Sunday Reviews March 2020

The thing about running at the speed of Flash? It’s easy to lose track of where you are.

The Flash pulls a fast one in JUSTICE LEAGUE #42

BIRTHRIGHT #42

The God King Lore’s army has invaded Earth and Mikey, the Chosen One, thinks Lore is sending his werewolves to rescue the witches that Mikey and his family have taken captive. Lore has other ideas, though, and one of the first characters we met in this story comes to an end.

This series continues to be bloody good, both in terms of writing and art – seriously, it’s consistently one of the best looking books I’m getting.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #42

Daxamites under the leadership of the Eradicator have invaded Earth and only the League stand against them. Faced with an enemy they can’t possibly defeat, the League does what it does best and shifts the battlefield, giving themselves the advantage.

Robert Venditti continues to breathe excitement and adventure into the League following the departure of Snyder and his interminable Year of the Villain storyline. Global threats that only the Leagure can stand against – this is what I’ve been missing for some time!

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #19

The JL Odyssey team are holed up with the unlikely ally the Lord of Time, who is planning to rewrite the whole of history minus the bad bits. All the League have to do is take out Darkseid’s assassins – trouble is, they missed one.

There really is little connection to the rest of the League other than the title, by now – this team operates in its own section of the galaxy, its adventures having no impact on the rest of the DCU. That said, it’s still a fun read.

MERCY #1

Something attacks the town of Woodsburgh, forcing the people to attempt to seal it within a mine using dynamite. A stranger arrives following the attack and finds help amongst the dead. Years later, the townspeople still blame Lady Swanson for the attack, even though she lost her husband. Strangers arrive in Woodsburgh, the beautiful Lady Hellaine and her butler, neither of whom are what they seem.

Having enjoyed Mirka Andolfo’s art in DC’S BOMBSHELLS series, I thought I’d give this weird horror/Western a go and I’m glad I did. There seems to be a hint of Lovecraftian otherness about it and it looks gorgeous. Well worth picking up.

Sunday Reviews

Aw, Hell. This is about to get real cosmic isn’t it?

Green Arrow comments on the state of the DCU in JUSTICE LEAGUE #35

GREEN LANTERN: BLACKSTARS #1

The Green Lanterns are no more – as in, they never existed at all! Hal Jordan was forced to wish the entire universe away and replace it with one from the mind of Controller Mu, a reality ruled by the Blackstars where peace is enforced by brutal, fatal means. And Hal Jordan is in the thick of it, about to prepare Earth for the arrival of the Blackstars.

While the rest of the DCU wanders around in the Year of the Villains, the Green Lantern section carries on oblivious to it all, doing its own thing. It’s not a bad issue but we know it’s a three issue miniseries and are expecting things to get back to normal soon enough.

INFERIOR 5 #3

Justin gets the low down on Dangerfield, Arizona, while the other kids wander around getting in to trouble. Oh, and Tasmanian Devil is revealed as a captive of the Dominators (a throwback to the fact he was the first hero to be captured in the original INVASION!) and that he’s the father of one of the missing children.

News arrives with this issue that it’s now a six issue mini-series rather than twelve which is a shame as I like Giffen’s little pet projects.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #35

The League have lost the war against the Legion of Doom and are now regrouping, trying to work out what to do. Around the world and the Multiverse, heroes and villains alike react to the appearance of the sigil of Doom that’s shown up in pretty much every issue of every series. Perpetua travels to the universe of Earth-19 – the GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT universe – which stands against her, and destroys the entire thing. She then sets Lex Luthor to kill the League.

Well, this is all very grim, isn’t it? Justice is done, Doom has won, and billions of lives have been snuffed out by Perpetua. Where do we go now?

Sunday Reviews

“Vulko?”

“My queen?”

“How’s my hair?”

“… wet?”

Mera seeks some advice in AQUAMAN #53

AQUAMAN #53

Tristram Maurer, the sea captain from two hundred years ago, has been summoned to Amnesty Bay, telling Aquaman that hell will follow with him. Before Aquaman can get to the bottom of that, Black Manta attacks, having drawn Mera and the Atlantean forces along with him, to face off against Aquaman.

I get the distinct impressions DeConnick would be happier writing more about Maurer and his mysterious imaginary monsters but has had the whole Black Manta/Year of the Villain thing foisted upon her. Either way, best issue in some time.

