Sunday Reviews

DARK ARK #14

Shrae and many of his monstrous charges have been captured by the mysterious islanders who, as they take the prisoners to their home, walk them through a forest strewn with the wings and halos of angels they’ve killed. Meanwhile, the other survivors plan a rescue of Shrae.

Freed from the confines of the ark, Cullen Bunn is able to develop a bigger story, bringing in more plots and characters – the forest with angel wings was a nice, gruesome touch and the hint that there are more creatures alive in the post-Flood world than first thought is intriguing. This series was getting a little tired three or four issues ago but I’m glad I stuck with it as this seems to promise more.

HAWKMAN #9

Back from his time and planet hopping adventures, Hawkman’s visiting Madame Xanadu in London when enormous Deathbringer robot ships appear above the city. Cue Hawkman jumping into the fray and having his arse kicked by the Deathbringers, now led by his one-time second in command.

Something of a place holder issue, this, where nothing much happens apart from what I outlined above. Still, it looks nice.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #8

Man-Bat tries his hand at magic, thinking of it as a different form of science, while the rest of the JLD either track down magic users to rescue from the Otherkind, or search for Mordru who may be the key to stopping them. Zatanna and Wonder Woman visit various magical places looking for clues while unknown to them, the Oblivion Bar is attacked, forcing Detective Chimp to take the other magicians through to Myrra, only to find that’s exactly what the hidden instigator behind all this wanted in the first place.

This is still my favourite Justice League title, for so many reasons. The art is just gorgeous – even the weird mini-Swamp Thing gremlins that help wait tables in the Oblivion Bar – and the dialogue is natural and occasionally funny without being forced. Thoroughly recommend this book.

VAMPIRELLA/DEJAH THORIS #5

Dejah Thoris and Vampirella work together so that Vampi’s fellow Drakulonians are saved from the all-too eager to kill Red Martians, and then manage to restore some water and vegetation to the otherwise barren Mars, before Vampi and her friends leave to head to Earth.

The mini-series comes to an end, and it’s been enjoyable enough for what it is, though this final issue seemed a little rushed.

Sunday Reviews

THE GREEN LANTERN #4

Hal Jordan is held accountable for the (let’s face it) murder of a prisoner in the previous issue and is placed under house arrest by the Guardians. At the same time, a mysterious four armed stranger chats with an equally mysterious woman as he tries to find a way to join the Black Stars, both of them swapping stories of Sun Eaters. Turns out the stranger is actually Jordan, presumably post escaping house arrest, and the woman is the Countess Belzebeth, the titular “Cosmic Vampire’s Beautiful Daughter.

Morrison’s run on GREEN LANTERN continues to be interesting, with lush art by Liam Sharp. The non-linear storytelling works a treat, even if it was obvious from the start that Jordan was the stranger, and I’m guessing Belzebeth’s dad is long-time Justice League foe Starbreaker. Have to admit I’m curious as to who the “wrong man . . . from the Inside-Out” is, though, that Belzebeth finds earlier in the tale.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #17

After the epic events of last week’s JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL, we get a slower, more nuanced tale of Martian Manhunter meeting with Lex Luthor on Mars. J’onn tells Lex a tale of his own childhood which he has recently recovered, a tale where, it turns out, a young Lex and he knew each other and were friends. J’onn appeals to that lost memory within Luthor in the hopes of getting him to stop the Legion of Doom’s plans but, by issue’s end, it’s uncertain how successful he’s been.

A nice character piece, the repressed memory trope notwithstanding, and a nice change from the manic pace of this title.

OBERON #1

Oberon, King of the Fairies, has lost his throne, betrayed by someone he loves, and the key to reclaiming it is Bonnie Blair, a precocious young girl who is sharp as a knife and knows a lot about pretty much everything. Engineering an attack on her, Oberon is able to save her, tell her that her parents are not who she thinks they are, and that he is her friend. With her back home, the truth is revealed and, at her invitation, Oberon is able to rescue her from her not-parents and whisk her away to safety, leaving her not-parents to contact Titania.

I’m so glad I took a chance on this – I think I picked it up based on the strength of a couple of preview pages in another Aftershock title. The writing is crisp and to the point, a little like early Neil Gaiman before he became florrid and over-written. And the art is absolutely gorgeous. Well worth picking up.

SHADOW ROADS #6

Mostly back story on Abigail Redmayne, we get to understand how the world of SHADOW ROADS is connected to, and grew from, the world of THE SIXTH GUN, and her interrogation of the recently captured Hunter. Meanwhile, Anton of the Black Stars (not the ones mentioned above in GREEN LANTERN!) and his friends head off to see a warlock that the Hunter contacted before he was captured.

