Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 05/19/10

Light week for me as I mentioned in the previews on Monday, but I've got my two whole reviews - Brightest Day #2 and Girl Comics #2 - for this edition of the Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews ready for your perusal.  I took a look at Avengers #1 at the shop and had to put it back on the shelf.  To put it gently, it just plain did not appeal to me in the slightest.  Ryan should have a full review for you tomorrow of that one.  Hit the jump for my two reviews.

Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art by Various

When DC came out and made it clear to everyone that Brightest Day would not be "bright" or a return to happier times for the DCU, they sure weren't kidding.  Just three (counting #0) issues in and we've see a bird's head cracked open and smeared upon a grave stone, child sex rings, undead sealife killing said slavers and, now, a mother turned monster/Martian slaughter her Rock Band-playing family with a knife to the throat, drumsticks through the chest and plastic guitar contusions.  And that doesn't even touch on the random deaths and other grim topics, like Firestorm's blowing up or what have you. 

Personally, after the super hero horror movie event that was Blackest Night, which saw "zombie" Black Lanterns killing people left and right and heroes and villains alike gruesomely taking these Black Lanterns apart in graphic manners, I was kind of looking forward to getting back to a kinder, gentler DCU.  Additionally, with the lackluster story, of which there hasn't really been a plot established to yet, it seems like these three issues have been only about over the top killings and shock deaths.  We don't know any more about the White Lantern than we did at the end of Blackest Night.  We don't know why these particular heroes and villains were revived.  We don't know who the badguy of this piece might be.  It's three issues in and I don't see any story or build up towards a story - it's just a bunch of killings and two or three page spreads dealing with random characters reacting to the violence. 

What makes this even worse is that the few times it tries to do something with the characters, it's retreading old ground.  Take this issue's Firestorm and Martian Manhunter focuses.  Firestorm's storyline is all about him having two people trapped together in the Firestorm Matrix and not being able to get out.  This likely has something to do with one half of the duo coming back from the dead, but we don't really learn anything new about the situation or move towards solving it in any way.  The entire sequence is about showing off a new fireproof costume for the Atom and having the two Firestorm characters bicker and argue with each other incessently for three or four pages - the same thing they've done in every panel Firestorm's been in since the end of Blackest Night. 

On the Manhunter side of things, J'onn's retreading his origin, something every Martian Manhunter miniseries and JLA story seems to want to do.  This time, we're adding a daughter to the scientist that initially brought J'onn to Earth and we find out that the father and daughter brought some other Martian or alien menance to Earth before J'onn - presumably the mother that went nuts earlier in the issue and tore her face off to reveal what I thought might be a White Martian, but that doesn't seem to be the case based on what the professor brought through the portal in the flashback.  I'm not sure how this really added anything to his origin or what it adds to the plot of Brightest Day.  It also requires the question of how and why this monster/Martian had a family and children and what it was doing for all these years in hiding as a suburban house wife.

The only remotely interesting part of this issue was the final section with Deadman.  The White Lantern ring that's been guiding him teleports him to Qward, in the Anti-Matter Universe, where the ring tells him to "fight" and plops him right in front of the Anti-Monitor and even this is only interesting in that I'm more curious about the Anti-Monitor and his whereabouts than anything else that's occurred in Brightest Day to date.  You'd think the Guardians and Green Lanterns would be all over him or that Sinestro might be curious as to what the big guy has been up to since returning to Qward.  He was the Sinestro Corps' guardian prior to becoming Nekron's power source in Blackest Night.  If he's on the Sinestro Corps homeworld - Qward - shouldn't we have heard something about him from Sinestro or the Guardians by now?

Also, while only a minor detail, it really annoyed me that Aquaman's reaction to summoning the dead sea creatures last issue was completely glossed over and forgotten here.  Despite him having the cover spotlight and the ominous Black Lantern version of himself reflecting in the water on the cover, both he and Mera only show up on a single panel as Deadman tries calling out to them before he goes off to Qward.  I was excited about that cover when it was solicited several months ago and all that speculation over it was pointless as it had no bearing on the issue and all story development for Aquaman was left out of this issue.

