Friday, June 22, 2007

June 20th Release Reviews

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I got half way through reviewing JLA #10, and realized two things about reviews:

  1. They are long, they suck to write, and I am honestly not too good at it
  2. No one wants to reread the whole issue through my eyes, especially when I don't really have any groundbreaking new thoughts on it.
So instead of going over each moment in the issue, I am going to hit the highlights, give a quick thought on them, and everyone will be happier because of it. Of course, if you haven't read these issues, there will be spoilers, so you know what you are getting into.

Justice League of America #10

I wasn't too happy with the issue overall because it seems like there were some huge holes in the story that they just conveniently patched up:
  • Batman sewing trackers in everyone's costumes
  • Control of the flight rings being tampered with by Mr. Terrific, even though being the fourth smartest person alive, he didn't know they would self repair. I know, it's 30th century tech, but if he is smart enough to tamper with their controls, he should be smart enough to notice a self-repair module when he sees one... sheesh. All that just to explain why Jay Garrick can't vibrate through something.
  • And how does Karate Kid avoid being electrocuted, even though they take up half a page to show his body being ravaged by lightning to the point you can see his skeleton? He ducked. Bullshit. Dan Didio wanted him for Countdown, so he ducked. My ass.
  • Legionnaires are spread all over the country with lightning rods, ready to sacrificie themselves, there are mere seconds left until the strike (we'll get back to the lightning strike itself later) and Dream Girl has effectively distracted one of the oldest, most experienced, and fastest heroes, Jay Garrick. How are you going to stop all of them? Give Green Lantern superspeed that rivals or even beats the Flash! I can buy Superman and Power Girl having similar speed, but not GL.
OK, enough bitching about it. Despite all of the things that bothered me, I genuinely enjoyed this issue for the one reason that I think most people did.

They brought back Wally West.

The reunions with the different heroes, some of the little comments that were made, really fleshed out the story for me. Wally asking Roy Harper about carrying on the family business, Timber Wolf telling Hal Jordan now he won't be alone, and Batman saying quietly he thought it was going to be Barry Allen, all were completely appropriate and could've come off cheesy but they did it real well.

And finally, who was in the lightning rod in the last panel? I think it is Lightning Lad. Let me know who you think it was in the comments section and I might do a post just on that in a few days.

Flash #13

Let's get this out of he way first. I was not a huge Bart Allen fan, and only recently had I become familiar with him because of this series. But this issue brought tears to my eyes. Seriously. Heroes aren't supposed to die.

Was Bart Allen a hero? Definitely. He fought the Rogues without powers and with the knowledge (from his grandma) that he was going to die. But he knew it was important that he continue on instead of running. He didn't try to hide, didn't try to pull any funny stuff, he went right at the Rogues and did everything he could to take them down and give Val more time to get rid of the speedforce before Inertia got it.

Unfortunately, all the heroics in the world were not enough to save Bart, as the Rogues beat him severely, and he eventually died in Val's arms after she was able to release the speedforce. Like I said before, heroes aren't supposed to die, but I think this one may be permanent.

I mentioned the lightning in JLA #10 and that I would get back to it. Well, there is lightning in this issue, too, when Val released the speedforce, and immediately afterwards Bart mutters "Wally, Wally I'm so... I'm so sorry I was a jerk..." I think at this point that Bart knew Wally was back and that the lightning that Wally was riding was the one Val released. How else would the Legionnaires know exactly when to be, and where to be, to catch this one specific lightning? And it had to be this lightning, otherwise, they had entire worlds full of lightning they could go to in their own time.

My only hope is that they didn't waste Bart's death only to bring back Wally, that would be a huge letdown. Wally needs to be pivotal to something big on the horizon, or this is just another dumb resurrection and another useless death in the DC Universe.

World War Hulk

The WWH storyline spanned 4 different issues this week, and other than make me 9 dollars poorer, Iron Man #19, Heroes for Hire #11 and Ghost Rider #12 did nothing for me.

Before we get to Incredible Hulk #107, I'll explain my disgust with the other three.
  • Ghost Rider #12 just pissed me off. They pump the cover with GR on Hulk's head with his chainwrapped around it, and you would think there was a fight somewhere in the book between GR and the Hulk. Nope. Nothing but a single panel at the very end and a "to be continued..." Fucking bullshit. Seriously, don't waste your time or money, and if you already have, you know my pain.
  • Heroes for Hire #11 was at least mildly entertaining. I don't normally buy this title, so I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a decent backup story to WWH, but as with Ghost Rider, the cover promised a whole lot more than was actually in the book. We see Humbug fighting Miek and the Brood, but inside we get... some little bug things that Humbug tears apart to cover the rest of the mercenaries with bug juice to cover their scent? I am less upset about this only because the expectation was not to see the Hulk kick some ass, so I guess the letdown wasn't as big either.
  • Iron Man #19 was disappointing more than even the others. I felt cheated by this issue as much as I have been by a comic in a long time. First, I had to buy an Iron Man book. Second, I only bought it because it was hyped to be more than just a recap of WWH #1. The only extra anything put in was an extra couple pages to show his drones getting destroyed by the Hulk's warship. And third, again the cover shows Hulk knocking the head off a drone, though that never happens! Laaaaame. After the first few pages, it was a word for word copy of WWH #1 and I would have to check, but a lot of the artwork looked the same too.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Marvel for this, almost to the point of not buying this crap anymore. But the saving grace was Incredible Hulk #107. For the first time this week Marvel actually put on the cover what happened in the book.

