4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because I love this book each and every month I read it. It’s always fast and fun,and Gleason’s art captures every shadowy and shady thing you need for Batman without descending into murk. Batman is a character whose personality and abilities stand out when bounced off just about any other character in the DCU. This is why Batman always needs a Robin, a Nightwing, an Alfred or a Gordon, if not you just got a real quiet dude kicking ass and hanging out in a cave, looking at computers, conducting forensic experiments and doing one-armed pushups…. not much room for exposition eh? Tomasi knows this and uses it well, from the titles early & Robin days, through Requiem and Two-Face and its current Brave-and-the-Bold-esque run. This time it’s Wonder Woman joining in on The Hunt for Robin (‘s corpse. He is still dead, so far). Due to Ra’s al Ghul searching for a long-lost Lazarus Pit on Paradise Island, the Amazon’s homeland, hoping to bring his dead daughter and grandson back to life. Wonder Woman brings Batman to the isle of warrior women, not without protest from their more vocal, more dangerous members. After being granted access to the all female island, a race ensues to the location of the island’s Lazarus Pit, Ra’s believing it one of his resurrection pools, but the Amazons have another use for it… a prison. Can Batman and Wonder Woman save his son’s body and stop Ra’s from releasing an ancient evil int the world? Will’s Ra’s plan for world domination at the hands of the Al Ghul family finally reach its goal? Does Batman need a shower??? (seriously, there are repeated mentions of his “musk” this issue!)
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because Cullen Bunn is the man when it comes to writing villains in their own series. I ranted an raved about his first two issues of Magneto in past Threat Level Wednesdays, so I was optimistic about this book because he was writing it, an it’s being drawn by one of my favorite artists, Dale Eaglesham. These two are one creative team that will definitely have you experience every emotion on the rings spectrum each month. You’ll be filled with Avarice and buy multiple copies, you’ll Love the intelligent writing , the gorgeous art will fill you with Hope, you’ll have the Will to read it without distraction, the Compassion to share it with others who don’t know better, the Fear of its cancellation, and filled with Rage at waiting a whole 30 days for it to come out!!!!
Eaglesham is amazing! His art has that bigness and design of Kirby and Romita, but that airbrushed realistic finish you see on artists like Doug Braithwaite and Mike Mayhew. The art has depth and realism, but not at the sacrifice of the classic sci-fi designs and line work we all love comics for. The complaints online I read of him drawing a too buff, muscular Sinestro, are explained away on the first few pages.
After purging himself of Parallax, Sinestro has put himself in a self-imposed exile. In an ancient temple, on a dead world, in forgotten space, Sinestro lives on his own, battling giant were-cats for survival and meditating on his past actions and his forsaking of two different Lantern Corps. When Lyssa Drak arrives (magnificently!), Sinestro is once again forced to don a Yellow Ring, it’s not her warnings of a Sinestro Corps run amok under Arkillo’s leadership (oh and he makes the biggest mistake one can when messing with Sinestro), or the rise of an evil Emptiness (it’s Pale Vicars spreading Anti-emotion across the universe) nor the Book of Parallax tattooed across Lyssa’s entire body that instills fear in Sinestro. What is it that drives Sinestro back to power of fear? Read it and find out! As cool as all those concepts that Bunn laid out I described above, are tens times cooler when you see them. I can’t say enough about Eaglesham, he captures everyone perfectly, and draws a range of locations, from deep space to the tropical jungle, from high-tech ships to ancient temples, everything on the page looks fantastic! Even if you hate DC and the Green Lantern Universe, get this book just to appreciate this pinnacle of sequential art
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: This actually lost a whole Space Monkey just because I’m tired of unnecessary Marvel re-numbering, and Waid s guilty of this twice, here and on Daredevil. In both circumstances the title continues DIRECTLY from the story of the last cancelled one. DIRECTLY. No time passes. At all. Nor as any other standard comic trope that would garner a new # 1. At least this title changed artists.
Anyway, as a result of last issues… excuse me… last series conclusion, we saw Banner shot in the back of the head twice and left for dead. Now SHIELD Agents (…or are they) rush to recruit a renowned brain surgeon and former classmate of Bruce’s to save the scientist/superhero. But, Dr.Carpenter knows he is also saving the Hulk, and how will this knowledge effect his performance in the operating theater? Who really is behind both his assassination and his surgery, and what do they want Dr.Carpenter to implant in Bruce’s brain??
Bagley is great as always, packing his panels with action and tension, with his characters having plenty of emotions to show and add a cinematic finesse to even the slower scenes. Waid’s story has plenty of intrigue and promise, and that cliffhanger last page will definitely have me grabbing issue #2, but I don’t know how long I’ll keep this on if Waid doesn’t start to really bring it.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because Aaron is a writing God. Seriously, this guy knows what he’s doing. Sure he’s got the talented Esad Ribic to paint his cosmically cool ideas spectacularly, in both the present and future time lines of this tale. But, they are Aaron’s ideas and they’re big, awe-inspiring and sometimes, downright funny! Ever thought you’d see Galactus puke? King Thor (of a future ruined Earth) gut-punches (gut-hammers??) the Devourer of Worlds right in the bread basket! Sounds silly right. But what does Galactus vomit? “Molten energies of a thousand worlds”! That right there takes it up a notch in comic coolness! Plus he breaks a couple of his fingers… Now Galactus is mad “and his rage doth burn like a billion supernovas. And his fists do fall with force of the same” That, my friends, is how you write a Thor comic! A battle thousands of years in the making reaches its climax!
