Posts tagged Justice League International

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. 

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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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It’s a good week to be a comic fan!

A normal week, five books. Only one real ‘must-read’ series in the bunch, but still. Let’s dive right in!

I hate to give praise to Paul “women don’t read comics” Levitz, but this was a pretty solid issue of Huntress. A common problem with a book based on one character is that it can sometimes succumb to internal-monologue syndrome. Luckily, this is not the case here, as the book tends to rely more on the art and dialogue to tell the story, which is nice. Also, I’d like to just say that I hope Helena gets a spot in the Batwoman book at some point, as Kate could probably teach her more about fighting. If Helena hadn’t known that…Vulcan neck-squeeze move, she would probably have been dead in her fight against the Chairman’s guard.

If you’re not reading Red Lanterns, you’re really missing out on a fantastic story. The gigantic plot device known as the Blood Ocean has struck again, with Lanterns Ratchet, Zilius Zoxxx, and Skallox going into the drink. Their pasts are, well, for the two that are shown, not as tragic as Bleez’s. Skallox apparently stole something from the person he worked for, and got his ring as he was tortured in an oven. Ratchet’s past was sort of sad, but already used. On his planet, isolation is a law. You’re not allowed to meet anyone face to face, but he and several of his people longed to meet in person, and they did. And they were arrested by the Isolation Police who…somehow exist as a viable law enforcement agency on a planet where no one is allowed to meet. Aside from the part about meetups being illegal, the concept was already done in the Waid/Kitson Legion of Superheroes threeboot. In any case, these Lanterns were only thrown into the plot device so that Atrocitus could find out whether or not Bleez plans to kill him and assume control of his Corps. Meanwhile, the corpse of Krona gets up and walks away, and Atro is completely devastated. Is it just me, or is there a whole lot of necrophilia within the Lantern Corps mythos? First Black Hand, now this…yeesh. Oh, and the Earth Brothers plotline was visited again. Who wants to bed that Glasses Brother gets a ring and kills No-Good, Jail-Bound Brother?

Moving away from a series set in outer space, let’s look at a series where the first big villain is from outer space! Can I please just state for the record how disappointed that Manga Khan wasn’t used as the first villain for the new JLI? I mean, that would have been perfect. I’ve noticed something about this issue. A lot of people/goop monsters seem to be grabbing inappropriate things. Though, in Godiva’s case, I highly doubt she copped a feel of Batman’s junk by accident. Uh. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the JLI saves the day in the end, because there is no way that this Peraxxus fellow blows up the Earth. Just isn’t good for the DCU, as a whole.

Wait wait wait, hold on a second. Guillotina is a Female Fury. Not a Bang Baby. Scott McDaniel, what are you doing? That being said, Static Shock didn’t really wow me this month. For one thing, despite all the teasing, just like with how Babs got back on her feet, no one is actually saying how Sharon got split into two people. And frankly, all the Bang Babies in the world aren’t worth jack if you’re not informing us of how a member of the hero’s own family was essentially mutated, and why he blames himself.

I like to save my favorite books of the week for last, and oh my god, I’m so glad I did. If I’d read Animal Man first, I probably would have spent all night on it. Maxine has officially become a Kid Powerhouse, which is fantastic. Most of the issue actually focuses on her, but that’s not what has me freaking out. The depictions of the agents of the Rot, the Hunters Three, are officially the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. Travel Foreman is a sick, sick man. And that ending…is Cliff, well, dead? Or is he one with the Rot, just as Maxine is one with the Red? I mean, that would be sort of awful for Buddy, to have one kid be the savior of man, and the other the destroyer. I must say, I think Jeff Lemire is a Bleach fan, because the whole ‘kitty cat mentor’ thing is striking a familiar chord.

And that’s this week in comics. Wow, I barely got angry at all, my meds must be kicking in. Ha, that’s a joke. I guess, when really pushed, the folks at DC can put out good books! I’ve got to go now, but I expect I’ll see you all back here next Wednesday?

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And the award for most times in an issue where I said, out loud, “What the hell am I reading?” goes to…

Only four books this week, now that Hawk and Dove is officially on my do not touch list. Though I did skim it and…so many teeth. So, so many teeth. Anyway, we’ve got our first round of third issues, so may as well get a move on.

Red Lanterns is actually pretty good this time around. Neither Ed Benes nor Rob Hunter have bothered to learn how to draw a cat since the first issue, though. This issue centers on the pain of Bleez, and oh my god. It may not have been the best idea for Atrocitus to give her back her mind, though. There is no creature alive that is more conniving than a woman in the midst of a rage.

I’m just going to file this issue of Static Shock under weird. So, the people that have been trying to take out Static have been doing it because they think he knows something, and the organization that funds the team itself is operating out of a club? And Virule is a big living virus? Okay? At least Static himself is more interesting and entertaining than the plot.

And the big villain of the JLI’s first arc has been revealed! Aw, I was hoping for Manga Khan. Let’s be honest, everyone was hoping for Manga Khan. Aside from spending an issue getting beaten up by tiny golems, #3 was basically about character building within the team. Bea and Tora are revealed to still be friends, and Gavril is still interested in Bea. Godiva is…shallow and only on the team for a PR move. And Guy’s big weakness is still a punch to the face. Okay, back of the head. Still, it was a good joke while it lasted.

