Thursday, October 9, 2008

Final Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 10/08/08

Much like a monkey at a typewriter, I've managed to string together various words to form what I believe to be a coherent set of reviews for you're viewing pleasure and you can find those after the jump.

Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Dini has been batting them out of the park with this Hush storyline. I, honestly, can't believe how much I'm enjoying it and every issue seems to get better and better.

Last issue ended with Batman capturing Scarecrow while Hush used the opportunity to kidnap Catwoman. Not only did he kidnap her, but he stole her heart, literally, and hooked her up to an iron lung-like machine to keep her alive and left her for Batman to find.

This was all designed to strike at the only woman that Batman has ever really loved and, ignoring the comic book science behind such a feat, I really liked how it was handled. Batman's reaction to the whole thing and the rage on display just worked for me and both Dini's writing and Nguyen's art meshed perfectly during the confrontation between Hush and Batman later in the issue.

Another thing I really liked was the continued fleshing out of Hush's origin and motivation as a villain. The constant comparisons to Bruce Wayne by his mother and the old girlfriend of Tommy's, which I assume will relate back to Batman's relationship with Catwoman when we see the rest of the flashback next issue, contrasted the confrontation between Bruce and Tommy well.

Verdict - Must Read. I'm upgrading this storyline to a Must Read based on how much I've consistently enjoyed it and the fact it's been improving with every issue to the point it's at now.

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and Cover by Pat Gleason and Drew Geraci

I'm a bit conflicted with this issue of Green Lantern Corps. The sum of its parts are greater than the whole in that the issue is made up of several solid subplots and storylines, but none really mesh well together to form a cohesive narrative.

For instance, the bulk of the issue dealt with Guy and Ice's relationship and, while I like these characters and wanted to see more of them, these scenes ended up just going in circles with each expressing the desire for the other to do something they didn't want - Guy wanting Ice to move in with him and Ice just wanting to establish her life again on Earth. We saw this conflict in previous issues and to spend another entire issue on it just felt like a waste to me.

From here, we had a scene with Mongul, severed arm in tow, smashing into a random spaceship, occupied by newly weds, and stealing all their food. When the husband tells him to just take whatever he wants and leave them alone, Mongul just taps him, which, for Mongul, ends with the man's helmet busted open and him dying of oxygen deprivation.

This little segue lead to the first on-panel Star Sapphire member. I'm not sure if there have been others recruited or not, but she is the first we've seen and she doesn't look as possessed as the cover makes it out to be. She seemed to have a lot of freewill compared to previous Star Sapphires and their desire to wipe out entire planets after having sex with Green Lanterns, but it's still early and we don't know how these new versions will act.

Meanwhile, the Guardians have been monitoring the Sapphire's homeworld and are deciding on what to do about the bursts of energy coming from their new lantern-based Sapphires and, after deliberating with the other Guardians, the scarred, "evil" Guardian ends up recruiting Guy, Arisa and Ion to lead a diplomatic mission to the Sapphire planet.

Verdict - Check It. It's hard to describe, but the subplots just don't mesh very well and the narrative is jarring. The Guy and Ice parts never go anywhere either. However, the good parts definitely outweigh the bad and it was still worth checking out.

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Salvador Larroca

I had already made my decision to drop this title after this issue and, after having read said issue, I don't regret it in the least. Now, that's not to say this was a bad issue or that this title is horrible or anything like that. There are just certain books / themes / stories that relate to certain people and not to others. I can recognize that there are good parts to this title and I can see why people enjoy it, but, as I've gone on at length about in previous reviews, this book just doesn't work for me with the deliberate movie feel and direction.

As predicted, the stunning "death" of Iron Man last issue was simply a dummy robot Ezekiel Stane destroyed and it was being remote controlled by Tony, along with dozens of others, in an attempt to stop all four suicide bombings orchestrated by Stane.

While Stane eventually realizes he didn't actually kill Stark, it's too little, too late on his part and Tony, along with several remote controlled Iron Men armours, shows up to lay down the law. However, Tony quickly realizes he won't be able to stop all the bombers in time and opts for a controlled electro-magnetic pulse to shut down the Starktech / Iron Man hearts the suicide bombers were using.

As a side effect, it also disables his Extremis armour (How? We've seen him reboot from EMPs dozens of times and he knew this one was coming as he was the one to set it off) and Stane's bio-armour (defeats the purpose of being built into his skin, but I digress). This leads to some good, old fashioned fisticuffs between the two. What stunned me was that Tony, who's been shown to have some very capable combat training prior to this series, barely takes down Stane in this armourless fight. He does put Stane down decisively in the end, but it wasn't looking good for a little while there.

