Archive for New Krypton

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 7th October 2009

Posted in Batman, Batman and Robin, Comics, DC, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 7th October, 2009 by Adam Redsell

lasso_of_truth_8

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_5

Batman & Robin #5
Written by Grant Morrison ǀ Art by Philip Tan
Jason Todd is back – or is he?  The Red Hood administers a lethal dose of retribution to Gotham’s underbelly, but they aren’t about to take it lying down; not when the Flamingo flies into town.  The new Dynamic Duo have their work cut out for them.  Philip Tan’s no Frank Quitely, but he’s bringing his A-game to this story arc.
Verdict: Buy it.


batman_unseen_1

Batman Unseen #1
Written by Doug Moench ǀ Art by Kelley Jones
I picked this up to read a Bruce Wayne Batman story from the creative minds that brought us Red Rain.  What I got instead was a terrible Seventies throwback.  If you ever wondered what The Invisible Man would be like if Batman was in it, wonder no longer.  Seriously, it’s not worth it.
Verdict: Avoid.


new_krypton_8

Superman: World of New Krypton #8
Written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka ǀ Art by Pete Woods & Ron Randall
Superman proves his mettle as an inspiration for all peoples.  Kal-El diffuses a Thanagarian attack through rather unorthodox means.
Verdict: Check it out.

Advertisements

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

lasso_of_truth_3

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.


bn_batman_2

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.


glc_40

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.


secret_six_13

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.


new_krypton_7

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.


wed_comic_5

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.

Wonder Woman #33

Posted in Comics, Wonder Woman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
A much-needed return to form for Princess Diana.

A much-needed return to form for Princess Diana.

“Rise of the Olympian Finale: Monarch of the Dead”
Author: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Variant Cover Artist: Bernard Chang
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein

The cinematic opening of Wonder Woman #33 promises a return to form for Gail Simone’s flagging run on the series, and I’m happy to say this issue delivers on that promise.  With a giant clam shell falling from the Hunter’s Moon, this story picks up from before it all went so wrong – that is, before Genocide.  Perhaps it was an issue of tone after all.  This overtly grim Doomsday clone sapped all the magic and charm from a series that dealt chiefly in magic and charm.  Over seven issues, no less!  Well, Wonder Woman fans, it’s safe to come out now, the bad creature has gone.  But already we’re at the eighth and final part of “Rise of the Olympian”, and I’m wondering where it all went – it all went to Genocide, that’s where – is it too little too late for Simone to make us care about this story?

The answer is no, surprisingly, and it causes me to wonder if the problem was simply an editorial one or not.  In the course of a single issue, Simone has managed to accomplish everything she needed to accomplish with this storyline, without it feeling rushed, all the while drastically changing Diana’s status quo.  Judging from her earlier work on this series, and her stellar run on Secret Six, Simone deals primarily in short three-issue arcs and one-shots, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if what was originally planned to be a three-issue story arc was forced on her as an eight part epic by editorial.  After all, Batman had “R.I.P.” and Superman had New Krypton, what was the third pillar of the Holy DC Trinity going to have?  In light of this issue, the preceding seven issues of mindless brawling were clearly filler (and admittedly, by filler standards it was not too bad).  Still, I can see how Genocide, or something like her, was somehow necessary to reach this interesting point B.  In retrospect, this could have been done more easily by restoring a villain that requires no introduction, and that of course is Cheetah.  That Cheetah *did* appear in a greatly limited capacity just screams to me of missed opportunity.  Instead we had to deal with seven issues of build-up for a villain we didn’t care about, and never really had more than two dimensions to begin with.  But enough bitching and moaning about the waste of ink that was Genocide – she’s gone now, so let’s get on with the story.

Wonder Woman returns to Themyscira in dire need of medical attention.  To make matters worse, the island is being attacked by gigantic sea monsters, which is awesome.  Diana’s mother Hippolyta shows her true strength as a woman and a leader, as she prepares to lead her people into battle.  Now, I don’t know where Hippolyta stands in current DC continuity, but I get the sense that this is the same Hippolyta that was Wonder Woman in previous iterations, and if that’s the case, Simone makes it fit quite nicely here.  The stubborn warrior-woman that she is, Diana ignores all emotional pleas and medical advice, binding axe and lasso to her severely burnt hands, and goes into battle.  This is awesome to watch, because you know in your heart of hearts that this is exactly what Wonder Woman would do.

