Posts Tagged ‘Ivan Reis’

Ok, this is really only one email and not multiple emails like the title of the post suggests so sue me. Every week I email IronMuskrat to see what books he bought and whether or not he’d like to do a review for us. Before I even got the chance to email him this week though I found this waiting for me in my inbox. I thought it was entertaining and informative enough that I would make a post out of it (with some minor editorial edits and changes) and share it with all of you. -J.

Subject: Preemptive Strike
From: IM
To: J.

Jose!

Just picked up a few books today and thought I would do a preemptive strike and tell you what I thought about them before you sent me a email.

Doomwar #1 – yeah I know this one is old news, but I really felt the need to go back and get it to fill in all the details that left me scratching my head reading issue two. First of all, since when is a variant cover just the original cover in black and white? JRJR original cover was bad enough in color, but in black and white it is undecipherable. Cover aside, it was a very strong issue that did fill in a lot of details that made reading issue two a lot more enjoyable. Mayberry writes a very strong story, one that you really do need to read from the beginning, I have a feeling the whole series will be like this, this event isn’t one where a casual reader will be able to jump into at any point. The art by Scot Eaton was good, but the inks are very dark throughout the book, almost to the point where I felt I had to put some light on it to see all the details. But overall I agree with you and Elliott, this is the best new series of the year so far.

Detective Comics #863– A very interesting issue, although I feel that in the end , not a very successful one. Both Batman and Batwoman are hunting different killers that appear to be almost identical in behavior and the type of crimes they are committing. Their investigations run parallel to one another and are (again) almost identical in method and how they turn out, although they never meet or appear to connect with each other in any way. I guess that my biggest issue was with the story. Both stories are so similar that it seems a bit redundant to me and since neither Batman and Batwoman ever interact in this book, I don’t really see the point of the two stories being included together. I think Rucka has done a very strong job filling out Batwoman as a strong character and a hero, it seems silly to do a side by side comparison to show just how similar she is in methodology and ability to Batman. This story was pretty good, but in the end I felt a little insulted at the idea that Rucka felt the need to show me just how similar Batwoman is to Batman in such a heavy handed way.

Now the second feature was much better experience for me, I really have been enjoying the Question /Huntress stuff and this issue is no exception. I will avoid any hysterical ‘The Question needs her own book!’ talk. But as a backup feature in Detective Comics it is a joy to read and when Vandal Savage shows up at the end I did get a little surprise and a chill up my spine that I did not get from the main feature.

And there was a Flash preview that I didn’t give a shit about, sorry, never been a big Flash fan.

Fantastic Four #577– I have to give Hickman credit, he is taking his time with this story and doesn’t seem to be giving a shit about losing any attention deficient fanboys who might be incapable of following along for the long haul without a baby being thrown out a window or a woman being abused or killed. I did have a hard time following along with this issue, the learning curve this time around is steep and I will probably be spending a little time on Wikipedia tonight researching some of the stuff that was going on here. My biggest complaint with this story arc so far is I am starting to wonder if this is really a Fantastic Four story? For the most part the FF have been spectators in everything that has happened up to this point. Something happens, the Fantastic Four show to investigate what is happening and they spend the rest of the issue watching events unfold or having things explained to them. The FF just seem to be very passive so far up to this point, not really acting on the events that are unfolding around them. The cliffhanger at this end of this issue was very cool and should spell the end of the Fantastic Four being tourists in this whole story arc and taking a more proactive role in dealing with what is happening on the Earth and on the Moon. Eaglesham’s art is very solid as usual, but I did notice he is drawing the same ‘Reed Richard’ type face on a couple of different characters. No biggie though…

I really like what Hickman is doing here, but I just want to see more from the Fantastic Four other than them standing around looking like tourists.

