Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chris' Reviews 8/31 Pt. 1

Apologies for the late post -- I had the reviews all done and (I thought) posted, but apparently the Blogger Gremlins got fed after midnight, and the post disappeared. Stupid gremlins. So you'll get half the reviews now and half tomorrow.

And now, without further ado, comics are reviewed. As always: Spoilers Ahoy!


Geoff Johns' run comes to an end here, as does the Rogue War storyarc. I wish I could say that it tied things up and alluded to events to come, but to say that, dear friends, would be a pernicious lie. And 2 Guys Buying Comics is anything but pernicious.

So, Barry Allen comes back, takes Professor Zoom (the first one) back with him, gives Wally a hint of what's to come, then Wally shoves Professor Zoom (the lame one) and keeps him from killing their unborn children, then the Rogues (remember them?) make a guest appearance at the end and decide to join Luthor's Society, then Wally's twins are born, then the whole thing ends with the Flash running.

Got that?

So, the art is your standard Howard Porter, and I confess that I've always liked him on this title. No suprises here, but good-looking and definitely conveys a sense of speed (which is, you know, a good thing if the comic is The Flash).

But this comic's a mess story-wise. The Rogue War comes to an incredibly anti-climactic conclusion, and they only show up in this book at the very end, when they decide to join Luthor. Huh? Wha? Barry's advice to Wally is pretty much on the level of Mel Gibson's "Swing Away" plot hammer in the movie Signs. Okaaaaaay. And in a development that I think everyone had given up on caring about, we find out that Owen Harkness' (the new, even less compelling Captain Boomerang) mother was...Meloni Thawne. Which I think makes him Bart Allen's brother or something. I don't know. Or care. And finally, if Wally doesn't get killed in the upcoming Infinite Crisis, I'll eat my pants. There are just too here that Wally's going bye-bye soon.

A disappointing, Zoom-heavy end to an otherwise promising arc.

Best Moment: The final page was actually a nice upbeat ending, which we don't see a lot of in DC Comics these days.

Worst Moment: "When the time comes...push." Thanks, Barry. Because, you know, that's a lot more direct than just saying "Run back in time and shove Zoom in front of himself so his sonic boom doesn't kill your babies."

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Should have been a better wrap up to the Rogue War, and I was serious about that whole pants-eating thing.


So, I don't normally read Cap comics outside of his Avengers stuff. But I'd heard enough good things about Brubaker's run so far that I decided to take a flyer on this one. Near as I can tell, Cap/Sharon Carter/Nick Fury/SHIELD mount an operation that goes FUBAR, then they slink away with tails between legs. There's some hoo-ha about Cap not wanting Carter to come on the mission. Oh yeah, the Red Skull's daughter is broken out of a guvment re-education facility by Crossbones.

I liked the Tom Clancy vibe I got from this issue, but here's the biggest problem overall: Captain America is drawn to look like a pouting, overweight baby. I'm serious. It's like Steve Epting used a Cabbage Patch Kid as Cap's model for this issue, and it's incredibly distracting, not to mention less-than-heroic panels of what looks like some fat kid crying dressed up as Cap.

The details of the SHIELD assault were reasonably exciting, but I fear that I've come in too late to understand what's going on. I'll give this one another shot next month and see if it amps up and if Cap loses the baby fat.

Oh, and since when does Captain FREAKIN' America live in a warehouse in the ghetto disguised by a holodeck?

Best Moment: I never get tired of Cap's shield ricocheting off bad guys' noggins.

Worst Moment: Pouty Kid Dressed As Cap (PKDAC) trying to pull off manly Eastwood-ian dialogue. Either that or the Cosmic Cube Of Plot Devices making an appearance.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. There's enough here to make me want to read the next issue, unless PKDAC continues to put in appearances.


If you'll recall, my review of the last issue of GL was pretty positive---I praised its thematic subtletly, classic superhero action, and nice visuals.

This one? This one has nice visuals.

After a couple guys accidentally hit an alien on the road with their car, the next pages or so deal with the Guardians of Oa gettin' the band back together, and basically it's a Green Lantern recruitment drive. Which is cool. I've always been a bigger fan of the "Corps/Space Cops" aspect of the Lanterns, so it's nice to see that coming together.


Then Hal wrestles with Kilowog in the mud some (don't ask), and gets a call from Hector Hammond, who claims to know who or what was responsible for the alien that got hit by the car. Hal goes to see Hector.


So, Hal goes to the prison where Hammond's kept. Not only does the guard explain why Hammond's so dangerous (he takes over people's minds), he gives two examples of how deadly and malicious Hammond is. This is bolstered by the appearance of Sonar, another villain who's been screwed up by Hammond. "No worries," says Hal. "My ring protects my mind."


So, Hammond offers to tell Hal what's up with the alien in exchange exchange God...this is...deep breath. Start over.

Hammond offers to tell Hal what's up with the alien in exchange for Hal's memories of a date with a redhead.


But, dear readers, that's not the colossally stupid moment. That moment? HAL AGREES.

Having been forewarned (and knowing darn well what a dangerous guy Hammond is firsthand anyway) about his heightened powers, Hal decides that knowing who made this alien is SO IMPORTANT that he should let Hector Hammond inside his brain.


Hal's internal monologue must have run something like this:

"Hmm. I've got to get information on the genesis of this strange alien somehow. I could ask one of the fifty billion other superheroes I know. Naaah, that's be too easy. I know! I could take the alien back to the Guardians and see what they think. Nope, too cliche. Perhaps I could actually use my spacefaring powers and contacts and do a little detective work? Sounds exhausting. That's it, Hal old boy! I guess there's no option left other than to let a telepathic supercriminal inside my head and take his word for it that he'll keep his end of the bargain!"

You stupid, stupid man.

Well, it turns out that an alien race enjoys mutating humans, just like they did to Hammond and the alien hit by the car is actually a hyper-evolved human being.

Oh, and there's a really gruesome final 4 pages where the Shark shows up again and eats a couple of people. Meh.

Like I said: nice visuals.

Best Moment: The scene where Kilowog mocks Hal's inflated self-importance: "You ain't that big."

Worst Moment: See the above review for the colosally stupid moment.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. That moment ruined the whole damn thing. Could be an interesting arc (and the Shark is really scary here), but dammit, Johns, don't go barmy on us now.


Blogger Devon said...

Very good reviews here. I noticed you all don't pop up on "Simplewgblogs." It's a clearing house for comic book weblogs. Here's their address:

Hope it helps. I think more folks should know about you.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks, Devon! Just now emailed 'em, so hopefully it'll spread the word.

Thanks for the kind words, too!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Scipio said...

"You stupid, stupid man."

Hey, stupid is what Hal DOES, man.

And Devon's right, you get lots of nice attention when you're on Simpleweblogs. Welcome!

5:43 PM  

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