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: 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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Review: Blue Beetle #1

I held off on writing this review for I initially didn’t know what I wanted to say about this first issue and my only prior knowledge of this character was from his run in the Teen Titans, which wasn’t long.  So I guess I’m coming into this one with mostly a new reader perspective…

SPOILER WARNING!

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Double Flashpoint Review: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3, Emperor Aquaman #3

Flashpoint has had a lot of highlights.  Unfortunately, most of those highlights have not exactly been positive ones: insanity, poor storytelling, laughably overwrought cliffhangers and more are what we’ll remember about Flashpoint, while it’s sporadically good tie-ins will be forgotten.  Two of the stronger tie-ins, Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown and Emperor Aquaman, ended last week.  Here’s a review of both.

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Review: Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #2 (of 3)

 

Flashpoint‘s crossovers have been wildly uneven, ranging from the fantastic – Wonder Woman and the Furies – to the fairly terrible – Canterbury Cricket.  But throughout, one plot thread has held fairly strong, through three crossovers, and that is the war between Atlantis and Themyscira.  This trend continues this week with the excellent Emperor Aquaman #2.

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Review: The Great Ten #1

GreatTen1

A couple years back, DC’s excellent 52 introduced us to a team of Chinese superheroes – or, as they were called by their government, super-functionaries – called the Great Ten.  Throughout the time, and for a good while after, there was frequent talk of a Great Ten miniseries in the works.  Talk eventually died down, and outside of a few cameos in comics like Checkmate, the team was largely forgotten… which is the perfect time to launch that mini, right?

Happily, while the book isn’t nearly as off-the-wall as it could have been with a more daring creative team, Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel provide a solid superhero tale set-up so that it can give us a great deal of background on these new characters without slowing the book’s pace to oblivion.  The opening issue, featuring the origin of Accomplished Perfect Physician, the team’s most rebellious member, offers solid action combined with some clunky (if admittedly unavoidable) social commentary and a fascinating new team with an interesting mythology behind them.

McDaniel does a fine job on art.  Illustrating scenes with a character whose powers are all based on sound – Accomplished Perfect Physician can diagnose and cure illnesses, stop bullets and earthquakes, and do a whole lot more with nothing more than whistles, hums, growls and shouts – but McDaniel keeps it fairly simple, never letting the page get too cluttered or confused.

The Great Ten #1 never rises beyond an action comic, despite its attempts at social commentary, but it doesn’t need to – the action is quick, fun and to the point, all either furthering the plot or helping us get into the head of one of our characters.  If each issue can introduce us so nicely to another member of the team, future creators will have an excellent blueprint of these characters with which to work.  A worthwhile purchase for fans of myth-based comics, Bedard and McDaniel are turning in solid, fun work.

Grade: B+

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.