Archive for Final Crisis

Shameless Plug: My Massive Comics Fire Sale

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25th October, 2009 by Adam Redsell

Everything must go!

Everything must go!

I know – this isn’t very professional – but nobody pays me to do this, so I’m going to do it anyway!  I’m moving house very shortly, and that means I have a lot of possessions I need to off-load.  Sadly, that includes a massive pile of comic books.  Naturally, I’m selling them on eBay, and now I’m flogging them off to you, Dear Reader.  Oh, and there’s also a Super Mario Galaxy Strategy Guide if you need as well…Here’s a list:

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AU $14.99

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AU $23.99

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AU $1.99

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BOOSTER GOLD #13 Comic (DC Comics)

Postage cost: AU $2.50
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AU $8.99

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AU $4.50

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AU $6.99

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Just click the links if you’re interested!  And even if you’re not, have a bid anyway – consider it a small donation if you’ve been enjoying the site thus far.

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Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 21st October 2009

Posted in Blackest Night, Brave and the Bold, Comics, DC, Final Crisis, JLA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st October, 2009 by Adam Redsell

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Blackest Night: Superman #3
Written by James Robinson ǀ Art by Eddy Barrows

Robinson abandons the horror-movie sensibilities of the first issue for more of the superhero fisticuffs we saw in the second.  It’s enjoyable enough, I suppose, but I’ve always maintained that Eddy Barrows’ artistic strength lies in his ability to depict horrific scenes.  The same could be said for Blackest Night as a series.  I suppose.

Verdict: Check it out.


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The Brave and the Bold #28
Written by J. Michael Straczynski ǀ Art by Jesus Saiz

The Flash travels back in time to World War II Belgium.  Meeting the Blackhawks poses a complex moral question – when is it right for a man to kill another man?  Is it ever right?  JMS packs more depth into this one-shot than most writers achieve in a story arc.

Verdict: Must have.



Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #6
Written by Joe Casey ǀ Art by Chriscross

Dance was an enjoyable mini-series all in all.  Unfortunately, I think the series peaked the issue before, as its conclusion wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped it would be.  This may stem from my expectation that the Super Young Team would eschew all the product placement thrusted on them for good ol’ fashioned Japanese honour.  Chriscross’ return was also not as brilliant as I had hoped – he didn’t ink his own pencils this issue, so that may have something to do with it – the overall product looks rushed beyond the opening pages.

Verdict: Check it out.


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Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1
Written by Rex Ogle, J.T. Krul, Rich Fogle, Josh Williamson, Chuck Kim, Derek Fridolfs, Amanda McMurry ǀ Art by Mahmud Asrar, Adrian Syaf, Eric J, Bit, Justin Norman, Jon Buran, Daxiong

More please!  Everything a good Justice League story needs: epic, unbelievable feats of heroism, and unafraid of a little whimsy.  A simple time-travel device sets up five thoroughly entertaining stories of superheroes outside of their comfort zones – Hal Jordan and Red Arrow in the Wild West; Superman and Dr Light in Feudal Japan; Vixen and John Stewart in King Arthur’s court; Zatanna and Black Canary in 1930s NY; Green Arrow and Firestorm in World War II; Steel and Wonder Woman on a pirate ship – for fish out of water, they feel surprisingly at home!  This comic came out a few weeks ago, but sold out before I heard about it.  Order it in if you have to – it’s worth it!

Verdict: Buy it.

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 19th August 2009

Posted in Batman, Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Fables, Final Crisis, Superman, Wednesday Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25th 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

Flash: Rebirth #3

Posted in Comics, DC, Flash with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25th June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Slow and steady wins the race.

Slow and steady wins the race.

“Rearview Mirrors”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Brian Miller
Assistant Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Artist: Ethan Van Sciver & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover Colorist: Brian Miller

Flash: Rebirth #3 is an odd little duck.  While the cuts are quick and kinetic, the storytelling adopts a slow and steady approach.  It’s been mentioned by others before, but Van Sciver’s vertical panel-slicing does seem to contribute towards this feeling, for good or for ill (I for one would like to see more two-page spreads to open things up a little).  That and there just doesn’t seem to be all that much running.  The cover of this issue teases yet another race between the Flash and Superman, and while this particular race has an urgency the others can only dream of, it’s over so quickly that you wonder what all the fuss was about.  In truth, it was the most interesting plot-point they could reveal on the cover without spoiling a story full of surprises.

