Posts Tagged ‘Brightest Day’

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Title: Birds of Prey #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Ed Benes
Published by: DC Comics
Price Tag: $2.99

People have often asked the question, can you go home again? The short answer to that is yes, especially when it comes to Birds Of Prey. Gail Simone has reunited with her super clad girls, and in doing so has delivered to fans both old and new an action packed helluva first issue.

Simone has demonstrated her ability to write multiple team based superhero comics, by way of Secret Six as well as Birds Of Prey. She is fantastic at giving a separate and individual voice to each character. She combines wickedly interesting dialogue between all the characters while giving the reader just the right amount of action to keep you wanting to turn the page.

No need to sweat if you are a newbie to this title because this is a great jumping on point. Simone provides enough of a back story to get you in the loop, while at the same time not boring the fans from the original series. Reboots can be tricky at best, and if not handled with the right pen, you can have the potential to be get a giant let down, and a drag.

The art work of Ed Benes has always drawn a bit of split crowd amongst fans. But I have to say that he certainly brought his A game to this project. In my humble opinion, Benes has a talent for, how should I say, extenuating the various attributes of the female form. Or to put it simply the man can draw some pretty decent T & A. The art work was capped off with the collaborative effort by Nei Ruffino on colouring, which really brought everything together nicely.

Not only was there the reuniting of the Birds, but there was also an introduction of Hawk and Dove to the story line two characters that I admittedly don’t know very much about but hope to learn more about in future issues. We were also introduced to a brand new villain, The White Canary who seemed pretty cool and interesting. I particularly enjoy it when the comic book leaves you hanging on that last page. The anticipation for the next issue just rev’s you up.

All in all to sum up, this was a solid issue for me. Great start and am on board. Check it out if you are looking for something fun which portrays women heroes in a very strong and positive light. This books gets the big HOORAY FOR COMICS!

-Cami/Variant Girl

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Gail Simone and Ed Benes kick off the relaunch of the Birds of Prey title under the ‘Brightest Day’ event (I know, I am breaking my own rules again). I have to admit up front, I never follow the original series very closely, in my younger days I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Chick’ comics. I always saw female heroes as supporting characters or sidekicks, never as characters that could headline or support a solo book. What can I say, I was an idiot back then, I’d like to think that old age has given me the wisdom to appreciate female heroes as the major players they truly are in the comic universe today.

Previous prejudices aside, I found myself enjoying this book. The plot in the first issue is a pretty standard “putting the band back together’ type story. It looks like Gail Simone is bringing back most of the major players from the old series. Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Huntress and of course Oracle are all back. Simone is also shaking things up a bit with the addition of two new members to he team, Hawk and Dove. Well, they are not members yet, but they do get the invite from Lady Blackhawk. The addition of Hawk and Dove to the mix could be interesting to say the least. Dove was never one of my favorite characters, too much of a goodie two shoes for my liking, but I like the way Simone wrote her in this issue. Dove is left with the unenviable task of babysitting the newly resurrected Hawk, who appears to have come back to life even more pissed off and unstable than before, if that is possible. I am sure Hawk’s new found ‘solider of god’ complex will make things interesting in future stories.

Gail Simone gets us right into the action, we find previous members of the group, Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk and Huntress off doing their own thing, fighting crime, beating up bad guys, generally doing the hero thing, when they receive an urgent call from Oracle asking for help. Apparently there is a new bad guy in town and he/she has detailed personal information on not only most of the villains in Gotham, but detailed files on the ladies of the ‘Birds of Prey’ as well. This new villain wants to play a game of ‘stop me if you can’, he/she will kill a person on their list every hour until our band of heroes stop him/her, if the ladies refuse to play his game, he/she will release all of the information on the files to the general public. After a brief discussion about the possible identity of our bad guy, they are off to stop them. Oddly enough, Black Canary and Huntress find themselves in the strange position of trying to save the Penguin from being killed by this new threat. I say try because this new villain(who does turn out to be a woman) quickly outmatches Black Canary in hand to hand combat and takes out Huntress with ease. The cliff hanger leaves Penguin bleeding like a stuck pig with Black Canary and Huntress apparently helpless to do anything to help poor Oswald .

