RandoMonday: Brightest Day #0

Here’s a cover image chosen at random from my collection.

Brightest Day #0 by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi (w), Fernando Pasarin (p), Fernando Pasarin, John Dell, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Dexter Vines, & Art Thibert (i), Peter Steigerwald with Beth Sotelo (c), Nick J. Napolitano (l), David Finch, Scott Williams, & Peter Steigerwald (cover)

Coming out of the hugely successful Blackest Night, this 25-issue series (24 + this zero issue) was, to me, full of possibility. Many people returned from the dead during Blackest Night, and this series followed those characters. Getting some spotlight this issue was Deadman as the narrative linchpin, Aquaman, Captain Boomerang, Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Maxwell Lord, J’onn J’onzz, Jade, Firestorm, Osiris, and Hawk and Dove. What did the white lantern entity want, how was Deadman supposed to help, and why did these people return from the dead? Unfortunately, I don’t think there was an adequate resolution to the promising setup. Nor was there enough time to see the long-term ramifications of the events coming out of Brightest Day because the New 52 happened shortly after Brightest Day ended. A pity.

Despite so many names in the credits box, the art in this issue is quite good and consistent.

Pull List Review (7/27/11 Comics)

Batman: The Dark Knight #4: You know, I only bought this series because of Finch’s work on covers I’d seen. I am always leery of artists with seemingly no writing experience taking on writing & art duties in a book (insert your early Image Comics joke here), but I have to say I was impressed by Finch’s first few issues of this title. Of course, he doesn’t draw this issue, but Jason Fabok on pencils and Ryan Winn and Batt on inks do a really good job of evoking Finch’s style. I am intrigued by Ragman’s appearance in this story (and the devil-worshiping cabal whose cloaks look an awful lot like Ragman’s suit). I’m not sure all the demons and demon-possessed folks showing up as much as they are in a Batman story fits, but I’m along for the ride (at least until September). That final two-page spread was done well, evoking a sense of cinematic dread (but does Batman really not see or hear them approaching?). I am ignoring the Gordon sub-plot, just because I won’t be returning to it in September. Four Batman-family books are enough, I think.

Brightest Day Aftermath: Search for Swamp Thing #2: Bah.

Criminal: Last of the Innocent #2: Another great issue. Ed Brubaker does a really good job of developing character, which is my favorite thing about any story, in a comic book or otherwise. Plus, I love the bad guy as protagonist, which Criminal the series excels at. The art style of the flashbacks continue to please me, and add a nice juxtaposition between the dark grittiness of the main story and the Archie Comics feel of the past sequences. Nicely done.

Fables #107: I bought this only because Terry Moore was listed as a guest artist (plus that Joao Ruas cover is quite striking). I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in what I got. Moore’s work on Strangers in Paradise is at times sublime, and almost always better than most comic artists out there, but here, it was . . . typical for this book, I guess. The story was also typical if you’ve read enough of Fables, as I have. I did like, however, the sign shown in the background of one panel where a line of newly minted princes await their turn to kiss the Sleeping Beauty; it reads: “No tongue! No touching! No ogling! No drooling! No gifts!”, and then, tacked onto the sign at the bottom: “No singing!” Hah! Take that Disney!

FF #7: Part two of the Black Bolt interlude. Nothing to say here, really.

Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #2: I wonder if anything will be made of the facts that the Flash, in the present, and Kid Flash in the future knows that the universe has changed. Or is it simply that because of what the Reverse-Flash did to change the DCU via his anti-Speed Force (dark SF?), and that Barry and Bart are connected via the Speed Force, that’s enough of an explanation? I guess in this case I’d like things to be spelled out for me a bit more, but then, why do I care when we get the new status quo next month?

Flashpoint: Lois Lane & the Resistance #2: This is currently my least favorite of the tie-ins. When I pick up something called Lois Lane and the Resistance, I expect Lois Lane to be the focal point of the story, but she really wasn’t in this issue. Plus, I just don’t care for Grifter.

Flashpoint: Project Superman #2: Now this issue was actually pretty good. Seeing how General Lane adopts the alien Kal-El as a surrogate son over time was nice to read, plus how Subject Zero helps Kal over the years, only to be schooled in humanity by the alien boy was also nice. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from the General Lane we were shown in Superman: Secret Origin (I feel like I have to spit when I type that title . . .).

