Posts Tagged ‘Peter Tomasi’

H-E-R-O #14

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

March 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Ch-Ch-Changes Conclusion

Stuck in the body of Electro-Lass, what does a common construction worker do when his girlfriend is being held hostage and his best friend wants to marry him?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

Trapped in the body of Electro-Lass after using (and promptly losing) the H-Device, the former burly construction worker goes through a roller-coaster in this issue. His best friend tells him he’s in love with him, his girlfriend is being held hostage by a couple of muggers he took out last issue, and he still can’t find the only thing that could give him his own body back.

This issue really shows off the sort of stories you can tell in a book like this with no regular cast, focusing instead on a concept that leaps from character to character. The way this story unfolds and concludes could probably never be done with a continuing character. It makes for an original read that really shouldn’t feel as original as it does.

Will Pfiefer doesn’t skimp on the major subplot of this title either, giving us a scene with the original device-wielder Robby Reed that promises to start tying together the various tales that this book has told since issue one.

It’s always a pleasure to see Leonard Kirk penciling a comic book, and it’s a shame that he doesn’t have a regular series at the moment. He’s one of the most underappreciated artists in comic books – he always has good characterization, dynamic poses and strong storytelling. It’s only due to a quirk of his own (which he freely admits) that he’s no longer penciling JSA. This book only whets my appetite and makes me want more. Together with Wade Von Grawbadger and JD Mettler, they do great work on a comic book bereft of supervillains and with only a few characters in spandex at all (although there are plenty of energy effects which are done very well).

This is a solid book that tells interesting superhero stories that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. The subplot with Robby promises to really kick things into high gear very soon – if you aren’t reading this title, why not? You’re just depriving yourself of one of the smartest superhero comic books out there.

Rating: 8/10


Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

September 4, 2011

Title: 2011: A Space Oddity

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Ron Frenz
John Dell, Marc Deering
Gabe Eltaeb
Rob Leigh
Cover Artist:
Dan Panosian
Brian Cunningham
DC Comics

DC sends off Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors with an old-fashioned locked-room mystery… in space! Guy is summoned to the International Space Station to investigate a murder that took place there, only to find Batman waiting for him. The victim was a friend of Bruce Wayne, it seems, and Batman aims to see to it he gets justice… but who among his fellow space explorers would have –could have killed him?

Guy Gardner isn’t particularly known for subtlety, and putting him in what amounts to a police procedural is actually quite entertaining. It’s a funny juxtaposition, the brutish Gardner and the cool-as-ice Batman, and Peter Tomasi even manages to throw out a callback to the most memorable moments the two characters have ever shared together.

Ron Frenz is one of those artists who looks good when combined with some inkers and not with others. John Dell and Marc Deering make him look as good as he ever has, with very rich, detailed pages that tell the story expertly without bogging things down with superfluous lines. The inks and colors compliment the art well, which is the hallmark of a good comic book artist.

It’s a nice way for Guy Gardner to go out.

Rating: 8/10

Aquaman (2003 Series) #19

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

June 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: American Tidal Part Five

The reason for San Diego’s destruction is revealed, and Aquaman has to decide what to do about it.

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

And it was going so well, too.

When Will Pfeifer took over this title four issues ago, he presented a new take on Aquaman, a shocking storyline and a real sense of excitement that the character has been lacking for a long time. And all of that is still there – this is a much more interesting Aquaman than we’ve seen in a very long time. But this issue falls apart anyway.

Why? Because when the villain’s plot, the reason he sank the city of San Diego is revealed, the whole thing turns out to hinge on a bit of alarmist junk science – and not comic book science, but junk science from the real world that turns out lots of lousy disaster movies and even worse books. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just the bad guy concentrating on the junk science, but Aquaman buys into it too, and one would think he’d be more rational about the whole thing.

The minute I realized where this issue was going I was disappointed, but I kept reading anyway, because the rest of the gems are still there. This is a solid interpretation of Aquaman and I’ve even come to like and care about Lorena, the San Diego survivor that has accompanied him on his quest to find justice.

Patrick Gleason doesn’t get as much chance to show off his artwork this issue, as most of the book takes place in the villains’ lab without much action – it’s a talking heads issue without any great backgrounds or underwater scenes to set it off. Still, he draws a good Aquaman and deserves a home on this title.

