Archive for Secret Six

Lasso of Truth – Weekly Comics Round-up: 14th October 2009

Posted in Adventure Comics, Batman, Blackest Night, Comics, Green Lantern Corps, Secret Six, Wednesday Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th October, 2009 by Adam Redsell

lasso_of_truth_5

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_3

Adventure Comics #3/506
Written by Geoff Johns ǀ Art by Francis Manapul
Gimmicky re-numbering aside, yet another fantastic issue of Adventure Comics.  I never thought I’d care about Superboy, but I do now thanks to Geoff Johns.  I never thought I’d care about Red Robin either, but Johns made me do that as well.  An emotionally poignant character study of Conner Kent and Tim Drake.
Verdict: Must have.


bn_batman_3

Blackest Night: Batman #3
Written by Peter J. Tomasi ǀ Art by Adrian Syaf
An entertaining survival horror story with plenty of fan service for Robin fans.  Dick Grayson and Tim Drake face their parents once again for the last time.
Verdict: Check it out.


glc_41

Green Lantern Corps #41
Written by Peter J. Tomasi ǀ Art by Patrick Gleason
Tomasi keeps up the horror in his epic space battle.  Gleason’s artwork is once again let down by the rotation of inkers throughout this issue.
Verdict: Check it out.


secret_six_14

Secret Six #14
Written by Gail Simone ǀ Art by Nicola Scott w/ Carlos Rodriguez
Month in, month out, Secret Six is my favourite DC book.  The “Depths” arc concludes with an issue that truly lives up to its name.  Bane and Scandal Savage’s oddball relationship is pushed to the very edge, and it seems there’s even more upheaval on the horizon for the Six.
Verdict: Must have.


wed_comic_12

Wednesday Comics #11 & 12
Written by Various ǀ Art by Various
I know I’m a bit late with this, but for some reason my local comics store forget to hold a copy of issue 11 for me last month.  Wednesday Comics was without a doubt a great experiment with the weekly comics format – an experiment I hope DC repeats sooner rather than later.  Highlights for me included Azzarello’s Batman, Dave Gibbons’ Kamandi, Palmiotti’s Supergirl, Gaiman’s Metamorpho, Pope’s Strange Adventures, and Kerschl’s The Flash.  Simonson’s The Demon and Catwoman finished excellently as well.
Verdict: Must have.

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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.


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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.

Secret Six #9

Posted in Batman, Comics, DC, Secret Six with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
The funniest funeral I've ever been to.

The funniest funeral I've ever been to.

“A Debt of Significant Blood”
Author: Gail Simone
Artist: Nicola Scott
Inker: Doug Hazelwood
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Sean Ryan

It’s official.  Gail Simone’s Secret Six is now my favourite comic book.  Secret Six #9 is the best issue of the series thus far.

I’ve heard someone say that they would happily read these characters eating sandwiches and having a chat, and I’d have to say, I agree!  And that’s because – despite their grimeyness; despite their moral greyness – they’re so damn vibrant.  And so they should be – Simone herself nursed them to maturity.  Nobody writes these characters like Simone (and nobody draws them like Nicola Scott); even Bane – the man who broke the Batman’s back – has been enriched under her tenure.  The next part will come as a strange coincidence, then: Secret Six #9 is a Battle for the Cowl tie-in featuring only three of the Secret Six – Catman, Ragdoll, and Bane – returning to Gotham to pay their respects to Batman!  Talk about your strange situations.

And it pays off in spades, too.  This is easily the most hilarious single issue I’ve read this year, and definitely my favourite Secret Six story so far (and I’ve read them all).  Our three anti-heroes go from mansion to mansion to save the children of wealthy families from terrorists who seek to take them hostage.  This was a smart setup that very much parallels the Bruce Wayne’s own origins.  Bane in particular shines through, which is only appropriate for one of Batman’s greatest adversaries.  Of particular amusement was a scene in which Catman leaves Bane to take care of a little girl.  I’ll give you a taste:

CATMAN: Hang on, I count one missing.  Here.  Take this thing.

