Posts tagged Green Lantern

Rotworld’s the word!

Welcome to the ToG Blog, where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am done with Green Lantern. Finished. Completely. Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns, all of it. Congratulations, DC. You’ve officially put me off an entire franchise. I may not like Superman, but I’m still buying Supergirl. I may not like Batman as a character, but I’m still buying the main Batman title, Batwoman, and Batman Inc. It was a long, hard road, getting off the Lanterns. I really wanted to like Green Lantern Corps, but it was dull as hell. I really wanted to like New Guardians, but it was just…kind of stupid. And don’t even get me started on Red Lanterns. In fact, until it started being more of the Hal Jordan Show again, I very much enjoyed the main Green Lantern title. Guy Gardner, Saint Walker, and Thaal Sinestro are my three favorite Lanterns, of any Corps, and I was honestly hoping that their stories would not, ultimately, be terrible. Whoops. This is what I get for wanting things.

In other news, guess who has the Swamp Thing Annual and a new issue of Swamp Thing?! This lass right here.
Alright, so. The annual is basically a little done-in-one story about how Alec and Abby first met back when he was still a student. It’s cute, and with Becky Cloonan on the art, well-drawn, but it’s not really much to write home about. What’s interesting, though, is that it’s a story that Alec Holland forgot from his time as a human, partly because the Rot willed him to. The central focus of the story is a plant called the Flower that grows in a radiation-riddled land and secretes a substance that promotes memory loss. Alec went to this land to see if he could grow more plants there, but met Abby and the Flower, and was then almost killed by Anton Arcane. Luckily, he was saved by an ancient of the Parliament and, oddly enough, a young Jason Woodrue. The end of the issue was pretty much the same as the end of issue #13, with the Parliament telling Alec that Abby was dead, and that there was nothing he could do about it. Issue #14 starts from about there, with Alec and the rest of the Green survivors fighting an army of Rotlings lead by the Teen Titans. All in all, it’s a pretty awesome fight scene, as Alec is able to tap into the full power of the Green for the very first time, turning into…holy crap that is a giant Swamp Thing. No, I don’t think you’re getting this. Alec is several hundred times bigger than Ivy and Boston now. He’s able to crush dozens of Rotlings with his feet. Dang. Of course, once he makes up his mind to go and find Abby who, contrary to poplar belief (get it? Because poplar is a tree and the Parliament is…never mind.), is actually still alive, and most likely being held prisoner by her uncle. How do we know this? From a combination of Alec ‘feeling her presence’ and the other side of the story, where Abby travels to her former home to try and cut the Rot off at the source. Meanwhile, en route to Gotham City…William Arcane! Alive! Ish! And in control of the entire dead ocean. Game over, everybody.

While Alec is off looking for Abby, the remaining defenders of the Red have set off looking for him. I want to know how John bloody Constantine survived. Dumb luck? Or maybe Death just refused to put up with him. In any case he, Buddy, Black Orchid, and Beast Boy are the last living superheroes. I’d include Steel but, uh, he’s not alive. In any case, they get a big fight scene too, with an army headed by Felix Faust, no less! Who tells them that Buddy’s daughter is still alive, and a prisoner. Hm, well, to quote Constantine, “I’d say that was about the most obvious trap ever laid.” Maxine’s story is really quite sad. Her brother infects her mother, who infects her grandmother, and the trio become the new Hunters Three. Maxine and her cat need to run from them, but then, William Arcane! Damn, this kid gets around. I think I’m going to be afraid to get in and out of the shower at night, because you never know when there might suddenly be this creepy-ass kid in your bathroom. Also, that name. Brr. All in all, it’s a satisfying issue. Mainly because, hey, we ended on a Grodd note! Ow, okay. That pun was a little too horrible, even for me.

So, that was this week in comics? Y’know, i do believe it was. I’m going to be frank, I may have to start looking at other companies for books, as DC really doesn’t seem to be doing enough for me these days. Join us next week for, uh, Batman and the new Ame-Comi Girls on-shot starring Batgirl.

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The Rot spreads everywhere unseen…

Welcome, one and all, to the month of five Wednesdays! Yes, this means shorter posts, comparatively, but five Wednesdays means five new entries in the ToG Blog, and this is week one! Boy, my pull list is tiny today. And yet, I’m still rather pleased, as one of my favorite books is on the plate for today. Let’s jump right in!

This is goodbye for Earth-2. I’d been expecting so much from this book, and it turned out to be a grim and gritty version of the Golden Age. At this point, Robinson is just name-dropping to name drop. Oh, and Terry Sloan is apparently evil. I think that was the final straw for me, personally. Farewell, Earth-2. You were just disappointing.

So, uh. Who else was cringing through Green Lantern? Like I’ve said before, Muslim-Americans are an incredibly touchy subject within comics. I’ve seen the phrase ‘terrorist Green Lantern’ thrown around too many times on forums and various comic websites since Simon Baz’s reveal. But you know what it is that bugs me most? No one thinks he’s innocent in the bombing. His own sister doesn’t really believe him to be innocent. She was willing to sell him out to the Justice League. And I guess that’s why I can’t really take this title seriously. I mean, you know Hal and Sinestro are going to come back. You know they are. So, where’s that going to leave Simon? Out in the cold, or dead. Sorry, but that’s what happens in DC now.