It’s really difficult to discuss this issue (or indeed last issue) without robbing it of its impact.  But I’ll put it this way: Barry Allen is back, and that’s not a good thing.  This issue maintains the cinematic feel of its predecessors, peeking around all corners of the speedsters’ lives.  Recent developments cause Barry to question his role as the Flash, and his place in the Speed Force, if he has a place at all.  Let’s just say that the Flash is about to face his Parallax in a race against time.

Comparisons to Green Lantern are apt, considering the reunion of Rebirth‘s creative team to bring us this series.  I have every confidence that the Flash’s rebirth will live up to that association.  Despite some assertions to the contrary, Van Sciver is on his A-game for this outing, and Johns is continually improving his craft beyond all expectations (how does you challenge yourself when you’re already the best?).  The Flash books have languished ever since Johns’ departure all those years ago, and yet, these first three issues are far and away superior to his life’s work on the character.  As you’d expect, themes of death and rebirth are explored at length (as they have been in the rest of the DC Universe these past few years), and three issues in, I can’t help but see this is leading into Blackest Night.  Morrison did this with Batman and Final Crisis last year, so it’s not outside the realms of possibility.

A seasoned Flash writer, Johns seems to have stumbled over a Flash formula (3X2(9YZ)4A!) he’s not used before.  Time travel has always been elementary to the Flashes, but Johns’ time-travel-as-flashback or vice versa is quite clever.  It’s also quite confusing, but I have faith that all will make sense in this written-for-the-trade effort.  And while you *could* feasibly wait for this six-part story to be collected in a single volume, that would deny these cliffhangers of their power, not to mention your own anticipation.  You’ve gotta hand it to Johns, he really knows how to end a chapter, and he always leaves me wanting more.  I’ve said this before, but Johns is probably DC’s biggest fan, and the fact that he knows this universe and these characters so much better than all of us puts him one step ahead – in control – at all times.  Lead on, I say!

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2 (of 6)

Posted in Comics, DC, Final Crisis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
She aint much to look at, but shes got it where it counts.

She ain't much to look at, but she's got it where it counts.

Author: Joe Casey
Artists: Andre Coelho & Eduardo Pansica
Inkers: Andre Coelho & Sandro Ribeiro
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Stanley “Art Germ” Lau
Editors: Ian Sattler, Rex Ogle & Will Moss

I have to admit, after such a stellar debut, I’m more than a little disappointed with the second issue of Dance.  This is largely due to the artwork, which not only suffers from the absence of previous artist ChrisCross, but also from the inconsistency that comes with having two artists on board (Coelho and Pansica).  This is unfortunate, because it lets down what is otherwise a well-written comic by Joe Casey.

The plot’s pretty interesting, and reminiscent of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, perhaps to a fault.  Those who have read it will likely recognise one of the major plot points, perhaps with fondness.  The whole satellite headquarters thing didn’t work out so well for the Super Young Team, so they’ve been transferred to a suite in Las Vulgar (which is apparently Vegas in DC-Land).  Their ‘handlers’ try to get a reality TV show off the ground, accompanied by a bit of product placement and a hot-tub, in hopes that Shiny Happy Aquazon might get her Shiny Happy Gear-off.  Aquazon agrees to the product placement – much to the surprise of her teammates – but not the gear-off (much to the disappointment of lovesick Atomic Lantern Boy), and things get stranger from there with a product-launch-gone-wrong.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team get bored and go looking for a fight.  This results in a pretty interesting tea conversation with a supervillain.  It’s good to see that the flavour of their first outing hasn’t been lost altogether.

