Top 5 Best Comics of June 2010

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Still incredibly late, but I will catch up soon. I read 30 comics in June, and these were the best.

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Review: Blackest Night: The Flash #1

Geoff Johns, at his best and at his worst.  Blackest Night: The Flash #1 seems utterly trivial to the overall mini, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it stayed that way, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.  Following, alternately, Barry Allen in the events leading up to the Coast City reveal of Nekron and the Rogues, pissed that someone is defiling their legacy, Blackest Night: The Flash writes its title character into something of a corner for this mini, though the reintroduction of Eobard Thawn could have ramifications down the line, by setting itself BEFORE the last issue of Blackest Night we read.

That would be less of a problem if it focused more heavily on the Rogues.  Undoubtedly the book’s strongest segments, the all-too-brief moments with the Rogues shine here.  While Barry’s by-the-books struggle moves at a snails pace, especially since Johns, quite literally, pauses every few pages to give us in-depth information about utterly inconsequential continuity tidbits, the Rogues promise an exciting blend of horror and action.  Every one of the book’s memorable moments comes from one of the Rogues’ moments, which makes it a shame they share so little of Barry’s spotlight.

See, for example, the page where they decide to go confront the undead old Rogues terrorizing Iron Heights – while Kolins’ tense, overly-posed segments with Barry Allen look strangely static for a book about the fastest man alive, he seemed to have fun with a brief appearance by Black Lantern Mirror Master, who had been spying on the Rogues’ meeting and, as soon as they left, destroyed the mirror they would use to return to the lair.  Creepy and well-styled, it very much fits the tone the book badly wants, but Kolins frequent Flash pages, outside of a few moments near the end of the book, are uninspired.

Uninspired seems like a good way to describe most of the issue, in fact.  There’s a lot of set-up, but most of it just told us things we already knew – in fact, it showed us things we’ve already seen.  Rather than telling a story, Blackest Night: The Flash #1 seems to be meticulously noting continuity and timing, a perfectionist’s dream that makes for some dreary storytelling.  The remarkably low-energy start to this three-issue mini isn’t promising, but the last-page splash of the Rogues’ walking into their old prison, intent on shooting up some zombies, suggests that maybe Johns knows what he’s doing after all.

Grade: C+

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #3

Bruce Castle Presents: Crisis Tie-Ins Just Got More Final

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D #1 (*****)

I’ve been avoiding this review. I’ve only read it twice and that’s not nearly enough to properly comprehend everything contained in this issue. I would have liked to have written up a long in-depth analysis review, but instead I’ll just write a few kind words. Hopefully, either my words or somebody else’s will convince you to pick this up. Yes, this story is very complex and it does demand quite a bit from the reader. However, I still feel that it can be enjoyed on a primitive level and can actually be fun at times. With most Grant Morrison stories, all of the attention, good or bad, is directed towards Morrison. His artists don’t always receive the accolades that they deserve. Doug Mahnke drew this book wonderfully. His work alone is worth the price of admission. This book is truly sublime.

SPECIAL FEATURE!!!!

For those who can’t understand German, I’ll provide the translations for free! Well, what I will ask is that if you didn’t read this issue, please go pick it up! Then you can get your translations here too! Oh and when I list page numbers, I don’t count advertisements!

Page #9- “We will have to accept losses! This machine will immediately explode!”

Page #17- (This is obvious but..) “Great Krypton!”

Page #18- “All these universes in different frequencies vibrate”

Page #20- “What is it? I can not remember why I do; all the technology is for the dog.”

Oh and Overman is German for Superman.

As an added bonus, here is the Nazi Supergirl translation in Final Crisis #3:

Page #4- “I…I…I am…Supergirl…No. Is the…the sky bleeding? The (There are typos here and I think this is one of them. It says h^lle in the issue, the closest I can get is..) hall…is…is here

So there you go. I’m sure the translations aren’t perfect, but you can get the general idea. Plus, the text wasn’t perfect either. I hope that helps!

DC Universe Last Will And Testament #1 (Cover A)

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament (****)

Yep, this is about Geo-Force. Does anyone really care about Geo-Force? Not that I’m aware of, but it does have Deathstroke and he’s cool. This is written by Brad Meltzer. If you like his stuff, then you’ll probably like this. If you don’t like his stuff, then you can probably pass. However, before you do, there are a few things to consider. I’m not a big fan of Meltzer, but I did like most of Identity Crisis.  This was marketed as a FC tie-in (even though it doesn’t have the tag). It was supposed to be the night before the end of Final Crisis #3. It isn’t. In fact, you could read this without reading FC and still enjoy it which is cool. The only way this relates to FC is that this is a kind of sequel to Identity Crisis (and FC is kind of a sequel to Identity Crisis), and we see DC characters dreading something bad about to happen. The story is basically Geo-Force wanting revenge wrapped in lots of little character moments. I’m happy to report that the aforementioned character moments are beautifully rendered by the legendary Joe Kubert. I especially love his homage to the cover of Batman #1. The Geo-Force story is drawn by Adam Kubert. It’s nice to see a father-son duo handling the art chores. In addition to all of this, we get a big fight between Geo-Force and Deathstroke. This is really what impressed me the most because it was my kind of fight. It’s just a knock-down-drag-out fight with lots of blood. This was a very dark outing, but it ended on a surprisingly happy note. I feel this comic is good enough for even the people that dislike Meltzer to enjoy it.