Rotworld begins! When we last left Buddy and Alec, they were in the Rot…meanwhile, back on Earth, the Rot was in everything. The last stand of the Green included Poison Ivy, Jason Woodrue, Deadman, and, uh. Yeah. That’s it. And then the Rot got to Woodrue, so a ghost and an eco-terrorist were all that was left to fight for the non-meat living things of the world. This issue is…pretty bleak. It shows how the Rot overtook everything. Killed billions of people. Turned metahumans into rotling warriors. I…kind of want to know why this isn’t playing out in the other books. I mean, Earth was basically destroyed by this mini-event, and it’s being contained to two books. The Court of Owls story spanned over what, ten? Amazing. Anyway, it seems as though Alec and Buddy have parted ways for the time being, as Swamp Thing is going to tell the story of The Green Kingdom, and Animal Man will be telling the story of The Red Kingdom. Speaking of which…

SPOILER ALERT

Didn’t the Baker family already die once? Seriously, even the Earth’s Dragon Balls wouldn’t bring them back again. It’s a solid story, though. Technically speaking, Cliff is the weakest member of the Baker family. He has no powers of his own, nor the strength of a grown person. Of course he’d be the first infected. Next would be Ellen, who is too good of a mom to have any real self-preservation instincts, when her kids are involved. But, poor Maxine. God, she wouldn’t be able to fight her mom and brother, she’d try to make a run for it, if the idea came to mind. So, the last stand of the Red are Beast Boy, Steel’s consciousness in an armored shell, and Black Orchid. Eh, they’re doing better than the Green, at least. And of course fucking Constantine is still alive. You couldn’t off that guy with the gun that could kill any man. Once again, though, how have traces of the Rot not shown up in other books?! This is sincerely distressing me. Are the Swamp Thing and Animal Man books not part of the main DCnU? Is this a universe-next-door Vertigo thing? I. Don’t. Understand. And now, with the end of the world, and also the Flash Annual having dashed my hopes of Mirror Master being Evan McCulloch, I’m fairly certain our favorite gap-toothed Rogue won’t be showing up to lend a family-restoring hand this time. Ohh, it’s going to be a long month.

That was this week in comics! I’m pleased with what I picked up, personally. I mean, between you, me, and the wallpaper, I bought Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Fairest. Which, by the way, if you’re not reading Fairest, read Fairest! It’s a pretty cool side-series to the long running Fables book, and I like it quite a bit more than the other side-series, Jack of Fables. In any case, I’m ToG, I’m hungry, and I’m fairly sure I’m not out of eggs. See you next week, when we wade though Suicide Squad, Superboy, the Ame-Comi Wonder Woman one-shot, and Batman. Goodnight!

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Zero Month begins!

Welcome one and all, to the first week of Zero Month! I’ve decided to skip over issue #0 of Earth-2 for my own health. You see, the less I know about the Earth-2 trinity they better. Going to leave it at that. So! We’ve got a bit of controversy on the reading list today! I’m speaking, of course, of the third issue of Silk Spectre. I hear it’s gonna be…trippy. Let’s get started, shall we?

I’ve never done acid. I’ve never done acid, smoked pot, or popped pills. I’ve never even gotten so drunk I can’t stand. So I’ve got no personal experiences to compare to the opening pages of Silk Spectre #3 to. I have, however, woken up next to a loved one that had to be rushed to the hospital. I really feel for Laurie, which is an entirely new emotion for me. My reactions to her in the original Watchmen book usually involved exasperation, frustration. She wasn’t a character I liked, or could identify with. Here, I sort of can. She’s young. Idealistic. She does what she feels to be right, even if it may in fact make things worse. Bringing the Comedian into the picture was something I didn’t exactly see coming, but I still like it. We only got to see the Comedian in flashbacks in the original Watchman book, and what we saw, we didn’t really like most of the time. He was a violent jackass with about as much honor as Dollar Bill had personal dignity. Here, he’s…about the same. Still, he came running when Sally called. He went to find their daughter and bring her home. He may have destroyed Laurie’s world by doing it, but he did it with her best interests in mind. I’m not reading the Comedian’s Before Watchmen book, and I don’t like the way he’s being presented in Minutemen, but I like him here. We get to see that he clearly still cares about Sally, in some way or another, as he was willing to drop what he was doing to go find Laurie. And I like that.

Do you ever read something and wonder if you should be offended? That’s how I feel about Green Lantern #0. People of Middle Eastern descent, and of the Muslim/Islamic faiths, are still a touchy subject in America, and American comics. If they’re villainous, it’s racist. If they’re heroic, they’re some sort of exception to the norm, and their very existence will bring people with negative thoughts on them out of the woodwork. No matter what, they’re news. I still remember the stink some people at my LCS made when Nightrunner was made the Batman Inc representative of France. But enough about people who aren’t Simon Baz. This story, this origin, reminds me of the Power Girl mini-storyline from last year, We Can Be Heroes. In it, a metahuman Arab-American man named Rayhab Mazin was mistaken for a terrorist while saving a plane from crashing…from the inside. Our new GL was mistaken for a terrorist when the van he was stealing happened to contain a bomb, that blew up the factory where he used to work once he crashed it into the side. Feeling uncomfortable yet? It gets better. Simon is then taken to a Guantanamo-esque facility and, when the agents assigned to him are unable to get any damning evidence out of him, prepare to torture him for information. And then the ring finds him, and gets him out of there. End story. Actually, not end story. Hal and Sinestro make a one-page guest spot where they…aren’t dead? Yay? Ah, well. For a first appearance, it’s not incredibly, irredeemably awful. It makes the American government look like assholes but hey, what doesn’t these days? I’m the worst person to be talking about this, yeek. I’ll miss Sinestro, but I guess I’m going to keep reading Green Lantern anyway. I want to see what happens.

