Thursday, October 1, 2009

Comic Book Review Power Rankings for 09/30/09

I only carried 8 books with me out of the comic book shop this week, which means a shorter Comic Book Review Power Rankings this week, but fear not, true believers, that just means longer reviews!  Plus, as luck would have it, none of the books "earned" an Avoid It verdict!  But which one of these books would earn the Top Spot?  Could it be frontrunner Runaways?  Perhaps the debut of the new ongoing writer on Teen Titans?  Heck, it could even be the long shot, X-Force!  There is only one way to find out!

For the uninitiated, the Comic Book Review Power Rankings is a countdown from worst-to-best of my weekly comic book haul. Before reading the issues, I preRank them based on the creative team, previous issues, solicitations, and gut instinct. The final Ranking number is based upon how the issues actually turned out. I attempt to keep everything as spoiler free as possible, but keep in mind that there may be the occasional minor spoiler that I overlook. As always, I can be reached via responses to this thread or at

Lead Written by Felicia D. Henderson
Lead Art by Joe Bennett, Jack Jadson, and Rod Reis
Co-Feature Written by Sean McKeever
Co-Feature Art by Yildiray Cinar, Julio Ferreira, and Rod Reis
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson
preRanking: 07

• Co-executive producer of the hit TV show Fringe, Felicia D. Henderson, makes her debut as the ongoing writer for Teen Titans in this issue, which finds the Titans dealing with the death of Kid Devil and the unexpected arrival to the team of Beast Boy.
• I hate to say it, but I’m really not impressed with Henderson’s debut. Her take on all of the characters is rather wooden and she has a hard time tackling the pace of her dialogue, making some scenes hard to get through.
• Of course, it doesn’t help that the plot of the issue isn’t tremendously interesting. The non-battle of the Titans leadership felt very unnatural and the Raven storybeats started off strong, but lost me somewhere around Doctor Mid-Nite telling the Titans that she could be purged of evil spirits with the help of happy thoughts and prayer.
• Beast Boy being forced into the story as the new “leader” of the team doesn’t work at all, especially since he comes across as more obnoxious than ever. He is a character whose obnoxiousness can work to help make him a sympathetic character when written well, but in this issue he is so downright unlikable that I found myself just not caring about any scene that he was in.
• To make matters worse, the art team of Joe Bennett, Jack Jadson, and Rod Reis have an uncharacteristic “off” issue. Their character designs were all of the place (especially Beast Boy, who shows up with three or four different facial designs), their overall anatomy was inconsistent, and the inking seemed haphazard.
• The issue was almost saved by the co-feature, which follows up on Ravager trying to escape from an icy grave and vowing revenge upon her attackers.
• This was my favorite of the Ravager story installments, with Sean McKeever doing some really cool things with the character. I was especially impressed with how he handled the interplay between Ravager and Miss Martian—especially since it isn’t 100% clear if Miss Martian was part of Ravager’s subconscious or if she really was telepathically connecting with her.
Yildiray Cinar did a fantastic job with the art in this story, showing off some really impressive expressions. I was very impressed with how well he can portray Ravager as both incredibly vulnerable and ruthlessness with ease. Once this co-feature story is completed, I hope that DC offers Cinar some higher profile work—he certainly deserves it.

Verdict: Read with Caution. Truthfully, the main story in this issue earns a big fat Avoid It verdict, with Henderson having a very unimpressive debut that isn’t helped by the art team having one of their worst outings in some time. The only reason it was bumped up is because of the Must Read nature of the back up, but a handful of awesome pages can only do so much to save such a weak main story.

Written by Paul Dini
Art by Guillem March and Jose Villarubia
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover by Guillem March
preRanking: 04

• After last issue’s unexpected fill-in story, this week’s Gotham City Sirens returns to the previously solicited story following the odd relationship developing between Harley Quinn and Hush (who has taken over the persona of Bruce Wayne), as well as the reaction from Harley’s former flame the Joker, who makes a surprise appearance.
• This is simple, but fun issue. The Joker was a surprising addition to the story and his insane reaction to Harley and Hush was fairly enjoyable.
• I’m really not sure why Paul Dini chose to use so many inner monologues in the beginning of the issue—we are really beat over the head with Harley’s flightiness and Hush’s plot to kill her. This would’ve been much for effective if Dini wasn’t telegraphing every move they made through veiled narration.
• There were also a number of little story points that felt a bit forced to me, including the Joker’s really dull henchmen, Hush’s unmethodical approach to killing Harley, and the fact that the Sirens were so quick to dismiss the fact that Hush is getting away with impersonating Bruce Wayne without much question.
Guillem March continues to grow as an artist with this issue, using much fewer cheesecake shots than he did in his early DC work and putting together some very strong expressions.
• He really needs to work on his design consistency, though. Most of the character’s designs and facial features shift throughout the issue—most notably Harley’s eyes and nose. His overall style was also inconsistent; at times he used a style reminiscent of Michael Turner while at other times his work was eerily similar to Dustin Nguyen’s recent work. It was very distracting.