Mighty Thor #4: Now this is more like it! Odin and Thor (and the other Asgardians, presumably, though they are conspicuously absent in this great battle) take on Galactus! But it’s not merely a physical fight, and I appreciate Matt Fraction showing us a battle of minds between the two “gods”. We get to see a side of Galactus that I have never seen, and I actually feel some compassion for that old blow-hard Odin. Then, after Thor has flung himself and Mjolnir at Galactus’s head, the Silver Surfer attacks Thor and they land on Mars! That’s a helluva distance, I presume.

Sixth Gun #13: Ok, so now we know why Sinclair was so spooked by the appearance of the mummy from last issue. Regardless, I’m starting to wonder if I should keep reading this title. It definitely started out strong for me, but these last few issues is just more of the same. I want the plot to move along, little doggey.

Teen Titans #98: I haven’t had much to say about this title in recent months, and I’ll only add this now: Superboy-Prime is back? Blech. I am so sick of this character. So sick of the recurring trope of Conner saying he’s the “real” Superboy and Prime going all ballistic. Just sick of this story being retold again and again, and this storyline is what will end this title before the relaunch? Ugh.

Wonder Woman #613: We are finally shown the events leading up to the “old” Wonder Woman being replaced by this “new” version. The rest of the issue is mostly a fight scene between Nemesis and WW, ending with Diana reclaiming all of “herself” that Nemesis had taken, but still, and refreshingly, in her new outfit (which I have grown to like quite a lot–I hope the relaunch WW keeps the pants). Next issue is the last before the relaunch, so I suppose we’ll have a battle royale.

Xombi #5: God, I love this book. I love the visuals, I love the ideas, I love the characters. Rozum and Irving have created something unique at DC Comics (hell, anywhere, really), and I hate to see it go (I know, I keep saying it, but it’s still true). Irving’s art is either getting better or I’m just getting used to it, but I still think it’s lovely. I love how he uses shading/shadows to create form. And I think where I’m getting used to the art is where he uses coloring–I didn’t mind it so much this time. The only problem I have with this issue is the two pages that were spent on David talking about the love of his life who, correct me if I’m wrong, we haven’t even seen in these five issues. Why bring this up now and spend so much time on it? If it doesn’t come up in some way in the next, the last, it was a wasted moment on Rozum’s part. I look forward to the resolution of this storyline.

Pull List Review (6/22/11 Comics)

Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1: Hmm. I was looking forward to this considering how much I enjoyed Brightest Day, but I might have been sold a bill of goods. Yes, it’s kind of nice to see John Constantine interacting with superheroes, and the bit between him and Zatanna was kinda cool, however brief (Marco Castiello and Vincenzo Acunzo drew Zee very well), but overall, I’m confused. In Brightest Day, I thought we were shown that the Alec Holland Swamp Thing had returned to be the champion of the Earth, but here, Holland shows up crawling out of a Louisiana swamp apparently not a swamp thing. I’m confused, and I shouldn’t be. What a way to squander the good feeling I had about the Brightest Day storyline, DC.

Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #1: I didn’t think I was going to like this comic that much, and while it isn’t great, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. But can I just say how much I HATE it when writers make androids say things like “Statement” and then have the character make the statement (they have Red Tornado in Batman: Brave and the Bold do that, too). Do they think it’s cute or something? It’s so 1950s robot and should forever be abolished. Anyway. So we have another Flash who knows that the time stream is not what it should be, but since much of this issue is Kid Flash escaping the clutches of Brainiac (and is this a shout out to the world of DCUO?), not much goes on here. Actually, I’m starting to see a pattern with these Flashpoint tie-ins: many of the first issues so far barely have a chance to set up the premise before they’re over. We only get three issues, so I’m starting to think the actual story for each of these is pretty thin, and that kind of pisses me off. I guess I should reserve judgement until I read issue 2 of each, though.

Flashpoint: Lois Lane & the Resistance #1: This one kind of bored me. The only bit of character drama here was Lois’s desire to continue what Jimmy was involved with regarding the Resistance, but the Lois we’re shown at the beginning of the story definitely isn’t the Lois Lane I love. I’m getting worried that this is an indication of the kind of Lois we’ll end up with post-Flashpoint. Again, I’m probably judging prematurely. Regarding the cover, you’ll see the Canterbury Cricket and the Demon, but much like many of the covers for these tie-ins, they do not appear in this issue; however, the cover does tie into the story of the Canterbury Cricket one-shot, so why didn’t that come out first? Odd timing.

Flashpoint: The Reverse Flash #1: When I read this, it felt like it was an epilogue to Flash: Rebirth, or at least the first six issues of the latest Flash series. It doesn’t really seem to have anything to do Flashpoint per se, but maybe the events in the main even book will bear this comic out in some way.

