The Week in Revue (Aug 28 – Sep 3, 2013)

Spotlight

Batman Incorporated Special #1

(w) Chris Burnham, Joe Keatinge, Dan Didio

(a) Chris Burnham, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Masters

DC Reviews

Batman/Superman #3

(w) Greg Pak

(a) Jae Lee

Justice League #23 –> DC Comics News Review!

(w) Geoff Johns

(a) Ivan Reis, Joe Prado

The Flash #23

(w) Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato

(a) Francis Manapul

Marvel Reviews

Captain America #10

(w) Rick Remender

(a) Joh Romita Jr.

Young Avengers #9

(w) Kieron Gillen

(a) Jaime McKelvie

Earth 2 #15 Review

(w) James RobinsonEarth2_cvr_15_FINAL_tfxahy9ous_

(a) Nicola and Trevor Scott

 

I try not to talk about happenings in the comic book industry when analyzing individual issues because the editorial going-ons don’t necessarily have an effect on how people read the story. Many, many comic book fans follow creative team changes, editorial edicts, and daily news that affects the comic books they love, but there are also many fans who don’t do that at all; they go to their local comic shop every Wednesday, pick up their books, and read them. So when I review comics, I review the story and the art, not the ‘behind the scenes’ situations that have affected said comics.

 

Unfortunately, James Robinson has pushed me to mention the news of his leaving Earth 2 after issue 16. When the story hit the news cycle, Robinson made it quite clear he was not happy with how his run on the title ended, as he had plans for the characters through 2015 (I think). Thus, readers became a bit more excited for Earth 2 in the past few months because these are Robinson’s last issues to affect this parallel universe as much as he can before he leaves. Instead of getting some of the best issues so far, Earth 2 #15 is easily one of my least favorite.

 

Instead of going out with class, Robinson seems to be shoving in as much information as he can in this penultimate issue to his nearly two year-long run. The amount of internal monologue in Earth 2 #15 is staggering, and quite possibly more than the rest of the issues put together. It’s hard to do internal monologue well, yet I was sure Robinson of all people could pull it off. Apparently, I was wrong. The Flash is an interesting character in his own right, but there’s no reason why he needed to narrate the entire issue with his thoughts. It’s frustrating because this issue is all about a war between the World Army and the forces of Darkseid’s stranded general, Steppenwolf. There doesn’t need to be a lot of narration because it’s quite obvious what’s going on and who’s doing what. Even when Flash is doing something that could easily be put into context with dialogue between two characters — like when he’s running various soldiers to safety — Robinson falls back onto Jay’s inner thoughts to explain the situation. It’s hard to read.

 

Earth 2 #15 is an example of what desperation can lead to: mediocrity. And I really have no idea if James Robinson was desperate to get his storylines out there, but that’s sure what it seems like from beginning to end of this issue. It feels like Robinson panicked when he realized he only had two issues left, so he started adding more plot lines and characters as quickly as possible. Remember how Mister Miracle and Barda showed up for a single panel (with no dialogue) back in April, then again for two pages in Earth 2 Annual #1? Yah, I know: it’s been a few months. Robinson drops readers back into their tale with little warning and expects readers to remember what was happening to these two characters and just accept that it’s being brought back into the fold. The worst part is, nothing actually happens to them. Their whole sequence is just their fight with Fury, Steppenwolf’s Amazonian warrior.

 

There’s just too much going on in Earth 2 #15. So many characters and so many plots are continued, established, or expanded upon that it’s jarring when Robinson switches gears. Plus, each sequence is small, so a lot of info is packed into a small amount of space making it feel claustrophobic and stuffy to read. I really like Earth 2, but this issue is a total bust.

