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    Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day! (11-25-09)

    By | November 26th, 2009
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments


    You didn’t think we’d forget about you this Turkey Day, did you? Pfft. Comics outrank Thanksgiving in order of importance. So this Thanksgiving when thinking about what we’re thankful for, we came up this week:

    Matt is thankful for time traveling physicians, the fourth wall, and meteors not landing on his house.

    David is thankful for links, verbose lists and corrections, and OGNs.

    David’s note: I also want to say I’m thankful for Jonathan Hickman’s ascent into the higher tiers of comic writers, JH Williams III blowing my mind, Fables and The Walking Dead giving us years of uniform excellence, Matt giving me the opportunity to write here, and most importantly, the continued recovery of one of my best friends from Leukemia. Go get ’em Sobo!

    Gil is thankful for Gary Frank, 2-hour movie events, and the final issue of World of New Krypton.

    Brandon is thankful for pretty pictures, Gail Simone, and this gig.

    What are you thankful for this holiday? Oh wait. We know. Our reviews! Well, then don’t delay. Stuff yourself with turkey and plop on down. We’ve got a great set of reviews this week. Positively HUGE. Seriously. A lot happened. So check it out!

    Book of the Week: Invincible Iron Man #20

    Matt’s Thoughts: Mmm, Invincible Iron Man. This book has been great to me. I absolutely loved everything about the last arc and the last page got me so excited. It was the first beginning of the reuniting of the Holy Trinity! This is essentially Iron Man: Reborn. However, just like Cap: Reborn, it’s got a slow start. It’s an interesting read with great artwork, but it’s a very slow start. In fact, most of this issue consists of a soliloquy recorded by Stark before his lobotomy. This is then followed by a very curious move by Pepper in which she does what I expected everyone else to do. It’s an interesting turn of events none the less.

    Regardless of this, though, the book still reads well. The writing by Fraction is great. He’s arguably the second best Iron Man writer I’ve ever read (with the number one spot going to techno-freak fan favorite Warren Ellis). I also totally have a love for Salvador Larocca on the art. He’s been with this book since the beginning of this volume and he’s been repeatedly knocking it out of the park. I love his depictions of the characters. His Tony Stark looks amazing. His only poor characters are the Hood (what’s up with that hair?) and Osborn not in the suit (what’s up with that hair?). But all that is redeemed in the end when we meet the main antagonist for this arc.

    So we’ve got a really great concept with good execution and great art, but ultimately a slow start. There are a lot of places the story can move from here. A LOT. I’m not worried about if this will be another great arc for this book at all. Just be warned before going out that this isn’t same pace as all the previous issues (which I suppose makes perfect sense all things considering).

    David’s Thoughts: This week’s Invincible Iron Man stays par for the course, bringing remarkably intelligent scripting from Matt Fraction and stunning pencils from Salvador Larocca. This title is one of the most consistently inventive ones on the market, as from a structure standpoint and from a conceptual stance Fraction is incredible. This title has maintained the feel of one core narrative, never really losing the flow from arc to arc like so many titles.

    My one complaint about this issue, which finds Tony Stark in a coma and those closest to him (Thor, Captain America/Bucky Barnes, Natasha Romanova, Maria Hill and Pepper Potts) being given an audience to a holographic form of Stark and being left with a decision as to whether or not they should revive Stark. That complaint is Pepper Potts reaction to reviving Stark, which rings horribly untrue. If it weren’t for that, this issue would be an unequivocal success. As is, it still is a resounding one.

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    Gil’s Thoughts: In the first chapter of Iron Man: Disassembled, we get a sort of mea culpa of sorts from Tony Stark. He apologizes and comes clean about the different sins he’s committed against his own peers in Thor and Captain America. It’s a really heartfelt and emotionally captivating, so it’s understandable why there isn’t much in the way of acting. This is writing at its finest, no matter what genre you prefer.

    The book is worth it just for the sight of Cap and Thor (well, Donald Blake) coming together to save the man who “betrayed” them. There really isn’t much to say other than it’s up there with the top books in the business today. Read it if you aren’t already.

    Brandon’s Thoughts: First thing I noticed about this book is the brilliant cover. While I have seen the image for months now I was still in awe of the new trade dress for this title. It’s very simple and gorgeous. I am happy with the new look and I hope it sticks around for some time to come.