I don’t know much about Swamp Thing. I’ve only recently begun to read the Alan Moore run, and started to buy the New 52 issues, so I’m learning. But as it is? If I was picking up an issue of Swamp Thing for the first time, not knowing any of his history at all, this would work for me. We get a brief backstory on the Red, the Green, and the Rot. We’re introduced to Arcane. And then we meet Alec Holland, see the beginnings of his transformation. All in all, this issue does exactly what it’s supposed to do, exactly as DC promised. Scott Snyder and Kano hit it out of the park.

Animal Man is a great book. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best book in the reboot. Lemire and Pugh take the story of a common superhero and twist it so that he’s something more. Something greater. Superman can save the world all he wants, but Animal Man exists so that his daughter can someday save life itself. The origin issue, like Swamp Thing, delivers exactly what it’s supposed to. Buddy’s alien abduction origin is given new roots to the Red, we briefly meet the previous avatar, and we get to see some of the exploits of Animal Man prior to the birth of the new true avatar. It was a good issue. Simple, yet intensely complex in its simplicity. Interesting. And still one of the two books I look forward to the most every month.

That was this week in comics. Next week, we’ll be tackling Batman, Suicide Squad, Superboy, the final issue of the Shade, and the first issue of the new Team 7 series. Now if you’ll excuse me, the weather is horrible and I must journey home.

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Annuals week? How about I just call this SPOILERS WEEK and be done with it?

I can already feel my brain exploding. Five books, three of which are annuals, to look at this week! One of which that I, uh, kinda sorta said I’d drop? Call it curiosity, but I actually do find myself slightly interested in this month’s issue of Justice League. So let’s just dive right in.

Minutemen took a turn for the gritty this month. I mean, you thought it was dark last month, with the hanging child, but today? Damn. Gay bashing (literally), cursing, another dead kid…wow. And it’s a Silhouette-centric issue! I really do enjoy this book, but good gosh. The faint of heart and stomach take heed.

I’m going to preface this issue of Justice League by saying this: I’ve dropped this book. I’m not reading it anymore after this. People just made such a stink over the impending Superman/Wonder Woman relationship, my curiosity was piqued and I felt the need to skim. How would it be handled? I mean, it would be coming on the heels of Steve Trevor’s death last issue, right? Ugh, okay. So. First off, Steve Trevor isn’t dead! The apparitions are these parasite entities that feed on living energy. Uh. So, Steve isn’t dead, but he is in the hospital, and Diana is pushing him even farther away by dumping him as the League’s liaison. And then she makes out with Superman on the roof. That was handled well, see you in issue #13! Not.

My first warning should have been the cover. Geoff Johns and Dan Didio collaborated on the Justice League International annual, and I can’t handle it. It was literally the worst thing I’ve read all month. I’m ashamed of myself. I feel unclean. Geoff “I’ll make everything one streamlined continuity if it kills me” Johns forgot that Jaime and Booster don’t trust each other. Obviously, he’s not reading Blue Beetle, either. Guy Gardner quits the team within the first few pages. Godiva is the only woman on the team, and is thus required by law to be the object of affection for every legal male within smelling distance (don’t think I didn’t catch the way August General looked away when Olympian was introduced). OMAC is evil! No good. No, evil! Beetle and Booster are both gone; with Beetle vanished into Reach territory, and Booster apparently erased from the time stream. Agh! I’m sorry, but I’m glad this book is over. Its fucking awful annual has basically stripped me of any positive feelings I had for it.

I’m not quite sure what I just read. Well, for starters, I think Hal Jordan and Sinestro are dead? I think. I mean, it’s just…they were destroyed. By the power of Black Hand. Their rings say they’re deceased, and that the ring itself is searching for a replacement from that sector. But…Geoff Johns has spent a good part of his career trying to make Hal Jordan not look like a tool. In Justice League this month, he elected himself to play Jesus scapegoat. And now he’s dead? And the Guardians are evil? I need someone who knows Green Lantern stuff really, really well to tell me what the fuck happened this week, because I’m mystified.

I can’t say this enough right now. This review of the Flash annual is going to be full of SPOILERS. It’s going to be so full of SPOILERS.

I feel a little numb. I’m…going to need a second to collect myself about the things that happened in this issue, so let’s talk creators. It’s a real who’s who of all-star talent working on the Flash annual; Francis Manapul did the cover and breakdowns for each of the chapters, as well as worked as overall writer. The amazing Marcus To did the pencils and inks for the first chapter. Scott Kolins, whom you may remember from the majority of Geoff Johns’ run on the Flash, did the pencils and inks on the second chapter. Diogenes Neves, current artist on Demon Knights, did the pencils and inks on chapter three. Marcio Takara, who did three issues of the new Blue Beetle series, did the pencils and inks on chapter four, and boy do I thank him for it. His Patty Spivot is beautiful. And Wes Craig, the artist on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, hit it out of the park in chapter five. So really, with all these amazing creators, how could anything go wrong?

Well…

Sam Scudder is Mirror Master. There you go. I said it. This is me accepting fate. Sam Scudder is Mirror Master, and he’s trapped in the mirror dimension. He was also taking over the role of Roscoe Dillon, by schtupping Lisa Snart. Oh, and apparently, James Jesse will be sharing credit with Evan McCulloch in the role of Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Reboot, because Axel was the Trickster that existed over a year before the Rogues broke up, got back together, and got their powers. Though, I do have some specific questions regarding him. What happened to Axel’s gang, from the wastes? Obviously, he’s decided to go back to being Trickster, so did he just abandon them? Transfer leadership to someone else? What? While we’re on the subject of asking questions that will hopefully be answered in the coming issues…Lisa Snart. She exists in two places at once, now. She’s Glider, the spectral soul that can sort of touch the living world, but she’s also Lisa, the paraplegic. How? Though, I’m not complaining. We went many years without any Lisa Snart at all, and now we’ve got two. That’s something to be thankful for…and also a bit of a plot point. Do both Lisas share the same consciousness, or are they two separate people? 

