Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some thoughts about Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1

Now that the Justice League is dead which heroes are left to face the menace of the Crime Syndicate?

Steve Trevor always had problems trusting others but started changing years ago when he first arrived on Paradise Island. Now that the supervillains are the dominant forces of earth Steve has no other choice but taking the role of leader for A.R.G.U.S. once again.

First things first, the direction of this series was obviously changed at the last minute. Most people know that Matt Kindt was originally set to write this miniseries but now he has been replaced by Sterling Gates who actually does a pretty good job at creating an intriguing story, we had the presence of a unknown threat aside from the Crime Syndicate, the reconstruction of A.R.G.U.S., the origin of Steve Trevor, not to mention that in the last page we see the return of a hero that was assumed as dead but not one that you may actually expect.

Now that we're touching the subject of creative changes, apparently they had to scrap some of Philip Tan's work and put Neil Edwards and Javier Pina to help him. I have to say that Pina's art is the best penciller on this issue, his style is pretty clean and appealing while Tan's tends to be a bit dark and overusing gestures, Edwards' is definitely the worst though, it looks pretty rushed and unpolished.

Anyway, this issue had great characterization, interesting story and nice surprise at the end. I'm a bit disappointed about the loss of Matt Kindt but Sterling Gates is a damn fine replacement.

Some thoughts about Aquaman Annual #1

Aquaman and The Others are united again to face a new supernatural threat.

Morgane Le Fey has stolen Vostok's helmet so she can acquire its power and to prevent that from happening The Others will have to face their own worst fears and weaknesses and some of them may actually succumb to their influence.

Okay, some aspects from the original premise have been altered. At first this story's focus was going to be about a new owner of Vostok's helmet but now it has been changed to be about The Others battling against Morgane Le Fey, still, John Ostrander does a great job at portraying all these characters and their motivations. I'm serious, when The Others first appeared on Geoff Johns' Aquaman run they were a pretty cool concept but lacked some subtance and personality.

Now, Ostrander manages to inject their own voice and strenghts not only personality-wise but also in terms of their abilities, The Operative is a much more Batman-style paranoid soldier, The Prisoner is actually funny at times now and Ya'wara, well, you will know.

Geraldo Borges handles the art and it's simply amazing. He follows the same tone that Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier have been developing on the main series and he does it wonderfully, full of detail a greatly looking. This man deserves more work.

This was obviously a set-up for the upcoming The Others ongoing series and so far it's a pretty promising premise. Well written, interesting direction and future, let's just hope they keep Borges on pencils.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some thoughts about The Flash #24

To defeat The Reverse-Flash, Barry will have to deal with some of his own past mistakes.

The Flash knows that altering the past will have severe repercussions on the present so he's not willing to let Daniel do it, with that knowledge in mind he's not going to live in the past but move towards the future which includes the resolution an old case about the murder of his mother.

This was a pretty appropiate ending for this arc and Francis Manapul/Brian Buccellato's run overall. Barry is a man who doesn dwell into the past but moves forward to his future which is pretty different from his previous incarnation after his rebirth. Most of the plot points find a well handled conclusion while others are still open to future interpretations including Buccellato's own on his upcoming three-issues arc.

Francis Manapul's pencils are gorgeous and creative as usual, it's a shame that he won't be able to exploit his skills on another title huge in scope.

Pretty good issue and a fitting conclusion for this solid run.

Some thoughts about Aquaman #24

Who or what is the Scourge of the Seven Seas?

All the stories that Vulko has been telling to Arthur during all these years have been lies. Centuries before Arthur's birth there was a great king named Atlan who wanted to unite all the different kingdoms besides Atlantis but despite of his good intentions there were people who tried to stop him due to their racism, including his brother Orin, Arthur's ancestor.

This issue delivered everything that I was expecting once that I saw its cover, most importantly the Seven Seas. Aquaman's universe have become huge due to the creation of seven different cultures including Atlantis, The Trench, The Xebel and four other unknown races, it's a shame that Geoff Johns won't be staying to develope all these kingdoms since their premise is truly interesting.

About the plot, this was a pretty well told story set in the past and is being told from the perspective of the traitors most likely. The twists were greatly handled as well as the inclusion of Orin, Arthur's name post-COIE, who looks strangely similar to 90's Aquaman.

Paul Pelletier's pencils are outstanding, his scenes in the past are beautifully detailed and wonderful, I would dare to say that it looks even better than when Ivan Reis was in the book.

Excellent, simply excellent issue. Going to miss Johns in this one.

Some thoughts about Justice League Dark #24

The Justice League Dark is dead, except the constant survivor John Constantine of course.

Constantine's mind is a mess due to his confrontation with the Crime Syndicate and he will need the help of the House of Mystery to find the answers inside of his own conscience and the true nature of evil.

This is J.M. DeMatteis' first issue on this series and it's unsurprisingly an improvement. Unlike the previous author, Ray Fawkes, DeMatteis focus on the personal struggles of John Constatine instead of classic superheroics, this issue also included some team dynamics despite that none of the members of the team were actually here and the way DeMatteis handles it is pretty inventive.

Best of all is how mysthical and complex this issue feels in comparison to the previous ones, the exploration of the House of Mystery starts revealing different aspects of the house itself and its connection to John that it's actually more profound that we initially believed.

I'm also glad to say that despite that this was a supposedly part of a big crossover, it didn't felt like a tie-in nor a fragmented piece of a story. It flows pretty naturally and the actual continuation is going to happen on the next issue of this same title.

Mikel Janin is on art so you know it's going to be great, especially at the introspective segments.

Promising first issue definitely and actually better than what I was expecting due to the editorial mandate.

Some thoughts about Justice League #24

Ultraman's origins are revealed and they truly explain why he is so messed up.

Indoctrinated by his Kryptonian parents with the idea of strength and despise since he was an infant, Ultraman took over a troubled couple named the Kents until he was able to get things on his own, with the years he was able to take control of the whole Earth 3 along with people who shared his same ideology. Will he have the same luck on Prime Earth? Black Adam certainly won't make things easy.

I'm impressed, Geoff Johns actually managed to make Ultraman into a compelling and complex villain. One that was forced to take that role because he believes is his fate, the recreation of Earth 3's Krypton was fantastic, a planet where people only value power and try to survive by any cost.

The little hints about the rest of both worlds were pretty interesting too. How Power Ring gained his abilities, Superwoman's identity, the Kents and most importantly the reveal of an all new Doom Patrol which looks strangely like the second version from the previous universe. I need to congrat Johns for putting a lot of content in this issue, it felt pretty dense.

Ivan Reis keeps showing his skills on the art side and the title continues improving its quality thanks to him.

Fantastic issue, this is how a tie-in should be handled.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some thoughts about Wonder Woman #24

A new and intriguing era of Wonder Woman begins.

After her violent fight with the First Born, Diana didn't have other choice but to kill Ares, the God of War, to stop the First Born from getting his powers and his position in the Olympus. Now Wonder Woman is the new Goddess of War and will have to deal with her new responsibilities.

So what do we get from this issue? I have commented in the past how much potential the premise of Diana as the Goddess of War has and Brian Azzarello tries to exploit the concept to explore a bit more her relationship with her brothers and the rest of her supporting cast, it was a nice set-up overall.

There's a little problem though, I don't feel that the story progressed a lot. In this issue we only saw characters that we're previously introduced already and there wasn't any big conflict, just people talking naturally. There were some moments of character development of course but nothing actually surprising.

The pencils are handled by Goran Sudsuka and he does and admirably job at following Cliff Chiang's style, it looks quite good and is a perfect transition from the previous look of the book.

Overall, I would say it's a good but not particularly great beginning for this new storyline.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some thoughts about Green Lantern: New Guardians #24

Lights Out part 3.

Oa's destruction has provoked desperation on the Entities which will prompt them to take take control of Kyle Rayner so they can stop the death of the universe, but how?

Well, we have another good script made by Justin Jordan. As usual, his dialogue is pretty engaging and his portrayal of Kyle is spot-on, I have to mention that the way he used the entities to show the different aspects of the emotional spectrum was pretty interesting too. Still, I can't help to think that this could have been much better if it wasn't forced onto this crossover, I really want to see what this creative team is able to do with more freedom.

Brad Walker's art is the best I have seen from this line, his cosmic work is simply wonderful.

Pretty good issue overall but this team deserves to start telling their own stories.

Some thoughts about Forever Evil: Rogues' Rebellion #1

The Crime Syndicate have destroyed Central City, what do The Rogues have to say about that?

World's domination have never been their objective so now that the life of his sister is in danger, Captain Cold and the rest of his team will have to face the CS and their Secret Society if they want to return the world back to normal.

This was surprisingly entertaining, I didn't think that The Rogues one-shot issue was particularly good and Brian Buccellato's dialogue still needs to be more subtle but the whole story was pretty enjoyable, I mean, The Flash's villains versus Firestorm's villains? That's just an incredibly fun premise! There's not much characterization for the other band of criminals but The Rogues receive a pretty good treatment based on their powers and personalities, good job there.

Both Patrick Zircher and Scott Hepburn handle the art and there are a few problem due to that reason, their styles are pretty different and Zircher is the better artist of the two (Although Hepburn is not bad) which makes the transition a little awkward.

Pretty good issue actually, Buccellato needs to polish some of his flaws but the direction is exciting enough.

Some thoughts about Justice League of America's Vibe #8

Vibe is lost in the Multiverse.

Cisco is able to escape from Rupture but at a cost, he's now dwelling among the different dimensions and if he wants to save Gypsy and his brother he will need the help of a Breacher, a being who has exactly the same problems as him.

This was definitely a good one, Sterling Gates has developed a pretty good story so far based on Vibe's ability to move between the different universes as well as demonstrating a good handle on other characters like Amethyst. The premise of Vibe exploring other dimensions was something that I wanted to see since the beginning and I'm glad that we're finally starting to see it being exploited.

Plus, Vibe does a nice homage to The Flash on Crisis on Infinite Earths, that made me smile.

Andres Guinaldo is on art and he does a quite good job actually, I would say that it even looks better than Pete Woods' work at times.

Best issue yet which makes the recent cancellation much more disappointing.

Some thoughts about Justice League of America #8

 The Justice League is gone but what exactly happened to them?

Martian Manhunter and Stargirl are apparently the only survivors from the Trinity War but something is wrong, a confused Jason Rusch has contacted them to save the rest of the members from the differents Justice Leagues from a prison that is especially designed for them except that it might not be what it seems.

This is the first part of a five-issue arc on Justice League of America written by Matt Kindt and I must say that is pretty intriguing story so far. Kindt introduce us to a strange prison that supposedly holds the rest of the heroes and presents different and distinctive methods to incarcerate them, not based on their powers but on their personalities and minds (Superman wanting to go back in time by making earth go backwards, The Flash being trapped on his own hyperactive imagination, awesome), it's a quite interesting premise that makes you want to know more about how the plot will develope and how this strange world works.

There are a few problems though, at times Kindt's narration can get a bit awkward, some of the lines might not be the most natural especially Stargirl's dialogue that mades her sound like a stereotypical teenage girl at times. Still, this fortunately doesn't ruin the story.

Doug Mahnke is once again on art duties and his work keeps being pretty inspired, his characters look beautiful and his storytelling abilities are top-notch.

Pretty good and promising issue, let's see where it goes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Some thoughts about Suicide Squad #24

The Crime Syndicate has changed the world but what happens to the most professional criminals?

Amanda Waller is trying to escape from her own prison while also contacting with Deadshot and Harley Quinn to reform the Suicide Squad so they can retrieve one of the most dangerous weapons in the world, the problem is that someone else has been playing Waller's game and that person is forming a Reverse-Suicide Squad to accomplish the same mission.

This is the first official issue of Matt Kindt as a writer of this series and I have to say I'm impressed so far. His writing skills are much more refined than Glass's and his storytelling is not as decompressed as Kot's, it hits a perfect balance between both of them. Not only that but he also plays with the potential of a world ruled by criminals perfectly while also introducing his own brand of ideas without ignoring anything, in fact some of the plot points from Kot's run are being continued here, it's follows a pretty coherent continuity.

Now, speaking about the characters, Matt Kindt gives enough space to each member from the classic cast to show their personalities and motivations, even the new ones have a reason for their appearance here, all is well explained.

Patrick Zircher continues doing an excellent work and he complements Kindt's writing perfectly by making each and every moment feel important and huge. Plus, I must say that he draws the most gorgeous Power Girl I have seen in the New 52, it's great to have him on this series.

This is the most entertaining issue from this series I have read so far, it's good when things work as planned.

Some thoughts about Green Lantern Corps #24

 
Lights Out part two.

Relic has destroyed the Central Battery, Oa has only just a few moments of existence left, it all depends on John Stewart to create a way to make all members from the Corps escape. Unfortunately, not all of them will be able to do so.

This chapter was way better than the previous one. Van Jensen creates what probably is the most intelligent and self-assured version of John Stewart since Green Lantern: Mosaic, Jensen's John is a man who knows war but whose most powerful weapon is his mind, he's an strategist, able to create the best plan possible to find the solution for their problems.

The way Jensen is characterizing the new recruits is great as usual, each one of them have an unique personality as well as different abilties and of them will make the ultimate sacrifice to save the others.

Bernard Chang's art continues to impress with his powerful cosmic scenes and fights, the man was made for this series.

Great issue, GLC keeps defeating the main GL title in quality.

Some thoughts about Constantine #7

The Cult of the Cold Flame has taken everything from Constantine.

John's life is being destroyed while everyone who is close to him and even others who are like him follow the same path, not even the most powerful magicians on the planet are able to oppose the Cult and Constantine will have no other choice but obey, for now at least.

Damn, Ray Fawkes is a tricky author, sometimes you think is just an okay writer based on his work in series like Pandora or Justice League Dark and then he comes with this series that destroys all your beliefs.

This is probably the best issue yeat. Fawkes continues to rock Constantine's world by creating and destroying new myths at the same time, the story is fastly paced while still able to maintain your attention, the antagonist are powerful, threatening and distinctive, the worldbuilding is excellent. What more can you ask for?

Just last month I was wondering if would see Simon Kundransky on pencils again after his fantastic work on Secret Society and here he is replacing ongoing artist Renato Guedes and he's probably the best replacement that this title has seen. His style is a great fit for this book, dark, eerie and suspensuful, is just wonderful.

Man, I don't want to keep buying this series due to the Forever Evil: Blight forced crossover but Fawkes is forcing me to do it.

Some thoughts about Superman/Wonder Woman #1

DC's new power couple on their own ongoing.

How do two of the most powerful beings on earth are able to save the world while still maintaining a solid romantic relationship? Superman and Wonder Woman come from different cultures and have found a way to make their relationship work, the only problem are the constant menaces that invade the universe and one of the most dangerous that has a close connection to Superman has finally arrived.

This is the first issue of Charles Soule's anticipated series starring two of DC's most iconic characters. Does he delivers?

I would say yeah, at least if what you were expecting was a well written book with great characterization. This might sound kinda strange but hear me out, Soule's portrayal of both Clark and Diana is spot-on, he focus on the characteristics and strenghts of their histories and injects them into their personality to make them different and unique enough to create an interesting dynamic. The narration is pretty solid and helps to make the character express their emotions and past without making it awkward nor overwritten.

My problem here, is that I was expecting a bit more, more creativity, more action, more big moments, etc. In fact the only fight from this issue happens on the last couple of pages while the rest was mostly focusing on Clark and Diana's interaction, there were some nice scenes here and there but nothing that would really make this title a huge bombastic spectacle. Not to mention there were only a few interesting new ideas.

Tony Daniel is on art duties and this is probably one of his best works yet. The scenes are powerfully depicted and his characters are beautiful, I hope that in future issues he's able to create more impressive scenes.

Good issue definitely but kind of a disappointment if you're expecting something groundbreaking.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some thoughts about Forever Evil #2

Superman is gone, this is a job for Lex Luthor.

Lex is decided to confront the Crime Syndicate who are currently terrorizing the world and to accomplish that he will need the help of a project he has't finished yet. Meanwhile, the Teen Titans have gone to stop some of the CS members but none of them seem to have chance which results in the kids being lost in time.

This was another pretty good issue. The portrayal of every character is done pretty nicely, although I have some complaints about Lex's current characterization he's still pretty competent and understandable, but I have to say that my favorite interpretation here is Ultraman's, in past incarnations (especially in Grant Morrison's antimatter version) he was basically an enraged beast that always seemed like he was going to lost control at any time, here he's presented as a much more calculating and terrifying man, always planning for his next step. Job well done.

The plot also progress effectively. We see new developments about Lex's plans to defeat the CS as well as some hints about the fate of the Justice League while giving us little teases about the rest of the world and future appearances.

And hey, David Finch's art looks actually better, there is more refinement in his characters and scenes, the anatomy is still a bit off but is definitely a step up.

Satisfying read, this event is turning to be a pretty iteresting one.

Some thoughts about Earth 2 #16

The war for Earth 2 comes to a conclusion, not a positive one unfortunately.

The Wonders of the world are finally united against a common threat, Steppenwolf and his Furies but not even their conbined forces are able to stop the Apokolips' Terrors and at the end Steppenwolf declares himself victorious. It doesn't last since Brutaal reveals his true identity and decides to take over the world in Darkseid's name.

Well, this was a pretty satisfactory final for what it was an interesting run. James Robinson implements a lot of action of this issue and it truly feels like an epic battle between the forces of good and evil, it may sound like a cliche but it's a well executed one and the surprise at the final pages is truly shocking and will certainly prove to be an intriguing new status quo for writer Toma Taylor when his run starts on the next issue.

So what can I say about Robinson's run? It had its ups and downs, the initial arc was quite strong as well as the one-and-done issues but some of the arcs like the Tower of Fate were long and tedious. A common and major complaint is Robinson's narration and it's certainly flawed but at times at think it fitted the atmosphere he was trying to create. Overall, I would say his run is definitely worth reading if only for the excellent worldbuilding.

Nicola Scott really knows how to sell this battle, the action scenes looks fantastic and I'm happy to say that she's constantly improving her talents. Good to know that she's staying for future issues.

Anyway, definitely good ending. Let's see if Taylor can improve some aspects that didn't work on the past.

Some thoughts about Green Lantern #24

Lights Out starts with a bang.

Following the events that have been building towards this moment, the Green Lantern Corps are finally aware about who is causing the malfunctioning of their rings, Relic is not going to stop until the Emotional Spectrum is gone and his actions end destroying the Central Battery which could represent the end of Oa.

Pretty nice opening chapter for this event. Robert Venditti has been giving us little hinst over the course of his run about how this story will develope but it's pretty nice to see it finally happening. Relic is portrayed as a really powerful but understandable antagonist and the result seems to be a pretty decisive moemnte for the GLC. Not bad at all.

I have some complaint though, the initial recap narration was a bit off. I know that Venditti wanted to give the readers all the information that have been introduced on the GL group of book but it ended being a bit overwritten and blunt.

Billy Tan's art is much better by now. Some of the scenes are pretty good to look at and the battles and strongly depicted.

Good issue and a solid first part for this event. Green Lantern Corps will be interesting next week.

Some thoughts about The Movement #5

Coral City is tired of both The Movement and the police so they're going to start hiring their own superheroes.

Both the team of socialist kids and their hostages are discussing about the good and bad points from both sides while the menace that have been hiding in the shadows is about to attack everyone with a new group of metahumans.

Pretty nice issue. Gail Simone has been consistently improving the quality of this series by presenting solid arguments about how just a few doesn't actually define others while making each of the protagonists sufficiently unique, Vengeance Moth being one of the best and showing what she's able to do.

Freddie Williams II continues his solid and expressive job being creative enough when he needs to.

Another good issue, it's a shame that this title is being overlooked.

Some thoughts about Green Arrow #24

The final confrontation between Green Arrow and Count Vertigo is coming.

Ollie is still suffering the effects of his last encounter with the leader of Vlatava but despite of his suffering he will not only have to face him but also an incredibly threatening Richard Dragon whose plan is take over the gangs of Seattle while also defeating Ollie's allies, Shado being the first one to fall.

Best issue yet. Yes, I know but it's Lemire/Sorrentino's Green Arrow, what more do you expect?. I'm not talking only about the quality of the story but about the amount of content that Jeff Lemire introduces here, we had the main story of Count Vertigo destroying Seattle along with the battle between Richard Dragon and Shado with the promise of more Outsiders development coming as well as classic character dynamics and relationship building. That makes a really compelling and dense read.

This is the kind of storytelling that I heard other writers like Ales Kot wanted to use on Suicide Squad but never quite pulled off, doing one-and-done issues or two issues arcs and making everything work by itself and connect to the overarching plot. This story works perfect as a stand-alone and prepares us for the upcoming storyline, is fantastic.

I need to mention that I adore Lemire' interpretations of classic characters. Richard Dragon is an amazingly skilled fighter and his techniques are depicted perfectly, Billy Tockman has his classic clock obsession and also a mysterious new character which Arrow fans may recognize.

Andrea Sorrentino is frankly wonderful, everything looks beautiful but the way he depicts action scenes is brilliant, especially the fight between Richard Dragon and Shado, you really need to check it by yourself.

Favorite book of the week once again, I can't be disappointed with this series.