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Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Johns’

52 #16

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

August 23, 2006

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Uhebbuki & The Origin of Black Adam

The Marvels unite at last, as Renee and the Question chase a tragedy in the making.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka & Mark Waid
Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Ruy Jose
Origin of Black Adam Art: J.G. Jones
Colors: David Baron & Alex Sinclair
Letters: Pat Brosseau & Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Stephen Wacker & Harvey Richards
Cover Art: J.G. Jones
Publisher: DC Comics

I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I’m pretty surprised that the Black Adam storyline of 52 has honestly turned into my favorite in the series – and this issue is a big one. Adam and Isis are planning a very special event with some very special guests – the Captain Marvel family. Billy is (apparently) feeling better since the last time we saw him, and Isis is acclimating nicely to her role in Khandaq. In fact, her very presence seems to be changing Adam for the better.

As their ceremony begins, though, Renee and the Question – fresh out of Black Adam’s prison — undertake a frantic chase of their own. The search that brought them to Khandaq in the first place has led them to a bomber, and if they can’t find it soon, the ceremony may well turn into a bloodbath.

This issue is a fantastic mix of these two related but separate stories. The writers shift seamlessly from the more quiet, tranquil story of Adam and Isis to the fast-paced search sequences. We also get a brief glimpse at one of the other ongoing storylines, one that’s been somewhat arrested lately, but this issue things really take off. I’m expecting it to really go places soon.

Joe Bennett’s artwork (over Keith Giffen’s breakdowns, of course), is just fine. There were a few scenes with such facial expressions (particularly on Mary Marvel) that I had to check to make sure Kevin Maguire wasn’t handling the issue. The issue is broken and choreographed very well, and Bennett has a nice, light touch on the faces that works very well.

To go with the lead story, this issue’s origin backup is Black Adam himself, with art by cover artist J.G. Jones. Like all of the “origin” back-ups, Mark Waid has done a really good job of distilling the character’s basics down to two pages, with a handy recommended reading list at the end for new fans who want to check in on his major storylines.

The best issue of 52 yet? Well, that’s arguable. But this is definitely in the running for my personal favorite.

Rating: 9/10

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Green Lantern (2011 Series) #2

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2011

Title: Sinestro Part 2

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils:
Doug Mahnke
Inks:
Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne
Colorist:
David Baron
Letterer:
Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist:
Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Nathan Eyring
Editor:
Brian Cunningham
Publisher:
DC Comics

Thaal Sinestro, the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps, doesn’t want the job. So he’s come to Earth to seek out the man he replaced, Hal Jordan, in the hopes of getting them both what they want: putting a ring back on Jordan’s finger, and getting the green ring off Sinestro’s. Trouble is, Sinestro’s previous Corps isn’t too happy at what they see as his betrayal. The interaction between Hal and Sinestro is really entertaining. Even though they’re ostensibly working towards a common goal, Sinestro still feels the compulsion to exert his dominance over his former foe, even to the point of dishing out a humiliation when he feels like Hal needs it. There’s also a nice amount of tease regarding where this story is going next (specifically, Korugar, Sinestro’s home planet). As much fun as this book is, it really takes off when Hal gets a chance to go into action again. Johns and Mahnke clearly don’t intend to leave him on the sidelines for very long, and that’s all to the good.

Rating: 8/10

Aquaman (2011 Series) #1

October 6, 2011 1 comment

October 3, 2011

Title: The Trench Part One

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils:
Ivan Reis
Inks:
Joe Prado
Colorist:
Rod Reis
Letterer:
Nick J. Napolitano
Cover Artist:
Ivan Reis
Editor:
Patrick McCallum
Publisher:
DC Comics

Aquaman makes his way on to land to take care of a pretty pedestrian crime – but the people of Boston are surprised at their savior. Aquaman? What’s he doing on land?

Geoff Johns has done something very interesting with this new series. Bringing in a hint of metafiction, we have an Aquaman here who is keenly aware that he doesn’t have the most impressive reputation. The line “talk to fish” does, in fact, make an appearance. But once we’ve acknowledged the fact that Aquaman isn’t exactly anybody’s favorite superhero, Johns and Ivan Reis then proceed to step right up and show how awesome he can be. And they’re not even changing the character to any significant degree – just showing off things like his strength and limited invulnerability that people often forget about when they’re cracking jokes about the character. We also get a simple explanation of his telepathic powers and a few solid jokes along the way, all leading up to a nice, tender, status quo-establishing scene with Mera. (Not sure if she and Arthur are married in the New 52, but they’re at least together, which puts them a step ahead of Lois and Clark or Barry and Iris.)

In the midst of all this character establishing and jokeifying, we also get a glimpse at a new threat from the depths – something ugly and nasty and that will easily give certain readers nightmares thanks to Ivan Reis’s expert rendition of them. In short, this book gives you everything you want and far more than you could expect from an Aquaman comic book. It’s just awesome. Who knew?

Rating: 9/10

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

 

Justice League (2011 Series) #1

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

September 4, 2011

Title: Justice League Part One

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils:
Jim Lee
Inks:
Scott Williams
Colorist:
Alex Sinclair
Letterer:
Patrick Brosseau
Cover Artist:
Jim Lee
Editor:
Eddie Berganza
Publisher:
DC Comics

The new DC Universe begins here! Five years in the past, the world has recently experienced the unveiling of its first public superhero, Superman. Suddenly, superhumans are crawling out of the woodwork, and Hal Jordan – Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 – is summoned to Gotham City to hunt for an alien threat. He winds up encountering the mysterious figure known as the Batman, and together they begin the hunt for an alien that flees with an ominous cry… “For Darkseid!”

