RandoMonday: Legends #1

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

Legends #1 by John Ostrander (plotter), Len Wein (scripter), John Byrne (penciller), Karl Kesel (inker), Steve Haynie (letterer), Tom Ziuko (colorist), Mike Gold (editor), and Byrne (cover) (there’s another name written on the cover to this issue, but I can’t make it out and it’s not listed anywhere that catalogs such information; if anyone knows whose name that is, please let me know)

Yeah! A number one issue comes up in the randomizer, and it’s the event follow-up to Crisis (in the editor’s notes near the back of the book, Dick Giordano is quoted as calling it “Crisis Two”)! Legends helped reintroduce some characters or new takes on characters and even launch new books post-Crisis. We get Darkseid and his cronies attempting to discredit the superheroes  in an attempt to make humanity “more compliant”. This issue focuses on Firestorm, the new version of Flash, aka Wally West, with Changeling taking on a supportive role, Captain Marvel, the Big Red Cheese, and Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes. At the very end, the Detroit era Justice League shows up to help Cosmic Boy take on new villain Brimstone. It’s also the first appearance of Amanda Waller and the hint of the Suicide Squad.

Even when I first read this series, I thought that the basic premise was a little weak. After all, how can humanity so easily turn its back on the superheroes that they admire and depend upon so much? Of course, there’s some subtle and not so subtle manipulation going on via Glorious Godfrey and other Darkseid minions, including convincing Billy Batson that he killed villain Macro Man and vowing that he would never become Captain Marvel again. However, the creators do a fairly good job juggling all the plots and characters while getting into the heads of a few to provide some much needed characterization and potential character development. I enjoyed in particular the talk between Flash and Changeling, where Wally talks about the pressure he was feeling to live up the legacy of Barry Allen. When Changeling challenges Wally to sidestep the issue by becoming someone else (for example, “Blue Bolt or Speed Demon or Charlie Hustle…”), Wally brushes that suggestion off by telling his friend, “If I do that, the legend dies, and I refuse to allow that to happen”. This is the series in a nutshell from the heroes’ perspective.

It was also nice at that time to see Byrne drawing more DC characters. Maybe half of his Man of Steel miniseries introducing the post-Crisis Superman had come out by this time, so I was hankerin’ for more of his work in the DCU. Karl Kesel does a good job at keeping Byrne’s line work in check and evoking Kirby with the Fourth World characters.

Despite my issue with the premise, I recall really enjoying this series, and I plan to do a spotlight on the whole series one day, either here or on the podcast.

Acquisition Avalanche!

I’ve acquired some comics and other things in the last year (most of which is in the last few months), so I wanted to show them to you. Thanks for watching!

www.youtube.com/user/longboxreview/

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: 12/28/11 Comics

Here are my final 2011 comic book reviews. What a great year for reading comics, mostly for DC’s relaunch. Say what you want about the titles, at least they were interesting or infamous. Also, given that I finally received all of my January 2012 comics, I will be trying something different for my Pull List Reviews very soon. Now on with the old before I can begin with the new!

Alpha Flight #7: While a part of me chuckles at the funnies in this, another part shakes his head because they’re the easy shots, and ones that don’t really make sense. For example, when Hulk-mentality Sasquatch yells, “Squatch smash puny Canadians”, that’s funny sure, but come on. Then both Mac and Logan point at each other and say (in unison), “He started it.” Easy joke, bad characterization. So Heather is some sort of clone created by the Master, but why does she only have four toes? How does that make sense? I actually did enjoy Wolverine’s appearance in this issue, especially his conversation with Heather at the beginning. I am looking forward to seeing how this limited series turned ongoing turned canceled at issue eight series will end.

