Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #6

I am a tad late on my review for Green Lantern: New Guardians #6, but considering that last week’s comic releases were slim at best I think it is still fairly relevant.

Last issue, we found the ragtag group of Lanterns being forced together by Larfleeze and teleported to an artificially created solar system composed of copied worlds, dubbed the Orrery—some of the planets the Lanterns recognize from their own travels.  Upon entering the Orrerry the Lanterns agree to pair off (at Kyle Rayner’s behest) in order to discover the meaning and origin of their journey and the artificial solar system.  Before long, the inhabitants of the copied worlds begin to call for their savior because of the Lanterns intrusion, thus summoning the Archangel Invictus to “smite the wicked.”

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Review: Green Lantern Corps #6

Green Lantern Corps #6 finishes off the Corps’ first story arc of the new 52 by wrapping up some loose ends and posing some important questions of morality for the titles main characters.

When we last left off, John Stewart and two other Green Lanterns had been captured and are being tortured by the Keepers on their home world of Urak. The Keepers watched over the Green Lantern Corps’ power batteries when they were tucked away in their subspace pockets, but since the Guardians decreed that all Green Lanterns are directly responsible for the whereabouts of their power batteries the Keepers have lost their purpose and their planet has fallen into ruin without the power of the batteries. However, due to their prolonged exposure to the batteries the Keepers are all but immune to the Green Lantern’s power rings.

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Review: Red Lanterns #6

This week marked the sixth issue of the Red Lanterns debut run, and issue number six dredges through the plot just as slowly as the first five.  Overall, the Red Lanterns premise seems promising and full of potential, but thus far the execution has been slow to fruition.  Readers following the rage of the Red Lantern Corps should be privy to gruesome action scenes filled with blood, gore, and revenge as they tromp across the universe, yet it seems as if the Red Lanterns prefer to hangout on Ysmault to converse about mutiny and conspiracy.

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Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

One of the hardest things DC’s relaunch has had to deal with is the issue of past continuity.  Some books have just thrown you into already-running storylines (Green Lantern) or expected you to pick up twenty or thirty characters you’ve never heard of without much of an introduction at all (Legion Lost), while others (Superboy) have given you whole new origin stories, essentially resetting the entire character.  And, at least for me, it’s always been better to err on the side of the reset – pretending we know the character in question is presumptuous enough when you’re relaunching 52 titles, but pretending like your entire audience will know the storyline you’re continuing?  Well that just seems like arrogance.  Green Lantern: New Guardians, which stars Kyle Rayner, hedges its bets, opening with an extended origin story for Rayner, but don’t be fooled – it’s very much a continuation of the ongoing plot from the last few years of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comics.

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NewU Reviews: Week 2 of the DC Relaunch

Batwoman #1

Just like last week, I’m going to provide a plot synopsis and review for each issue that came out this week.  I’ll talk a little bit about my general feelings about the relaunch thus far, and how week two did overall.  Finally, for those who like awards, I’ll give out awards to The Must Read Book of the Week, to The Most Pleasant Surprise and, finally, to The Biggest Disappointment.

Click through to find out more!

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 1)

I’m a fan of the Teen Titans, especially the latest incarnation that went from 2003-2011 and as this relaunch makes it seem their entire history may be erased, I wanted to give them a farewell starting with issues 1-7 (also collected in trade form as “A Kid’s Game” or the soon to be released Teen Titans Omnibus 1).  Like usual, beware of spoilers.

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Brightest Day #1

Here we go…

Let me just begin by saying that I think Brightest Day # 1 is a decent comic. Not good but not terrible either. I liked the Jordan/Ferris/Sinestro team up.  The set up explaining what would possibly bring these characters together post-blackest night is actually pretty effective. My only squabble here is that I hope that this storyline merely serves as a prologue for Deadman now that it seems he will be a real character and not some narrative device. The Green Lantern characters have 3 books being published right now; I really hope they don’t take up to much space in this book as it already feels a bit crowded. I liked the brief Martian Manhunter storyline though I am a little disappointed that his mission to terraform Mars is apparently being postponed.  I also liked Mera’s portrayal (she’s not Aquman in a skirt). I even liked the twist on Aquaman’s power.  Ah but Aquaman is also where everything starts to go to hell. Continue reading

Top 5 Best Comics of February 2010

With March half over, I think now’s a good time for this list, yes? I read 17 comics in February, and these were the best.

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Top 5 Best Comics of January 2010

I read 17 comics in January, and these were the best.

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Review: Blackest Night #4


We’ve finally hit the halfway point of Blackest Night, and as some of our readers have noted, we here at Read/RANT haven’t been particularly kind to the deeply flawed semi-horror event.  This issue illustrates a marked improvement over the past issues, and it somehow comes as no surprise that the title’s strongest issue is its least Hal-centric.  Yes, the Halwankery still comes on thick and strong in a few portions of the book, particularly when Johns’ other comicrush, the omnipresent Barry Allen, is speaking.  However, the issue also provides a couple of the book’s strongest moments, most notably a Geoff Johns Shock Ending (TM) that actually mostly works within the narrative.

This issue was extremely action heavy.  In fact, this issue was, with the exception of a couple pages of Ray Palmer, Mera and Barry Allen talking, just about every page had some violence on it.  It is perhaps this apocalyptic focus that helps the issue escape the worst of Johns’  tendencies.  Only one major legacy characters get blandly murdered and no women, and for all that Barry can’t seem to help but suggest that the only way to fight this is to ‘be like Hal’, the rest of the characters seem to be taking the apocalypse with the appropriate amount of fear and courage.  He even manages to slip in a few clever character beats largely absent from previous issues, like the Scarecrow wandering around a monochromatic Gotham City, immune to the Black Lanterns because his emotions are so deadened he hardly registers.

