August 20, 2009
I’ve been reading comics long enough that the term “annual” has become more or less synonymous with the phrase “overpriced filler”. It’s rare that I ever bother picking up annuals anymore. But the recent Action Comics Annual #12 bucked that trend, so I decided to give the Superman Annual a try.
This issue is hardly essential reading like the Action Comics Annual. But it was great supplemental reading which is what I think an annual should be. The issue tells the “secret origin” of the planet Daxam, its people and Mon-el in particular. With Daxamites Sodam Yat and Mon-el all over the DCU these days, this is a story worth telling.
In a lot of ways, Robinson’s story reminds me of Peter David’s Atlantis Chronicles. (In case you’re wondering, that’s high praise.) In that mini-series, David created the mythical history of Atlantis that served as the background for most contemporary Aquaman stories. Robinson does the same thing with Daxam in this issue. He also strengthens Daxam’s ties to Krypton and ties Mon-el’s history to Superman’s in some surprising ways.
I’m unfamiliar with artist Javier Pina. But I really enjoyed his work here. I thought he captured the epic scope of the story which is part mythology and part history.
While this issue is hardly essential reading and the $4 price tag may scare you off, it’s worth a look. Once again, Robinson has impressed me with his ability to make me care about Mon-el, a character I had zero interest in previously.
Superman #690 Superman #689
July 31, 2009
I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to this issue for a while. I like Steel and I’ve been waiting for him to get a spotlight of some kind after “52″. Too bad for Steel that spotlight turned out to be an ass-kicking and he was on the receiving end.
In a great comic book tradition, the cover is somewhat misleading. Yes, Atlas kicks Steels armor-plated ass but good. But a lot more happens in this issue than just the Steel/Atlas dust-up. Much as last issue showcased Mon-el teaming up with heroes across the world, this issue gives us brief check-ins with all of the book’s supporting cast members.
As I said in my recent Supergirl review, I’m kind of a sucker for these kinds of issues. I love the calm before the storm. And I love seeing the peripheal characters getting their moments to shine.
The issue starts off with the Steel/Atlas slobber-knocker. I honestly can’t remember the last punch-out I enjoyed as much as this one. The always-excellent Renato Guedes delivers the goods. Best one-on-one fight of the year! Thankfully, Steel doesn’t go down easy. In fact, he gets the upper hand early on. Unfortunately for Steel, this just makes Atlas angry. Inevitably, Atlas smash puny Steel.
It’s hard to top a fight this good. And Robinson doesn’t really try. The rest of the book checks in on supporting characters like Zatara, Parasite, Jim Harper, Dr. Light, Tellus and Sodam Yat. Nothing here is essential reading. But Robinson is clearly setting up future plotlines. And I enjoyed the character interactions. So, it was all good.
All in all, this issue is laying the groundwork for future stories. Lots of ‘em, I think. So it’s a little frustrating to have so much set-up with little to no pay off. But the fight scene was so well done and the character moments were engaging enough to win me over. I look forward to seeing where most of these plot threads are going.
June 11, 2009
I was pretty impressed with GLC last issue. I even went so far as to pick it as one of the top 5 books of the month. Well, this issue the story kind of slipped into neutral. As a result, the book’s momentum stalled out.
A lot happened last month. It kept the pages turning pretty quickly. But this issue hits a lot of the same story beats. The majority of the Lanterns are still putting down a break-out in the Sciencecells. Arisia is still on Daxam trying to overthrow Mogul. At the end of the issue, very little has changed from the end of last issue.
The book starts off with Sodom Yat appearing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. It lacks a certain dramatic punch given that we have seen Sodom alive and well in the future in Legion of Three Worlds. As a result of… whatever he did… Daxam’s sun has been turned yellow and all of the Daxamites have been given Superman-like powers.
The Daxamites are understandably ready for a fight. As they struggle to contain their new found powers and their rage, Arisia takes command. She orders them not to rush into a fight against Mongul. Instead, she vows to train them and lead an underground resistance in honor of Sodom Yat.
Yeah, it felt kind of phoney. The only reason for it is to delay the story to the point where Sinestro can arrive. Like so much of this issue, it felt like padding to stretch things out until Blackest Night starts.
Back on Oa, Kyle Rayner makes what promises to be a Faustian bargain with Kanjar Ro. This too seems forced to serve the plot. And Lyssa Drak searches for the Book of Parallax only to find an entirely different book on Oa. It leads to the coolest moment in the books. So, I won’t spoil it. But I will say I am getting really sick of seeing Scar crying black goo!
The highlight of the issue was the art by Patrick Gleason. Gleason delivers a two-page spread of the Sciencells break-out that is every bit on par with the work of Ivan Reis. His artwork saved what was otherwise a bit of a lackluster issue.
For more comic goodness, go here.
May 14, 2009
Everyone is always talking about Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern. But people seem to forget about Green Lantern Corps. And that’s a damn shame. This book is so completely satisfying.
In this issue, Emerald Eclipse heats up with three equally compelling plots. First, Sinestro rocks Soranik’s world by explaining her true parentage. Yeah, Kyle’s dating Sinestro’s daughter. Wrap your head around that! Before he leaves to take back control of the Sinestro Corps from Mongul, Sinestro warns his daughter that the Red Lanterns are looking for her.
Meanwhile on Oa, there’s a riot in the Sciencells. Red Lanterns and Sinestro Corps members are tearing the place apart. And on Daxam, Sodam Yat is preparing to free his people from the tyrannical rule of Mongul. Unfortunately, he’s having a power shortage. He’s been on Daxam too long to access his Daxamite powers. And in the middle of his battle with Mongul, Sodam comes to realize that he has been cut off from the power of Ion too.
The issue ends with Sodam seemingly making the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. (Yeah, he’s still alive in Legion of Three Worlds, so it’s not much of a cliffhanger.) And things are set up for the Sinestro/Mongul showdown to come.
The ensemble cast is a real strength for this book. Tomasi does a good job of giving all the Lanterns a unique personality. And since these characters aren’t owned by other books, he has free reign to do whatever he wants with them. It’s one of the reasons this book works better than a book like Justice League.
By now, you’ve probably formed your own opinion of Patrick Gleason as an artist. Personally, I think he’s great. And he’s perfect for a book like Green Lantern Corps with it’s alien cast and bizarre settings. His battle scenes are positively explosive.
As we build up to Blackest Night, the best stuff is going on in Green Lantern Corps. Check it out