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

BLACK HAMMER #9

Talky Walky tries to convince Lucy Weber of the existence of superheroes and fails; Barbalien’s lover is killed and he enacts bloody revenge on Mars; Abrahamn Slam gets a harsh dose of reality; and just as Talky’s about to end it all . . .

This series is so good; in the DC world, this whole alternate reality/superheroes never existed storyline would probably take six issues so it could be neatly packaged as a trade paperback. Here it’s already half way over in two issues.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #4

The team strike a massive propaganda blow against the Reich and, unknown to them, that’s enough to get Uncle Sam back on his feet in the Heartland, the idea space where he’s been resting for decades. As the Fuhrer begins to suffer doubt and anxiety, that’s enough to get Sam back into the real world and delivering his first blow against the Nazis.

Another good, solid issue that brings more info about the Fighters’ dynamic as well as moving the story along nicely.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #7

Confronted by Blackfire and her troops, Starfire loses control and almost kills the lot of them before the rest of her team manage to calm her down. While they end up leaving Tamaran, they at least have a lead on Darkseid’s location and head off to find him, unaware that Blackfire is setting Rapture – the ex-follower of Azrael – on their trail. Finding Darkseid, the League save him from the Eskaton and he promises to tell them the truth of his plans.

As much as I like Joshua Williamson’s other stuff – BIRTHRIGHT in particular – the early issues of this series seemed a little all over the place. Dan Abnett seems to be tightening up the story and it’s working better.

SHAZAM! #4

Talky Tawny makes his first appearance in the series, being arrested for “not being a proper tiger” before we see the various Shazam family kids in the other magic lands where King Kid has sent them. The King reveals to Billy that every time a child turns 18, they’re sent to the Below where they work to keep Funland fun – and that’s where Mary’s ended up. And back at the Rock of Eternity, Black Adam turns up to find to find the place deserted.

Remember when Geoff Johns seemed to be writing everything in the DCU? Sure there were mis-steps along the way (FOREVER EVIL instantly springs to mind) but when he was good (JSATEEN TITANSINFINITE CRISIS) he was good. So far, this is a return to form.

TERRIFICS #14

The Terrifics face off against Java’s Dr Dread and the Dreadfuls, overcoming the multiversal bad guys and finally bonding as a team through choice rather than circumstance.

This is the end of Jeff Lemire’s run on the series and it’s been great fun; this has consistently been one of my favourite titles as it doesn’t take itself too seriously, has some great dialogue, and remembers (almost alone amongst the DC titles) that they’re part of a multiverse. Sad to see Lemire go, but I hope the new team continue the same feel.

Sunday Reviews

No reviews last week as Mrs Earth-Prime and I were away. This week, though . . .

BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #8

Lucy Weber starts to unravel the mystery of what’s happened t Spiral City’s heroes . . . again. This time she has the help of Talky-Walky who seems aware of the reality shift, unlike Lucy.

A little bit of a placeholder issue in an otherwise excellent series.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #3

The Freedom Fighters strike back against the Nazi regime, hijacking their electronic systems and broadcasting God Bless America by Irving Berlin across the country in an attempt to raise the dormant Uncle Sam. Meanwhile the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler II, assigns his son – the imaginatively named Adolf Hitler III – to bring down the Fighters.

Another cracking issue with a ton of action plus hints into the pasts/origins of the heroes without disrupting the story.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #6

Darkseid continues his quest to build something called Sepulkore that will stem the tide of darkness released by the collapse of the Source Wall, but something seems to have stopped him with some finality. Elsewhere, the League arrive on Tamaran only to find Starfire’s sister Blackfire waiting and holding her to account for their planet’s devastation.

New writer Dan Abnett picks up the threads of the original story and brings in his own stuff; it’s a little better that previous issues and, having enjoyed his work on AQUAMAN, I’m curious as to where Abnett’s going.

SHAZAM! #3

In the Funlands, Billy and the family are hosted by King Kid who tells them his origin and wants to join the family, though Mary is rightly suspicious. When it’s revealed she’s nearly 18, King Kid flips and captures her – only kids are allowed in the Funlands, apparently – and this triggers the rest of the family into becoming their adult, heroic forms which means they all get either captured or thrown out into the various other Magic Lands.

Another fun issue that moves the story along. I’m guessing, based on his origin, King Kid will be revealed to be an adult after all this time and so defeated by his own rules.

THE TERRIFICS #13

Mr Terrific is rescued from the Dreadfuls by Mrs Terrific of Earth-23 who looks just like his late wife and he, of course, looks just like her late husband. The other Terrifics – joined by Offspring and Tesla Strong – track them down in time to stop the Dreadfuls’ final attack.

I’m still liking this series so much, partly because it seems to be the only one in the DCU that remembers there’s a multiverse out there – we get glimpses of six other Earths in the last few pages alone. Pick up the collections if you haven’t already.

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.