RandoMonday: Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

GLCRecharge 5

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5 by Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, Patrick Gleason, Prentis Rollins, Travis Lanham, Moose Baumann, Michael Siglain, Peter Tomasi, and Gleason, Rollins, and Baumann (cover)

“Stardeath”

After the success of Green Lantern: Rebirth, DC Comics decided to relaunch the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians are back and are recruiting (to have a total corps of 7200), which is a good thing because Lanterns across the universe were being murdered in previous issues. Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner investigate, meeting several new recruits along the way, and eventually battle the Spider Guild from the Vega system.

In this issue, the Spiders have attacked Oa and Kilowog calls all Lanterns to the Central Power Battery where Guy leads the Corps in reciting their oath and recharging their rings. Using their collective power, they negate the Spider Guild’s plan of destroying Oa’s sun by shoving it down a wormhole to destroy the Guild in Vega. The Guardians reward Guy’s leadership by promoting him to Lantern Number One of the Corps Honor Guard. The issue ends with new recruit Soranik Natu telling the others that while the Corps is wounded, it will heal and will be “stronger than ever”.

One of the ways I judge a successful Green Lantern book is how deftly the color artist deals with all the green. While Baumann does a decent enough job, especially the space-based scenes where he got a chance to use more of the color palette. However, Gleason’s and Rollins’ use of thick blacks detracted somewhat from the colors. Speaking of the inker, I would later prefer Mick Gray’s inks with Gleason’s pencils.

The story in this issue is pretty stock, meaning that the heroes rally and defeat the villains without much sacrifice. But I did really like that two-page spread where the Corps recharge their rings while citing the oath. But the ending came off as abrupt to me, almost as if this was an ongoing series and issue 6 would continue where this issue left off. Overall, this is one of the weaker issues of the series, and the strength of this mini-series is in the introduction of the new recruits in the previous issues, especially Soranik Natu. If you’re a Green Lantern Corps fan and completist, then I suggest you read this to see the introductions of several Lanterns who would appear in later series.

There is an overpriced trade of this collection available, as well as a much more affordable digital version at Comixology.

RandoMonday: Irredeemable #33

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

irredeemable 33

Irredeemable #33 by Mark Waid, Diego Barreto, Nolan Woodard, Ed Dukeshire, Matt Gagnon, Shannon Watters, and Dan Panosian (cover)

“Redemption, part 3”

I loved the idea of this series and its companion, Incorruptible. It’s What If Superman turned evil and took over the world (and in Incorruptible, what if the bad guy, because of what the “superhero” did, becomes the good guy?)?

This issue is part 3 of a cross-over event, but the story is really an examination of the Plutonian’s upbringing as he learns the truth of his origin (namely, aliens are his parents — how did Mark Waid not get sued over this?). Plutonian goes from tantrum with his parents, to wanting to leave Earth with them during the course of the conversation, but in the end, his parents tell him him that “epiphany is not the same as absolution” and seemingly are going to imprison him when former ally and antagonist Qubit and Max Daring, respectively, show up to free him.

As I said, I really dug the premises in both the series, though I dropped both before they concluded and before they got to this cross-over, and I did not resume the series’ after this event. Both ended shortly after and I have been very curious where both sets of books/characters ended up. In this story, I liked how Plutonian quickly goes from fighting to acceptance, inverting the usual superhero trope. Plus, it’s always fun to see an interesting take on the Superman mythos, at least to me. The artists do a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters, from the smug righteousness of Plutonian’s foster father, to the rage of the titular character, and the brief moments of sadness and happiness. And this is a small thing, but there are panels where the background is pure black with the ghostly images in that realm being a kind of glowing teal that I really like.

There is an omnibus of the series scheduled to be published, but who know what will happen given the current COVID-19 crisis, but you can also find this issue and the rest at Comixology.

RandoMonday: Titans #4

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Titans 4

Titans #4 by Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse, Carlos M. Mangual, Brittany Holzherr, Alex Antone, and Booth/Rapmund/Dalhouse (cover)

“The Return of Wally West, part 4: Now You See Her…”

No sooner is the pre-Flashpoint Wally West back in the post-New 52 DC universe and back with his old pals, the Titans, Abra Kadabra shows up to enact revenge by kidnapping the New 52 Linda Park, threatening to kill her to defeat Wally. Meanwhile, the Titans fight magically conjured doppelgangers as they search for Linda. In the end, Kadabra places everyone in peril, forcing Wally to race off to try and save them all.

sigh DC’s Rebirth had such promise, but this train wreck of a title was a slap in the face to Titans fans. Who said Dan Abnett was a good writer? The opening story, of which this issue is a part, is derivative and unimaginative. The Booth art (he has never been a favorite of mine) is same ol’, same ol’, and his slanted panels get annoying. It’s Dalhouse’s colors that make this issue more than just a waste of my time and money.

