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52 Week #28 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Beyond the Black Stump

Batwoman’s back, Tornados show up, and a check-in ‘n revelation in the goings-on of the lost-in-space heroes (and heroine).

52week28Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Drew Johnson
Inks: Jack Jadson, Rodney Ramos & Ruy José
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Stephen Wacker & Michael Siglain
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

After the ‘revelation’ that Montoya and the Question stumbled onto last issue, the two are back in Gotham City to contact Batwoman, and make her aware of what is prophesied to transpire with her involvement. We get a look at a group of people apparently playing with parts of the Red Tornado…truth be told, I’m not terribly sure what’s going on there. Finally, just earlier this week I’d been thinking about how it’s been a number of weeks since we got to check in with the heroes-lost-in-space…and voila! Here they are again…though a different light is cast on Lobo and the entity they’re facing in combat.

Overall, I am enjoying this series. Just over halfway in, it seems we’re into the thick of things, stuff’s happening, and there’s a number of questions cropping up as well as pointers at the title holding more significance than simply being a one-year/fifty-two-week periodical.
A certain pace seems to be in place, and being this deep into the series, it’s no longer as unfamiliar or unexpected as it seemed in the beginning.

This issue in particular I’m not nearly as thrilled with: I don’t care at all about this Batwoman character, and if I recall the previous issue correctly, there was a certain logic-jump that seems rather "forced" to me (isn’t BatGIRL’s surname Cain?)

I’m also not familiar enough with the Red Tornado to particularly care at the ‘cameo’ situation in this issue.
Structurally, this series could greatly benefit–in my opinion–by an introductory page to remind us of where things were left with certain characters when we last saw them, given the number of pages between appearances.

Visually, nothing jumped out at me; the art is solid and on the whole, it works very well for me; no complaints from me on that.

This is definitely an issue that will likely only really appeal to those already following the series; there doesn’t seem to be anything that in this issue singly that greatly affects the greater DCU, and doesn’t seem to particularly stand all that well on its own without the ongoing context of the series-as-a-whole.

The Origin of Catman
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Ed.: Harvey Richards
Assoc. Ed.: Jeanine Schaefer
Editors: Wacker & Siglain

Not a bad couple of pages; this pulls together the different portrayals of the character and makes for a singular narrative of the character, acknowledging both the ridiculous/goofy past and the sharper current stuff. The art’s attractive, and as far as these origin segments go, this fits right in with the rest.

I still would prefer a single special with nothing but origins, in exchange for a couple more pages of actual story per issue, though.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

52 Week #20 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Week #20: God is Fragged

Supernova in the Batcave, Steel grows into his new powers, and the heroes in space come under attack…

52week20Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Chris Batista
Inks: Ruy Jose
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Assistant Editors: Harvey Richards & Jeanine Schaefer
Edited by: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue gives us some fairly continuous action, opened with a moment of quiet as Supernova infiltrates the Batcave. Steel begins to grow into his new powers/strength, saving a number of lives from a burning building. The rest of the issue pretty much focuses on the hereos-in-space: Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man…and of course, their new best buddy, Lobo. These folks come under attack by a bunch of (other) aliens, and wind up bringing more trouble down on their own heads due to the means by which they end the battle.

All in all, not a bad issue at all. I found it to be a good read–though I feel like we’ve not gotten to see nearly enough of the "new" Steel, so it almost feels like he was just tossed in to remind us he exists (though more likely, he’s there for us to see that he’s growing into his new powers, and learning to make use of ’em and in general, keep on truckin’ as a hero).

The battle in space works–I’m not totally into it, but hey, action-in-space and all that. Seeing what happened to Lobo was rather gruesome, though actually made sense, having read his origin a few issues ago–I wasn’t lost or dumbfounded at his state after the battle.
The art continues to work well, serving the story quite well. I really don’t have any complaints with this.

On the whole–this issue and the series in general–I continue to be satisfied with the product as a whole. It’s one of the better ‘values’ in comics these days, per individual issue, and just has a grand FEEL as a true serial (as opposed to other books that don’t often make the every-30ish-days frequency). I think this series challenges my recent expectations of comics–even with certain stories meandering in and out, I feel that I "get" more out of it than the same number of issues of most anything else.

All that said–chances are, if you’re not on-board yet, you probably aren’t gonna change your mind based on a few remarks from me. And if you’re STILL on-board…you’re probably similarly-minded on the series.

I’m enjoying it–it’s worthwhile and keeps me going to the comic shops each week. Nothing blows me away, but this is simply a solid, reliable series that builds on itself week after week.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Black Lantern Green Arrow #30 [Review]

Lying to Myself

Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Ruy Jose, Vicente Cifuentes
Colors: Chuck Pires
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Greg Horn
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Published by: DC Comics

This is yet another issue where we get to see one of the Nekron/Black-Ring-posessed heroes fighting against what their outward body has become. In this case, Green Arrow as a Black Lantern, trapped inside his own body, watching it do and say horrible stuff to those he loves. While Ollie recalls key parts of his life and how certain people were there for him, how much they mean to him…his body is busy trying to kill those people, while he hopes they will have the strength to take him down.