Final Crisis Rogues Revenge #2 (of 3) (Cover A)

Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2 (*****)

I liked the last issue, but things have improved tremendously since last time. Everything in here really hit the mark. Is there more Final Crisis stuff in here? Yes. Can you still enjoy this without reading Final Crisis? Yes. Do these C-List (in the wrong hands) villains seem totally badass? Yes. Are there pleasing twists and turns? Yes. Is this well-written? Yes. Does this contain pretty art? Yes. As you can tell, I was really impressed. If you’re looking for a read filled with quality action or an awesome villain book you really need to pick this up!

Bruce Castle Presents: Secret Invasion Tie-Ins vs. Final Crisis Tie-Ins!

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

Mighty Avengers #16– Sigh. And so we get another SI filler issue. Again, I’m still finding these quite tedious. Oh, and something that heightens that feeling is these damn homage covers. They started doing these with the Marvel Zombie covers and then continued with SI. They were cool for the Marvel Zombie mini-series and that’s it! Once we got to the 20th printing of that hardcover and then now with the Skrulls, these covers are just plain crappy now! Oh well, I doubt this will change by the end of the event so yay I have four more months of this to look forward to! But I digress. This issue is about what happened to Elektra. Despite my earlier ranting, there was a lot to enjoy about this issue and I’m sure a lot of you will love it. This is coming from a DD fan so liking an Elektra story means something. However, this is a picture heavy book from the usually wordy Bendis. Unfortunately, when you have a story that depends so much on the art, if the art is bad the issue will probably be bad as well which is what we get here. Sadly, I found Khoi Pham’s art horrendous. His Elektra looks like an old woman! From the story alone this issue is pretty good, but because there are so many wordless pages, the shoddy art detracts from the story.

2 stars

X-Factor #33– Does anyone still remember when this was a top tier book? The characters were great, the stories were great. The art was unconventional but fit the story perfectly. Why has this book declined so much after Messiah Complex? I’m almost to the point of dropping this book, but then I remember the characters I fell in love with and I’m still interested in their story. So please Peter David, write better! This issue is a SI tie-in, but there isn’t much about Skrulls in here. We get to see a Skrull reveal which was a bit predictable but still cool, but that’s it. The rest of the book is just like a normal X-Factor book. Also, the Skrull in this issue doesn’t say much, but what it does say is very odd. For someone that writes dialogue so well, I don’t know why we get such weird lines from David. There are still some great moments in here, but that is overshadowed by the horrible art and a bit of bad writing. Oh, and this story is being continued in She-Hulk which is a book I don’t read. And sadly, I don’t care about this story enough to follow it into a new book.

1 and a half stars

Final Crisis Requiem #1 (Cover A)

Final Crisis Requiem-First off, I want to apologize for something. I recently said that I flipped through this issue and thought the art didn’t look very good. Well, after reading it, I feel that the art is pretty fantastic. However, I still feel that Mahnke got his reference pages mixed up and is drawing Impossible Man instead of Martian Manhunter, but the art was great. Sadly, that’s about the best thing I can say about this issue. I personally was appalled when I read it. It tries to ruin almost everything Grant Morrison was trying to say in Final Crisis. This is a retelling of what happened in that book and it pissed me off. This should have made me sentimental and left me remembering J’onn J’onzz fondly. Instead I left this issue blinded with rage. At first, I was going to recommend this issue if you treat it as a MM book instead of a FC book, but I don’t even think it works then. It doesn’t seem written well at all. I had an instinct to stay away from this book, but I heard so many positive things about it that I gave it a shot. I was sorely disappointed.

1 star

Final Crisis Rogues’ Revenge #1– Leave it to Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins to produce a decent tie-in. The team that told some of the best Flash stories reunite to bring us a new Rogues tale. The art is fantastic! I didn’t expect this to be so gritty but it is. The Rogues aren’t written as comic blunderers. They are written as tired old men that are still bad ass in their own way. They are villains with an unusual moral code and they are written extremely well. Unlike the aforementioned FC tie-in, this doesn’t screw with the main FC story. It is referenced and it seems a bit is spoiled. Perhaps issue 3 should have been out by now. It doesn’t seem like much of a tie-in yet, but it is still a great story on its own. There is plenty of set-up in this issue, but there is still a lot of action and cool moments with a cliffhanger that will leave you hungry for more!

3 and a half stars

P.S. For those keeping track, Final Crisis wins!