However, most of them will have to wait until tomorrow, as I only managed to get out a half a dozen or so reveiws for tonight. Hit the jump for all the first wave of reviews!
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
It's about time Captain America kicked back into high gear. After months of simply showing off Bucky as the new Captain America and barely inching the plot ahead, we finally get some major developments this issue. However, if you've been following Cap, you could probably guess what happens in 99% of this issue.
For starters, the Red Skull has the Grand Director, dressed up as Captain America, break up a staged attack on the Skull's puppet Third Wing Party candidate at a rally. The Director goes on to fully endorse the senator in front of the crowd and there is a huge surge in the polls in favour of him.
It was written exceptionally well, but we all saw it coming a mile away and that's the only complaint I have about this issue. It's like we're going through the motions most of the time.
Meanwhile, Sharon Carter manages to escape from her shackles and takes Sin hostage, who was sharing a hospital bed with her after her run in with Bucky earlier in the series, in an attempt to make her escape...again. They really need to invest in some guards or handcuff her to the bed next time.
Finally, Bucky, after seeing the fake Cap, who looks and sounds just like Steve Rogers, starts shadowing the Third Wing candidate in hopes of seeing the new Cap show up. When he doesn't, Bucky sneaks into the senators supposed hotel room and ends up face to face with the waiting Grand Director.
Verdict - Must Read. While most of the story advancement in this issue was predictable, this was still a much better read than the previous couple months worth of Captain America. It finally feels like we're over the filler hump and the plot can get moving again.
FANTASTIC FOUR #558
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Bryan Hitch
Wow, I was not expecting this issue to be this much fun. I'd wager this was the best issue of the Millar / Hitch run. It just felt like there was story on every page compared to the previous four issues, which were quick reads and felt like a lot of decompression was being used.
As you can see by the cover, someone put a beating on Dr Doom and he's come seeking Reed Richards help. Unfortunately, only Thing is on hand to help him and, before he can do anything, Doom's pursuers are on them.
They consist of three super powered individuals, one looking like Colossus, another looking similar to Human Torch and a female that can project nightmares into a persons mind. It is later revealed they are the new Defenders team, along with several other characters, including Johnny's new / ex-girlfriend.
While the female was busy incapacitating Doom, Thing tries to stop them and ends up being beat down by the Colossus lookalike and then blasted out of the building, and through several others, by the Torch knock off. He didn't use fire based powers, despite looking like the Torch, so I'm not sure what his deal is.
During the aftermath, Reed visits the Raft and is told how Dr Doom was "freed" after being captured in a recent Mighty Avengers story. Seems the three Defenders broke in, captured Doom and left in about 36 seconds flat. Doom eventually escaped from them and that's how he came to the Baxter Building.
On the Fantastic Four nanny side of things, their new nanny has a chat with Valeria and we find out Valeria is nearly a Reed Richards level intellect and has been hiding her expanding mind over the past three months as her calculations show it would cause a huge rift between Reed and Franklin with all the attention on her. The nanny reveals she knows all about Valeria's abilities and the scene cut away before it revealed who the nanny really was, butValeria knows who it is. Maybe Agatha Harkness?
The issue ends with the focus on the Defenders at their base, the captive Dr Doom strung up and completely motionless. This is where the biggest shock came as the Defenders all defer to, I assume, their leader, Dr Bruce Banner, who looks like the super smart Hulk from when Banner was in control of the Hulk persona. Is it the Hulk from this week's 1985 issue? 1985 is supposed to tie-in to this somehow. There was no mention of the mysterious Wyncham character in this issue, so I'm at a loss to explain this, but it was a great ending to this issue.
Verdict - Must Read. If skipped the first arc of Millar's FF run, you might want to take a look at this one. As much fun as those first four issues were, they pale in comparison to this one. Pretty much has all things you'd want in an FF comic - family focus, high concept adventures, interesting villains and Dr Doom to boot.
FINAL CRISIS #2
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by J.G. Jones
I came away from Final Crisis #1 with a very positive outlook on this series, despite its numerous continuity problems and other quirks. Morrison had set up numerous plots that all showed great potential and had me genuinely interested in seeing how they all developed in the next issue.
