Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review � Part 1

Blackest Night 2

by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

The art is very eye-catching, and Reis must be having a blast. His Aquaman is particularly menacing, implying power where Marvel�s zombies imply decay and rotting weakness. All the Black Lanterns have the new Corps symbol on their costumes where they might have had another symbol in life. Some of the magical forces surprised me, such as Deadman�s corpse returning to life. Just as surprising but pleasing was the peace of Don Hall�s spirit, which seemed to be keeping five different rings busy trying to get him out of his grave.

A lot of this issue showed Tempest and Mera getting accosted by Aquaman, Tula, and Dolphin, complete with dead fish summoned by Aquaman. Forget the rotting corpse problem, these Corps members can regenerate, which makes fighting them seem almost futile. Another nice surprise is Pariah, a character that had great potential and was killed purely as a toss-away, because writers at DC had no place for him. I was just talking at the comic store the other day about how I would like to have seen him put to use more, and presto! Johns delivers. One of the things that makes the fight sequences chilling is the accusing perspective of the dead, and how they can rattle the nerves of the living. Think of it, you�ve got a lover or relative that died, and he/she is blaming you for everything that went wrong. At the same time, you have to be physically fighting too!

Mystical force proves no barrier as the Spectre falls to this new force, and every page has good stuff in it: the death of Garth, the teamwork of Hal and Barry, the coming of Abin Sur, and the final page that shows an assemblage of the Black Lantern Justice League is gleefully chilling. They have some journal entries called �The Book of the Black� at the end, which I assume is the book that Scar is always reading. That gives us 24 pages of art, three of the journal, and a preview of Superman: Secret Origins in the back. The $3.99 cover price and the additional pages from issue #1 has some fans upset that the subsequent issues have fewer pages, especially when compared with solicitations that led them to believe they would be getting more. For myself, it�s worth the price, with both story and art in high form and complementing each other to a masterful degree.


Blackest Night: Batman 1

by Peter J. Tomasi and Ardian Syaf

Boston Brand�s body is back, and Deadman can�t handle the pain of trying to possess his own body! He heads for Bruce Wayne, but of course jumps into Dick Grayson�s body, prompting Damian to realize something�s wrong and start attacking the new Batman. Deadman switches to Damian�s body and brings Dick up to speed on what�s happening.

Syaf�s art is better here than I can remember of any past work, with Gotham�s gothic background deliciously detailed, and a bunch of third-rate villains newly brought to the Black Corps looking quite menacing. All of the dead are rising, presenting us with the prospect of these characters having to deal with all corpses: Bruce Wayne�s dead parents, Dick Grayson�s, and Tim Drake�s too. Yet again, a high quality book with a top-notch artist, unlike Marvel�s Secret Invasion, which had a ton of throw-away mini-series with artists of much lower caliber in my opinion.

Note for those following a reading order: the checklist put out by DC is not going to work, since Green Lantern #45 won�t come out until later. Just read the newest issue of Blackest Night each month, and then read the other sin the order you buy them, it won�t make that much difference at the moment. Hopefully this series won�t have any delays to muck up the timing.


Booster Gold 23

by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

The new future with Dick Grayson and the Teen Titans dead means that nobody stops Trigon in the future. Coincidently enough, Raven, Trigon�s daughter, is the only surviving member of the Titans that is capable of coming with Booster and Rip to battle the future. Jurgens� pencils are as crisp as ever, and he and Rapmund make a stellar art and inking team.

We get to see a future Lex Luthor taking orders from the Black Beetle, but this catapults Black Beetle into such a high position in the pecking order of the villains, I find it hard to credit at the moment. Granted, though, this is only an alternate future. We also find out that the bomb at Vanishing Point wiped out the mysterious Black Beatle�s master�s ability to monitor the time stream. Booster takes a kidnapping rap to save some future alternate rebels, and ends up face-to-face with Trigon himself. This ought to be fun�

Matthew Sturges sort of wraps up this story arc of the second feature, with amusing narration from Blue Beetle. Von Neumann�s daughter was actually a robot the entire time, and Mike Norton�s art is fun and fitting to look at and see Beetle take out the robot. Mixed in are some great exchanges that move forward the relationship between Brenda and Paco. Also, the Black Beetle shows up to take off with the newly-incapacitated robot! Do I smell a team-up between the first and second features coming soon? Nicely played!