But to the issue itself. The annual is broken up into five ‘chapters’, each dealing with something different, by a different creative team. Chapter one is Barry reminiscing about his dad, and trying to figure out what Doctor Elias’ angle for betrayal was. Chapter two is basically my favorite, because I’m fairly sure this is the first time Scott Kolins has drawn Len as something other than Captain Grandpa. Now, I love craggy old Len as much as the next person, but damn. His pre-meta New 52 costume is so awesome! Actually, everyone but Mark looks like a million bucks, in this opening shot. Mick’s got his Flashpoint hair on with the awesome flamethrower suit, Axel’s one giant pattern with a flying snowboard for some reason…and then we’ve got Mark in his imitation Iron Fist pajamas and his limp metalhead hair. Honey, please. Kolins’ New 52 Barry also seems to look a lot like Wally, in the shape of the jaw, but the costume is pretty solid. Sam (ghh I will never get used to that) doesn’t really get a full costume shot in chapter two, but something feels…off. The plot of chapter two is that Len is sick and tired of the Flash screwing up their jobs, but he also doesn’t feel like moving to a less speedster-occupied town. And guess who comes along to help? If you guessed Doctor Elias, you’re completely right. Gosh, I’m really starting to loathe this guy. Chapter three is Lisa’s side of the story or, “How I went from ‘The Love Interest’ to running this whole joint”. And…errr wow. Okay. Sam, you got the short end of the costume stick. The shortest end of the costume stick. Are you wearing mirrors? Oh my god, you’re wearing mirrors. And what’s with the cowl-horns? Look at your life, look at your choices. In any case, they use the genome recoder that Doctor Elias oh-so-helpfully gave them to integrate themselves with their weapons…and something goes wrong. Well, duh. Of course something is going to go wrong. Do Icicle and Killer Frost not exist in the reboot, Len? You should have talked this whole ‘becoming an ice-meta’ thing over with them first, see how they like it. Spoiler warning: it kinda sucks. In any case, the machine goes kaboom, and everyone, including Lisa, get caught in the explosion. For some reason, Lisa gets powers too, despite not actually putting anything in the machine. Chapter four is the issue taking a little break. In it, Patty Spivot tries to take a blood sample to figure out who Turbine is. Remember Turbine? Well, he doesn’t remember himself, though he did make it out of the Speed Force. Oh, that leads into yet another question: Whatever happened to Iris and the three other people on the boat? Are they still in the Speed Force? Did Barry just sort of…forget about them? That’s pretty lame, man. In another universe, she was the love of your life. Chapter five is where the shit hits the fan. Though I will say this: Ten for you, David Singh. You see your man on the news, and even though him becoming a vigilante again was basically your excuse for trying to break up with him, you’ll still rush to his side. I love that, I really do. In issue #9, Hart and David argued over David’s inability to accept his own choice of partner enough to be open about it, in the annual, he’s cradling his wounded boyfriend in front of half the Central City police force. 

Image

Ten for you, David Singh. You done good. Once we get the warm and fuzzies out of our eyes, there’s still the unfortunate fact that a big Rogues fight is sort of happening right there in the middle of town. Len sides with Barry, putting Elias in cold storage as his way of thanking them both for saving his sister in the first place. The sister he’s about to go fight with. Len has strange ways of doing things. The actual fight scene of this issue takes place in the mirror dimension, between Flash, Mirror Master, Heatwave, and Weather Wizard. Yet, it still takes all of eight pages for him to kick the crap out of all of them, go figure.

Then there is, of course, the ending. Cold fights alongside Flash until he talks it out and makes nice with his sister, then tries to re-assume control over the Rogues. But he’s interrupted by, get this, monkeys falling from the sky! The invasion of Grodd has begun! On the downside, we’re not going to learn what happens until October. On the upside…that was the best possible way to end an issue!

Overall? I may have had a little breakdown over the idea that Evan McCulloch just…isn’t anymore, but I really did like it. Maybe in later issues we’ll find out why Len is fighting so hard to keep the Rogues, and his sister, loyal to him. Maybe we’ll find out if Lisa was ever a skater, or if Digger was ever a Rogue, or what happened to James, or if Piper was always a vigilante. But for now, we’re going to have to be satisfied with what we’ve got.

That was this week in comics. I need all of the drinks, because my poor heart can only take so much. I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

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Oh yes, it’s ladies week!

I’ve started to look forward to the second week of the month, if only for the fact that I get to think up new ways to use the term ‘ladies week’ in the title of my review. So, who are the ladies of this week, you may ask? My personal femininity trinity, Supergirl, Batwoman and Wonder Woman! Oh, and of course, Kori in RHatO, the lovely ladies of the Legion of Superheroes, and Brenda over in Blue Beetle. Rock on with your bad selves!

