Sunday Reviews

AQUAMAN #49

Arthur finally gets his memories of Mera back, but they come with a twist – not only did she reveal her pregnancy to him, but his reaction (of wanting to slink off and think about things for a while) pissed her off so much that it looks like she flipped and accidentally killed him. That was the incident that meant him waking up without memories on the island of the old sea gods.

I’m in two minds about this series since DeConnick took over; it’s well written and the art’s usually good, but the whole amnesia/my wife’s pregnant story line just feels too familiar. How many times have we seen/read a scene where – DUN DUN DUUUUHHHH – the woman says “I’m pregnant!” in order to provide a plot point for the man? This, combined with the amnesia, just seems lazy.

BARBARELLA / DEJAH THORIS #4

The two heroines from different times work together to save the inhabitants of a water-filled Mars, sending them back through time to become their own ancestors and, along the way, ensuring the rise of the Red, Green and all the other Martians, of which Dejah is one.

This has a been a fun series; I’ve not encountered Leah Williams’s work before but this makes me want to track some more down. It’ll probably be collected at some point, and you could do worse than picking this up.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #26

As Martian Manhunter scans the Earth for Lex Luthor, many of the other Leaguers head to the House of Heroes where heroes from the multiverse have gathered to hear Superman and the World Forger ask for help in finding the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl and Mera set about training new heroes while Starman is trying to find the other pieces of the Totality.

This was slower paced than recent episodes, perhaps because James Tynion IV is writing rather than Scott Snyder, but there’s still the whole “the multiverse is dying!” thing which has been going on since forever. As much as I liked seeing the other heroes from the multiverse, this has been dragging on for such a long time now.

A WALK THROUGH HELL #11

We get glimpses of Shaw’s past, while in the present McGregor acts as Shaw’s guide in hell (or wherever they are) showing her what has happened to the agents who went before them, as well as Driscoll who reveals her own, mostly unwilling, part in this whole thing.

Man . . . one issue to go and I have no idea where or how this is going to end, but I’m suspecting something dark and nihilistic.

WARLORD OF MARS ATTACKS #1

The Martians from Mars Attacks – Moonheads as they’re called here – are in full-on attack mode, invading Helium and the other Barsoomian cities. Despite John Carter’s best attempts, the Moonheads are winning, forcing Dejah Thoris to sacrifice herself and Helium, destroying the entire city and most of the Moonheads in one huge explosion. Years later, on Earth, NASA celebrates the successful landing of a craft on Mars but no sooner do the pictures reach Earth than we see Moonheads destroying the landing craft. At the same time, somehow, they attack Earth in their flying saucers. The issue ends with one of the NASA scientists taking a handful of hostages toward Arizona.

I mentioned this when it was solicited back in March and, sure enough, it’s a 100mph ride that doesn’t let up. It’s fun and probably not going to be too serious for the rest of the mini-series so I’m glad I picked it up.

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.

Mash-Up #78

Three times a week I randomly generate two dates, hunt down covers from those dates and then mash them together and force the results on you lovely people, while giving a hat-tip to the wonderful Super-Team Family blog which has been doing this for years (and a lot better) on an almost daily basis.

My money’s on Dejah Thoris coming out of this on top – she’s smart and a fighter.

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.