I recommend you avoid this run of Titans altogether, but if you insist,it’s available on the DC Universe app and at Comixology.

RandoMonday: Clean Room #15

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Clean Room 15

Clean Room #15 by Gail Simone, Sanya Anwar, Quinton Winter, Todd Klein, Maggie Howell, Molly Mahan, and Jenny Frison (cover)

“All the Pretty Edges”

Clean Room was a wonderful series that began in 2015 but ended all too quickly. This issue is an interlude from the main story, but it’s still a wonderful tale of loss, grief, and the lies we tell each other and ourselves. But first, a bit about the series from DC Comics’ website:

Astrid Mueller is the enigmatic and compelling guru of a giant self-help organization—a devastatingly powerful figure in the industry between psychology and religion. Journalist Chloe Pierce’s fiancé decided to pick up Astrid’s book, and within three months he was dead. Something in Astrid Mueller’s book made Philip blow his brains out all over Chloe’s new kitchen.

Now Chloe is on a mission to find out who Astrid Mueller really is. What is this Clean Room she’s been hearing about where your deepest fear and worst moments are revealed? Chloe intends to immerse herself in the Clean Room and wreak havoc on Astrid’s empire.

In this issue, the story is told from the point of view of one of Astrid’s converts, Mary Carmody. She lost her husband in a suicide pact that she didn’t complete, and later she thinks she’s going crazy because she keeps seeing her husband’s broken and bloody corpse. This leads her to the An Honest World organization and Astrid herself. After she learns the truth about why she is there, she reaches a breaking point. Astrid helps her by having Mary relive her “bereft day” (think Star Trek‘s holodeck) and gifting Mary a final goodbye to her husband, apparently leading her down the path of recovery.

Putting the haunting aspect aside, this story is about grief and acceptance, and the storytelling team do a good job at conveying those facets — I feel I know this woman and what she’s going through. I could quibble about the art not being “spooky” enough, but I like that the somewhat “cartoony” style sufficiently navigates between the horror and  slice of life elements. The one thing artistically that doesn’t fit as well to me is the Frison cover. While well done, it doesn’t really have much to do with either the story or Mary’s journey.

Clean Room was one of my favorite Vertigo titles of the last several years, and I hope I see an eventual return of the book. There was a trade released that contains this issue, but it would be easier to it and the entire series on Comixology.

RandoMonday: Xombi #1

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Xombi #1 by John Rozum, Frazer Irving, Dave Sharpe, and Rachel Gluckstern

“The Ninth Stronghold, Part One: Prison of Industry”

I’ve written about Xombi before, but it was such a great series that I’ll let this duplication of a sort pass. Plus, how does this issue hold up after almost 10 years? But first, some plot!

Xombi is David Kim, a man infected (imbued?) with nanomachines that help keep him in peak physical condition and can rearrange the molecular structure of things he touches (in this case, paper to popcorn). David gets a tip from an associate to go to the Prison of Industry and prevent a prisoner from escaping. When David arrives, he is greeted by some rather extraordinary (superpowered) nuns. They investigate the prison, which is located on a long table because the prison is shrunk down to model size, but the prisoner David came to see is not there. The group is then attacked by snow angels and the issue ends with evil spirit-possessed children coming to (presumably) kill them all.

So, how does this issue fair after all these years? Quite well, it turns out. Frazer Irving’s art is the standout (I had, at that time, encountered his work first in Batman and Robin, shortly before this series debuted), but Rozum’s ideas (at least, I assume they were Rozum’s — was any of the wacky stuff from the Milestone edition of Xombi?) are pretty on par. It’s rare for me to find a comic book whose writing/plot/ideas mesh so well with the art/presentation, and Xombi was one of those books. It’s a real pity that Xombi did not continue as part of the New 52 relaunch in 2011.

There was a trade released in 2012, but is now out of print. However, it is available on Comixology and on the DC Universe app. If you’re looking for something quirky and intelligent, try Xombi.