Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 07/30/08

Wheels are in motion here at the Weekly Crisis in preparation for the one year anniversary of the blog. The most immediate thing you will notice is the modified banner, which is advertising the event, which I've come to call my One Year Later Anniversary in homage to DC's One Year Later storylines.

While there's still a day or two before the big day, I thought I'd let you guys in on some of my plans for the celebration. I have several posts planned that will serve as retrospectives of everything that's happened over the past year as well as plans for the future and other fun stuff. These posts will all carry a One Year Later tag, similar to how all of DC's books did during their OYL.

I've also got several contests planned, one for each of the five days, to be exact, and a few other surprises for everyone. Regular posts will still occur during the celebration, so don't worry about missing any news, previews, reviews or moments of the week posts during this time.

I figure that's enough pimping of the anniversary for one day, so I'll let you guys get to the reviews, which you can find after the jump. Enjoy!

Written by Will Pfeifer
Art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez

Pfeifer takes a lot of crap for his involvement in the editorial debacle that was Amazons Attack. He did write it and he did do a terrible job on that piece, as evidenced by the infamous Batman "bees" quote, but there are few writers that could have turned that flaming bag of poo that was tossed into his lap into something worth

I only mention the the misconception that Pfeifer is a terrible writer based solely on Amazons Attack because his Catwoman is so damn good. Even with those forced Salvation Run tie-ins, he still managed to tell some Selina centric stories that pretty much ignored anything to do with Salvation Run. And, then, there are issues like this one that boil the Catwoman character down to what makes her such a compelling character in the first place.

Following her revenge on The Thief last issue, we find out Selina's behavour since giving up her daughter, having her life torn apart by The Thief, being shipped off and subsequently returning from the prison world. This has all culminated with Selina slipping further and further towards her former villainous ways to where we see her today - in the middle of heist.

Will Catwoman continue her self-destructive freefall into moral bankruptcy or will she return to the anti-hero character or even turn her life around completely?  
This is not for charity or to help people or even personal gain. This is about the pure, unadultered thrill of the hunt and the eventual escape and pursuit by the police.

This is all framed with Catwoman's thought process and it's easy to see how she arrived back at this kind of behaviour and it made for a great read. This culminated with the always entertaining confrontation with Batman, which ends much differently than one might expect based on their usual cat and mouse flirtations and has me dying to see where this goes from here.

Will Catwoman continue her self-destructive freefall into moral bankruptcy or will she return to the anti-hero character or even turn her life around completely? Considering the fact she's appearing carefree in Detective Comics and being promoted for the Fight for the Cowl post-RIP event, I think the ending is fairly obvious, but the journey to that point, even if it's only one more issue for this series, is guaranteed to be a gripping story that I can't wait to read.

Verdict - Must Read. There's no reason for a title this good to be cancelled, but Pfeifer is determined to see this through to the end when most other writers would probably have simply phoned these issues in with cheap flashbacks or monologue stories. To have a character piece of this quality come on the heels of a cancellation announcement is unheard of.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

This issue may have single handedly redeemed the sub-par Secret Origin arc. This is what Secret Origin should have been like from the start - Sinestro and Hal teaming up, learning about the Blackest Night, Abin Sur's hidden past and fighting future Red Lanterns. It's hard to believe we've had roughly 4 pages of new story over the course of the first four parts to this origin retelling and I've made my views on how I felt about that in previous reviews, so I'll leave it at that and focus on this issue for now.

Despite my enjoyment of this issue, I still found the opening sequence with Hammond to be lacking. It was very much like the previous four issues in that it brought nothing new to the table and watching Hammond read Hal's mind for several pages was far from the most rivetting storytelling I've ever read.

This issue may have single handedly redeemed the sub-par Secret Origin arc.  
One thing of note, however, is the abundance of orange surrounding Hammond in this storyarc and not just in his telepathic constructs either. I've noticed many panels with him in it prior to his gaining new powers seemed to have an orange tint to them. Either Hammond is being set up as the enigmatic, Agent Orange, or he's, at least, a prime candidate for a future Orange Lantern.

The Hammond arc is wrapped up perfectly with Sinestro coming in to save the day, creating an oxygen absorbing bubble around Hammond's head and incapacitating the telepath all while chastising Hal for his many faults.

