**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit
Brightest Day #1
By: Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado
This was the ultimate impulse buy of the week for me. I had already picked up three other books and was still wandering around, I really wanted a fourth book to round out the week. “Finding everything you are looking for?” asked the guy running the store for the third time. He was a young kid who I don’t see often on Thursdays. I guess he wasn’t use to seeing me wander around aimlessly like Jen, the nice lady who usually works the store on Thursday. “Just looking for something new and exciting.” was my response. “What about Brightest Day, you get a free white ring when you buy the issue.” To be honest, the whole ring thing set sail for me a long time ago, and I told myself no more ‘events’ this year. But I didn’t want to be rude to the guy, so I looked over at the display set up next the register and picked up a copy, it was a nice looking book, took a quick look at the back and noticed no filler, all for $2.99. So I say, “What the Hell.” I paid for my comics and went on my way.
So how was it? The first thing that stood out was the artwork, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado (Christ, that’s a lot of artists!) turned out a beautifully drawn book here. But beyond the art I honestly didn’t feel any love for this comic. I mean all the elements are there for this to be an awesome book. I just feel like I have been here before with Geoff Johns, he is writing a mystery dealing with 12 characters, heroes and villains, that were resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. By the end of the issue I found myself thinking “ I don’t give a shit.” I just spent the last year following the Blackest Night event, a story that was nothing but characters being brought back to life (or unlife), sure they were evil and what not, but after seeing just about every major and minor hero and villain in DC universe coming back to cause trouble, I was just having a hard time caring as to why this bunch is running around again. After reading this book, it feels like Blackest Night all over again, not in the sense that it was the same story, but the storytelling and the structure of the book felt very familiar to me. Johns was creating a lot of cool individual moments here that were not adding much to the overall story in the long run. Black Manta shows up for the big reveal at the end of the issue left me cold, I knew this was a cool geek moment by Johns that was suppose to get me all hot and bothered for the next issue. Instead I was left thinking what did this have to do with anything related to the ‘Big Mystery’, I guess it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy, Johns jerked me around so much in Blackest Night that I have become automatically suspicious of anything he does story-wise.
I can’t quite put my finger on why it is this book felt so lifeless for me. Perhaps it was seeing Hal Jordan and Sinestro still hanging around bickering like kids, long after they should have parted ways. Maybe it was the fact I have just never been a fan of many of the characters the Johns has chosen to focus on here, Aquaman, Deadman, Firestorm, J’onn J’onzz and the Hawks have never been big draws for me as a comic reader. Or it could be that there is too many characters being dealt with here, some of the characters get as little as two pages of face time in this book, certain scenes feel rushed or incomplete, perhaps fewer characters would have allowed Johns to focus more on the core story. I have a bad feeling that unlike Blackest Night the readers will be forced to buy the crossovers to get the complete story here and if that is the case I will be taking a pass on this one. I am really feeling “event” fatigue at this point and I am more than happy to spend my money on ‘smaller’ stories was focused plots, good characters that I care about and writer that just want to create a likable story and not the next big, world shattering event.
Doomwar #3 (of 6)
By Jonathan Maberry and Scot Eaton
I know this book is two weeks old, but I was surprised to see it on the shelf this week during my visit to my LCS. I am loving this series so far and I know this is a tough story to following along with if you miss a issue, so picking this one up was a no brainer.
First thing I noticed was the cover by JRJR was his best effort so far, and by that I mean the least sucky and the easiest on the eyes. Sorry Romita Jr. fans, but this a far from his best artwork. Opening the comic up finds T’Challa and his forces back in tentative control of Wakanda. Unfortunately, Dr. Doom was able to defeat the final lock on the vault containing Wakanda’s supply of Vibranium and has made off will every last bit of the valuable metal. After two fast paced issues filled with action, writer Jonathan Maberry slows things down quite a bit in this issue. The story breaks down into two parts, T’Challa enlisting the help of the Fantastic Four to help him find the stolen Vibranium and the second part being a flashback revealing how Dr. Doom managed to delete the final lock on the vault that was suppose to keep guys like Doom out. The storyline with T’Challa and the Fantastic Four is pretty standard stuff, I never realized what a crutch Mr. Fantastic has become in the Marvel U, this was the second book this week I read with a hero calling on Reed to help solve a problem for them. I think Reed Richards needs to start screening his calls or he will never get any quality time with the wife and kids. The second part of the story dealing with Doom is by far the meatier part of the book. Maberry expands Doom from a evil super-villain who wants to conquer the world for selfish reasons, to a true believer, who really believes what he is doing is the best thing for the Earth in the long run. This mini-series is still the best thing Marvel is putting out this year and if you are not reading this series yet… well, I would tell you start reading it, but you really need to start it from the beginning to understand and get the full impact of the story. So for you late comers, wait for the trade.
