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Posts Tagged ‘James Robinson’

The Shade (2011 Series) #6

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

June 16, 2012

Title: Las Cinco Esquinas

Writer: James Robinson
Art:
Javier Pulido
Letters:
Todd Klein
Colors:
Hilary Sycamore
Cover Art:
Tony Harris
Editor:
Wil Moss
Publisher:
DC Comics

With the Inquisitor cutting a bloody path through Spain, the Shade and La Sangre are joined by one of the local heroes, Montpellier, to try to hunt him down.

This isn’t really what I expected from James Robinson returning to the Shade. While there’s still plenty of cool weirdness (what with the vampires and all), it’s not as surreal as a lot of the previous Shade stories have been. It’s a more personal story, and a more straightforward one as well. None of these are bad things, it’s just a departure from what he’s done with the character in the past, and that may be turning off a few people.

One thing I really enjoy about the book is how he’s reaching out to some of the unexplored corners of the new DC Universe. With a few exceptions, most of the New 52 titles are still pretty America-centric, and I like seeing him go around Europe and show off some of the different characters that are in the DC toy box. I’d like to see more of Montpellier, and I’d read a whole miniseries of La Sangre by herself. (In fact, DC, if you’re reading, why not at least give her an arc in DC Universe Presents?)

Javier Pulido is really perfect for this story. His style isn’t like your typical superhero comic. It’s a little darker, a little more Mike Mignola-esque. That Hellboy vibe is perfectly suited for this title and the characters that we’re playing with here.

This halfway point helps show that the book is going into some different directions, but overall, I think that’s a good thing.

Rating: 8/10

Earth 2 #1

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

May 6, 2012, 2012

Title: The Price of Victory

On Earth 2, a different trinity of heroes fights… but what happens if they fall?

Writer: James Robinson
Pencils:
Nicola Scott
Inks:
Trevor Scott
Colors:
Alex Sinclair
Letters:
Dezi Sienty
Cover Art:
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Rod Reis
Editor:
Pat McCallum
Publisher:
DC Comics

The Multiverse is back with this new title, the first book set in a world outside of the universe of the New 52. Five years ago, the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of another universe fought fiercely to save their world from an invasion by Steppenwolf and his Parademons. The world survived, but at an incredible price.

This issue is a lot of set-up, but it’s the most action-packed set-up you could possibly ask for. It’s clear that the classic DC trinity, although they’re in center stage here, will not be the stars of this title. Their appearance, in fact, is mostly here to set up the return of some other classic characters, albeit in new forms. It works nicely for that. This is the sort of all-out war you probably couldn’t get away with on “New Earth” (or whatever they’re calling the universe of the New 52 these days). Plenty of devastation, plenty of death, too much to deal with in 50 or so titles linked together in a single, current continuity. But as this book takes place on an alternate universe, and there are no other books set there (Worlds’ Finest is a spin-off, but that’s not quite the same thing) James Robinson could theoretically have a pretty free hand to go nuts, make major changes, and drastically alter the world as the story dictates. He’s done it before, but in things like The Golden Age. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with a book like this on an ongoing basis.

I’ve been a fan of Nicola Scott for some time now, but with Trevor Scott and Alex Sinclair joining her on the art for this book, we’re seeing some of the greatest work she’s ever done. The battle scenes here are incredible, and she gives us depictions of DC’s three biggest guns that look very familiar, but just different enough that we accept them as alternate versions of the characters.

This first issue was great, even if it felt more like a “zero” issue. It doesn’t really matter that much what the number is, though. It’s a fine way to start, and I can’t wait to see where this newer universe is going to take us.

Rating: 9/10

The Shade (2011 Series) #3

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

February 18, 2012

Title: Dreamtime

Writer: James Robinson
Art:
Cully Hamner
Letters:
Todd Klein
Colors:
Dave McCaig
Cover Art:
Tony Harris
Editor:
Will Moss
Publisher:
DC Comics

To seek the mysterious Darnell Caldecott, to help further define himself, the Shade has traveled to Austrailia. After a brief encounter with local hero the Argonaut, Shade meets up with his old rival Diablo Blacksmith to help him find Caldecott – a quest that will take him to the depths of the Dreamtime.

This series is going in some odd directions, but James Robinson is definitely using it to expand the DC Universe. We meet some new characters here, and while neither of them have a huge part, they could easily lay in wait until they’re picked up by other writers, or by Robinson himself. Even though the Argonaut appears to be a bit of a parody, that’s how Lobo started too.

