Bruce Castle Presents: Gods, Invasions, and Origins Oh My!

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Justice Society #17

This issue, much like Action Comics, doesn’t move the plot forward all that much, but it’s still a hell of an issue. I probably talk about this in almost every Geoff Johns book I review, but he is one of the best character writers around. He can make you love an iconic character that seemed a bit stale (Hal Jordan or Superman), he can make you love an older character that was never given a chance to shine (Booster Gold), and he can take a completely new character and make you love them (Cyclone). This issue’s great moments include: Maxine ogling the newly healed Damage, oh and a monkey too! The exchange between Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite. Ugh there are too many! Anyway, the plot doesn’t develop too much but I love where it seems to be going. Again, it’s more epic storytelling so I’m sure there will be a few naysayers, but I love this book!

4 stars

Secret Invasion #4Well, again Desiato and Billy got their review out a lot quicker. They seem to be more excited about and enjoy this series more than I do. Although, this was the first comic I read on Thursday. I’m still waiting for this series to live up to its expectations. I was about to breakdown each previous issue but there is no need. Let’s just move on to a few things about this one. Sentry cries, Ms. Marvel tears up, and Agent Brand cries. What’s up with all the crying? I suppose it’s supposed to add to the gravity of the situation, but it’s done in such a way that I don’t think a lot of people will even notice it. Not that it was subtle, but it just didn’t add to the story. This is an event and a HUGE one at that. Every panel should matter but that’s not the case here. Fury blasts Ms. Marvel, ok that’s cool. But is it just pointing out that “who can you trust” thing that we’ve been bludgeoned with over the past six months? Hopefully not, but that does seem to be the way Bendis is writing these days. I see it as more of a question of why. Is Fury a Skrull? Or is this just the Ms. Marvel Skrull thing? If she is a Skrull at this time then it seems her buddies didn’t get the message. We get another green eyes shot that I would think Mr. Yu would be getting tired of. Is Black Widow a Skrull? She is certainly not acting like a Skrull or is she? In this issue we get a close-up of The Hood’s face. Am I the only one who thinks he looks like Tony Stark? I looked at my Hood HC and the character looked nothing like this guy and certainly didn’t have blue eyes. It’s hard to tell though. I’m not sure what I think about Yu’s art. I used to think he was pretty good, but this whole Skrull business has kind of convinced me otherwise. With this and that whole baby thing ugh. That would be interesting if Tony was a Skrull and the Hood was the real Tony. Again, the way Bendis has been writing lately I doubt that’s a possibility, oh well. Thor and Bucky showed up too. I would usually be happy about this, but instead I have just a bad taste in my mouth. This review is long enough with me going into details. Anyway, the important thing isn’t the background. It’s not the tie-ins or anything else it’s just THIS ISSUE. And THIS ISSUE in my opinion was just ok. I got a bit excited over the last issue and I didn’t have that feeling here. It has nothing to do with the “reveal”, but more about the overall quality of the issue and the expectations that one should have about a 4 buck event that has been building for 5 years and is supposed to overshadow the last few Marvel events. I’m a bit of a sad panda after this issue.

2 and a half stars(It’d be lower but I have to recommend it, you should read it at least once)

Ultimate Origins #2– Got to review this quick. Not as great as last issue but still pretty good. It’s cool to see Steve in the early days. Not a whole lot revealed that I remember but it’s still very promising. The art is still nice and so is the writing.

2 and a half stars

4 thoughts on “Bruce Castle Presents: Gods, Invasions, and Origins Oh My!

  1. Is there anything right now that truly differentiates what Bendis is doing right now and what Johns is writing in his books? It’s the same amount of decompression on both sides of the coin. JSA slowed to a complete crawl during Thy Kingdom Come when I decided to drop it, and it seems like that’s still the case with the Gog storyline. There are WAY TOO MANY CHARACTERS in that book. Everyone gets the short shrift because Johns can’t focus on some characters without neglecting others. Booster Gold became a complete mess during the second arc, and we all know my opinions concerning a certain waste of a Green Lantern arc. Not reading Action so I can’t comment on it, but it seems like Johns is getting a free pass here while everyone continues to pile on Bendis. I don’t really see the difference. It very well could come down to which universe you find more interesting. Which is fine, and we are perfectly capable of loving the things that we love for whatever reasons we find trenchant. It just seems a bit like a double standard concerning the general opinions out little vocal minority corner of the world known as the internet.