Verdict - Avoid It.  As of right now, it's three issues in and, much like Countdown and Trinity, I don't foresee this storyline going anywhere for another 20 issues and I am not willing to sit around reading two and three pages of individual stories every second week for the next year as we wait for some imagined pay off down the road.  Comics should be good every issue.  There shouldn't be some carrot dangled in front of the reader or creators/fans telling us to sit tight because it'll get better later on. 

Written by Various
Art by Various

For those that have forgotten, Girl Comics is an anthology comic featuring work from an all-female creative cast, ranging from writers and artists to inkers and even editors and letterers.  It's a tour de force of the best and brightest female creators in comics and a spotlight for their talents that debuted back in March.  It's been a while since that first issue, which I gave a favourable review, so I'm sure you're wondering how the second issue holds up.

To be fair, I found this issue underwhelming.  There are some interesting art styles on display, such as Faith Erin Hicks's Boom Boom and Elsa short and Colleen Coover's work is always a treat for the eyes, but the overall package felt a little weak compared to the first issue.  

The biggest problem wasthat there wasn't really a single story I could look back on and say, "that made the issue worth buying".  The first issue had several stories that I felt justified the purchase and, here, I found myself struggling to really pick one I liked, let alone justify the purchase.  None were overly bad or anything, but none were overly good either.  

If I had to choose a best story from the issue, the Dr Strange short would have to be the one. It didn't have the best art, but I felt the story was the only one that really had any meat to it and did something with the characters.  Hick's Nextwave duo story I mentioned for its unique art above, while not stellar or laugh out loud funny, was another that stood out.

In short, a lot of the love I had for the series has waned over time.  With the lengthy delay between issues and what I consider a relatively underwhelming second outing, I'm left wondering if this would have been better off simply being a one-shot for Women's Month back in March. I still enjoy anthology series where they put a great and diverse cast of creators on the book, as seen with Strange Tales, but perhaps they were stretching for content with the strict criteria of female creators only on this one. 

Verdict - Check It.  As anthologies can be very hit or miss for each individual reader, it's likely others will enjoy the content of this issue more than I did.  There's also the desire for some to support teh impetus behind this anthology's creation and to show Marvel you'd like to see more female creators getting work.  As such, I'm giving this a Check It - there's some unique content here that should appeal to a broad range of readers, but, personally, I felt this was a rather weak issue compared to the first.

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Flip The Page said...

I'm amazed you bothered with Brightest Day #2. It's just so goddamn ridiculous now. and not in the good way.

But ah well, at least you'll have the fans saying you're biased or wrong in 3... 2... 1...

Servando Gomez said...

Hey kirk, it seems you been having some bad comics weeks lol with a lot of avoid it's. Well i guess it's because they were all event books and what not but i can't recall you mention one "Must read" lately.

Also, i Been missing Eric Rupe. I haven't seen him since the April Solicitations. If anything, It seems to me that Ryan L. been lately taking over the duties Rupe been doing (impressively i must admit) and i was thinking is he even part of the team anymore?

Allen G said...

Glad DC felt we needed to see children slaughtered just to prove Martian Manhunter's story is going to be serious business.

I had high hopes for Brightest Day, but this story has already gone past Trinity-level pointlessness and is headed straight to Countdown-level stupidity and tastelessness.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Servando: Eric has been busy with finishing his college degree lately (it's finals season). He should be coming back soon, though, and I know one of his articles is going to come up either this week or the next one.

And Ryan L. is a writing beast. He could easily take over ALL of our duties if he really set his mind (and wallet) to it.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Servando - you're telling me, man, Eric is a sorely missed man around this place and his absence is felt and hopefully won't be for much longer. He always felt like the cool voice of reason in here and I think I need that on my posts sometimes.

@Matt - hey, I prefer ravishing beast, but I'll take what I can get, haha. I doubt I'd be able to do the Top Ten's as good as you, but I just wish to imagine what I could get done if I didn't have to spend all day teaching kids. Man, I'd have articles up about everything.

Anonymous said...

This is why marvels better. They don't need rape or excesive violence every issue

Anonymous said...

Aquaman should stay dead

Anonymous said...


