Issue #2 of The Flash is titled "Think Fast" and magistrally put together by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. You can tell these two guys are having fun with this book, and it must be due to the fact that they have absolute creative control over it. This "getting inside The Flash's mind" approach is an ambicious new concept, and I cannot even begin to imagine how complicated it is to come up with ideas to implement it. All the choices, all the decisions, and consequences of every action are considered by Barry Allen in just seconds or less, and beutifully translated into pencils and colors by this creative team in sequences full of movement and dynamism. The flashback scenes are breathtaking, and along with the events of the present, they move forward at a steady pace. Grab on to your chairs for issue #3!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The mystery of the breakout from Arkham deepens in "A Rush of Blood" by Paul Jenkins and David Finch. This issue was able to deliver both, splashy art and lots of story in only 20 pages; proving that it is a matter of will as much as skill. Many moments in this issue caught my eye; from Gordon's "awww" moment, to Ventriloquist's creepy scene, to White Rabbit's wickedness, to... Batman smiling at a joke? My favorite part, though, was the cameo apareances by other members of the Bat-family, as it was an unexpected surprise that added to the direness of the breakout. The science behind the transformations Batman's enemies underwent, is intresting, and although we might think we know who is behind it, I am sure the revelation will be shocking. Issue #3 promises to be a ride of crazy proportions. Note crazy.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The situation was truly desperate: In the heart of a destroyed nation, with their friends captured, and their resources depleted after bravely fighting hundreds of Ultron duplicates against impossible odds, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Firestar, were the only Avengers left standing to face "This Evil Triumphant", in Avengers #22. Written by Kurt Busiek and pencilled by George Perez, the last chapter of "Ultron Unlimited" was a great finale for a great arc, and the place for one of comic's greatest moments.
Just when an adamantium-built Ultron is about to kill the Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Giant Man, and Wonder Man, the walls come down behind him, to reveal the battered, tired, but triumphant Avengers led by the Mighty Thor, who delivers one of the coolest lines I have ever read in a comic book:
"Ultron, we would have words with thee"
Enough to say, the final battle ensues, and one by one, the Avengers hit the abonimation with the best they had to offer, until finally Hank Pym a.k.a. Giant Man, destroys his creation with the help of some vibranium rods courtesy of Avenger rookie Justice. This is another emotional and disturbing scene that makes "Ultron Unlimited" a must-read.
Tony Daniel and Philip Tan present "Wings of Darkness", the second chapter of a new beginning for the Savage Hawkman. The first part of the issue is an all-out fight between the winged wonder and new menace, Morphicius. Tan does a fantastic job here; there is this splash image in page 4 where Hawkman looks absolutely incredible, and Sunny Gho's colors just add to that. Daniel takes Carter Hall and us through this new journey in learning the new capabilities of the Nth metal, while leaving Hawkman's past and origin in the backburner for a later time. The second part of the issue is not as exciting or well executed, and it seems to get lost in itself. The art is not as good, the big baddie is an underwhelming revelation, and his connection to Morphicious doesn't make much sense. If I were to split this issue in two, I'd say that #2 was excellent, while #2.5 was not so.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The adventures of Green Lantern Kyle Ryner and his new band of buddies continues in the second chapter of "New Guardians" written by Tony Bedard. The issue is mostly an introduction of the different lanterns for new readers; Arkillo, Fatality, Bleez, Munk, and Saint Walker, each have a quick fact revealed about them, whether it is their background or their power, so readers can become familiar with them. While this may lead to believe it is a slow issue, it is not; the story moves forward and soon we find out that some disturbing stuff is happening on Oa, and Kyle gets more than he asked for. What I like most about this book is the art, so I was kind of sad that Tyler Kirkham had to share credits -with Harvey Tolibao from the Psylocke hall of fame- in this issue. It is a matter of opinions, but I'd have been okay waiting two months to see a full issue by the artist I like.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
