Thursday, October 24, 2013

Red Lanterns #24 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Alessandro Vitti
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23. 2013

Red Means Go!

Lights Out Part 4!  Oh yeah.  being a little sketchy on the story line when it first started, New Guardians #24 really got me amped up, so here we are for the next installment.  Lets see red.

Explain It:

So now that Bleeze knows Guy Gardner was sent to spy on the Red Lanterns, she intends to tell the rest of the Reds his secret.  But Guy isn't worried, he calls a meeting and tells the rest of the group what he was supposed to do, but now that the Corps. has betrayed him, he's all red.

The Green Lantern Corps. shows up during this meeting, and it's a stop and go fight, between unparalleled rage, and a diminished power corps.  Now DC had a chance to continue a great running gag here, and sadly they missed the opportunity.  The "One Punch" gag.  This is a gag that always made me laugh, and may be thought of as "done to death", but for once in his entire career, we could of seen Guy have the upper hand on Hal Jordan.  Guy sucker punches Hal, and we could of had Zillious Zox in the background say "One Punch!"  Maybe it's because this is a pivotal point in the Lights Out story arc, that the creators decided (if they talked about it at all) we have to much going on to throw in a joke right now.  But I think it would of been great.  Oh well.

After the fight calms down a little we find out that since the Red energy is part science and magic, that Relic can't affect it like the rest of the emotional spectrums.  Guy agrees to help the Corps. save the universe, but he wants something in return.  Hal agrees to his conditions, and we find that the Reds are getting their own sector of the universe that will be under their policing

Out in space Atrocitus and Dex Starr are making their way back to Ysmault.  Atrocitus, now imbued with the rage entity Butcher, plots what he is going to do to Guy Gardner when he finds him.  This scene is almost like Dr. Claw talking to Mad Cat from Inspector Gadget.  So there they are plotting evisceration, and playing with eye balls, when Kyle Rayner shows up with his body full of entities, and The Butcher jumps ship and takes off with Kyle.  So there floating through space is a naked Atrocitus begging his kitty cat to help him. (So good)  So much for evisceration.  Dex Starr does save Atrocitus, and their space road trip continues.

We stop by the edge of the known universe, and find Relic trying to break through the source wall to the universe's light resevoir.  But he's getting a bit irritable because he's tried a bunch of times and hasn't been able to achieve his goal.  Relic is about to use the spectrum energy he's collected through the story arc, when Kyle shows up with the Templar Guardians.  The two sides banter back and forth about power, and futility.  But in the end, Kyle tells Relic that he is here to help him take down the source wall.  Boosh.

Bits and Pieces:

Since the creative change after issue #20, this title has been a complete joy to read.  Guy Gardner is so much fun when being an asshole, that in his role as leader of the assholes of the universe, we're finally seeing him shine.  I can't wait to see this title step out on it's own, after crisis of infinite cross overs is well, over.  Sadly I feel I started enjoying this story arc to late since all we have left is Green Lantern Annual.#2, out next week. But anyway, this is a great book, and I'd suggest Red Lanterns to any Lantern fan still on the fence about it.  Check it out.


Aquaman #24 Review

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Paul Pelletier
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Seven Seas, Swimming Them So Well

Aquaman has had it tough recently.  He may not be the King he thought, his wife was supposed to marry his enemy, his brother's followers want to kill him and he's been in a coma for months.  Thankfully for the reader, all of this has lead to one kick butt comic.  Geoff Johns gives us one of the best issues of the series and an issue that longtime readers and newcomers can enjoy alike.

Aquaman #24 is a great issue and a lesson on how to do a comic right.  Geoff Johns gives us a sprawling history of Atlantis, it's first King and Aquaman himself.  He gets everyone up to speed while giving hints and clues to the mysteries the book has been exploring.  Arthur has been reluctant to take the Throne of Atlantis, but we see he may not have a right to it in the first place.  Johns uses the history of Atlantis to explore themes such as racism, betrayal and family without shoving it down the readers throats.  We learn everything we need to make the battle coming in the next issue meaningful and mighty.