Thankfully, Johns doesn't fall into the normal Sinestro / Hal relationship that has Sinestro constantly preaching and making his superiority known to Hal. He still has those traits, but once the scene shifts to Amin Sur, we get to see a side of Sinestro rarely seen - that of someone saddened over the loss of his friend, Amin, and his sombre tone and conversation with during this section was great.

This leads directly into a pre-recorded message by Amin that tells both Sinestro and Hal of the Manhunters that preceeded the Green Lantern Corps and the eventual Massacre of Sector 666. The Manhunters, for unknown reasons, began slaughtering trillions of sentient beings in Sector 666 and their holocaust ended with only five survivors from the entire sector - one of them being Atrocitus.

Amin tells them that these survivors sought revenge on the Guardians and began seeking the "inner powers of the universe" and prophecized a darkness that even the Guardians' light could not penetrate, all allusions to the Black Lanterns.

Meanwhile, Atrocitus is seen with a strange object and speaking of finding William Hand in order to seed him for the coming darkness.

This lead to a fight at Hand's parents' funeral parlour where my only real complaint comes in to play. Atrocitus, facing two Green Lanterns after years of captivity and without any ring of his own, should be easy pickings for the greatest Green Lanterns ever, right? Apparently not as Johns introduces a convenient plot device that allows Atrocitus to somehow build or acquire a device that absorbs the GL rings' energy, effectively rendering both Sinestro and Hal powerless.

This seems like it will be a similar situation to the Sinestro vs Hal & Kyle fight from Green Lantern #25 and I'm sure the fight will be great, but it's still disappointing to see such an amateurish plot device from someone like Johns.

Verdict - Must Read. Finally, a story that lives up to the "secret" in the Secret Origin title of this arc. I was beginning to think there was no point to this retelling. Next issue promises to be a similarly enjoyable experience. Shame the first four parts couldn't be like this.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jerry Ordway

This issue is a prime example of what I think is wrong with DC Comics. Here we have what should be a relatively fun trip to an alternate Earth that will help explain or redefine Power Girl's role and origin in the DCU and it's written by one of the best writers in the business to boot.

Instead of an introduction to Earth-2, Power Girl's past, the Justice Society of Earth-2 and the new status quo post-Crisis (take your pick of Crisis's, but let's go with post-52 football toss for this one), we're treated to an uninspired and dark tail of Earth-2's Huntress, who we know nothing about and could care less about, that features an ending that just further muddies Power Girl's origin and whether or not she is even from Earth-2.

For example, did we need this tacked on marriage proposal subplot for the Huntress? I don't know her, her fiance or even the events that lead to this. I don't even know if this is Johns introducing new stories or if it's simply a recycled Silver Age plot.

This story represents everything wrong with DC and its unhealthy obsession with the Silver Age and their over-reliance on nostolgia to hook readers and sell books.  
Continuing with the Huntress, isn't Earth-2 supposed to be a lighter, friendlier Earth? Why are we focusing on a brooding Huntress that wants to murder the Joker for throwing acid in the face of the man that proposed to her, who we later find out Huntress doesn't even love in the first place! It's so convuluted and none of it really serves any purpose to the Power Girl story either.

Despite these subplots still being well written on Johns part, I don't care about them and he has given me little to no reason to care either, especially in a post-Countdown DCU where I half expect at this point for Earth-2 to be destroyed or half these characters to be killed off by the end of the arc.

Even though I was enjoying the story, for the most part, that all came to a grinding halt when Johns introduced what is supposed to be the real Earth-2 Power Girl. Yes, to further complicate things even more than they already were and to make me question the point of this little trip to Earth-2 in the first place, Johns goes and introduces either the real Power Girl of Earth-2 or a cheap doppleganger to the story.

So, instead of getting a primer for Earth-2 whereby we are reintroduced to these long forgotten characters or getting to see Power Girl's origin or reactions to these events, we get a cheap "grim and gritty" story, which has Power Girl "kill" the Joker, robbing that little plot of any impact it could have had if Huntress had chosen to or not to kill him herself, and then multiple versions of the same character from different Earths running around with no reasons or explanations.

Verdict - Avoid It. While well written, from a technical standpoint, and featuring decent artwork, this story represents everything wrong with DC and its unhealthy obsession with the Silver Age and their over-reliance on nostolgia to hook readers and sell books and I refuse to recommend a story like this to anyone.