I’m kicking off ladies week with Green Lantern. Obviously, just trying to get the testosterone out of the way as quickly as possible. So, what have we learned this time around? Well for starters, Black Hand is terribly predictable when it comes to one-liners. “Death is at hand!” Really? Really, Geoff Johns? Actually, this issue is probably the first of this new Green Lantern book that I’ve just plain disliked. For one thing, we get to see what was kept from the old DCU in regards to the vast mythos that encompasses the Green Lantern Corps, sort of. John still blew up Mogo, as seen in War of the Green Lanterns. Blackest Night still happened, obviously. The war of light still happened. Kyle Rayner still carries the title of Torchbearer, which means that at one point, he was still Ion, which means that the events of Zero Hour and Green Lantern: Rebirth must have happened, too. How did I come to this? Okay. If Hal Jordan had never gone off the deep end and become Parallax, he never would have ended up destroying the Corps and then ultimately dying. Which means Kyle Rayner never would have gotten a ring of his own, eventually leading him to restoring the Green Lantern Corps and accepting the Ion entity into his body. In conclusion…DC, your reboot makes no fucking sense at all. Hard reboot basically everything else, leave Green Lantern, Legion of Superheroes, and Batman almost completely untouched. This is not how a reboot is supposed to work, get your shit together. Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Now, when I said that the plot twist was predictable, I meant it. It was ridiculously predictable, from the moment I read the words “Hal Jordan is not your enemy” in the Book of the Black. I mean it’s like, hello. If he’s not your enemy…obviously he’s going to be your greatest ally. That’s how comics work. There is no neutral ground with this stuff. In any case, I have nothing more to say about Green Lantern that isn’t a cheap shot at the Guardians being supposedly all-seeing, yet being unable to see that Hal clearly is still wielding a Green Lantern ring when looking right at him. Way to drop the ball on that, guys.

I have exactly one complaint regarding Legion of Superheroes this month. One. And that’s this: Paul Levitz, you’ve been writing these characters for years. How in the hell did you seemingly forget that Nura is Naltorian? She’s not human. Speaking in a purely evolutionary sense, she’s more than human. Above humans. Other than that, way to go. Nura and Luornu kicking major ass, Chuck Taine at his most relevant in years, you even managed to showcase the talents of the new recruits. This was a great fight scene issue, hopefully next time, we get to find out what was up with Grava.

I quit. I’m done. Nothing can top this. I can’t even do an accurate analysis, let alone a proper review, of this month’s issue of Blue Beetle. It can be summed up in a sentence: Khaji-Da finds Jesus. I’m sorry. I’m laughing too hard to even focus right now.

And just like that, I’m back. Now, I’m not a fan of Fabian Nicieza. No, that’s an understatement. I loathed 90% of his Red Robin run, and firmly believe that the only good thing he’s ever written was a Babsgirl/Catwoman comic drawn by Kevin Maguire. So I’m going into this month’s one-shot issue of DC Universe Presents, starring Kid Flash, prepared to dislike it. I’ve not been pleased with the way Bart’s been shown in the reboot. Lobdell and Booth seem to have spliced together his pre-Max Mercury personality and that of the DC Animated Universe’s Wally West which, while not a terrible combination, has been used in the worst way. In fact, Bart has been passed from terrible writer to terrible writer for so long, I think I can honestly say that the only thing I’ve liked him in for the past, oh, eight years or so? Kid Flash Lost, by Sterling Gates. But that’s the past. And technically the present. Enough preamble; how is this issue? To sum it up in two words, not bad. Speedsters tend to be motor-mouths, they even think at the speed of light. I enjoyed all the internal dialogue in this issue, reminded me a lot of KFL. What I don’t understand, however, is how Bart managed to pull a Deadpool and break the Fourth Wall several times over the course of the issue, most notably at the beginning and end. Though I must say, I laughed out loud at, “If you’re a masochist, check out Teen Titans #12”. Something tells me Lobdell will be responding to that one in his usual fashion. Another thing I liked was the art style. Jorge Jimenez is a relative newcomer, I only recognize his name from a Batman: Arkham City comic I never picked up from last year…but I like him. His style reminds me a lot of the art in Empowered. A little bit manga, a little bit rock and roll. I especially enjoyed his take on Bart’s costume, and the design of the new character Teryx and Dac. He’s also amazing at drawing Bart in motion. I hope Brett Booth takes a lesson here, because wow. Okay. I admit it. I’m impressed. The issue managed to overcome the instances where Bart felt the need to flirt with Dac for no reason other than “GIRL SHE’S A GIRL OHMYGOD SHE’S A GIRL” by being completely awesome in other aspects. You win this round, Nicieza.

Guess what didn’t get shorted this week?! When I saw that I had a copy of The Shade in my pile, I got the overwhelming urge to hug the guy that pulls comics. I didn’t because, well, there’s only one person in my LCS that I can annoy like that and get away with it, and Chris ain’t him. Anyway! We’re now officially one issue from done, people! The best thing James Robinson’s done in years is going buh-bye. If you haven’t been able to find copies of the individual issues, please, please try and pick up the trade or trades, when they come out. We need to let DC know that we’re not ready to let go of Mr. Robinson at his best. As for this issue, wow. Wow. When I like a book like this, I find it hard to truly review. In a way, I don’t want to spoil the surprises for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet. So I will say this and this alone: Richard Swift is a man who can battle gods and win…without killing his enemy, should he not wish to. I implore you, dear reader. Get this issue on your own. You’ll not regret it.

Star Wars cover? Really, RHatO? I…no. I can’t. I can’t take you seriously. Roy, no one will get that reference to an awful book. You are on a star cruiser orbiting a distant world. No one in space has read Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh. Oh no. This isn’t happening. I’ve spent a year badmouthing this book, dismissing it as tripe, I can’t suddenly be starting to…like it, can I? Allow me to explain. Despite Komand’r’s Czarnian makeover, she manages to do a particularly heel face turn and show her true colors…as forever loyal to her sister and Tamaran. On one hand, noooo. I’ve always enjoyed Komand’r as the ‘black sheep’ of the royal family of Tamaran, which is why I liked seeing her in her own right as Queen in the last R.E.B.E.L.S. series. But on the other hand, I do love a good story of betrayal. Because this is what it’s setting up to, right? There is no way the ultimate alien bad girl is…nice, right? Come on, Lobdell. Don’t do this to me. You can’t. You’ve done so much already. Just…let me have this. Broken trust, a nice, fragile emotional state for Kori to use as an excuse to push her friends out of her life. Please. I need this to be where this story is heading. Or else…I don’t even know. Also, next month, yet another fucking origin for Jason. Enough! I wanna know about Roy! Give Roy an origin!