The battle itself is fun and reminiscent of those big monster films and Moby Dick-style epic sea stories.  All of the action is cleanly and wonderfully drawn by Aaron Lopresti, who seems right at home with horror themes and Greek mythology.  The battle yields revelations that the gods are once again involved in foul play, Zeus and Ares in particular.  Diana’s had just about enough of this, and the result is more than shocking.  The gods finally play their hand, and so does Wonder Woman.  I don’t want to spoil it by going into detail, but one can’t help but feel that she’ll never be the same again.

Everything about this issue is a shock, in what is essentially the boldest Wonder Woman story in a long time.  Just when I’d lost hope in this series, Simone leaves me hooked on all the charm and magic that brought me to her series in the first place, along with a smorgasbord of new story possibilities.  It’s time to start reading Wonder Woman again, people.

Superman: World of New Krypton #3

Posted in Comics, DC, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12th June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
You will believe a man can fly.

You will believe a man can fly.

Authors: Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Gary Frank
Variant Cover Artists: Howard Chaytkin with Edgar Delgado
Assistant Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

New Krypton is an interesting little ‘what if?’ scenario for Superman.  What if Superman lived in a world where everyone had the same powers he has?  What if he wasn’t special at all?  What if he was just Clark Kent?  Would he still make a difference?  Except he’s not Clark Kent, the human reporter – he’s Commander Kal-El of the Kryptonian Military Guild.  And yet, this series has done more to highlight Superman’s very human upbringing than any other.  Superman is special, and what’s special about him is his humanity.

This all sounds very poignant for what is essentially a story about a hostage situation.  That we get to see Superman negotiate a hostage situation at all just goes to show how interesting New Krypton’s basic premise is.  While some readers are waiting for ‘something’ to happen, I’m enjoying all the very ‘normal’ situations Superman finds himself in, and how his intrinsic responses differ from that of his Kryptonian colleagues, particularly Zod.  Now, I expect that ‘something’ readers and critics are impatiently waiting for is something along the lines of ‘Zod’s up to something, and it ain’t good’, and this story certainly alludes to that in some small measure, but I want to see this ‘what if?’ scenario explored first and played out to the full.

It’s true, General Zod does risk losing the menacing heights he achieved during Geoff John’s and Richard Donner’s “Last Son” story arc, if he doesn’t do something villainous soon.  It seems that Superman and Supergirl aren’t the only ones who view New Krypton as a new beginning.  Zod, too, has turned over a new leaf, it seems.

(For those not in the know, New Krypton consists solely of the citizens of Kandor, a city which was shrunk and trapped in a bottle by Brainiac long ago.  As a result, the people of New Krypton are still adjusting to their newfound freedom, and are completely unaware of the nature of General Zod’s military coup back on Krypton proper.  They were also completely unaware of Jor-El’s peaceful attempts to warn the Council of Krypton’s impending doom.  Years later, Zod and company are the only survivors of Krypton’s destruction, and the only surviving Kryptonians who were ‘right’ about the whole thing.  His attempt to forcefully ‘save’ Krypton from the Council’s ignorance is thus considered an act of heroism in retrospect.)

Superman and Zod’s new relationship is understandably awkward considering their embattled past, and while this is intended and entertaining, it’s also a little implausible.  Zod seems far too reasonable for a man who was an egomaniacal madman not so long ago.  And Superman seems far too composed for a man who – being the only one who knows the truth about Zod – is required to serve under his command!  Zod appears to admire Superman’s non-lethal solutions to societal problems, and Superman appears to regard Zod as someone other than an egotistical madman.  If they get much more familiar, it’s going to be very difficult for these two to lock fists to faces in the inevitable future.  I suppose I’m just concerned that Rucka and Robinson have written themselves into a corner they can’t get out of (though I feel the same way about the whole New Krypton scenario altogether).

World of New Krypton explores another side of Superman that we’ve perhaps not seen before: Superman the Revolutionary.  New Krypton still operates under a guild system as established on Old Krypton, but the Labor Guild (sound familiar?) is the only without political representation.  Superman, the red-blooded American he is, sees this as fundamentally wrong and undemocratic, and in many ways planted the dissenting seeds that led to this situation.  Members of the Labor Guild take Alura (Superman’s biological aunt and Supergirl’s mother) hostage, demanding reasonable working conditions and political representation.  Before Zod orders their outright execution, Kal-El asks for 30 minutes to find a non-violent solution.  Now this is what makes Superman, Superman!

Rucka and Robinson remind us again what makes Superman so important in the superhero landscape.  There are some forces too good to be polluted by the evils of this world, and one such force is Superman.  Even in a world full of superpowered beings, Superman sets himself apart with purity and ingenuity.  You can have your post-80s grit, but I prefer my Superman squeaky-clean, thank you very much.

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.