Archive for April, 2012

Alternate reality, universe ships, Speed Forces…must be Wednesday.

Hm, only three titles this week. Well, you know what that means! After you read this post, send an ask to my Tumblr at http://www.touchofgrey37.tumblr.com/ask to vote for one of the topics I’ll put at the end of this entry and tomorrow, you’ll get another post! For now, let’s get started.

Why. That’s all I have to say, concerning New Guardians. Why. Why is this supposed to be a title that is supposed to sync up to other titles, when it barely qualifies to do that? Why would the Weaponer ditch his ring on Korugar…only to immediately forge a new one? Why is Arkillo shown to be so blindly devoted to Sinestro, only to put his own name in his new oath? Why is Kyle able to tell an extension of Larfleeze’s ring to not tell Larfleeze that he’s got a pretty good chance of dying via rainbow corps? I can’t even with this book, honestly.

This week in Teen Titans, Tim becomes the Swan Queen! Okay, Lobdell. Obviously you know how to internet. Way to go, including a fandom joke, I’ll give you credit for that. But the rest of this issue…I can’t. For those of you with short memories, Lilith was a Teen Titan in the 70s, briefly, who rejoined the New Teen Titans in the 80s and 90s, and was then killed by the rogue android Indigo in the mini-series Graduation Day, though her death was overshadowed by that of Donna Troy. Lilith, aka Omen, was an empath with telepathic powers. Omen here, however, seems to have the same powers as a villain called Phobia, as well as the reality-altering powers of the Scarlet Witch. So, grossly overpowered, retooled hero turned villain? Check. Completely incomprehensible plot? Check. Ridiculous costume redesign? Check. Well, I guess I can honestly say that this comic has it all.

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. Before I say anything else…really, Francis? Really? A spinning villain named Roscoe? We already had one of those. He was even a metahuman! His name was Roscoe Dillon, and he was the Top. Granted, he was a fairly lame villain, for his time, or at least the time in which he was alive first. Oh, did I forget to mention that this Roscoe’s other ability was the power to never ever go away? Seriously. He’d die, then just show up again in someone else’s body. He even showed up as Barry Allen’s dad once, and teamed up with his girlfriend Golden Glider to fuck with everything the Flash held dear. That was actually a pretty cool story, though as with the rest of the Flash’s history, it was completely negated as of Flash: Rebirth.
But enough about the negative Rogue things. There is one Rogue that the fandom has been clamoring for since, well, since long before Geoff Johns took up the Barry Allen Flash title. He was a big part of Countdown to Final Crisis, but all but vanished from the DCU afterwards. That’s right, kiddies, Hartley Rathaway is back! He’s blonde this time around and, well, all points indicate that he’s definitely the ‘special friend’ of crime lab director David Singh. I’m going to be perfectly honest, I really prefer the little looks into the lives of the side-characters, rather than the main plot of this issue. But hey, I’m a sucker for a good minor character.
The main plot, by the way, deals with Barry looking for the other people, and the ship, that was sucked into the Speed Force. On the way, he encounters a member of the Air Force from WW2, one of the Tuskegee Airmen to be precise, and is waylaid. In Roscoe Hynes’ defense, he’s not a villain. He’s a desperate man that’s been trying to get home for 70 years. He’s been stuck in a place where all of time is rendered useless. That’ll get to a guy after awhile. Though, a plot hole seems to be forming. Turbine knew who Barry was, because the Speed Force showed his him the Flash’s history. So, doesn’t that mean that Iris and the other people on the ship will also know who the Flash is? Francis my friend, you’ve not thought this out very well. Still, naming woes aside, I really did enjoy this issue of the Flash. It’s why I saved it for last after all, always good to end a dismal week on a high note!

And that was this week in comics! Hm, I think I’m forgetting something…oh, right! Starting now (and going until 8 pm on April 26th), my ask box is open to registered and anonymous Tumblr users. Please vote for one of these topics. The topic that receives the most votes by tomorrow at 8 will be written about.

