Podcast Episode 41: 52 Pickup, Part 2

I complete my look at the DC New 52 titles that I am reading.

This time, I comment on the the following family of titles:

  • Green Lantern
  • The Dark
  • The Edge
  • Young Justice
  • Digital Firsts

This is the first episode recorded using my new Zoom H1 mic so I may sound a bit different. :) Let me know how you like it.

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, or leave voicemail at 208-953-1841. You can also visit the Feedback page.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (35:48)

Pull List Review: 12/7/11 Comics

So, this is how I get my comics: my “local” comic shop is 80 miles away so I only go every 3 to 4 weeks to pick up my lovelies. I also get some comics from an online retailer once a month, so my reviews are always at least a month behind. December is just hard to get anything done in with the holidays, then in January I decided last minute to do the 30 Day Comic Book Challenge (posting every day is actually a lot more time consuming than what you see in the posts), and finally Episode 17 of the podcast kept me busy as well. This is all to excuse the VERY late, quick and dirty Pull List Review for my December 2011 comics, week 1.

Action Comics #4: I’m not sure how I feel about Brainiac being the first “supervillain” Superman faces in the DCnU. On one hand, it makes perfect sense, but on the other, this story has been done and redone over the years. And why is Superman wearing a white t-shirt in this issue? I have a white Superman t-shirt, so this look doesn’t appear “super” to me, although I like the idea that even Superman started out on a budget. And where does he get the shirts made? Could the t-shirt maker put 2 and 2 together? Oh the things Grant Morrison brings to mind! The Steel backup story was ok.

Animal Man #4: A couple fellow comic readers think I’m crazy for not liking this book as much as they do. It’s ok. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. I’m just not excited to read it so why continue? I am, however, looking forward to reading issue 6 where we get the comic version of the movie that was referred to issue 1.

Avenging Spider-Man #2: Despite the fact that J. Jonah Jameson is a hoot and a half (though still a one-note character if this story is indicative), I don’t think I’ll stick around with this title. And starting with the Red Hulk in the first storyline? Kind of like starting out DC Universe Presents with a 5 issue Deadman story….

Defenders #1: I enjoyed some elements of this title, namely Dr. Strange, apparent Lothario, Iron Fist, comic lover, and Namor. What I didn’t care for was Silver Surfer (I have never cared for that character) and the ads at the bottom of the pages. If this is Marvel’s new ad campaign, count me as morally opposed.

Detective Comics #4: I read it. My last issue.

Hawk & Dove #4: I try, I really do, but this is such a stinker, and we all know by now that this title is cancelled come issue 8. Why is Deadman such a wuss in this comic, but somewhat badass in DC Universe Presents? Bad writing perhaps?

Huntress #3: The art team of Marcos To, John Dell, & Andrew Dalhouse are just doing a superb job on this comic. The story’s not bad, but familiar. Anxious to see if we’ll get a direct, Helena is an immigrant from Earth 2 part of the story, even though I can’t see how that would fit with what’s going on so far.

Irredeemable #32: I got this because of the Irredeemable/Incorruptible crossover that I kept waiting for when I was collecting both series. The crossover is tenuous at best, but we do get the secret origin of the Plutonian. It doesn’t appear that I’ve really missed anything by not reading this title since issue 25.

JLI #4: I like the art team’s work (Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan) on this, but the story, much like Animal Man, is so lackluster. I have already decided to drop this title after a few more issues.

Red Lanterns #4: Read it. Should have dropped it after #2. What a disappointment considering Peter Milligan is writing it.

Stormwatch #4: Again, I really like the art on this book, but the story seems like a bit of a mess, probably because  it feels like the middle chapter of something to me, like I came in 20 minutes late to a movie. I did like the visual of the new character that shows up at the end. And the Next Issue blurb promises a last page shocker next issue.

Swamp Thing #4: I kind of think of this as a companion book to Animal Man, but it’s so much better to me than AM. I’m really starting to like Alec Holland as a character, and when you throw Abby Arcane into the mix as an apparent antagonist (if the Green is to be believed), I think you’ve got an interesting story to tell.