CHASTITY #2

Having been kidnapped by human traffickers, Chastity wakes on a ship and promptly escapes, freeing all the other captives along the way, as well as killing as many of the guards as she can. The last guard turns out to be a CIA undercover operative and offers to show her to the armoury.

There wasn’t much happening in this issue – it was basically one big escape story, though the page layouts of the breakout worked well.

INFERIOR 5 #2

Justin, Lisa and Helen survive an attack from the Billy creature before it’s called back in to the Dominators’ headquarters. Lisa’s revealed to be a Durlan, as suspected, and Justin’s mom is being experimented upon to turn her in to a sleeper agent. In the back-up Peacemaker story, we get a glimpse of how messed up he is.

In typical Giffen fashion, next to nothing is explained here – he’s never been a fan of exposition, preferring dialogue to fill in the blanks which makes you work to get the good stuff… and it is good. Oh, and there’s a lovely little WATCHMEN homage in the Peacemaker back-up.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #34

Throughout the various time periods, the various Justice League teams, along with their friends, fight against the Legion of Doom in order to bring together the pieces of the Totality to once more imprison Perpetua. Just as they’re about to win, Hawkgirl’s need for vengeance against Luthor spoils the plan, and the League falls throughout time, allowing Perpetua to rise.

Finally! After months and months of “Something big is going to happen!” something actually happens – the League loses and Perpetua stands ready to reshape the Multiverse. Is this going to lead in to the big changes/crisis that’s coming next year? Who knows!

Sunday Reviews

“There is nobody out there, the whole town is falling apart, and it’s hot as crap!”

The Trip Advisor review of Dangerfield, Arizona, from INFERIOR 5 #1

BIRTHRIGHT #40

Mikey and his family face off against Mastema who wants to create a whole new world from the ashes of both Earth and Terrenos and isn’t going to take no for an answer.Her plans are waylaid, though, which leads to a whole new set of problems.

Just ten more issues to go in this excellent fantasy/modern age mash-up that’s been consistently good in both writing and, especially, the art. Seriously, it’s gorgeous art work.

DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD #1

Khalee attempts to keep the monsters in order following her murdering her father Shrae, while her Dark Lords order her to bring Noah’s Ark to the island.

We’re back in the post-diluvian world with monsters and magic abounding. A straightforward first issue of book two about the Dark Ark, setting things up for the future.

THE GREEN LANTERN #12

Hal Jordan faces off against the Anti-Matter Man (or Qwa-Man) for the final time, only to be amazed when everything he’s fought for turns out to be part of Controller Mu’s plan. It was all a set-up and a trap to force Jordan into using the Miracle Machine to recreate the universe according to Mu’s will.

This is the last issue of GREEN LANTERN for now as there’ll be a three issue miniseries called BLACKSTARS from next month. Morrison’s scatter gun approach of dropping items and characters in left, right and centre was apparently deliberate . . . but it didn’t really work for me as everything seemed so piecemeal, the reveal of a grand master plan was a little underwhelming.

INFERIOR 5 #1

It’s shortly after the INVASION! and Justin and his mother have moved to Dangerfield, Arizona. It’s a quiet town populated with strange people and it clearly has a secret that needs to be revealed. Unfortunately for Justin, that secret may have just killed his mother.

This actually came out a couple of weeks ago but my comic shop forgot to order it for me. Written by Keith Giffen and Jeff Lemire, I had high hopes for this and, sure enough, it’s well worth a read. The art by Giffen is excellent, the writing is crisp and economical, and there’s enough of a mystery to want me to find out more. No-one seems quite sure whether this is actually set just after the INVASION! or whether there’s some sort of experiment going on, but I like this.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #33

One third of the League face off against Perpetua and Luthor in the Promethean Galaxy; another in 1941 face the Legion of Doom in Atlantis; the last in the far future face Brainiac. Can they all get together to defeat Luthor and his team before the end of everything?

Probably, I’m guessing, but by god they’re taking their time getting there. It’s another bombastic “It’s the end of everything!” type issue where nothing much seems to happen. Considering this title has been produced twice a month for the last few years, there’s been a hell of a lot of pages spent talking about how dangerous and cataclysmic everything’s becoming without actually getting anywhere.