Hello guys, I have been reading brightest day from #0 and it does not suck that hard... I agree with you that the aquaman cover really hurted the overall experience of enjoying this issue but that is not John's fault. I would ask you to hang to the run as he is a Long Distance runner and this is not a "big boom" siege or war of the supermen paced event. He rarely dissapoints. Just be patient.

Have a great weekend guys!

Anonymous said...

I've been checking out your site for a few weeks now & it seems to me you guys just don't like DC. Simple as that. So why do you even bother reading it & continuing this pretense that you are impartial reviewers? Just admit you're gay for Marvel & stop bashing DC. As for me I will no longer be checking in to see what you think.

Anonymous said...


@ Ryan K Lindsay: hey Ryan thanks for your answer to my question about if you recommend me the Marvel's Dark Tower comics. (Again this has nothing to do with this post hehe).

I have another question for you since you convinced me to buy the comics: is ther any specific order that I should be reading the comics before, between or after the books? by example:
1st-The Gunslinger Born (comic book)
2nd-The Gunslinger (book)
3rd-The Long Road Home. (comic book)
4th-The Drawing of the Three (book)

Thanks a lot for your help man!

The Dangster said...

atomic robo came out this week, it was pretty awesome.

Dickey said...

Great to here Eric will be back around these parts, definitely a missed presence. I feel for him though, been in the same boat with finishing up the end of degree finals. One final month of soul crushing, arduous trials.

So did any of ya'll happen to check out the Rescue one shot? Saw that Kelly Sue DeConnick was the writer on it, and there seems to be a shared love for her occasional writing around these parts.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Anonymous #9: Well if you have been checking the site for a few weeks, you must have also seen how Kirk gave "Return of Bruce Wayne" a "Must Read", or how Ryan L. reviewed favorably the Batman: Snow trade, or how Ryan S. includes so many DC titles in his power rankings, and in the latest one, 4 out of the top 5 spots were actually DC titles.

In other words, your "The Weekly Crisis is gay for Marvel" theory holds no ground. Enjoy your exile from this site!

@Dickey: I haven't gotten my comics, but I preordered it, and will probably be reviewing it.

brandon said...

It might have been my favorite Atomic Robo read yet. Awesome stuff.

Kirk Warren said...

@The Dangster & brandon - Robo came out this week? It wasn't in my pull list. I wonder if my shop mixed it in with someone elses or the order didnt come in or what. I'll have to check with him today as I didn't get it.

@Servando Gomez - Return of Bruce Wayne was a Must Read last week and Amazing Spider-Man was damn near close with a Buy It. I also had some health problems and was really doign much writing for most of April, so might seem like I've reviewed less adding to that impression.

@Anonymous #8/THE MEXICAN - I don't think Brightest Day "sucks". I don't think Trinity sucked either. For instance, both are far better written and have better art than Countdown did, but the format isn't playing to the writers' strengths. It's an Avoid It due to the weakness in the plotting and general go nowhere storytelling and lack of anything noteworthy happening in three issues that wasn't repeated over in Green Lantern (the White Lantern bits were over there). Will it get better? Possibly, but I don't think it's good enough to warrant buying twice a month when I'm not getting a comic I enjoy, so rated it as such.

@Anonymous #9 - As you won't be here to read this anymore, there's little point in defending myself, but as Matt said, Return of Bruce Wayne received a Must Read from me last week. I also consistently state that Secret Six is the best comic on the stands right now and love Green Lantern and Green lantern Corps, despite not enjoying the Blackest Night event book (the GLand GLC titles were still fantastic during the eventthough and routinely got Must Reads).

The simple fact is Marvel puts otu mroe books. I'd wager it's close to double DC's output if someone did the numbers up for the month. There's bound to be more Marvel comics reviewed and, assumign the law of averages, there would be more higher rated comics just by the fact there are more comics to choose from. If we take into consideration creators under exclusive contracts, Marvel has a better stable in my opinion as well, which would further skew the quality ratio in their favour.

Obi Bujannie said...