What we get here is great. The interaction between Batman and Green Lantern really feels fresh and new, while still being true to character. The scene where Hal realizes Batman doesn’t actually have any powers is really funny as well. It’s easy to read and accept this story as the first encounter of the greatest heroes of the DC Universe.

The problem with this issue is in the case of what we don’t get: namely, “enough.” It’s the first issue of an all-new Justice League and, in fact, the beginning of a whole new era for DC Comics, but all we really see here are Batman and Green Lantern. Sure, there’s a Superman cameo, and there’s a minor B-plot involving the boy we all know will become Cyborg, but there’s not a sense of scale here yet. If this had been an issue of Brave and the Bold it would have worked just as well. It seems like Johns could have tried to work in at least small moments for the other members of the team, something to give us a sense that they’re all coming together (like we know they are) instead of this merely being a chance encounter between two heroes.

It’s hard to believe Jim Lee has been turning out such great work for such a long time, but that’s certainly the case here. The book looks fantastic. I’ve always liked his rendition of Batman, and he does a very good Green Lantern as well. The last page of this book is the first time I’ve seen Superman in his new armor where it doesn’t really look out of place, and I hope other artists follow his lead.

I did like this issue, and I liked it quite a lot, but it felt like it was missing a little bit. I’m sure the next few issues will change all of that.

Rating: 7/10

52 #14

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

August 9, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Sand and Rust

As Renee and the Question head to Kahndaq, John Henry comes from hiding.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka & Mark Waid
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: Art Thibert
Origin Story Art: Eric Powell
Colors: Alex Sinclair, Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Travis Lanham, Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones
Publisher: DC Comics

This is one of those quieter issues of 52 that has drawn scorn from readers who don’t seem to appreciate that they’re reading a chapter of a novel at a time – it’s low on the earth-shattering moments, but it does advance several of the ongoing plots, most notably the Montoya/Question storyline. As Renee and “Charlie” go to Kahndaq to investigate Black Adam’s possible ties to Intergang, they see firsthand what the rule of a god on Earth has done to the country, and it isn’t exactly what they expected. This is the first time two of our ongoing storylines have really converged like this (although the principal characters from the two still haven’t met), and I’m very interested to see what’s going to happen to these two next… and especially interested in the cryptic comments “Charlie” keeps making about Renee.

We also check in on John Henry Irons this week – the former Steel has been mostly absent since his niece joined up with Lex Luthor and he himself began a transformation into a creature of living metal. This issue we see what he’s been doing, and it’s clear he is reaching his limit as surely as Ralph Dibney did last week. This story really feels like we’re watching a metamorphosis, watching John Henry change from one kind of hero to something else. As he’s one of my favorite DC characters, I’m keeping my fingers crossed as to what form that transformation takes.

The series was initially discussed as involving six principal characters and/or storylines, but as Montoya and the Question immediately came together, we saw two storylines rush in to fill the gap – that of the missing space heroes and that of Will Magnus, who gets some spotlight time here. He’s working on rebuilding his greatest creations, the Metal Men, when he gets some unwanted pressure. As he makes his regular trip to visit his mentor, the mad scientist T.O. Morrow, he gets another surprise altogether. I find that the mystery of the missing scientists, which has been part of this book since the outset, is just as intriguing to me as everything else.

I didn’t check the credits to see who this week’s artist is at first, and it’s a credit to how popular Dale Eaglesham has become since Villains United that I recognized his style about halfway through the book. He brings that same style here, and although he doesn’t have as much action to work with, he does just fine.

The “Origin” back ups in this series have been a vast improvement over the disappointing “History of the DC Universe” storyline, and this issue’s spotlight on Metamorpho is no exception. Mark Waid, as always, manages to encapsulate the character’s story and abilities in a taught two pages, illustrated nicely by Eric Powell. It works.

This is an issue of 52 for people who appreciate development in their stories. You get it here in spades.

Rating: 8/10

Flashpoint #3

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

July 11, 2011

Title: Flashpoint Chapter Three

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils:
Andy Kubert
Inks:
Sandra Hope
Colorist:
Alex Sinclair
Letterer:
Nick J. Napolitano
Cover:
Andy Kubert
Editor:
Eddie Berganza    
Publisher:
DC Comics

In the first two issues of Flashpoint we saw Barry Allen get perplexed at the way the world has changed around him, and we followed him as he encountered this universe’s Batman, Thomas Wayne. We even saw him attempt to restore his own missing superpowers in an experiment that could prove deadly. This issue, despite his injuries, the experiment continues. He needs his power back, he and Batman need allies, and he knows the most important one in the world is the man who, in our world, is called Superman.

The first two issues were a lot of setup, but now that this is mostly done with, this third issue has kicked things into gear. Barry and Thomas’s quest (now with 100 percent more Cyborg) has led to a really interesting place, picking up from the Flashpoint: Project Superman miniseries and not only exploring this world, but using it in a way that we haven’t seen before. It’s not just the history of this world that has changed, but the rules are different as well. Barry is forced to work with a different kind of Batman with a different kind of morality. It’s not something that the heroes of the DCU will always be comfortable with, nor is it something that’s entirely wrong. The world is also expanded further by bringing in more characters that we haven’t seen in Flashpoint or the DC Universe before, which is pretty cool in and of itself.

Andy Kubert is telling a solid story and doing some very cool redesigns. The depiction of Kal-El in this world is so different from anything we’re used to – he doesn’t look anything at all like our hero from the neck-down. But the strength of the art shows in the face. Clearly this is our Kal-El, clearly it’s the same man, but something has happened to him. It’s a great artist that can do that in a series where our Superman hasn’t even appeared.

Very good issue. This story is just getting better.

Rating: 8/10