Posts Tagged ‘Flash’

Animal Man (1988 Series) #8

April 14, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Title: Mirror Movies

Writer: Grant Morrison
Chas Truog & Doug Hazlewood
John Costanza
Tatjana Wood
Cover Art:
Brian Bolland
Karen Berger
DC Comics

Following the Invasion, two big things have happened to Animal Man. First, he’s been made a member of Justice League Europe. Second, his powers are all scrambled, not functioning properly. This turns out to be a bit of a problem when the Flash’s old foe, Mirror Master, attacks him in his own home.

At first glance, this issue seems pretty standard for a superhero comic. Buddy is placed in a predicament when he’s attacked by a villain and is, in essence, powerless. We’ve seen it several times. What’s more, the book even suffers just a tad by having the main character’s circumstances dictated by a recent crossover without actually explaining anything. People who didn’t read the Invasion! Crossover at the time probably would have no idea what’s wrong with buddy or how he wound up with the JLE. Having read a lot of those comics, though, I’m pretty comfortable with this stuff, and have a pretty simple time of inserting this into DC Continuity of the era.

The fight itself is clever. Although the mirror master scenes don’t really push the boundaries of comic book storytelling, Grant Morrison is finding ways to use his powers that I don’t think had been fully explored in the past, at least not all of them. What makes the book stand out, though, are some a couple of perplexing prologue and epilogue pages which both point to a larger conspiracy at work against Animal Man and, at the same time, begin to further set the stage for the really bizarre stuff that is to come.

The Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood art team puts out a good effort this week. You can always tell Mirror Master, even in disguise, due to the expressions on his face, and there’s a nice consistency with the disheveled, just-rolled-out-of-bed look that Buddy maintains throughout the issue.

And as a final note, it’s a nice touch that the issue is dedicated to the creators of Mirror Master: John Broome, Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino… as well as “the late, great Barry Allen.”

Ah, how times change.

Rating: 8/10


JLA #107

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

November 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Maintenance Day (Syndicate Rules Part One)

The Justice League is taking a day for general maintenance, unaware of a growing threat from another world.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

I’m a little biased here, I’ll admit that up front. New writer Kurt Busiek is one of my favorite scribes working in comics today, and moreso, this is a title in serious need of improvement. The book hasn’t been good on a consistent basis since Mark Waid’s all-too-short tenure ended nearly 40 issues ago.

As the issue opens, the JLA is basically spending the day doing preventative maintenance. Several of them are keeping their eyes on the Cosmic Egg that contains a new universe ready to hatch. (This egg, of course, was a leftover from Busiek’s JLA/Avengers crossover, although he has to be careful never to mention any copyrighted properties of that other publisher by name.) As they do that, Martian Manhunter and The Flash do their regular sweep of various contacts around the globe, making sure no crisis demand their attention, and pay a visit to an old menace they have in containment.

Right off the bat Busiek is doing one of the things I think he, along with writers like Waid and Geoff Johns, do incredibly well. He picks up on the history of the League, tapping into old stories to create the new. Some readers may find things a bit daunting, but the particular threat that occupies our two heroes this issue (although not the main threat of this story arc) is one even I was unfamiliar with, but Busiek gives us everything we need to know to comprehend the story.

Ron Garney’s art is usually very good, but it appears somewhat unfinished here. Just as the last six issues, released biweekly, looked as though he rather raced through them, so did this first issue with his new writer. There’s nothing really bad about the artwork, but it’s not as strong as anyone who has seen his Captain America run knows he’s capable of. It’s possible he just needs time to rest and then get back onto a normal monthly schedule.

After a truly abysmal last story arc (which, admittedly, started with a strong first issue then spiraled into cliché and tedium), this issue is a breath of fresh air. Busiek has said he wants to join the small club of writers who has had long tenures writing both the Justice League and the Avengers. Hopefully this issue is just the start of great things to come.

Rating: 7/10

Flash (2011 Series) #2

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Think Fast

Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Francis Manapul
Brian Buccellato
Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist:
Francis Manapul
Brian Cunningham
DC Comics

Barry Allen has a friend in trouble… or so he thought. As it turns out, his buddy isn’t too bad at taking care of himself. But the adventure leads him to look at his powers a whole new way. He can move fast, that much is clear… but what about thinking fast? Very early in the run, and we already seen Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato making a clear effort to innovate with this title. Barry has one of the most potentially versatile super powers on the planet, but very few writers have really explored the potential of what a man can do with super-speed. Even Mark Waid’s legendary run, which established the Speed Force in the first place, wasn’t so much about the applications of super-speed. The idea of speeding up Barry’s brain is a clever one, and the way it’s depicted here works very well. While neither Manapul nor Buccellato have a long pedigree as writers, putting artists on the storytelling end of this comic book is really working out well, allowing them to develop innovative visuals that match the clever stories. It works very well.