Aquaman #4: The Trench storyline comes to an unsatisfying end, mostly because there was no connection between hero and adversary, no communication, no attempt at resolution other than death. Having said that, I do like how Arthur is shown making regal decisions about life and death. I wish Geoff Johns would play up the kingly aspect of Arthur’s history. Speaking of Johns, I really hope he stops making jokes at Aquaman’s expense. At first it made some sense to me (it undercut the “lame” reputation that Aquaman supposedly has), but repeating the jokes just calls attention to something Johns purportedly wants to dispel. It’s almost like Johns has a love/hate attitude towards Aquaman himself. I am looking forward to the upcoming “Who Sank Atlantis” storyline that was teased at the end of the book.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #4: So, some extradimensional force caused the various Lantern Corps members’ rings to abandon them and go to Kyle? Huh? And this force arrives in our universe in the form of a solar system-sized spacecraft, complete with planet-shaped modules. Huh? This seems overly complicated. I thought this book had some potential to be some sort of Brightest Day sequel, but it’s somewhat of a mess narratively, and messy in terms of art.

I, Vampire #4: This is how I like John Constantine appearances: understated but with a bit of the usual Hellblazer sass. What a surprise this book has been for me. I initially wrote it off as a book trying to capitalize on the Twilight crowd, but it’s been quite enjoyable so far, especially the art.

Incorruptible #25: Part 2 of the Irredeemable/Incorruptible crossover, but I enjoyed this story much more than Part 1. The relationship between the Plutonian and Max reminds me to some degree of the old Superboy/Lex Luthor dynamic. Maybe I should give Incorruptible another chance to entertain me?

Justice League Dark #4: I’m still not sure about this book. I know I want to really like it, but the story comes across as a bit muddled, and the art, while good at a certain level, doesn’t help narratively. What do we know? Xanadu did something to separate June from the Enchantress and all hell’s broke loose. I just wish after four issues we’d have moved on from that, even just a bit. I do like how Zatanna is shown as talking in reverse, as if it’s second nature and not just an application of her power.

Star Trek #4: After four issues, this series will stop retelling old stories in the new continuity and tell something new altogether, so I’m looking forward to that. As to the resolution of this issue, I have to admit I preferred the choice Spock makes in the television show as opposed to the save by Uhura here. It’s a duh moment, but not nearly as fun, and it makes Kirk look dumb. I also have to wonder why the creative team picked the “Galileo Seven” as the second story to be told as opposed to a different early episode.

Superman #4: Most intriguing thing about this issue is the Commissioner Corporon’s (have you noticed the odd names in this title?) comment that the Mayor didn’t want Superman to go through what he did five years earlier, but DC fails to cross-promote here by saying we should be reading Action Comics for the details (which I am looking forward to reading)! Ok, that and the reveal that Superman supposedly had something to do with the creation of his superpowered tormentors (though, why fire, ice, and lizard dude? How does that make sense?). And does anyone else think that too much is being made about Clark not being with Heather when she was attacked?

Unwritten #32.5: I am really loving these .5 issues giving us past stories in the Unwritten universe. This time we learn of Gilgamesh’s brush with the ancient (?) Mr. Pullman and the fight with the Leviathan. Nicely done story and art.

I also read All-Star Western #4 (What does it say when I find the backup story more interesting than the main one?), Angel & Faith #5 (I never cared for Harmony in the show, and her appearance in last season’s Buffy was much better than this offering.), FF #13 (This used to be one of my favorite books to read every month; now, it’s ok. I do love the relationship between Valeria and Dr. Doom.), Firestorm #4 (The cover art is the best thing about this book.), Savage Hawkman #4 (My last issue. I read it.), Teen Titans #4 (More team building. And Superboy shows up to beat up Wonder Girl. Feh.), and Voodoo #4 (Despite the nice art and lovely John Tyler Christopher cover, I’ve decided to drop this comic come issue 6–it’s just not interesting enough, like Animal Man.).

Pull List Review: 11/23/11 Comics

Alpha Flight #6: What the hell does someone having four toes have to do with Unity? I liked it when Marrina said her oft-spoken (and increasingly annoying) “Die human scum!” line because this time she prefaced it with “Catchphrase!” :) Oh, and Logan makes an appearance (like we didn’t know that was going to happen in this series). This just might get my vote for most disappointing series of 2011.