Development Hell, or why we’re never going to get that Judas Contract animated movie
Speedster Twins, what’s up with this trend?
Why the hell do people still live in Gotham City?
Why a Young Avengers/OYL Teen Titans crossover would have been awesome
Or, suggest something!

I hope to see you back here tomorrow, goodnight!

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And now, a first: An almost rage-free comic review!

Seven books? But, it’s not the second week of the month! Ah well.

See, this is what I like. A Legion cooldown issue done well. The issue starts out with the discovery that someone out there is trying to recreate the Fatal Five, which will surely be the big focus of the next arc. But the real stars of this issue are the original three. Garth and Imra take Rokk out on the town for the night, and he begins to reconnect with his old lady-love Lydda Jath, former member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. It was a good issue, for what it’s worth, and the first time I haven’t had mostly negative things to say about a Legion book.

Okay, I was wrong. Remember how I said I thought Supergirl was a fairly dull book? Wrong wrong wrong. One thing I was right about, though, was how the Irish girl from a few issues back would pay a larger part. Spoiler alert: It’s Silver Banshee! I’ve always loved characters, especially villains, that draw from mythology and folklore, so banshees have always held a soft spot in my heart. So, while I’d have liked more time between Siobhan and Kara’s meeting, and Siobhan becoming Silver Banshee, I liked the end-of-issue reveal all the same. You go, team Supergirl!

I’m still not fond of Blue Beetle. Jaime reminds me a bit too much of One Year Later Tim Drake to be entirely likable, but by god, at least the story is getting better. Stopwatch is a fantastic villain, and I see that Tony Bedard was drawing inspiration from the likes of Clock King, with a nice helping of tragic mad scientist to net him some fans, when he was writing him. It’s also nice to see a holdover from the old DCU, namely, the Reach scarabs hating Green Lanterns. My only real disappointment is that the first GL Jaime has ever met is going to be Kyle. I’d have liked to see how Tony would have written a Jaime/Guy fight. Then again, he’s also writing New Guardians, so I guess it makes sense for it to be Kyle. Wow, I think this is the most positive I’ve ever been about Blue Beetle, and it only took 8 months of bitching to realize that.

Okay, I’m confused. Isn’t Justice League supposed to take place 5 years prior to everything else in the DCnU? Oh wait, last issue, they kicked it up to present day. Why? Why is that a good idea? The only way I can live with the characters in Justice League acting as completely out-of-character (or in some cases, acting as parodies of themselves) as they do is because they’re young. Just starting out. Taking time to grow and mature. But no, five years later, they’re still a bunch of bickering children…and Barry. I think Geoff Johns is trying to make up for his Road to Flashpoint arc of the previous Flash series by making Barry as caring and concerned for others as he possibly can. Oh, look, it’s time again for Grey to talk about the technical areas of the comic book! Speaking of creators, I’m convinced. Jim Lee truly is one of a kind. There are three guest artists on the book this week, including Ivan Reis who worked with Geoff on the old main Green Lantern book, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and the current Aquaman series…and none of them have the ability to make these horribly written people look as good as Jim does. But back to the actual story, and the giant middle finger it loves to wave at us. I haven’t been reading the new Green Arrow series, nor have I been keeping up with StormWatch. So today, I was finally introduced to DCnU Ollie and J’onn (I’m not counting his appearances in Green Lantern Corps). Now, I’ve never liked Ollie. But J’onn J’onzz used to be the heart and soul of the Justice League. He was truly my favorite Martian. And now…he’s probably never going to appear as a friend of the League, ever again.
So, how about that Shazam? As soon as I saw the other characters in this backup, I realized that, oh snap, we’re going back to Flashpoint S!H!A!Z!A!M!. These are literally the same kids, and with their reveal, the name change makes sense. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, yes, Billy is still an awful little shit that you just want to beat into a pulp. Mary is fairly badass, though. And after all the crap DC put her through before the reboot, she deserves to be seen as something other than a joke.

