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When the original concept of a Justice League book written by James Robinson first surfaced, I became very interested. After a long delay, the series finally began last month. It was originally supposed to be an on-going series, but it’s now a mini-series which lays the groundwork for when James Robinson takes over the current on-going Justice League book. To review this issue, I have to give a little background on the last one. Hal Jordan is tired. He’s tired of seeing his friends die at the hands of super-villains. He’s tired of reacting to their criminal acts and wants to act before they do. He wants to go on the offense and not stay on defense. He wants justice! The rest of the League think Hal is acting irrationally - all except Green Arrow.
Other heroes in the DC Universe share Hal’s desire for justice. Heroes like the alien Starman Mikaal Tomas who sees his lover Tony die at the hands of super-villains; Congorilla who sees his gorilla friends and the hero Freedom Beast die at the hands of hunters. Is there a connection?
We shift over to issue two where Green Lantern and Green Arrow are in Gotham City and they meet up with Jason Bard. For those who are not aware of Jason Bard, he’s a private investigator who worked with Batman. Bard hears that Green Lantern and Green Arrow are out looking for some super-villains. He tells them that Prometheus and a bunch of other villains are in town waiting for instruction from someone. Hal and Ollie leave Bard and go after the bad guys.
I have given Geoff Johns a lot of praise in numerous posts over the past few months. So I won’t go into that here. I mentioned before how I was disappointed that he’d be leaving the Justice Society of America and hoped that the new writers would do well because I love these characters. After a two-issue guest stint by Jerry Ordway, the new writing team of Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges begins here in issue #29. Jesus Merino is the new artist for the title and begins his run here as well. I liked his work here. It’s strong and it reminds me a bit of the work that was done by the previous artist, Dale Eaglesham. Willingham and Sturges do a good job, but they didn’t knock my socks off with their first issue in control.
The two writers are best known for their critically acclaimed work on the Vertigo title Jack of Fables a spin-off of the Vertigo title Fables which is also written by Willingham. I’ve never read these titles, so this is the first time I’ve been introduced to their work. The story here was okay. It revolves around two things that may be connected somehow by the end of the story arc. Flash discovers a black orb in the JSA headquarters. It’s a mysterious orb and the team doesn’t know what it is or where it came from. After some investigating, the team discovers that the orb is in fact their teammate Obsidian. Somehow his body has transformed into this orb and Mister. Terrific takes it upon himself to investigate why this has happened.
A smaller side plot is also intertwined between the two major events that occur in this issue. In this issue we see two new junior members join the team. One is a sidekick to the current Mister America. Evidently the Golden Age Mister America had a sidekick called the All-American Kid. I did some research and I didn’t find a reference to the character on Wikipedia so this might be a retcon. The original Kid was killed during World War II and the new one is the great-nephew to the original. The second is a young boy named King Chimera. He is the son of a Golden Age character named King Standish. A little known character who didn’t show up immediately after a Google search. He’s arrogant and has the power to create illusions.
The first issue of the new Detective Comics featuring Batwoman as the lead character was very good. I was not expecting to like it, but I was very surprised at how good it turned out. Unfortunately, the second issue did not thrill me as much the first one did. This issue wasn’t bad, in fact it was pretty good. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the last one.
In the last issue we saw Batwoman was looking to find out who was the new leader of the Religion of Crime (ROC). She discovered that the new leader was a woman who looks like a Goth version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. The cliffhanger for the last issue had Batwoman confronting Alice and shooting her. We weren’t sure if the gun was a real gun or not and I thought that if it was, it would be a cool twist to the Batman universe to have one of Bruce’s “followers” use a gun. It would have been very cool if DC went this route and it would have added to the story of Dick Grayson now being Batman, but DC did not go in this direction as the gun that Batwoman used was not a real gun. It was a gun that shoots pepper spray bullets.
Batwoman takes Alice away from her minions and uses something to dilute the effects of the pepper spray. Batwoman wants to know what the ROC wants with her. In a very cool scene, artist J.H. Williams III does something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in a comic. He presents the POV of the story from the inside of Alice’s mouth. There we see her fiddling around with a razor blade that she has in the inside of her mouth and then bites down on it and uses it as a knife to slash Batwoman in the face. Very cool. My hat is off to Mr. Williams on his work on this issue. The way he tells the story written by Greg Rucka is very different. It kind of reminds me of the work I saw Tony Harris do on the Starman title in the 90s.
