Archive for Peter Tomasi

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.


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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.

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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: Batman #1

Posted in Batman, Blackest Night, Comics, DC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th August, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Gotham comes to life.

Gotham comes to life.

“Who Burns Who: Part One”
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Adrian Syaf
Inkers: John Dell & Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Artists: Andy Kubert & Alex Sinclair
Alternate Cover Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

I’ve never heard of Adrian Syaf before, but damn he draws a fine Batman and a fine horror story.  Blackest Night: Batman is positively dripping with atmosphere.  This first issue opens with Batman and Robin at Gotham Cemetery, bearing witness to the upheaval caused firstly by Black Hand’s exhumation of Bruce Wayne, and secondly by Hal and Barry’s recent tussle with the resurrected Martian Manhunter.

Bruce’s skull is missing, and his parents unearthed, leading to a very emotional exchange between Dick (Batman) and Damian (Robin).  “It’s different when it’s one of your own,” Dick remarks.  Bruce was a father figure to both of them, so it’s a difficult moment for both as well.  Damian comments on the added weirdness of his situation: “I’m sure a lotta kids get to greet their grandparents this way.”  Peter Tomasi’s script is pitch perfect, hitting all the right emotional notes.

Deadman also features quite prominently, and rightly so.  As the name suggests, he’s already dead, placing him in the unique situation of having to wrestle with his own corpse.  But it’s his previous life as a circus performer (Boston Brand) which makes him the perfect partner to Dick Grayson.  His own murder mirrors that of Dick’s parents, and I can only imagine that they will need to pit their acrobatic skills against the Black Lantern Flying Graysons next issue.

But it’s not Deadman’s acrobatics that impress in this issue, rather his internal monologues.  Tomasi’s captions are short and suspenseful.  We catch many glimpses into the horrors that shaped our heroes’ lives, and the violent deaths that now stir the living dead of Gotham Cemetery.  This book is full of small moments made big by their emotional resonance and fan appeal.  Long-time Batman fans will find much to get excited about; there’s little doubt that the entire Bat-family will be put through the ringer by this story’s end.

Gotham’s seen a lot of death in its time, and I for one can’t think of a better venue for the dead to rise.  It’s as if all the planets in the DC Universe have aligned: Deadman’s seen a resurgence in popularity with appearances in both Wednesday Comics and the Blackest Night series proper; and Tomasi’s scripts have once again been lifted to their rightful place with some appropriately eerie visuals.  If you’ve ever wondered where the Tomasi who wrote Black Adam went, look no further than Blackest Night: Batman.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
"Unnecessary" has never been so entertaining.

"Unnecessary" has never been so entertaining.

Authors: Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi & Ethan Van Sciver
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Gene Ha & Tom Mandrake
Inkers: Ruy José
Colorists: Nei Ruffino & Pete Pantazis
Cover Artists: Ed Benes, Rob Hunter & Nei Ruffino
Variant Cover Artist: Rodolfo Migliari
Letterers: Steve Wands & Sal Cipriano
Editor: Adam Schlagman

Once again, I have to disagree with this book’s detractors.  Tales of the Corps #2, like the first issue, is an entertaining read, and while its connection to Blackest Night proper may not be readily apparent, it fleshes out the players in this War of Light.  The emotional spectrum is an interesting concept in itself, and though the seeds were planted from the very beginning of Geoff Johns’ stellar Green Lantern run, it’s clear that not all avenues have been explored in the rush to get to Blackest Night.  Perhaps it was editorial pressure; perhaps it was fan demand; I don’t know – but if this book affords Johns and his cohort the opportunity to explore this War of Light in greater detail, then I’m all for it.  And if you’re a Green Lantern fan, you’ll be all for it too.

Like the first issue, the opening story is by far the strongest.  “Fly Away” tells the tale of angelic beauty, Princess Bleez, and how she comes to embrace the rage of the Red Lantern Corps.  I wasn’t being flowery when I used the word ‘angelic’ either, Bleez has wings – with feathers – and Johns uses these as a simple narrative device to tell a story of freedom yearned for and ultimately, lost.  Eddy Barrows’ pencils are breathtaking, especially in depicting Bleez and her home planet, Havania.  It just goes to show that when given a full story to work with, Barrows absolutely shines (not that that was ever in doubt in the first place).  It’s not just the beautiful vistas he excels in either; his penchant for gritty, horror-inspired visuals is also on display here.  Credit must also go to Nei Ruffino, whose colours went a long way toward evoking the beauty of Bleez and her planet homeland.  All of this beauty – Bleez’s soft, metallic skin and Havania’s crystalline waterfalls – lends the story a great deal of its power when the Sinestro Corps come to strip it all away.  It’s interesting that Bleez’s turn as a Red Lantern owes more to the Sinestro Corps than it does the Red Lanterns themselves.

The second story, also penned by Johns, centres on Carol Ferris, and how she came to be a Star Sapphire.  “Lost Love” is beautifully drawn by Top 10 artist and co-creator, Gene Ha.  As much as I love any opportunity to enjoy Ha’s artwork, I’m going to have to side with the naysayers here and say that, yes, this story is entirely unnecessary.  We have seen most of this before.  The entire story essentially takes place within the confines of Carol’s cockpit, as she converses with the violet ring.  On comes a series of violet-filtered flashbacks concerning Carol and Hal Jordan’s on-and-off love relationship.  Now that the Star Sapphires have refined their crystals into rings for recruitment purposes, acceptance of the ring is voluntary.  This doesn’t ring true to me – the situation and the conversation itself seem to be a contrivance on Johns’ part to separate this particular instance from the earlier ones – it attempts to rationalise something that isn’t at all rational, and that is Love.  The conversation between Carol and the violet ring is a thinly veiled internal monologue, and it comes off as being rather stilted in the end.

