Archive for Action Comics

Superman Saves Family Home.

Posted in Action Comics, Comics, Superman with tags , , , , , on 3rd August, 2010 by Adam Redsell

For real. A couple facing foreclosure had their fortunes reversed when they found a copy of Action Comics #1 in their basement.

Action Comics #1 is better known as the first ever Superman comic, and the progenitor of the entire superhero genre. Needless to say, it is pretty much the most significant comic book of all time, and very, very valuable.

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Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 9th September 2009

Posted in Adventure Comics, Blackest Night, Comics, Green Lantern Corps, Secret Six, Superman, Wednesday Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st September, 2009 by Adam Redsell

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Lasso of Truth is your weekly guide to what’s hot and what’s not in the DC Universe.  Each week, the Red Baron goes through his comics haul to tell you what’s worth buying and what’s best left alone.

Here’s the key:

Must havethere’s no question, you should buy this great book.
Buy ita high-quality read that won’t disappoint.
Check it outpick it up if you have some extra cash.  May be an acquired taste.
Avoida disappointing read.  Save your money and steer clear.


adventure_2

Adventure Comics #2
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Francis Manapul
A heart-warming tale of love re-kindled, with some surprising developments on the Luthor/Brainiac front.  The best Superman book since Johns left Action.
Verdict: Must have.


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Blackest Night: Batman #2
Written by Peter J. Tomasi ǀ Art by Adrian Syaf
Without a doubt the best Blackest Night tie-in on the stands.  It’s simple enough to stand on its own, and Tomasi does even more to flesh out the new Dynamic Duo.
Verdict: Buy it.


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Green Lantern Corps #40
Written by Peter J. Tomasi ǀ Art by Patrick Gleason
Tomasi continues to mine the rich landscape that he himself created.  The return of the dead means the return of past plot threads, and Tomasi weaves them together beautifully.
Verdict: Buy it.


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Secret Six #13
Written by Gail Simone ǀ Art by Nicola Scott
I’m really digging this “Depths” story arc.  Secret Six continues its proud tradition of anti-heroics and black humour.  If you haven’t been reading this book, you really ought to be.
Verdict: Must have.


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Superman: World of New Krypton #7
Written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka ǀ Art by Pete Woods
The entire Superman line has been a real disappointment to me since Geoff Johns and Gary Frank left Action Comics.  Everything just feels so…orchestrated, contrived, storyboard-ed – so many adjectives spring to mind, few of them positive.  I expect more from James Robinson and Greg Rucka individually, but together!  This should have been the Golden Age of Super-storytelling.  Instead, the whole thing’s mired in uninteresting political posturing.  “Phantom Menace” continually springs to mind.
Verdict: Avoid.


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Wednesday Comics #9 & 10
Written by Various ǀ Art by Various
Wednesday Comics just keeps getting better as it sprints towards the finish line.  There’s really only one weak story in the bunch.
Verdict: Buy it.

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-Up: 12th August 2009

Posted in Action Comics, Batman, Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern Corps, Legion of Superheroes, Wednesday Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24th August, 2009 by Adam Redsell

lasso_of_truth

Lasso of Truth is your weekly guide to what’s hot and what’s not in the DC Universe.  Each week, the Red Baron goes through his comics haul to tell you what’s worth buying and what’s best left alone.

Here’s the key:

Must havethere’s no question, you should buy this great book.
Buy ita high-quality read that won’t disappoint.
Check it outpick it up if you have some extra cash.  May be an acquired taste.
Avoida disappointing read.  Save your money and steer clear.


Continue reading

Detective Comics #854

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 1st July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Damn good value.  Damn good detectives.

Damn good value. Damn good detectives.

“Elegy Agitato: Part One”
Author: Greg Rucka
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Variant Cover Artist: J.G. Jones

“Pipeline: Chapter One/Part One”
Artist: Cully Hamner
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

Congratulations must go to James H. “Jim” Williams the Third for producing the first genuinely beautiful DC comic book I’ve read in two weeks.  It’s been nothing short of depressing to see so many potentially great stories dragged down by lacklustre artwork in some of DC’s most important books, particularly the Action line and Green Lantern Corps.  What did DC do, round up all the good artists and blast them into the Phantom Zone?