Meanwhile, in the present, Roxxon has been pretty busy in Broxton Ohio, the town Asgard calls home. Buying up foreclosed properties, paying large sums to get people to move, and building giant floating factories, polluting the towns air and water. All at the command of their new CEO, Dario Agger, know in some circles as the Minotaur, for his business tactics, and in others for his ability to change into a large bull like creature of myth. See, Thor embarrassed Agger a few times, and cost Roxxon billions, while impressing his latest crush, SHIELD Environmentalist Agent, Roz Solomon. And now Agger is unleashing his greatest weapon against Thor… lawyers. That’s right folks! Thor gets sued!
Aaron and Ribic continue to show, that regardless of the time period, Thor is, was, and always will be The God of Thunder!!
4 out 5 Space Monkey
Because, if you’re looking forward to this summer’s Valiant Crossover event; Armor Hunters as much as I am, then get on board with these current issues of X-O, aptly titled Prelude to Armor Hunters. Venditti drops clues left and right in this issue, buts still leaves us waiting with baited breath for the upcoming mini series. Aric, in exchange for a place for his people to live, is running missions in his X-O Armor for M.E.R.O., the Military Extraterrestrial Reconnaissance Outpost. They sent Aric to near earth orbit to explore the wreckage of a Vine spaceship, and be on the look out for scavengers. But once there he comes into contact with an alien warrior, partially covered in armor similar to his own X-O armor, despite it’s aged and parasitic look. A battle ensues, with alien hell-bent on destroying X-O. Near death and unconscious from the beating, Aric and the readers learn some interesting things about the armor, few of which sit well with our barbarian king. Upon returning home, Diego Bernard gets to display his artistic chops, not only drawing space ships, truly alien looking extraterrestrials and military equipment an bases, we see how well he draws people and emotion, when Aric’s lover pulls him into their makeshift home to show him the latest amazing thing given to his people by the U.S. government… running water. The couples reaction to a sink is priceless and a nice grounding point for such a high sci-fi series.
Meanwhile, on the desolate planet of Ba’ek, we find out the X-O armor is not as unique an entity as we thought it was as the Armor Hunters step into the light and we see that they truly earned their moniker. Primary, Helix, Quartz and Gin-Gr are making their way towards earth, in all their deadly glory. Dark days are looming for X-O and it all starts here!
4 out of 5 Stars
Why?: Because I’ve given all the Dynamite Gold Key stuff a chance, purely based on my Valiant-love, but so far this one showed the most promise. Turok and Magnus didn’t really hit me, but Solar, …Solar was a little different. The writing was smarter and quicker, the dialogue was sharp and realistic, and the various charters engaging. But the art was amazing. Industry pro Joe Bennett , with sharp clean lines, solid textures, and cinematic layouts, brings Barbiere’s story to life. He pulls in a life time of inspiration, the tech is Kirby, the alien spaceships Moebius, his characters are Dodson, his layouts Byrne.
It was a fun first issue, with lots of the quantum-physics,energy-fields, thermodynamic equations, sci-fi concepts you’d expect from a comic with this title. Barbiere keeps it interesting, with a cast of characters that have very important ties to Solar (one in particularly I think might be verrrry important, and possibly lead to a change in title). Both writer and artist pull from all Solar-sources-past, with nods to every incarnation, the return of the green sin was a nice touch from the original concept, and mingling Windsor-Smiths straight-line energy fields with a touch of Kirby Krackle at the edges was nice take on art style, the atom pattern was a deft touch that pulled it together. This title has promise, and I’m glad to have a Solar book back in my read pile.
Last Week’s Surprise Pick:
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because Dynamite’s Kings Watch was one of my favorite mini-series to come out in the past year, and this run of Flash Gordon ties directly into it. In King’s Watch (also written by Parker), we saw Flash and his entourage team up with other Kings Media characters (Mandrake the Magician, and the Phantom) to stop the invasion of earth from Mongo, the planet ruled by Ming the Merciless. Due to events in that series, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Professor Zarkov find themselves trapped on Mongo, being hunted down by Ming’s army. Their only hope is to escape through one of the portals that Ming uses to invade and conquer other worlds.
With the portal to Earth destroyed, Flash and Co. have to risk landing on an alien world due to the dwindling supply of energy for their rocket ship. Dodging through portals leading from one hostile world after next, each under Ming’s control is just part of the sci-fi action in this book. Shaner captures the designs of the early 21st sci-fi tech, without making it look goofy or dated. His non sci-fi scenes and his characters are dynamic, especially in the flashbacks, showing Flash’s adrenaline junkie past, Dale’s science reporter career (an interview with a physicist who looks suspiciously like Neil DeGrasse-Tyson)and how Zarkov got his hands on the Quantum Crystal, that started this mess in the first place! Nice all around #1, helps if you read Kings Watch.
See you next week fellow fine art enthusiasts!