The Dreamtime stuff, the battle we see there, is the real meat of the issue, however, and it delivers well. Simply from a visual standpoint, it’s cool to see the Shade using his shadow powers to make himself a legitimate threat to a character that, physically, is a hell of a lot bigger than he is. On a less dramatic scale, the character’s personal journey is really being reflected in the story. The other characters don’t know what to make of the Shade – someone who historically was thought of as a villain but, in the past few years (DC time, nearly 20 years in the real world) has acted as a hero sometimes, but usually occupies a much grayer area. Even the Shade doesn’t really know how to classify himself anymore, and that’s one of the things that makes his story so compelling.

Cully Hamner’s artwork is cool, and Dave McCaig’s colors are vital to making this story work. The action takes place in the Austrailian outback, in desert terrain, in broad daylight. It’s not the Shade’s natural habitat. But it looks very good on the page and the contrast helps the story in turn.

This series is delivering for me, and big-time.

Rating: 8/10

Justice League of America (2005 Series) #48

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

September 13, 2010

Title: The Dark Things Part Five (A Brightest Day crossover)
Writer:
James Robinson
Pencils:
Mark Bagley
Inks:
Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund, Don Ho, Derek Fridolfs & Rich Perrotta
Colorist:
Ulises Arreola & Zarathus
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover:
Mark Bagley, Jesus Merino & Nei Ruffino
Editor:
Eddie Berganza
Publisher:
DC Comics

The Justice League and Justice Society (along with Kyle Rayner and Mr. Miracle) face off against a hyped-up Alan Scott. Jade and Obsidian have merged into a new being, and Mr. Terrific’s plan to save the universe will hinge on a couple of girls named Kara.

This really is a fine conclusion to this story arc, bringing everything you were excited about to a boil in the finale. Dr. Mid-Nite’s rescue of Starman is well done, and the cavalry storming in works really nicely. There are some great bits in here with lasting changes for Alan, Jade and Obsidian, clearly establishing their roles in the DC Universe in general and their respective teams in particular. In fact, the Justice League we’re presented with by the end of this issue is an interesting group. I think Robinson has put together a nice core team to build his tenure on this title around.

Mark Bagley’s artwork works, but as I’ve often pointed out, it works better on the young heroes than the Justice Society. It’ll be nice next issue when they return to their own stomping grounds and he’s left with a pretty young team to depict throughout the book. The color team deserves some special recognition here though, I think, really turning out some eye-popping pages.

Then there’s the backup story…

Title: Cogs Part Three
Writer:
James Robinson
Pencils:
Pow Rodrix
Inks:
Ruy Jose
Colorist:
Zarathus
Letterer:
Rob Leigh

While the Starheart was making all the elementals on Earth go crazy, Cyborg had just finished upgrading Red Tornado’s systems in a way that makes him virtually indestructible. Great idea, until the Starheart pits him against his friend. This issue is mostly an extended battle scene, with Cyborg doing whatever he can to stay alive long enough to – temporarily – put Red Tornado down. It’s an okay sequence, but doesn’t really add much to either character, save for building up the friendship between the two of them. It’s nice, but as neither of them promise to be part of the regular cast of the title, it feels sort of inconsequential.

Rating: 7/10

Justice Society of America (2007 Series) #42

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment

September 6, 2010

Title: The Dark Things Part Four

Writer: James Robinson
Pencils:
Mark Bagley
Inks:
Norm Rapmund
Colorist:
Allen Passalaqua
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover:
Mark Bagley
Editor:
Mike Carlin
Publisher:
DC Comics

As the Brightest Day crossover continues, the Guardians of the Universe have sent Kyle Rayner to Earth to take out Alan Scott by any means necessary – even killing him. Not that this will be all that easy, mind you. Alan has been possessed by the power of the Starheart, a power that’s spread out to encompass not only his children Jade and Obsidian, but nearly every magic or elemental powered metahuman on the planet.

James Robinson continues to bring in nice, quick moments for dozens of heroes in this series. Dr. Mid-Nite’s rescue of Starman is a great bit, as is the battle Alan Scott has against Power Girl and Supergirl at the same time (which should go to show you just how powerful the Starheart actually is.) This is the penultimate issue, where everything is building up for a big finale, and the buildup really works well.

Bagley’s art is still kind of back-and-forth for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I find he does a very good job depicting the younger heroes (he was a magnificent Spider-Man and New Warriors artist for many years, after all), but his elder heroes don’t look quite as good. On the plus side, he’s got a good technique for bringing in lots (and lots) of characters on to a single page, making for fight scenes that are exciting and really give the sense that the heroes are getting overwhelmed.