Well, the next issue is here and, like an X-Men comic from the 90's, instead of answering any of them, Morrison just piled another dozen plots and subplots and sub-subplots onto the heap. Add in a lot of downright confusing scene changes, many of which left me scratching my head thinking a page had been left out, and this issue has really shaken my faith in this event.
The opening pages, featuring Morrison's pet project, the Japanese super-heroes, did nothing for me and was a poor choice to start this issue, too. It was only saved by the Sonny Sumo character's shock value killing of a random yakuza villain, which saw Sonny punch through the villain's chest and deposit his heart in a nearby shot glass. If not for that, I'd probably have fallen asleep out of boredom during this scene. They closed out with Shilo, aka Mister Miracle, showing his Motherboxxx to Sonny and trying to vaguely explain the New Gods to him.
One thing that I was surprised by was the funeral for Martian Manhunter. I had expected it to be dealt with in the Requiem special, but it seems they addressed it right away her with a funeral held on Mars, which I thought was a nice touch. However, Superman, after a standard funeral eulogy, had to tack on the "and pray for a resurrection" bit. It just sounded like he had no respect for J'onn and, while I know not intentional, was making light of his death instead of honouring his friend.
In one of the more confusing bits of the issue, Detective Turpin, who was just about to be attacked by Anti-Life Equation children after visiting Dark Side last issue, is seen beating the hell out of the Mad Hatter, asking him where the children are and what happened to Dark Side. He eventually beat the location of Bludhaven out of him and, once he arrives there, the Reverend character that was preaching on television last issue takes him in and informs him of his son, Kalibak, which I guess means Dark Side has taken over Turpin's body somehow?
On the death of Orion side of things, Superman leaves Batman with the Alpha Lantern Kraken to go over the facts. For those unaware, Kraken used to be from Apokalips and that should have been something explained in the issue instead of just having the Alpha Lantern randomly go nuts. Actually, the Alpha Lanterns, in general, should have been explained at some point for the non-Green Lantern readers, but I digress.
Seems Karken is possessed by Granny Goodness or Dark Side - it's never really explained - and framed Hal Jordan for an attack on John Stewert. While Superman was away, Kraken proceeds to attack and capture Batman, bringing him back through a Boom Tube to Bludhaven, where he is imprisoned.
In the last few pages, Morrison tries to make up for the general disarray of the numerous storylines and abrupt scene changes with two very dramatic "money shots". The first consists of Libra's attack on the Daily Planet, where Clayface, in the guise of Jimmy Olsen, plants a bomb in the office. It detonates and takes out the entire upper portion of the building, leaving Lois, Perry and everyone else looking very dead while Clark, his normal clothes blown away and his costume plainly visible to any possible survivors, stands over them screaming Lois' name.
The other moment consists of the unnecessary return of Barry Allen, which was revealed at the end of DCU #0 a months ago. The two current Flash's, Wally and Jay, are at that strip club where the villains all met and the bolt of lightning was seen in the already mentioned DCU #0 and they witness a series of vibrations that they instantly recognize as Barry's and the final pages leaves us with Barry telling the two of them to, "RUN!", as the Black Racer chases him. There's also a weird capsule-like thing with a monster, I guess, inside it. Not sure what that is.
Verdict - Check It. It's by no means a bad issue and I'm sure it will all connect together in a few issues or on subsequent read throughs when everything's said and done, but it would be nice to be able to follow the comic I'm buying on a monthly basis. I shouldn't have to wait for the whole thing to be over with to enjoy something I bought now. Also, I found Jones' art to be lackluster in comparison to the first issue, but it may have been teh colourist or inker's fault, hard to tell.
GREEN LANTERN #32
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Dr Hammond gets powers from the gas in Abin Sur's ship, gains mental powers, kills some people and attacks Hal and Carol at the end of the issue.
Meanwhile, Sinestro shows up, has some snappy dialogue with Hal and Hal rushes off to the previously mentioned Hammond fight.
