Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday Is Brightest Day For All I Care #67

Brightest Day #1-2
Justice League: Generation Lost #1
R.E.B.E.L.S. #15-16 (2010)
Zatanna #1 (2010)

Brightest Day #1-2 (DC,2010, $2.99)
How is Ivan Reis managing to knock out so many pages a month right after Blackest Night? Holy shit, but this guy’s esteem in my eyes is mounting, not least for his gorgeous renditions of Aquaman and Mera. I want this guy on the ongoing series, okay?

Oh wait, there are writers on this thing. Fuck. Okay, why’s Blank Manta gutting fish in New England for a living? Dude goes from being tied up in some nefarious multi-billion dollar corporation’s agenda to being the darkie in the kitchen? This is not helping DC evade pointed questions about racial politics, guys. I think we all would have enjoyed seeing a bunch of scumbag suits get butchered instead, not that killing random assholes has ever made a super-villain, right? Cheshire nuked the entire nation of Quarac, and she’s still D-list.

So anyway, the first issue had some more action and set-up, and it was all drawn real purty, but it amounted to fuck all on its lonesome. The second dives right back into the race issue, but this time with the question of what the frig Firestorm is now? Mulatto? His lips and some of his skintones lean black, but a shift in lightning and one rigid honky nose later, I dunno what’s what. If it’s intentional, alright, but I’m still guessing. It gives me something to do while this shitty melodrama between Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch plays out. Everything about this plot feels like some kind if retread, and it's about the most slowly progressing of the lot. Finally, whoever designed the Atom’s environmental suit hates Ray Palmer and is covertly defaming his to bring Ryan Choi back. With the helmet, I totally thought he was going to work his way to the Firestorm Matrix via an entirely different orifice.

Don't you say nothin' about the Deadman strip! Nobody stands there and watches shit like Uatu Boston Brand! I'm going to say what we're all thinking-- that the DC Universe just has not been the same since the loss of Pariah, and Lifeman might could be the dude to fill that vacuum!

The good thing about the Martian Manhunter plot is that it’s moody and violent and looks nothing like the other segments, which sometimes artistically “bleed” together overly much for my liking. The bad thing is that it's another fucking retcon, which we get a few times per decade, and isn’t especially compelling. There’s a matter-of-factness that robs the proceeding of tension, plus I don’t care very much. People do whatever with Martian Manhunter, and the next guy ignores it and does their own thing. Whatever and ever, amen.

I haven’t mentioned Ardian Syaf or Joe Prado yet, because I’m not sure what they do. I think the first guy’s on Hawkman, which looks fuckin’ hot, but it has a goddamned writer making me read shit over the pictures. Based on what I saw in the Blackest Night sketchbook, I guess Prado’s helping out on other strips, and so long as it isn’t on the sometimes rough looking Firestorm, he isn’t bothering me none... unless he’s the guy who dicked the Atom.

Justice League: Generation Lost #1 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
I’m pleased to report that a script by Judd Winick did not piss me off or make me cringe. It didn’t thrill me or make me want to buy any more issues, and a laugh would have been nice, but this totally didn’t suck for once. I doubt this entire series will be a fraction as good as the Super Buddies reunion mini-series DC threw under the bus, but it wasn’t completely terrible.

This book right here is exactly where Aaron Lopresti belongs. I’ve enjoyed his work for years, but he’s never really had a home run series. They’ve tried the guy out on icons like Wonder Woman and Superman, but his faces and whole vibe are too down to Earth to fit with the big guns. More average guys like the former JLI, who still need an appropriate level of polish, suits Lopresti extremely well.

My one gripe is: shouldn't a 30th century battle suit be impervious to an electro-magnetic pulse? Didn’t Iron Man having shielding for that stuff in the 20th century? It occurs to me that in the coming years, this will only read more na├»ve and anachronistic. Also, is there any way to read that scene other than Maxwell Lord was prepared for exactly one third rate hero to find him, and despite verbal protestations, hated him so much he beat Booster Gold with the remains of a wheel stop? The Joker beating a teenager with a crowbar kind of makes sense, but this is both derivative and confusing.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #15-16 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
I wonder if it sucks for people who started on this book that the characters who launched the series have totally been pushed aside? As the overlong Starro uberarc was being given the War of the Supermen bum's rush, the book got taken over by (slightly) bigger name refugees from Countdown to Adventure and Mystery in Space. I read New Teen Titans in its heyday, and I still can't recall a time when Starfire has had any marquee value, but I guess her nigh-topless scene explains her role. I'm kind of pissed Captain Comet's getting a hard-on over her is punching a hole in my gay theory, but considering she took on Dick Grayson during his most sexually confused years, maybe her true calling is Beard of the Universe? Or her super-power makes her the greatest weapon Exodus International never had? Flight? Energy blast? Try queerosity displacement!

That was a tangent. Fifteen is all about convenient happenings you would totally be in your rights to call bullshit on, but it's all transparent transitional devices, so you can't really complain about a paint job where the walls aren't even up yet. Sixteen actually develops a plot, but there's too much going on for so little to actually be getting done. Plus, Starfire's in a lead role, which is never a good move outside porn.

Zatanna #1 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
Well, that happened. I guess this book was built for the initiated (down to the kinda gross Dr. Light cameo,) because there’s nothing resembling an introduction here. The comic is really gory and hyper-sexualized, but I guess that’s how it works if DC wants a heroine-driven series to survive much past a year. Power Girl was a lot more subdued (and wry, and clever,) but I don’t think they could sell it without Adam Hughes supplying supple ta-tas on the cover every month. Stephane Roux has got a bit of a Hughes/Sook thing going on his frontpieces, and his interiors are solid, so this just might stand a chance on the stands. I like that Zee’s costume has been heroed-up a bit, especially the theatrical cape, which sells her as more than just a chick in a naughty magician’s assistant costume. Zatanna comes off as very powerful and in control, which is a big improvement over her years as the Justice League’s Scarlet Witch. It isn’t a book for me, but I figure Paul Dini must be getting life right compared to the rest of us, seeing as he’s married to a virtual living Zatanna a couple decades in junior. He may not deserve his dream series, but at least a high five is in order.

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