Fantastic Four #578
By Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham
This is part four of of the ‘Prime Elements’ storyline from Jonathan Hickman and he is still piling it on in terms of creating a epic storyline with no mercy for the casual reader. I couldn’t even begin to summarize the story so far, there is no way to put what’s happening here in a nutshell. I would venture to say a person just picking up this issue to give it a look through would be scratching their head as to what is going on, and I would not blame them in the least if they put this book back on the shelf and moved on to something else. But for those of us who have been following along from the start you could call this a Johnny Storm issue. Poor Johnny has a “Looking for Mr. Goodbar’ moment with a woman he meets in a bar that leads him to make a rather rash decision that could spell disaster for him and everyone in the Baxter building. Oh, and for those keeping track, the fourth civilization is revealed and the war of the four cities begins. I liked this issue overall and it was nice to see The Human Torch get the spotlight for change. I am starting to worry a bit that Hickman might start losing people if he introduces any more plot elements into the story.
Invincible Iron Man #25
By Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca
An over-sized issue to kick off the post ‘Siege’ era for Matt Fraction’s Iron Man book. I am happy to say the extra pages contain no filler, just a whole bunch of story dealing with Tony Stark attempting to rebuild his life, rebuild his company and repair a lot of burned bridges. There is a whole bunch of stuff happening here in this book, so don’t be surprised if you have to read this one a few times to absorb everything that happens in this comic. At times it feels like there might be too much ground being covered here. Tony has a lot of stuff on his plate and at times the story seems to rush through certain scenes leaving me unsatisfied. I wanted less of the Hammer girls, a story that quite frankly feels a bit rehashed and not very original, and more of Tony mending relationships with Pepper Potts and Thor. Tony has a scene with Mr. Fantastic (to the rescue again!) where they talk about everything that is happening with Stark’s body and the aftereffects of the Extremis armor, but the one thing they don’t talk about is what happened during the ‘Civil War’. Tony starts to head down that road and Mr. Fantastic, instead of talking with Tony about what happened, simply says, “Well what’s done is done and what’s now is now.” Really? That’s all Reed has to say on the subject? He should have just handed Tony one of those picture’s of the kitten dangling from a string, with the caption “Hang in there!” on it. I liked most of what Fraction was doing here, but I just wanted more of the personal stuff with Tony and less of the Hammer girls and Detroit Steel.
By Jeff Parker and Miguel Sepulveda
This issue marks the end of Norman Osborn’s version of the Thunderbolts. A lot of action and not to much talking, the whole issue is one long pitch battle. The Mighty Avengers taking on Scourge, Mr. X, and Grizzly for control of the Spear of Odin. Ghost, Paladin and Ant-Man also do what they can, pitching in to help make sure Osborn never gets his hands on the Spear. Nothing earth shattering or really surprising happens here. Everyone that should get their asses kicked get them kicked pretty good, villains that should get a second chance get one and Norman doesn’t get his spear. There are a couple of good moments, Ant-Man gets the chance to rub the yellow off his belly and Mr. X gets the beat down of a lifetime from Quicksilver. The book ends with Luke Cage taking over the Thunderbolts and talking about bringing villains up, instead of bringing them down, at least I think it was Luke Cage. Did I mention the art was pretty bad in this issue? I wonder if the editors at Marvel looked at that last splash page and told Miguel Sepulveda, ”Hum, why don’t you put a name tag on his jacket, just to make sure.” I am looking forward to Jeff Parker’s continuing run on Thunderbolts and this was a pretty satisfying end to this current incarnation of the Thunderbolts.