, but it was just that–trivial and throw-away.

I suppose the art works for the title, but I was so thoroughly out of the loop reading the issue that I hardly noticed it. When I hardly have a clue who’s who or what’s going on, I don’t much care how anyone looks. They could all be alternate timeline doppelgangers of one another for all I know.

All that said…while I appreciate that this issue probably made some sense in context of reading the earlier issues leading to this…I’m highly disappointed to have taken the time to read it as a Zero Hour tie-in when it doesn’t do a thing for the Event story.

Definitely an issue to pass on if reading stuff to get the "full" Zero Hour experience, I’d say!

Outsiders #24 [Review]

Matter of Trust

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inkers: Scott Hanna, Prentis Rollins & Fernando Pasarin
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover: Tom Mandrake
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Publisher: DC Comics

We begin this issue much like the other Blackest Night tie-in issues: a flashback showing us the memories a black ring is downloading to use with an animated/rebuilt corpse, concluding the scene with the command to the body to RISE. In this case, it’s Tara Markov again, and fresh off menacing the Titans, now she goes to her brother and the others of the Outsiders. As the Outsiders seek to find the truth about what’s going on, the readers know it’s not quite what they think–or want to think. Meanwhile: Tatsu, Violet, and Creeper are transporting Killer Croc, and bump into Black Lanterns of their own to deal with…Tatsu’s dead family.

This is one of those issues that is far easier to read than it is to describe. Visually, I recognize everyone; the names I’m a little less confident with and have to search through the issue to find references (I’m pretty sure Tatsu and Violet are “civilian” names and not the characters’ codenames).

With the Blackest Night: Titans mini and its flashbacks, and other series lately dealing with the Titans’ history and characters related to them, I have that thin understanding that works fine while reading, but isn’t strong enough for me to really “get” fully. In a way, that’s something on the writing; but at the same time, the fact that I can read the story even not knowing much about the characters nor their status quo prior to this point is more positive than negative.

The art’s quite good; no real complaints from me. Everyone looks as I’d expect–if there’s any expectation–and at the very least, I recognize pretty much everyone. Even the Black Lantern has expressiveness…there’s a panel where one would almost feel bad for her, if one doesn’t keep in mind what’s been learned so far about these Black Lanterns.

Probably the largest factor that makes this work so well for me is that it is written by Tomasi, who has been doing plenty of other writing within the Blackest Night event, and presumably he is incorporating enough that even without non-Blackest Night knowledge, there’s some building continuity just within the event’s story.

All in all, a very solid tie-in, and certainly worth getting if you’re following either Blackest Night or the title itself. Then, of course, there’s also that little ring that ought to come with the issue, as well.

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

Plastic Ring quest #4

And now the ‘ring quest’ is complete.  For many others who have also completed this set…it’s a goal poor Larfleeze–“Agent Orange”–will likely never get to do.

As I’ve said before, I think this is just about the coolest promotion for comics I’ve seen.

Of all the rings, of COURSE the coolest wound up being the Green Lantern ring. Because when you come right down to it–whether that first year or so following Kyle’s book, or that brief period after reading the Amalgam “Iron Lantern” issue when I was all the more interested in GL, to more recent years–it’s the “original” of the Corps.

Another thing that I wonder about is what other similar promotions could be done?  Including the year it came out (1991), next year (2010) will be 20 years OF The Infinity Gauntlet; 2011 obviously being the 20th “anniversary.”  How cool would it be to have something like this ring promotion for a re-issue of the original mini-series (6 gems, 6 issues…nice, no?).

Or sticking with DC: what about a Legion of Super-Heroes ring?  As with all these Lantern Corps rings…just change the color of plastic used and the little symbol on the top piece.  Such a ring could be tied to a special Legion issue or annual or issue of Adventure Comics or the like.

And what about a Flash ring?  Given Barry’s back, and I believe the Flash-costume-in-a-ring-for-easy-access was his thing…so why not use the red plastic again and put the lightning bolt on the top piece? And tie this, say, to the new Flash #1 by Johns.

Plastic Ring quest #3

Another week, two more rings.

This week’s rings were the blue and violet (or Star Sapphire). They came with Adventure Comics and Outsiders.

Amusingly enough, if you put ’em together, they look more blue and pink, almost as if they are something for kids.

With these rings, we’re left only missing the Green and Red rings…those are due next week, I believe.

Expectations of the Stack: November 18, 2009

Forgot about this tentative feature last week. I may stick with this being more of an occasonal/whenever-I-feel-like-it piece rather than a definite weekly thing. This week looks to be another rather large week, mostly for the addition of a couple Blackest Night tie-ins in titles I don’t normally buy, as well as two one-shots. Without further ado…

DR HORRIBLE ONE SHOT
This one should be cool, simply because it’s Dr. Horrible. And of course, that it’s got creative talent from the actual Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog…I fully expect it to be accurate and faithful to the show. Offhand, I believe this is a prologue of sorts, which should be all the more interesting and offer a bit of insight into the characters.

ADVENTURE COMICS #4
Well…it’s Blackest Night, and it’ll come with a ring. Almost ashamed to say I don’t much care beyond that. I recall the last issue had something indicating its story would continue after the Blackest Night tie-in, so there’s some story interruption. This is a title I’ve been buying anyway, so like Booster Gold…I was getting it whether it tied in or not.

FLASH REBIRTH #5 (OF 6)
Gotta love how both of this year’s Rebirth/Reborn series started out at 5 issues and were expanded to 6… Still, I’m on-board to see how it turns out, and hoping that the story’ll get better.

OUTSIDERS #24
No idea, honestly, what to expect from this one. Like Doom Patrol, I have absolutely no idea where things stand with the characters and their status quo. But it’s Blackest Night, so…yeah.

SUPERMAN BATMAN #66
Ditto. I think Solomon Grundy’s involved. I suppose I’ll find out on reading. Blackest Night…I can’t remember if this one comes with a ring or not…Blackest Night…

DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #5
Deadpool. ‘Nuff said.

TMNT #1 FULL COLOR ONE SHOT
This should be cool. I’ve got the old FIRST graphic novel/TPBs that put color to the early TMNT issues, but this–as a single issue–should be quite interesting coming in color. Also will–I think–be the first issue to come out from Mirage since the TMNT were sold, so kinda fitting, in a way.

Due to personal finances and this being (for me) a huge week, these other three will probably wait til the weekend or next week to get picked up:

SUPERGIRL #47
Because this is part of the ongoing Superman family story, keepin’ with it for now, though really, really hoping the story gets better/more interesting/more engaging. Also hoping we don’t have yet ANOTHER apparent character death.

INVINCIBLE #68
Not expecting much of this one…overall enjoying the title the last half year or so, and figure I’ll keep with it.

MICKEY MOUSE & FRIENDS #297
Can’t remember if this is the first or second issue coming out from Boom…nor whether or not I picked up the previous issue if this is the second. It’s great that the Disney titles are getting such a quick return to the shelves…but I can’t afford to keep with ’em all. Honestly, the variant covers for this will likely decide it for me…if I like a cover, get it. If only one’s available and there are 2 or more covers, I’ll pass.

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