Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Green Lantern 40

by Geoff Johns and Philip Tan

Philip Tan was not the first person I would have thought to take over art chores for this title, but his style gives a darker atmosphere that feels right, given the current direction of the storyline. Johns continues to flesh out many different members of different color corps, alternating between busy scenes hat move things along, and big splash pages that provide a colorful spectacle so we can get nice visuals of all the interesting characters that are joyfully littering this title.

The drama starts early when the Guardians add their fourth new law: the Vega system, home to Starfire’s home planet, is no longer outside the jurisdiction of the Green Lantern Corps. Immediately, a massive strike force moves to arrest all of the crooks and other sundry undesirables that have made that star system their hangout, precisely because everybody knew that the Green Lanterns weren’t allowed to follow them there.

The greater agenda, though, is to go after Larfleeze, and it shows that the Guardians are willing to alter age-old agreements, but not be openly honest about their motivations. While going after murderers and thieves may make for good PR, it shows them to be a little disingenuous, as opposed to merely secretive. Whatever nobility and admiration people might have once held for the Guardians, I think those days are gone forever. They are proving to be fearful men desperately trying to control things, every bit as much as their brethren the Controllers that split off from them.

The Orange Corps seems to work by killing and absorbing people into it, and they can come back immediately as an energy construct to fight on the side of the orange. A backup tale illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque shows the origin of the Orange Lantern Glomulus, and it’s a humorous, great story, even though it’s only four pages. Next month, we get to see how Hal’s new blue/green problem can impact Larfleeze.

Justice Society of America 26

by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham

The parting shot from Geoff Johns on this title puts Stargirl in the spotlight, as she gets a surprise birthday party. Stargirl was one of the first new members to represent the next generation of the Justice Society, and as such she has proven to be a great bridge from the old to the new. Little scenes squeeze in as much character moments among this large cast, with a couple of Starman’s bits stealing the show.

The final scene with her at the dentist seems like it’s torn out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but with enough humor to be the punch line to a joke in the Sunday funnies. It’s a nice read, with not a villain in sight, and a good end-cap to a great run. Next month sees Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges take over. Talk about having to follow up a tough act!

Superman 687

by James Robinson and Renato Guedes

It may be my imagination, but Guedes seems to be growing better each month in his art. Granted, it may just be me glad to see Mon-el in action again, but I think it’s more than that. Robinson deftly moves among half a dozen different plot points with a smattering of the characters that now make up the supporting cast of Metropolis, creating a similar feel to what is going on over in the Batman titles.

Partly due to the big cast, it feels like this is a “set-up” issue for a bunch of things that will blow up in everyone’s collective face later. One cool thing is that Guardian is forming his own little Science police team to go rescue Tellus finally, and it feels almost sneaky to have two former?) members of the Legion of Super-Heroes frowing into this title.

The only drawback is at the end, where Mon-el can only tell us how he feels with thought bubbles, and suddenly he starts falling out of the sky. As opposed to losing only his flight, he thinks he has lost all his powers? It’s a little awkward, and feels like it was fabricated just to have something of a cliffhanger, which wasn’t necessarily needed. The good news is that the story is reading well overall, and I don’t feel like complaining about the absence of Superman. Now the question is this: is that a good thing, or a bad thing for Superman himself?

Teen Titans 70

by Sean McKeever and Joe Bennett

We’ve got our new team line-up, but just like last issue, we have no chance to get to know anyone, as this crossover event is demanding too much time. This could be gotten around if they would speed up the action, but instead we have to deal with six entire pages of them dealing with a plane crash. Come on, the X-Men or Avengers crash every other day, and they handle it in one or two pages. The strain of the three heroes at the end was out of proportion, as they should be able to handle it much easier.

At least Bennett’s art is good. Garfield wastes our time talking to an unconscious Cyborg about raven breaking up with him, and if that isn’t a little more self-absorbed than he usually is… Beast Boy has had a ton of tragedy in his life, and it is much more in his character to be thinking of other loved ones that he has lost. Instead, he’s moaning to his coma friend about a girl? Very lame. The sudden appearance of Vigilante is too convenient, and way forced. They have stretched too hard to bring Vigilante into the mix, and the effort falls flat. They need to do better.

Wonder Woman 31

by Gail Simone and Bernard Chang

Ares is looking impressive under Chang’s pencils, but with Ares running around in Marvel, the helmets are looking too similar. Not sure who will change first, but somebody should. They spend two entire pages on making sure to tell the reader it’s okay for Wonder Woman to cry, something nobody else would have felt the need to explain. One or two panels showing her alone with Etta would have driven the point home perfectly, in a much more touching manner, but the cast is too large and cluttered, and everyone needs to be able to say something, and it wrecks any emotional play that it might have had, especially since the art does not contribute much in the scene other than just the people themselves.

Then Athena shows up. She lays out everything for Dianna, revealing a plot point ripped straight from the classic Darkseid Saga form Legion of Super-Heroes used with Superman: Genocide is made from the future body of Wonder Woman herself, so she’s basically fighting a perverted future version. If it were me, I would have smacked Athena for waiting to tell me all this, and then tell me I have fifteen minutes to stop a world war. Gee, thanks for the massive heads-up. Aren’t you a goddess? This is the best you can do?

The issue ends on a point of pure ridiculous, as Diana smacks down a thermonuclear ICBM, with a great, blinding flash. Are we to assume she punched it and caused it to detonate prematurely, sparing the intended target? Because I got news for you, they aren’t built that way. There should have been a very small scene of destruction, with perhaps a small explosion. The big explosion implies that a thermonuclear weapon went off right next to Wonder Woman, and I gotta tell you, she just isn’t that tough. Pre-Crisis, post-Crisis, whatever, no version of Wonder Woman has been defined in power level and invulnerability to be able to survive a nuclear blast at pointblank range. So either way, it doesn’t make sense.

If you don’t stop to ask any questions, this run might look good, but the continual mistakes keep pulling the reader out of the story, and the nonsense is turning this into an average story.

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