Archive | September, 2011

This week’s batch of stuff

27 Sep

I had a pretty good week of books this week.  I have been getting all of my books digitally up to this point but my first few print editions finally arrived.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Before I explain my thoughts on each issue, I got Wonder Woman digitally, and Superboy and Legion of Super-heroes in print (which is kind of an interesting development).

Wonder Woman was a pleasant surprise.  I haven’t read it regularly since Phil Jimenez’s legendary run at the beginning of the century.  I have never read either of these creators on a book before.  I was suitably impressed.  Phil’s run was exciting, but I have always believed the Greek gods should play a major role in the book and I hadn’t seen a run that I felt got them the way I wanted them. Suddenly, though, Apollo is an insane, murderous god trying to destroy people’s lives.  Another goddess is sending monsters after some random human and Wonder Woman is called in by Hermes to save the day.  This has a great deal of potential.  The only shortcoming I foresee is the art.  I know a lot of people love it, but it’s just a little cartoony to me.  It could definitely grow on me.

Superboy was a book I was fearing would be a disaster.  I love Kon-El who is my all time favorite Superboy.  Karl Kesel’s run was absolutely a dream come true to me.  There was a lot of fun, especially when he returned and began really building up the Kirby background.  Geoff changed things up a bit and I appreciated what he did.  Suddenly, all of that was being tossed out the door and we were getting a new origin and new background.  I have to say it has potential.  I still miss my Kon-El but this could be exciting.  If I have to accept the Wildstorm characters, I really think this book does an excellent job of introducing them.  As it is, I am willing to give this a few issues.  I expected a little more “movement” overall, but I am in for now. 

Finally, and probably the most difficult to review overall, is the Legion of Super-heroes.  It is a book that is heavily influenced by what came in the past.  In it’s last incarnation, they had just wrapped up a major storyline a little too quick and pat to me and this was built on that.  Also, many characters I cared for were ripped from Paul Levitz and moved to the Lost title.  Still, I really enjoyed this.  There is something about the Legion that lends itself to these rebuilding concepts.  The team has always had a ton of characters and so if some vanish, there can still be a team.  Some of the academy members joined.  And although Glorith is a tad weird, the name has connections with my all-time favorite villian, the Time Trapper.  I never could accept her as the Trapper but I like her being in his ball game.  Is this new Glorith the original?  And as many sites are promoting, is she the new character appearing in every book?  The look is similar.  I enjoyed the book, though I know a lot of people didn’t.  Paul is one of those rare authors I would read if they wrote a cereal box and this is my chance to read him writing his favorite characters.  Bring it on! 

On Wednesday, I am getting three books.  I have several other print editions coming also.  That said, this weekend I plan on writing about my overall opinion of the new 52.

O.M.A.C. and Keith Giffen

21 Sep

My favorite comic creator of all time is Keith Giffen, who co-created classic runs on the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Justice League in the 80s.  I loved these books and still read them frequently.  Until recently, I purchased my comics from the local comic shop, and unfortunately they didn’t get his most recent book Doom Patrol, which I heard was wonderful (if you liked his work).  So when the new 52 was announced, I eagerly waited to see if there would be a book by Keith.  And then, the worst news I could imagine was anounced, Dan Didio was working with him…..on O.M.A.C. 

Dan Didio is far from my favorite creator in comics. In fact, I have use for him.  I was sure I wasn’t going to even try it.  And O.M.A.C. was a character I never cared about either.  Many characters I loved were getting pushed aside while this rare Jack Kirby creation I didn’t like was getting my favorite creator to work on a series for him.  To add insult to injury, suddenly, O.M.A.C. became a critically accaimed title. 

I had carefully chosen the titles I was going to purchase and this wasn’t one of them.  But I kept hearing about the influence Keith Giffen had on the title.  The art in the preview was a lot of fun, as Keith channeled his inner Kirby.  Finally, I decided to skip Justice League Dark at the end of the month and try it.  I have to admit, I was truly surprised.  I don’t know what Dan brought to the title, but it was really fun.  It reminded me a lot of early Marvel’s Hulk, which is a title I never cared for but it’s a fun vibe. 

In O.M.A.C., we discover that Cadmus Labs, a Kirby creation I have always loved, secretly is creating all sorts of craziness.  Meanwhile, a large, rampaging hulk like creature with a crazy blue mohark begins assaulting the building.  The beast is being led by Brother Eye, a gigantic power mad satellite, who wants to interface with Cadmus computer core.  When O.M.A.C. discovers the underground labs, a collection of odd creatures Cadmus created, like the old Dubbilex, critters that eat people, and a beatiful woman, whose head opens to a lazer cannon.  Although he makes his way through these threats, the issue ends with him mysteriously transplanted to a desert and restored to human form.  The next issue is aptly titled “Next issue things get really weird.”  I certainly recommend this title!