Scott Lobdell, I sincerely hate your writing. I do. You’re awful. Suzie Su? She is literally just a fat ball of rage. That’s her character. That’s who she is. You dedicated almost an entire issue to that bit of nothingness…then wrote two pages of the best character interaction between Jason and Tim outside of fanfic. How. How is this. I can’t. How are you a person with some kind of depth to you, as well as at least a basic understanding of how people interact, and still put out three awful titles a month? I don’t get it. I’m so confused right now.

God, I love Batman. No, not Batman. God, I love the creative team behind Batman. Only Scott Snyder could write a story where a centuries-old Illuminati discovers the secret of Batman, and Alfred squishes one of them with the giant penny. Only Scott Snyder could do this, and not be called completely insane. The Night of the Owls has begun. It has already touched books like Red Hood and the Outlaws, Nightwing, and Catwoman. The first crossover event of the new year, of the new universe, and it promises to be a good one.

It has come to my attention that last month’s issue of Wonder Woman wasn’t generally well-received by my peers, namely, female comic fans. So here, have a rant from last month: http://touchofgrey37.tumblr.com/post/19720812353/im-seeing-a-lot-of-rage-and-sadness-and-hate-towards
As for this month, however. Wow. It’s all I can say. All I need to say. Cliff Chiang has a grasp of anatomy and movement that is unmatched by any on this mortal plane. Brian Azzarello is an amazing worldbuilder. In so many other adaptions of myth, the Underworld is a place where the dead are tortured, or trapped, or just generally miserable. Azzarello’s denizens of the Underworld are things, places. They fight for their master, when called upon. And the idea of them makes the concept of life after death all that much scarier. Of course, the twist at the end of the issue had me flipping pages. Had Hephaestus set her up, with the guns? Did Hermes know, as soon as he saw Zola, that he was only leaving with one woman? In any case, next month, Hades liked it, so he’s putting a ring on it!

Oh, wow. This week was so…positive. I don’t know what happened. Is it possible that comics are getting…good? No, can’t be. My sincerest apologies for posting this at 1 am. I had to go into work unexpectedly, and didn’t actually get to the comic shop until 8 pm. Hope to see you back next week!

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Prelude to the Culling? Yeah, I’m going to go with prelude to the Snoring.

A Bat-heavy second week for me as I’ve, shamefully, decided to peruse a book I thought I’d long-since dropped. Pray for me.

I love James Gordon Jr. I always have. He’s a fascinating character; The son of the paragon of noncaped virtue in the DCU, James Jr is a sociopathic serial killer. Everyone in my LCS who knows my feelings on the Bat-villains knows my preferences, and when it comes to Gotham crazies, James Jr is in my top five. So when someone said to me, “Hey Grey, did you know that James Jr is in Batgirl this month?”, I not-so-gracefully flipped my shit. I loved James under Scott Snyder’s pen, but how much would I like him under Gail Simone’s? Luckily, it looks like I’m not going to have to worry about that for another month. James only shows up on the last page, the rest of his appearances take the form of flashbacks from his mother. And as I read this issue, I remembered why I dropped Batgirl in the first place. Babs is…borderline boring. The writer is entirely too fixated on Babs’ time in the chair being traumatic, rather than the acceptance pre-52 Babs had in regards to her disability. And the villain? Grotesque was bit too Larfleeze-esque for my tastes, so I mostly ignored him in favor of the…what do I even call it? Revenge martyring of one of the Joker’s former henchmen? I can see what Gail was attempting to do, but the execution was beyond poor. James Jr, you better be damn worth it for me to continue reading Batgirl.