So who is this new ninja killing machine? No idea, I am guessing someone related to Lady Shiva by the way she addresses Black Canary, possible choices..

Lady Shiva- Doubt it
Some Bizarro version of Lady Shiva- Not likely
Cassandra Cain- No idea, does she have a beef with the ladies?
Marque- Who?
Sin- You tell me.

I am sure someone with more experience with the ‘Birds of Prey’ comic series can do a better job of speculating on who the ‘White Canary’ is than I.

I normally don’t spend to much time commenting on artwork in comics, I am no expert, but I know what I like and I don’t like. Boy, do I like Ed Benes’ work here on this book, I doubt they could have picked a better artist for this one, the man know how to draw the female form, and I don’t mean in the exaggerated giant boobs and butt kind of way, he is just really good at drawing athletic, beautiful women. Benes is almost too good at what he does. There is a scene early on in the comic were Huntress is kicking a bad guy in the face that makes you realize just how inappropriate her costume is for fighting crime. Lets just say I won’t be getting bored with Benes’ artwork on this book.

Overall this was a very good kickoff for the new series. Gail Simone knows how to write strong female characters and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with Dove, hopefully she can breath some life into a character I have never been very impressed with. What else can you say about Simone? She is a proven writer and has written ‘Birds of Prey’ in the past and there is no reason to think she cannot continue to write quality stories for our group of strong female heroes.

-IM

Rating System:
**** : 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.

Rating: **

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.

Rating: ***½

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.

Rating: ***

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.

Rating ***

Thunderbolts #143
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.

Rating: ***

-IM

Ironmuskrat does most of the heavy lifting in this Capsule Reviews post while I just pretty much throw in a quick two cents worth in an attempt to get back on the review wagon.

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit

Avengers vs. Atlas #4 (of 4)

I have been really enjoying this mini from Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman. Nonstop action and lots of clever dialog from Parker, It was just a good old fashion, fun comic. However, I hate to say it, but the last issue was by far the weakest for me, not to say it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t as fun as the previous books. The big problem was Parker reached the end of the mini series and found himself having to explain just what the hell was going on in last four books. That lead to a lot of talking and not much action, with the brains of the Avengers and Atlas (Giant-Man, Marvel Boy) talking about the nature of the Temporal Virus and how to stop it, with everyone else just standing around looking on. It doesn’t help that our heroes are dealing with alternate time-lines and time travel, all things that don’t lend themselves to quick or easy explanations. I almost wish Parker had not made such an effort to tie the plot lines up and just left things to our imagination. Still, I enjoyed the series overall and I am looking forward the Atlas relaunch next month.

Rating: ** for this issue, **** for the series overall – IM

REBELS #15

This issue deals with the aftermath of the Staro invasion and finds Despero being hailed as a hero who stopped Staro. On the other, hand Vril Dox is vilified as the cause of the invasion in the first place. A pretty good issue that is mostly set up for future story lines. Dox has to find a new place to call home due to the fact everyone in that part of the galaxy wants to kill him, Staro finds that he still has allies loyal to him without being mind controlled and Starfire shows up to visit the Vega system and ends up making an amazing discovery. Tony Bedard writes some good moments here. One being where Dox is almost speechless that he isn’t being recognized as the hero he feels he is. And another where we see Starfire’s sadness at what happened to her home world and how much things have changed in Vega system. I guess the only part of the book I didn’t like was Staro’s fate, I sort of had to roll my eyes at that one, but I guess you can’t let a good villain go to waste. Oh! and I know how much you like redheads Jose and there is a very nice cheesecake shot of Starfire in this one from St. Aubin.