To make the new 52 even more interesting, Green Arrow’s writer is leaving with issue three, only to be replaced by Keith Giffen, who describes the new working relationship with Dan Jurgens and George Perez as some of the most fun he has had.  That’s another book I have to decide to drop.  Darn you Giffen!

Week 2 on the DCnU

16 Sep

This week was a fun week for my DC purchases. I am still waiting for my print books to arrive, as I have several books I order, but this week I purchased four titles digitally. Mostly, they were pretty good overall. I had a few problems with some of the books however. The biggest problem was page count. DC recently had their “Hold the line at 2.99” initiative, which dropped the number of pages in a standard book down to 20 pages. Now, I understood that to be 20 pages of story. Most of the books however had 19 pages of story plus the title, while Legion Lost seems to be 18 pages of story, a title page, and a stupid ad for Hot Wheels. Now, in a standard comic book, I expect ads, but digitally I only expect the occasional, “Buy these other digital titles” ads. And I expect 20 pages of story!

1) My favorite book of the week was a surprise, but one I was hoping would be. It was Demon Knights. Now, I am not a big fan of the Demon Etrigan in a book devoted to him, but have really enjoyed him as a guest star, and always thought he was one of Kirby’s great characters. For those who don’t know, Merlin trapped a demon in the body of a poor man, Jason Blood, on the night Camelot fell. In this new book, he is in love with Xanadu, DC’s resident fortune teller, of whom I also don’t normally care for. The two are trying to stop an evil Queen from dominating medieval Europe. As a fan of history and comics, I love this concept. There’s also the new Shining Knight, and although I prefer the original, at least Paul seems to write her fun. Vandal Savage looks to be joining the rag tag team of heroes. The final members are an Arabian Bruce Wayne, crazed Amazon, and mysterious horse lady. Most exciting to me, though, is the second villain, Modru. I LOVE this old Legion foe, and was thrilled when DC added him the JSA. This is a book that I look forward to. It might even be my favorite title of the DCnU currently.

2) Legion Lost is a book I desperately want to love and it was pretty good. Not great by far, but decidedly decent. Members of DC’s thirty-first century super-team follow an evil threat to the 21st century, where their tech suddenly stops working. The team consists of Gates, Tellus, Chameleon Girl, Dawnstar, Wilfdire, Tyroc, and Lonewolf. The book heats up quickly, as it appears the villain has some dreaded disease he affects people with. The book’s story is exciting, but ends in a way that, though previews hinted at, severely disappoints me, as two members (including my favorite of the seven) died in an attempt to stop the villain. I plan on trying the next issue or two but this really stole a great deal of my excitement.

My other problem is the art in the book. The art just doesn’t measure up in any way. It was definitely my least favorite looking book of the week.

3) Red Lanterns was a good book. The characters are typical insane Red Lanterns. Dex-star shows up, which is always fun, and is rescued from a mission gone awry by Atrocitus, the granddaddy Red Lantern. Atrocitus, though, isn’t feeling all ragey currently, as the focus of his mad on is now dead, killed by Hal Jordan, in the last issue of the last Green Lantern title. Meanwhile, it appears a human is about to go the route of Red Lantern, which could be interesting. Atrocitus figures out what he is missing, just in time to realize Bleeze may be plotting to overthrow him. All in all, I see this as an interesting addition to the Green Lantern mythos, as long as they occasionally intertwine,

4) Finally, I got Suicide Squad. I loved the original Squad and the sequel series of Secret Six. This book doesn’t appear to have any of the charm of either series. Deadshot is still Deadshot, and has a few moments. Harley is always fun, but the new costume is a disaster. King Shark looks nothing like himself though and neither does Waller, the squad’s leader. The cliffhanger could lead to an interesting mission and I will definitely try issue 2 but unless it is much better, I will be done with it.

Week 2 was fun. The mystery cloaked woman is still around which could be a great moment. I don’t plan on getting much next week but I hope someone lets me know some books are worth while. Have a great week.

My Favorite Martian and The Justice League International

8 Sep

This week, DC’s big 52 initiative hit the ground running with many titles I wanted to read.  However, I have limited funds, so I had to settle on two of the new 52 this week.  My all time favorite run in comics was Giffen and Demattias’s run on the Justice League International, so I have been waiting patiently for Justice League International since I heard it was coming.  The other book I got was Stormwatch because Martian Manhunter is one of my favorite characters of all time.  I must confess, though neither book made me love them, both were actually pretty good. 