You might not be aware of it, but you may be driving a version of the Batmobile. Throughout the vehicle’s history, artists and filmmakers alike used popular car base models to construct the Caped Crusader’s famous ride. The History of the Batmobile website indexes more than 200 variations on Batsy’s wheels, and provides information on the inspiration behind each version.
For example, the first Batmobile is a copy of a RED 1936 Cord. From 1970-1987, it seems Batman drove a pretty standard black corvette (complete with “battering ram” and “armor plated body panels”, of course).
I looked for my old Ford Tempo GL, a maroon four-door sedan with a broken air conditioner, but came up empty. I searched for Honda Civics, or hybrids, to see if Batman was becoming more eco-friendly in the current times, but found gas-guzzlers in their place.
Now, with “stealth mode” available in Toyota Priuses, it might not be too long before Bruce Wayne goes “green,” trading in his 10 mpg (highway) hummer-tank for a sleek EV-1. But maybe not, because after all, muscle cars look more fierce than fuel economy cars. I honestly, can’t see criminals shaking in their boots when when chased by a moped-inspired bat-bike, but that’s just me.
A great comic book resource to have. Enjoy strolling through Batmobile memory lane.
It’s that time again. Time for Comix411’s favorite feature, EVERYBODY LOVES SUPERGIRL! This month it’s issue number 43.
It’s Kara’s birthday and all is not well. Her father is dead, she killed Lois’ sister, and failed to bring in Reactron, incurring the wrath of her mother, and as if that wasn’t enough she has to pick a guild to serve in for the rest of her life. As punishment for her failure, Alura forces Kara to perform daily tasks for a different Kryptonian guild everyday. Alura did this so Kara can experience life in each guild so she can make an informed decision about what to do with her life leading to a heart-to-heart between mother and daughter. Awwww.
Okay, summary done. Now let’s see if it was any good. I enjoyed this issue. I liked that Sterling Gates decided to frame the story in the form of a letter to her dead father. It allows you to experience the emotional gamut and stress Kara is going through on the eve of the biggest decision of her life. In fact, it reminds me of the stress I felt deciding which college to go to and choosing a career. In other words you can easily step into Kara’s shoes. There are some humorous scenes such as Kara’s visit with the religious guild, emotional scenes, and, of course, drama.
Art-wise, Joshua Middleton turned out a great cover. One of the best of the entire series, which makes me wonder, WHY ISN’T HE DOING INTERIORS!!!!!!! I’ve been a fan of his since his days at Crossgen and his Disney-esqe style is perfect for Supergirl. I Like Jamal Igles art, he does a beautiful Kara (that’s not hard to do) and a good Krypton, but doesn’t convey the wonder and emotion like Middleton’s art does.
Visit my website, Sledgehammer Productions for minutes and minutes of fun!
BAT BROTH! That’s right, not your household chicken broth, “Bat Broth” is “a special mixture of nutrients designed to quickly convert to energy under conditions of internal stress.” It’s no wonder Bruce Wayne is able to run a multi-billion dollar business and moonlight as a crime fighter, when he has the modern businessman’s ultimate remedy.
I found out Bruce Wayne’s secret soup at the The Great Batman Equipment Archive. The site takes a comprehensive look into the Dark Knight’s “utility belt” of tricks; highlighting Batman’s inventory from comics, video games, RPGs, films, scripts, books, websites, and TV shows. Most common items are Batman’s tried and true “Batarang”, “Grapple Gun”, cape and cowl, but you’ll be surprised to learn about other items (Besides “Bat Broth”) the caped crusader carried with him from time to time.
Blackest Night continues in this week’s issue of Green Lantern #44. I liked this issue. It wasn’t as good as last week’s first issue of the Blackest Night mini-series, but it was still a good read. Geoff Johns is also the writer here as he continues his run on the main Green Lantern title. Doug Mahnke who many know from his work on Batman, provides the artwork here and does a great job. Some very cool splash pages. I think his work is better here than it was over in Batman.
The story picks up from Blackest Night #1 as we saw the Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onnzz is now a Black Lantern and he confronts Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. In a very cool scene we see when the black ring found the body of the Martian Manhunter as the Oreo cookie that Batman left on his coffin falls to the ground and crumbles as he bursts out of the coffin and flies off. J’onn keeps talking about how both Barry and Hal should be dead. I wonder if their resurrections have anything to do with the prophecy behind the rise of the Black Lanterns and the war that will take place among the various colored lanterns.
