Archive for ivan reis

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 28th October 2009

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Detective Comics, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October, 2009 by Adam Redsell

blackest_night_4

Blackest Night #4
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Ivan Reis

Geoff Johns imbues this story with all the gravity an epic drama needs.  Ivan Reis drops The Big One with a jaw-dropping splash you have to see.

Verdict: Must have.


detective_858

Detective Comics #858
Written by Greg Rucka ǀ Art by J.H. Williams III, Cully Hamner

Rucka and Williams deepen their entire cast with an extended flashback sequence.  Four years later, Kate Kane is finally coming into focus.  The Question backup feature’s not bad per se; in fact, it’s quite good, but it’s so straight by comparison I just find myself clamouring for more Batwoman.

Verdict: Buy it.


gl_47

Green Lantern #47
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Doug Mahnke

Johns has been building to these moments for a looong time, and it’s satisfying to see old plot threads finally start to come together.  Green Lantern fans will be giddy at the prospect of a Sinestro/Hal reunion.

Verdict: Must have.


superman_secret_origin_2

Superman: Secret Origin #2
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Gary Frank

A young Clark Kent meets the Legion of Superheroes, and things don’t seem so lonely anymore.  Johns and Frank remind us what made Superman so inspiring in the first place.  An absolutely joyful reading experience.

Verdict: Must have.


ww_37

Wonder Woman #37
Written by Gail Simone ǀ Art by Bernard Chang

Aaron Lopresti was credited as artist on the cover, so it was more than a little bit jarring to find Bernard Chang’s pencils inside!  His Wonder Woman looks very Greek (as do his other Amazons), which makes sense, but again, a jarring interruption to Lopresti’s elegant work.  Some deliberately provocative T & A as well, which brought down the tone of this otherwise-virtuous book.

Verdict: Check it out.

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 16th September 2009

Posted in Batman and Robin, Blackest Night, Brave and the Bold, Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd September, 2009 by Adam Redsell

lasso_of_truth_4

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.


b&r_4

Batman & Robin #4
Written by Grant Morrison ǀ Art by Philip Tan
Grant Morrison shifts gears for his next story arc, while Philip Tan turns in his best work since, well, ever.  “Revenge of the Red Hood” trades day-glo for bold black and red.
Verdict: Must have.


blackest_night_3

Blackest Night #3
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Ivan Reis
I’m sorry, but if you’re not reading Blackest Night, you’re a damn fool.  First go back and read every single Green Lantern-related thing Geoff Johns has touched, then come back here when you’re done.  The Indigo Tribe make their true debut here, and they bring a lot of answers with them.  Of course, if they didn’t bring even more questions, then this wouldn’t still be the most intriguing event book in comics history, now, would it?
Verdict: Must have.


brave_bold_27

The Brave and the Bold #27
Written by J. Michael Straczynski ǀ Art by Jesus Saiz
Okay everyone, it’s safe to come out now – DC’s put a decent creative team back on the Brave and the Bold!  JMS turns in a rather poignant one-and-done story starring Batman and “Dial ‘H’ For Hero”.  Sounds like an odd team-up, but he really makes it work.  I’m not so sure I appreciate his take on the Joker, though…
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

Blackest Night #2

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th August, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Aquaman: Undead in the Water.

Aquaman: Undead in the Water.

Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert with Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Artists: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, and Alex Sinclair
Alternative Cover Artist: Mauro Cascioli

Blackest Night #2 opens cinematically with wide-shot panels – beautifully detailed by Ivan Reis, but not cluttered – and maintains that cinematic feel with the able assistance of his art team.  They achieve this, I believe, by treating each panel as a camera lens.  Inkers Oclair Albert and Julio Ferreira carve out each scene with subtle shade and deep shadow, while colorist Alex Sinclair provides a light source and sticks to it, by God!  Reis’ panel composition holds up to much scrutiny, as if each scene is mapped verbatim in his mind, and every item is there precisely because it needs to be.  Effective use of these three elements – depth of field, light sourcing and composition – drew my eyes to the focal point of each panel.  This level of care and attention is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from a big-budget Hollywood film, not a comic book.  Blackest Night raises the bar for the comic book event in every conceivable way.  This is high-production, high-stakes superhero drama at its best.

The first person we see is Ray Palmer – The Atom – looking very small.  Standing next to a paperclip, in fact.  He misses his late wife Jean, and he needs someone to talk to.  Hawkman finally picks up the phone, but he’s not quite himself.  He still sounds like himself, though, and that’s what makes these Black Lanterns so chilling.  They’re more like ghosts than zombies, and they have unfinished business to attend to.