This was a week of amazing comics, but hands down, Aquaman #2 was the best. These Trench creatures are super creepy, and they give us the scariest sequence this side of "The Fog" for the opening of the book. Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis knocked it out of the park with Mera's display of power; what a beautiful water construct. Once past the jokes and the awkwardness regarding Aquaman's reputation, Geoff Johns gets to getting and things quickly become serious for our favorite couple. This issue had a cinematic feel to it, not just thanks to the art, but also to the plot itself. Johns is also starting to plant the seeds of mysteries and secrets in Arthur's early years. More than anything, I am happy with the formal introduction of Not-Aquawoman, and the cool new effect when she is using her water-based powers.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Written by Judd Winick and pencilled by Ben Oliver, Batwing chronicles the adventures of the Batman from Africa, a.k.a. Officer David Zavimbe. Ben Oliver's art doesn't fall within the "comic book" label proper; it rather fits a more elegant "graphic novel" category, and it gives the book its own distinctive personality, separating it from the rest of the New 52. Winick's writing is captivating, and his portrayal of Batwing's villain, Massacre is simply terrifying. The story also explores the mystery of "The Kingdom", the first African super hero team, which will surely have ties to the rest of the DCnU. If I have one problem with issue #2 is the fact that Batwing only shows in the first and the last page. Also important to clarify, this is a very good book, but intended for mature readers, as it gets crude and graphic, so keep it away from kids.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo present Batman in "Trust Fall". The high-octante action and the visuals are out of this world thanks to Capullo's pencils; I am adjusting to this almost cartoonish new style of his, but it is not detrimental to the plot in any way. Snider really gets inside Bruce Wayne's head, not only through the text boxes, but also through his actions and interactions with the rest of the cast. The inventive use of new technologies in the story truly is a hook, and shows how much comics are a reflection of the times in which they are published. I am suspicious of Batman's constant refusal to admit the possibility that the Court of Owls is real; as if his denial was trying to hide something. Lincoln March reminds me a lot of Tommy Elliot a.k.a. Hush, so I hope it will not turn out to be the same thing all over again. This book is amazing and you must read it!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Nightwing returns to his roots in "Haly's wish", written by Kyle Higgins and pencilled by Eddy Barrows. The story picks up right where issue #1 ended, with Nightwing fighting a new menace who's trying to kill Dick Grayson. The action scenes as illustrated by Eddy Barrows are simply amazing; never the same angle, and always full of dynamism. Those facial expressions and close-ups though, looked very awkward; as if he feels more comfortable drawing masked characters. Kyle Higgins exploits inner dialogue the right way, and hints at a new mystery to be introduced in the Nightwing mythos that I'm sure will be a huge part of the character going foward; apparently Haly's Circus was not just that, but much more... what does this mean? Interesting! Nightwing #2 was a solid issue with all the ingredients for a great story.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
The first artist I chose for this new section of the blog, is one whose art I became familiar with only recently, but quickly he has become one of my favorite pencillers. Currently he is in Green Lantern: New Guardians, and his name is Tyler Kirkham.
Green Lantern Corps #58
Tyler Kirkham was born and raised it Utah. He grew up loving art, and has always enjoyed drawing. He really found a love for comics in the early 90s when Image Comics came on the scene. At that moment he knew what he wanted to do with his life. After going to countless conventions and sending out lots of samples, his first paid art gig was drawing for a local newspaper. He later landed a job drawing an indy book called "The Gift."
Art from Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
Inks by Batt and colors by Nei Rufino
Tyler has worked on titles such as Strykeforce, Tomb Raider, The Darkness, Transformers, Amazing Spiderman, X-Men Phoenix Warsong, and Ultimate Fantastic 4 to name just a few. His work has been featured on many Web sites and in magazines, like FHM, Wizard, Nintendo Power, and Imagine FX among others. He's also done video game concept work and some novel and book covers. He's currently working for DC Comics and also developing his own stories and ideas with hopes to get them on the shelves in the near future.
Variant covers for Green Lantern Corps #60 and #63
For more information on Tyler Kirkham, art and prints for sale, news, and art gallery, visit his website at www.tylerkirkham.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @TylerKirkhamArt.
The secret origin of the supreme superhero team continues in the second chapter of "Justice League" by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. Right now the only thing that makes me get this book is the art. The long association of Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair continues to produce some of the most beautiful art in comics, and I hope it remains that way for a long time. The plot, I am not so thrilled about; and it is not the story itslef that is alienating me, is the fact that it is being dragged out. As much as I find those double spreads breathtaking, they are also an excuse for the unnecessary "decompressed writing" we are being subjected to. It's been 46 pages of story so far, that could have occupied maybe 18 in a single issue without the theatrics of the splash images, and with pages left for more story. We need to pick up the pace, guys.