Paul Pelletier's art is fantastic.  It has such an immense scope with detail that brings everything to life.  I can't talk about the art without mentioning the best part, Arthur's beard.  We have waited the whole New 52 Aquaman run for the beard and it is finally here.  Let's hope it stays.  Geoff needs to tell future writer, Jeff Parker, "Don't fear the beard!"

Aquaman #24 is such a good comic.  It brings any newcomers up to speed while providing long time fans with the answers they have been waiting for.  The best part is Geoff Johns does it subtly and effortlessly.  Everything is now in place for the finale next month and I can not wait.  


Batman: The Dark Knight #24 Review

Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Art by: Alex Maleev
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Villain's Month Part Deux

Villain's Month has come and gone and while the Clayface issue was good fun, I found it a unnecessary Forever Evil tie-in.  However, Dark Knight #24 is what I was looking for last month...a Clayface origin story that is really good and looks great.

This issue should have spelled disaster for me.  I am not a Clayface or Hurwitz's Dark Knight fan.  I may have been won over on both fronts.  The issue is a Clayface issue through and through.  Batman doesn't appear in it and is barely even mentioned.  What we get is a heartbreaking story of how Basil Karlo became Clayface.

The issue jumps between present day and Basil's childhood.  Following last issue, Clayface is in a containment cell and has found a new BFF in the next cell.  He is a big fan of Karlo's movie career and the two delight each other day after day with Clayface's performances.  It is nice to see Clayface so happy to get the attention of his prison neighbor.  His childhood scenes are just as touching.

After Villain's Month, I'm sure everyone is sick of the troubled kid who had a horrible upbringing becoming a supervillain story.  Well, this is a little different and a whole lot more touching.  Young Basil has loving parents who try their best to give him a good life.  He is a good kid who just wants to fit in and be noticed.  This story shows that even the best intentions can lead to a dark path if they turn to obsessions and you get involved with the wrong people who feed the fire.

Alex Maleev's art is great as usual.  I'm surprised he hasn't gotten more attention from this book.  The present day Clayface looks unstable, as if he could just melt into a puddle at any minute.  The flashbacks were the highlight for me.  Young Basil didn't stick out of the crowd and the way Maleev draws him it is so believable.  The world is going on without him and you can see the pain this causes the kid.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: Dark Knight #24 is really good.  In fact, this is the Villain's Month issue I wanted.  We get the promised Clayface origin and the touching story was worth the wait.  I haven't been the biggest fan of either Clayface or this book, but if Hurwitz and Maleev keep up this momentum, they may win me over yet.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Justice League Dark #24 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Mikel Janin
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em

Well this is less of a Justice League Dark, and more of a "It's a Horrible Life With Constantine".  Well I guess there isn't much to bring you up to speed, if you haven't been reading the rest of the Justice League titles, and haven't read Trinity War, you should't be here.

Explain It!:

Well what's there to explain really?  Constantine wakes up in House of Mystery, after the Crime Syndicate appears at the end of the Trinity War.  Before he knows what's happening, he's attacked by miniature versions of himself, I guess these are his personal demons.  He banishes them away, and continues to ponder what happened.  He realizes that the House of Mystery must have pulled him out of the attack, and brought him home. 

For most of the issue we have Constantine transported to different places seeing people with small bits of smoke coming out their heads, with eyes, and teeth.  Finally we find out that these are the sins of the world, creating more sin, and then feeding off the people that create it.  This goes on for awhile, until The JLD shows up and starts attacking Constantine.  He realizes that these are just manifestations of his guilt.  He banishes them all away, except for Zatanna, who tells Constantine that she is there to help him, and that all the things he is seeing are still the effect of Pandora's Box.  Zatanna's manifestation reaches into Constantine's chest, and pulls out the evil that was placed there by the box.