The third and final tale in this collection chronicles the journey of the all-conquering, alien floating head, known as Blume.  Peter Tomasi excels at these kinds of dark, quirky tales, and “Godhead” is no exception.  The malevolent head prowls the universe, hungry for anything of value.  Amidst these flagrant displays of greed and cruelty, Tomasi achieves rare moments of poignancy, as Blume learns the true subjectivity of value and sheer breadth of what is valuable to people.  Blume’s fate as an Orange Lantern construct is a foregone conclusion, but that doesn’t rob this story of its value.

The issue finishes with a two-page featurette from Green Lantern: Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver, titled “The Symbols of the Spectrum: How They Came to Be, and What They Represent”, which documents the genesis of the seven symbols we’ve seen in the War of Light.  This is great for Green Lantern fans who want an insight into the creative process that goes into the making of their favourite comic book.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps is a great supplementary book to the core Green Lantern series and Blackest Night itself.  You don’t need to read it to understand the events of those two books, but it’s a great read nonetheless.  If it was ‘necessary’ or ‘important’, fans and critics alike would be complaining about how they have to follow yet another book to gain an appreciation of the overall story.  As it stands, though, Tales of the Corps represents the very best kind of tie-in to a comic book event – wholly unnecessary to the progression of the main story, and yet an interesting and entertaining read in its own right.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Tales of the <i> <ul>Corpse</ul> <p>: get it?</i>

Tales of the Corpse: get it?

“Tales of the Blue Lantern: Saint Walker”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Cover Artists: Ed Benes, Rob Hunter & Nei Ruffino
Variant Cover Artists: Dave Gibbons & Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
“Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Mongul: For Your Love”
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Adam Schlagman
“Tales of the Indigo Tribe”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Rags Morales
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman

When I read a somewhat negative review of Tales of the Corps this week, I couldn’t wait to disagree with it.  Turns out I got my wish.  I heartily recommend this book to Green Lantern fans, Alan Moore fans, and anyone who wants to read three entertaining stories within 25 pages.  It’s not ‘important’ per se, but it *is* entertaining, and it does flesh out the major players in this War of Light; something that I felt had been glossed over in a rush to get to Blackest Night.

The first story is also the strongest story, which opens where Green Lantern #42 left off.  Saint Walker and the Blue Lanterns are fending off an attack from Larfleeze, also known as Agent Orange, on their spiritual homeworld of Odym.  The opening page is a striking collision of blue and orange, and Jerry Ordway’s clean linework and figure depictions are the best I’ve seen from him in a long time.  In fact, I’d like to see future Green Lantern stories drawn by Ordway based on what I’ve seen here.  In these dire moments, Saint Walker’s life flashes before his eyes, and we get to see his journey to Blue Lanterndom.  I’ve always wondered about Walker’s sainthood, and this story really brings those religious aspects to the forefront.  As you’d expect, this is a story of hope against all adversity.  What you might not expect is the moving tale of a man who clings to Hope despite losing everything.  Saint Walker is a proverbial Job, on a dangerous pilgrimage to save his planet and his people.  Saint Walker emerges as so much more than a one-dimensional Polyanna do-gooder; he becomes an undeniable Beacon of Light – an Andy Dufresne, if you will – a hero for the weak and oppressed.  I’m laying on the superlatives, but the quintessential Blue Lantern has easily become my favourite character in this event; there’s something so refreshing about his Definite Goodness in this time where the Green Lanterns are mired in so much grey.  He reminds me of Optimus Prime; an incorruptible force for Good, who’ll fight to the end for all of us.  Look, just buy the book on the strength of this story alone, okay?

On the flipside, Peter Tomasi dabbles in some black humour, as he’s in the habit of doing.  If you’ve read his Black Adam miniseries, you’ll understand why; if not, allow me to spell it out for you: he’s damn good at it.  His track record with Mongul is also sterling, so the result here is to be expected.  This tale of Mongul’s warped childhood is simultaneously harrowing and amusing.  Chris Samnee’s art is rather simplistic, but well-suited to this “kid’s story” nonetheless.  A young Mongul is bored while his father (also Mongul) is out conquering and subjugating.  He watches some of his father’s exploits on “TV”, fantasising about what it would be like to be his father.  So he dresses up in his father’s gear and plays outside with the skeletons.  Pretty soon he gets exactly what he wished for, but just you wait until dad gets home…

The third and final story is a telling exposition of the heretofore mysterious nature of the Indigo Tribe.  Their untranslated speech gives off the feeling of a foreign film, as Geoff Johns allows the beautiful artwork of Rags Morales to tell the story.  Contrary to what its detractors may tell you, this issue reveals quite a bit about the Tribe’s motivations, and the nature of their powers.  You may not know the names of their people or their planet, but by the end you’ll be asking yourself, “what’s in a name, really?

There’s a lot of variety in the breadth of these stories, and all in all, it’s a very entertaining romp through Geoff Johns’ “emotional spectrum”.  If you miss Alan Moore’s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, you’re in luck; because you’ve just found its spiritual successor.

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.