Friday, October 21, 2011
And then out of nowhere, Wonder Woman became one of the best books of DCnU's week 7. From evil Hera, to blond Hippolyta, to the strangely familiar faces of Aleka and Dessa, "Home" was a pleasant surprise. This new take on the amazons is very different to what we have seen before, and so is Hera's description of Paradise Island. Brian Azzarello definitely threw us a curve with this issue; anyone who was expecting to be disappointed, well... expect the total opposite, because you are in for a treat. Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson rocked in art duties, and just like I mentioned for issue #1, the issue looks fantastic in its digital version. Did I mention my new favorite catchphrase? "Peace? Your mocking lips spit a word your tongue has never tasted!" Classic. My one grudge with the issue: the character design for Strife. She looks like an anorexic european model.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The reinvention of Superman continues courtesy of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales. This is not one of those fan-dividing, psychedelic, what-the-heck stories Morrison is used to give us, and I am thankful for that. So far, this reintroduction of the Man of Steel is working for me, and I am happy to say I have been able to follow along. This Superman does not apologize for being a little rough when he has to, and the current state of his powers continues giving off that Golden Age vibe that sits so well with the book. Morales' art is good for the most part, but his pencil is not being nice to Lois Lane; in general, his female faces are not as graceful. The end of the issue is a huge leap from where I thought the story was going, but not in a bad way, and it looks like a second classic super-villain is about to be re-introduced soon.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
"Party Time" is the formal introduction of Condor and Swan as the new avatars, and as new nemeses for Hawk and Dove. Sterling Gates delivers an entertaining issue with lots of action, zombies, and avatars. Since nothing is perfect, we had to endure an awkward lovers' quarrel between Dove and Deadman; one that seemed completely out of place; still, we also got some cool scenes of Dove kicking zombie butt. There is some character development as well, not only for Hawk and Dove, but also for Hank and Dawn. Rob Liefeld's pencils are good in this issue, despite what his detractors may opine, and Matt Yackey's colors make them even better. I am still trying to get used to Hawk's new red-gray scheme, but I can see where they are coming from with this change. I am excited about this title and the upcoming "vs" issue.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The second chapter of "Sinestro" is written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Doug Mahnke. This has got to be a very satisfying moment for Sinestro: having Hal Jordan basically on his knees and humilliated just for a taste of the green ring, has to be a dream come true for him, and probably more gratifying than defeating him in battle. Hal, in the meantime, may pretend being indignated, but it is obvious that he craves the power he lost. These two attitudes are not explicitly expressed in the story, but is my perception of them, which is why I think Johns did a good job in this issue; the fact that their reactions are open to interpretation rather than blurted out, makes for good writing. This issue is better than flat #1, and by the end, we realize that this mutual need Hal and Sinestro have for the other is the core of this arc.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
The penultimate chapter of "Five Miles South of the Universe" is a far improvement from its previous installments; art and storywise. Little details such as Polaris and Gambit talking about the mansion, and Rogue and Frenzy's sequences made it a very fun issue. Sadly, there was little for Havok and company to do and I hated seeing Polaris calling Magneto "father" out of nowhere... that's dumb. Despite all that, things get complicated enough for the X-Men by the end to leave us with a very exciting cliffhanger. Koi Pham's art is also an improvement from Steve Kurth's. Last I had seen Pham in Mighty Avengers, and his pencils quite rough; however, his new style makes for great visuals. This was a solid issue, but with only one chapter left to resolve things, issue #257 will be a great challenge for Mike Carey.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
"Pure Rage" is the first step in the new path for Atrocitus as he tunes and refines the terms of this bloody justice mission of his. With such a vast universe out there, whose rage takes priority over whose? Peter Milligan shows us this dicotomy that Atrocitus has become; on one hand a merciless monster, on the other, a tortured creature in search of his own self. Ed Benes' beautiful art was wasted -even on the cover- on unkwnown and whimsical characters; while very little focused on the stars of this book. Still, I understand this is just a build-up phase, and as we'll see in issue #3 the spotlight starts to shine on other members of the corps. Another Red Lantern will learn to control their rage and gain some degree of conscienciousness the same way Atrocitus has -or Mera for that matter.- Enter: Bleeze!