Dark Tower Anonymous
the reading order is

1-The Gunslinger Born (comic book)
2-The Long Road Home (comic book)
3-Treachery (comic book)
4-Man in black (one-shot comic book)
5-Fall of Gilead (comic book)
6-Battle of Jericho Hill (book)
7-The Gunslinger (upcoming comic book)
8-The Gunslinger (book)
9-The Drawing of the Three (book)

This is the reading order today... It isn't known yet if after The Gunslinger, that ties with the first book they are going to continue expanding subplots of the other books.
For further connections try
Hope this helps!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, another anonymous person here. Not really, though. I read this site all the time and just never comment. I have to admit to being disappointed often by DC these days, despite loving the characters more than Marvel's. Each major crossover in recent years (Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, and Blackest Night) seemed to be some meta-commentary/criticism of DC's darkness in the modern era and hold some promise for changing that. And yet, it's business as usual after all of them. 52 has been the only "event" book from them that I really loved, and it should probably be their model for these things: great art, perfectly plotted and executed, major character moments.

Anonymous said...

DC are worse for event fatigue

Anonymous said...

Can't you guys say avengers were bad and just leave it at that. We have had to put up with your blackest night whining .

Kirk Warren said...

@Anonymous #19 - From the intro:

"I took a look at Avengers #1 at the shop and had to put it back on the shelf. To put it gently, it just plain did not appeal to me in the slightest."

Anonymous said...

Ryan should have a full review for you tomorrow. It was stated it was bad . I just feel every time it comes out your just going to waste time whining

Anonymous said...

who ever says brightest day is a slow burner is good is stupid . Its a book that has vulger violence every issue. Its if ultimatum was a slow burner

Jonathan Perez said...

I didn't think Avengers #1 was terrible at all. Surprisingly, is was a very back-to-basics first issue where the team is assembled, an old villain shows up and they fight him, and they are given a mission to carry the book over the next couple of issues. I liked that Bendis (for once) didn't drag out the mystery of who was going to be on the team. The issue certainly didn't feel like it was being padded out for a six issue trade. And I can never wholly hate any comic with John Romita Jr on art.

That said, I pretty much think Bendis wrote some utterly awful Avengers stories--especially in the past three years--and I'm going to wait and see how good the #2 issue is before committing the title to my pull list.

Avengers #1 was better than I expected, but it didn't blow me out of the water either.

Anonymous said...


Eddie Entropy said...

I think your stress levels will thank you for dropping Brightest Day Kurt!

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anonymous9 - here's this argument again, impartial reviewer, what the hell is that? A reviewer has to be personal. That's what reviewing something is, giving your thoughts on a topic. unless you state yourself as some other reviewer, like 'I review Marvel comics for a DC crowd' or something like that. How are we supposed to be impartial, just give a synopsis? If you want then then go off to Wikipedia. We here give our responses to the comics we can buy. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of us that we can have the broadest section of the comic publication community covered. But, I do think we treat DC fairly, Ryan S often cites their comics as some of his faves, as does Kirk. I've reviewed their Trade output pretty well though I admit to not reading a lot of DCU comics, I usually stick to Vertigo.

As for scope of reviewing, we only have so much money, mate. I'd buy heaps more if I could afford it but I have other things in my life to spend money on and so I get what I like only, and so should every reviewer. If you want to sponsor me a DC comics a week I'll read it, no doubt. But until then stop your griping and either read us because you like what you see or don't read us if you don't like us. But if you're going to comment get a grip on syntax and the use of apostrophes, they're right next to the Enter key on your keyboard. Fine, rant over.

@The Great Anonymous - I'm not certain of the exact chronology of all the Dark Tower comics, but I know the first one, or one of the first ones, dealt with a story that takes place in Roland's past but was actually featured in the fourth book, Wizard and Glass, as a major flashback, so you can get it however you like. I had read all seven books before the comics started but it hasn't hurt me, and I think so long as you read the books in order and the comics in order you will be fine.

@Dickey - I considered Rescue, I am a fan of De Connick, but I saw the previews and the art didn't grab me, quite honestly. I think I'd prefer the Heroes anthology where De Connick writes a short there.

The Dangster said...

I might have to agree with brandon, probably the best robo yet. i truly hope you review it.