Verdict: Read with Caution. The odd storytelling choices and the “work-in-progress” art hold back this otherwise fun story. If you are a big fan of Harley and Joker, you should get a kick out of the Joker’s typically overblown reaction to her being out on the town with Hush, but otherwise you aren’t going to find a lot to love about this issue. It has its moments and shows promise, but ultimately falls flat.

06. X-FORCE #19
Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Art by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
preRanking: 08

• As a huge fan of the cast and of the creative team, I’ve been really struggling with X-Force, as it’s knee-deep-in-continuity approach has been hard to take without constantly returning to the internet to keep the story straight. While this issue doesn’t do much to clear things up for me, it is an enjoyable read that is worth checking out.
• The issue mostly focuses on X-23—who was captured by her “handler” Kimura last issue—and her daring “rescue” by former SHIELD Agent Morales, with bits of other story beats thrown in for good measure.
• The biggest stumbling block for me is keeping some of the characters traight. I’m a huge fan of the general direction of where the story is going, but I’m not familiar enough with characters like Selene, Destiny, and the Leper Queen for this issue to be fully effective.
• The character work on the characters I did recognize was solid, though the issue moves forward at such a quick pace that only Morales and X-23 were given enough ‘screen time’ to show much personality.
• I seriously have no interest in Woflsbane prancing through the snow with the Asgardian guy and the two pages the story takes up in this issue does nothing to help the problem. This could’ve been used to explain why I should be concerned with what the Leper Queen is doing.
• The art by the team of Mike Choi and Sonia Oback looks really great, thanks mostly to the gorgeous colors by Oback. The biggest problem with the art is that, while incredibly lush, it has a major tendency to look stiff and lifeless. Plus, at times, Kimura and Morales look way too much alike, with the biggest difference between the two being that Kimura is covered in blood throughout the issue.
• Finally, and perhaps I missed something in X-23’s origin that I’ll need to revisit, but aren’t her bones covered in adamantium too? How could Kimura chainsaw her arm off, then?

Verdict: Check It. There are some cool things being set up here, but the plot moves too quickly at times, undercutting the character work, which is traditional Kyle and Yost’s strong suit. The art looks good, but has some stiffness. The main problem is that you really have to be continuity hound or an X-encyclopedia to get the full impact of some of the story beats, otherwise you might be a bit lost at times.

Written by JT Krul
Art by Ed Benes, Scott Williams, and Hi-Fi Design
Letters by Rob Clark. Jr.
Cover by Ed Benes, Rob Hunter, and Pete Pantazis
preRanking: 03

• The first issue of Blackest Night: Titans was very similar to pretty much every other tie-in for the event—undead Black Lantern versions of characters showed up to make life uncomfortable for our heroes and carnage ensued. This issue does little to change that formula.
• The strength of this issue lies in how deeply the Titans have been affected by lost; this issue has Donna being faced with her dead husband and child, Dove dealing with her now dead sister Hawk, and Beast Boy being harassed by his former love Terra. There is already a deep emotional resonance built into the emergence of these Black Lanterns that longtime Titans fans can connect with instantly.
• Of course, it wouldn’t be nearly as effective if not for the strong character work by JT Krul who makes each reaction to the Black Lanterns as genuine as possible. The sense of pain and emotional distress feels natural thanks to the strong sense of voice and strong dialogue from Krul.
• I hope that some of the other writers in the Blackest Night event pick up on some of the things going on with Dove and her non-reaction to the Black Lanterns as it is one of the most interesting developments in the entire event.
• On the subject of Hawk and Dove, Krul does such a great job with these characters that it is a real shame that Hawk is now a Black Lantern, as Krul could write one awesome miniseries or ongoing with these characters that I’d totally be on board for.
• I’m really surprised by the strength of Ed Benes’s art here; it is some of the better work he has put out in the last few years.
• Benes’s layouts are really strong. He plays with the pace and keeps things fresh by using a variety of layouts that actually strengthen the storytelling. The only problem is that there are some pages with excessively large amounts of blank space between and around the panels. Why not use the whole page?
• There is still a large number of unnecessary cheesecake shots—many of which detract from the scenes there are placed in. Is there any sense in distracting readers from the arrival of Black Lantern Hawk with a butt shot from Dove? No, not really. I know it is Benes is trademark, but its totally unnecessary.
• I do need to point out that Black Lantern Terry (Donna Troy’s husband) wearing a Black Lantern version of his 1980’s tux was simply awesome and one of my favorite moments of the week. That cracks me up, especially since his character design is so dated that any flashback to the character that doesn’t deviate from Perez’s original design in a strong way immediately looks ridiculous. Kudos to Benes for going in a fun direction with that.

