Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday Is Blandest Day For All I Care #81

Adventure Comics #517
Brightest Day #7-8
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
R.E.B.E.L.S. #19

Adventure Comics #517 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
This Saturn Girl spotlighting issue is a damned far sight better than the execrable R.J. Brande piece from last month, but it's still problematic. The story jumps from moment to moment where it could use smooth transition. You just know the Token Minority from Without Silver Age Continuity is doomed, not that she ever mattered to the reader. Kevin Sharpe's art also has issues, as it's usually appealing, but with lurching lapses in aptitude that look like '90s c-lister gaffes. The anachronistic robots next to goofy '60s costume designs fail, as well. It's okay, but not for the price tag.

Meanwhile, Jeff Lemire's Atom co-feature continues to be the dumbest thing since Dan Jurgens gave Ray Palmer the Marty McFly treatment. Ray busts out some tough guy talk, which would be cool, except the next page has him as a kid science dork (in glasses, because all smart kids wear glasses.) Geoff Johns must have been seriously traumatized by The Empire Strikes Back, because it seems his "previously unseen evil relative" dictates have extended from Brightest Day to here. I'm still waiting for Peter Parker Ray to recall his National Committee For Prevention of Child Abuse moment with Uncle Dave.

Flash forward to the present, and the Atom de-miniaturizes a ray gun from his "utility belt." On nthe one hand, I would totally carry miniature weapons in my utility belt if I were the the Atom, just like Ryan Choi made a point of rocking his versatile Bang-Stick. On the other hand, the reason I greatly prefer Ray Palmer is because he's such a bad little motherfucker, he will stab you with the business end of a #2 pencil. He will (bobby) pin your hands behind your back and stab you to death with a plastic sandwich sword. Ray Palmer is the Bullseye of the Leprechaun League, and pulling a gat just seems so... Jason Toddy.

Things really take a turn for the "no he di'int" when the poisoned Atom brings the Calculator to the secret headquarters of his arch-nemesis, who just happens to have an antidote for him at the ready. Further, mentally competent Calculator is bound for Arkham Asylum, but rolls over on a client when threatened by the Atom. Now, he probably knows Ray would kill a bitch, but probably not with a woman present, especially if his brilliant mind had deduced that Ray had found him with the help of his friggin' arch-nemesis, the only person capable of such a task, who he once kinda met once. Shut. Up.

Brightest Day #7-8 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
Issue seven had a lot going for it. For starters, Ivan Reis wasn't wasted on too many pages of Deadman & Hawk & Dove. These are the characters driving the overarching story of twelve super-people having their lives restored as a blessing in exchange for accomplishing certain tasks for a divine being. That story isn't very interesting, and the three late '60s failures are regressed to approximations of their original, non-starter personas. Dove is still living in the Age of Aquarius, Hawk still thinks the Kent State shootings were totally justified, and Deadman is still a whiny schmuck. Plus, the Dixie Chicks gag doesn't work as well as it could, because they're actually quite good if you give them a chance. Better to bash a more universal lame-o (Uncle Kracker, Keith Urban... he'd probably like Koby Teef.)

Damn, that white outfit flatters J'Onn J'Onzz of Mars. I've dabbled in white as an alternate outfit for the guy, and while it doesn't suit his detective milieu, it's snazzy as all get out. I wonder though, why do White Martians bleed purple and Greens red?

I hope this stuff with Black Lantern Firestorm leads into the resurrection with renewed purpose of Shadowstorm. There's a lot of potential in the Firestorm concept, and I think the bi-racial themes and conflicted personalities strengthen the character. I just wish the art and story were better, although this issue indicates improvement.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl have the best chance of stealing the White Lantern arc's whimper. These characters suck in a full fantasy setting, the art is stiff, and I just really don't care about this take on Hawkworld. Katar also looks good but inappropriate in white.

Ivan Reis only draws two Aquaman pages, which is bullshit, because he was born to draw that feature. He was great on Green Lantern, but Atlantis is his home.