I’m so done with Batman and Robin. No. I mean it. I can’t do this anymore. Bruce looking over at The Case while worrying about Damian clinched it for me. To read his little speeches about the nature of who Damian is, and how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…come the fuck on, Bruce. Writers have been condemning Talia as the ‘evil’ parent since day one. Conveniently leaving out all the actual romantic history between her and Bruce. Not to mention his little bit about he holds himself to a higher moral standard…just stop talking. We’re done here. You should’ve got your son a damn cat.

Okay, Suicide Squad. Take a step back and let me in on what the fuck just happened. This issue flashed back and forth so often, I felt like I was watching a Stephen King movie. So, who is the mole within the Suicide Squad? Do I have to go read Resurrection Man to understand next month’s issue? Is Savant going home to Creote now? Why were they able to wipe off the black paint stuff from around Harley’s eyes, but not clear up the grey skin, which is obviously some kind of paint as well, if the normal skintone around her eyes is any indicator? This was supposed to be a cooldown issue, but I’m more confused than anything.

And so ends the adventure in Barcelona. I liked this mini-arc within the Shade’s story, even if it was all for nothing. Richard’s great-grandson is dead, the Inquisitor has been vanquished, and the Shade is off to London. For all that happened this issue, I have very few words with which to explain. I guess I can just call it a fight scene issue, with religious subtext intermixed and be done. And look, I did!

Okay. Scott Lobdell. We need to have a serious chat. This ‘Culling’ event you’re preparing us for has a very…Battle Royale/Hunger Games feel to it, which obviously isn’t so. In fact, we already know who is going to survive to be on this new team of Ravagers, as it was announced months ago as one of the new books replacing the first wave of cancelled series’. So. Aside from Caitlin Fairchild and the new Terra and Beast Boy, our next official Ravager was introduced in Legion Lost (which I actually skimmed through for you people, uchh) this week, the creature called Ridge.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is Scott, you’ve kind of struck out. The Culling is obviously going to be DC’s way of trimming away teenage heroes they’ve got no use for anymore. Fans really, really dislike you as it is, both from the awful comments you make regarding the characters you write, and the actual things you write. You’ve also proven to be fantastic at writing stories that go nowhere and utterly raping well-built traits on characters that you think no one cares about anymore. Well. I care. I care about Percival Edmund Chang. He’s probably dead now, but I care about him, and the rest of Gen 13. Prepare yourself now, because I have little doubt that you’re going to spend quite a bit of time acting as the fandom’s punching bag.

Well, shit. Okay, it’s time for a short lesson in the origins of the different Lantern Corps’. Everyone knows how the Greens came to be, so let’s just start with the ones that have been popping up since 07 or so. The Yellow Lanterns, the Sinestro Corps, were created by Sinestro, who mastered control of the GL’s yellow impurity while he was imprisoned withing the Central Power Battery on Oa. Next came the Red Lanterns, whose rings and batteries were created by Atrocitus from the blood of his fellow prisoners. The Blue Lantern Corps was created by Ganthet and Sayd as a way to help the Green Lanterns during the upcoming Blackest Night. If you don’t know Larfleeze’s story by now, then DC has failed you. And then there are the Star Sapphires. Love warriors who have been shown as able to convert Lanterns of other Corps’ to their cause. Well, guess who has been recycling shocking twists?! Geoff, you’ve done this already, when Fatality went from yellow to pink. Revealing that the Indigo Tribe successfully brainwashed Sinestro and changed the color of his suit is nothing new. However, finally getting some actual info on where the Indigos come from is going to be fantastic. We’ve been getting hints for nearly four years, our time is coming. That being said, this was a pretty great issue, if you like watching Hal Jordan act like an idiot. “Oh, I shouldn’t make constructs because this borrowed energy is unstable? Guess I’m gonna make me some constructs!” This moron, I can’t.