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Steve McNiven

Millar and McNiven delivered another enjoyable romp through the future-gone-wrong Marvel Universe with Wolverine #67. While I'm sure everyone has read the spoilers on forums or read the issue themselves already, let's give a quick rundown of what happened for the rest of you.

As you all know, Hawkeye, one of the few surviving heroes left alive and now blind, has come to recruit Wolverine, who has settled down, gotten married, had children and is now a pacifist.

One slight problem for Logan's life of happiness - the Hulk Gang has come to collect rent he doesn't have - forcing him to take Hawkeye's offer to escort him across America.

This issue follows the duo, who are using Spider-Man's old Spider-Mobile, as they drive across America to deliver the mysterious package. First stop - San Francisco, where we get to see what the Mole Man's Moloids' have done to the city.

I'm not sure how important any of this was to the actual story, but I think it served its purpose, which is, most likely, simply to entertain us in that Mark Millar popcorn movie / summer blockbuster-like manner and it succeeds at that in spades.  
While exploring the city, they are attacked by Ghost Riders, a gang of cheap imitations of the real Ghost Rider - they have the flaming bikes and chains, but no flaming skull. Wolverine takes another beating here, refusing to defend himself or hurt another living being again. Just as the it looks like the Riders will make off with the goods, the blind Hawkeye shows us that he's still got the goods with some well placed arrows to the hapless Ghost Riders.

I'm not sure how important any of this was to the actual story, but I think it served its purpose, which is, most likely, simply to entertain us in that Mark Millar popcorn movie / summer blockbuster-like manner and it succeeds at that in spades.

The two former heroes travel from San Fran to Hammer Falls, Nevada where they are confronted by a seriously lacking Ultron. He's sporting the same look as he has in Marvel 1985, making me think the villains in this story may just be the same ones featured in that one. Maybe a time warp or something to do with how they return from the "real" world at the end of that series leads to this apocalyptic future?

Ultron isn't here to kill the two, though, and he simply directs Hawkeye to his ex-wife, Tonya, who is one of Spider-Man's children. Seems the two had a child named Ashley and she took up the Spider-Man mantle and formed a super team with some friends in an attempt to take down the Kingpin. Obviously, it didn't go so well and she has been captured and is awaiting execution and we catch a glimpse of "Spider-Bitch" (not sure if she's still called that, but I remember the uproar about it when it was originally announced) in her cell wearing a modified Spider-Girl costume.

Verdict - Check It. It's still very much a fluff piece, but I always find thesealternate future Elseworlds-like stories entertaining, so I have no problem with the relative lack of meat and potatoes this story has to offer. This is not Ultimates nor is it Civil War for anyone looking for those types of stories, but I think there's enough here to keep just about anyone entertained, whether it's the beautiful art of Steve McNiven or Millar's entertaining yarn.

Related Posts


Ethereal said...

Well, screw JSA Annual. Sigh, major major Sigh. However the news of a good Secret Origin issue is good stuff. Is William Hand involved in any other storylines? I seem to remember him from other books.

Kirk Warren said...

Hand = Black Hand, who's been seen at the Black Lantern in the DCU #0 issue and was used a lot early on in Johns run.

Rich said...

The only one of these I picked up was JSA Annual #1 (I'm trade-waiting on GL and Old Man Logan), and I enjoyed it a lot more than you did.

I'm wondering if we're on the same wavelength re: the setting -- I interpreted this as some "New" Earth 2 rather than the pre-Crises (plural) Earth 2 that Power Girl came from (which Kara would not have realized until the end of the issue). Is that incorrect? They seem to remember the first Crisis and its "red skies" though, somehow.

If this Earth-2 isn't the classic Earth-2 (as suggested), there's less reason to expect it to have the same tone. Correct? I disagree re: the lack of concern with the characterization of the Earth-2 (Earth-2A?) JSI members -- it looks like Johns is going to run with this plot for Kara so it'll probably be better if the supporting cast are fleshed out. It wouldn't surprise me if this all leads into her solo book in a few months.

Thanks for the prompt and thoughtful reviews! Looking forward to the rest of them.

Rich said...

You know, reading that review again I think we agree on the Earth-2 in question. I think I'm not following why this new Earth-2 should necessarily reflect the old one. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Heh.

J Ray said...

i'm in total agreement about green lantern: this issue single-handedly redeemed the entire arc

enjoyed the JSA annual more in line with rich than you , kirk. i agree that it's seemingly muddled "our" power girl's origin though...we'll see how that turns out.

