Sunday Reviews

Bit of a bumper week this week as my comic shop didn’t have FREEDOM FIGHTERS or JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK last week.

BARBARELLA/DEJAH THORIS #3

The two time-tossed heroines fight to get back to the labof Barbarella’s now-deceased alien professor friend only to find him somehow manifesting from beyond the grave, telling them both that they have to let Mars die.

I’ve not read anything by Leah Williams before but I’m really enjoying this series; both Dejah Thoris and Barbarella (about whom I know nothing beyond the 1960s film) are written as smart, sassy, fun characters who approach things differently but always for the right reasons. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other stuff by her.

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #3

The Black Hammer Squadron continue their race to Vienna to save the scientist and his family from both the Russians and the Nazis and they manage to arrive to set up the final conflict in the next and last issue.

Once again, Lemire’s BLACK HAMMER universe’s take on the Blackhawks works a treat from a story perspective but, as I mentioned last time, Matt Kindt’s art doesn’t really work for me.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #5

The returned Uncle Sam takes on the Nazis, while giving a history lesson to the America bystanders of who he is and what he stands for. Despite his initial success, he’s still weak and, when the Nazis release a War Wheel, it looks like his return is to be cut short. Cue the Freedom Fighters to the rescue. Elsewhere, the Fuhrer is about to unleash the one man who stopped Uncle Sam last time: Overman.

The necessary pause and info dump of Sam’s history is handled really well, allowing the story to move at the same time as filling in the blanks about why he’s been missing since World War II. The introduction of Overman, who has been mentioned but not seen in previous issues, is done as a nice reveal at the end. Still really enjoying this series.

GREEN LANTERN #7

In the magical kingdom of Emerald Sands, a mysterious Pengowirr finds a memory-lost Hal Jordan and tries to help him save the land that is dying around them, all the while without waking Myrwhydden, the wizard who built this land. As the story progresses, Jordan not only remembers himself but realises who Pengowirr is as well and manages to get back to Oa just in time.

This issue seems almost written to allow artist Liam Sharp to shine as it’s gorgeous – not just the art, but the design and layouts as well, the multiple iterations of panels using the stylised GL logo as borders, the whole thing looks lovely. (Except maybe for the final page where Jordan’s suffering from the same reptile neck that Lara Croft had.)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #23

Superman’s still trapped but is determined to break free; the rest of the League are held prisoner in the Apokolips prison with Lois Lane as their warden; and the World Forger is trying to convince Batman that only saving the good people of our universe, and allowing the bad to perish, is a necessary evil when the fate of the multiverse is at stake. The League manage to escape with the help of the Legion of Doom, just as Batman makes a choice that dooms Superman to death.

Another bombastic issue where everyone yells “the multiverse is dying!” as they have been for what seems like forever. We’re meant to think Batman’s doomed Superman when I will bet on him playing the World Forger and having a plan to subvert what we’ve seen. It looks nice (though why is Jimmy Olsen much, much older in this future but Lois isn’t?) and unless I’ve missed something, why does this Utopian future still have prisons full of bad guys?

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #10

We get a flashback where we see Dr Fate convincing the other Lords of Order of the rightness of his plan which is tied in to the whole “the multiverse is dying!” bigger story, before we take a look at Myrra which is under attack from the Lords. While they plan to evacuate, Zatanna and Wonder Woman speak with Circe who reveals the plan of Zatanna’s father. With the heroes headed back home, Circe is later revealed to be working with the Otherkind, though for her own ends. The issue finishes with a “give up magic or die” offer given to the inhabitants of Myrra.

Once again, still my favourite Justice League book, tying into the bigger picture loosely, but mostly taking it’s own path and looking damn gorgeous while doing it.

Sunday Reviews

ANIMOSITY #19

After the fall of the walled city last issue, both the animals and the humans take stock of not only what they have, but who they are in this new world.

It’s a deep issue, this one, with parallel discussions amongst the animals on one side and the humans on the other, each trying to decide what they’re going to become. There are no easy answers as they’re dealing with big questions but the sense I get is that the past doesn’t define you. While this is a quiet issue in terms of plot, the series as a whole has been damn good.

DARK ARK #15

Shrae’s journey comes to an end as his daughter Khalee makes a deal with the dark lords as her father had before her, in order to face up against their captors who are revealed as the Fallen, those first angels who fell but landed on Earth rather than in Hell. But as with every deal made with devils, there’s a price to pay.

This issue finishes with a big “END” on the last panel, but there’s clearly more story to be told. Whether there’ll be a DARK ARK Book Two or a follow on series under a different name is yet to be seen.

HAWKMAN #10

The Deathbringers are trashing London and despite his best efforts, Hawkman can only do so much to stop them – he is, after all, just one man. Or is he? Having spent the last nine issues travelling through time and space meeting his previous incarnations, he now manages to summon them to the present day to fight the Deathbringers . . . just before he’s stabbed.

It’s all been leading to this, the final confrontation between the two armies, one of which is made up of different incarnations of the same man. The two page spread showing all the different Hawkmen is nice, though it would have been good to see some throwbacks to previous versions of the character as Easter eggs if nothing else. Still, a good read.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9

The JL Dark face off against the new Lords of Order who have co-opted magic users to act as their hosts while they invade Myrra; Man-Bat learns from Khalid about Dr Fate having gone off the deep end; and Wonder Woman and Zatanna contact Circe to find out who’s behind all of this.

Once again, and I know I’m repeating myself, but this is really my favourite Justice League book, and still for the same reasons I’ve been saying for the last couple of months – it’s gorgeous to look at, and the dialogue is just spot on.