Blackest Night #8– Shit what can I say about this book? It was a disappointment for sure, but I am still trying to pin down the biggest source of my disappointment. I mean the book is filled with a lot of cool individual moments, John’s is the master of writing WTF moments that make comic fans squeal with glee and Reis’ art is top notch as usual. So why did I feel so disappointed at the end of this event?

1. That’s enough Geoff Johns!

Johns spends way too much time here jerking off the fanboys and not enough time explaining what the fuck is going on, that’s cool up to a point. But John’s is like that person who is trying to give you the best blowjob ever, but they spend way too much time doing a bunch of silly shit that feels good but does nothing to finish the job, in the end you just want to tell them to stop fucking around and just put it in their mouth. Ok, that was a little graphic, but John’s basically spent two issue putting Sinestro out there as a White Lantern to rile up the fanboys, only to unceremoniously dump him when he wanted to move on to other cool moments. You have to ask yourself, why even make Sinestro a White Lantern if it did nothing to move the story along or do anything to resolve the event?

2. Black Hand did what?

Ok, so Black Hand is the anchor for Nekron and when his link is severed Nekron cannot exist on Earth. So why exactly does all of those White Lantern rings start coming out of his mouth when he is brought back to life? Is he now the anchor for the White Entity? I mean even though William Hand is brought back to life, he is still a crazy fucker with a huge hard on for death. This might be something of nitpick, but it goes to my third point.

3. Nothing is resolved or explained.

Nekron is sent back to the corn field but otherwise unharmed or dealt with. Black Hand is still alive, but held by the Indigo tribe. The Anti-Monitor is back, along with a whole bunch of heroes and villains. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan even have a conversation at the end of the book basically saying nothing has been resolved or explained.

You know after almost a year of the Blackest Night event, I would expect a little resolution to everything that has happen. Instead we just get what amounts to a huge reset button, I really thought Johns was going to do something really deep here, exploring the nature of death in the DC universe or the lack of anything resembling a permanent end for characters who die and come back, sometimes multiple times. Instead we get what looks like a cheep stunt for a wholesale resurrection of DC characters who have died over the years, free and clear, with no attempt to explain what happened. Instead of Blackest Night giving some clarity to the DC Universe it has just made things even more confusing and I am pretty sure that was not the original intention.

IronMuskrat

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Title: Blackest Night #6
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Publisher: DC
Price: $3.99

DC Comics gave everyone Blackest Night #6 as a slightly belated Christmas present in a week without comics. I wasn’t sure what Geoff Johns could possible do in this newest issue to top the incredibly unexpected ending in Blackest Night #5, but I was more than ready to find out.

So were my socks blown off and my eyeballs made sweet, sweet love to the way they were in issue #5? I hate to say this, but the answer was “not really”. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great moments in this book. The problem is those moments didn’t really add up to much and didn’t move the story forward. The whole book felt like filler to me. A creamy, delicious custard filling, but still filler in the end. Geoff Johns seems to be doing a little showboating here, he knows he is in the zone right now when it comes to writing stuff that will drive comic book geeks wild, creating those little moments that make you sit up and go “fuck yeah”! Johns does that several times in this book. Barry Allen saving Hal Jordan and himself from the Black Lantern rings(cool). Deadman showing up unexpectedly to impart some timely information to Atom and Mera(cool). John Stewart flying one step ahead of a gazillion Black Lanterns storming towards Earth(super cool). Ganthet of Oa setting into motion the formation of a duplicate set of Lantern leaders(fucking cool) and finally Diana Prince breaking free from the control of the Black Lantern ring and becoming a member of the Star Sapphires(unbelievably fucking cool). Whew! I need a cigarette after all that! So how could I have a problem with this book after so much coolness?

Two things..