Mighty Thor #3: That’s a pretty bitchin’ cover. Unfortunately, what’s inside is pretty standard fare. Thor beats up on Silver Surfer, and the Asgardians prepare for war with Galactus (wearing some pretty Kirby-esque armor). Also, there’s the very uninteresting story B involving Volstagg and the people of Broxton. I will go low-brow here for a moment and comment how well Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales draw Lady Sif. Heh. I can’t decide if I like this series or not. I think I expect a more action oriented Thor series and I’m not getting that so far.

This cover has NOTHING to do with the interior

Sigil #4: This was a waste of time. Not much really happens, other than the protagonist becomes aware that she has special abilities. I bought this not knowing what to expect, and knowing that I love Mike Carey’s work, but I didn’t really care about any of it.

Superman #712: As with Sigil, this was a waste of time. I usually don’t mind breaks in the main story for a one issue diversion, and they’ve already done that once with the Lois Lane story, but this time, it didn’t work for me. Maybe I just don’t identify with Krypto? Yes, you kinda feel for the mutt, but this was a filler issue, and it shows, despite Kurt Busiek’s involvement. Let’s get back to the “Grounded” storyline, shall we?

Zatanna #14: Wow! Two stories in a row where Zee doesn’t get gagged or tied up! But the whole bit with her lecturing her cousin seems awfully familiar. Other than that, it’s a generic rescue plot, with Zee coming across as the uptight, older family member. And the joke at the end? Lame-o. Certainly not worth a splash page. This title being cut come September is a mercy killing.

I also read Batman: Gates of Gotham #2 (yawn) & JLA #58 (which was actually somewhat entertaining and not as cringe-inducing as usual).

Pull List Review (4/27/11 Comics)

Action Comics #900: It’s nearly 100 pages of Superman stories commemorating 900 issues of Action Comics. The first story is the continuation of the story that’s been building with Luthor. It was interesting to see the various times in Superman’s life that Luthor makes him relive as drawn by the artists of those particular stories. Anyone whose read this site knows of my dislike for Gary Frank’s Superman art, but I have to admit, Frank’s sequence in this issue (aside from the mouths I still I can’t stand) worked well enough, especially the look of hurt and regret and sympathy Superman gives to Lex after reliving the death of Jonathan Kent. The rest of the story is merely the sad continuation of Lex’s hubris, and the fight between the Superman family and the Doomsdays (to be continued in #901).

The Ryan Sook art of the second story is lovely and understated, befitting the tone of “Life Support”, though I did not care for the Krypton setting. I’m just not interested in stories about Superman’s biological parents. The Paul Dini three-page story is hardly worth the effort, but it is only three pages; however, the RB Silva/Rob Lean art is very good, especially the celestial hippo. Geoff John’s story (a four pager), was a nice little Clark and Lois moment, featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The last story, if you want to call it that, was an annotated storyboard written by Richard Donner & Derek Hoffman. I do not share Geoff Johns’s reverence of Mr. Donner, and this “story” only furthers my distaste for Donner’s comic book work. Besides, Lois wouldn’t fall for the charm of the antagonist of the story–she’s married to Superman for crying out loud! Enough with Donner and his association to Superman. (And while I’m attempting to pick at the Reverend Donner, his director’s cut of Superman II? Not so great.)

The best story, however, was the second to last one, “The Incident”. It was much ballyhooed in the press, especially the conservative spin of it. Long story short, Superman renounced his U.S. citizenship because he was “tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy. The world’s too small. Too connected.” Nothing may really become of this, but I applaud DC for taking at least this step in this character’s evolution. It seems right. But it pisses me off that the narrow-minded conservative talking heads out there only heard Superman say he was no longer an American and that somehow negates everything Superman actually stands for. If Superman were real, I would hope he would stand for the entire world, not just America. America is just one country, after all. What this world needs, what this country needs, is a good dose of world patriotism, not this jingoistic crap that’s infested America for too long. Ok, I’m stepping off the soapbox. But I really liked this story and think its detractors need to open their eyes, as Superman did in it.

Brightest Day #24: Ok, the ending to this maxi-series was kind of a let down, but I totally loved the journey. The writing and art of this series was top notch for the most part (the early Firestorm stuff I wasn’t too keen on), and it got me excited for an upcoming Aquaman series–that’s never happened before. Plus, my beautiful Dove had more screen time, as it were (even if she did fall in love with Deadman). Sure, the destinies of the resurrected heroes and villains felt somewhat forced at times, but I like the idea that our choices, however small, can impact things in a greater way, even if we can’t see it.