    The issue itself looked good as usual and read even better. The idea of Stark digging in his own head while his body lies in a vegetative state is presented here as Stark literally digging. Matt Fraction continues to show why he’s the best Iron Man writer around at this point in time. His grasp of this character really shines during Stark’s speech to those gathered around his hospital bed. He lays out Stark’s thoughts on recent years events in away that continues his path of redemption without compromising Stark’s beliefs and actions that backed them since Civil War.

    The issue also does a great job of placing the Iron Man Saga in the back so that this great jumping on point of an issue becomes an even better one. For new readers its years of reading condensed to under ten pages. While I am a long time reader of comics I still find the Sagas interesting and informative.

    Go out there and read this title. You won’t be sorry I promise.

    MATT’S REVIEWS

    Powers #1
    Oh, the return of Powers. How glorious. Ever since I finished the first volume I had been highly anticipating the return of this title. I believe I shared most of my excitement with you this past Friday with my recommendation! And boy, you guys have no ideas what kind of trouble I went through to find this first issue. It was odd. None the less, I immediately ran home and devoured the issue.

    I gotta say – in comparison to the other openings, this was a bit slow. We began with our new character (the replacement to Deena) Enki Sunrise chasing down a Powers Junkie, and we’re shown exactly how the time has shifted between then and now. There’s a cure for the Powers virus and all cops get it mandatorily. While it still exists, it’s no longer the threat it was, so it’s not just an open ended mystery. What we do have, however, is a brand new murder for a character related to Walker’s past. The past openings to volumes have been really action packed, so it was a surprise to see an opening so held back. What we do have however is a further exploration to the wild and mysterious past of Christian Walker, and this is very unexpected. I mean, we all have our assumptions of the man, but this paints him in a much more negative light than we’ve had in the past. Needless to say, with this look into Walker’s past coupled with the ending? This is once again a great start to Bendis’ best title.

    Of course Bendis is right at home with the characters here. As different as Walker here is, it doesn’t seem so incredibly out of place, mainly because Bendis has such a great grip on the character. Through out the entire book in fact, Walker is back to his old brooding self we saw in the earliest issues of Powers. Plus, Sunrise (who we’d had no real interaction with before) has now brought herself more into the picture, and we’re beginning to get more an idea of who she is. I look forward to seeing her character fleshed out in further issues, and while she’s no Deena it is still a rather interesting point.

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    Oh, and how about that artwork from Oeming? If that isn’t an amazing step up I don’t know what else is. We’ve constantly seen him evolving and becoming a better artist, but this book is just phenomenal. Every character is so amazingly well shaped, and all of his backgrounds are incredibly lush. In fact, the tonality of this book is even better than the artwork of the previous sects. I believe this is the most spot on he’s been in doing this book, if only because I think now he truly understands his characters and their shapes. Walker has certainly slimmed down a bit to say the least, but it looks wonderful.

    So what you have is a slow but exciting first issue to a wonderful series now returned. I am very excited to see where the book is going to go from here, and I’d highly recommend checking it out. Granted, it would be best to read volume 1 and 2 before you get into volume 3, but who am I to judge? It is better to buy a first issue now rather than to have missed out on this great book in the future. And it’s worth it for the letter column in the back alone, really.

    Final Verdict: Buy it

    (For those wondering, my Powers story is: went to my comic book store as usual but they didn’t have any copies. I was shocked. When I asked if they had already sold out, I was told that Diamond screwed up and wouldn’t be shipping Powers until Friday. I was upset. I decided to call a different branch of this store that was somewhat equidistant from me, with the point to ask them to hold a copy for Friday. I was asked if I was trying to punk the show, because they had plenty of copies. So I ran to the store, and Brian Michael Bendis approved.)

    New Mutants #7
    The last time I bought New Mutants, I was blown away. I’ve been quietly enjoying the book since it first came back, and I’ve chosen to read it because I like to read almost everything that comes out. I did note that I did not read New Mutants when they first existed though, so the characters did not hold sentimental value to me as they did others. I just thought it was well written and I enjoyed the series. The last issue of the book blew me away with it’s characterization and it’s ability to show to new readers like myself the relationship between current characters and situations. So I decided that New Mutants was definitely still a book to follow up.