Friday, October 14, 2011
This title is a little piece of art in comic format. J.H. Williams III does incredible and intricate work; you can spend hours just looking at the pages for tiny details and surprises; Dave Stewart's colors are vivid and give such ambiance to the diferent settings of the story. I am still amazed at the artistic differences between the "heroics" scenes and the "civilian" sequences; they are like night and day, but both just as beautiful. My two favorite scenes in this issue were the one where Det. Sawyer is running a crime scene for Chase, and the last page at the pier. We also got more of La Llorona, a little bit of Plebe, and the big Bat, who is quite respectful towards Batwoman, which is suprising given that he is always despective to those who come into his turf. "Infiltration" is an amazing issue and a must-have. Want a spoiler? That image in the cover? It actually does happen!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
"Cut Short, Cut Deep" is an issue full of action and mystery as Batgirl meets her new nemesis, Mirror. Gail Simone continues capitalizing on Barbara's paralysis and recovery, and now the means by which that recovery occurred are becoming quite a mystery themselves, which is kind of cool. I loved this issue overall; it had so much story in it, we got to see fights, Commissioner Gordon getting some startling news, more on Babs' roomate, a romantic interest for G.B.G., plus Mirror's little secret. Ardian Syaf's art is the perfect complement to Simone's writing, and Ulises Arreola's colors are an ideal combination of dark and bright, that in my opinion reflect what Batgirl is. I did have the feeling that I missed a page somewhere, when Batgirl had "the list" in her hands; I am not sure how that whole thing happened, but is not anything that will make me lose sleep. Batgirl #2 rocked!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Aright, this one makes me nervous. Two heroes share the privilege of having the most convoluted continuities this side of Crisis: Donna Troy and Hawkman. Since we don't know what the status of Ms. Troy in the DCnU is, all eyes are on the Winged Wonder. Written by Tony Daniel, and pencilled by Philip Tan, Hawkman gets a new beginning and a huge opportunity to clean up the hot mess that has been his history. Five years after the debut of heroes in our world, Carter Hall is giving up the Hawkman mantle for unknown reasons, but the mantle doesn't want to give him up and drama ensues. Sunny Gho's colors do a lot to enhance Tan's pencils, which at times can be somewhat iffy; however, in this first issue, the art is very good. Daniel does a great job writing a haunted Carter Hall and a strong Hawkman. I am curious enough to get issue number 2 and then we'll see.
Monday, October 10, 2011
When the New 52 were first announced and I saw no sign of the Huntress, I was afraid she would be erased from continuity like she was 25 years ago after Crisis; after all, with a Batwoman, a Batgirl, a Flamebird, a Blackbat, and a Spoiler, who needed a Huntress? Well, I am glad DC decided we did, and she had the honor to have the first mini-series of the relaunch. Written by her creator Paul Levitz and pencilled by Marcus To, Huntress takes us with her to Italy in a mission to stop the mafia from shipping bad stuff to Gotham. To's pencils, John Dell's inks, and Andrew Dalhouse's vibrant colors bring to life an action-packed story where there's no dull moment. Bertinelli or Wayne, from Earth-1 or 2, the uniqueness of this Helena, this Huntress, makes her a character to watch in the DCnU, and this mini-series is an excellent jumping point.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Barry Allen is the one and only Flash in the DCnU courtesy of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. We see the world through Barry Allen's eyes as he tries to solve a mysterious crime and help an old friend with a secret. This rejuvenated version of Barry is just what we needed to see with urgency; his final incarnation before the relaunch did not seem to fit with the rest of his world. This new Flash comes without all the baggage, and dare I say without his own ghost haunting him and the readers. It is clear that Francis Manapul enjoyed his time during the Flash run he shared with Geoff Johns, but now he is the man in charge and is truly letting his imagination soar. His art is beautiful; the pencil-like finishes take the art to a whole new level. Buccellato's colors give the story this "old comic" feeling I just love. I am very excited about this title and I can't wait for what comes next.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Part one of "The Trench" written by Geoff Johns, pencils by Ivan Reis, and inks by Je Prado. An excellent introduction for Aquaman to the new continuity. Geoff Johns did an awesome job in taking what many people in "our world" perceive of the character and translating it into what people in "Earth-1" think of the Superhero. As time passes, I can guarantee that people -in both the real and comic world- will see what a badass Aquaman really is. Ivan Reis' art, as always, is nothing short of outstanding; he truly brings "regal" to Aquaman, and the new tweaks made to his uniform make him look even better -although most of them had been carried over from Brightest day. Another plus in this issue is Rod Reis' coloring; from the shine in Aquaman's scales to the flashback panels, this is another Reis in the rising.