I don’t think I was are of Krul before Blackest Night. What I’ve read of his throughout this event, though, leaves me quite interested in what he has to offer in general. In this case, I enjoyed the one-shot nature of this issue, as its context fills one in on the things they need to know about the character, while presenting some of those “deep” moments as a Black Lantern does horrible stuff to someone with strong emotional ties to the deceased (even if Ollie is something else, not dead but not alive, while possessed by one of the Black Rings). The moments touched on throughout this issue are both familiar and unfamiliar. It was particularly touching to see that a moment I remember being so moving to me back in 1994’s Zero Hour was a key moment to the character even here, 15 years later.

The entire art team did a great job on this issue, really capturing a surreal tone that really enhanced the story. The effect of having what’s at the forefront of Ollie’s perception in normal color, while other things that were going on around his body but not part of the memories he was going through inside lent a great effect to things. The visuals in general were very good here. I’m not familiar offhand with Neves‘ art, but this issue felt familiar, and I think Neves‘ style is similar to Ivan Reis‘; at least, this didn’t feel like something that was all that different from the core Blackest Night series.

Though I haven’t read an issue of Green Arrow since before Infinite Crisis, I didn’t feel lost reading this. There may be subtle stuff I’m not picking up on that’ll mean more to others who have followed the ongoing stuff. But on the whole, this seems quite accessible to those following Blackest Night in general, or who know at least the broad strokes of Green Arrow’s place in the DCU.

The cover is a nice homage to that silver age Neal Adams cover; here, reversing the image, with Ollie “charging” a ring and Hal shattering the lantern, mid-oath. It speaks volumes on its own, conveying a sense of history for those familiar with the history, but still serves as a fairly symbolic image of this issue in itself.

While I’ve been down on a couple other recent issues with this sort of theme/set-up (Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Adventure Comics #7, etc), this one actually works for me in a way those other issues did not. Perhaps it’s because of the way this ends, differently than I expected it to; or that I have more interest and “history” with Green Arrow than I do Wonder Woman…perhaps it’s simply my lack of context with this Green Arrow series, and so enjoying this “random” issue.

Accessible for newer readers, and presumably deeper meaning for longtime readers. This issue is very much rooted within Blackest Night…other than remembered past events for characters, this issue doesn’t seem tied to previous issues, and this issue leads back to Blackest Night itself (as opposed to the characters walking through a Blackest Night tie-in to go back to the normal/continuing story next issue virtually unscathed).

Recommended.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Teen Titans #77 [Review]

A Family Affair

Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Jack Jadson & Ruy Jose
Colors: Rod Reis
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Bennett, Jadson, & Reis
Asst. Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics

This seems like another one of those stand-alone stories that–while it takes a couple issues in the actual title could work just as well as its own double-issue mini-series. Come to think of it, this would do better to be Blackest Night: Deathstroke the Terminator moreso than an issue of Teen Titans.

Deathstroke faces his still-living daughter who he has tried to help in his own way, though she still hates him for perceived LACK of caring from her point of view. The two are menaced by Black Lantern versions of Grant and Wintergreen–Deathstroke’s son and former close ally/advisor respectively. Fighting ensues, and someone else shows up at the end who fits quite well into the mix.

Overall, this was a solid issue–the writing worked well, as we’re able to “get” where the various characters are coming from. Though I’m not terribly familiar with them all, there is PLENTY of context to fill one in, making this a very accessible issue even if one has never read the title before (I think the last issue of the title I’d read was the final pre-One-Year-Later issue).

The art is good as well…no real complaint there. The only thing that really jumped out at me was that there were a couple of points where Deathstroke reminded me very much of Deadpool, only with a different costume.

This doesn’t seem to have ongoing threads as if the title were interrupted, so it seems likely that regular readers of Teen Titans could safely skip this if trying to avoid Blackest Night. By the same token, one following Blackest Night ought to be safe picking this up without being mired in the ongoing story.

I don’t think I even knew this issue was going to be a tie-in until I saw it listed as such on Diamond’s list of this week’s comics and again seeing it for myself in the store. It’s a $3.99 book, but seems to have foregone its cofeature to give the Blackest Night stuff more pages. This is well worthwhile overall, but doesn’t seem essential. It plays out the impact of Blackest Night on these characters, but does not itself seem to have anything of influence back to Blackest Night.

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

Blackest Night: Superman #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Blackest Night: Superman #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

Blackest Night: Superman #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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

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