    Well, while this week was not as good or as mind blowing as the last, it still is very much a highly entertaining read. Necrosha is no Blackest Night, but the way it’s been handling it’s dead certainly is interesting, as this week’s issue features the return of the Hellions in a shocking move. It also included a visit from the Devil. So how about that? While this week didn’t hit the same notes as the last week, I really loved the action sequences of the story. They felt well plotted out to me and flowed very well, especially when the Hellions attacked and kidnaped Doug. While the story is taking a bit of an odd turn, I’m excited to see the following conclusion next week, because while the book has been good so far, these two issues have made for a really great arc, and have proven to be a really good tie-in with Necrosha. I think that was my biggest fear – that I’d be following Necrosha in X-Force and I’d hate it everywhere else. So far, though, the whole thing has been well wroth the individual follows, although I am a tad bit confused as to where it’s all going.

    What I really loved about this book, though, was the art. I am not familiar with the work of Diogenes Neves, but I’ve gotta say that coupled with the inks of Edgar Tadeo, this is really great. It’s that sort of… Ottley-esque style I’ve been growing to love so much lately. The art combination of Neves and the original inker didn’t flow as well as these two issues have, but Tadeo has made Neves’ artwork come to life so much better. The entire book really melts in my hand as far as art, and despite what I did not get for not being a permanent New Mutants fan, the scene of Colossus and the New Mutants briefly teaming up in a two-page spread was worth the price of admission.

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    That being said, I’m not fully sure I can 100% endorse the purchase of the issue. I’d say if you got the last one, definitely get this. But if you didn’t, and you haven’t been following Necrosha all that closely, it’s skippable. It’s an enjoyable and well written/well drawn book, but it doesn’t match the amazingness of the last issue.

    Final Verdict: At least browse it

    Image United #1
    The first ever Image crossover. Wow. I’d be remiss as a comic book fan if I didn’t at least check it out. The odd part is that the only Image title of these that I read on any sort of regular basis is Spawn. I liked Spawn when I was younger, dropped out around issue 100, and then came back during Endgame. Endgame began with the most confusing element I thought I could see, and that was Al Simmons killing himself and giving up his position as Spawn, thus leading to our new hero. Or really, our new “hero”. Who knew that that would lead to the current Image United crossover? Curious.

    Either way, put all of the creators together with Kirkman at the wheel, and what could go wrong, right?

    Well, it’s odd. I love Kirkman as a writer, and aside from his Ultimate X-Men run I’ve loved everything he’s done. This gets added to the Ultimate X-Men run in my mind. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh of a statement due to this being the one and only issue of a six part series, but it felt really lacking. This is a crossover event, yet nothing really happens. We meet our villain, Omega Spawn, but it’s in a disjointed two page scene that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tale. On top of that, the rest of the story seems oddly and barely connected. We don’t even get an actual appearance from Witchblade. It’s mostly just Youngblood through the whole thing. Well, them and Fortress, who is our new hero (unless I really just don’t know Image comics as well as I thought I did). The whole story just feels… lacking. And then we get to the last page, and everyone is staring off into the distance with “Oh my God…” faces… and we get nothing? Maybe I’m spoiled on events from other books, but isn’t something supposed to.. happen?

    The genius of this title is that all the original creators will be back to draw their original creations. This is a great idea – in theory. In actuality? Well, it’s interesting. On the one hand, we’ve got great renderings of Spawn (briefly) by Macfarlane. On the other hand, there’s a bit too much Liefeld for my liking. And when you put Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon over it (which I do enjoy), it just looks… well, odd. They don’t mix well to say the least. So I essentially bought my first Liefeld comic in at least a decade (excluding Deadpool #900), and while I try not to be as hateful to him as other people I know, I just really dislike his art style, so the book didn’t end up panning out for me at all.

    So the first issue of the first big Image crossover felt like a dud to me. However, I still 100% stand behind the idea of the book. I think that in theory the whole books premise is absolutely brilliant. And I love Spawn. Al Simmons is a classic character in my book, and I just HAVE to see how the story pans out. So I would give Image United at least a browse. While it’s a slow first issue, I feel like further down the line the book has potential for it’s brief six issues.