Constantine awakes now in his bedroom, next to Zatanna.  He's now free from the virus from Pandora's Box, but Zatanna is still just a manifestation (which is really creepy, and you get the impression, that this happens all the time.), and Constantine vows to find the rest of the Justice League Dark, and especially Zatanna.  The two kiss, and then Constantine zaps her across the room.  We find out that this isn't the normal Zatanna manifestation/sex toy, it's really Nightmare Nurse.  Apparently after the boning she was going to tell him, that she was there to help.  She was the one to pull the evil out of Constantine, and she's also brought some help.  Since she couldn't get the real Swamp Thing, she grew her own.

Bits and Pieces:

This was a very odd issue.  Really the weakest of all the Forever Evil tie-ins I've read.  Most of the issue was a LSD like trip for Constantine to understand the nature of evil, and how sin spreads from the apathetic, to the hate mongers, to the everyday person.  But it was really boring.  For what the issue was, it should of just been a filler issue of Constantine.  All in all the story falls short to impress, especially put next to the superb issue of Justice League, out this week as well.


The Flash #24 Review

Written by: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art by: Francis Manapul
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

The End Came too Fast

The Flash and Reverse Flash face each other one last time and Barry and company try to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives.  Can The Flash actually slow down enough to smell the roses?

Manapul and Buccellato give us what is essentially their swan song. Yes, they are returning for a Zero Year issue and another one-shot, but this is the true finale of their run.  Oh what a run it's been. Everything has led to this issue which pains me in multiple ways. That the story is ending and that it ended so quick and easy.  There is no big fight, just talking and pleading.  It all seems a little too rushed.  It is a satisfying end to the Speed Force Killer story, but I just wanted more.

What comes after the final Flash/Reverse Flash confrontation is great, though.  We see the aftermath of everything that came before.  Barry has grown since issue #1 and it shows.  He has learned the responsibility of being a hero and is now going to use it for what is important.  This sets up the future of the series and I can't wait.

The art is worth the price of admission alone.  It is stunning.  The multiple splash pages, the unorthodox panel positions all add up to THE best looking book in the New 52 and in my opinion, comics as a whole.  It is that good.

Bits and Pieces:

Manapul and Buccellato's Flash has been a highlight of the New 52 since the beginning.  While this story seems a bit rushed, the aftermath and art are awesome.  They set up the future of Barry and hopefully the next team will take it and continue the greatness.  


Justice League #24 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Geoff Johns
Art By: Ivan Reis
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Ultra Man's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.  Don't Be Ultra Man's Pal

Alright we can get this story going.  Even thought there are a million tie-ins, this issue finally feels like we're getting things going.  It really should feel like Forever Evil's doing that, but I don't know.  This issue is just Boom, take that.  Anyway lets get to it.

Explain It!:

We start this issue, with a dying Krypton.  But wait this isn't the Krypton we're used to.  People are rushing escape pods like the doors of a Best Buy on Black Friday.  Until Jor-Il starts blasting away to make sure that his son get's to escape.  Lara and Jor-Il place their little Kal-Il in the pod, and tell their little baby what every son wants to hear.  "You're a disappointment, and you're weak."  

So we find out in this crazy not so bizarro universe, that they loaded the pod with Kryptonite that will make their son strong, and be able to easily rule over Earth, but that the yellow sun, will hinder the effects of the Kryptonite.  So lil' Kal travels through space, getting the education that we've seen before, with some more loving comments from his father wrapped around it. 

On Earth the Kent's are having a family discussion about Johnny Kent being a poor excuse for a man, and Martha snorting all the farm's income.  Breaking Bad: Smallville.  Pretty much the space ship lands, lil' Kal exits and proclaims after burning Johnny Kent's hand off, that they will be his parents.  Fast forward a bit, and we see that Ultra Man killed his foster parents, killed the president, and started the Crime Syndicate.