Geoff Johns has wisely chosen to convey the epic scope of his tale  through more minor characters; the bards and minstrels of the DC Universe, if you will.  The darkness over Gotham City is viewed through the eyes of Barbara Gordon and her father, Commissioner Gordon.  The oft-discussed return of Aquaman is experienced through those closest to him, Mera and Aqualad.  They are our emotional anchors to the events unfolding, and despite our foreknowledge of some of the more shocking returns, Blackest Night proves it’s nothing at all to do with what you know, but who you know.  I have an emotional investment in these characters, and knowing that they’re about to confront their loved ones with their failure and rip their hearts out only augments the tragedy.  Their grisly guise as Black Lanterns allows us to see our late heroes at their most formidable, commit unspeakable acts, and that is the greatest tragedy of Blackest Night.

This second issue reveals much about the nature of the Black Lanterns, but many questions still linger as even the supernatural element of the DCU struggles to come to grips with the phenomenon.  Geoff Johns uses his ensemble cast empathically to put his readers in each scene.  Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (The Flash) form the emotional core of this story, and it’s great to see this team in action again.  There’s undeniably chemistry between the two (quite literally at one point), and despite the dark circumstances of their reunion, they light up every panel.  Whoever deigned to separate (and kill off) this dynamic duo all those years ago must have been stark raving mad.  Or perhaps they never saw the potential for comic magic that Johns did.

Whatever the case, I see the potential for plenty more comic magic from Johns et al in future.  You’d be stark raving mad to miss Blackest Night.

Blackest Night #1

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Black is the new Green.

Black is the new Green.

Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inker: Oclair Albert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Artists: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Alex Sinclair
Alternate Cover Artists: Ethan Van Sciver & Hi-Fi

If you had of told Dan DiDio four years ago that Green Lantern, under Geoff Johns’ guidance, would not only stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Batman and Superman in stature and following, but would also spawn the biggest comic book event of 2009, he probably would have slapped you twice and thrown you to the Crises.  Well, that was then, and this is now, and let me tell you, I was more than excited to be opening the first issue of Blackest Night proper.  In fact, I can’t remember ever being this excited for a comic book event in all my years of reading comics (which I’ll admit, is not very long at all compared to some).  Well, it turns out that all that anticipation is paying off in spades, and that Blackest Night is every bit the bee’s knees it promised to be.

Naturally, Blackest Night #1 picks up where Blackest Night #0 left off, in Gotham Cemetery.  It’s a dark and stormy night, and Black Hand ushers in the Age of Dark and Stormy Nights with a decidedly sick and twisted invocation.  The first thing I noticed about this issue was, damn, it’s great to have Ivan Reis back on a Green Lantern book.  Then of course I noticed the striking visuals, the epic presentation, et cetera, but honestly, there’s so much going on here that I really don’t know where to start.

This book is a great jumping-on point for newcomers, but they’ll also find a lot to digest here; while long-term Green Lantern and DC Comics readers have plenty of Easter eggs to scour through.  Sure, there’s a fair bit of background that the DC faithful will already know, but Johns is clearly highlighting which parts to pay attention to (and believe me, there’s a lot to pay attention to) and fleshing them out to augment the emotional impact of future events.  It’s actually surprising to see which untended plot threads he does highlight – without giving too much away – fans of Keith Giffen’s Justice League will no doubt be intrigued by the developments they see here.  It’s pretty clear by the end of this issue that Blackest Night represents his life’s work, drawing on every major DC storyline he’s had a hand in, from JSA to Hawkman to Infinite Crisis to 52 and everything in between right up to Flash: Rebirth.  Perhaps contrary to his original plans (though not by much), Blackest Night encompasses the entire DC Universe (or is it ‘Multiverse’?).  That is to say that its scope is far greater than just the Green Lantern universe – which is already massive thanks to Johns – and centres upon his two no-doubt-favourite heroes, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (The Flash), as our anchors to this epic tale.

The core of this super-sized issue takes place appropriately on the anniversary of Superman’s death; once a national day of mourning, now a day used to honour fallen superheroes.  Geoff Johns has stated in interviews that this issue mentions all the major players in this storyline, and I believe it – many names are checked by the mourners, which may as well be a roll call for the Black Lantern Corps – some are expected, though many may surprise you.  In point of fact, the first Black Lanterns to reveal themselves surprised the hell out of me, and their first dark deeds shocked me all the more, due in no small part to Ivan Reis’ grisly depiction.

