Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

It’s a Faces of Evil month, meaning the villains get top billing on all of DC’s covers for a while. We’ll cover some one-shots later that do better with the whole concept, but for all of these regular monthly titles, there isn’t necessarily a special focus on these bad guys as much as they just get a nice cover to themselves, while the regularly-plotted storyline continues.

Action Comics 873

by Geoff Johns, Renato Guedes, Wilson Magalhaes, and Pete Woods

Ladronn gives us a nice cover of Luthor, but the real master planner here is General Lane, who has a genuine hate-on against anything Kryptonian. Back at the New Krypton ranch, the heroes are duking it out with what seems like the population of the entire city. A magic trick of sorts takes 10,000 of them out of commission temporarily, but are we really expected to believe that Allura has mobilized the entire rest of the population to her side? So much for the broad spectrum that society can offer; the plot may have taken a serious hit if we are going to simply accept that almost the entire city will automatically go to one side. I was relishing the idea of a bunch of Kryptonians deadlocked like we often are when it comes to deciding which course to take.

The art is also a slight let-down for me, as we have multiple artists, but it looks like at least one of them is inking his own work again, and several pages of art have less detail than I would like, as a result. The final thing is reminiscent of Heroes Reborn, as the new Kryptonian landmass settles in orbit directly opposite Earth; since Secret Invasion seemed so much like Millenium, I guess it’s only fair play to see DC use plot points that we saw people at Marvel use years ago.

For all of the little slings and arrows I throw, it was still a good read overall, and there are a couple of possible surprises in the issue that may make things more interesting as the story continues. This particular issue may be one of the weakest lately, but the general direction is still good.

Booster Gold 16

by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

In a way fitting for a time-travel book, the Faces of Evil star for Booster this month is Enemy Ace! It’s hard to look at the image of the Ace’s face on the splash page and not think of Joe Kubert. A minor digression over to Skeets and Michelle shows us they have a “Men in Black” device to erase the Elongated Man’s memory, so as to reduce potential damage to the time stream. Let’s hope Booster doesn’t use it on himself after a regrettable weekend…

Dan Jurgens does a great job painting a portrait of the Enemy Ace as a man tired of death, yet resigned to doing his duty. While normally he should not present a big problem to Booster, our hero has some problems with his suit, plus the restriction against doing anything too extreme to change the timeline. It all makes for a great story, even as a stand-alone, although the reveal of who Booster saves is a neat egg that makes Booster (partially) personally responsible yet again for enabling more of DC’s history. One of my favorite stories by Dan Jurgens. I think he’s getting better with time! (Pun was totally unintentional, honest!)

Green Lantern Corps 32

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Kryb has been trying to get at the child of a married Green Lantern team, and we open up on Kryb finding Kyle Rayner’s willpower… “unsettling,” which is cool. Tomasi is making the most of the multiple color Corps, bringing the purple into play quickly. As has been happening lately, the Guardians rewrite the Book of Oa right in the middle of a fight, outlawing relationships between Lantern members. So much for them being wise. It will be interesting to see how the galaxy (and other Green Lanterns) react to the Guardians’ latest decisions, and if they will continue to be held in high esteem.

Rayner lets Star Sapphire Miri take off with Kryb, sort of as a consolation prize for coming to their aid, and part of me is dying to see how much trouble he’ll be in with the Guardians over this! Miri also drops a tiny bombshell on Rayner and Natu, which may herald some romance in the future, and even more controversy with the latest dictum from the Guardians. The final couple pages are awesome, with Salaak getting a baby, a ton of responses from Corps members on the “no dating” policy, and a little glimpse into what Mongul is up to.

This title has hit its stride, and I’m looking for it to continue, full steam ahead. So far, DC is kicking off the new year well, story-wise.

Nightwing 152

by Peter J. Tomasi and Don Kramer

Since everything comes out of order, I don’t think there needs to be an editorial note to go read Final Crisis #6 before you read this title, but FC 6 is out now, anyway. Kramer is back giving us some excellent art, but MAN is that a lot of Ninjas. Can’t anyone come up with at least an alarm for the Bat-cave anymore? Ra’s al Ghul is behind the shenanigans, and all for a truce so he can have a conversation with Nightwing.

I wish I could say it was an entirely pleasant conversation, but if you want to feel bad for Ra’s, he’s mad that somebody else killed Bruce. Yeah, I’m all torn up inside too. Hmm, they brought Jason Todd back with a little help from a Lazarus Pit, maybe that’s how Bruce Wayne will come back. It’s too bad the series is ending with #153, it’s better now than it has been in a while.

Titans 9

by Judd Winick, Howard Porter, and J. Calafiore

We start with a flashback showing how Jericho originally lost his voice, but it falls flat for some reason or another. Part of it is the art style, which doesn’t feel “flashbacky” (trademark!), part of it is the rephrasing of the origin, while still using some of the verbatim text from the original, classic Wolfman and Perez scene. Luckily it’s over quick. But not really.

Jericho is hiding inside Nightwing, and it is used as an excuse for a psychological trip into Joey’s mind, and we have a retcon “first” use of Joey’s mutant power, just to try to drum up some sympathy for the kid. It feels all too much like the M.A.S.H. ripoff story Winick wrote for John Stewart a couple years back in Green Lantern, and Calafiore’s style is too cartoony to come across as appropriately dark/threatening/imposing in any way.

In a transparent bid to increase sales, the JLA has magically discovered that the Titans have Jericho, and they want him for the ruckus caused in the lame DC: Decision mini-series, also written by Winick. Gee, let me guess: the Titans are going to fight the JLA next issue. I am so bored with this hack repetition. If you want a good story with the Titans, go pick up some Wolfman and Perez stuff; even re-reading that for the 100th time is still better than this.

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

I couldn't agree more with your review of Booster Gold (I mean, maybe I could, but I'm not sure how...). I'm a bit of an Enemy Ace fan, and so I wasn't sure what we'd get with this issue, but the team understood both the well-defined look of the character and the very well-defined motives and spirit of Von Hammer.

Honestly, I was expecting a bit of a disaster (Booster and Enemy Ace?), but it worked, and that gives me high hopes for the series.

-- Posted by: Ryan at January 19, 2009 1:03 AM