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Posts Tagged ‘Green Lantern’

DC: The New Frontier #3

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Brave and the Bold

As the Challengers of the Unknown are born, Hal Jordan finds a new purpose.

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics

The various plotlines woven into the first two issues of The New Frontier finally start to converge, albeit tangentially, in this issue. Four brave men band together as the Challengers of the Unknown. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz finds his secret jeopardized and Hal Jordan signs up with Ferris Aircraft, unaware of the fate that awaits him.

Darwyn Cooke’s story gets a bit more interesting this issue as some of the various plotlines from the first two issues begin to connect. He has done a good job generating a feel for the silver age incarnations of these characters, with the exception of the “big three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, each of whom seems like more of a holdover of their golden age selves and who are, in fact, painted as something of an “old guard” in this series. Cooke also adds in a new character in this issue, a black man who sets out to take revenge on white supremacists that assaulted him. The story isn’t entirely original, of course, but I find myself curious about it mostly because, DC geek that I am, I can’t seem to figure out what character he is supposed to be a corollary for.

If there’s any problem with this book, it’s that so much of it seems like retreaded territory. While the classic versions of the characters are welcome, the red scare story and the reactionary Commie-hunter story are both somewhat worn out, and Cooke’s storyline doesn’t feel like it’s adding much to it, at least not yet.

As usual, his artwork is fantastic. Cooke’s iconic style is absolutely perfect for an old-fashioned comic book story, or a story that tries to take old fashioned elements and cast them in a new light. He draws the best classic versions of Superman and Batman that I’ve seen since the creators themselves put down their pencils, and the otherworldly form he gives the Martian Manhunter is spot-on.

So far, this series is more remarkable for the artwork than the storyline, but the storyline is okay. And it’s still got plenty to potential to grow – Cooke just needs to find the new paths that are available with such great source material and stop going down the old ones so much.

Rating: 7/10

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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

Recent Reviews: December 14 Releases

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I remembered to do one of these, but you can keep up with reviews from me and others — plus columns and other goodies — every day at CXPulp.com. Here’s the list of new comics I reviewed at CX last week…

JLA #103

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

August 7, 2004

Quick Rating: Below Average
Title: Emerald Warrior (Pain of the Gods Part Three)

Green Lantern’s failure threatens to send him over the edge… again!

Writer: Chuck Austen
Pencils: Ron Garney
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

In case you’ve missed JLA #101-103, allow me to sum them up for you: Hero fails to save somebody. Hero overreacts as though this has never happened before. Hero’s teammates remind him that he can’t save everyone. Repeat. Same thing three times in a row, it’s just a different member of the Justice League each time.

This time it’s Green Lantern’s turn. When he hears cries for help from two different directions and can only go in one, he has to live with the consequences of what happens to the situation he had to turn away from. The problem is… it’s all been done before. Last issue. And the issue before. And hundreds of times before that. John Stewart is someone who has had to deal with the guilt of an entire planet being destroyed because he was too cocky to take his job seriously. Are we really supposed to accept he’s going to go off the deep end because he’s forced to choose who to save while being as responsible as any hero possibly could?

And he doesn’t just go off the deep end, he goes nuts, and almost causes another tragedy in the process. He’s been in the superhero game too long to behave like this. One could almost accept this storyline with a brand-new character (it would still be a cliché, but at least it would be more in-character), but not with someone who’s been fighting the good fight and dealt with as much as John.

Even Ron Garney, who is a fine artist in his own right, isn’t quite up to speed in this issue. His pencils took a bit rushed, and I’m forced to wonder how long he had to put out the six parts of this bi-weekly storyline. (Apparently, waiting an entire month for each issue would have been a disaster because we may have forgotten we’ve already read that story.)

Considering how surprisingly good the first issue of this story arc was, this has rapidly become a major disappointment, and next issue’s installment, featuring the Martian Manhunter, doesn’t give me a lot of reason to believe it will be much better.

But at least there was no burning building in this one.

Rating: 4/10

Trinity #2

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

June 12, 2008

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: A Personal Best at Robot Smashing & It’s Gonna Throw the Car

The members of the Trinity face a bizarre attack – and so does one of their teammates.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Art Thibert
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Writers (Second Story): Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Artists (Second Story): Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
Colors (Second Story): Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco
Publisher: DC Comics

As the three members of the Trinity return to their respective homes, each of them is faced with an unexpected challenge. A miniature solar system (including a familiar-looking sun) is threatening Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham City has been plunged into another century entirely, and Wonder Woman has to stop a group of giant fighting robots from destroying Washington, DC. But what does any of this have to do with Morgaine Le Fay’s “anti-Trinity” and the mysterious dreams that afflict them?

While the first issue of the new weekly focused on bringing the three heroes together, issue two shows each of them dealing with a threat in their own style. What makes this work is that Busiek gets a chance to show us the real difference between our three heroes and how they handle a threat. There’s a nice little scene between Wonder Woman and Superman as well, which is also needed. As the least-popular member of the trinity (let’s be honest here), it really helps to remind us not only how capable she is, but how much respect she commands from her friends.

Mark Bagley’s artwork, of course, is as cool and polished as ever, although I do think his Superman looks a little too young. It’s a small complaint, however, and once I can easily live with.

In just two issues, the function of the second story in each issue has become clear: it’s not merely a space-filler, but a chance to show scenes that are relevant to the main plot, but that don’t feature our three heroes. This issue, we see Green Lantern John Stewart facing the bizarre double-threat of Konvikt and Graak. In terms of plot development, the most interesting thing here is that apparently they are of a species that John’s ring doesn’t recognize. Mostly, though, it’s just an action scene, but a good one. Tom Derenick’s artwork makes this second story look leaps and bounds above the artwork last week, which also helps quite a bit.

I also need to take just a second to point out how cool the naming convention of this series is – apparently each story will take its title from an amusing or pertinent snippet of dialogue. I dunno, I just think that’s neat.

Two issues down and fifty to go, but so far, this has been a really strong story. Busiek and Bagley have made legendary comics together in the past, and it looks like they’re on the right path to do it again.

Rating: 8/10

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

Justice League International (2011 Series) #2

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2011

Title: The Signal Masters Part 2

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils:
Aaron Lopresti
Inks:
Matt Ryan
Colorist:
Hi-Fi
Letterer:
Travis Lanham
Cover Artist:
Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Editor:
Rex Ogle
Publisher:
DC Comics

The new Justice League International is having a tough first mission. While they go toe-to-toe with a ginormous robot in Peru, back in Washington DC the Hall of Justice is firebombed, robbing them of a headquarters. With Booster’s leadership in question already, the team begins to choose sides, and the future of the League is in doubt. The character conflict is really nice here. Guy Gardner leading the anti-Booster contingent is perfectly in-character for him, and this issue gives us a little bit of info as to the status of his and Ice’s relationship in the New 52 as well. Meanwhile, we see Batman and Godiva on Booster’s side, both for very different reasons of course, but for equally legitimate reasons from a character standpoint. The book, while not as slapstick as this title was in its most popular incarnation, is still mostly lighthearted and entertaining, which makes for some good light reading in the midst of a comic book landscape that too often treats fun comics as though they have no value. I really like Aaron Lopresti’s artwork – his characters look great and the giant robot is nicely menacing. This isn’t my favorite of the New 52, but I like it plenty.

Rating: 7/10