It’s getting very dark in the DC Universe, and I, for one, am loving it.

Green Lantern #42

Posted in Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3rd July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Make it yours.

Make it yours.

“Agent Orange: Part Four”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artists: Philip Tan & Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Jonathan Glapion & Ruy Jose
Colorists: Nei Ruffino & Rod Reis
Cover Artists: Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion & Nei Ruffino
Variant Cover Artists: Eddy Barrows & Nei Ruffino

Another month, another great issue of Green Lantern.  Can we all agree that Geoff Johns is the greatest Green Lantern writer that ever lived?  I don’t feel too audacious for making such a claim.  Four years and he’s never skipped a beat, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the artwork in this issue (or the one before, for that matter).  It’s not awful by any means, but the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” springs to mind.  I’d happily read a full issue of Green Lantern drawn by either Philip Tan or Eddy Barrows – in fact, I quite enjoyed Philip Tan’s solo work in issue 40 – but the constant switching really pulled me out of the book.  The fact that there’s also two inkers and two colorists doesn’t help, either.  As far as I can determine, Eddy Barrow’s horror-inspired pencils are employed for the Agent Orange scenes, while Philip Tan handles the outer space duties and the Star Sapphire scenes (but don’t quote me on that).  Even then, it can be difficult to determine, which is probably where the multiple inkers and colorists come into play.  Some of the panels appear to be hand-painted; and again, while I wouldn’t mind seeing a full issue of this, the patchwork-style approach really didn’t work for me.  Again, I stress: individually these artists are great, and the colours are as vibrant as I’d expect from a Green Lantern book, but this series needs to regain a consistency of artistic vision and approach.  I can only hope that artistic duties are being shared out now, while Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke work ahead on future issues – certainly Johns has indicated in interviews that he is several issues ahead on the writing side of things.

The cover art, while cool, is also more than a bit misleading.  Firstly, I love the way Agent Orange (and in this case, Hal) is always depicted clutching the orange power battery like a child that doesn’t want to share his toys.  But Hal’s flirtations with the colours of the emotional spectrum have been all too brief thus far (save for the blue ring), and this occasion is no exception.  Like his scrape with the Red Lanterns beforehand, Hal’s encounter with the orange light is almost dismissed out of hand just when things started to get interesting.  I for one would have loved to have seen the emotional colour spectrum explored in greater detail prior to Blackest Night – which is better than it dragging – but I can’t help but feel we’re being rushed to Blackest Night.  I would quite happily see more of this War of Light played out as a comic book event in its own right.  I want to see the full repercussions of Hal Jordan holding the orange power battery; I want to see Hal put through the ringer as a Red Lantern and the fallout that proceeds from that.  Perhaps I’m just a cosmic sadist.

Having said all that, I can certainly see why Johns didn’t take that route – after all, it took him over a year to undo the effects of the “Parallax Debacle”, unravel the proceeding cover-up attempts, and restore Hal Jordan’s honour – why undo all that hard work?  There’s another reason for it, and I think it is this: Hal Jordan is the only being in the universe equipped to deal with this conflict in the emotional spectrum.  I’ll go one further: I think Hal represents the Yin-Yang of the entire emotional spectrum.  I think he will become the White Lantern, if only for a brief period.  He will prove to be the only being capable and experienced enough to control all colours in the emotional spectrum, and these ‘tastes’ of the other colours will prepare him for that role.  He will become this series’ Neo, so to speak.

I’ll go out on another limb: the role of the Guardians in the Green Lantern Corps will change forever, if not vanish altogether.  We will see the Guardians step back and embrace their individuality; embrace and acknowledge the full emotional spectrum.

None of these things are stated by the book; but it’s a book that makes you wonder where it all leads; it’s a book that intrigues through the use of foreshadowing; it’s a book so brimming with excitement that you honestly believe nothing is sacred, and anything can happen.  And trust me, anything does happen in this issue.

I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Blackest Night #0

Posted in Comics, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2nd May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Pretty bright for the "Blackest Night", huh?

Pretty bright for the 'Blackest Night', huh?

Author: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis & Doug Mahnke

Now I’m all agitated.  Moving in my seat.  Blackest Night #0, is a real tease, so mission accomplished.  It’s probably the most cleverly disguised ad since DC Universe #0.  Oh, and it’s free, so I can pretty much recommend it to you straight away.  For one solitary day in the year, it’s costing DC money for you to read a comic, so make the most of it.

