Friday, May 16, 2008

Them reviews

And away we go...

Action Comics Annual #10 - Back issue! It's a simple issue, it doesn't tie in directly with the events of Donner's run but it does re-establish some silver age stuff (the meeting between a young Clark Kent and Mon-El/Lar Gand). It also features a story involving Zod, Ursa and Non, how Non was lobotomized and how they attempted to overthrow the leadership of Krypton and landed in the Phantom Zone. A brief two, three pager that leads into Donner's Bizarro World story. Also two very sadisticly fun stories involving Lex Luthor and imagining all the different ways to kill Superman and going over the different colors of kryptonite. Nothing major, but it does supplement the Richard Donner issues nicely. Glad I found it.

Booster Gold #9 - Not bad overall. I can see where the story is headed. In this issue, Booster and Blue Beetle regroup the old Justice League International to mount an assault on Maxwell Lord, who has now captured Doctor Light (the Japanese chick, not the creepy rapist). Since this all takes place during the period of Infinite Crisis, Booster and Beetle retrieve the Martian Manhunter from that giant doodad that Alex Luthor built to recreate the multiverse. Somewhere in there they use a Mother Box to create a boom tube to free Mister Miracle. So now they got Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, Mister Miracle and Manhunter, so they mount an assault on Brother Eye. Lord and Manhunter go at it telepathically over control of Superman while the others knock some goons around in an effort to free Dctor Light and turn off Brother Eye. Seems Batman is there as well disguised as one of the goons. There's a nice little moment here where Batman is talking about the need to retake control of Brother Eye and Booster grabs him, shoves him into a wall and gives him what for. Brother Eye was created by Batman in order to keep an eye (get it?) on Earth's heroes. What ends up happening is Maxwell Lord seizes control and eventually the whole thing becomes sentient. Booster tells him the thing is going down whether he likes it or not. I would like to say this would have been impressive, given Booster's low status and Batman's no bullshit attitude and his obsessive behavior. Unfortunately, the whole thing falls flat, much like the rest of the issue. Doctor Light is freed and she proceeds to put a giant hole through Max's chest. Okay, that's cool I guess. The issue ends with a cliffhanger as Booster's old man, Black Beetle and some other villains show up. Now this issue had a couple of moments that were nice. There is this moment between Gardner and Fire talking on a frigid mountaintop about Ice. Gardner asks Fire to crank up the heat since he can't sacrifice any of his ring's power due to the destruction of Oa. It was a vulnerable moment for Gardner. He's at his weakest. His friends are dead. The heroes are losing. He's lost. He's a pussy. Formatting issues aside, this series is totally losing me. I can't really find anything in the last couple of issues that grab me. Blue Beetle is back, that was cool. Couldn't they, I don't know, just stick with that instead of doing this alternate timeline thing just so Booster can realize he can't change the past? It's boring me to tears. THe story has gone one much too long as well, if the next issue isn't the last part of this arc I'm gonna blow my brains out.

Batman #676 - First issue of Batman RIP! Or I should say, prelude to Batman RIP. It's an okay issue. The last issue, I thought, was very good with Bruce Wayne wailing on some wannabe villain and his girly finding out he's Batman. This issue teases the hell out of the reader. Here, we're are introduced to the Black Gove organization, the Joker tearing the fuck up out of some asylum, and some exposition of Robin talking with Alfred about Damien's parentage while Bruce and girly with name I can never remember visit Bruce's parent's graves. There's also some action in the beginning involving Batman and Robin testing out the new Batmobile and cornering some carjacker in an alley. Tony Daniel's artwork really shines in this issue. I was really impressed. I thought he did some stellar work on the Tenth but lately I've found it unrecognizable. When those pages involving the Joker came around I was blown away. Guy Major's coloring really nailed the atmosphere of the scene. The story.....I dunno. It was all prelude. I mean, it's not even a part one, is it? It's filler for a hardcover collection sometime down the line. I dunno, I'm pretty iffy on this issue myself. I think they could have taken care of some of the character stuff in two pages. The stuff between Robin and Alfred? One page. The stuff with Bruce and Girly? One page. (Girly does get an invitation to a ball held by Black Glove. See what I mean? Prelude.) Killing Batman? Well, seeing as how we're all here to see Batman die, it would be nice. Does Batman die in part one? No. No dying. Very disappointing. Will the overall story suck? I don't know. It's tied in heavily with Final Crisis, and this is Grant Morrison we're talking about. We'll just have to wait and see.

Clandestine #4 - After the last issue's climax, we find Rory and Pandora surrounded by vampire's at the wedding party Samantha and Kay are attending. Turns out the whole thing is a prank on Kay's part involving some French vampires she's friendly with. The mystery is coming to a head as the sudden loss of Rory and Pandora's powers, Walter's losing control and Adam's disappearance are causing the Destine family to panic. It gets a little confusing here when Kay telepathically instructs Newton to take the kids...elsewhere. It gets confusing cause I was never sure of who was saying what (and my allergies going off on me wasn't helping things). Newton takes the kids and somehow or another they end up in the same parallel universe that Dominic and a down continuity Excalibur have landed in. Dom and Excalibur, captured at the end of the last issue, are taken to an arena controlled by that world's inhumans. Interesting! But when Newton and the kids crash land there, the Inhuman's guards open fire, destroying Newton's vessel and apparently killing the kids (not really, of course, we'll find out what happens next issue). Meanwhile, Sam and Kay run on back to the mansion (everyone lives in a mansion in comics, don't they?) and find Walter just totally out of control and end up getting their shit whomped. Now the issue actually ends with a reveal of a bunch of clones of Walter, Rory and Pandora. This is all, apparently, tying in with an earlier story that was collected with the ClanDestine Classic hardcover that I, uh, haven't actually read yet. DOH! Okay, okay, time to throw it open I suppose. But I do like the mystery, the action, Davis's art...everything. The family's dynamic is great. There's one moment between Sam and Kay where after it's revealed that Kay was pranking the kids with the vampires, Sam just floors her. Kay likes to indulge the kids in their superhero fantasies, whereas everyone else is overly protective of them, but even so she completely stepped over the line. Everyone's first reaction is to immediately protect the two kids. When everyone starts gathering, their first thoughts are keeping the kids safe. Sure, it all goes pear shaped, but the way try to maintain an atmosphere of stoicism around the kids when they're secretly flipping out was probably among my favorite moments in the issue. Alan Davis has crafted his characters well, his story is well thought out, his art is clean and the whole is as enjoyable a series as I could hope to read. It might be a bit premature, seeing as how the last issue isn't out for another month, but this is probably the most enjoyable series I could hope to read that's not Green Lantern. Well worth the investment, and worth picking up in a collected format.