First, the book finishes with a two page splash panel showing the new set of Lanterns flying in to save the day(nice pants Ray Palmer), in the corner is a blurb about the next book “Black Hand Unleashed!”. Oh yeah, that guy, where was he at in this book? More importantly, where the fuck was Nekron at? Remember him? Super evil dude that was in the last issue killing off Superman, Wonder Women, Green Arrow and a bunch of other heroes? Everything in the first four books was building up to Nekron finally showing up in issue #5 and bringing things to a head with the remaining heroes on Earth. In Blackest Night #5 Geoff Johns does this beautifully. Nekron shows up, talking big shit about ending all life in the universe and showing just how powerful he is by killing off a bunch of good guys with no effort whatsoever. The situation at the end of the book looks very dire for anyone still alive on Earth. So what does Nekron do in issue six to top his performance in last book? He strolls off, mumbling about being hungry. That’s it! One tiny panel in the whole book. After five issues of build up, Nekron disappears from the entire story. The worst part is that no one seems to care. I realize that our heroes have a big fight on their hands dealing with the Black Lanterns, but if you can only keep an eye on one bad guy during the fight, that’s the guy! If Nekron starts wandering away during the battle to parts unknown, you might want to least send one hero to see what he is up to. Nekron disappearing from issue #6 brought the story to a grinding halt for me.

Second, as cool as the second Lantern Corps team was, I have to ask, why? What purpose do they serve really? I know they are suppose to help hold the line until the rest of the Lantern corps get to Earth. However, the way they come into existence seems very contrived and just seems like an attempt by Geoff Johns to create one of those cool geeky moments to thrill the fans. If Green Lanterns can duplicate their rings in times a great crisis and create temporary members, wouldn’t that have been something they should have done sooner in the series? Ok, I do understand this “ring duplication” has been used before in continuity but why didn’t they do this earlier, like say, when Oa was almost destroyed? It seems like one of those way too convenient plot devices used by another comic book writer that catches a lot of shit on the CCW site. Honestly, the new Lantern team was a pretty cool idea and it was fun to see who Johns picked for each different Lantern Corps, but not at the expense of the main storyline.

Blackest Night #6 still gets a big thumbs up from me despite the problems I had with it. There are many individual moments that are very cool, but I am getting the feeling that Geoff Johns is starting to tease me a little bit. OK, Johns, I get it, your a great writer and can get me all hot and bothered whenever you want but I am tired of only getting to second base with you. At some point we are going to have to go all the way. Please, lets finish this event so I can get on with my life and start making fun of the Siege!

IM

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I pretty much agree with everything Ironmuskrat said in his review. This was another enjoyable issue to the series but that is not saying that I didn’t have a couple of “nerd nitpicks” myself. It’s funny that the two problems that IM had with the book didn’t bother me as much as they did him BUT I had two different problems with this issue that bothered me as much as his two problems bothered him. He he, did that make sense?

So, my two “nerd nitpicks” with the story were:

1. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan jumping 2 seconds into the future in order to “severe the connection” between themselves and the Black Lantern rings chasing them.

Talk about a waaaay too convenient plot device. This is the pure definition of deus ex machina. I’m sorry, but if I call BS on certain Marvel writers for pulling this kinda stuff, I am going to have to call BS on Johns’ use of it as well. When you throw some sort of time travel into the story to solve a problem usually you create even more problems. For instance, why not jump backwards in time to right before Nekron possessed the JLA? If Barry can’t “control” his time traveling abilities without the Cosmic Treadmill why not just go further back than that. Doesn’t really matter when, right? Just as long as it’s before the JLA get possessed.. And how does Barry and Hal being 2 seconds in the future really keep the rings from finding them? And IF time traveling without the Cosmic Treadmill is pure guess work for Barry how does he know they jumped just 2 seconds into the future? Arrrrrgghh…Mind Explosion!!!