Cut to Tokyo, where a burnt out and bottle-broken Rising Sun decries Japan’s disrespect for its heroic traditions.  Tokyo has been quarantined, closed to everyone – especially superheroes – and no-one seems to want to say why.  All we know is exactly this: Japan has been in a very bad way since the Final Crisis; the powers-that-be don’t want anyone to know about it; and the Super Young Team is being groomed as a Grade-A distraction from it.  Never has Rising Sun been such an interesting character – not during the first Crisis, not ever – as he has been in this Drunken Also-ran incarnation.  He’s the Voice in the Desert, crying out for Japan to reclaim its honour, and I for one can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this super-prophet.

Superbat’s ‘tweeting’ reveals the conflict they all feel: they want to be heroes, but they want to be teenagers too.  Fame and fortune is nice, but it’s ultimately empty thrills for these eager youngsters (“but we saved the Multiverse!”, they exclaim).  The slick PR people do their darned best to distract them, but their restlessness is almost tangible.  The Super Young Team’s True Enemy brings all new meaning to “friends close, enemies closer”, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

As you can see, there’s a lot of story packed into these 22 pages (and a lot of pointed observations on commercialism, truth decay, and Reality TV); more, I dare say than most of the stuff on comic book shelves.  It’s certainly worth continuing with this one; it’s just such a pity about the art!  If either one of these artists penciled the full story, it would have been better for it.  And with colours as brilliant as the day-glo-rific Dance #1, anything less was doomed to be a disappointment.  Bring back the art team from the first issue, DC, and this could be the best book on the shelves.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1 (of 6)

Posted in Comics, DC, Final Crisis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Snap, crackle, Pop!

Snap, crackle, Pop!

“This Is How We Do It”
Author: Joe Casey
Artist: ChrisCross
Inkers: Rob Stull, with Mick Gray, Wayne Faucher, & ChrisCross
Colorist: Snakebite
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editors: Eddie Berganza, Rex Ogle & Ian Sattler
Cover Artist: Stanley “Art Germ” Lau

Finally! A new DC book I can get excited about!  Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance may as well be named Super Young Team because that’s what it is: a new comic mini-series starring those upstart Japanese superheroes we saw too little of (and loved) in Final Crisis.

For the record, I think it’s great that DC is experimenting with new books and ideas like these in a time of financial uncertainty.  The trade off, of course, is the title, but who cares when a book is as good as this?  The artist is called ChrisCross as well – what’s with that?  Again, it doesn’t matter, because his pencils are hot; they’re manic and clean; they crackle and fizz with sci-fi and J-Pop and…honour – all of those things that a Japanese super-team needs.

That’s kind of what this book is about.  The Super Young Team – Most Excellent Superbat, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, Shiny Happy Aquazon, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash – post-Crisis find themselves on a satellite surrounded by hot-shots and PR people trying to groom them into the next sensation.  The satellite is to be their new headquarters, it seems.  They have ice sculptures and sushi platters in their meeting room, and a trophy room full of conquests they never made.  They have a rave party with the Paris Hiltons and various other good-fer-nothin’s to kick things off, all the while wondering aloud if this is really what this superhero biz-o is all about.  A personal highlight for me: the Most Excellent Superbat receives a visitation from the ghost of the late great Ultimon, who harshly admonishes him for dishonouring the proud traditions of superheroism.  By now the youngsters grow restless for action, and they want to see what’s happened to Japan behind the curtains and levers.

The beckoning of the Ancient amidst the noise of Pop so perfectly encapsulates Japanese culture and the Meiji Restoration conflict that it’s hard to imagine it was written by a non-Japanese.  Joe Casey has completely nailed the concepts, the focus, and the dialogue – all of it has an unmistakable Japanese-ness, and all of it is supremely entertaining.  The Most Excellent Superbat’s internal monologue appears in the form of ‘Twitterati’ posts (‘@MosExBat about 2 seconds ago’) – a great new spin on the caption box.

My God, did I mention that the colours are gorgeous?  Neon yellows, pinks, greens, and metallic blue.  This is the sexiest comic I’ve laid eyes on for a while.