Now in the present, back to the present, forward to the present?  Grid's being all Grid about it, telling Ultra Man all about what's going on in the world, and telling him what the rest of the Crime Syndicate's up to, and we are told about a group of superheroes causing a ruckus.  Oooooo, it's about time.  The Doom Patrol.  Now that the name has been said, I expect to see their title soon.  I don't care if it isn't planned, or isn't ready, I expect it now, or next month.  I just want it.  DC you started this, now make it happen.  Alright so Ultra Man's is supposed to go to Kahndaq, but wants to check out somethings in this world, to see how much of a difference there is between his world, and ours.  So lets go to the Daily Planet.  Everyone at the planet are scrambling to get out, except Lois of course.  But they didn't get out in time.  Dun Dun Duuuun!  Ultra Man comes busting in.  

So they don't come right out and say exactly what Ultra Man's pal Jim Olsen was in Earth 3, but it sounds like he took pictures, and blackmailed you.  Now our sweet Jimmy isn't like this at all so, Ultra Man breaks his hand.  After that he's going to do some awful things to Lois, but before he can, Grid lets him know that his target in Kahndaq is coming to him.  Black Adam busts in and takes Ultra Man down.  But when Black Adam tries to rip him limb from limb, he finds out that his is going to be a tough job.  In the end Black Adam is batted away like a annoying fly, or like that StarVista China Beach Season 1 commercial that plays nonstop On Demand.  Please Ultra Man please make those commercials stop.  PLEASE!

Bits and Pieces:

This issue shows us how good we have it with Ma and Pa Kent, man did we get spoiled. We are finally shown the origin for Ultra Man, and the idea of Superman as a bad guy is a terrifying notion.  That's why it works so effectively in Injustice, and here with Ultra Man.  Seeing the parallel between our hero, and him is really effective story telling, and makes you glad we happen to live our fantasy lives here in Earth 1.  Geoff Johns is really taking this event to the extremes and giving us things that I didn't even know I wanted.  If Geoff is whispering terror in our ear, then Ivan Reis is punching us in the gut and hammering the story home, with this beautifully drawn book.  Wow.  I need the next issue now.  So go get this book, so you can go through withdrawal like me.


All-Star Western #24 Review

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by: Moritat
Cover Price:$3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Weirdo Sex Festival

Jonah is innocent of murder, digs up some gold, buys some guns and heads to a weirdo sex festival.  Oh yea, he runs into a familiar face (for most readers) that will likely make things very interesting for Mr. Hex in the near future...Or maybe his past?

Ever since Jonah Hex has traveled to present day Gotham, All-Star Western has been so much fun. However, Palmiotti and Gray made the right choice by getting Hex out of Gotham and on the road. Yes, Bruce Wayne makes an appearance, but like Jonah himself, the writers don't need to rely on him to make the book a winner.  Mr. Hex and his gal pal, Gina, are the stars and Palmiotti and Gray make them fun to just hang out with.  They drink beer, tell stories and head to a weirdo sex festival.  That actually seems to be the official name.  There they run into a stranger who readers will know will spark trouble and adventure for the duo.

This is a transition issue, but I can't call it filler when I had so much fun reading it.  Seeing Jonah interact and react to modern day happenings just never gets old. The only misstep for me was when Hex tells Gina the true definition of "cowboys".  Just let me tell you, I don't want to be a cowboy no more.

Moritat's art is good, but unlike other issues, I would have liked to see more detail in the panels.  Maybe it's the fact that Jonah is back on the dusty trail, but I was really enjoying Moritat's rendering of the big city.  However, the last panel was a real winner for me.

Palmiotti and Gray continue to write one of the funnest books in the New 52.  Jonah is no longer in Gotham and that seems like a good thing so far.  Moritat's art is good, but I was hoping the detail he brought to the cityscapes would continue into the wide open plains.  The issue ends with a reveal of a guest star that is sure to make the book even more fun.  Highly recommended.