2. Barry Allen gets the Blue Lantern Ring?

Johns got a little too cute with his deputized lantern corps. Mera, Luthor, Scarecrow and The Atom are all cool choices that made sense. The reason I have a problem with Barry getting the blue ring only exists because Johns decided to give Wonder Woman the Star Sapphire ring. Wonder Woman was under the control of the Black ring when she received the Sapphire ring which in turn broke the connection of the Black ring. Now, if the duplicated rings can in fact overtake the control of the Black rings why would the blue ring choose Barry and not Superman. Some would say that he is the personification of hope in the DCU, no? This is a problem of Johns own creation. Had he just given the Sapphire ring to another hero who didn’t have a Black ring I wouldn’t be thinking about this. I would just be like “Well, Diana didn’t get the Sapphire ring because she is not able to since she has a Black ring. I‘m ok with that.” But I think it comes down to this: Geoff Johns obviously has a fondness for Barry Allen. Much like Bendis has for Luke Cage and Loeb has for, er, Rulk. The reason for Barry receiving the Blue rind exists outside of the context of the story and that’s my problem.

Again, these really are “nerd nitpicks.” It may sound like I am giving a Johns a pass for these little inconsistencies while I probably would have thrashed another writer for doing the same. The difference between Johns and other certain writers, in my opinion, is that Johns really hasn’t done too many things to raise my ire. He doesn’t seem to come off as brash or pompous and I get the feeling that he is a team player when it comes DC events. As long as he doesn’t let his fondness for certain characters take complete control over his storytelling in the future All Will Be Well.

J.

Fight the Power

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

It feels like we have been hearing about Blackest Night for years but DC’s 2009 “summer event” is finally upon us. At first I wasn’t really too excited about this mini-series which is kind of sad since I do read Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps every month. Trying to think of a reason for my ambivalence I think I’ve come up with an answer: Geoff Johns.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think Johns’ is a great writer and seems to have a strong work ethic but his writing on Green Lantern for the last year or so hasn’t really been doing it for me. His “Secret Origins” storyline, which took 7 issues to tell, bored me. I already knew Hal Jordan’s origin but Johns’ felt the need to retell it in order to retcon some aspects of the story to have ties with the Blackest Night. I won’t even begin to tell you how awful I thought the last arc, “Agent Orange“, was.

But then came Green Lantern #43 last week and it seemed to sell me on the idea of Blackest Night. Our video review should be up for that soon so I won’t go into details here about why.

Blackest Night #1 starts off with several characters of the DCU paying respect to all of those who have passed on be they family, friends, heroes, villains, leaders or legends. It becomes quite clear to the reader just how many characters that DC Comics has killed off in the last few years and it is almost unsettling. It doesn’t really help that most of these characters arguably died senseless deaths in order to bring comic readers cheap “shocking moments“. Then again that is the main subject of this first issue: death, be it senseless, cheap or otherwise.

The first half of the issue really does have some strong character interactions. Though I am not a fan of Barry Allen being back, I will say that I thought the scene between him and Hal Jordan was by far the best in the book. When Barry asks Hal to tell him which of their friends have died while he was lost in the Speed Force, Hal “shows” him using the power of the Green Lantern ring. That leads to a double splash page of Barry, and the reader, seeing everybody that are no longer among the living. It is quite a bit to take in. Barry Allen then asks Hal Jordan the question I’ve been wondering myself the answer to for the last few years. “How, Hal? Why?”

The second half of the book is where I begin to have some problems. After being reminded of all the senseless death over the years in DC Comics Geoff Johns decides to provide us with some more. I won’t spoil who dies here but needless to say I just wasn’t happy about it. One other thing I will not spoil for you are all of the numerous Black Lanterns which “rise” in this issue.

Now that being said, I will acquiesce to the fact that if you look at Blackest Night as a horror movie/story it really is a lot of fun. I am completely capable of separating my geek-comic-logic mind from the rest of myself to see that this may be the main appeal of the book. For that reason I would say pick this comic up. Well, that, and the fact that Ivan Reis does some of the best work of his career.

If this review wasn’t enough for you be sure to check out the CCW You Tube Channel next week where Elliott will get in on the action and we will go a little more in depth into this issue.

J.