As a concluding chapter to this opening arc, I think the issue accomplished what this series set out to do - ie. remaking the comic Iron Man so it is more in line with its movie counterpart - but I'm still a little disappointed they threw out all the work done in Director of SHIELD and took several steps backwards with the character, much like they did with Peter Parker in Brand New Day, to do so.

Written by Terry Moore
Art by Craig Rousseau

The solicit made this issue out to have some kind of big secret about MJ revealed to the school and I'm still trying to figure out what it was. I know I shouldn't give solicits much thought, but if they promise something, I usually pay attention to see if it's followed up on and nothing really happened in that regard.

However, disregarding the solicit, this issue continued to impress with the new SMLMJ series. It's a little hard to speak about just what these issues are about, as they are a lot like a Seinfeld episode - they're about nothing in particular.

In fact, this issue is mostly just Liz and MJ talking with a few cameos by Flash and Peter as the two girls discuss everyday things. It's the fact this kind of story is set in the Spider-Man universe with so many familiar characters that really allows us to get into the heads and lives of these characters so easily and this issue is full of believable dialogue and is just entertaining drama.

As the supporting cast and Peter Parker side of Spider-Man has always interested me more than the actual super-villain of the week fights, I have no problem with this kind of story, but I can see why some might not enjoy this type of book.

Verdict - Check It. A much slower pace than previous issues and very little interaction with Peter, but a solid issue, nonetheless.

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Andrenn said...

100% agree on how great Detective Comics was.

Joe Quantum said...

you should check out newsarama's interview with matt fraction.

whereas you're dropping this title, i am most definitely picking it up from now on. i just got caught up and i'm loving it. apparently the next arc is iron man's version of "born again." getting pretty excited over here.

Anywhoo, wtf happened to Final Crisis: Submit? It didn't ship this week?

pat said...

Hush is now one of the top 5 batman villains and its difficult for someone like me to say that...but thats how good Dini reinvented his character

Also you need to be reading magnetos testament...its an awesome origin rehash and im not usually into those

Evie said...

Did you also notice that Hush's old girlfriend was mob-daughter Peyton, the recently deceased Ventriloquist? Thought that was an interesting connection. Don't know what he'll do with it.

David said...

I'll have to pickup the trade for the Hush storyline based off what you've said now.

And I felt the complete opposite about Invincible Iron Man, weird.

SalieriTheFish said...

I posted this on, and I repost it here:

DETECTIVE: Yeah...Nguyen's art was, of course, quite cool. However, the number of plot holes...yeesh. Let me number some off for ya:

People will and have jumped down my throat for daring to say something is 'unrealistic' in a comic book. However, there's a fine line between something being merely very unlikely (Alien Life, God, etc) and having already been proven to be utterly impossible.

Thus, even though I'm just a student, my knowledge of medical technique says that one self-proclaimed 'master surgeon', a few drugged-up bums and some rusty, infectious surgical equipment does not = perfect heart transplant. Plot-wise, the whole 'removed heart' thing is a near-literal Catwoman In Refrigerator deal.

Secondly? We might have all seen Face/Off, but it is medically impossible for one man to perform surgery and then look exactly like another man. Impossible, that is, unless the two happen to be identical twins.

Oh, and then there's the two experts from the JSA who Batman calls in...and then he forgets to bring along even one of his sidekicks to help clean up Hush. That's really like Batman. That and torturing a guy.

I really hope someone seriously good replaces Dini, someone who can work with Morrison while retaining their own style. Who knows, maybe Paul is off already, and the O'Neil and Gaiman issues are trials to see which author should help pick it up from here.

We can only hope.

Kirk Warren said...

@salierithefish - Regarding the heart transplant, they do state it's a mishmash of Luthor and Apokalips technology and stranger things have been done in comics, but I can understand how you feel about it (I have the same problems with a lot of tech / computer talk, specifically the internet battle with Oracle / Calculator in Countdown or the SI Starknet virus from the Skrulls).

About the plastic surgery, Hush even says it's not perfect (I think the artist just takes liberties) and he's not the same size / shape, but he mentions it will get him in the door and close enough before they realize he's not Bruce to kill Bruce's loved ones.

SalieriTheFish said...

Yeah...he's kind of stupid if he thinks Alfred won't immediately notice something. But then again, he's a looney, right?

Then there's another thing - if it was acceptable to electroshock scarecrow, why didn't Bruce just strangle Hush until he told him what he wanted to know, or something? Why just walk around as if they were old pals?

Anonymous said...

Um, maybe because Hush could have pushed a button instantly killing Selina?

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