*Hands the toddler to Bane*.

BANE: What?  No.  I can’t.

I don’t…I don’t know how.

Blake.  BLAKE!

Hummm…

*Sings* Hush, little baby, don’t say a–

LITTLE GIRL: WAAAHH!!

BANE: Blake!  I MAY HAVE BROKEN IT!

To have such an imposing figure cradling a tiny child with a genuine look of terror on his face is priceless.

Ragdoll pays tribute to the Bat in his own twisted way, dressing as the Boy Wonder.  You can imagine this pleases Nightwing to no end when he arrives on the scene.  Ragdoll also realises his uncanny knack for making any word sound perverted.  Cheese-stuffed manicotti!

Most hilarious of all is Catman and Bane’s continuing debate over who is the biggest Batman wannabe – neither party wishes to admit it – both present strong cases; both raise many a chortle.  (Just quietly, I believe Catman loses that debate – read it and find out why!)

They may kill scores of terrorists in gruesome ways, but the Secret Six’s send-off to the Dark Knight achieves a level of poignancy comparable to Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”  When you step back and look at all the elements in play here, it’s easy to see just how much sense this Batman tie-in made.  Hand in a glove springs to mind.  So does “velvety throw pillows!”  Well done, Gail and team.

Get Out Of My Comic Books, U.S. Navy.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 6th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell

I have a bone to pick with the U.S. Navy.  And it’s not what you’d expect.

It all started with a comic book that I was reading about seven months ago.  It felt remarkably solid, and didn’t have the usual flexibility of a comic book.  When I went to flip the page (from the edge, so as not to contaminate the ink with the oil from my fingerprints), I found that I couldn’t, and had to physically grip the page between my thumb and forefinger to turn the page.  I found the offender on the next page – a cardboard reply post paid slip, courtesy of the US Navy.

It was part of a recruitment drive, and it had a series of tick-boxes on it with suspicious-looking codes next to each choice.  Presumably the idea was that comic book readers were a previously untapped demographic for the armed services.  It only stands to reason, after all, that people who enjoy reading the likes of Checkmate, Suicide Squad, or the Secret Six would also like to participate in the joys of actually killing people and blowing things up in real life, right?

I don’t know. I was busy trying to figure out how on Earth this cardboard slip got in there, and how to best pull it out.  Turns out it was folded along the staple-line and slipped in between the staples, so I had to pull it out through one side without uprooting said staples.  It was only in a couple of comics, and I figured it out eventually, so no harm done, right?  Wrong.  The following week, the same damn slip appeared in EVERY SINGLE ONE of my comic books, and the week after that.  As of today I have enough recruitment forms to have joined the Navy at least 28 times.  To tell you the truth, I’ve been throwing them all around the floor and making snow angels with them, so I kind of lost count.

I understand the U.S. Navy’s need for new blood to patrol the open seas, but next time, how about just taking out a page ad with a hotline number like regular folk?  This kind of advertising is just plain annoying and intrusive.

[Then again, ‘intrusive’ is probably more their style…]

Don’t they know that most comic book nerds are either a) overweight, b) overly weedy, or c) lefty scum?  And then there was the fact that I’m an Australian, and I buy my comics from an Australian comic book shop.  That’s one of the questions, though: “Are you a U.S. citizen?”  So presumably they don’t care if you’re American or not either.

Who knows, maybe a Batman fan out there wants to strike fear into the hearts of terrorists the world over.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather leave that type of thing to Batman.  Incidentally, there is a graphic novel in the works called Holy Terror, Batman! by Frank Miller, who else?  I’m guessing it’s satirical, though, and therein lies the difference.

So let this be a warning to you, U.S. Navy.  If you don’t stop infiltrating my comics, every pizza coupon I can find will be piggybacking its way back to HQ par avion.  And thanks to your generosity, you’ll be footing the bill.