With one issue left in this storyline there’s still one mystery left to solve, and with the resolution to the last mystery I’ve got a sinking feeling I know where it’s going. I hope I’m wrong. I hope Pfiefer redeems what had been a great story coming into this issue. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.

Rating: 6/10

Aquaman (2003 Series) #18

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

May 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: American Tidal Part Four

Aquaman tracks down the man who created the creature beneath the sea – what does he know about the destruction of San Diego?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

Will Pfiefer’s run on Aquaman continues, and it’s still one of the best stories featuring the character I’ve ever read. This issue we learn that it wasn’t just the people of San Diego that were transformed into water-breathers when the city sank beneath the ocean. All of the dogs wake up and begin to paddle towards shore in desperation, not realizing that the air will kill them now, and people and marine mammals together begin trying to toss them back into the water before they all die on the beach.

Meanwhile Aquaman and Lorena investigate the strange creature they found at the end of last issue, a bizarre amalgam of sea life and machines that is somehow tied in to the destruction of the city. Pfiefer really shows off how versatile Aquaman’s powers are with the right creator behind him. Have you ever wondered what good it is to “talk to fish”? Find out this issue.

Other writers, over time, have painted Aquaman as a superhero, a monarch and occasionally as a warrior. Pieffer’s take uses elements of each of these to create a character that, in essence, is an aquatic crimefighter. Aquaman is using his powers to look for clues and solve a mystery that only he can. I’ve never seen him written this way before, but it works beautifully. With storytelling this good, maybe the character will finally be taken seriously.

Gleason’s artwork is an interesting blend as well. His human characters look like they fell from a crime comic, but his monsters are good and gross. The funky creature Aquaman fights looks just great, and the action scene works really well. The underwater scenes carry the sort of grandeur and majesty that you want in a story that takes place beneath the waves, and it all looks wonderful.

Peter David had a great, fabled run with this character not so long ago, but Pfiefer’s interpretation is even more accessible and just as exciting. It’s incredible, after all these years, that we finally have an Aquaman worth reading.

Rating: 8/10

Firestorm (2004 Series) #1

July 26, 2011 Leave a comment

May 4, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Eye Contact

Jason Rusch just wants to keep his job, save some money and go to college. Fate has other plans…

Writer: Dan Jolley
Pencils: Chriscross
Inks: John Dell
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Chriscross & Chris Sotomayor
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s interesting, but with almost any superhero comic book that has premiered in the last several years, be it a new character or a revival of an old character, you can follow a strict pattern in the first issue: Introduce the main character, show snippets of his/her life, throw them in danger and, in the last sequence, either give him his powers or have them manifest for the first time. Pesky things like origin stories can wait until later.

Now don’t get me wrong, just because Dan Jolley follows this pattern to the letter doesn’t mean he doesn’t serve up an entertaining read. Jason Rusch, heir apparent to the Firestorm mantle, is a guy I think most comic readers can relate to – just trying to make ends meet and get to college, keep up with his friends who score autographs of celebrities while he’s stuck at home, and dealing with his father. His plans get derailed when some bruises on his face cause him to miss his job as a waiter, cutting into his savings. He turns to a less-than-desirable element for some help and gets in over his head.

Jolley even manages to work in some surprises in this issue. We meet one character and, within a few panels, are convinced he’s responsible for Jason’s fate, only to have the whole thing turn around on us. By the end of the book you don’t know how (exactly) or why Jason is suddenly sporting Ronnie Raymond’s powers and costume, but you do know you like this kid, you feel for this kid, and you want him to come out okay.

The former Captain Marvel art team of Chriscross and Sotomayor reunite, joined by inker John Dell, and they put out an great-looking comic book. Chriscross draws strong, dynamic characters and does a great high-speed sequence near the end, and Soto contributes with everything from flashy speed effects and bright fire effects to small but appreciated touches like varying the skin tones of the characters to help give them each their own identity.

A lot of people are upset that DC is going ahead with a Firestorm series without the same guy in the driver’s seat we’ve known all along. I can’t argue with them, I was a fan of Ronnie myself. But this new kid seems to have the same sort of feel and same heart that made me a fan of the character in the first place, and it is certainly worth sticking around on this book to see where it goes.