Oh my good lord. I could weep. J.H. Williams III is back in the artistic saddle, and will you guess who’s come along for the ride this issue? The woman of bats and the woman of wonder, together for the first time. Oh, gosh. The issue could be a bit hard to follow, with several plots going on all at once, sometimes even two on one page! Wonder Woman’s story follows her battle with mythic creatures to protect the world. Batwoman’s story has her teaming up with Abbot the wolfman to fight Bloody Mary and discern the location of Medusa, who, as it turns out, is a person, not an organization. Bette’s story follows her recovery, and her desire to don a mask again as soon as possible. And Maggie’s story follows her helplessness at being unable to locate the missing children of Gotham. Thankfully, having read JHW’s stuff before, I didn’t find it very difficult from panel to panel. In fact, looking back at it once I got over being completely overwhelmed at first glance by all the detail that goes into a single page, the stories blend rather nicely. Diana is fighting a visible enemy. She’s getting her hands bloody, seeing her progress as it happens. Kate is fighting an enemy she cannot find. She’s not moving forward, or backward. Her progress is at a standstill. This is a story that should not be missed. If you haven’t been reading Batwoman so far, correct your grievous error and start.

I don’t like Simon Tycho. As bad guys go, he’s no Lex Luthor, but he’s certainly slimy. Harnessing alien technology only to turn around and sell it? Not cool, bro. In any case, whoops, revealed the big plot twist anyone could see coming from a mile away. Simon found the rest of Kara’s pod before she could…and he just wants to talk? I’m more concerned with the Superman/Supergirl interaction. I have a confession to make. I haven’t read a single issue of Superman or Action Comics since the reboot. All of my knowledge of Big Blue comes from Justice League and the appearances he’s made in Superboy and Supergirl. And…I don’t like what I see very much. He comes off as kind of a douche, with more concern for people Kara hurt accidentally than his cousin herself. I mean, Jesus Supes. At least offer to teach the girl English or something.

ERMAHGERD IT’S ORION
I’ll get to everything else in a second, but holy hell you guys. The New fucking Gods are coming back. That means Orion. That means Lightray. That means the most badass woman to ever walk the DCU, Big Barda. I mean, I know we got Darkseid back in Justice League, but this is a bit of a bigger deal to me. Darkseid…you can’t go more than a couple of years without Darkseid. He’s like that one really annoying sticky out hair that grows on the blind spot on your chin and will always come back, no matter how often you pluck it. But the rest of the New Gods, you guys! Highfather! The Forever People! Aaah, I can’t stand it!
Ahem, but back to what actually happened in the rest of this issue of Wonder Woman that wasn’t the very last panel. The throne of Zeus has been taken up by Apollo. Hera is banished and made mortal. But most importantly, the messenger of Olympus, the god of thieves, Hermes has shown his true colors. Stealing Zola’s baby just after it is born, he’s delivered it to his aunt, Demeter. But why? Why would Demeter want the baby fated to slay the king of heaven? It’s a mystery, all right, and one we’re not even going to get hinted at until October. Damn it, #0 month.

And that was this week in comics. Ahh, ladies week. Who cares that it’s 4 am. I feel happy and whole. Hope to see y’all back next week. Same place, hopefully not the same time.

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What’s red and yellow and awesome all over?

It’s the last Wednesday of the month! With only four books on the menu, as usual, I know I should feel sad. But I can’t be sad. Because it’s new Flash day. This is a big deal, for me. It’s one of the few books that produces next to no rage from me, and I won’t let the fact that Teen Titans also comes out this week spoil it for me.

On a completely different note, Green Lantern! It looks like the main character status will be switching from Sinestro to Hal, which means that my enjoyment of this book will soon be impacted. But for now, I’m going to let the good times roll. Black Lanterns are a thing again! Which means that the reboot didn’t affect Blackest Night or, I’m assuming, Brightest Day. Crisis on Infinite Earths never happened, but Rainbow Lanterns Go did. Take a minute to digest that. My bitching aside, it’s nice to see William Hand back in print. He’s one of those classically creepy as fuck characters who, under Geoff Johns’ pen, has evolved into a nightmare of humanity that literally makes my skin crawl. His goal for the duration of this story, if not his new mission in unlife, is to kill people. He is going to kill lots of people, reanimate them, and have them kill other people. That’s his whole thing. Well, good to know that his time wearing an Indigo ring did absolutely nothing to impact his personality, which is the entire reason the rings exist in the first place.