Aquaman #3: I wonder how much patience Aquaman has left with these condescending land lubbers, but I like how he basically ignores them and does what he wants anyway. The most interesting part of this issue is Aquaman’s interaction with a man from his past, Mr. Shin. Geoff Johns gives us just enough details to know exactly what this guy is about and what his relationship to Arthur is. And who is the “he” that Shin mentions who is the former owner of Arthur’s trident? This title just keeps getting better.

Fantastic Four #600: Once again I am amazed that Sue isn’t considered one of the most powerful individuals in the Marvel U. And she’s bad-ass as well! (I think I’m in love.) Everything that’s been building in FF for the last 11 issues continues in this issue containing 100 pages of several stories, including the return of someone that we all knew would return sooner or later (I thought it would have been later). I really enjoyed the back story in the Negative Zone and the worms(!), though the jail-break part was pretty run-of-the-mill. So what does this person’s return mean for Spider-Man in the FF? I’ll be picking this title up for a while just because Hickman’s been doing a bang up job with these characters.

GL: New Guardians #3: Hmm, already most of the rings that Kyle has inherited have been destroyed? What was the point of that plot point then? Also, why repeat the idea that the power ring won’t come off a GL’s finger? And why do the Guardians need to wear power rings? I thought they were imbued with the green energy (or is that a pre-DCnU idea)? I’m thinking this title won’t be on my pull list for much longer.

Magdalena #9: My first pull list issue of this series. I’d read number one a while ago and was intrigued even before that by the premise of the series, but for some reason didn’t pick this title up until now. The plot starts off well enough with the mission that the Magdalena goes on with her partner, but the story ends with an obvious non-cliffhanger (will she die?! Dun dun dun! Umm, no.).

Seraph #1: I actually bought a Pilot Season issue from Image. Of course, it was the angelic angle that drew me in since I love stories about angels and demons and especially depicting those characters not in their usual, stereotypical ways. And I get some of that in this one-shot (for now?). I like the idea of a suicide being given angelic powers to fight evil, and the guy’s guardian angel is probably the most interesting character in the comic so far. The fight with the spidery demon was pretty standard, though. I’d buy the first arc of this title if it becomes a series.

Shade #2: Huh. I would have hoped for a more . . . interesting way out of that “death” scene from issue one, but I suppose it makes sense, and shows that the Shade is a smart guy (but we already knew that, right?). This issue introduced me to Will Von Hammer, who is an interesting guy it seems, and now ally of sorts to the Shade. James Robinson has tweeted that the sales for this series has been low–it would be a shame if it didn’t get to go the full twelve issues.

Teen Titans #3: Is it me or is Bunker mildly annoying? There are two interesting things in this issue. One is that wonderful two-page spread showing Bart zipping from room to room to room in order to free Solstice. I didn’t even mind the numbers telling us how to read that sequence–in fact, it reminded me of the arrows that would appear in comics when I first started reading them pointing me to the next panel. Is it bad page design? Maybe, but I don’t care. The second interesting thing is the appearance of the DCnU Solstice, who looks very different from when we last saw her. I have to wonder if DC introduced Solstice in the previous volume of Teen Titans in anticipation of her appearance in this title, or is because there was enough interest in the character to keep her around? I have to question that idea because Solstice doesn’t seem like the same one, and it isn’t just her powers that made her an interesting character before (or was she interesting to you?).

Voodoo #3: Well, we’re entering more familiar superhero territory with Kyle Rayner showing up this issue, but the story is fast losing my interest, despite the pretty art by Basri. Just that simple walking sequence on page 4 was elegantly done. So, if this is how aliens are on Earth, no wonder there’s that general distrust of superheroic aliens that I’m reading in other titles. Again I say, I don’t care for that subplot in the DCnU.

I also read:

  • All-Star Western #3
  • Firestorm #3
  • I, Vampire #3
  • Justice League Dark #3
  • Savage Hawkman #3
  • Sixth Gun #17
  • Superman #3
  • Unwritten 31.5