Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Lanterns #1

The Corps of Rage receive their own monthly title in the DCnU courtesy of writer Peter Milligan and penciller supreme Ed Benes.  This one is dear to my heart, because it was one of those things you dream of, but don't actually expect them to come true, as I had mentioned ages ago in one of my old posts.  Even with all that, the Red Lanterns are here, and they are here to stay.

Cover Art by Ed Benes

New readers will find this issue friendly and accessible, as they learn of Atrocitus' motivaion for being the way he is, while old readers get extra pieces to put together and that date back to "Green Lantern: Secret Origin".

Favorites Bleeze and Dex-Starr make prominent appearances in the book, along with the creepy cadaver of Krona -the story picks up where "War of the Green Lanterns" left off,- and somewhere in there, the introduction of a potential new Red Lantern from Earth.

Peter Milligan sets a new path for Atrocitus; a path of bloody justice that puts him technically on the side of the angels but with the methods of the evilest of demons, and the first step of his new mission is to convince his followers to come with him... good luck with that!

I just love Ed Benes; from way back when I first saw his art in "Artemis: Requiem" I became a fan.  His style is so clean and crisp, and with Rob Hunter's inks, and Nathan Eyring's colors, the art just comes to life.  I particulary liked the flashback panels with that "cloudy" feeling to them.  Pretty cool.

"With Blood and Rage" is a great story that sets the stage for a new brand of Justice that will clearly bring Atrocitus and his Corps in a collision course with good guys and bad guys alike, and I cannot wait to see it.  You shouldn't either!

Friday, September 23, 2011

X-Men Legacy #255

Intergalactic adventure awaits Rogue's squad in the second part of "Five Miles South of the Universe", a story written by Mike Carey and pencilled by Steve Kurth. 

Cover Art by Mico Suayan

In an attempt to find her missing fellow X-Men Polaris, Havok, and Marvel Girl, the southern belle teleported herself, Magneto, Gambit, and Frenzy to the most distant and remote corner of a distant and remote galaxy in Shi'ar space.

The best part of this issue was the beautiful cover by Mico Sayan; other than that, I cannot say I liked much else.  After years of being in comic limbo, the promise of Havok, Polaris, and Marvel Girl returning to the pages of X-Men had me very excited.  So far, this return has been a disappointment.  Last issue they were only in one panel; in this issue, they get more screen time; however, it seems they are being manipulated by the Grad Nan Holt.  Seriously? How much longer will we have to suffer a brainwashed Polaris?

In the meantime, Rogue is also having to put up with the comical relief brought by Sovel Redhand and his pirate crew.  I cannot emphasize enough how much I don't like humor -especially when it looks forced- in this type of stories; so that whole sequence was a no-no for me.

The artist in this story should be doing filler issues, not a high profile arc; his Magneto looks particularly awkward, and the Shi'ar look like coneheads.  I have to say that Brian Reber's colors did a lot to make the art tolerable, but that's about it.

It is a shame that such a promising story is not upholding to prior "X-Men in Space" arcs, which I have always enjoyed.  Let's hope to finally see the Magneto vs. Polaris fight in issue 256, but even if we do, we already know it will not count as the mistress of magnetism is not herself right now.  Once this arc is finished, I am quitting the X-Men anyway, as I am not interested in "Regenesis".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Batwoman #1

Batwoman finally debuts in her solo series with "Hydrology", co-written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, and with the former on art duty, this long-awaited this title did not disappoint. From the very beginning we get to see the horror theme of the book, just like its creators had promised, and they did a fantastic job with it.

Cover Art by J.H. Williams III

The issue has lots of Batwoman in it, lots of Kate Kane and her personal relationships with Det. Sawyer, her father Col. Kane, and her cousin Bette.  Speaking of Bette, I am glad she got a lot of attention in this first issue, but I felt Kate was being a little too harsh on her, which did not seem fair to me, seeing how Flamebird has proven herself a hero; nonetheless it was great knowing she has not been forgotten.

The Weeping Woman is Batwoman's first villain in this series, and her premise is one I am familiar with, since in my country we have also heard the story of La Llorona. Williams' pencils are a perfect match for the horror theme of this book, yet, in the Kate and the non-Batwoman sequences, it is as if a different artist had been featured, which proves how talented he is.

Lots of double spreads, which I usually don't like; they make me feel robbed; however, the creators here fill their pages with dialog, flashbacks, and other small panels, so it's not a waste of space as I have seen in other books, and they look more like mini-posters in their own right.

"Leaching", the inaugural issue of Batwoman is a definitive must, for those who appreciate fine art, suspense stories, and character development. An immediate success, this issue has already been ordered for a second printing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Green Lantern #1

Straight from "The War of the Green Lantenrs" and the old universe, comes Green Lantern and "Sinestro" written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Doug Mahnke.  One of the very few books whose background history did not get changed with Flashpoint or the relaunch, Green Lantern picks up right where it left two months ago.

Cover Art by Ivan Reis
It could be that I am already suffering of Green Lantern overexposure, but I did not find this book that interesting at all.  In many ways it is as if we were starting all over again: we have this reckless guy Hal Jordan at a very low point in his life, messing up and being stupid, when suddenly an alien cop comes offering him a power ring, end of the issue.  That's one way of seeing it.