 

GRADE

4/10

The Flash Annual #2 Review

(w) Brian BuccellatoFlash_annual2(CMYK)_00yjh81yth_

(a) Sami Basri

This was the issue I was waiting for. Green Lantern is my favorite superhero, and while Kyle Rayner is my top Lantern, I especially love Hal Jordan’s character history throughout the Silver Age. One of the best dynamics about Hal in the 60s and 70s was his team-ups with both the Flash and Green Arrow. Both men offered Hal a different way of seeing the world and lessons on how to be a better hero. Barry Allen ironically taught Hal the value of slowing down to learn as much as you can before jumping into a situation. Oliver Queen gave Hal a sense of social responsibility and liberal flare. In the ‘New 52’, those relationships have to be rebuilt from scratch if DC decides to let them exist at all. Though issues of Justice League make it clear Hal and Green Arrow have a somewhat sordid history now, Flash and Green Lantern’s friendship has apparently carried over, and Brian Buccellato gets to tell the story of their first meeting in The Flash Annual #2.

In The Flash Annual #2, Hal and Barry meet for the first time because they’re both cops. Well, that’s the why, but the how is that they are both investigating the disappearance of children from Coast City. Brian Buccellato strikes gold with this sequence. Green Lantern meets Barry Allen, not the Flash, but immediately recognizes Barry as the Flash by voice alone. “Come on, I recognize your voice! I was just speaking with you.” To someone whose read a lot of the original relationship between these two characters, this is spot on — it’s tongue in cheek without going overboard. Hal always messes with Barry, and it’s fun to see that at the start of their friendship.

Surprisingly, this isn’t a straightforward flashback issue. I expected to spend the entire time at least five years in the past when both Hal and Barry were learning how to be the heroes they had just become. Instead, Buccellato offers up a now-and-then style tale that forces Flash and Green Lantern to join forces against the same enemy on two different occasions. It very much reminded me of Green Lantern vs. Alien, a series that saw Hal Jordan quarantine the eponymous aliens on an uninhabited planet, then follows Kyle Rayner years later as he leads a mission to rescue the crew of a crashed ship. Hal and Barry discover that the kids are being taken by aliens who intend to train the kids to be combatants for a place called Arena World. Their first time visiting, Hal manages to secure the release of the children without a major conflict. In the present, we discover Hal had in fact offered up himself and Barry as competitors in Arena World all those years ago.

The rest of The Flash Annual #2 is a testament to how well Buccellato knows Barry Allen and also how well he’s able to write Hal Jordan without making the characters sound like a complete dick. Barry scolds Hal for not telling him about the deal and Hal gets angry at Barry for not appreciating that he saved all those kids. Barry thinks Hal is irresponsible. Hal thinks Barry is uptight. It’s classic Flash and Green Lantern. And it’s classic for a reason: it works. Hal and Barry are the least morose members of the Justice League. Superman and Wonder Woman have their whole stoic thing going on. Batman is Batman. Aquaman is a King, which is bound to make a guy grumpy. And Cyborg just doesn’t do much else than monitor the planet and join in the fighting (at least, for now). There have been a lot of team-ups in the ‘New 52’, but not many feel as natural as Hal and Barry’s.

GRADE

9/10

The Week in Revue (July 31 – Aug 6, 2013)

Spotlight

Batman Incorporated #13

(w) Grant Morrison

(a) Chris Burnham

DC Reviews

Batman Annual #2

(w) Scott Snyder

(a) Wes Craig

The Flash Annual #2

(w) Brian Buccellato

(a) Sami Basri

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2

(w) Ray Fawkes

(a) Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes

Marvel Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy #5

(w) Brian Michael Bendis

(a) Sara Pichelli

X-Men #3

(w) Brian Wood

(a) Olivier Coipel

The Week in Revue (June 26 – July 2, 2013)

——- Spotlight
Batman/Superman #1
(w) Greg Pak
(a) Jae Lee

——- DC Reviews

The Flash #21
(w) Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
(a) Francis Manapul

Justice League #21 
(w) Geoff Johns
(a) Gary Frank
CHECK OUT THIS REVIEW ON DC COMICS NEWS!