Verdict: Buy It. The shock-and-awe of characters returning from the dead in Blackest Night is starting to get a bit tired, but JT Krul and Ed Benes put some fun spins on it in this issue. It’s nothing too far off from what the other creators have done, but Krul and Benes really sell it, especially for longtime Titans fans. Plus, you may not find any comics outside of this series where the female Hawk and Dove actually catch on (even if Hawk is dead-ish).

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Mike McKone, Adriana Melo, Various Inkers, Chris Chuckry, and Jeromy Cox
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by J. Scott Campbell and Edgar Delgado
preRanking: 06

Joe Kelly and Company bounce back from an interesting, but ultimately mediocre issue of Amazing Spider-Man last week to deliver a much stronger and more coherent tale this week, tracking the interesting relationship and alliance between Black Cat and Spider-Man.
• The majority of the issue follows Black Cat and Spidey as they team up to uncover and stop a highly complicated and longstanding plot by the villain Diablo. Thankfully, Kelly takes mercy on readers by pushing Diablo to the background since he is really a pretty lame villain.
• Instead, we see a lot of interaction between the two lead characters, which was a lot of fun. Black Cat’s incessant flirting and the mix of frustration and haplessness from Spider-Man are good foils.
• I’m also glad to see that we do get some explanation/reminder of Black Cat’s bad luck powers—especially after they were glossed over last issue. We are beat over the head with him, which gets frustrating by the end of the issue, but I’m glad that they don’t go unexplained to the confusion of more casual readers.
• Is it just me or is Peter’s recent upswing in the bedroom really forced? He just seems oddly hypersexual lately just for the sake of plotting. It seems like the creative teams are almost rubbing readers noses in it, which seems weird to me.
Mike McKone’s art has ago do overall look and does a decent job of storytelling and design. The lack of backgrounds is annoying, but ultimately forgivable.
• The only major problem with the issue is that there are five inkers, all working with different styles. Towards the end of the issue there is one inker in particular who works in a much heavier style than the others, which does not work at all with the rest of the book. I’m glad we are getting McKone for two issues in a row, but consistency is still a problem for this one.
• I also can’t see any reason why the five inkers do not get their full names listed in the credits. Everyone who works on the book deserves to get their full name mentioned, so I think this is in poor taste.

Verdict: Buy It. After a serviceable, but ultimately disappointing romp last week, Amazing Spider-Man is back with a solid issue this week. Joe Kelly’s character work is a lot of fun and the art team puts in a solid effort. There are some nagging issues with the craft and plot at times, but this issue certainly redeems the rest of the arc. Plus, there is a surprise appearance in the end by my favorite new post-One More Day Spider-Man villain, which always helps.

03. RUNAWAYS #14
Written by Kathryn Immonen
Art by Sara Pichelli and Christina Strain
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by David Lafuente and Christina Strain
preRanking: 01