Okay, before I say anything else, weren’t these guys on an island? Where is the island? A Bart solo story will be taking place on the island in DC Universe Presents next month, you’d think they’d still be on the damn island. Oh wait, no, Danny the Street transported them back home last issue in an act that was so completely last minute, I forgot it even happened. Sigh. Anyway, this time on Teen Titans, complete fucking insanity. No, I’m serious. Bart, Miguel, and Kiran fight a new potential teammate Miguel picked up on ‘Gregslist’ (one guess as to what that is parodying), Cassie’s evil ex is honing in on her armor, Kiran and Bart are ‘just friends’ in love, and Cassie’s armor is freaking out, causing her to lose control on it and go evil. There. That’s the entire issue in a sentence. I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I know I’ve likened Teen Titans to an abusive partner before, but this is getting ridiculous. It’s wounding me on a spiritual level, now. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

A little history for you. Kid Eternity, in his original incarnation, was a child who had died 75 years too early. So, he was returned to life as an agent of Chaos and given the power to bring back dead people, who helped him fight bullies and stuff that a kid would use the ghosts of famous people for. His next incarnation, a Vertigo series, had the Kid using his powers to locate the next Dalai Lama. The most recent version of Kid Eternity was cheated of his full potential, big time. He still had the power to bring back the dead, but this time, he became them for only a few minutes at a time. He was also eventually murdered by the Calculator, who used him and his power to bring back his son, Marvin. Another thing, Kid’s real name was Kit, short for Christopher Freeman, and he was the long lost brother of Freddy Freeman, aka Captain Marvel Junior. With the way Freddy is in the reboot, I really don’t think I want to see them interact. But to the story!
The reboot version of Kid Eternity isn’t much of a kid at all…in fact, he’s 27, and he works as a police coroner. He and his father were both shot in a drive-by, but Chris came back, and now he has the power to bring back the recently deceased to try and solve their murders. An interesting origin to start with, and certainly a lot cooler than a guy who runs around bringing back dead superheroes and fighting crime. Our story follows an ordinary day in the life of Christopher, as he solves the murder of an antique shop owner. I’m not going to ruin the mystery for you if you haven’t read it, because the story is really quite good. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s penned by Jeff Lemire, after all! Sorry, I’ve had a ridiculous respect for this man ever since I first read Sweet Tooth, and his work with Animal Man hasn’t helped my hero worship boner at all. Cully Hamner and Derec Donovan are on the art. You may remember Hamner from the latter half of the 06 Blue Beetle series, and The Question: Pipeline, as well as a few issues of the recent Shade series. Derec Donovan’s most notable DC storyline, to my knowledge, was Connor Hawke: Dragon’s Blood. Either way, they’re great artists working with an amazing writer. The National Comics initiative is going to feature one new character a month, and while this is the first we’ve seen of Eternity, I’m crossing my fingers that it isn’t going to be the last.

I’m going to admit this right off the bat: While I’m not crazy about Mick Rory’s costume change and new powers, I never actually cared enough about him in the first place to be extremely mad about it. Not that Heatwave is my least favorite Rogue, that honor goes to Girder, he’s just never been that high on my priority scale. To the issue! One thing that was never really addressed in Wally’s series, that I can remember, was where the criminal element hung out. Keystone City had its share of Rogues, but it also seemed like a generally clean place full of hard-working people. In this issue, however, we’re introduced to the rougher side of the city, ‘the Keys’, which is supposedly as bad a place to live as Crime Alley in Gotham. Well, at least we’re still keeping to the trend of having all of our criminals in one basket. Another thing that seems to be a holdover from the past, Len is terrible with women. I mean, wow. That pick up line? I love Captain Cold, and even I would have slapped him. A break in the story to check in on Patty, David, and Dr. Elias. Patty and David, you guys should be friends. I mean, you’re dealing with similar things. Patty believes the man she loves to be dead, and the man David loves has gone back to being a vigilante, against his wishes. Oh gosh, please don’t let them have broken up over this, that would be really tragic. Can I take a second to say that Marcus To should draw David forever? Because my god, even in the throes of anger and quiet heartbreak, that is one beautiful man. Dr. Elias, however, is turning into a bit of a scumbag. Invented a new energy source, huh? How about you tell the people where that sudden spark of brilliance came from? Were you quick to find it? Did it come to you in a flash? What I’m trying to say here is, stop being a douche and blaming things on the Flash, when it was his power that actually solved all your problems to begin with. You folks remember from last issue, how Barry decided that he was going to stay dead? Well, he’s going by Al now, and he’s the newest bartender at a villain hotspot called the Keystone Saloon, which looks like it’s the oldest bar in the damn country. Oh my. Marcus To, you also have my permission to draw Len forever, too. Pfft, oh lord. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with terrible literature, there’s this new mom porn book that’s been going around called 50 Shades of Grey. Len likes alluding to shades of gray in the world of vigilantism and villainy, as seen here:

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And now, here:

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(Flash fact: I went to Tumblr hoping to find a scan of that panel in the Len Snart tag, and it was literally at the top of my Dashboard. The Rogues fandom is the best fandom.)

Anyway, shortly after Barry has the main bartender in charge fix Len a drink that won’t freeze up on him (complete with a pink umbrella, naturally), all hell breaks loose in the form of Mick. Heh. I like how Manapul took a page from the fans and had Barry call the fight between Len and Mick a ‘domestic dispute’. Because they’re like an old married couple, get it?! Sorry, I’ll take the bad jokes and puns and just…no, I’m not going to go anywhere. Puns are half of the reason why the Rogues are so dear to my heart. Hell, Mick started the issue off with a pun! Anyway, one fight scene full of vague exposition later, Barry has decided to keep his bartender gig, and our boys are being hauled away in a paddywagon. Argue argue, snipe snipe…Lisa?! Damn, girl! I’m going to be honest again, I’ve never been fond of Lisa’s old costume. This new one reminds me of a combination of Marvel costumes, truthfully; 80s Dazzler, Wind Dancer from the New Xmen, and Emma Frost, when she puts on clothes. An odd combination, but I do like it. And boy oh boy can the next issue not come soon enough! I’ve been dying to learn how Lisa got her new powers since images of her in her new costume were leaked.