Rating: 8/10

Green Lantern: Rebirth #3

June 17, 2011 Leave a comment

December 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Yellow

The truth about Parallax – and the Green Lantern Corps!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ethan Van Sciver
Inks: Prentis Rollins
Colors: Moose Baumann
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics

A lesser writer than Geoff Johns would have me fuming right now, because of the various theories regarding Hal Jordan’s return as Green Lantern, he seems to have gone with one that I liked the least. However, he’s executing it extremely well, to the point where I find I’m actually accepting of an explanation that I thought would cheapen the character himself and years of stories.

Kyle Rayner and Ganthet find themselves battling maddened members of the Green Lantern Corps, even as the Justice League is battered by brave men who should be their allies. A desperate Kyle heads to the JLA Watchtower for help, only to find the place leveled and only one hero standing – Hal’s best friend, Green Arrow. There, Kyle tells what he found at the edge of the universe, the truth about Parallax, the truth about Hal Jordan, and the truth about the Green Lantern Corps.

This issue, I must admit, really surprised me. We’ve only hit the halfway point of this series, and it seems like Johns has already laid all his cards on the table. All the revelations, all the surprises, all of it is already right here. That seems to leave three issues for an extended fight scene. I hope Johns has more up his sleeve than that.

I’ve also got to deduct points for the last-page surprise appearance by a character that’s died twice already (at least), and who seemed dead for good last time out. He’s apparently going to start trying to rival Magneto in the resurrection category.

Ethan Van Sciver’s artwork is phenomenal. With Moose Baumann giving the entire book a green tinge, this book looks more like a Green Lantern comic than any issue in years. He does a fantastic job not just on the GLs, but on the various other heroes herein. This is a guy who could easy have a spot illustrating the big DC team books – JLA or JSA – they’d be in great hands.

I am enjoying this series. Johns is probably telling the best story about Hal’s return that anyone could, and while I may not be crazy about all of the nuances of the tale, he’s executing it better than anyone in comics could.

Rating: 8/10

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

June 28, 2007

Quick Rating: Excellent
Title: The Second Rebirth

The greatest threat to the Green Lantern Corps rises!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ethan Van Sciver & Dave Gibbons
Colors: Moose Baumann
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics

For months now, a mysterious force has been going throughout the universe, recruiting beings with the ability to create great fear. In this exemplary special, the full power of the Sinestro Corps is known, and the DC Universe knows fear like never before.

While on Earth, the Justice League rounds up members of the Society to inquire about Sinestro’s whereabouts, in outer space, Kyle Rayner and a pair of fellow GLs encounter Sinestro rings spinning through the universe. The rings are only the first salvo, though, and before the book is halfway over it is clear that the Green Lantern Corps is in for perhaps the deadliest war it has ever known.

Geoff Johns does what he does best here – he pulls together disparate continuity threads to tell his story. It’s clear, reading this issue, that he has been planning this epic for a long time, as he picks up on story threads from his own Green Lantern: Rebirth, Infinite Crisis and 52, as well as several tales written by other writers (Ion, for instance), to create a story with a universal threat, but that is singularly unique to the Green Lantern titles. This is a story about fear – that’s Sinestro’s weapon. And to have any chance at victory, he has to find a way to create fear in a warrior class specifically chosen for its fearlessness.

And he does it.

Johns re-teams with his Rebirth partner Ethan Van Sciver on the artwork, and Van Sciver again proves just how good he is. His designs for the disparate aliens that make up the Sinestro Corps are the stuff of nightmares, and it’s easy to see on the faces of our heroes just how much hell they’ve been put through. They look like heroes who have already come through a war, and this is a war that’s just beginning.

Johns and Dave Gibbons team up for a back-up tale as well, re-telling Sinestro’s origin from his own particularly biased point of view. This works well as a nice primer for a newer fan who may not quite recognize Sinestro or understand what makes him such a threat.

If you haven’t read Green Lantern in a while, this is the book to come back for. Johns and Van Sciver have made magic together more than once in the past, and it’s a blast to see them doing it again.

Rating: 10