• I have to admit, I probably over-hyped myself on this issue, as I’ve been going crazy waiting for it to come out ever since the solicits dropped a few months back. Gert Yorkes was always, by far, my favorite member of the Runaways, so the cover implying her return had me super jazzed about this issue.
• That being said, it is incredibly unfair that Marvel is putting the book on hiatus after this issue. The cliffhanger, which finds one character on his/her deathbed, and the return of Gert being so unclear, it is totally cruel of Marvel to leave readers hanging.
Kathryn Immonen continues to do a great job with her character writing, as all of the characters worked incredibly well here. From Nico’s exhaustion over her leadership role to Molly’s manic response to potential change to Chase’s hotheaded reaction to just about everything to Potential-Gert being just like Brian K. Vaughn’s Gert, every character is pitch-perfect.
• The dialogue does get a bit awkward at times, mostly due to the strange pacing of the issue—sometimes the dialogue is moving really fast while the art and plot doesn’t seem to correspond, which undercuts a lot of the emphasis that Immonen seems to be going for.
• I really can’t get over how spot-on Immonen’s take on Gert was, even if she only appeared for just a few panels and may not actually be Gert, Immonen nailed the character so perfectly that I felt the gut-shot that was her death all over again. Simply awesome work.
Sara Pichelli’s artwork was as gorgeous and energetic as ever. Her chemistry with Immonen is so evident that there are no problems with the art not working in concert with the tone of the script. I can’t wait for future collaborations between the two during the hiatus for this book.
• Pichelli could use some work on her angles and perspectives though, as there isn’t much variation which causes some awkward pacing and weakens some of her expressions.
• I was a bit confused by the coloring at times, most notably with Nico having much browner hair than normal—did I miss something last issue where she went brunette? Seems odd that the ever-amazing Christina Strain would make a mistake on a character she has been coloring for years.

Verdict: Must Read. It isn’t the spectacular return of Gert Yorkes that I had hoped for, but instead it is an incredibly heartfelt and fast-paced closer to this volume of Runaways that closes out a few hanging story points, opens up a new status quo, and leaves readers breathless in anticipation for the next chapter. It is incredibly unfortunate that Marvel decided to put the book on hiatus just as they found a creative team that could return the series to the level of awesomeness unattained since Brian K. Vaughan’s departure from the series, but Immonen and Pichelli go out with an issue that should leave readers wanting more. Plus, seriously, the semi-return of Gert was handled perfectly in an incredibly minimalist manner that was so powerful that immediately email Pichelli’s art broker hoping I could get early info on the page with Gert’s return (Which will probably be out of my price range, but is something I’d so love to own. In other words, if y’all want to pitch in together to buy me an early first wedding anniversary present (10/25), feel free. Haha, just kidding—or am I?).

Written by John Ostrander
Art by Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons, and Brad Anderson
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Dan Scott
preRanking: 05

Star Wars: Legacy, one of the most reliable good-but-not-great books on the stands really lives up to its potential this week with an incredibly dense and enjoyable comic that excels on nearly ever level.
• This week’s issue covers a ridiculous amount of story beats, including an escape from assassins on Tatooine, dirty dealings with the Black Sun, double-crossing Imperials, the virtues of Imperial Ministry, and some great scenes between Cade and his estranged mother Morrigan. I actually had to go back and count to make sure that there were only 22 pages in this comic, as it feels like there is no way John Ostrander could cover so much ground in a standard-sized comic.
• I loved the character interaction in this issue, especially between Cade and Yage with their at-odds flirting and Cade’s reactions towards his mother. Ostrander knows these characters backwards and forwards, but most importantly he knows how to craft the dialogue so that it has a similar tone and gravitas as the dialogue in the original Star Wars trilogy.
• I was really impressed with the progression of Morrigan’s character here, especially with her soft-spoken lines about Cade’s father, Kol Skywalker, loving her for what she was and how she always loved Cade and his father. It was extremely natural and incredible heart wrenching.
• Ostrander built some interesting parallels in this issue between Cade’s struggles to find his place in the Universe and the turmoil that both Deliah Blue and the Sith are facing.
• This is one of Jan Duursema’s strongest issues. She does amazing work on the action as always, but also did great work with her expressions and the body language during the character interaction. There is very little to complain about with her art here.
• I’m glad to see that Morrigan is being drawn a bit older in this issue. In past issues, she was drawn so that there is no way she could be Cade’s mother, but this issue has her featuring some age lines. As odd as it sounds, that really helped with how she came across so sympathetically in this story.