Rating: ** – IM

Brave and the Bold #33

I know I criticized JMS on the last issue of B & B for moving away from examining the inner thinking and personal conflicts of the heroes and sticking to a more impersonal storyline. I wanted to see into the minds of our heroes as they struggled to make tough choices about fighting crime and even about their own mortality. Well, all I can say is J. Michael Straczynski hits this one out of the park, he creates a powerful story about fate, love and trying to do the best thing you can to help someone even though you are helpless to really help them in the ways you wish you could. The story seems like a simple one, Zatanna convinces Wonder Woman and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) to head out on the town for a girls night out. Zatanna has a secret motive for this night on the town however that will affect the life of one of our heroes forever. I won’t spoil the story if you haven’t read it yet, but JMS writes a story that is funny, sexy and terribly sad at the same time. This is by far my favorite Brave and the Bold story by JMS so far. Straczynski does in this issue what he has been excelling so far on his run on the Brave and the Bold, taking heroes and putting them in tough spots and letting the readers follow along as our heroes agonize over life changing decisions. No Jesus Saiz this week, but Cliff Chiang has a somewhat similar style and does a good job bringing this story to life. I don’t know what else to say about this book, it really knocked my socks off.

Rating: **** -IM

Joe the Barbarian #4

Well, we are at the halfway point here on Grant Morrison mini and I can honestly say I am still not sure what is going on… well, that is not entirely true. This issue actually explains pretty much everything that is going on with Joe and the two worlds he finds himself bouncing between. I guess I should say I don’t care about the overall plot right now because I am so fascinated by the world that Morrison has created here and the very cool characters that inhabit it. Sean Murphy does such an amazing job on the art I find myself getting lost in the beauty of his artwork. I think this a case where the fantasy world Joe finds himself swallows the storyline whole and makes it take a backseat to the visuals. I don’t want to sell Morrison short on his storytelling, but right now I find myself appreciating the artwork more than what is going on with Joe’s personal life or the whole forces of good battling a rising evil that threatens the land storyline. I know I will go back and reread the whole series after all eight issues come out and pay more attention to the story. For now I will be content with visions of aerial battles with flying stingrays and a Leonardo Di Vinici flying machine.

Rating: *** – IM

American Vampire #2

I told myself ‘No more vampires!’ I am so tired of them and all the Emo crap that seems to be attached to them these days. Pop culture in the past 20 years have cut the nuts off of the once proud creatures of darkness and turned them into fodder for silly teenager dramas. But I can admit that American Vampire comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders. I like the way Scott Snyder and Stephen King are taking a genre that I thought was played out and breathing new life into it. Vampires are back to being brutal killing machines that not only want to drink your blood, but they want to take your money too while they’re at it. Most of the vampires so far appear to be of European origin and want to forge a business empire in the United States. The star of this book so far is Skinner Sweet, he appears to be the first American born vampire created by accident and is very different from his European counterparts. For one thing they hate each other with a passion and Skinner appears to working against their interests in America. That is not to say he is a hero, Sweet is a murdering, amoral outlaw at heart and his motives for his actions are not clear at this time, but I doubt he is acting out of any kindness in his heart.

Once again the book is split into two parts, that take place about 40 years apart. The first story is written by Scott Snyder. Snyder’s story once again deals with a young actress named Pearl, who finds herself surviving (or not surviving) a feeding frenzy from our European Vamps. She is helped by Skinner Sweet, for reasons that are unknown at this time. The second story is by Stephen King and deals with the early days of Skinner Sweet life as a new created vampire. Scott Snyder again has the better of the two stories this time around, but in King’s defense he is left with mostly the background story of Skinner to write and I get the feeling King’s half of the story will start to get better as he fills in more details of Sweet’s life. Rafael Albuquerque does a very job as the artist on this book, bring the story to life and making the vampires (especially Skinner) savage creatures that jump out at you from the page. I will be certainly be picking this book in the future to see just what that evil little shit Skinner is up to.

Rating: *** -IM

Brightest Day #0

Not a very good start. The Hawkman and Hawkgirl dialogue alone almost killed this issue for me. Maxwell Lord making (almost) everyone on the planet forget about him and what he did? Really? Didn’t DC already do a mind wipe story this decade? And Hawk is now DC’s version of Wolverine?