Consider then, what a breathe of fresh air it must have been for me to see Detective Comics – second-stringer of the Batman line – in such fine artistic form.  Consider also that this artistic treatment was not reserved for the Dark Knight himself, as one would expect, rather for a character who until now has assumed a place of relative obscurity in the DC realms.  Batwoman may have been popular with the mainstream press as the ‘first lesbian superheroine’ – a highly dubious claim, I might add – two or so years ago, but little has been seen of the character since her throwaway introduction in the hit series 52, which proved to be just that.  The third surprise was DC’s willingness to let a character other than Batman headline Detective Comics, but that had long since worn off thanks to the solicits.*

What wasn’t surprising was that writing duties for Batwoman fell to Greg Rucka, the only writer who has written the character since her debut (and even then, he was heavily involved!), and I dare say the only writer who could successfully write her without resorting to lesbian caricature.  A blank slate can be as daunting as it is liberating, but Rucka seems to have taken Katy Kane in his stride.  Rucka’s writing style is as natural as it comes, right down to ‘dealing with’ Katy’s lesbianism, which is precisely what this book needed to dispel claims of PC-shoehorning.  For the record, Batwoman’s debut in 52 was just that – a lipstick lesbian superheroine thrust upon the public consciousness for the sake of political correctness and a few headline-grabs – and in that respect, Rucka has achieved the seemingly impossible: he’s given Batwoman a real origin, a real personality, a real motivation, and as a result, he’s made her into a real character worth reading about.  He didn’t achieve this feat in a single issue – he does draw heavily upon his work in 52 Aftermath: Crime Bible: Five Lessons in Blood and Final Crisis: Revelations – but newcomers will find that the hard work’s already been done for them.  This is a character already established in Rucka’s mind: he knows who she is, and what she would do in a given situation and why, and reading this will give you an appreciation of that.  Batwoman’s first nemesis, Alice, is another non-conventional and interesting villain, drawing on Lewis Carroll’s famous character of the same name.  What’s awesome about this is how deeply rooted in Batman mythology Wonderland and its denizens are (see also: Mad Hatter, Tweedledee and Tweedledum).

It would be a disservice to J.H. Williams III’s work for me to simply compare it to its lacklustre contemporaries and declare it a “welcome relief”.  It is much more than that.  It’s strikingly beautiful.  He always seems to gravitate towards these black, white, and red affairs (like his “Club of Heroes” Batman story with Grant Morrison in recent years) – full credit to Dave Stewart for the beautiful colours, by the way – and he’s right at home here.  His artistic efforts give these events some much-needed gravity: after all, Batwoman has yet to prove her worth as a character, and her worthiness as a usurper of Detective Comics until now.  He continues to experiment with panel layouts, as he is in the habit of doing, and the result is a comic book that looks fresh and exciting.

But wait– there’s more!  The Question backup feature is no slouch either.  Rucka handles writing duties again – as, again, the only writer to have dealt with the character since 52 – with Cully Hamner (Black Lightning: Year One) on art.  Rucka wears Rene Montoya (aka The Question) like a comfortable pair of shoes, while Cully delivers his unique blend of industrial grit and cartooniness.  It’s a strange contrast, being that his art style could easily attract the attention of small children, and yet he never shies from depicting home truths at street-level.  I for one would like to see him employ some thinner linework just to see the difference.  The Question is on the tail of a mystery once again, as she should be (this is Detective Comics, after all).  DNA-wise, The Question and Batwoman are a match made in comic book heaven, even if romantically they are not.  Then again, who knows?  Regardless of whether they get back together, I can see these two mysteries intersecting in the future.  Maybe then it will merge into one great big comic book.

It’s surprising to see the shoe on the other foot this time – normally it’s Batwoman playing second fiddle to Rene Montoya.  One thing’s for sure, though, Rucka’s the only one to be writing these two.  Detective Comics is damn good value.  Pick it up.

Action Comics #877

Posted in Action Comics, Comics, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Someone forgot to put the 'Action' in.

Someone forgot to put the 'Action' in.

“The Sleepers: Part 3”
Author: Greg Rucka
Artist: Sidney Teles
Inker: Sandra Ribeiro
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Art: Andrew Robinson
Assistant Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

Action Comics #877 opens strongly, then limps all the way to the finish line.  It’s no coincidence that Ursa’s scenes are the most interesting – she’s the most interesting character in the book at the moment – and she has the best dialogue, even if it is translated from the Kryptonian!  Her scenes are better drawn as well.  As good as the opening is (all three pages of it), it’s really just a hangover from its superior predecessor, which gave us an emotional [physical] battle between Ursa, and her estranged son Lor-Zod (aka Christopher Kent aka Nightwing).