    Final Verdict: At least browse it

    Teen Titans #77
    Wow. This has to have been my favorite Teen Titans issue in forever. I’ve been following the book for quite some time now, but this is without a doubt my favorite issue (except for my signed issue 1, of course!). You know why this is my favorite issue? Easy. The book stars DEATHSTROKE. Yeah, you heard me! When I grabbed it, I figured we’d see the new Teen Titans side of the Blackest Night story. It didn’t make sense to me because aren’t they supposed to be with everyone else fighting off the Nekron horde right now? Well, good thing the writers of the book knew that. So what did they do? They gave the book to DEATHSTROKE! YES!

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    Deathstroke has been my favorite Teen Titans villain. I know his premise and his story for hating the Teen Titans is a bit hokey and suspect (finishing his son’s work? His son who he killed? Ok…), but you gotta love Deathstroke regardless. He’s such a bad ass. And this book is no different. We’ve got Deathstroke fighting Rose fighting his dead Black Lantern family. It works out amazingly. And best part? They’re all ninjas, so it’s pure action packed goodness from beginning to end. JT Krull does an excellent job at characterizing Deathstroke and his family, and Joe Bennett’s art is almost movie like. I could literally see this being played out a big screen as Deathstroke stares out his window before the lightning crashes and Rose is there. It’s very cinematic. This is probably my favorite Blackest Night tie-in so far.

    I will admit – Teen Titans is a lower book on my tier. I don’t want to read it before others often. But I’m very glad I picked this book this week. I had no idea Deathstroke was the central character and I found the whole book rewarding. It’s a short read and an action packed one at that, and definitely not one you have to take too seriously. However, the characters included are great and it makes for one helluva read. If you get at least one Blackest Night tie-in, I’d recommend this for sheer bad-assery alone.

    Final Verdict: Buy it

    DAVID’S REVIEWS

    Thor Giant-Size Finale
    This issue marks the end of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on this title, which has been an exceptional one, as well as a much delayed one. Interestingly enough, this issue finds the story beginning with Bill (aka William the Warrior) from Asgard’s former home in Kansas squaring off against three Asgardian turncoats with Balder. The rest of the story deals with the ramifications of that and Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three squaring off against Doombots. For such an epic occasion and the conclusion of such an esteemed run, it felt as if not enough happens and JMS doesn’t wrap it up as well as he’d hoped.

    Of course, he does have time with my favorite story point from his Thor run: the love between the mortal Bill and the Asgardian Kelda. It was always an entertaining story beat, and their fates being so intertwined and tragically loving was perhaps the only thing JMS was able to wrap up. This issue brings no resolution to Loki’s attempts to take over Asgard, as it focused more so on Doom than the trickster god. All in all, it felt like an incomplete issue and it made me wish JMS had more time to wrap it up.

    I am an army of one when I say this probably, but I do not particularly love Marko Djurdjevic’s interiors. I much prefer Oliver Coipel’s work, and every time I look at this title without him I think that we’re seeing a poor man’s version. Not that his work isn’t kinetic and well drawn, it just never seems to pack the exhaustive power that his covers do. Alas, we can always get what we want, but it’s another reason why I liked, not loved this issue, which is a disappointment.

    Final Verdict: Browse

    Fantastic Four #573
    Jonathan Hickman is the man. At this point, it’s fairly difficult to argue that I’m a borderline fanboy of his work. It’s just so damn good, and this issue finds Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, and Reed and Sue’s kids and stowaways Franklin and Valeria as they venture to Nu-Earth (from Millar and Hitch’s run) for an impromptu vacation. Given that it is the Fantastic Four it turned out to be a complete mess of a vacation as the star near Nu Earth had turned into a black hole and time had started to move faster than it was on Earth. Now the characters from Hitch and Millar’s run have taken over the planet and Ted Castle (the creator of Nu-Earth) was a freedom fighter trying to save the dwindling population.

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    This leads to a lot of exciting action and some pretty awesome moments. Part of Hickman’s gift is his ability to handle character moments as well as the deeply scientific and action packed ones. Inarguably my favorite page in the entire issue is this soft moment as Ted Castle sits down at a table next to Franklin after talking to the hyper intelligent Valeria about how to fix the portal to Earth and after fighting to stay alive for decades; he looks at Franklin who is eating a sandwich. Franklin casually turns to him and says “you want a sandwich?” in his innocence, to which Castle nearly breaks down and says a meek “thank you.” It’s a wonderfully touching moment and something completely unexpected to myself.