A moment of silence for the art of Amy Reeder, which will be leaving us after this issue.
I really, really don’t like Cameron Chase. Maybe it’s just personal taste, but the ‘driven to the point where sadism masquerades itself as professionalism’ type of character has always resonated with me in a bad way. It’s the main reason I’ve never been a huge fan on Amanda Waller, though I do think she’s pretty badass. You know what? I can’t talk about this issue right now. Not when I’m so upset about Amy Reeder leaving the book before the To Drown the World arc is even finished. I just can’t get over that. Her designs for Killer Croc, this new version of Bloody Mary, not to mention the distinct parallels in body language when she draws Kate Kane as opposed to Batwoman…it’s criminal. Though I understand that she left over undisclosed creative differences, it’s still a really hard blow to an already sore body that is the Batman Family fandom.

That was this week in comics. I’m hungry, I’m sad, and while I certainly didn’t fly off into as blind a rage as I could have, I’m still coming down off my Red Ring high. Hopefully, I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, I’m Touch of Grey.

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RIP, Static Shock. We hardly knew ye.

A small first week, as I’ve decided to forego the newest Marvel event, Avengers VS X-men, with only 4 books. Sadly, this will also be the last issue of Static Shock, a moment of silence please.

Moment over, let’s groan about Red Lanterns. Oh, Red Lanterns. Why am I reading this book again? It’s so…you know what? I’m done. I don’t care about this wonderful new Red Lantern, the human Jack Moore. I don’t care about how many ass shots Bleez had this issue. I just…don’t care. Red Lanterns, you’ve officially been dropped. Go away.

Justice League International was fairly disappointing this month. Batwing is a character I know next to nothing about, so when he was kinda sorta in danger, my main emotion was ‘meh’. The fight scene against Lightweaver was also meh, mainly because for a guy with such a cool power, he certainly handles it poorly. Breakdown’s meta reveal was actually pretty awesome, because he knows how to use his powers in the most efficient way. But the best part of this issue, for me at least, was the continuing saga of Guy loving Tora. She’s gone from being slightly cold to him to accepting of his affection, and perhaps showing a bit of affection towards him herself. I like that. You go, last surviving relationship holdover from the original JLI line-up.

I’d like to take a second to say goodbye to Travel Foreman, the artist on Animal Man. I believe he’ll be moving over to Birds of Prey. I don’t know why DC thought it was a good idea to put the man whose creepy-ass art caused readers of the title to shit ourselves on a monthly basis on the girl power book, but okay. In any case, hope y’all brought a change of underwear with you to the comic shop, because mother of god. Maxine Baker is officially the creepiest child. After diving headfirst into a pack of wild dogs out to kill her, who do kill her, little Maxine merely ‘leaves her body’ goes into the Red, steals the body of a fox in the real world, then, as if this wasn’t enough so far, she changes the fox’s body into her own, then sends her old body back into the Red. What the fuck is this little demonic entity?! And then, the ever-shrill voice of reason, that goddamn grandma, decides that Buddy has to stop being around his children, because he puts them in danger. Never mind that the talking cat says that Buddy was created as a superhero to bring Maxine into the world, he’s gotta go. Well, good call there granny. Now Buddy is dead, and taken over by the Rot. This is certainly going to bid well for the tiny savior of all life.

Static Shock wasn’t the perfect book. It was good, if a little confusing. It pulled elements from the first Static series as well as his time with the Teen Titans and, if you looked for it, the cartoon. The writer has come out repeatedly as saying that he wasn’t allowed to write what he’d wanted to, that Editorial had a different vision for Static than he did. But all in all? The final issue…it did what the first issue should have. It fully immersed the reader in who Virgil Hawkins is, as a person. As a hero. And you know what? I liked it. I’m going to miss Static Shock, the only cancelled book that, really, had very little reason to be on the chopping block.

Well, that was this week in comics. Am I disappointed? Well…sort of. Animal Man is always a good read and, if you can find a copy in your comic shop, Fairest also had a good second issue. It wasn’t a bad week, but it certainly wasn’t the week I was expecting. See y’all next Wednesday!

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