Stormwatch 1

I only bought this book for Jonn Jonzz the Martian Manhunter.  He is one of DC’s oldest heroes, dating back to the dawn of the Silver Age, and was a founding member of the Justice League.  In the DCnU, this may or may not be the case.  Instead, he is an active member of Stormwatch, a series that DC gained when they purchased Wildstorm, a rival years ago.  Now for the first time, the Wildstorm characters are part of the DCU proper, which is kind of neat.  It’s like what they did with the Charleton and Fawcett characters after the Crisis.  I had never read the series before, though I did read a few issues of Authority, a team that this version of Stormwatch seems to meshed with.  It was a more violent and sexual version of the Justice League years ago.  So how did this book go now?

I was pleasently surprised.  Jonn seems a good deal more serious.  But that works.  He is the last survivor of an alien race, but unlike Superman, he knew his people.  He also should be considered one of the most powerful heroes out there, having Superman’s powers and then some.  Seeing him floor Apollo quickly was a treat, though then in turn seeing him beaten by Midnighter disappointed me.  Frankly, I was completely disappointed with Midnighter, who looked like an S & M actor, instead of a “superhero,” but this is a minor gripe.  The rest of the story had definite promise.  The moon is possessed, and some ninja sword guy is trying desperately to diagnose the threat?  Now, I would have sent Jonn myself to deal with this, but maybe there is a method to this potential madness?  Overall, the book had a lot of interesting characters and premise.  I look forward to the next issue. 

Justice League International 1

The old JLI was my all time favorite series and team book.  The characters and humor were perfect.  For those who thought it was always humor, though, I recommend you check out the Despero story and the Extremists story in the JLE book.  The books could be very serious when they wanted to.  I can’t recommend these books highly enough.  I have loved them always and after selling my entire collection several years ago, I can honestly say that the JLI is one of the few titles I care enough about to repurchase.  But what about the reboot?

This isn’t Dan’s first shot with the Justice League International, having written and penciled the JLA branch after Griffen and Demattias left.  His new start is a pretty solid start.  Overall, I think it might even be stronger start than last week’s Justice League.  It features classic JLI characters like Booster, Guy, Bats, Fire and Ice.  It also has recent newcomer to the JLI in Gavril, the new Rocket Red introduced in last year’s Generation Lost.  I would have much rather it had been Dimitri, the classic Rocket Red, and yes I realize he died a few years ago, but this is a reboot.  The August General in Iron, from 52, Godiva, a former member of the Global Guardians, and Vixen, former JLAer round out the team.  It’s an interesting group of characters.  Already we see Guy is a hothead, Booster is a gloryhound, Godiva seems like a new Crimson Fox. I really like that Batman has faith in Booster and shows up later as a member. 

The story features the start of a new crisis.  A group known as the Signal Men are rising around the world.  These look like classic killer robot monsters and could be a lot of fun.  The book has a few jokes, here and there.  Nothing “Bwahaha” worthy, but cute nonetheless.  I really like that this book mentions the regular Justice League is “still around” in the present day.  Based on the writing alone, I look forward to the next issue. 

The art wasn’t bad, but it could have been much better.  I would rather have had Dan pencil this instead of Green Arrow. Unfortunately, this looks like a no. 

Based on the first whole week of the DCnU, I have high hopes that this could work.  Although the books I have read have only been pretty good, that is a lot better than it could be.  I enjoyed all three books more than the last Justice League title, which I thought was decent.  Next week has many books I am interested in.  I can’t wait.

My Thoughts on Crazy, Stupid, Love

6 Sep

So today’s post is a little different.  I had a crazy, busy weekend.  School work, church stuff, and family stuff dominated this three day weekend.  My wife and I wisely planned our anniversary around a holiday weekend, and although it is always nice, it’s almost always packed with five or six thousand things to do.  This weekend, my wife and I decided to go to a movie.  We saw Crazy, Stupid, Love this weekend.  I must confess, though I like Steven Carroll, I have never really loved him in a movie.  This was fantastic though.  The storyline was funny and (I have always been a romantic sap) quite good.  I honestly don’t recall the last movie where everyone laughed so much.  Our hero, Stephen Carroll, finds that his wife cheated on him and tries to move on with life.  To do so, though, requires help from a local big shot with the ladies, Ryan Gosling, to teach him about women today.  This goes quite well, until Ryan realizes he is in love, and needs help from Stephen to get the lady.  Eventually it all blows up, like all movies must.  But it does it really well.  Meanwhile, Stephen’s middle school son has a crush on a high school kid, who has a crush on dear old dad.  This leads to the one part of the movie I was disappointed in.  From a (former) boy’s perspective, I can imagine the excitement that would come from a scene near the end, but as a parent, I was really disgusted by it.  Other than that one point, though, this movie was a resounding success.  Easily an 8 or 9. 