Reis continues to turn in strong work.  While the sheer number of Black Lanterns has dampened any terror there might have been at their appearance, he seems to have enjoyed crafting their new look immensely.  The action sequences are large in scale and well-illustrated, though a tad too dark.  Meanwhile, colorist Alex Sinclair is used sparingly to illustrate the emotional spectrum, but when he does, he’s gotten on board with the Blackest Night: Superman idea of allowing the characters to feel more than one thing at any given time.

Blackest Night continues to be deeply flawed.  That said, as the series marches on, it seems to be getting stronger and finding its voice.  This issue dropped almost all of the book’s failed pretensions of horror in favor of a dark, gothic, very traditional superhero story, a tonal shift that can only work in the title’s favor.  With the already-spoiled Nekron reveal, Johns and Co. have moved on to the next stage of their story.  Let’s hope they continue to trend towards a decent story.

Grade: B-

– Cal Cleary


Blackest Night #3

Top 5 Best Comics of September 2009

Boring introduction! I read 21 comics in September, and these were the best.


5. Green Lantern #46

Hey, Green Lantern is great again! We know Mahnke’s art is going to blow our minds, but Johns pulled his weight too, delivering the gore he’s so fond of. There was a lot of progression here, featuring a fight that’s been brewing for a long time. Sinestro and Mongul’s conclusion is not only drawn well, Johns gives each baddie a fun monologue, dripping with a bit of truth. Indeed, for a brief time, Johns made me believe that Mongul could actually win. Loud, bloody, and just the kind of cosmic fun that Johns wants you to have.

4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size

It all ends. It was the worth the wait, but for Millar’s part of it, this issue played out exactly how you’d expect, which would’ve been a dull experience, except for the reason we’re all here: Steve McNiven. Just about every panel in here is iconic, ready to be framed on your wall. No matter what silly cliché Millar wrote, McNiven made it sing. However, the writing’s not all bad. This issue pays great tribute to Wolverine’s character as a whole, blending his Western and Eastern ways together. So, even on that corny, Lone Wolf & Cub-inspired last page, I smiled.

3. Detective Comics #857

Another conclusion, what can I say? Those are usually great issues. Alright, Rucka’s opening Batwoman arc hasn’t had as much substance as I’d like, but something we can all agree on is the talent of Williams. We haven’t seen Kate’s origin yet, but she’s already a fully-developed character, mostly due to Williams himself. That continues here, of course, as Williams gets to render some dazzling stunts, with Kate jumping from plane to plane, kicking her way to Alice. Speaking of Alice, this issue delivers a twist with her that I didn’t see coming at all, and it was telegraphed, even on the cover. The twist works, not only to shock us, but as a brilliant window into Kate’s past.

Seventh Soldier’s Review

2. Dark Reign: The List – X-Men

I read most of these specials, and this is probably the only one that’s actually a one-shot. Fraction doesn’t conform. This isn’t about political nonsense or the status quo. Fraction gives us the simple tale of revenge, and it works very well. A great deal of that credit goes to Alan Davis. He makes this absurd, spandex-clad medium lyrical. Consider the scene at the end, with Namor, Osborn, and the Sentry. In Davis’ hands, this simple scene becomes a grand confrontation between legends. Superman and Luthor could easily replace Namor and Osborn, and Sentry’s inclusion is the icing on the cake.

1. Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus

I, like many of you, wasn’t very impressed with this crossover. Fraction’s characterizations were still superb, but the plot seemed to contain nothing but buildup. Well, that all culminated with Exodus, and what a culmination. The epic battle between teams is there, with almost every character utilized. Deals with the devil, an old New Avengers callback, and a new status quo makes this the most explosive comic of the month, and the best too.

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Blackest Night #3


Blackest Night, the summer’s mega-event at DC, bears all the signs of  a true, unapologetic Geoff Johns book.  If you’re a fan of Johns’ work, then Blackest Night has it all – exciting, well-constructed action set-pieces, the surprisingly organic nods to continuity stemming from twenty different sources, and the dark, violent plot.  If you aren’t, however, the book is similarly filled with all the pitfalls of his work: an obsession with minutiae and origins, needless slaughter, extreme focus on the Silver Age heroes of his work, and the ability to, in a room full of characters, only kill the legacies and women.

Blackest Night #3 moves the plot ahead a good deal through the use of a massive exposition drop that kills any and all momentum the book had built up partway through the issue.  Despite the well-conceived set-up in Blackest Night: Batman #1 that suggested that Oracle, Batman and Robin would be the ones to fill Hal in on the nature of the threat, this issue sees an Indigo Lantern pop in in the middle of the fight with zombie Justice League, single-handedly turn the tide of the fight, unite the good guys at the Hall of Justice for no reason, and then explain the entire conflict just in time for another fight to break out.

This is not to say that the book is bad, exactly.  Ivan Reis does a fine job on art, managing to blend high-powered fights with a bleak, horror-movie tone in a way the writing just isn’t managing to do yet.  Despite the relentless darkness, though, Reis manages to keep his figures distinct and physically emotive, demonstrating a definite improvement over previous works.

Blackest Night #3 suffers a little from being a middle child, as Johns rushes to fill everyone in on all the back story.  The book has its first truly chilling moment in the final pages of the issue, but it’s undermined by all the previous not-really-shocking moments and the fact that you can see it coming from page 1.  The action is well-done, as previous collaboration between Johns and Reis pay off most in these energetic, surprisingly low-scale fights.  Blackest Night still has a lot of potential to go either way, ultimately: this issue featured both the best and the worst of the series, side by side.

Grade: C

– Cal Cleary


Blackest Night: Batman #1

Blackest Night: Superman #1