The rest of the issue devolves into war-room politics with General Lane.  I still find it ridiculous that Lois’ father is ‘back from the dead’ (though, to be fair, I didn’t even know he existed prior, let alone died), and that Superman’s father-in-law is his own worst enemy (he’s no Ra’s Al Ghul).  Can we trade him back for Pa Kent?  They killed off the best father figure in the book and replaced him with the worst.  As always, General Lane and company stare at telescreens, discuss their plans some more and do nothing about them.  Did Greg get the memo?  It’s called Action Comics.  There’s supposed to be action in it.

Apart from that, Dr Light performs a semi-interesting medical procedure on Flamebird out on Lois Lane’s deck.  By the way, Nightwing and Flamebird are now officially the worst kept secret identities in comics.  The General knows, the Kryptonians know – it’s only a matter of time before the whole world follows suit.

Teles’ art follows the same pattern as the writing.  It’s like he’s losing interest as we are, which is fair enough I suppose.  Rucka’s script is pretty dry.

Think of all the Senate scenes in the Star Wars prequels and you should have some idea of what to expect here.  Definitely in need of more lightsaber battles.  Skip it and you won’t be missing much.

Legion of Superheroes #40

Posted in Comics, Legion of Superheroes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell

Legion of Superheroes #40, ‘Enemy Rising Part 1: Headlong into Darkness’
Author: Jim Shooter
Artist: Francis Manapul
Inker: Livesay
Colorist: JD Smith
Letterer: Steve Wands

The Legion of Superheroes really embodies everything that DC has been trying to achieve with their re-instated multiversal approach. Legion is packed with vibrant characters and fantastical adventures across the 31st Century cosmos. This issue opens with the latter, but majors in the former, and with Legion veteran Jim Shooter at the helm, that’s not a bad thing. There’s a wealth of characters in the Legion of Superheroes, and I use that word very deliberately. While it’s near-impossible to remember every character’s name and abilities (though names like ‘Shadow Lass’ and ‘Lightning Lad’ do help), Shooter deftly handles each character pitch-perfectly and switches between them with ease and purpose. You may forget the names again when you put the book down, but you won’t soon forget the personalities that crackle and smolder through each line of dialogue. Shooter’s familiarity with his cast is apparent; they are his personal playground. Not in a self-indulgent way, like Brad Meltzer’s love-letter to the Justice League; more like an artisan who knows his tools.

The Legion of Superheroes were never really on my radar until Geoff Johns re-introduced them, first in the ‘Lightning Saga’, then in his work on Action Comics. Now, between this and Action, the Legion are far and away one of DC’s most fertile properties. And if it’s one thing I’ve learned from Action, it’s that a good Legion tale benefits from crisp, clean artwork, and artist Francis Manapul has this in spades. Whether he’s depicting physical or emotional action, Manapul has the details spot-on.

As I hinted earlier, the story begins with the takedown of a rampaging alien on Talok VIII. This scene had me hooked within the first few pages – Shadow Lass provided the action, while Brainiac 5 brought the humour (surprisingly) – and strapped me in for the ride to come. The contrast between the interplanetary scope of the story and the close-knit relationships between these teenage superheroes is interesting to say the least. This issue focuses mainly on Lightning Lad’s struggles as a leader. It really is quite masterful, the way the writer reins in the story to create an engaging teen-superhero-space-soap-opera. Even though this issue is a little light on action, it’s certainly not light on humour, charm, or drama, and I can’t help but feel that it’s building towards something far bigger. For now, Shooter is quite happy to mine the depths of his rich cast, so that we can familiarise ourselves as he has. The great thing is that all of the character sketches really serve the story, and don’t feel contrived in the least. Shooter’s approach means that we actually will care when the time finally comes to throw the Legion in harm’s way.

A great deal of the humour in Legion comes from Shooter’s extrapolation of a litigation-mad society. If you think it’s ridiculous now, wait until you see what Lightning Lad and Princess Projectra have to deal with 100 years later. The rest of the humour is sourced in the team’s domestic arguments – Brainiac’s freaking out about an impending alien invasion while the rest of the team bickers about the ethics of mind control. Enter Lightning Lad, the star of this particular tale, who swoops in and takes control, then chills to a cup of coffee.

The multiverse was made for stories like these. The Legion really has come a long way in recent times. The goofy camp of yesteryear is all but gone, but the humorous and endearing team dynamic remains. I can’t help but think that a story like this would not have been possible in the 90s or even the gritty-and-grounded 80s. If you enjoyed Johns’ run on Action Comics, then I highly recommend you pick up Jim Shooter’s entire run.