Justice League of America #21
(w) Geoff Johns
(a) David Finch
CHECK OUT THIS REVIEW ON DC COMICS NEWS!

——- Marvel Reviews
Age of Ultron #10A.I.
(w) Mark Waid
(a) Andre Araujo

X-Men #2
(w) Brian Wood
(a) Olivier Coipel

Young Avengers #6
(w) Kieron Gillen
(a) Kate Brown

The Week in Revue (Apr 24-31, 2013)

——- DC Reviews

The Flash #19
(w) Brian Buccellato     (a) Marcio Takara
DC’S “WTF” MONTH CONTINUES WITH A BRAND NEW VILLAIN FOR THE FLASH!

Batman Incorporated #10
(w) Grant Morrison     (a) Chris Burnham
MORRISON’S EPIC BATMAN SAGA IS WINDING DOWN!

I, Vampire #19
(w) Joshua Hale Fialkov     (a) Fernando Blanco and Andrea Sorrentino
FINAL ISSUE! AND REALLY, FIALKOV’S FINAL ISSUE FOR DC! DANG.

——- Marvel Reviews
Young Avengers #4
(w) Kieron Gillen     (a) Jaime McKelvie
LOVE ME SOME YOUNG AVENGERS! 


Avengers #10
(w) Jonathan Hickman     (a) Dustin Weaver
HONESTLY, IT’S SUPER HARD TO KNOW WHAT HICKMAN IS GOING TO THROW AT US NEXT WITH THIS SERIES. WHATEVER IT IS, THOUGH, IT’LL BE GREAT.

Uncanny X-Men #5
(w) Brian Michael Bendis     (a) Fraiser Irving
IT’S THE ORIGINAL COMIC BOOK WITH ‘UNCANNY’ IN THE TITLE, NOW THAT THERE ARE, LIKE, 30.

THE WEEK (JAN 30 – FEB 5, 2013)

Featured Review

Green Lantern Corps Annual #1
(w) Peter J. Tomasi
(a) ChrisCross

“Rise of the Third Army” finished up with this oversized annual issue! Now that the Guardian’s new army has ravaged the universe, how will the Green Lantern Corps stop them? Find out here! Plus, GLC Annual #1 also leads into the next Green Lantern Family crossover, “Wrath of the First Lantern”!

Reviews
Aquaman #16
(w) Geoff Johns
(a) Paul Pelletier

“Throne of Atlantis” continues this week as Orm the Ocean Master declares all-out war on the surface world! Plus, remember how the monsters from “The Trench” got out a few issues back? Well here they come to eat your face off!
Batman and Robin Annual #1


Batman and Robin Annual #1
(w) Peter J. Tomasi
(a) Adrian Syaf


Hawkeye #7
(w) Matt Fraction
(a) Steve Lieber

The hurricane issue. All of Matt Fraction’s royalties from this issue’s sales are going directly to Hurricane Sandy relief. So, make sure to drop by your LCS and maybe pick up more than one copy if you’ve got the money to spare this week!

Justice League Dark #16
(w) Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
(a) Mikel Janin

The Superior Spider-Man #2
(w) Dan Slott
(a) Ryan Stegman

Dan Slott promised he would address the issue of rape between Peter and Mary Jane now that Peter is actually Doc Ock. I was very impressed with the first issue, so hopefully Slott can keep the momentum rolling!

Teen Titans #16
(w) Scott Lobdell
(a) Brett Booth

Extra! Extra!
Avengers #4
(w) Jonathan Hickman
(a) Adam Kubert

Batman, Incorporated #7
(w) Grant Morrison
(a) Chris Burnham

The Flash #16
(w) Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
(a) Francis Manapul

Superman #16
(w) Scott Lobdell
(a) Kenneth Rocafort

X-Men Legacy #5
(w) Simon Spurrier
(a)