Verdict: Must Read. You can always count on Star Wars: Legacy for an enjoyable story, but its not very often that it rises above simply “good” status into something great, but with this issue it finally begins to live up to its potential. The impressive character work and the great chemistry between the writing and the art helped make this issue incredibly compelling, while the amazing amount of story crammed into the issue gives it the best value of any story this week. I just hope that Ostrander and Duursema can use the success of this issue to keep the momentum going for this series.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen, Randy Mayor, and Gabe El-Tred
Letters by Rob Leigh
Cover by Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, and Hi-Fi
preRanking: 02

Hal Jordan takes a backseat to his rival Sinestro in this week’s Green Lantern, which sheds more light (pun not intended) on the Indigo Tribe, finds Sinestro battling Mongul for leadership of the Sinestro Corps, and an unlikely alliance building amongst the key members of each Lantern Corps to stop the Black Lanterns.
Geoff Johns covers a lot of ground and sets up a lot of important items in this issue without shortchanging anything thanks to his great pacing throughout the issue.
• The trio of Hal, Sinestro, and Carol is extremely interesting, especially with Sinestro only agreeing to the team-up if he takes the lead. I’m looking forward to seeing how they manage to get Larfleeze, Saint Walker, and Atrocitus on board.
• Johns does an amazing job of presenting Sinestro as both a monster and a hero in this issue, all depending on the outlook of the scene. Johns has been building Sinestro this way for the last few years, but this is the first issue where I felt he was fleshed out as more than just a one-dimensional villain, but rather as one of DC’s richest characters. It reminds me a lot of how Marv Wolfman built Deathstroke.
• I’m still not interested in anything that John Stewart is doing and his few pages in this issue are really the only downside for me.
Doug Mahnke is, simply put, effing amazing on this issue, especially considering there are three inkers working on his pencils in this issue (himself, Christian Alamy, and Tom Nguyen). After this issue, there is no reason he shouldn’t be considered one of the premiere artists in the industry.
• The two-page spread of Sinestro using the multiple rings to impale Mongul is one of the coolest looking spreads I’ve seen in ages. The moment I turned to those pages, it was an immediate fanboy geek-out on my part and, if you’ve seen it, I’m sure you had a similar reaction.
• Mahnke’s expressions and his sense of energy makes every page in this issue look fantastic.
• What really impressed me most, though, was the epic sense of scale in the art. Mahnke sets up each panel for maximum effect so that every story movement feels incredibly grandiose. With each page, Mahnke makes the story bigger and bigger, which is something that few artists could pull off.

Verdict: Must Read. Geoff Johns brings his A-game for writing both action and character development in this issue, giving Doug Mahnke an amazing story to work with. While Mahnke’s usual level of quality would have been enough to make this a Must Read book, he too steps up his efforts and produces what is easily one of the finest issues I’ve ever seen from him and certainly my favorite issue of his since Final Crisis: Requiem or his great work on StormWatch P.H.D. This is an incredibly intense, incredibly well-thought out, and incredibly executed story that brings the goods in terms of action and doe such amazing character work that you’ll be cheering on Sinestro by the end of it.

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Daringd said...

4. Superman #692: Robinson/Dagnino DC $2.99
After finally catching up on all things Superman I can honestly say Action Comics, Supergirl and Superman are best to read all at once. So after reading the superior issues 881 of Action and issue 45 of Supergirl, I enjoyed Superman a lot this week. More than I might have if I just read it on its own. This issue gives us a taste of what happened to Mon-el, which wasn’t what I was expecting, I really would have liked this issue to be in-depth on Mon-el, but it seems next issue is going to do that. Mainly the issue focused on The Guardian which is a plot Robinson has been building up for while. Not the best issue of Superman but it’s still pretty satisfying. As for that art, spot on.
Overall 7.5/10

3. Secret Warriors #8: Hickman/Vitti Marvel $2.99
I really enjoyed this issue not having read Thunderbolt #136 I believe which was a bit of a crossover. While not the best issue of the series it’s still better than half the book I pick up every month. I am really digging Vitti art on this book; I hope he returns for another arc. This issue has me really excited for the DR: List One-Shot next week, if it’s stand alone or if it ties into this issue at all I don’t know. It could really go either way. Anyway another solid issue of this awesome title.
Overall 8.7/10

2. Thor #603: JMS/Djurdjevic Marvel $3.99
It is a really shame JMS is leaving this title. No one can really duplicate what he has done with this title. This issue more so than issue 602 is proof of why he should not leave. The Doom/Loki storyline has been building nicely unfortunately it seems JMS won’t be able to finish that storyline. I guess it is going to be part of the Dark Siege event or whatever it is called. I’m sure after the event everything will go back to the way it was before JMS took over the book. Anyway to the point JMS covers a lot of ground, especially the Bill storyline. The art is absolutely fantastic the best I’ve seen for Djurdjevic. One Giant sized one-shot to go, and that is a damn shame.
Overall 9.5/10