    This month we have Neil Edwards penciling in the stead of Dale Eaglesham (returning the month after next), and at first glance (as I said to my comic shop’s employees) it looks as if he’s the child of Bryan Hitch and Alan Davis. It’s a wonderfully classic look and one that maintains the widescreen power Hitch would bring to the table, and as much as I love Eaglesham it was nice to see Edwards as I really enjoyed his art.

    Another excellent issue from one of the most vastly improved titles of the year, and one that will be permanently entrenched towards the top of my reading title as long as it says Hickman on the cover.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    The Goon #33
    Given that this is an issue that features exactly zero words, I’m going to keep this review brief. If you like the Goon, this issue will be greatly enjoyable. Eric Powell (creator/artist/writer of the title) does a great job of telling the tale of a troublesome new duo to Lonely Street with simply art and illustrated thought bubbles. It’s a fun romp and after the overt seriousness lately it is a welcome change. Powell’s illustrations are mostly black and white which combines very well with his new painterly style that works so well with the deep, cartoon noir look of the book.

    As for everyone else, this is a terrible issue to join in on. Don’t even bother if you don’t read it.

    Final Verdict: Buy if you read, pass if you don’t

    Criminal: The Sinners #2
    The new arc of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips exceptional noir title Criminal, called The Sinners, is shaping up to possibly be the best yet. The reason why is the nature of who main character Tracy Lawless is searching for, whose revelation at the end of the issue brings the arc to a point where we’ll inevitably see a clash of Lawless’ personal ethics and his duty as a temporary heavy for the infamous Mr. Hyde. The ambiguity of the antagonist and the reasoning behind doing what he does is going to assuredly be the crux of the rest of the arc, and I honestly cannot wait for the remainder of it if only for that moment.

    The rest of the issue is of course brilliantly rendered, pitch black noir by Bru, one of the best in the business and at home as per usual within the confines of this title. His Lawless is one of his greatest creations, a fiercely intelligent brute with a checkered past that is rapidly coming back to haunt him. This arc also finds Brubaker filling the supporting cast with more well drawn characters than in the past, replacing standard noir archetypes with truly three dimensional ones that feel far more organic.

    Sean Phillips is an exceptional artist and a long time favorite, but I must bring this up again: since Incognito, Phillips colorist Val Staples has been bringing down his art. Pages are layered with the neon hues of the city throughout, but these never really feel natural. The dark still screams to life on the page, but something just feels off in the coloration of their collaborations lately. I really cannot put my finger on it, but something has changed.

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    Regardless, this is one of the best titles on the market. If you enjoy noir, crime stories or good comics, you hopefully haven’t been missing this. If you have been, I’m envious of your ability to read this series for the first time. This issue is another stellar example, and it is part of what I hope to be the best arc of the series yet.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    GIL’S REVIEWS

    Incredible Hercules #138
    In the fledgling Incredible Hercules crossover Assault on New Olympus, we are presented with an event that seems to be running concurrently with the Siege upon Asgard. I’m wondering, is this a coincidence? Are we seeing attacks on the various gods’ homes at the same time? It’s certainly an interesting thought.

    Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the arc itself. Well, I do say it has a lot of promise (with Athena predicting Herc’s death, and Cho’s rise to take his role as the Prince of Power in the new, science-based era) and Van Lente wastes no time getting to the action. While most events lately would still be putting together set up for the upcoming battle, Hercules and company get right to it, using ancient myth to trick the Greek Gods. I for one thought it was a stroke of genius to use one of their own tricks against them, and I stand behind it. There are also some fascinating theories on just how the heroes came to be, in a similar way that Van Lente revealed why death seems to be such a revolving door in the Marvel Universe. I’m actually thinking that these two theories go hand in hand.

    Speaking of these heroes, can I just say I love USAgent? The man is such a jerk, and everything Cap isn’t, but is just as good a hero as Steve Rogers. I’ve even say he had some of the best lines in the entire issue, if it weren’t for Cho.

    If you couldn’t tell, I really love this book, and have ever since Herc took over during World War Hulk. It’s probably at the best it has been, because everything brought up in previous books is paying off in a serious way it seems.

    Final Verdict: Buy!