Another interpretation for this issue is that we get to see what happened after War of the Green Lanterns, but is being told as if the loss of the ring caused Hal Jordan to go broke, have poor credit, no money, getting evicted, and acting like a loser.  How did exactly losing the ring cause any of this?  Ring or no, he was going to have poor credit anyway, so why is it being painted as if the ring is the reason?  This issue is not particularly friendly to new readers either, as you have to know a lot of what has happened before to understand why things are the way they are in issue #1.

The writing was weak and there was dialog missing from a lot of pages; this left a lot of the responsibility on Mahnke's hands, and maybe it is just my whining doing the talking -you know what I mean,- but he did not deliver as he had prior to the relaunch.  If with the other titles launched this month we say solely by their first issue that they look promising and a success, then it would be fair to judge Green Lantern the same way, only that it would not fare that well.  So for all the great stores this title has given us in the past five or six years, I will say I'll give it a shot for the next two issues, but if they are as this first installment, then it won't be long before the GL hype goes away.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hawk and Dove #1

Directly from the pages of "Brightest Day" and now in their own monthly series under the "Young Justice" line, come the avatars of War and Peace:  Hawk and Dove.  Written by Sterling Gates and pencilled by Rob Liefeld.

Cover by Rob Liefeld
I know very little about these two characters, except whatever was discussed during "Brightest Day".  I saw Dove for the first time in the pages of JSA's "Princes of Darkness", and it was an instant crush.  Of Hawk, I recall some mentions in "Zero Hour" but it sounded too convoluted to look further into the character; so I am aproaching this series through the eyes of a new reader for the most part.

With that said, I got to learn the origin of Hawk and the first Dove, and what their powers are -it was pretty cool seeing Dawn lifting that airplane.  There is also action, zombies, and a mystery.  Dove is keeping secrets from Hawk... secrets that could split them forever.  In the end, readers also find out that apparently there is more than just the avatars of War and Peace.

Now the art.  Over the years I have noticed that Rob Liefeld has gotten lots of hate from readers; but it doesn't seem to me that his art is bad at all -I do remember the hot mess that was "Heroes Reborn" but that was not just his art, it was the whole thing.  In Hawk and Dove his pencils are very nice and clean, with just enough backgrounds, and rich in panels.  Matt Yackey's colors also bring lots of life and dynamism to the story.

"First Strikes", the debut issue of Hawk and Dove, is a reader friendly issue; newcomers won't get lost, and old fans will get enough to get them to come back.  The story was good enough to get me interested and wanting to pick up the second issue.  With nice art and the potential for a great story, it is a title not to miss.  To the skepticals, I suggest you give it a chance, and you will not regret it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Batgirl #1

This is the first time Barbara Gordon gets her own ongoing series. Overdue.  Batgirl is written by Gail Simone and pencilled by Ardian Syaf.  After a thee year absence due to a spinal injury, Batgirl is back in action, and there is no dull moment with her.

Cover by Ardian Syaf
I can't find anything I didn't like about this issue; it was great.  For those who were concerned with her being de-aged too much, I say: "be at ease, she is not a teenager!"  She is still smart, strong, and has that charming willingness to protect the helpless she has always had that makes her so adorable.  This issue was full of story and rich in panels -which you don't see much of nowadays in comics with their wordless double spreads,- Ardian Syaf's art was dyamic and detailed.  Gail Simone loves Barbara, and it shows in her writing.  She is so respectful to the character, even when showing us her weaknesses and insecurities, which by the way are going to be very important in this new phase of her life.

Also, while I am not one for humor in comics, I couldn't help but laugh at that couple of awkward -and very natural- situations Batgirl found herself in; very well played Ms. Gail.  We also get to see the initial steps for the creation of a suppoting cast and a rogues gallery that will keep Batgirl busy and us entertained.

Overall, the return of Batgirl was everything I expected and more.  All the longing for Barbara back as the dominoed daredoll was worth it, and I know that she is safe in Gail Simone's hands.  If you are the one person who was living under a rock that did not buy this issue, do yourself a favor and get it, either online or at your local comic shop; you will not regret it... and you're welcome!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Justice League #1

Justice League is the first title of the new DC Universe -a.k.a. The New 52-, is written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Jim Lee.  This story takes place five years ago when metahumans were first emerging and the term "Super Hero" didn't exist yet.

Cover by Jim Lee

The best thing about this comic is the art.  I love Jim Lee's pencils, always have, and hopefully I always will.  Scott Williams' inks and Alex Sinclair's colors complete this amazing artistic trio that made Justice League #1 a winner.

I don't know how I feel about having Batman and Green Lantern as the only Leaguers in the entire issue. I understand they are the money makers right now, and probably the hook to attract thousands of new readers; still, it can be perceived as misleading not having the seven character from the cover in the inside pages.

We get to see a little bit of Victor Stone before he becomes Cyborg, so this will be his "Secret Origin" story, and then Superman shows up in the last page, but that's it, no one else appears.

I liked it, but DC had promised they would stop writing for the trade, and this first issue of the first title of the DCnU was definitely written for the trade, so I don't know what's up with that.  Even with these concerns, the book is on its way to its third printing and over 200.000 copies sold, making it the #1 book of 2011.  Way to go DC!