Well, that was this week in comics! I’m thoroughly pleased with everything I’ve read, how about you? As always, I’d really love to hear your personal opinions about the books you picked up. Didn’t read something that was reviewed here? Tell me about it! I’m always looking for new books! As with every week, I am Touch of Grey. Hope to see you back here next Wednesday!

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Maybe I could call this Speedster Week?

I don’t know what to say, other than that it’s the final week of the month. We’re getting a new issue of the Flash, but I also have to look at Teen Titans and Justice League, so this bag isn’t quite as awesome as it could have been. Let’s jump right in!

Batman Incorporated has done something odd, for the New 52. It has shown a woman, given her power, and allowed her to keep it. I am talking, of course, about Talia Al Ghul. The daughter of the Demon’s Head has been a character that most people I know have mixed feelings on. For one thing, her very role in the Batman mythos has been retconned and diminished to that of ‘Bruce’s psycho ex’ for so long, people tend to forget that there was a time before all of that. A time when the only thing standing between Talia and Bruce’s happy ending was Bruce’s lifelong mission to eradicate crime in Gotham. True story. So to see the entire history of their relationship, as well as Talia’s life story, spelled out over the course of a single issue…well, let me put it this way. While the rape retcon still stands, it’s been sort of…diminished? It was less of a “We had sex while you were drugged totally against your will” thing and more of a “We consummated our relationship that had been a long time coming after I drugged you so that you’d knock me up by accident.” thing. Not exactly good, but better than the idea that Talia had completely forced her sexual will on Bruce. So yeah! Talia issue! This was scads better than the first issue, especially since it revealed that Damian was not actually dead.

I’ve chosen to mostly opt out of reading the Before Watchmen mini-series’, mainly because I’m not the biggest fan of the source material. I’ve read it. I thought it was okay. But I’m not one of those people who would defend Watchmen to the death. It had plenty of glaring flaws, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Of all the characters in Watchmen, Nite Owl was probably one of my favorites. It didn’t hurt that the character himself was based off of the Blue Beetle, or that of all the players in this game, Dan Dreiberg seemed the most human. We learned a little about Dan within the book itself, but the Nite Owl mini is…different. It deals with the early days. The earliest days. So far, we’ve learned that not only did Dan take over for Hollis Mason, he was trained by him. We also get our first real look at Rorschach before his life completely went to hell, which was fun. Plus, a nice little bit of foreshadowing about just how much Dr. Manhattan is able to warp time and space. All in all, this wasn’t a bad first issue. I’d even go so far as to say that I liked it.

I only read New Guardians because I love Saint Walker. There, I said it. It would not hold my interest without him. That being said, I believe I’ll be dropping New Guardians after this month’s second fight scene issue in a row. Give me some exposition. Gimme some sweet, sweet backstory regarding the newer Blue Lanterns. Give me anything but…this.

Someone explain Justice League to me. Please. Please? I have no idea what happened this month. There was talking, random panels of a deathly ill man talking to ghosts, and then everyone fell down. There was also a bit of Hal being a douche and Barry being Barry. And then it ended and the second feature started. So…what happened? I have no idea. And you know what? I really don’t care. I don’t care about you, Justice League. I don’t care about you, Shazam second feature. You’ve not done anything to make me care about you, so I’m just not going to, and that’s that.

I rarely have positive things to say about Teen Titans, and this month isn’t really all that different. It’s about as disjointed as Justice League. Yet, this is supposed to be a cooldown issue, which makes the title completely misleading. I mean, why would you even put that on the cover? “In a race to extinction”, superimposed over an image of two teenagers smiling and having fun. What? Why? In case anyone was wondering, Bart/Kiran is officially a thing now. I’m going to set up a countdown clock until Miguel/Tim is canon, because geeze. If Solstice ends up being the Angst and the Love Interest combined, I’m going to cry. Gosh, I’m trying to think up constructive things to say and I just can’t. Sorry, Teen Titans. I’ve failed you.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to, and dreaded, a comic as much as I have in regards to Flash #10. I probably haven’t talked much about my love of the Rogues on here, but oh gosh do I adore them. And Weather Wizard is my third favorite, after Mirror Master and Captain Cold. I’ve been making fun of Mark Mardon’s makeover since images of it were first released, but I don’t know. Now that the issue is actually in my hands, I’m a little excited. Len may have gotten a metagene and a new wardrobe, but Mark is getting a new name, a new history, a new everything! Well, here goes nothing!
…Marcus To, let me love you. If the Manapul/To team becomes a regular thing, I may weep with joy. Oh, but yes, the story. It’s honestly not as bad as it could have been. Yes, Mark Mardon is a, a Guatemalan drug lord now. That’s his history. But when the truth about his brother’s murderer came to light, and the Flash single-handedly destroyed his entire stock of product, that seemed to mark the end of his time as a supplier. He’s going back to Central City, along with…Lisa?! Lisa, girl, your hair is insane. She’s got NTT Starfire hair! In any case, I’ve spent so much time focusing on the Rogues in this issue, I forgot all about the actual title character. Barry loves Patty. Patty loves Barry. Patty believes Barry to be dead. He’s not actually going to correct her on that, which means that Barry is going to be the Flash all the time now. Or maybe…what if he’s going to take on a new identity? I swear, if this is how they ‘bring Wally into the New 52’, I’m going to be so upset. In any case, this Rogue parade is just getting started. Next month: Heatwave!

And that was this week in comics! Due to a personal matter, this is actually coming to you on Thursday so, sorry. But before I forget…

Floridians! Florida Supercon is this weekend! Come meet Carmine Infantino, Kevin Maguire, and a whole host of other comic and screen legends!

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