1. EPIC WIN! (A.K.A Green Lantern #46): Johns/Mahnke DC $2.99
Doug Mahnke has been on this title for four issue in that time two issue have made book of the week now issue 46 does as well. This is the best issue of Green Lantern in a long time and that is saying something after issues 43/44. Johns covers a lot of ground in this issue similar to what he did in BN #3. The issue really brings a lot of plot point together, and of course gives us a great action sequence, between Mongul and Sinestro. The December solicits showed Ed Benes as artist of Green Lantern I pray Mahnke come back to give us more awesomeness.
Overall 10/10.\

Pre- Rank for next week
6. War Heroes #3
5. Haunt #1
4. Dark Reign: The List Secret Warriors
3. Daredevil #501
2. WONK #8
1. Batman and Robin #5

David Miller said...

War Heroes #3 is finally coming out next week?! Wow, I figured that one had been lost to the winds of time.

Anonymous said...

Re: X-23

I know they've shown her get her claws laced with Adamantium in one of the X-23 mini-series. If her skeleton was completely laced, I don't think it's ever been explicitly stated so, or shown. I think it's just the hand and foot claws.

Radlum said...

I really liked ASM this week, but the art for the last pages ruined the effect for me; the different inking and artist where a bad choice, it made the story lose some focus, Melo's art didn't fit completely.

ModernTenshi04 said...

Picked up Superman for the first time this week, and I don't know if it's just me coming in off of what I guess was a fairly big arc for the Superman line, but I didn't really enjoy the book all that much. I felt the dialog was wonky, the pacing seemed pretty bad, and seeing Guardian unmasked reminded me a bit too much of Gary Busey. I picked up Action Comics and Supergirl for the first time this month as well, and enjoyed those issues quite a bit more than Superman. Superman is on my, "Won't buy unless reviews are good," list for now.

I agree that Sierens was fun, albeit a bit campy, what with the blimp and cliched antics from Joker. Dini seemed to try and write them off with Harley's "explanation" at the end, but camp is camp.

I felt that Henderson's first outing on Teen Titans wasn't bad, but would agree the pacing seemed a bit off, and the story somewhat disjointed between Beast Boy trying to bring the Titans together again, and Raven's little problem in the cave.

BN: Teen Titans was a fun read as well. Agreed that the development and interactions between Hawk and Dove is really good, and I'm sad Hawk is now dead because I was thinking the same thing: would love to see them in their own book after BN. Overall I'd say it's the second best of the BN tie-ins so far, with Batman being the best, and Superman being the not so best.

Wonder Woman was another good read, third time I've picked it up (started with 34 some months ago). Simone's writing doesn't seem to be on par with her Secret Six writing, but overall I still really enjoy her stories, and she's very good with characterization and character building. You really got a sense of Wonder Woman feeling completely alone and outcast. Very interesting that she set the story with Wonder Woman on the beach during a beautiful sunrise, usually a romantic setting, but very contrasting with how she's feeling. All of this is backed up by some great art by Lopresti, who really added a sense of loneliness with it all, having some pretty open backdrops and muted color tones. The two page spread of Wonder Woman beating the tar out of Giganta was very cool.

Green Lantern #46 is hands down the best issue of Blackest Night thus far, and I'm tempted to say the best book out of DC this month, if only because Simone seemed a teensy tiny bit off with Secret Six this month (still fantastic, but not as pressing as the other books thus far have been). Focusing on Sinestro was an interesting approach, and frankly a breath of fresh air for the series. I completely agree that Sinestro is now one of the deepest characters DC has to offer, and at times Johns seems to make the reader think, "Man, he's evil, but dammit if he doesn't make a good point." Naturally the summation of the issue, a show down between Sinestro and Mongul, was the highlight of both this issue, this month, and Blackest Night so far. The action was very well paced, the layout of each panel tight and flowing, and some great trash talk between Mongul and Sinestro. Mahnke's art along with some impressive inking with Alamay and Nguyen in tow made the story just flow off the pages. Sharp character design, gorgeous backdrops that you could sometimes just stare into and set the tone for each scene in that, "just right," way, just makes this issue the gem of DC this month. The only complaint I'd register is that some panels can be a bit too wordy from Johns, but not entirely distracting.

Anyway, that's my take on what I picked up this week.

