Archive for Daxam

Superman #689

Posted in Comics, DC, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 4th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
A World Without Superman ain't so bad after all.

A World Without Superman ain't so bad after all.

“The Tourist”
Author: James Robinson
Artist: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Artist: Andrew Robinson
Assistant Editor: Will Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

Against all odds, James Robinson’s Superman has become, for me, the most interesting Superman book on the stands.  That Robinson achieved this without its titular character is no mean feat.

The issue opens with a snidely amusing xenophobic diatribe from Bill O’Reilly knock-off, Morgan Edge.  Widespread fear of the Kryptonian threat has created PR problems for its new protector, Mon-El, and even Superman himself.  As he’s dispensing with two-bit supervillains (and no doubt listening to a television in the distance), Mon-El reflects upon the fickleness of Metropolis, and humanity at large.  Not out of judgement, but out of pure fascination with the human condition.  Why all the existentialism?  Mon-El has been told the baddest of bad news – he doesn’t have long to live – and having spent a majority of his life in dimensional purgatory; he’s got a lot of living to do.

(This may require a history lesson: some of you may remember Mon-El, the boy from the planet Daxam, who met Superboy all those years ago.  Superboy was delighted to have found a friend (or a big brother, so he thought) he could relate to; someone else just like him, with the same powers.  But he wasn’t just like him.  He didn’t have a weakness to kryptonite, and they soon discovered he had a different planet of origin, and a far more fatal weakness: to lead.  And so it was that a lead-poisoned Mon-El was projected into the Phantom Zone until Superboy (now Superman) could find a cure.  The recent destruction of the Phantom Zone meant that Superman had to get Mon-El out of there, pronto.  Thankfully – for reasons best not discussed in this review-cum-history lesson – an anti-lead serum had been left for him.  After running a series of tests at S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr Light discovers that the serum is working its magic, but that his superpowers are trying to metabolise the serum.  Thus, the more he does to protect Metropolis, the closer he comes to his own death.)

And a lot of living he does!  As soon as he’s dealt with the D-listers, he flies off to Russia to see St. Basil’s Cathedral, goes on a date with one of the Rocket Reds(!), fights an imitation Blue Hulk in England, takes a break to admire the art of Georges Seurat and the architecture of Gaudi, and helps a vampiress fight crime in Barcelona!  What a rip-roaring, rollicking tour of the world according to DC!  The result are some beautiful drawings from Renato Guedes, no doubt leaping at this chance to spread his wings.  I believe James Robinson is also taking this opportunity to include a few of his favourite comic book characters from across the globe (Will Von Hammer, La Sangre, Beaumont and Sunny Jim), and the fun he’s no doubt having is almost tangible.  The character and his creative team are going on an adventure, and they’re taking us with them.  It’s an amusing relief from the heaviness of Mon’s terminal illness.  This is the strength of the medium: gravity and levity, reality and fantasy, can somehow co-exist to deliver an emotionally rich and entertaining story.

Mon-El’s story, though it is the most interesting, is not the only one this issue tells.  There’s a weird little interaction between the Guardian Jim Harper, and his alien friend, and still I’m struggling to discern the importance of that particular plot thread (one that requires reading the Guardian and Jimmy Olsen one-shots in order to follow).  Another interesting plot thread emerges from these pages involving John Henry Irons (aka Steel) and a long-dormant character.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’ll leave it there.  As much as I’d prefer to see these stories of Metropolis’ heroes advanced in separate stories, I understand the difficulty in selling a Mon-El series or a Steel series separately.  Huge respect to DC for using one of its biggest titles to explore the untapped potential of these characters.  I hope they are rewarded for their efforts with a deeper roster of characters and a richer catalogue of stories.

Green Lantern Corps #36

Posted in Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
A temporary lapse in judgement.

A temporary lapse in judgement.

“Emerald Eclipse: Part Four”
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman & Prentis Rollins
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Cover Artists: Gleason, Buchman & Mayor
Alternate Cover Artist: Rodolfo Migliari
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman

I’ll level with you: I was more than a little disappointed with this issue of Green Lantern Corps.  And that’s a little more complimentary than it sounds at first.  See, I’ve come to expect a high level of quality out of both Green Lantern titles, because they’ve been the most consistent books on the shelves for quite some time.  Unfortunately, this particular issue is *not too bad* as opposed to ‘good’ or ‘great’ – a temporary lapse in quality, or a slump, if you will.  This is mainly attributable to two things: the flat opening, and inconsistencies in Patrick Gleason’s art.

The opening reveal wasn’t nearly as earth-shattering as it could have been.  It was surprising, but its subsequent explanation felt really contrived and was dryly delivered.  On the back of Tomasi’s emotionally-charged Star Sapphire arc, I found this even more surprising.  The revelations imparted did add yet another dimension to Sinestro’s character – it just lacked the sugar to help the medicine go down.  The issue finishes quite strongly, but his Mongul scenes lacked the visceral punch they usually have.  Tomasi practically built Mongul into the menace he is today, but on this occasion he felt kind of…soft.  All is not lost, though – there are still some good lines to be had from both Sinestro and Mongul.

The Great Prison Break on Oa was strangely scripted as well.  There was a voiceover of sorts echoing through the halls of the Sciencells, but it was unclear as to who was speaking.  Was it a computer?  Was it a Guardian?  Was it the power battery?  I couldn’t tell, but who/whatever it was, that speech was a little kooky.

Probably the biggest letdown was Patrick Gleason’s art, though.  Gleason is usually very solid, consistent, and adept at drawing action scenes.  This time faces morphed from panel to panel, and details were fudged in big action sequences.  I should mention that this doesn’t happen in every panel – some panels are up to scratch – there’s just noticeable dips in quality quite frequently.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, and that is the battle on Daxam between Sodam Yat (Ion) and Sinestro Corps usurper Mongul.  Sodam Yat’s character gets stronger and stronger with each appearance – you may remember him kicking ass in Legion of 3 Worlds recently – and I’m happy to report he kicks ass again here.  Think Goku’s Spirit Bomb in Dragonball and you should have an idea of the gravity of this sequence.

Ultimately this feels like an important Green Lantern story.  It’s just a pity that the execution was kind of lacking this time.