The now patented Geoff Johns "preview trailer" panel spread closes things out. Nice to see one of my favorite villains in Eclipso, but he'll be in The New Justice Titans, so count me out. I'm glad Isis is on her way back, though. DC needs all the non-derivative super-heroines with multi-media cred it can get.

Now issue eight? Not so hot. Two pages of Dead & Dove define dull. Now that we know Aqualad is the good son of the evil Black Manta, we now learn that the good Hawkgirl (still a girl? rilly?) is daughter to an evil Queen Shrike who's probably banging their archenemy. Incestuous much? Plus, Hawkman gets to be White Jesus to a bunch of animal people. Ohfuckingshitmychrist!

Martian Manhunter is especially dense, and I've got to say, I'm now really glad Pat Gleason will be preoccupied drawing Batman and Robin. There's just something whackass about his approach to J'Onn J'Onzz, from the painted fingernails to the wimpy brow, and he draws the worst Miss Martian to date. I want to care about this Green Martian serial killer arc, but we're four months in and it's still just preamble. Nothing is connecting here. It's a jumble of violent moments. I'm still waiting to see if the killer is a blood relation, by the way...

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
I didn't start buying Guy Gardner: Warrior until a year and a half into the series. From that point, I was able to fish back issues out of the quarter bin, and I followed the book through to its bitter end. All this is to say that I've liked Guy since his JLI days, but there was maybe one year out of his run of four worth reading. As written in the early '90s, Guy Gardner was a character with limited potential as a soloist, and when giving him Ben Grimm's personality and the Ultimate Warrior's war paint stands as a massive improvement, your character is flawed.

It isn't much of an accomplishment to state that Guy's second chance at his own book is much better than the first. Guy has a clear mission, and his main draw of belligerence has been balanced out with a sense of the greater good and the typical trappings of the rogue cop in an atypical environment. The art of Fernando Pasarin is very pretty, combining Bryan Hitch with Mike McKone, and rendering Gardner as the clean cut hardcase of his earlier appearances. I continue to suffer from indifference to the writing of Pete Tomasi though, and twenty-four pages of set-up for a run of the mill story asking four bucks of me can wait for its own turn in the discount box.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #19 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
This is one of those consistently alright books that I have a vested interest in following, but never quite earns its keep. For instance, this is the middle chapter of a three-parter in which Vril Dox finally confronts his "father," except this isn't the same continuity as twenty years ago. The Superman books recently offered up their umpteenth revision of Brainiac. For a longtime reader, there's a cognitive dissonance between the fairly consistent Dox and his newly beefcake paterfamilias whose latest costume looks like a quilt with built-in night lights. Especially with Dox and his son Lyrl going by Brainiacs 2 & 3, something the old Dox would never tolerate, the whole arc feels like a big to simply cash-in on the connection. The art remains pleasant, the stories inoffensive, but I'm always on the fence with this thing.


mathematicscore said...

I still spring to Gleason's defense, but then again, I enjoy Sci-fi J'onn, and you've shown marked interest in Detective J'onn. I think artist to artist inconsistencies are sort of cool, that a shapeshifter would be, well, shifting a lot. That his brow isn't on par with Hughes or Macguire's takes doesn't bother me, and the acting and dynamics are alright by me.

Diabolu Frank said...

Gleason was so good on Aquaman and GLC, and he has his moments here, but I've never seen him so off on a book. He's fine, but I had higher expectations.

I'm cool with sci-fi J'Onn, but not science fantasy J'Onn. Alien killer on the loose killing people and talking some and killing some more then not killing a super-heroine because J'Onn is magic when he's not just bumblefucking around ain't my idea of science fiction. It's meandering stupidity along the lines of the '70s Denny O'Neil serial from Adventure Comics.Objectively, J'Onn's segment is the worst in the book.I like it better than others because it looks alright and features my boy, but it's going nowhere slowly.


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