The cover art’s pretty nice – it’s just a pity they had to put that garish ‘FREE COMIC BOOK DAY’ at the top, and the ugly blank white rectangle in the bottom right corner reminding us that yes, again, it is free.  Not all the free comics today were uglified in this manner, but all the DC ones were.  It even has a barcode – I don’t quite understand that.  Why take stock of a free item?  Anyway, it’s free.

This issue consists of a story snippet with art by Ivan Reis, a letter from Geoff Johns, and some profile pages with art by Doug Mahnke.  The story is deftly scribed by Geoff Johns as always, and Ivan Reis’ art is (somewhat) spectacular as always.  It’s a little bit subdued (hence the ‘somewhat’), because obviously it’s a prologue and no real action.  The story opens as always with a narrative caption from Hal Jordan telling us that he’s an officer of the Green Lantern Corps and that Space Sector 2814 is his space-cop beat.  (Hey Johns, can you quit doing that?  I know you’ve got a lot of new readers picking this up because it’s Blackest Night and it’s free and all, but I also know that you’ll do it again, and I’ve read that damn caption on a monthly basis for the last four years!  We KNOW who he is, we KNOW he’s Green Lantern – that’s why he’s GLOWING GREEN in a GREEN UNIFORM with a GREEN RING, and that’s why we bought a comic with ‘GREEN LANTERN’ on the cover!)  From here, it becomes pretty clear who Johns intends to resurrect for this mega-event.  I’ll give you a hint: the entire issue plays out in Gotham Cemetery.  How doubly appropriate.

Rise from your Grave!

Rise from your Grave!

(I also figured out a couple of weeks ago that Earth-2 Superman would be a resurrect-ee, thanks to the tactless ad for the Blackest Night action figures, which also features in this issue.  This begs the (loaded) question, with all these superheroes rising from the dead all zombie-like, will they be full-blown villains, and if so, is that desecration?  I can’t imagine Geoff Johns desecrating any superhero, much less the likes of Batman, Aquaman, or even Martian Manhunter.  Tell you what, I’ll just assume there’s more to it and we’ll move on, ‘kay?)

Hal Jordan and Barry Allen (the second Flash) have a pleasant little chat over a gravestone, discussing their respective deaths, which is all very strange to this mortal reader.  (Is there any major DC superhero that hasn’t died?  I think Wonder Woman may be the only one, and she’s kind of…arbitrarily major.)  Something sinister is going on in the background (literally), though, of course.  It’s a cemetery at night, what did you expect?  The ending is pretty te[ase]rrific.

A letter from the man himself follows explaining how he wanted to tell this story from the get-go and it wasn’t really intended to be an ‘event’ as such, and you know what?  I believe him – I’m just not sure DC does.  I re-read his Lantern run a few months back, and there’s plenty of foreshadowing going on back there (one could argue it goes back as far as Alan Moore).   It sounds like Geoff’s trying to assure people that this thing won’t run away from him, that it’s still his story, and still under his control.  And I *sort of* believe him.  The checklist on the back page kind of contradicts this a little – 6 titles a month – but still, it’s not exactly Tie-in City.

The profile pages are nice and pretty, and serve as little fact files on each of the Corps.  Does anyone honestly believe that indigo is a legitimate colour, much less an important stripe of the rainbow?  Between the Blue Lanterns’ hope and the Star Sapphires’ love, I can’t even begin to imagine how Johns will squeeze this Indigo Tribe (compassion) between the two and give them an actual purpose.  (It’s the only group in this war of light that hasn’t been revealed yet, so I guess I’ll just assume again, shall I?)  Each Corps’ profile details their represented emotion, homeworld, history, powers and weaknesses.  I wonder if this is the kind of thing Johns used to pitch the idea to DC originally.  Probably they just handed him the keys to the city after Rebirth and he didn’t need to pitch it at all.  Nerds will have fun trying to recognise all of the arms reaching out of the ground on the Black Lantern page.

Mongul, where are you?

Mongul, where are you?

Anyway, very informative, but there were a couple of niggling things.  One being the omission of Mongul from the Sinestro Corps page.  I wonder what that means, or was I not paying attention somewhere?  Well, Mongul’s cool and he should be in the Corps.  The other thing being how damn mathematical all the weaknesses are.  They have ‘rules’ that remind me of schoolyard fare: ‘the orange rings can’t drain the blue rings, and the blue rings beat the red rings, but the blue rings don’t work unless they’re with the green rings, and the yellow rings beat the green rings, but not the blue rings.’  And I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal.

Like I said, though, I assume there’s more to it.  Did I mention it’s free?