On a different note, the new 52 is now in high gear.  I am very excited about.  Although I use this for all sorts of random thoughts, I know I mainly use it for comic book information.  So, over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing the issues I get.  I get some via subsciption, I will be getting several day and date digitally.  When I get them, I will review each first issue.  On the other hand, I will be getting some issues in a hardcover come DC.  I will review it as a whole, not specific issues.  Let me know what you think. 

 

 

The Justice League 1

2 Sep

Much has been said, here and elsewhere, about the new DCU.  Yesterday, the first book launched.  In a lot of ways, I think it was an overwhelming success, but there were some things that could have been done better I believe.  And because I am a pessimist so often, I think I will start with those. 

First off, the release was flawed.  Much was made about the new all digital line-up.  Much was also made about the midnight release of Justice League 1.  Being mildly OCD, I didn’t sleep much Tuesday night, and somehow woke up at 12:40, without an alarm clock.  At that point, there was no sign of an update.  I was quite disappointed.  I woke up a little bit later to see Comixology had updated, and it said to check back at 2 something to see Justice League 1. Much later, when fully awake, I realized it said 2 PM. But in my half asleep state, my insane OCD night had me wake at 3, and try to download a book that still said to check back at 2.  Finally, at 6:30, I checked again when I woke up for work to realize it still was not ready.  During my morning break, I discovered the missed “PM.”  Now, DC had announced that starting in September, all books would be available digitally at 2:00 PM EST but this was an August book, being released at midnight.  I was not a happy man. 

In all seriousness, though, the two biggest problems I have seen mentioned elsewhere.  Geoff Johns is sticking with his typical, long narrative form of story telling, which is great three or four months into a major storyline, but which also seems deflated month in and month out.  A lot of entertaining things happened, but the story didn’t advance far from page one.  2 heroes teamed up, and lo and behold, they finally bump into member 3 at the end. 

The other problem is the art.  Jim Lee does a really good job, for the most part, like normal.  However, a few panels don’t quite measure up to the rest of the book.  Victor Stone’s first close up, after his big game, is a little too busy, for lack of a better term, and Hal suffers a similar fate while talking with Batman about Superman.  But the biggest artistic problem is the variant cover.  I know I may be in the minority on this, but the Justice League look like the Dwarf League of Middle Earth, which I am sure would sell like crazy, but doesn’t fit “my Justice League.”  Not too mention, if they are really trying to push the diversity angle (which, boy are they!), it seems a little odd that the one black member got left off the variant. (And yes, I am worried about pointing this out, as I am sure we will all about it for months). It’s almost as noticeable as Hal’s unfortunate gun placement on the standard cover. 

In spite of these, really small issues, I think the book was a wonderful success.  Hal and Batman together is always fun.  I love Batman in movies and games, but rarely enjoy his comic books.  That said, it is almost always fun seeing him in a team up situation, because he gets to show why he is Batman, and no else is.  Now, Hal has and always will be my favorite comic book character, and I don’t think anyone writes him as good as Geoff, but watching Bats bust on Hal was entertaining.  My favorite scene was probably when Batman quite literally stole the Lantern’s thunder.  Or when Superman showed up and took command.  Or when the rogue alien (I am still hoping Parademons can’t change form in this version of the story) reveals the true threat, which yes, had been revealed a few weeks earlier.  I have waited years for Geoff to write a Darkseid story.  I am sure he won’t disappoint!

And Jim really does a good job on the art for the most part.  He is definitely not my favorite comic book artist.  Alex Ross will probably always be the man, in that respect.  But Mr. Lee is incredibly talented.  I loved his Batman run years ago.  And although I skipped his run on Superman, the pictures I saw were stellar.  I think he may surpass himself now, though.  And though my Superman will always wear his undies on the outside, I am willing to give the new costumes a break. 

All in all, I think this book was an above average introduction to the new DCU.  I have read it several times.  I hope to zoom in frame by frame soon with my iPad to really appreciate some of the bits of the story.  Finally, it set my mind at ease about two concerns I had for the DCnU, though I still have others.  First off, Superman will have his “standard” costume within a year comic book time.  I am sorry, but I can’t see Superman being a jeans and t kind of guy.  Also, Lex is still “my Lex” apparently.  Though I have always felt someone should fill the old Earth 1 role of Luthor, super-mad scientist guy, I always preferred the Post-Crisis, smartest business man in the world Lex.  Viva la LexCorp! 

PS  Still excited Earth 2 is officially back in action!