Yeesh, Animal Man doesn’t even have to try to be DC’s what the fuck am I reading book. It just comes so naturally. The marriage between the art and the writing is so flawlessly fucked up, I can’t even. The truth is out: everything has been leading up to this revelation in the Red. The totems of the Red created Buddy Baker, created Animal Man, so that he would father Maxine, the new avatar of the Red. A war is brewing, and it must be won by…a four year old girl.

That was this week in comics. My word, this is a short, short post. Ah well. I’ve still got to come up with something for today’s NaNoWriMo entry, on Detective Comics. Anyway, that’s all she wrote for me. I’m going to get on home. See y’all here next week, same time, same place.

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It’s just so rebootylicious, I can’t handle it.

This is the first real week of the reboot, with a new universe to explore. I’ve got five of the books here, the ones that interest me personally, and I’m going to see if they’re worth the paper they’re printed on.

Hawk and Dove is not terrible. It honestly pains me to say that. The art is godawful, but the writing is actually very good, even if the plot so far is sort of odd. Some things from Brightest Day are still intact, too. For instance, Dawn and Boston are still dating, and yeah, he’s still dead. Crisis on Infinite Earths was referenced too, surprisingly. But Hank’s characterization is just…weird. He’s really, really angry all the time, and he seems to hate that Dawn is Dove. And apparently, Dawn used to date Don? Why she’s telling Deadboyfriend, I have no idea. Further the plot, I guess. Ah well. Still, this book has science politics and zombie monsters! That’s always a big plus for me.

I’m in love with Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man. I wasn’t even born during Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man, so when I finally found issues of the title, it was from the Vertigo run, from the mid-90s. I didn’t like those issues much, so I never got an affinity for the character. I liked him well enough in 52, Countdown to Adventure, and the Rann/Thanagar minis, but he never really stood out. He was a guy with a family that happened to be a superhero, that was it. Hoo boy, was that the tip of the iceberg. I don’t have any kids, I doubt I ever will, so I can’t really understand the I-would-do-anything-for-them attitude a lot of parents are portrayed as having, but this is just…the ‘villain’ of this issue is a man driven mad by grief after the death of his own daughter, who takes a children’s ward in a hospital hostage. Buddy, who has been pretty inactive as a superhero, takes him down and saves the kids. But that isn’t the main focus of this issue. That’s not even the focus of this arc. Maxine, Buddy and Ellen Baker’s little girl, has animal powers, too. Only, unlike her father, her powers affect animals themselves. She brings them back from the dead.
Like I said, I’m in love with this book.

You know what I have to say about Justice League International? It could have been worse. It pisses me off that Blue Beetle was passed over for being ‘a rookie’ and that apparently, the entire JLI history has been stricken from the record, but this wasn’t terrible. Booster, while showing his trademark shallowness from the early days, still seems to have retained the credibility he had from his own, recently ended series. Gavril is just as ridiculously cute as ever, though they’re really playing up the ‘addled foreigner’ with him, and Guy and Ice seem to know each other, which may mean that they’re back together? This is a wait-and-see book for me. It’s pretty good, for a first issue. We’ll see if it holds up over time.

Oh my god, I’m smiling so hard. Three good books in a row?! What did I do to please you, oh comic book gods? Static Shock is hands down my favorite book so far. It’s just…holy crap. He’s talkative. He’s a science nerd. He’s got a good relationship with his family. You guys don’t understand. I own Rebirth of the Cool. I’ve read nearly every issue of his Milestone series. I’ve seen every episode of Static Shock. I loved him in Teen Titans. Static is hands-down one of my favorite comic characters of all time. And this book…I can’t even. It’s fabulous. Virgil is going to high school and interning at S.T.A.R. Labs in New York City by day, superheroing by night. His sister has apparently been…cloned? Eh. All I know is that there are two Sharons now, and that it hasn’t been explained yet. Also, for some reason, it looks like the Power Rangers are the bad guy for this first arc. What’s up with that? Anyway, odd villain choices aside, this book has me happier than anything else today.

I have mixed feelings on Batgirl. The new book, I mean. I’ve always loved the character, but my Batgirl? That was Cassandra Cain. I’ve read, and own, every issue of the first Batgirl series, as well as the second, starring Stephanie Brown. To me, the woman currently in the Batgirl costume will always be Oracle. Batgirl is a step backwards for Barbara Gordon. But…this issue was actually sort of good. Babs has some questionable dialogue, and a line a villain spouts, about her ‘spoiling’ everything, was sort of a twist of the knife to those of us who love Steph, but it really wasn’t terrible. There’s a Renee Montoya lookalike cop that shows up near the end, name of McKenna, but I have no idea where that can go. Oh, speaking of the ending, that pissed me off. Yes, it showed that Babs was traumatized by guns in a way that most people can’t even imagine, but at the same time, it was a kick in the face to the strength that makes her who she is as a character. And as for this new villain, Mirror, he’s sort of…dull. He hunts down people who survived accidents that ought to have killed them. That sounds sort of familiar, kind of like the plot of a Final Destination movie. I can’t really go and say I like this book just yet, but I don’t hate it.

That was this week in comics. I’m not going to give up and say I like the reboot, especially since two of the four comics I read could have existed in the old DCU. Heck, even the JLI book could have worked without a reboot. But what I’m trying to say is, I’m giving it a chance. I don’t love it, and I’m probably never going to like it as much as I did the old universe, but I can’t deny that it has its moments. This is Touch of Grey signing off. See you next week, same place, probably an earlier time.

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