    Don’t really know what spurned that on, but hey.

  2. Well, you bring up a few good points and you bring them up well. Here are a few of my thoughts. You are right in that both Johns and Bendis are moving their plots along slowly. But the differences are subtle but important. Johns writes characters a lot better than Bendis does at least right now. There were several nice character moments in JSA. There is also an intriguing plot developing involving religion, faith, and trust. Bendis, in regards to Secret Invasion, to put bluntly is just telling a slow story with lots of crying and close ups of green eyes :). Seriously though, even from people that like or love Secret Invasion, I have heard them say that it is a simple unintelligent story and that not much has happened. The “not much has happened” quote came from someone who has Bendis as his favorite writer and thinks this is some of his best work. Another difference between Johns and Bendis is that Johns isn’t telling an event story right now. Bendis is, so SI should have a lot going on, especially since they cost 4 bucks.

    As to the criticism of “WAY TOO MANY CHARACTERS”, it doesn’t bother me much because every character is getting some love. They aren’t just background they are well established characters and we are invested in them. Of course you can disagree with this but that is how I feel.

    I haven’t been reading Booster Gold so I can’t say anything there. And as for GL, I still feel it is a fantastic story that makes up for its misplacement. And hey, do you know the Red Lantern oath? Because I do from reading that book, so it is a bit relevant.

    Oh and lastly, apparently we are in different areas because where I am, Secret Invasion is getting praised across the board. Oh and FC is getting panned. So I’m the lone wolf in loving FC and disliking SI. So don’t worry there are plenty of folks that agree with you. So yeah hopefully I answered in an eloquent fashion, but who knows.

  3. Well, SI could be a simple, unintelligent story for those that aren’t reading the whole thing, but let’s not go back to the whole tie in debate. And I think there have been some excellent character moments throughout SI. Hawkeye and Mockingbird leaps immediately to mind. I think there’s more characterization to SI than Bendis is given credit for. The exasperation of Maria Hill, the double sided nature of Jessica Drew/Princess Veranke and the way she plays off the other characters, the dumbfounded confusion of Tony Stark, the isolation of Agent Brand and the absolute fear, terror, confusion and paranoia of everyone else in the Marvel U (well, except for Nick Fury. Badasses don’t show fear). And even if you take things at face value, why does every story/event/what have you have to be overly complicated? Bendis (at least so far) seems to have made the choice to make the Secret Invasion mini the waypoint of the event that leads you off into other tie ins and territories. Some may see that as lazy, but I see it as necessary to cover the scope of the entire event.

    I think I can live without knowing the Red Lantern oath for two months, because you know it’ll be in the first issue of the Rage of the Red Lanterns arc. Not gonna lose sleep over that one.

    Most of the other places I regularly talk about comics (which are predominantly the Comic Geek Speak forums and the 11 O’Clock Comics forums) have a decidedly DC slant to them, so while there are people who love and hate both FC and SI, the pro Final Crisis people are certainly louder. It’s good discussion, but that type of mentality has a way of subconsciously seeping into one’s brain and influencing decisions/opinions on things.

  4. It certainly does. Well, I’m beginning to repeat myself here, it seems we both are. I feel strongly that an event in of itself should be a great story that monumentally either changes or at least affects the universe. It should be overflowing with story, while not losing some good solid character moments. I think SI excels in some of these requirements but lacks in others. Ok here we go, this may do something. What have you learned since SI issue one? Um Mockingbird is back maybe, Jessica Drew is a Skrull (I hate this by the way because it was blatantly obvious), oh and Black Widow and Wolverine have some dumb secret word. What else am I missing? Most everything else is purely speculation at this point. I realize that this is kind of the point, but it still seems to be written poorly because that point is being overshadowed by the overall feeling that nothing happened. That is the difference between how I feel about Johns and Bendis. In John’s books I don’t realize the “crawl” but in Bendis’ stuff I do. Certainly you can understand that as it seems you are the opposite. I’m glad you like SI and I hope I will soon. It’s too bad some FC lovers are tainting your enjoyment of that series. Let’s just hope and pray that both events will end up being the best Marvel and DC events. Sound good?

    P.S. FC will be better 🙂

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