Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

Green Lantern Corps 26

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

My complaint that I am going to raise is not with the story, nor the art, in this title. No, my complaint is something that has been bugging me for a month now. DC decided to have a poster made of their most powerful female characters in the entire DC Universe. It should have been a three-page spread, and they could have given us a fold-out page with room for a paid ad on the backside of the page. Instead, they give us two-thirds of the picture, and you get the middle part plus the other third in another comic. Lunacy, I tell you. Lunacy!

The actual story here is a conclusion of the Mercy deal, with Mongul’s previous misuse of her nature to spread fear. The wrap-up has the death of a Corps member, which some people may find sad. It is hard to work up too much emotion over a Corps member, though, when the ring automatically seeks out a replacement. However, there is an interesting thing that happens when both a Sinestro Corps ring and a Green Lantern Corps ring both have to find a suitable host, and they find the same potential host. I hope to see more interesting things in the future involving these rings and their programming, and their choices.

Justice League of America 23

by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes

I have a drastic problem with McDuffie’s story-telling method, in that his timing stinks as he tries to be clever. Case in point: last issue he had Black Canary kick the Vixen out of the League for withholding information about her changing powers. I called shenanigans when it happened, because it was ludicrous. This issue opens on Canary telling Vixen she’s out only until her powers are fixed?!? That is a big change from Dinah’s attitude last issue, and shows McDuffie only wrote the previous issue to artificially create a sense of tension, so he could artificially make Canary look like a cool person this time around. It is completely transparent and amateurish, and if he spent more time writing a straightforward story, and less time trying to dream up these imaginary “twists,” we might have a better story.

The rest of the issue is mostly an Amazo fight, and Benes is great with his art, so that saves the issue. This is the midpoint of introducing the threat behind Vixen’s problems, and it is related somehow to Animal Man’s powers. Hope they return him in time to help out with the Rann/Thanager War.

Legion of Super-Heroes 44

by Jim Shooter and Sanford Greene

You can tell a book is sliding when they change to an artist that looks like he’s a thirteen year old Manga fan who hasn’t had any training. The faces are ultra-simplistic, and Ultra Boy looks like a hick from TrailerTrashVille. Saturn Girl’s nose looks four different sizes on two pages. Are we just giving up on this title, DC? To be cancelled in a few months? Ugh.

The story is almost halfway decent, just for fixing the whole UP-is-mad-at-the-Legion mess. Normally I would be up in arms at Jim Shooter fixing every outstanding issue in one page, but I am so happy I don’t have to sit through one more page of a Legion member dealing with paperwork, I withhold what would be my normal criticism.

What is strange is that Shooter infused more personality in the characters when he was writing them while he was a teenager. Maybe he needs to find his inner child again. There is almost no discernible character development with any of the large cast of characters. The thing that made the Legion special is that any one of the characters could receive the spotlight at any moment, and you could almost guarantee you would learn something new about him or her, and be captivated. Right now the focus is on the whole team at once, more or less, and with lousy art, there isn’t much reason to pay attention to any of it. I’m giving Shooter a couple more issues to show us a reason to care about someone, anyone.

Robin 175

by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Bennett

Fabian Nicieza takes over from the rapidly-departed Chuck Dixon on writing duties. Nicieza seems to be a pinch-hit writer, able to leap in and write a fast story for any character you need covered; that’s a handy talent to have. He actually gives us a better in-depth look at the potential source of Batman’s problems than Morrison is doing over in the main Bat-title. Bennett is passably good on the art chores, although I would love to seem him grow into his own distinctive style.

The story mostly falls into flashbacks, going back to the events in 52, where Bruce, Dick, and Tim took a year sabbatical, and what Bruce experienced during that time frame. I have a slight resistance to the cover of the issue, because it harkens back a little too much to the Jason Todd storyline, “A Death in the Family,” whereas this cover says “Death of a Family.” Considering how diluted Jason Todd’s “death” has become with the punching-holes-in-reality lameness of his resurrection, they really didn’t need to go and remind us of the older, better stuff.

Hmm, how long will we get Nicieza on the book? It might be cool to see what he can do with the character without a mega-crossover event getting in the way.

Superman 678

by James Robinson and Renato Guedes

This is a week for small disappointments. James Robinson came into this with the fans giving him such high expectations. For me, all it took was two issues for those expectations to be dashed to the ground and stomped on. For starters, the Atlas character is so similar to Gog at first glance, I thought the cover had Supes facing off against Gog, but that’s probably because both have been rendered by Alex Ross recently. Then I remembered that Robinson was using a decades-old Kirby creation. Not a big deal, just me getting confused, right?

It went downhill after the cover. From the awkward first narrative caption on, it just goes down.

Robinson gives us a meaningless flashback that has Lois concerned about Krypto. Why? Even though Krypto hasn’t gotten a lot of screen time the last few years, almost every time he shows up, he’s helping his master. Then Clark asks if Lois is acting strangely because of Zatanna, which makes even less sense to me. Less time with Easter eggs that make no sense, please. I have a simple answer: Lois was acting that way because she has a writer who doesn’t understand her.

The backstory of Atlas is interesting, but the villain looks like the United States military again, which was just done over in Superman/Batman, and is getting tiresome. If I had a nickel for every out-of-control general in DC, I’d be richer than Bruce Wayne. Busiek touched on the military angle too recently, and also had small, fast-moving surveillance devices able to follow Superman and record what he was doing, so most of the rest of the issue feels like a re-run of everything I’ve been reading for the past two years. I’m still waiting for something original.

In the meantime, “Control” is missing a word in her sentence, as she means to say “at least from what I can see.” It’s only the “I” that is missing, but considering we have editors and assistant editors now, and the writer himself, and the letterer, and proofreaders… I give up. The art is good, but the rest of the production falls way short.

The blogosphere is already rampant with complaints about the whole space-catch and disgusting innuendo conversation form last issue, but almost nothing about this issue in the many places fans gather to discuss comics. That’s because people have already dropped the title, and are not reading it. I have seen massive amounts of conversation about tons of comics already in the last two days, and almost nothing about this title. And what I read about the previous issue was almost entirely negative. That gives you a hint how this thing is going to go with Robinson.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.