Green Lantern Corps #24 - Picking up after the last issue, Gardner, Rayner and the rest are searching for Sodam Yat and Arisia and track them to a planet filled with those Black Mercy plants that Mongul loves using so much. It's kind of fillery as nothing much is accomplished. Mongul comes out briefly after the Lanterns go over a brief history of him. We visit the sciencells on Oa and are treated to this fucking creepy scene of Sinestro peeling the skin off his fingers with his teeth to pain the Sinestro Corps symbol across the face of his cell in his own blood. The "camera" eventually pulls back to show that all the Sinestro Corps members have done this. I need to see where this is going. They have all their yellow rings trapped, so once those get out and reunite with their ring bearers things are gonna get really fucked up. Oh oh oh, there is a reason the Green Lantern books are the best books to read right now! Well, back with our main characters, after hacking there way through tons of gore orbiting this planet (cool shit) and hacking there way through Black Mercy plants, they finally find Sodam Yat and Arisia. However, they have two of those plants attached to their chests. Bad shit, apparently. Issue ends on a cliffhanger as the, uh...momma plant? Starts attacking the group to prevent them from severing the connection between her offspring and their victims. GLC is one of those titles that basically shows the continuing adventures of the characters without necessarily developing too much around the characters. Everything is about epic threats and epic fights. I can dig it. Where this story involving Mongul goes ought to be interesting, but they shouldn't take too much time getting there. The events of the issue are basically padded with exposition, but it does keep you interested with pretty good visuals and promises of greater things to come. It's just up to Tomasi to follow through.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - So far this is my favorite issue this week and I never originally intended on buying it. Highly recommended. It's an origin issue taking place shortly after the events of Annihilation: Conquest detailing the formation of the team and their first mission together. Warlock, Nova and Peter Quill gather together a new team to run around searching out fissures that have appeared around the galaxy since the Phalanx conquest. For whatever reason, spacetime is severely weakened allowing for potential invaders from other dimensions. So the action kicks off immediately as the team tackles some crazy ass group of cultists in a ship powered by the faith of its congregants as it heads into one of these fissures. So that's bad. While this is going on, the story flashes back to the days immediately following the last Annihilation series. Nova, Peter Quill and Adam Warlock all discussing the need to prevent another Annihilation sized event from happening by forming a pro-active team. Nova is NOT on this team, but he does play an important part in it by convincing Gamora to join. He also hooks them up with a base! This is where the series really ties into Nova. The base is that giant severed celestial head from Nova's issue #8 and #9, Knowhere. They even brought back Cosmo! Cosmo is the telepathic Russian dog that heads the security of Knowhere. Man, fucking great. That dog was the highlight of those two issues of Nova, I'm glad they brought him back. So while Peter Quill and Nova are talking people into joining, Warlock is making the moral case for the team and setting forth their goals and thus the entire point of the series. Honestly, I can't wait for the next issue. Abnett and Lanning have really knocked it out of the ballpark with this issue. They've set up an interesting team of fantastic characters, set forth a mission and villains and then casually dropped a stunning revelation from Mantis involving the team's betrayal and demise. An excellent debut. More please.

X-Men: Legacy #211 - Looks like we're getting into Marvel doing some summer bi-weekly stuff. This book was a very good read, but I think it's starting to contradict itself. Last issue, Professor Xavier left behind the Acolytes saying he had only fragmented memories and what he did have he had no real connections with. However, in this issue he seems to have no problems remembering his childhood past as he tracks down a childhood friend to scan his mind telepathically. He also has no problems remembering Cassandra Nova, his sister, and their time in their mother's womb (before Xavier ate her). So that is problematic for me. If I can go all Woodward and Bernstein, what does Professor X know, and when did he know it? How much of his memory is affected exactly? Why can he remember his distant childhood but not the recent past? He still has those negative emotional connections to his father, his step-father and his crazy friend. Mike Carey still isn't the most consistent writer. Overall it's a good issue regardless of the minor inconsistencies. Someone is looking to assassinate Xavier. Some unknown telepath is powerful enough to mentally disturb Juggernaut while he has his helmet on. Bad ass! Juggernaut! Always dug this character. They kinda pussified him in recent years, depowered him and put him in New Excalibur. The recent events in the World War Hulk: X-Men miniseries re-upped his power levels and now he's on his own again. Fantastic. Can't wait to see how he relates to this story. Also, more intrigue at the Hellfire club between Sunspot and Sebastian Shaw over this mysterious "Cronus" project. Issue ends on a cliffhanger with a group of assassins ready to kill Xavier at his hotel when Gambit appears ready for a fight.


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