Kirk Warren said...

x-23 never received an adamantium skeleton. She was scheduled to receive it after her body finished growing, but escaped the Facility before that time. They removed her bone claws in her hands and feet and coated them in adamantium and put back in her so she could make with the killing at a younger age. I'm not sure, but I think the lack of a adamantium skeleton makes her healing factor stronger than Wolverine's, whose is retarded due to the body fighting off adamantium poisoning constantly (though he can come back from anything, so not sure if it matters). She is faster due to the lack of the extra 50kg or more of adamantium in her body though.

Daryll B. said...

From reading TT #75, I can assume that whatever character growth that Beast Boy (please change that back to Changeling again for the love of..) has once again been overwritten or excuse me been 'erased' by Superboy Prime's reality punches? God is every new creator's take on Gar and I'll throw Roy in on this too to make them regress to 13- 14 years old? SIGH bye-bye Titans Universe...

Some other books I picked up that I got opinions on:

Marvel Zombies Return #5 - Fred Van Lente does an admirable job in actually producing a twist ending I didn't see coming AND having it make sense. I won't spoil it if you are trade waiting. It almost makes up for the weird time period jumps of this series in my eyes though.

Boys Herogasm #5 - As much as I can't stand McCrea's art, Boys fans take note of this issue for it foreshadows a lot of Homelander's motivations for the 2nd Half of the Boys series. Um this will not be pretty (as if anything in this series ever was...)

Terry Moore's Echo #15 - My book of the week and tension rises between Julie/Annie, & Ivy and stuff gets blown up as the Phoenix Corporation finally makes its move. Mr Moore got me trying to think of an easy solution for the antagonists to live happy ever after...Yeah not going to happen.

Secret Warriors - All my time attending games there, who knew Nick Fury had a safehouse stashed there? I could have gotten a hot dog, foul ball and a life model decoy along with cool SHIELD weaponry!!! At least after the events of the issue, demolition might be a little easier now.

Great Reviews Ryan!

smkedtky said...

Ryan - Great article, as always.

TEEN TITANS #75 - I miss reading this book. I really do. Unfortunately, there hasnt' been anything worth reading here since INFINITE CRISIS/ONE YEAR LATER. I come back every so often to check in with hopes of sparking my interest but end up disappointed. I'm usually all for B and C-List casts in team books (after all, if the writer is any good he/she can make anyone great to read) but the current roster might be the worst in TITANS history. I wish they would cancel TITANS and make TEEN TITANS more like it was when it started with the original, older Titans mentoring the newer, younger ones.

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #4 - I really enjoyed the first two issues and though I severely disliked the third, I could forgive it since it was a fill-in. This issue wasn't terrible but one thing really, REALLY bothers me about it. THE JOKER. What the hell? The Joker was very different the last time we saw him (and seemed to know who Batman was as well). Dini ignored all that this issue in favor of his very, cartoon like, portrayal. Since I really liked where the Joker was, as a character, during BATMAN: RIP I was disappointed (to say the least) to see him looking and acting as he did this issue. I couldn't help but to hear Mark Hammil's voice when reading his dialogue. It ruined the issue for me. I wanted to see the dark, forked tongue Joker that the character had become (especially since it was pointed out that he completely overhauls his personality every so often). This was a big step back for the character.

BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #2 - A little less interesting than last issue but with all the BLACKEST NIGHT books out right now, it takes something special to make one book stand out from the rest. This one didn't have it. Still, it was enjoyable enough for BLACKEST NIGHT and TITANS fans and completists.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #607 - Love the Black Cat and Peter with the Black Cat. The dialogue was great and playful.

SECRET WARRIORS #8 - Another great series. Same story I've read in other comics this month but still managed to stay fresh.

X-FORCE #19 - I could do without ever seeing Rahne and Hrimhari ever again and X-23 centric stories usually bore me but the scene with Selene and another character made the issue for me. Plus, Choi's art looks fantastic. He has improved so much in so little time. Really looking forward to NECROSHA.

THUNDERBOLTS #136 - Worth it for the Scourge reveal alone. Great issue.

GREEN LANTERN #46 - Also great. Very surprised about the origin of the legendary lovers of Star Sapphire lore.

Primewax said...

Marvel Zombies Return #5 really was pretty dang good. The rest of that mini has been eh (well, #4 with its WWH storyline was cool) but the ending of this one really wraps things up. I knew it was gonna happen after reading #4, but the way they did it worked for me. I just hope they end it here and don't try anything else with the series.

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