I did like the Martian Manhunter scene as well as the Jade/Kyle Rayner bit. I am really interested in knowing who wrote what in this issue between Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi. The art was decent enough.

Rating: ** -J.

Doc Savage #1

How this comic got the “OK” to be published mystifies me. This is the first issue to a new series for a character that most new readers aren’t familiar with so it should be solid right from the get go. At times it felt that the dialog presented on certain pages didn’t really correspond with anything that was going on and it really was just a jumbled, unreadable mess. And what the hell happened to Howard Porter’s art? He is much better than this. I think I’ll just stick with the main First Wave book for now.

Rating: ½* – J.

Flash #1

Now this was a surprise. After not being very impressed with the cliché ridden Flash: Rebirth and not being a very big fan of Francis Manpul’s art I was expecting to completely dislike this book. That did not happen. This issue was a fun read and Manapul’s art suited it very well. Johns does a good job of (re)introducing the supporting characters for this title as well as keeping a good pace to the story. And the 25th century’s version of the Rogues? Did not see that coming and I thought it was pretty cool.

How can this be? I enjoyed a Geoff Johns book? I thought I was supposed to hate him (according to some CCW viewers)?

Rating: *** – J.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #6

For fuck’s sake. After five and half issues of nonstop killing, implied sexual assault and a baby getting thrown out a window Mark Millar expects readers to sympathize with the Red Skull? Yes, apparently the Red Skull just wanted the Cosmic Cube so he could use it to go back into time and make sure Steve Rogers (his daddy) came back home from World War II so he could have a family and a happy childhood.

This has got to be the most ridiculous, lazy ass storytelling I have seen in quite some time. At no point in the entire series did the Skull come off as being conflicted about what he was doing. At no point did the reader want to feel sympathy for this character. But on his death bed he lays out what his true intention was all along and the reader is supposed to just fucking buy it? And then if the reader does sympathize with the Skull and believes “Gee, I guess me wasn’t a bad guy after all” Millar has the Red Wasp shoot him in the head, killing him. “But he just misunderstood this whole time! You didn’t have to kill him, you bitch!“ might think said reader. WTF.

Again, tragedy is being forced into a story to get the reader to empathize (right before smacking them in the face mind you) without any substance or context. The decent (if not at times just painfully boring) art of Carlos Pacheco helps this comic gain a half star.

Rating: 1/2* – J.

This week’s question:

“What titles, if any, are you looking forward to reading from DC’s Brightest Day event?”

Like Ironmuskrat wrote in the last post, I too was quite disappointed in the “conclusion” of Blackest Night (maybe I’ll do a small write up on it in the next couple of days). Now that it is over this seems like as good a time as any to cut down on the DC titles I buy. Having said that, I will be giving the main Brightest Day series a few issues only because I am curious where this is going to go. After getting little to no resolution in Blackest Night the first few issues of Brightest Day “have got some explainin’ to do” and it better do so fast.

As for the other Brightest Day series launching the ONLY one I am looking forward to is Birds of Prey. I was collecting that series for awhile before it got canceled and am now glad to see it returning. I’ll still be picking up Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps mostly because I was doing so long before Blackest Night ever came around but I was close to dropping the regular GL title before Blackest Night so we’ll see what happens there. I have absolutely no interest in the other Brightest Day titles but will probably read them regardless (while at work) just to keep up with things and possibly for reviewing.

J.

Hey folks, Elliott here. You know, you’ve gotta love it when the good guys win, in this case the ‘good guys’ being DC Comics and the whole ‘Marvel will give you Deadpool for Blackest Night books’ fiasco.

After Tom Breevort said some pretty classless things about DC and their ‘crackerjack prizes’ they come back with yet ANOTHER COOL PROMOTION:

Yup, that’s a Flash ring folks! Check out the details about the promotion over at the Robot 6 blog. I just love the little shot Geoff Johns takes at Breevort too.