I’m kind of surprised by this book, it feels like Jade’s personal Brightest Day storyline is coming to a close sooner than expected. But then again, back in 52 we saw characters’ stories ending at different times as well. Ultimately, as long as the end is satisfying, that’s what’s important.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League of America (2005 Series) #47

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

August 7, 2010

Title: Dark Things Part Three
Writer:
James Robinson
Penciler:
Mark Bagley
Inker:
Rob Hunter
Colorist:
Ulises Arreola & Zaratus
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover:
Mark Bagley, Jesus Merino & Nei Rufino
Editor:
Mike Carlin
Publisher:
DC Comics

With about half the members of the combined Justice League and Justice Society either overcome by the Starheart’s power or in danger of becoming so, the remaining heroes recruit Mr. Miracle to help them break into the possessed Alan Scott’s lunar fortress. The world’s greatest escape artist may be the man to get them in, but can even this assemblage of heroes stand up to Alan, Obsidian, and Dr. Fate?

This story has been getting better with each issue. The addition of Mr. Miracle, who has been largely unseen since his Seven Soldiers miniseries, is a very nice touch. Bagley’s rendition of the hero is very good, and the colorists do a nice job making the lining on his uniform pop out and set him apart. He looks like a character that walked off the set of Tron – and I mean that as a compliment. The focus on Jade continues to be entertaining too. We’ve recently (like in Brightest Day #7) found out what her purpose was in being brought back from the dead, and it seems like she very well may fulfill (or fail to fulfill) that destiny before this storyline is over. Robinson has also done good work giving each of the characters at least one moment of coolness (maybe not in this issue, but somewhere in the story) to show off just what makes them worthy of being in the Big Leagues of the DC Universe. Excuse the pun.

We’ve also got a back-up feature, so let’s look at that one…

Title: Cogs Part Two
Writer:
James Robinson
Penciler:
Pow Rodrix
Inker:
Ruy Jose
Colorist:
Zaratus
Letterer:
Rob Leigh

In part two of “Cogs,” we see just how Cyborg and Dr. Light were able to repair the shattered Red Tornado in a way that may prevent him from ever having his robot body destroyed again. Which is all kinds of awesome. Until the power of the Starheart began corrupting superheroes with powers related to the elements. As the Red Tornado is, in fact, a wind elemental inside an android body, he’s gone haywire. And thanks to his own invention, there may be no way for Cyborg to take him down.

The good in this issue – it’s really great to see Cyborg used in this fashion, showing him off as a techno guy, someone capable of creating instead of just a walking weapon. The problem is that most of this issue is flashback, and the scenes that take place in the present don’t really advance the story. At the end of this installment, we know why Red Tornado is such a problem, but we’re virtually in the same spot as we were at the end of part one. This is one of the dangers of serializing a story in such short installments.

Pow Rodrix is an okay artist – not really ready for a major assignment, but he shows potential. That’s one of the cool things about these back-up features. Not only is it a chance to tell stories about characters who may not be able to support an ongoing story, but it also gives a chance to try out some new creators and give them room to sharpen their skills.

I’m really digging this book, and this story.

Rating: 7/10

Justice Society of America (2006 Series) #41

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

July 30, 2010

Writer: James Robinson
Penciler:
Mark Bagley
Inker:
Norm Rapmund
Colorist:
Allen Passalaqua
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover:
Mark Bagley, Jesus Merino & Nei Rufino
Editor:
Mike Carlin
Publisher:
DC Comics

In part two of The Dark Things (which is, itself, a Brightest Day crossover), the Justice Society and Justice League continue to face off against heroes and villains alike with elemental powers gone haywire due to the sudden increase in power of the Starheart. As some of the JSA’s heavy hitters are in jeopardy, for our heroes, things get even worse.

Robinson and Bagley are doing solid work with this crossover. Robinson has quickly sold the Starheart as a legitimate threat, making Alan Scott the most dangerous man in the world without taking away the character’s inherent strength and nobility to do it. I’m also enjoying the sheer volume of characters – old and new – that are being tossed into the mix as the story moves forward. The end of the issue in particular is promising, as we’re given a chance to visit with a character that hasn’t been seen in a while, but who would make for a very interesting addition to the Justice League once this whole thing is over. The link between this story and the Brightest Day mysteries are obvious, especially with Jade playing such a prominent role, and you get the feeling that lasting changes are in the works for both of our groups of heroes.

Bagley is tossing out a lot of characters here, dozens of them, and while he isn’t exactly George Perez, he’s no slouch either. Each hero is distinctive, and while he still does better work with the younger characters than the elder statesmen, there’s never any doubt who we’re looking at or what’s going on in any given panel.

Strong book, strong crossover.

Rating: 7/10