So, Swamp Thing is back and he’s now the Earth’s champion–not totally original, but ok. Him murdering greedy, anti-environmental businessmen–how will that play out? We all “sin” against the Earth every day–should we all be punished for driving our vehicles? For not recycling? For being too complacent or jaded to force our government to act for our environment instead of slowly killing us all? Where will your eye for an eye justice end, oh Thing of the Swamp? Perhaps some of these things will be answered in the Brightest Day Aftermath series coming in June.

Mighty Thor #1: Given the excitement I felt about the movie, I wanted to check out this new series. Unfortunately, I did not get that same sense of excitement from this book. It’s not a bad start: Galactus is coming, and Thor pulled a seed from the World Tree and has been affected by it in some way that I’m sure is relevant. The art is ok (I do like the coloring quite a bit), though Thor’s head looks little too Neanderthalish to me. Anyway, I’ll read a few more issues to see how it’s going.

Ruse #2: Unlike my reading of Sigil, I very much enjoyed this second issue of Ruse. So much is going on in this series in comparison. I find it interesting that Waid seems to have totally dropped the fact that Emma is a witch, but maybe it will come up in the next issue when Emma has to fight, bare-knuckled, woman vs. woman in an underground match. That Simon Archard is a right bastard! The art continues to not impress me–it seems to be a little better this time, but still inconsistent, especially in the way the main characters are shown.

Wonder Woman #610: I know the cover is cliché, but I still really like it. What I am getting tired of in this storyline are all the fight scenes. The majority of the individual issues and the majority of the total issues has been filled with fight scenes. I know that seems strange to complain about in a superhero comic book, but for some reason, I expect more character growing and less fisticuffs in this title. At least Diana now has her Lasso of Truth, which I find extremely funny since she uses it tied as a noose (which, by thew way, how did she tie it into a noose so quickly? In one panel, she’s admiring it, and the next time we see it, it’s in a noose. The events of the panels do not seem to indicate that she’s tying it in any kind of knot.). We finally see Steve Trevor, though as a doctor. I would have been fine not ever seeing him in this storyline–I find him the weakest member of Diana’s supporting cast.

I also read Batman, Inc. #5, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #9, and FF #2, but since I haven’t yet reviewed FF #1, the #2 review will have to wait.

Pull List Review (4/6/11 Comics)

Brightest Day #23: Oh, I do not like where this story is going for my pretty, precious Dove. We’ve known since the beginning of this series that Capt. Boomerang is meant to throw his black boomerangs at Dove, and Digger gets one step closer to doing just that. But what will that mean? (Please don’t let it mean Dove is dead, oh please please please.) Will her taking a hit allow for Earth’s savior to come to be? So, Swamp Thing has become corrupted by the Black and is out to kill the Earth, but the end of the story reveals that Earth’s savior is the wasted body of Alec Holland. Hmm, I’m going to go out on a limb (not really) and guess that Alec and Swamp Thing fuse in some way and becomes Earth’s White Lantern. Also in this issue, we get (sigh) some Earth Elementals in the forms of the Hawks, Aquaman, J’onn J’onzz, & Firestorm. Really? Earth Elementals? Again? I’m so tired of that trope, even though I like that these characters are playing that role, though Firestorm has already been an Elemental. What does this mean for the upcoming Aquaman series that follows Brightest Day? Or does the elemental aspects just vanish after this latest threat is overcome (probably)? So many questions and only one more issue to answer them (and the Aftermath follow-up miniseries). Can’t wait for #24!

Irredeemable #24: Sigh. I want to know how Tony (Plutonian) gets out of the prison he’s in and who his mysterious benefactor really is (it must have something to do with Modeus though), but I don’t think i care anymore. I used to have to stick with a comic until a storyline wraped up, but it’s been 24 issues and nothing seems to be wrapping up in any way and I’m just getting more and more bored. Good-bye Boom! It was fun getting to know ya.

JLA 80-Page Giant 2011: What a disappointment. I read the solicitation copy and decided to chance it. I should have listened to my gut and passed on this $6 (!) turkey (I do like the “Artgerm” cover, though). You should too.

Secret Six #32: Ok, Catman has become my new favorite bad-ass in the DCU. Here’s a guy who was a third-rate Batman clone (sort of) and under Gail Simone’s artful pen (keyboard?) has become (dare I say it?) even more interesting to me than Batman. The dude kills a demon with a couple knives and grit! BAD. ASS. And Ragdoll is a hoot and a half (though I can see how he could get very tedious at times, especially over time–I’ve only been reading for a few issues). Yeah, I need to go read all of this series.