I know you dropped trinity after issue 3, but after this week i can say with a good amount of certainty that you should definitely check it out again. The lead story alone had at least 4 "moment of the week" worthy scenes (all of which involved Batman).

J Ray said...

oh, and in wolverine:

the whole idea of the "Moloids"? ridiculous. "the planet's immune system"? give me a break.

but the rest of the issue was pretty good.

andrewsaltz said...

JSA confused me. The "first" Power Girl said the Earth-2 Superman died in the Infinite Crisis, which is (to my meager understanding) correct. So the "second" Power Girl is searching for them? And who is the Specter talking to? "Kent"?


Eric said...

Couple things about the JSA Annual:
1)Do you think that this Earth-2 is the same one from the pre-CoIE multiverse?

2)I think accusing JSA of not being new reader friendly rings hollow since, of any book DC publishes, that one is the least new reader friendly since every character, or at least most of them, is either a Golden Age character or based off one. The books entire purpose is basically to cater to nostalgia fans and while that isn't good for a whole line of comics it isn't bad to have one or two books that do that and JSA is the perfect for that.

3)I agree that the Joker part was weird and seemed unnecessary.

Andrenn said...

I enjoyed Wolverine more this time than last. I enjoyed the revelation of Spider-bitch at the end of the issue. It wasn't exactly a gripping ending, but it left me interested and wanting the next issue.

A comic with Power-girl that sucks? Get outa town ;)

Anonymous said...

A douche that loves a D-list fuzzball? Get out of town.

Andrenn said...

@anonymous: I was just joking, relax.

Rational Moderate said...

I agree with Eric. While it is true that the DC is suffering from silver-age poisoning, JSA and such is aimed at those of us who want all of that history in some (I repeat some) of our comic books. I thought it was a good read, although I also wanted it to be a done-in-one.

The device in Atrocitus' hand is Back Hand's future weapon which could drain Green Lantern rings of their powers. All Johns is doing is setting up the origin of that villain (Black Hand) along with Hammond in a way that ties them more closely to Hal Jordan. And I'm not so sure that weapon was just convenient as it probably explains why those 5 survived the Manhunter extermination of 666.

oakleyses said...

jordan shoes, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin uk, gucci handbags, true religion outlet, longchamp outlet, polo outlet, burberry outlet, nike free, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet store online, replica watches, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, prada outlet, christian louboutin, burberry handbags, prada handbags, kate spade, michael kors outlet, nike air max, chanel handbags, coach purses, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade outlet, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

burberry pas cher, ralph lauren uk, new balance, sac hermes, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion outlet, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, north face, nike roshe, nike air force, polo ralph lauren, converse pas cher, ray ban uk, louboutin pas cher, michael kors, guess pas cher, polo lacoste, michael kors pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike free uk, nike blazer pas cher, timberland pas cher, hogan outlet, nike air max uk, sac vanessa bruno, nike free run, north face uk, true religion jeans, hollister uk, mulberry uk, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, hollister pas cher, nike air max, air max, nike tn, jordan pas cher, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, lululemon canada

oakleyses said...

vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mac cosmetics, mcm handbags, hollister clothing, reebok outlet, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, nike roshe run, lululemon, oakley, giuseppe zanotti outlet, beats by dre, celine handbags, north face outlet, hermes belt, instyler, herve leger, iphone 6 cases, nike huaraches, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, jimmy choo outlet, nike air max, longchamp uk, hollister, p90x workout, valentino shoes, soccer shoes, babyliss, timberland boots, nike roshe run uk, new balance shoes, insanity workout, asics running shoes, ghd hair, north face outlet, baseball bats, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, nfl jerseys, ferragamo shoes

oakleyses said...

louboutin, vans, montre pas cher, converse, ugg boots, uggs outlet, marc jacobs, toms shoes, lancel, swarovski crystal, coach outlet, converse outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, juicy couture outlet, hollister, uggs on sale, ray ban, ugg uk, nike air max, wedding dresses, juicy couture outlet, replica watches, ralph lauren, ugg boots, pandora uk, ugg pas cher, hollister, gucci, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, supra shoes, thomas sabo, ugg, karen millen uk, links of london, pandora jewelry, uggs outlet, swarovski

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.