The whole thing feels like a jaunt through the mind of Grant Morrison, which is great (and always a privelege), because he devised this team for Final Crisis, obviously with the intention of someone running with them later.  Thing is, Dance has all the verve and modernity of Morrison – the same energy that propelled Metal Men and Booster Gold – and yet, I can’t imagine this being any better had Morrison himself written it.  (Morrison this, Morrison that; Morrison, Morrison, Morrison – why don’t I just marry the guy already?) Joe Casey may not be Grant Morrison, but you know what they say: “a rose by any other name…”

Black Lightning: Year One #6 (of 6)

Posted in Black Lightning, Comics, DC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
If only it was as straightforward as the cover.

If only the rest of it was as straightforward as the cover.

Author: Jen Van Meter
Artist: Cully Hamner
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Colorist: Laura Martin
Editors: Rachel Gluckstern & Joan Hilty

This is the sixth and final chapter of Black Lightning’s origin story, and while this issue and the story as a whole was *good*, I have a major gripe with it that has detracted from my enjoyment of it.  I admire Van Meter’s attempt at parallel storytelling, but damn those narrative caption boxes get annoying by the sixth time around.  If you read the collected volume, do yourself a favour – read the caption boxes first from start to finish, then devote your attention to the rest of the story.  Instead of hitting us up front with all of the exposition in one go, Van Meter has attempted to spread it evenly across each panel.  The problem is, no real thought has been put into their distribution, and it’s impossible to maintain the narrative in your head in between dialogue.  Van Meter expects the reader to keep one foot [brain] in the past and the other foot [brain] in the present during the first two-thirds of this issue.  It just can’t be done.  The backstory interrupts the story at hand and vice versa.  Every single issue of this mini-series has been written in this fashion, and after six hits of it, I still find it a jarring experience and a clunky read.

What I believe Van Meter should have done was either begin with three issues of backstory followed by three issues of story (or even alternating between issues), or come up with an inventive way of putting all the exposition in one place.  Hollis Mason’s “Under the Hood” biography in Watchmen springs to mind.

As soon as the exposition is done with and Black Lightning’s thinking about the events at hand, it’s smooth sailing.  I just wished it was like that all the way through, which is why I recommend readers read the captions exclusively, and ignore them altogether on the second read-through.

Putting these issues aside (and you’re going to have to to enjoy it), the story is, at its core, a good one.  In essence, this is the story of Jefferson Pierce the man returning to Suicide Slum to break the spirit of defeat and despair that has strangled his hometown.  As the school principal, Pierce shows his students that they don’t need to accept mediocrity; that they don’t need to accept defeat.  As Black Lightning, Pierce shows his fellow citizens that they do not need to accept injustice and corruption.  This particular issue sees Black Lightning lead his students and the citizens in a final struggle against the corruption of their local government in league with the criminal organisation known as The One Hundred.  More on that later.

Whether or not you’ll enjoy this story depends on a few things:

  1. Are you interested in social reform?
  2. Do you believe the world of comics needs [conceptually] stronger black superheroes?
  3. Are you a young black person in need of a wholesome role model?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then Black Lightning is the strongest black role model you’re likely to find in superhero comics, and this book (along with Final Crisis: Submit and Final Crisis: Resist) is the best book I’ve read starring the character.

Artistically, Black Lightning: Year One is stylistically confident and cohesive across all six issues.  Cully Hamner’s style is best described as classic American cartooning with a dab of gritty realism.  It’s very well-drawn, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  One could argue for more realism given the gritty subject matter, but I think this style helps incorporate the more supernatural elements of the story.

The final battle, I’d have to admit, is a little anti-climactic.  It felt as though Van Meter had run out of pages and needed to get it over with.  Had the mystery behind The One Hundred been preserved until this final issue, I think the impact could have been a lot stronger (although the revelation itself is strange and probably requires at least two issues to get used to).  That it all boiled down to superhero fisticuffs was also a little disappointing.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really did like this story deep down; there’s just a lot to look past in terms of execution.  If you’re a patient soul (or the next Malcolm X), and the positives I’ve mentioned appeal to your sensibilities, then certainly pick up issues 1 through 6 or the inevitable trade paperback.  If you’re a harsh bastard then save yourself the frustration and avoid.