The cover showed a battle between Hercules and the Hulk and sure enough they delivered with a world class throwdown. This issue is about Hulk's friends, which he sys at the beginning of the issue that "If they are human... they are Banner's friends." By the end of the issue though, Herc has convinced the Hulk that there are people there to help him and fight for him, and they leave the decision whether he is going to smash them all kinda hanging.

Of course he will allow them to help, though, this is a smart version of the Hulk, and he knows he cannot do this alone. If he could, he would have no need for the Warbound, so he will allow these puny humans to do what they want as long as they don't stand in his way.

X-Men: Endangered Species

This was one of the more enjoyable issues of an X-title I have read in a long, long time. Don't get me wrong, I love the X-Men and do my best to read as much of their corner of the universe as I can each month. But the Endangered Species one-shot brought a smile to my face more so than any of the others have recently.

It was poignant, well-paced, and most important of all it involved the characters, not just their powers or how bad ass they may or may not be. The greatest part of the X-Men for me has always been the character development, and I have often told friends I would read a book about these characters even if they weren't superheroes.

By far the best panel of the whole book is the one on the right, showing Wolverine standing by the graves of all the other X-Men and realizing that he is going to outlive them all. It is about time that Logan confronts his immortality (more or less) and you can tell by the later scene with Scott Summers that maybe he has decided to start treating his fellow mutants a little better. I have always liked the hard edge they keep on Logan, but in times like these, he should be a leader not a divider, and it looks like he is ready to take that role on.

The rest of the book involves approximately 20 mutants attending the funeral of a young boy they tried to recruit earlier but he decided he wanted to attend a "normal" school. He has apparently died of a traffic accident, and the issue shows how many of the mutants deal with the passing of another mutant.

An interesting side story is the one involving Sebastian Shaw and Professor X. (Another interesting side story is the fact I cannot spell simple words like professor and I am very thankful for spell check!) Shaw has shown up for the funeral incognito and Prof. X figures it out when he constructs a psi-shield. X confronts him to find that he has the most noble of intentions and in fact, the same reasons for being there as the rest of the mutants. It was a compelling look at Shaw who too often comes off as just pure evil and nothing more. I hope we see more character building like this in the upcoming Messiah Complex event.

Countdown #45

This week there was just enough to keep me interested, but not enough to be excited about. First off, I absolutely loved the cover

, the best I have seen out of 52/Countdown so far. I know it's not the same teams doing each weekly series, but they have become one large series in my mind, so I hold them to a common standard.

The majority of the issue is devoted to the story between Donna Troy, Jason Todd and the new character Forerunner, who we find out is an assassin for the Monitors. However, after a lengthy fight, a Monitor steps in and informs Forerunner that she and her race were actually slaves and now she is no longer needed.

Forerunner swears to stay on Earth and exact her revenge, and that could make for some hardcore showdowns between her and many members of the DC Universe, both good and bad. In case you can't tell, I like the character asa freelance killer. Should be interesting.

During the fight though, one thing we see is a return to form for Donna Troy, as she shows just how much of a wicked bitch she really can be. She had been kinda stagnant lately since her return and it is good to see her Amazonian side again.

Other than that, there is a bunch of bullshit here. We see Jimmy frickin Olsen recapping the last few issues for himself, and then giving us a refresher course on the history of the New Gods. I know they need to put this stuff in or newer readers, but that doesn't still make it boring.

Then we have to sit through a Legion interlude with Karate Kid, Dream Girl and Starman talking with Dr. Midnite on the Justice League Satellite about how they feel like prisoners or something. I have made no secret of my love for the Legion here, so this may be a little surprising, but the entire sequence seems completely out of place after reading the conclusion to the Lightning Saga during the same week. On top of that, KK seems pretty whiny, Starman seems too sane and suddenly Dream Girl can't see into the future and tell whether her teammates are OK. And just to nitpick a little, do they really still use the word "chitchat" in the 30th century? I hope not.

I'll be buying Countdown again next week, but my impatience is growing. I really want to see where this is all going, or I am going to spend that $12 a month on something better very soon.

That's all for this week, but it looks like next week could be interesting, too. WWH: Frontline #1, WWH: X-Men #1, X-Men #200, Wolverine vs. Daken in Wolverine: Origins #15 over at Marvel. And at DC it looks like it time for the Amazon Attacks storyline to take off as we will have issue #3 of that series, Wonder Woman #10 and Teen Titans #48 all dealing directly with it. Also coming from DC is the final chapter of the Dominators storyline in Supergirl and the LSH #31, and finally Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps!



Spencer said...

I understand why Marvel has these tie-ins (i.e. Ghost Rider, Heroes for Hire), but I felt the same as you. Big cover leading to no payoff. I will not be Marvel's cash-cow forever.

From now on, I'm going to stick to only Hulk and WWH titles. I just don't have the extra cash to spend on what amounts to one or two whole panels that interest me. I have to admit, it was because of CW that I got into Thunderbolts though.

I cannot stress enough how elated I was to see Bart Allen dead. I hated him sooo much. So very much.
Like Batman, I expected Barry back, but Wally has been a fairly profitable Flash for DC, so it makes sense (for them). I really like Wally since he is the Flash I always "knew" anyway.

Karate Kid can duck lightning because he is the most powerful non-powered character in the DCU. One of my favorite characters actually. What does he become when he gets all growed up though? Karate Man? Some of the Legion names are hilariously dumb.

ComicGeek said...

It's funny you ay that about the Legion names, I forget which issue it was, but one of the recent issues of Supergirl and the LSH they Colossal Lad (Micro Lad lol) had some commentary on that.

I'll try to find it and post it for you soon.

Click the Banner (Get it? Banner... Hulk... nevermind) Hulk vs. Bizarro The Comic Rack webcomic comic book blog

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