Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Easily the best of the Secret Origin story, this issue shows how the fight between Atocitus and the two "powerless" Green Lantern played out.
I'm not sure if I'm happy or disappointed by the copout recharging of Sinestro and Hal's rings at the start of this issue. On one hand, I didn't want a repeat of Green Lantern #25, where we had the 3 way powerless battle between Kyle, Hal and Sinestro.
On the other hand, what was the point of even having that sequence other than to hand the device over to Black Hand? It just felt like a cheap cliffhanger and was the only thing I was conflicted over after reading this otherwise excellent issue.
As I said, this shows off the fight with Atrocitus, who doesn't really seem to have any powers other than being super strong (I assume his alien biology makes him strong?). It's hard to see him as the architect of the Blackest Night with so little development, but it's early and I imagine we'll see more in the Final Crisis tie-in and future Green Lantern issues.
Basically, Atrocitus tries to kill the two GL's, makes some vague Blackest Night prophecies, such as how Sinestro is one of the few that could possibly stop them, and is promptly defeated after Hal uses his ring to destroy the yellow back hoe Atrocitus was about to crush Sinestro with.
This was when the rings couldn't work on yellow, so Hal is shocked and quick to brag, but Sinestro denies it happening and talks about his own attempts at breaching the yellow spectrum. Denial? Too proud to admit someone was better than him? Doesn't want to reveal this to the Guardians? Seems odd Sinestro would ignore something so obvious like this, even if he wasn't the one to do it.
Speaking of Sinestro, he stole the show in this issue. From his Kilowog construct to his lecturing of Hal and everything in between, it was all perfect. I'd honestly buy a Sinestro: Year One or other flashback series of his Green Lantern days for stuff like this.
Shockingly, the two Green Lanterns are court marshalled by the Guardians for fraternizing with each other for too long, despite Sinestro being sent by the Guardians directly, ending our issue.
Verdict - Must Read. This is everything the Secret Origin should have been from the start and almost makes me forget those first few repeat issues. Has me pumped for Green Lantern again after several months of decline post-Sinestro Corps War.
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #5
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Salvador Larroca
The first few pages of this book really dragged on. I honestly felt like I was going to have to start 'skimming' the pages in order to make it through the thing.
Thankfully, the story righted itself after the opening sequence and we were treated to a pretty impressive fight between Iron Man and Stane.
The fight showed off how powerful Stane's new armour really is and he eventually destroys Iron Man's armour, "killing" him in the process. I say "killing" because it's clear, even without the generic "010100110" binary code cut off of Iron Man's chat bubble, that Tony isn't in the suit and he is either controlling it remotely or he sent an Iron Man armour to every possible bomb site to try and stop Stane.
This doesn't make the fight any less entertaining, but it robs the ending of the book, with Stane professing his victory and asking, "Who's next?", of any impact it was supposed to have.
Verdict - Check It. The opening pages are pretty weak and I really dislike the faux realistic art (aka traced / referenced), but solid ending and satisfying action.
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Don Kramer and Jay Leisten
I've been loving Tomasi's Nightwing, mostly because I'm a fan of the character and his book hasn't been this good since it launched, but this is definitely the weakest issue of the run so far. I'm not sure if it's because he's trying to avoid spoiling Batman RIP while still keeping it as a "tie-in" (this takes place after it, as Two-Face comments on Nightwing escaping Arkham), but there's a disjoint feeling as the story jumps around and it never really comes to any sort of conclusion.
To start, last issue ended with Nightwing shot and a rather large pool of blood forming with the implication he was at least out of commission. This issue ignores that completely and has him grab the girl with one hand and hold onto his glider, with his gun shot riddled arm and carrying her, and flies her to the nearest safe house. I know these are comic books, but there's some things that still stretch my sense of disbelief and this is one of those instances.
After dropping Two-Face's old flame off at the safe house, Nightwing puts the glider on autopilot and ends up at the Batcave, where Alfred quickly patches him up. In fact, he's up and gone in less than a day.
There was a strange sequence of events with Alfred after Nightwing passes out post-bullet removal that seemed odd. I'm not sure if it was the art or not, but it looked like Alfred may have been happy about Nightwing's troubles and even slaps his bloody glove against the Robin display case. However, he comes back shortly after and sits by Nightwing for the night, holding his hand, which brings me back to the art and whether this sequence of events was just the art making it seem more sinister or if it's just me or if this is actually part of that wacky rumour of Alfred being the Black Glove from his old Silver Age split personality, Outsider, days.
The remainder of the issue has Nightwing meeting back up with the girl, the two of them talking to Two-Face, who is the only one the "mysterious" shooter could have been, and Alfred calling to tell Nightwing the bullets were laced with Scarecrow's fear toxin, just as Nightwing swings into a trap, which shows all the Batman rogues gallery waiting for him. This is obviously the nerve toxin's work, but we'll see where it goes next month.
Verdict - Check It. It wasn't something that will make you want to run out and buy all of Tomasi's run, but I don't think fans of the book or character will hate it, so I'll leave it as a check it. Art was a little subpar this month though.
X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #1
Written by Mike Carey, C.B. Cebulski & Skottie Young
Art by Michael Ryan
Remember the X-Men: Divided We Stand books that came out shortly after Messiah Complex ended? How they were made up of multiple short stories, some of which were amazing, others not so much? Manifest Destiny is like Divided We Stand with one exception - it has no good stories in it.
The first story, which is about Iceman, was the only one of the bunch even worth the paper it's printed on and even it isn't that great a story.
It draws on the pre-Messiah Complex betrayal by Mystique, where she seduced Iceman and poisoned him, causing his powers to fail him just as the Marauders were showing up.
The story picks up with Iceman having hooked up with his old girlfriend, Opal, and we're shown that his powers are acting up on him. They decide it is best to contact the X-Men for some help and they are picked up by a remote controlled Blackbird.
Here's where the story goes off the rails as Opal is revealed to be Mystique, who promptly blows a hole in the side of the Blackbird (I'm guessing a pre-rigged bomb in the luggage or something) and kicks Iceman out. Iceman is seen falling into a lake or river and washes up on shore, leaving a To Be Continued for those of us wondering where this ridiculous plot twist came from.
The other stories, if you can call them that, aren't even worth mentioning. One features Boom Boom from Nextwave and X-Force fame and deals with a super villain who's weakness is coffee and Beast explaining what the internet is. The other is about an old New Mutant character and, while the story isn't that bad, the art, which is an insult to other artists, just destroys any kind of involvement the reader could possibly have with the supposedly emotional story.
Verdict - Avoid It. Not sure what Manifest Destiny is supposed to be about, but I don't want any part of it. Divided We Stand worked because it showed us where the various mutants ended up post-Messiah Complex. This...thing...is just a waste of money.