Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Final Crisis: Revelations 5

by Greg Rucka and Philip Tan

It’s a rare thing to see religion as a major part of a comic story and not as the standard cliché of a religious cult, or as the old tripe of how all evil is done in the name of religion. Here, we have naked evil, forcefully trying to tear down all that is good. Rucka weaves Bible quotes into the story, and Tan paints as grim a picture as you can get. The only part that feels slightly out of place is that Vandal Savage/Cain is playing a part of Darkseid’s scheme, and it seems wrong to have him play second fiddle. Granted, he doesn’t really mention Darkseid much, so perhaps he is biding his time until he can take out Darkseid too.

It boils down to faith and a choice to heal, and Montoya is crucial to restoring the Spectre, who is crucial to freeing the world from the anti-life equation. Story and art both maintain their high quality. Unfortunately, by the time we get to Final Crisis #7, both Spectre and Mercy are only shown in one panel, already defeated as an after-thought, and it seems like there should be more to their story than that. But as far as this mini-series is concerned, it was pretty good. I’ll be on the lookout for the next things that Rucka and/or Tan work on for sure.

Legion of Super-Heroes 50

by Jim Shooter and Ramon Bachs

At last! A series that ends on a good note. It’s an even 50 issues for this incarnation of the Legion, and instead of trying to ask us to buy two covers, they give us a nice wrap-around cover, which is appreciated. Brainiac 5 sends a select strike force into the virtual world to combat the threat at its source while the rest of the team fights a holding action to contain the immense damage to the real universe.

Bachs does an interesting job on art, even though he gets the perspective wrong on bodies quite a bit, but I suppose that could have been an exaggeration due to the virtual environment he was trying to depict, for some of it. The storytelling itself was much tighter, more cohesive than it has been for most of the last year. We get a resolution to the alien invasion, and Shooter still manages to fit in a little romance sub-plot with Invisible Kid, and wrap up the Dream Girl issue. I think DC already has plans for another stab at this group, but I hope they take their time and come up with something special, because these paper characters deserve it.

Faces of Evil: Kobra 1

by Ivan Brandon and Julian Lopez

Jason Burr is the new Kobra, twin brother to the original, who is now dead. Jason Burr was also Bell, an undercover operative for Checkmate. The plot threads pick up from Rucka’s run on Checkmate, when Superman was involved in saving some snake-babies and protecting them. Jason goes from denying his role to fully accepting it, but that part goes by quickly. There is probably a little more to his conversion that we could have been shown, but the way he decides to restructure his army of Kali Yuga organization is a good one.

By the time Kobra is done, he is so confident that he makes an address to the world, and threatens the world’s heroes. The speed with which Superman hurtles down upon seeing one of the snake-babies is well-drawn, as we know he is already too late. Man, what if he teams up with Prometheus and Deathstroke?

I’m starting to like this “setting of the stage” for 2009. It feels like they are weaving together a meta-story without forcing people to buy into all of the tie-ins and crossovers. If you want to collect them all, more power to you, but you can just collect the titles you want to, and Faces of Evil will make an appearance throughout the year, but will not demand you go pick up a dozen other books. It may present a new, better method than company-wide intricate crossovers that may be hit or miss.

Reign in Hell 7

by Keith Giffen and Tom Derenick

Bill Sienkiewicz seems to have more fun getting into excruciating detail when he’s inking the bad guys; the first few pages are drawn well, but as soon as Satanus appears, things get kicked up a notch. The heroes are mostly discombobulated as Satanus takes a breather to consolidate his new reign, and people are mostly concentrating on finding a relatively safe place before they can plan their next move.

With a cast this large, things can become confusing (can you say Final Crisis?), but I found the story rotating to all of the large cast without much trouble recognizing everyone and remembering where things picked up from the previous issue. The backup story has pencils by Chad Hardin, and the angelic version of Supergirl ends up seeing something that rubs her the wrong way in Dr Occult’s mystic symbol.

The one bad thing is that I was hoping the stories would merge better once Dr. Occult linked up with the other heroes for one big final issue. Instead, it looks like we have two stories again for issue #8. Still worth getting, especially if they can keep their momentum and give us new stories that result from this event.

Trinity 34

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Mike Norton and Walden Wong

We get a layout of the villains and their respective places as part of the “Dark Arcana,” which is cool. We also get more of a look into the history behind Enigma, who by all rights should be a hero, except for the path he has chosen to achieve his agenda. The trick Steph plays on him is a good one!

The ancient histories have near reached their end, as Busiek raises a very interesting question with Lois Lane: “I’m the one who broke Superman?!” The altered versions of the trinity finally decide to become involved. I called for them to come back (as themselves) by issue 40, we’ll soon find out how close I was. The core team of supporters better work fast, because Morgaine and company look like they are slowly winning.

The art teams trade off at different places in the book, with different effects, with the Enigma flashback almost like when they put a filter over the camera in the movies. It makes for a seamless reading, much less noticeable than when the backup story in Reign in Hell takes over from the primary story.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.