Mash-Up #62

Twice a week I randomly generate two dates and then compare the titles I own from both of them, trying to find some covers that, with a little basic photoshopping, I can mash together, and then I force the results on you lovely people.

By the way, I admit to being HUGELY influenced by the wonderful Super-Team Family blog which has been doing this for years (and a lot better) on an almost daily basis.

Two Leagues clash as the body-swapped satellite era League go up against the New 52 version.

Mash-Up #58

Twice a week I randomly generate two dates and then compare the titles I own from both of them, trying to find some covers that, with a little basic photoshopping, I can mash together, and then I force the results on you lovely people.

By the way, I admit to being HUGELY influenced by the wonderful Super-Team Family blog which has been doing this for years (and a lot better) on an almost daily basis.

The New 52 STORMWATCH title started well but went quickly off the rails, I think. That said, not sure how the satellite era JLA would fare against them.

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #1

The Black Hammer Squadron was one of the fiercest group of fighters in World War II, a group of daring-doers who took on the biggest missions and overcame the enemy time and again until the fateful day when they have to go up against the Ghost Hunter, the dreaded ace from Germany. Tasked with saving a scientist and his family from a Nazi camp in Vienna and returning them to the States, the Squadron must contend with both the Ghost Hunter and the Russian’s Red Tide – huge, mechanical war robots, who have the same mission, only they plan to have the scientist work for Russia.

Jeff Lemire expands his Black Hammer universe again, this time with a take on the Blackhawks, setting up this mini-series nicely. My only complaint would be Matt Kindt’s art – never really been a fan of his style.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #9

Following Firestorm’s detonation at the end of the last issue, the heroes trace the energy that caused the explosion to Mars and Dr Manhattan, believing him to be responsible. Manhattan’s vision of a final battle with Superman that is yet to come is enough to trigger the heroes into attacking him but he dispatches them all, seemingly killing them, but not before revealing to Firestorm that Professor Martin Stein is not only in league with the shadowy agency behind the creation of government sanctioned heroes, but that Stein deliberately created Firestorm in order to infiltrate the heroes at large.

There’s a lot going on in this issue aside from the summary above, with Batman, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman all dealing with their own problems. There are nods back to the original WATCHMEN series as well, alongside a mostly silent four page spread of the heroes heading to Mars that works really well. The story is ramping up now, and the art by Gary Frank is simply gorgeous. Despite all of fandom’s misgivings about this story when it was first announced, I’m really enjoying it.

THE GREEN LANTERN #5

In order to prove his desire to join the Blackstars is sincere, Hal Jordan is taking to Belzebeth’s homeworld of Vorr, a planet of vampires, where he must run a gauntlet to find his Blackstar uniform and confirm he is worthy to join them.  Not surprisingly, he passes the test only to face a final one where he must kill the Blackstar’s prisoner – Adam Strange.

I’ve been enjoying Grant Morrison’s run on this title so far, but this was probably the weakest issue. There was never any real doubt that Jordan would a) complete the trial, and b) in a flashback be revealed to still be working undercover for the Guardians. Do we think he’s going to kill Adam Strange next issue? I very much doubt it. Morrison scatters some vaguely cool sounding phrases – “necro-sun“, “blood bells“, “deadnoon” – but they sound more like 90’s image anti-heroes than anything else. I’m hoping next issue picks up with some surprises. (Oh, and don’t think I missed the mention of the Over-Master, either.)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #19

The League recruit Mr Mxyzptlk to help them find their way to the Fifth Dimension where, they hope, they’ll find the key to fixing the Multiverse that is on the brink of collapse following the breach in the Source Wall. Mxy reveals, though, that they need to go to the Sixth Dimension, the home realm of the Monitor, Anti-Monitor, World Forger and their mother Perpetua – that’s where they’ll find what the need to stop Perpetua. A handy portal takes Superman to the Sixth Dimension, and he returns moments later a decade older saying he’s found what they need. Most of the League follow him and appear in a different realm where future versions of themselves live happily. Unknown to them, the real Superman has been trapped in a different place.

Once again, big ideas abound in this title but the execution is better than previous issues, as though Scott Snyder has finally wrestled the story into a direction he wants it to go.

OBERON #2

Bonnie wakes in the house of Oberon and is taken by him to Mother Mayie who, in turn, takes her to the Endless Labyrinth where her magical potential – if she has any – will be determined. While Bonnie is being tested, Oberon discovers that Titania knows he has the girl.

Another good issue, with Oberon’s narration adding a wonderful counterpoint to his actions on the page, and though the story seems a little thin this issue, there’s no doubt that it’s setting things in place for further down the line.

A WALK THROUGH HELL #8

Carnahan, the child killer thought dead in the real world, is happy to spill the beans about his early days and how he came to take the path he did before a revelation of who else is involved comes to light.

I’ve read and watched a lot of horror books and films over the years but this story keeps surprising me – just when you think you know where it’s going, something else happens instead. This really is worth picking up.

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.