There's also a page or two of the Red Lantern alien reciting a corny oath that reveals Black Hand is the one with the power to bring about the Blackest Night.
That's it. I actually like Sinestro more than Hal after this retread of the origin. Would be nice to see him "team up" with Hal come Blackest Night somehow.
Verdict - Check It. Best of the Secret Origin issues so far, but only because of Sinestro. Still nothing new offered outside the two pages of Red Lantern stuff, which wasn't much. They still haven't provided enough new material to cover a single issue, which annoys me to no end. Should have just released this as a Year One special and fleshed out or progressed the actual story in the main book.
NEW AVENGERS #42
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Jim Cheung
There's not much to really say about New Avengers #42. It's a rather pedestrian read as we are systematically shown various scenes of the Skrull Queen replacing Spider-Woman, climaxing with the "fade to white" moment from House of M.
For those interested, she replaced Spider-Woman back when Hydra was operating on her to restore her powers. Whether they actually gave her her powers back or not remains to be seen, but I'd wager she's being held captive somewhere.
There's a cute scene with the Hank Pym Skrull that has the Queen and "Hank" joking about how he wasn't even invited to join the New Avengers and is basically another instance of Bendis bashing Pym. Doesn't bother me, as it was funny, but poor guy hits his wife once and now no one hesitates to throw him under a bus.
However, there was, if you ask me, a major continuity mistake on Bendis' part in this issue and, considering this issue's only purpose is to fit these events into continuity, it should never have happened when you realize he wrote every story that is contradicted by this issue.
After Spider-Woman joins the New Avengers, she asks about Scarlet Witch and Tony and the rest of the team tell her about Disassembled, where she went nuts. This is fine, but Spider-Woman was actually there for Disassembled and can be counted among the large gathering of heroes assembled. On top of that, Spider-Man acts like he had no clue what happened during Disassembled, despite also being present for it and making jokes when they explain what happened in that event.
So, considering Bendis was writing those and is writing this and it's all supposed to be part of this big story he's been writing for so long and this issue's only reason for being was to finally fill fans in on these behind the scenes Skrull dealings, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a little bit of consistency in the story.
Verdict - Check It. Nothing really happens. All you needed to know was Spider-Woman was replaced when Hydra was set to give her her powers back. Rest is just filler if you ask me.
Written by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes
I picked this up after several people asked me about it and all I can say after having read this...thing...is that I wish I had my money back.
Let's go over the numerous problems I have with debut on Robinson's Superman, just for posterities sake.
One, the opening section has Superman and Hal Jordan having a friendly game of space frisbee with Krypto.
Great premise, but did anyone proof read this issue? It's littered with broken English. Superman actually says, "What all have you seen?", "Man, how many alien girls alone--all exotic looks and skins and such...", and, the crowning achievement, "I sound stupid. Smug. Talking all roses and hearts and flowers and roses --but--".
Before you ask, yes, those are exact quotes and, no, I did not make any mistakes while typing them out. And that's only snippets of the horrible dialogue in this scene.
Next up was Superman wearing one of Hal Jordan's bubble constructs on his head. I assume this was to be able to communicate in space with Hal since Superman can breathe in space indefinitely, but Krypto doesn't have one on and the dog can hear Superman telling him to fetch or his drooling, retard, "bestest, greatest, most wonderful dog in the whole cosmos", speech at the end. Also, Superman, later, hears Atlas shouting all the way from Metropolis (remember, Supes is in space right now) through the vacuum of space.
Finally, back on Earth, we spend most of the issue with a long, boring and cliche ridden inner monologue from some random Science Police officer as he tells us how tough and rugged his team is as they fight a Fin Fang Foom knock off. Atlas had to come in at the very end and kill the beast for them before they decide to attack him for no good reason. Atlas promptly beats all the SP's down before Superman shows up, ending the issue.
Verdict - Avoid It. The art was good. So, I guess this wasn't all bad. But the actual story was terrible, error ridden and nearly puts Countdown to shame in some instances. Atlas comes off as a complete Kingdom Come Gog knock off with his new brand of killing justice and challenging of Superman, but I don't intend to stick around to find out if that ends up being true or not.