    New Avengers #59
    If there’s one thing I REALLY love about Bendis, it’s his respect for continuity. One complaint I have for Marvel is the Oversaturation of the X-Man Wolverine. He currently stars in at least 6 books that I can count, and that’s not counting the other stuff I’m missing. Anyway, Bendis has the idea that while he’s in San Francisco dealing with Utopia X; he can’t be in New York. It’s a breath of fresh air that he’s absent. As for Immonen’s art, there’s not much I can say except that it’s really clean and pops off the page. It’s really great.

    But getting on the story, I’m still not sold on the whole premise for all the issues Luke Cage has had, but it looks like it’s now a convenient plot device to get the entirety of the outlaw Avengers captured by the Dark Avengers. Which I guess is the set up for this whole Siege business. If that’s the case, it does seem like a convenient shortcut, but one I guess I can accept for now.

    It’s also great to see other heroes helping out the Street Avengers when they’re in the most need. We have guest spots from everyone from Dr. Strange to Dr. Voodoo. Iron Fist to Hellcat to Daredevil. It’s a really cool visual seeing them team up like this, even if it was awkward seeing Hellcat all over Dr. strange like she was.

    I’d give it a browse, at the very least, if you’re not reading, you should at least check the arc out from the beginning.

    Final Verdict: Browse

    Superman: Secret Origin #3
    Three issues in, and there’s really not much bad I can say about it, other than it moved a little on the slow side. Each issue elaborates on a specific part of Clark’s history, and this entry is no different. While the first issue dealt with Clark as a child coming into his powers, and the second issue explored his becoming Superboy and palling around with the Legion of Super-Heroes; this issue is very similar to the beginning of the original Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve and the animated Superman cartoon from the 90’s. While it is reminiscent, it still does feel like a new telling.

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    Geoff Johns, who was voted the Writer of the Year according to the Spike TV SCREAM Awards (and DC will not hesitate to tell you that, as many times as possible. Ugh) is penning a book that seems to be getting the step child treatment from DC while Geoff’s other baby Blackest Night gets a majority of the buzz. I can totally understand that Blackest Night is a universe-spanning huge event, but this is every bit as good, and it’s insular, so you don’t need to read a thousand different books to “get” what’s going on.

    And if anyone knows about my obsession with Gary Frank’s art, I don’t have to say that it’s fantastic, and super detailed. One page was such a powerful moment, and all it showed was Clark pulling apart his shirt to reveal the iconic “S,” indicating that Superman was indeed here in Metropolis.

    In short, you should be reading this. There’s no reason you shouldn’t.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Uncanny X-Men #517
    And now we’re onto the other Marvel Matt Fraction book on the market, Uncanny X-Men. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the book, but I’m starting to see a bit of the problems David sees in it.

    Land’s art, while really nice to look at, is also really pose-y, and the women, while beautiful, fall victim to some odd poses for every day conversations, or even discussions about strategizing battle scenarios. It can throw off the events going on.

    And while we’re talking about events, there are so many things going on in this book, you end up with a sort of vertigo. Off the top of my head, there is not one; but FIVE Predators X. And this results in split second battles between these monstrous behemoths and the likes of Magneto, Namor, Rogue (who all take one on by themselves, mind you.), and then the rest of X-Men. Storm appears out of nowhere, The Phoenix Force leaves The Stepford Cuckoos in an almost non-event.

    In short, it’s a real mess of events. But it all happens to quickly, my head was spinning. Check it out, but only if you’re a huge X-Men fan, like me. And even then, you might be confused.

    Verdict: Browse

    BRANDON’S REVIEWS

    Green Lantern #48
    This issue sets up Blackest Night #5 and does a great job of letting you know right away, via a text box, that it is a must read before. Unfortunately, no such box appears to notify the reader in Blackest Night. This was another great issue in a long string of great issues that compose Geoff Johns run on this title and this and the characters involved.

    This issue has less action and more plot development. This is something I was glad to see. I have felt that this event has been good but not greet because of its slow movement in regards to the plot. Here we finally see the Fellowship of the Rings assemble and what an assemblage it is. I am interested to see where they all go and who survives post Blackest Night. I am almost inclined to believe that we are looking at the new Guardians. The figure heads for their individual light. Now it’s a matter of seeing what this white light deal is all about.