Happy Groundhog Day! Hope that miserable rodent isn’t such a scaredy cat this year.

Pull List Review: 11/2/11 Comics

Action Comics #3: Wow, the Gene Ha Krypton art in this issue is just fantastic and the color work for the same sequence is pretty darned nice, too. So, Clark is dreaming this sequence–just how good of a memory do Kryptonians have, or is it just Superman’s memory that’s so good? I’m glad to see a more Silver Ageish Krypton back in continuity. For all the love that I have for Byrne’s Superman post-Crisis, his take on Krypton wasn’t something I cared for all that much. I liked the Atom tech reference when Brainiac (I presume) announces “commence dwarf star lensing”. I didn’t care for the fact that Jor-El appears to have Krypto (?) by his side, but I did like that a homeless woman tells Clark that he has a white dog “ghost” watching over him and what that could mean exactly (hmm… ;)). In fact Morrison throws out these little bits of story and then leaves you dangling, wanting more, such as when Clark’s landlady finds Superman’s cape in Clark’s duffel bag and asks him about his being from outer space, but we don’t get to see what happens next! I’m starting to really not like the anti-alien sentiment in this new DCU. We see it here, in Superman, Supergirl, Voodoo, et al. It makes sense, sure, but I just don’t like it. Finally, that one panel of Clark on the floor, clutching a picture of the Kents, apologizing for failing in his mission while his tunic is in the trash–this would be tugging on heart strings material if it weren’t such a quick cut to and from the moment. I could go on and on about this series….

Hawk & Dove #3: When is supporting a book based solely on your love of a character too much? Because this comic is not good, yet I won’t stop buying it because I love Dove so much. (If I were in the DCU I would totally stalk Dove. And Donna Troy. And Steph Brown.) And that bit where she stabs Condor? Seems totally out of character for her, unless she knew something going in to that action that hasn’t been revealed to us. In fact, that is the one thing about Dove that I am really missing: she was previously depicted as a think first superhero, but she’s taking a back seat to Hawk’s aggressiveness in this title so far. If I were a paranoid stalker, er fan, I’d think that Sterling Gates has an issue with my white-haired beauty. :)

JLI #3: How appropriate that Andre Briggs states that the “‘JLI’ will stand for Justice League Inconsequential”, and that’s how I’m feeling about this title right now. It feels like DC was trying to recapture lightning and it just isn’t happening. It’s not a bad superhero comic, but it’s just not good enough.

Mystic #4: Ahh, the conclusion. Just like the other two CrossGen limited series I got, this one just kind of fizzles instead of zapping me. I never bought that Genevieve was the resistance leader that she’s depicted as, and the High Priest’s rejection of Giselle last issue was forced. I wanted to know more about this world and how the two friends fit in it, but I mostly got a teen drama set in a fantasy world. I still love the Lopez/Lopez/Fairbairn art, though.

Red Lanterns #3: Hmm, I see that Bleez is written very differently in this title now than she is in Green Lantern: New Guardians; so, is her appearance in GL: NG supposed to take place before the events of this issue? I hate to sound negative about this title every time, but right now, Ed Benes’s cheesecake art is the only thing keeping me on this title. Ok, that and the hope that Peter Milligan will pull a blood soaked rabbit out his hat and wow my socks off.

Stormwatch #3: I feel like I’m being taken on a wild ride with this book, but it’s not quite gelling for me. I like a lot of parts, but the whole thing isn’t working yet. But since I’m enjoying the hell out of Demon Knights, and the Lex Luthor story in Action Comics was so good, I’m giving Paul Cornell the benefit on this title for now. I do hope though that Adam gets booted from the series–he annoys the hell out of me (which is why I won’t get my wish…). And I know this totally fanboyish of me, but I want to see Superman and Batman throw down with Apollo and Midnighter as written independently by Geoff Johns and Paul Cornell.