Green Lantern Corps 39

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Kyle reveals that Soranik was not the person revealed to him when a Star Sapphire showed him his true love. Soranik saw Kyle in her vision, but Kyle lied, because he actually saw Jade, Alan Scott�s deceased daughter! Ohh, we just know what�s going to happen next, don�t we? Tomasi shows us Arisia leaving Daxam, fleeing their xenophobia and mourning the fact that Sodam Yot is embedded in Daxam�s sun, with her never getting to tell him her feelings. Mongul also finally decides to rename the Sinestro Corps to the Mongul Corps, and it�s about freaking time! He walks the streets of Korugar, setting examples for those who would resist his new rule. Gleason�s art works better with aliens, as I have a lot of problems with the faces he makes and the noses especially. The inconsistent stubble of Raynor is distracting, but his aliens always look good.

In a visually excellent scene, Morro is overrun in the Lantern Crypt, and all of the dead rise. One of the interesting things is that just like the Indigo Tribe, the Black Lantern rings seem able to detect the core emotion/color of each ring-bearer, as if it might enable them to configure their attack to overcome the opponent. What does it mean that they code Gardner as �rage?� Better hope nobody ever slips a red ring on his finger, or it�ll be �Move over, Parallax!� From the foreshadowing of page 1, we see Jade arise to confront Kyle on the last page, and next issue will continue these types of confrontations that are sure to traumatize our heroes.


JSA vs. Kobra 3

by Eric Trautmann and Don Kramer

The team walks in with their heads held low, especially the younger, newer members of the team. They have been out-maneuvered, and more than one thousand people have been killed from Kobra�s bombs. No comments yet on Power Girls� leadership or lack thereof. The younger Wildcat, Tom, finds a Checkmate corpse, and investigation leads them to Opal City. Mister Terrific stays behind to find a breach in their computer core, compromised by Kobra.

Don Kramer shines when the action breaks out, and I get the sense he enjoys depicting so many colorful characters in one scene. Mister Terrific follows the clues to Starman Museum, while the rest of the team battles the distraction. He finds Kobra, but doesn�t fare too well against him. Jason Burr leaves Mister Terrific in the dust, taking off with some teleportation technology hidden in Ted Knight�s scientific notes. For someone so smart, Michael certainly is getting beat a lot. They will have to really pull things around to take back the upper hand.

Three issues in and the art is still great, and the story is holding its intensity. Stargirl�s radiation signature is slightly reminiscent of the regular series, where all the villains wanted to avoid fighting her. The stage is being set for this girl to really become important in the DCU for the future, and if handled properly, she could one day become one of DC�s biggest stars and power players. It would be great to see some controversy over results affect the team interaction, maybe see some disagreement with Power Girl�s choices for the team. She is another character that deserves a lot of attention and focus, in a better way than her own miserable series is doing. But I digress. Buy this book!


the Unwritten 4

by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

The writers are systematically murdered by Pulman, who actually worked with Tommy�s father in the past. Mathilde Venner knows all about what�s happening, and tries to talk to Tommy, but Lizzie drags him into the off-limits room and locks the door. Mathilde chooses to take her own life when Pullman comes across her!

There are all sorts of interesting clues, such as the warm coffee cup that may allude to Tommy�s father still being alive, Pullman�s frustration at killing Tommy, because Tommy�s father seems to be able to come back from the dead, according to Pullman�s comments, and Tommy might be cut from the same cloth. Pullman leaves when the authorities show up, leaving Tommy framed for the rest of the murders in the house, and just as the police take him away, the familiar from the Tommy Taylor books shows up in real life!

It�s all deliciously suspenseful, and exciting to see where it will go from here. The pacing is excellent, and Peter Gross� style that changes to fit novel prose and children�s books shows some excellent choices. This is the best new series out there, in my opinion.


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

Travis, I know these are great reviews because I agree with them all.

I've always felt GLC has been criminally under-appreciated in the shadow of Johns' GL (which is also consistently good). I loved Tomasi and Gleason's handling of the approach to Oa and how things work as they drop into the middle of the madness. I really hope everyone is reading this book...

AS per JSA vs. Kobra... I was going to wait for the trade, but I think it was after reading your review that I picked up issues 1 and 2. This series has been very, very good. Not surprised I like Kramer's art, and I wish Trautmann would get on a regular gig with DC. That guy hasn't disappointed since I picked up his Checkmate issue a few years ago.

-- Posted by: Ryan at August 17, 2009 2:31 PM

Hey man, way to compliment yourself! HAH

Kidding aside, I bet Trautmann has more good stories inside him, and I hope he gets the chance to tell them in this format too.

-TP

-- Posted by: tpull at August 17, 2009 8:38 PM

f46Qgv Major thankies for the article post.Much thanks again. Cool.

-- Posted by: buy google +1 at March 23, 2012 10:14 PM

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