    Larfleeze gets some time to shine or annoy depending on which camp you fall into. I personally found Larfleeze to be enjoyable and just Golem enough to not be Golem this time around. While not the best part of this issue he did add a sort of comedic touch to an otherwise dark story.

    Sinestro and Hal Jordan’s interactions are of high caliber here. Sinestro makes more than a few points that are hard to argue with. Sinestro has grown into an amazingly deeper character in the last few years than he has ever been in his entire history. His and Hal’s battles should only become more epic as the years pass now that he is less of a mustache twirling baddie and more of a character with beliefs and motivations.

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    This is an integral issue to the Blackest Night event and really establishes the plot as it is going into Blackest Night #5. If you’re reading that I assume you’re reading this but if for some reason you aren’t you should be as it is the largest part of the Green Lantern side of this event which has been at times hijacked by the other parts of the DCU.

    Final Verdict: Buy this if you love life.

    Blackest Night #5
    Best issue yet of the five issues released so far besides maybe the first issue. You really get to see the plot moving along. It also becomes a Green Lantern title again and less a Flash title. The focus of the issues belongs predominantly to the Black Lanterns and the color spectrum Lanterns trying to get a defensive stop as the Black Lanterns progress steadily in their nefarious plans.

    My only complaint and it isn’t a big one is that there was no text box letting you know that you should read Green Lantern first in this like there was in Blackest Night. While it isn’t a big deal it would leave one wondering where they missed a fairly important part of the story. Why not put the box in both titles instead of just one? Seems lazy to me.

    The various Lanterns in the various double page spreads look incredible thanks to Ivan Reis’ gorgeous artwork. Everything here looks shiny yet gritty. It’s the perfect mix for a horror movie superhero event. The last few pages with a certain guy whose name rhymes with Hatman looks incredible as well under the pencil of Reis.

    The ending of this issue is the kind that leaves you wanting more in a real bad way. It makes good on a promise that all the resurrections of various DC characters would make sense coming out of this. It actually leaves a foundation to halt the revolving door of death at least in the DC neck of the woods.

    This title is now picking up steam and despite it’s slow start continues to be an excellent must read. If you aren’t picking this title up you must hate yourself.

    Final Verdict: Buy! Buy! Buy!

    Amazing Spider-Man #612
    The reinvention of Electro continues here and it is pretty sweet. His new costume is better than the old one but still not the greatest but the evolution of his powers makes him a legitimate threat and helps to reestablish the strength of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. This is just the beginning of the Gauntlet that has been said to be the revisiting of the greatest rogues in Spidey’s gallery and establishing them all as super threats where some had become jokes in previous years. Electro and more importantly the fans walk away benefiting from this issue. If a stronger villain makes a better hero than Spidey is about to take it up a notch.

    I really enjoy the art here from Paul Azaceta. I’m not familiar with his work but he has shined the last two issues and in particular this issue. The shot of Electro hooked up to the electric machine that is amping him up is a great iconic shot for the character that wouldn’t work as well under a different artist. I sincerely hope to see more of Azaceta’s art on Spidey and maybe even X-Factor where I think he would be a great fit.

    If Electro gets this kind of increase in power and stature imagine what the team behind Amazing will do with other characters like Mysterio and Rhino. This is a great start for the Gauntlet story that I hope can run the distance all the way to the end.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Justice Society Of America #33
    This is both the end of a storyline and the beginning of something big for the JSA. After this issue the JSA splits into two books and the way we get there is fluid and welcomed. The division of the team is something that began back in the Geoff Johns run and now at the end of this issue reaches the only logical conclusion.

    Continued below

    The spilt of the teams results in two drastically different teams but yet both stay very strong. Are you a fan of the younger legacy characters of the JSA? There’s a title for you. Are you a fan of the older characters? There’s a title for you as well. Both teams include enough great characters to warrant picking up two different titles.

    This issue itself though provides high action and the destruction of an iconic landmark. It also gives us the return of an evil character that was there the whole arc. Fans of the character may not be a huge group but there will be enough like myself that smack themselves in the head and think they should have figured it out. It’s a great twist that is left open to be built upon. People who aren’t clear on who the character is probably wont appreciate it as much. If you’re one of those people trust me it’s pretty cool and may I suggest Salvation Run as a great place to fall in love with the character.

    Final Verdict: Buy it!


    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."

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