Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 05/28/09

Couple of quick reviews for this late night edition of the Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews. On tap are reviews for Green Lantern, Nova and Wolverine, but there will be an update to this post tomorrow with several more of the numerous books I picked up this week, so be sure to check back for those.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion

I'm not sure what it was, but, up until that last page, I found this issue pretty boring. It was about as generic a "tell me your origin, villain!" tale as you could get and the actual origin of the Orange Lanterns and Larfleeze was far from interesting.

In fact, I can pretty much guarantee the origin is exactly what everyone was thinking already and it didn't really flesh out what was established already. Hal literally asks Larfleeze to tell him his origin and it's basically Larfleeze stumbled onto the Orange Lantern, the Guardians and Manhunters pursued him, got their asses handed to them and then made a deal, which brings us to the present day. We knew this and not much else was added to it.

As for the whole Guardians/Green Lanterns vs Orange Lantern fight going on top side, the new Star Sapphire, Fatality, showed up to save John Stewert from getting killed, but, other than that, nothing new was added there and they basically treaded water in that department. I assume the Star Sapphires rings will be super effective (Pokemon reference!) against the Orange Lanterns, thus saving the Guardians' collective butts.

Finally, getting to that final page, once Larfleeze finished telling Hal his origin, he demands the Blue Lantern ring in exchange and, when it won't come off by force, Larfleeze literally cuts Hal's hand off, which is fitting considering he did the same thing to his fellow Green Lanterns when he was Parallax. If it sticks, it should be interesting to see how Black Hand reacts, as he, too, had his hand removed by Hal when he was the Spectre in Green Lantern: Rebirth. However, I imagine any ring that can restart a star, as the blue rings did, can easily fix a lopped off hand. Tis only a flesh wound.

Verdict - Check It. The shock ending is about the only noteworthy thing to come of this rather disappointing chapter to the Agent Orange storyline. Here's hoping it finishes strong next month.

NOVA #25
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Andrea Di Vito

Huh, well, what do you know? Worldmind actually was insane. Worldmind had been trying so hard to protect Richard Rider from going insane under the weight of the entire Nova Force that he didn't protect himself enough and, combined with the Phalanx infestation, it turns out he and Ego were both mutually responsible for his/their actions since the reformation of the Nova Corps. Worldmind's breaking down combined with Ego's, well, ego pushed them to the extremes seen over the last few issues.

While I like the explaination behind the whole Ego/Worldmind deal, I wasn't a fan of the execution. It was another one of those mental/inner mind "go to your happy place" issues that I don't particularly care for that saw Richard/Quasar literally using the Quantum Bands to create his childhood room to protect him from mental attacks by Worldmind while he chatted with personality constructs of Ko-Rel and Rhomann Dey, both created by an aspect of the Worldmind that wasn't insane (yes, it made as much sense here as it did in the issue).

I imagine it was all designed as a means to lay the seeds for the big ending, which featured Richard getting the Nova Force back (yay!) while Worldmind was restored, but had to erase his current personality (boo!) in favour of a new one, which turned out to be the personality imprint of Ko-Rel, the first new Nova Corps member that died back during Conquest. I like the fact Ko-Rel is back in some form, but couldn't they, I don't know, keep the old Worldmind trapped with Ego or some other out for an eventual return instead of a clean cut erasure? We'd then have Ko-Rel with Nova and Worldmind with Ego/Nu-Xandar and everyone's happy.

The other surprise for the ending was the return of the much referenced former Nova Prime that went insane holding the entire Nova Force - Garthan Saal. He showed up offering to help the current (or is he now ex?) Nova Prime, the Shi'ar, Tercel, who replaced Richard before being captured by the Shi'ar Imperial Guard in a modified Nova Prime costume, which is darker and more of a purple than blue. I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads, if it's really him and whether he's good or evil. Would offer a nice Sinestro to Richard's Hal Jordan for the Nova mythos if he ends up being a darker shade of gray.

Verdict - Check It. While I liked the ending and the fact Richard is back as Nova, the issue didn't really click for me. Just too much of the inner turmoil mumbo jumbo type of storytelling solutions that I don't particularly care for. Still, it's Nova, so even an average issue is still damn good.

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Steve McNiven

Similar to Millar's run on Fantastic Four, I'm losing interest in Wolverine. I'm not sure if it's due to the delays or if it's because I'm just getting tired of the cliched conepts and moments, or Millar-isms, if you will, that his work seem to always have that is causing my interest to wane.

Case in point, this issue features some big moments that should be wowing me, such as the Red Skull vs Logan fight or Logan finally popping the claws, but it all left me sort of empty, like a been there, done that type of feeling. The art didn't help this feeling either.

No, I'm not calling McNiven's artwork bad. It's just a lot of it was eerily familiar, possibly intentionally, to Civil War, specifically the scene with Wolverine smashing Red Skull's face in with the shield, which is almost a mirror image of the Iron Man vs Captain America fight in composition and look. Red Skull is even wearing a Captain America costume to complete the scene. Things like that gave it a deja vu feeling moreso than the homage (is it even a homage for something as recent as Civil War?) they were shooting for.

As I mentioned above, Wolverine finally popped the claws this issue. While wonderfully drawn, the build up to it, either due to the delays or my general disinterest at this point, dulled the wow factor of it for me. I've just never been sold on the concept of the simple family man Logan when we've seen his family in all of maybe five pages throughout the series. The entire subplot about the rent seemed to get lost in the last few issues and I really didn't expect the series to go back to the farm at this point in time. The family being dead when he got back was predictable and the fact we have no reason to care about them at this point in time meant the death lacked the impact required for me to connect it as the thing pushing Logan over the edge. The decapitation of the Red Skull with Cap's shield was actually more shocking to me than the much anticipated claw popping.

Verdict - Check It. This will probably read a million times better in trade and I actually regret picking it up in singles now. Momentum has been sapped and, while pretty, it's a very cliched Mark Millar story on top of it all.

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Andrenn said...

I totally agree with your review of Wolverine. Up to this point I really was loving it, I mean seriously loving it it was incredible for me but the sudden killing his family felt cheap and unoriginal. For all the cool stuff Millar has done he just phoned in the family death. I was pretty disappointed with that and this issue overall, great review.

Sebastian said...

Oh, man. I haven't picked up my books yet. Why did I read this? Agh, but yeah, the Orange Lanterns are definitely the least compelling Corps. But that hand thing does sound pretty cool, especially considering Black Hand. Nice catch there, Kirk.

Travis said...

The only part of the latest installment of the Agent Orange saga was Larfleeze pulling that creature out of his nose and eating it. That really made me feel a bit uneasy. Loving the lantern color spectrums though

Travis said...

wow grammar very tired...I meant to say that part was unsettling :(

jason quinones said...

feel EXACTLY the same way about the wolverine old man logan stort arc as well. the delays are annoying, although understandable considering the detail of the beautiful art, but storywise, like you said it just seemed all too familiar.

millar is just rehashing the same old wolverine cliches along with his ultravilonet take on the charcter which is becoming increasingly stale.

you can also basically mimic word for word my views on this and apply it to his kick ass comic too!!!

which is a shame because i did like his early work on wolverine:enemy of the state. and kick ass had an interesting start as well.

Steven said...

Millar has ALWAYS been all style and flash, no substance. His writing has always aped his mentors, Morrison & Ellis, but without the depth of either writer.

His stuff is, honestly, almost universally praised because of the major art talents they pair him up with, not the shock value takes on characters he comes up with or the inability to follow established characterization.

Sebastian said...

That's pretty much all true. You left something else out, though: reading a Millar book is a freakin' blast.

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