I also read:

  • Animal Man #3: I’m starting to think that Travis Foreman only wants to draw grotesque creatures–the art is really starting to turn me off.
  • Detective Comics #3: I just heard someone say that this was the Batman book to get–I don’t see it; the art is nice enough though.
  • Swamp Thing #3: Still good, I just wish the plot would move a little faster, and by that I mean for Holland to take up the mantle of the Swamp Thing, you know, since that is the title and all.

Pull List Review: 10/5/11 Comics

Action Comics #2: The goodness of issue one continues. There’s a lot of little things that really make this comic:

  • Luthor referring to Superman as “it”, and reminding everyone else to do so.
  • That people refer to Luthor as “Doctor”. Of course he’s a doctor–he probably has several doctorates.
  • John Henry Irons makes his first appearance in this new continuity as well as John Corben.
  • We find out that Superman emits radiation from his eyes, putting to rest that question for this version of Superman. For the record, I don’t like that. Him being able to see into the other areas of the EM spectrum that we can’t? Sure. But actually emitting radiation? Blech.
  • I love love love Superman’s attitude during this whole torture bit and his escape. He could be extremely angry and vindictive, but he isn’t. He’s even amused at the absurdity of what they’re trying to do to him. I love this brashness, this playfulness, of the character. I wish we’d get that in the Superman book.

Detective Comics #2: Bruce is quite the horn dog. Between all the other Batman comics, I think he’s got a woman in each title! Recall that I was sticking around to find out why the Joker allowed his face to be removed? I just don’t care anymore. This comic doesn’t have that spark for me, thus reinforcing that I just don’t think Tony Daniel is that good of a storyteller.

Hawk & Dove #2: So it always bugs me when a new character is created just to have him/her killed off and move the plot forward, as Osprey is. Regardless, who was Osprey, what were his abilities (do they have anything to do with his name, Oliver Truly?), and what connection did he have with Hawk & Dove? Did they know about this guy who had a similar costume and name theme? See? It’s sad that I’m focusing on a character that appears for only three pages in this title. Most of the issue is pretty forgettable, but Ren shows up, and I’m glad to see her. She was one of my favorite supporting cast members from the 89-91 version of Hawk & Dove.

JLI #2: This issue of JLI doesn’t do much to convince me to continue with the title, I’m afraid. What I do like is that Booster is not being portrayed as the self-centered, fame-seeking putz that he often was while in the previous version of the JLI. He puts his team’s safety first while catching flack for it, and I respect that, even though Batman tells him not to let a retreat happen again. I like this book for some of the character interactions, but it’s not enough to keep me around for long.

Stormwatch #2: Wow, that Adam guy is really frigging annoying, huh (and seemingly inconsistent in his characterization, perhaps)? Also, I generally like Paul Cornell’s humor, but lines like “Any chance of a pint? Whatever one of those is.” is just a little too cheeky. However, he does write Martian Manhunter well. And I knew that Midnighter’s nerve pinch couldn’t take J’onn out! :) I also liked the bit where the Projectionist sets up a hapless villain as the cause of the moon’s transformation, causing the Justice League (International) to go after him. The rest of the issue is split between the big eyeball creature’s conversation with Harry and the conversation Adam is having with Apollo and Midnighter. I’m not as excited about this title as when I read issue 1. It’s better than JLI, but not as good as Demon Knights, say.

Swamp Thing #2: This comic, however, continues to be a joy to read and look at. Yanick Paquette’s page layouts remind me of J.H. Williams III art in Batwoman, but still unique enough. I do believe I have now become a Scott Snyder convert. This story and Snyder’s characterization of Alec Holland just intrigues me. This was one of the new 52 titles that pleasantly and hugely surprised me, especially considering that I almost didn’t pick it up at all.

I also read Animal Man #2 (Hmm, I’m just not sure if I like this comic or not. It’s just . . . there for me right now.), Mystic #3 (nothing wrong with it, it’s just a plot momentum issue to get us to the final issue), and Red Lanterns #2 (this title won’t stay long on my pull list, I think–it’s just not interesting).

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.