Two years ago, “The Sinestro Corps War” ended with a teaser…a teaser for an event called “Blackest Night”. Two years and one “Final Crisis” later, the “Blackest Night” is here and starts off with a bang. The opening salvo of “Blackest Night” is action-packed, emotional, and downright creepy. It begins with the heroes of the DC universe paying tribute to fallen heroes. Johns shows how each hero is affected by the death of their comrades or their loved ones. At the same time, the “War of Light” the Guardians of the Universe have been trying to prevent has erupted. Unfortunately this part is brief, but serves its purpose because the Guardians are too distracted to realize the danger soon to be heaped upon the universe. So far the “War of Light” is being covered in the “Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps” title. Then all hell starts to break loose.
The Black Lantern rings have swarmed across the universe like a plague of locusts, picking dead heroes and villains as their bearers. The dead have risen and will begin their assault on the living, targeting Hawkman as their first victim.
The Black Lanterns are DC Zombies with a similar mission as Thanos - to spread death across the universe until everything is dead. The resurrected heroes and villains are mangled and ghoulish, a gross distortion of their once noble forms. The most disturbing are Ralph and Sue Dibny. While this is clearly a set up issue, their is enough character interaction and story to hook you. Johns has been building this event since “Green Lantern: Rebirth” and it shows. I can’t wait for the rest of the story when we find out more about the Black Lanterns and how the heroes of the DC Universe react to their fallen comrades resurrection before realizing that their friends serve the forces of death.
The Blackest Night has arrived….
For more of my thoughts on various subjects, check out my web site: Sledgehammer Productions.
Rating: *** 1/2*
I’m not a huge Green Lantern fan. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I was a Marvel Zombie for a long time. Even when I started reading DC Comics it was just Batman and nothing else. It wasn’t until the early 90s with the Death of Superman that I started reading other DC books. For the majority of the time I’ve been reading DC, Kyle Rayner was the Green Lantern, not Hal Jordan. I liked Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern: Reborn, but I wasn’t crazy about his regular ongoing work on the new GL title. I can appreciate why many people like it and the art has been amazing, but I preferred other titles.
I liked the Sinestro Corps storyline and I’ve been reading the lead up to this month’s big event: Blackest Night. This first issue was very good. The GL issues have been a bit hard for me to follow because I know very little about GL history and its been hard to connect with these characters. I also don’t really understand all of the multicolor lantern corps that are popping up and what is the purpose of the Black Lantern Corps which at the center of this storyline the Blackest Night. All I know and understand is whoever or whatever is behind all this is recruiting the bodies of deceased super-heroes and super-villains. The Black Hand who is a long standing GL villain, killed himself only to be resurrected as a Black Lantern and he’s become the unofficial squad leader of the corps.
Our story begins on the anniversary of Superman’s “death”. When it was believed that Superman was dead, the government declared it a day of national mourning. When he was resurrected, the day became a day to honor the deceased super-heroes who’ve fallen in the line of duty. In Coast City, the day takes a special meaning as they honor the dead civilians who died at the hands of Mongul and the Cyborg Superman.
In the beginning of the issue we see Black Hand unearthing Bruce Wayne’s body and talking to his skull. In a perverse homage to Hamlet, Black Hand speaks and then licks Bruce’s skull and says that he is connected to them all. Does Black Hand know that Bruce is really alive?
Whenever I’m in London, which is where I am this week, I like to check out the local comic books. And I don’t mean the repackaged American comics that Marvel does, or the magazine-sized comic books like Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation that feature quizzes, puzzles and games inbetween a repackaged American comic. (Although the UK Star Trek comic does a very nice job of repackaging IDW’s Star Trek comic with an assortment of photos and features on the new movie.) I’m talking about the stuff the Brits do for themselves, specifically for the newsstand. Stuff like…Judge Dredd.
I’ve been a casual Judge Dredd fan for years. Back in the 90s, I worked my way through the collections from Titan Books with all that great Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon artwork, I read the DC Comics mini-series and I saw the godawful Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider. So I have some familiarity with the Judge and his colleagues, which led me to pick up 2000 AD, Prog 1643 from July 8, 2009.
The cover is a nice zombie-baby horror from Leigh Gallagher, tying into this issue’s final story.
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