Hobo Jack said...

First Black Manta and now some unknown alien. *rolls eyes*

Come back next week loyal readers so that you can see Gentleman Ghost set a group of orphans on fire in response to Hawkman's resurrection.

brandon said...

As much as I love the Walking Dead, this was a slow issue....until the last page. Another strong issue for that series.

X-Men Legacy continues the string of lackluster comics in the Second Coming crossover.

Joe the Barbarian was outstanding. I find myself feeling the kid's pain as his real-life world gets messed around with in the end of the comic.

A solid, short week.

Ivan said...

Just in to say that those "you don't review enough comics" guys crack me up. How much are you paying as subscription fee again? And look at this banner-ridden page. Everytime I click it's a different pop-up!

Seriously, guys. The site has new content almost every day, and it's always top quality stuff. If you don't agree with their opinions, well, that's another story...

Anonymous said...

They questioned the depth and how one sided it is which is debatable

Ivan said...

Well, if you don't accept their perfectly plausible reasoning, there's nothing I can do about it.

Daryll B. said...

Ok, separated myself from schoolwork long enough to read a couple of books:

-I was shocked at how Levitz began Legion of SuperHeroes but it left me with a bunch of questions:
Can two planets have a child or was that a Guardian reforming?
No matter how many times the "taboo" tale is told, someone ALWAYS wants to violate it... who gives these scientists a license?
Groundwork is laid for future stories definitely but seriously how does HE get a green lantern ring??? Seemed like sensationalism because how many morally ambiguous characters have received a ring? Outside of Guy

X-Men Legacy was weird, it had elements I wanted to like but there was something holding it back...although I did like the guest cameos. Makes sense if something like that happens for other heroes to appear...

Ok I have an Avengers embargo until Academy and Avengers Crusade...but I am tempted to pick up Avengers Prime with Alan Davis on Art...but I am "Bend-engers" in point the Next Avengers was a geek out moment but his portrayal of Wonder Man took me right out of the book...

Anonymous said...

why do people hate your site?

Matt Ampersand said...

If people are hating on us, it means we finally made it as a review site!

Dickey said...

Congrats are in order then! As the illustrious Chris Sims says, "Big up to all my (your) haters!"

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Ha, I think we finally have an anonymous worth courting and holding into, this person cracks me up, I'm tuning in just to see what he says next. I hope this isn't Kirk in disguise, though I don't think Kirk could forgo grammar for that long.

As for the answer to the their query, first it is important to dissect the question - anonymous, you state people as in plural but we're really only seeing you; the modality in your sentence is beguilingly absent to the point that it appears high, to that I would say, what data do you have that so many hate this site and where is the empirical evidence?; and finally, how the hell would we know when anyone who disagrees with us doesn't manage to put their vitriol into a comment that makes any form of sense to logical I guess there's only one way to get a true representative answer -

Anonymous, why do you hate this site? (and feel free to be brutally honest, you are, after all, already hiding in anonymity)

Anonymous said...

ehhh? sorry ive never said anything bad nor have I ever commented I just read the abuse over the weeks and wondered .

Brandon Whaley said...

Heh, I think the wrong Anonymous responded.

Man, I never realized how entitled the commenting masses feel until I gained some of my own at The Revolution. Seriously, you don't like these guys opinions? Take it elsewhere buddy. There's a whole slew of comic review sites out there that pander to every comic like its the greatest thing to be put into print. The reason I started reading this site it because they are honest, sometimes brutally so. But that's ok. Its better than those sites saying "Oh Brightest Day is so excellent I want to marry it!" or "Siege is the greatest event since Ultimatum!" If all a site is going to do is give lip service to every comic out there, then what's the point?

I haven't always agreed with everything these guys have said, and that's ok. We're all different.

But BrIghtest Day really does suck so far. ;)

Brandon Whaley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anonymous38 - sorry, must have gotten you confused with someone else. I'm surprised that in your lurking you've noticed such 'abuse', and that this would be the reason for you to break lurk and actually comment.

Anyway...we hope you like the site.

Anonymous said...

oh no offence but it is not that I felt sorry for you I was just curious

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