Rating: 9/10

Super Friends (2008 Series) #20

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2009

Super Friends #20 (DC Comics/Johnny DC)
By Sholly Fisch & Dario Brizuela

It’s Halloween, and the Super Friends are called out to take place in a parade. The fun is disrupted, though, when the scientist who called them directs them to a menace that’s out to ruin the fun — the Shaggy Man. Super Friends, of course, is a book for younger readers, and the content here works pretty well for that audience. Shaggy Man isn’t nearly the enemy he is in the mainstream JLA book, of course, and the ending is a tad anticlimactic, but the story is solid enough. Dario Brizuela stays on-model with the toy line fairly well, but I’m not a fan of his Wonder Woman at all. I don’t have the toy itself for reference, but just taken on her own, she looks entirely too bulky and solid, with very little femininity. I’m not suggesting that the kid’s version of the character be sexed up, of course, but there’s certainly a middle ground. For the little ones, this book is fine.
Rating: 6/10

Flash (2011 Series) #1

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

October 3, 2011

Title: The Flash

Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Francis Manapul
Brian Buccellato
Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist:
Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Brian Cunningham
DC Comics

Seems like the Flash is starting over every other year these days, doesn’t it? This issue introduces us to the New 52 version of the Flash – a Barry Allen that’s single, younger, and reveling in his role as Central City’s premiere superhero. This issue hits us with a little backstory in the form of an old friend of Barry’s that has gotten into some trouble. What really clicks here, though, are the character moments. Barry and Iris West aren’t married here, have only dated in the past, but the look on his face when he sees her makes it pretty clear that there are feelings there. I don’t know if I believe it was necessary to revert the characters this much, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was the potential for some fun times in watching Barry try to pursue her.

What’s more, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous. They really have cemented themselves as the Flash artists of the past 10 years. This family hasn’t looked so good since Mike Wieringo’s legendary run on the character. It just looks phenomenal – energetic and exciting, with visuals that display super-speed in ways we’ve never seen.

I do sympathize with those readers who are upset that Barry has usurped Wally West pretty much entirely. And I want Wally back too. He’s earned a place in the DC Universe .But that doesn’t make this issue, or this character, any less exciting.

Rating: 8/10

The Flash (1987 Series) #211

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

June 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Animal House

It’s Flash and Nightwing together against the might of Gorilla Grodd!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inks: Livesay
Colors: James Sinclair
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue the Flash and Nightwing walked straight into Grodd’s lair in the Flash Museum. This issue picks up a few seconds and a ton of rubble later, as Grodd lays into the two ex-Titans and best friends. Johns does one of his best fight scenes yet in the series, utilizing Flash’s powers to a degree he doesn’t normally attain, something that’s sure to stir up a new round of debate over in the Comixtreme Arena.

The aftermath of the fight may seem a little corny to some, but to me it felt like it fit perfectly. It’s very reverential, very much what this title is all about, the legacy of the Flash.

Johns uses the rest of the issue setting things up for what promises to be the next major storyline, which if this issue is any indication, will hearken back to one of the most memorable tales of Barry Allen’s career. It seems like every issue of Flash these days ends exactly the same way – leaving me in agony waiting for the next one.

Howard Porter does a great Grodd. It’s just not easy to draw a giant gorilla tearing apart a museum without it looking silly, but this is a deadly serious fight and a brutal, vicious Grodd. The entire art team, including Livesay and Sinclair, deserve credit for tackling the task of putting together the Flash, one of the brightest heroes of the DCU, with the much darker Nightwing. While not as dark as his mentor, Nightwing is still a character that usually keeps to the shadows, and continues to do so in this issue, while Flash still gets to be bright and colorful and symbolic, everything a hero should be.

Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald, who are currently turning out some of the best looking DC covers every month, also do a fantastic job this issue, with a beautiful, iconic cover. I have to complain, though, that the logo obscures a bit too much of the art, and since the whole thing is against a black field I can’t help but think that the artwork could have been moved further down to get more of it in view. I also have to be consistent here and point out that it’s a cover that, like far too many covers these days, bears absolutely no significance to the story… but man, when the cover is that pretty, how can you make yourself complain?

I love this book. Every month, I love this book all over again. Geoff Johns has found a way to make this title one of the best DCU books of the 2000s just as Mark Waid made it one of the best of the 90s, and I keep waiting to see the sales of this book rise to the level they deserve.

Rating: 8/10


Recent Reviews: August 17 Releases

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment