Mama, I’m Coming Home

Hello Dear Readers,

I'mback

“The Comic Book Revue” has been on hiatus for a while. Back in June of last year, I joined the staff of DCComcisNews.com, a news and reviews site that focused (obviously) on DC Comics. Within a few months of working there, there was a massive change in the editorial department, and I was promoted to the site’s Head Editor of News and Reviews.

Though I have a Head News Editor that handles the news posts, every single review that appears on DCN is edited by yours truly. I also review Justice League, Justice League of America, Batman/Superman, Green Lantern, Vibe (R.I.P.), The WakeLarfleeze, as well as Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. I also began writing for AdventuresInPoorTaste.com, an all-around media site where I review Young Avengers and X-O Manowar. Oh, and I moved to South Korea to teach English as a second language with my wife.

Suffice it to say, I’ve had my plate quite full.

But I miss “The Comic Book Revue”. I miss having my own outlet to write without worrying as much about journalistic professionalism, where I can use personal pronouns and express my disdain for Scott Lobdell’s writing. So, I’ve decided to revive “The Comic Book Revue”, albeit in a different form than before. Remember the 4-Sentence reviews? Those are now going to be the norm. Every once in a while, I’ll write a full-length review, but for the most part, I’ll be sticking to shorter reviews, but writing a whole lot more of them. Also, I’ll be focusing a lot more on titles from Marvel and independent publishers since I write so many DC reviews at DCN.

I hope you, the readers, can forgive my absence over the past three months. I also hope you’ll keep reading “The Comic Book Revue” in all its new glory! Thanks for reading in the past and I look forward to writing for you going forward!

 

Regards,

jayanything

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COMIC-CON!

Hey there!

Here’s a post about COMIC-CON!

Because this is a comic book related site!

This post is pretty much mandatory.

The thing is, I run “The Endless Reel” by myself, and I couldn’t go to Comic-Con this year.

And there’s sooooo much information flying out of that convention center, I’d be writing a new article every few hours, and honestly, I have other things to do today and tomorrow. Like work.

That being said, I have read some stuff that looks interesting.

I’ve been at work all day and honestly can’t think of the cool stuff I just read 20 minutes ago.

More than likely, I’ll post an article or two near the end of the week listing some highlights as well as some of my favorite moments from Comic-Con 2012. If I had more resources, I would totally have done some more comprehensive Comic-Con coverage, cuties…(I did it for the alliteration of it all!)

I’ll be continuing my regular coverage as the week goes on, so stay tuned!

– Jay

Crisis Update: Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1

Crisis Update
Volume 1, Entry 1

Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1
Various – Writer
Various – Pencils

When I first read Countdown to Infinite Crisis, it was at a time when I was coming back to comics after quite a long break. Up through my junior year of high school, I regularly visited the small comic shop only seven blocks from my house and regularly bought or ordered Green Lantern trades from the Kyle Rayner years. He was always my favorite GL and DC had finally seen it fit to collect his adventures on some sort of regular time table.

Then, in January of 2005, as a freshman in college, I saw a poster for Green Lantern: Rebirth, a six-part mini-series chronicling the return of Hal Jordan. I immediately ran off and bought the second printing of Rebirth #1 and put my name down to receive each subsequent issue. I honestly believed I would collect Rebirth and be satisfied, that I wouldn’t be lured back into the enticing world of superheroics and Earth-shattering events. Boy, was I wrong. It wasn’t long after Rebirth wrapped up that DC was prepping it’s fans for Infinite Crisis, the ‘sequel’ to 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, the crossover event that pioneered crossover events, killed off many DC characters (including fan-favorite Flash, Barry Allen), restructured the universe to answer for timeline inconsistencies and changed the DC universe permanently going forward.

The first in a blitzkrieg of tie-ins and mini-series leading up to Infinite Crisis came in the form of Countdown to Infinite Crisis, an 80-page prelude providing the catalyst events leading for everything else to come.

***SPOILERS***
Countdown tells the tale of the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, as he investigates money laundering and stolen kryptonite that seems to be leading toward something more sinister. The only problem: no one important wants to give Beetle the time of day. The exceptions are Wonder Woman and Booster Gold, both who can’t offer help for their own reasons.

Beetle goes out on his own and connects the dots until they lead him to a mysterious castle. Inside, Kord discovers a computer with any and all pertinent information regarding every metahuman on Earth. Within a few pages, Maxwell Lord reveals himself as the culprit. For those who haven’t read their DC history, Lord was the business mogul who created the Justice League International back in the 1980s. At the time, he was just a regular human who wanted to do his part to protect humanity. In Countdown, Lord has become a criminal mastermind who has taken control of Checkmate, an international espionage organization. In the end, Lord murders Ted Kord in cold blood.

Like Identity Crisis before it, Countdown takes a character-driven approach to telling it’s story. Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle has been one of the long-running jokes of the DC Universe. Along with Booster Gold, Kord had a reputation as a screw-up. With good intentions and bad luck, Kord was always a second-tier hero often relegated to the sidelines, not only in narratives, but in publishing practices as well.

Countdown addresses Kord’s standing in the superhero community, showing how the decisions made by even the greatest of heroes can lead to devastating consequences. Superman and Green Lantern humour Kord before zooming off to something more important, Batman becomes aggressive and hostile, and the Martian Manhunter immediately blocks out Kord as soon as a JLA alert comes in. Even without any assistance, Kord strikes out on his own, knowing he probably has neither the ability nor the means to really succeed. It’s a testament to Ted Kord and his persistence, his heroism.

Countdown is an excellent beginning to a rather lengthy lead-in to Infinite Crisis. At 80 pages in length, it gives a great overview of the DC universe before everything goes to hell.

Review: Aquaman – "The Trench" (#1-4)


Review




Aquaman: The Trench (#1-4)
Geoff Johns – Writer
Ivan Reis – Pencils



Geoff Johns is one of my favorite writers in comics today. He relaunch my favorite superhero, Green Lantern, in 2004, and has since contributed consistently excellent work that focuses on characters, letting stories build around their natural tendencies.



So I was excited when I heard Johns was taking the reigns with Aquaman with DC’s New 52 relaunch. Arthur Curry is a character that gets love in all the wrong ways. Most writers who get their hands on the (arguably) least popular DC hero ever, they feel the need to ‘reinvent’ him, change his personality or simply make his stories crazier to compensate for a lack of fresh ideas.


Johns understands that a good story needs good characters to be compelling, and Aquaman is a perfect example of this. Instead of an alien invasion, some crossover or a ‘secret origins’ style retelling, Johns tells a rather simple, yet effective, story about a species of carnivorous deep-sea dwellers whose natural food source has run dry. Desperate for sustenance, they travel up.


The fight against the deep-sea creatures isn’t the focal point of this first story arc. Instead, it’s designed to give readers an easy introduction (or re-introduction) to a character who has historically been DC’s scapegoat, one who is highly misunderstood and who can be the protagonist of a highly-readable book. Johns addresses Aquaman’s unpopularity, excellently weaves Arthur Curry’s history into the storytelling – without going into exposition mode – and opens up a little more of Aquaman’s world. 


When asked how he talks to fish, the wet wonder replies that he, in fact, does not talk to fish at all. He explains that fish aren’t intelligent enough to talk, and his connection with sea life is more of a light psychic control. While this may seem small in the grander scheme of the Aquaman world, it’s a trademark technique of Johns, one used to give readers a better understanding of the character, leading to a deeper investment into their stories.


Many of the titles under the banner of the New 52 are excellent. Aquaman stands out as a prime example of what makes comics great. The past ten years seen the constant thickening of continuity through perpetual ‘crises’, crossover events and ‘everything will change’ mini-series. Titles like Aquaman are taking the medium back to a style that made them popular in the first place: stories about characters.


Story Arc Grade: A-