It took a while to settle into its stride, but this is working well.

Sunday Reviews

ANIMOSITY: EVOLUTION #10

With the death of Wintermute in the previous issue, responsibility falls to Adam North to do what he can to ensure the animals and humans live together in some way, bringing together others to help him.

As enjoyable as this series has been, the ending here is a little ambiguous – I’ve not heard that this is the final issue but there are no more solicited and the last page has “The End” written but there’s so much more that could happen. I guess we wait and see.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL #1

Holy crap! I’ve mentioned before about how crammed with ideas the main JUSTICE LEAGUE series is and how so much stuff is going on; here it all comes to a head in a straightforward way that genuinely left me feeling like big things are coming. The Source Wall is gone, Perpetua – the “mother of the Monitor [and] Anti-Monitor” has been released, the Justice League lost, and the Multiverse itself is on the move.

Massive ideas are being thrown around here and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #5

Darkseid’s plan to recreate Apokolips using the lost worlds is revealed, the followers of the League are rejected and pledge to destroy them in turn.

Despite the grandiose proclamations about the League members being revered as gods on some of the lost worlds, this was fairly by the numbers. The bad guy betrayed the good guys, the good guys fought amongst themselves and then made up, the worshippers – after being rejected – became the new bad guys. It’s not terrible, but it’s not setting my world on fire, either.

THE QUANTUM AGE #6

Jeff Lemire’s BLACK HAMMER take on the Legion of Super-Heroes comes to a close with a battle against the bad guy that’s resolved in a neat twist rather than a straightforward fists flying, powers smashing ending. It’s nicely done and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll get to visit Quantum World at some point in the future.

THE TERRIFICS #12

Doc Dread has assembled a team of bad guys from various different Earths in order to defeat the Terrifics who are currently split up trying to sort out their own problems. There’s a lovely scene between Plastic Man and his son which ends with him stealing the Batmobile and taking his kid for a spin; Phantom Girl gets back to Earth and sends out a signal to alert the rest of the team that Mr Terrific’s in trouble; and Metamorpho returns to his grumpy, composite self again.

Still one of my favourite comics, still enjoyable!

Sunday Reviews

It’s a DC heavy week this week.

AQUAMAN #44

Apart from a three page glimpse of Mera being set up to marry someone from a “worthy group of suitors” in Atlantis, we’re back with the amnesiac Arthur on an island that turns out to be populated by lesser gods of the seas from various mythologies. By issue’s end, it looks like Arthur either has his memories back or at least is on the way to it.

I know a new writer traditionally throws away most of the supporting cast created by the previous team but this is such a radical shift that it’s a little disconcerting for me right now.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #2

On Earth-X, the new Freedom Fighters have their first big success against the Nazis; they clearly work well together as a team and it’s refreshing to see heroes being heroic. We get a glimpse of Adolf Hitler II as well, and I wonder if he’ll be revealed to be a super-villain as opposed to just the son of the original dictator? Maybe this world’s Kryptonian?

This is shaping up to be a good maxi-series.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #16

Secrets are revealed as Martian Manhunter is linked to some experimental splicing of human and Martian DNA; Thanagar’s wealth and opulence are revealed as being a lie perpetuated by the imprisoned Martian Keep using the Absorbascon; and Starman shows up at the end and takes something from Hawkwoman and gives it to Hawkgirl, completing her missing memories  and tells her it’s time to fix the Source Wall.

As entertaining as this is, there’s just so much crammed into every issue that I’m often left wondering what they’re referring to. Maybe the pacing could do with being slowed a little?

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: TEMPEST #4

Where to start? There’s an assassination attempt against M which doesn’t work out; the heroes from the far future are still running around; Mina Murray’s in the Blazing World and realises that Prospero is actually the bad guy who wants to destroy England and return the faerie creatures to the “real” world.

Can’t help thinking this is Alan Moore enjoying himself even more than normal, to the point where the story becomes secondary to the style of storytelling.

SHAZAM! #2

Billy and the other kids head to the first of the magical lands they’ve discovered and while everything looks like fun on the face of it, you can pretty much guarantee things are going to go wrong quickly. Part of that will likely be the reveal of King Kid who describes himself as “the missing seventh champion of the family!” But “Shazam” only has six letters, I hear you say. In a nice twist, it’s shown during the history of Mr Mind (who also gets a first name, by the way) that it “took the combined might of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and ! to stop and contain” him.

Yep, the exclamation mark in SHAZAM! counts as one of the family, and King Kid is going to want in.

Two issues in, and I’m enjoying this.