Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Doug Mahnke and Walden Wong
Story - New Heaven, New Earth
This has probably been said already many times in reviews for this issue but I will say that Final Crisis #7 was a disappointing read for a series that prove to be all build and no real payoff. But before I go on with my review I found a couple good interviews with Dan Didio and Grant Morrison talking about this series and the DCU as well as an interview with Mike Marts talking about Batman that are interesting reads/video.
Dan Didio Video Interview: Part 1 and Part 2
Grant Morrison: Exit Interview
Mike Marts: Batman Interview
All these interview give an interesting insight of the future of the DCU and in the case of the Morrison interview gives some information of what actually happened in Final Crisis. Just as Morrison says in his interview Final Crisis is a "channel-surfing" event that takes us throughout the DCU Multiverse to see how big of an impact Darkseid and the evil vampire-Monitor. The problem with this "channel-surfing" type storytelling that Morrison used in Final Crisis is that it gave us, the readers, a very disjointed story that no matter how hard Morrison, Didio and others in DC may try and explain what happened this event is only proof that Morrison may be suffering a serious case of ADHD.
The blame for this disjointed story that we got does not solely have to be placed on Morrison or Didio's shoulders but also to everyone involved in Final Crisis. For the most part it feels that Morrison was given free reign over the series, and Final Crisis #7 is the perfect example, and none of the editors really told Morrison to change some things in his script in order to make it more friendly to the reader.
The one thing that both Final Crisis and Secret Invasion proved is that these big events need is two writers working on the events. I would love to sit down and talk to Morrison about all the ideas he has in his head. If nothing else this series proved that Morrison has some awesome ideas. But the problem he seems to have is putting all of his ideas down on paper and make it make sense.
The whole shifting from the future to the past to the present was just sloppy storytelling that had no flow from scene to scene. This whole "channel surfing" style of storytelling should never have been experimented on a "big event" book were so many old and new readers are going to be reading it only to be confused by it. If Morrison really wanted to change how storytelling within a comic is told he should first experiment by launching his own title under Vertigo or one of the other DC imprints were he can get criticism and work to make this type of storytelling better when the time came to write Final Crisis.
It is also clear, from Morrison's interview and just reading Final Crisis, that this series was meant to not only be an Elseworld story but also be at least 12 issues and not 7 issues. This issue specifically proves that Didio just forced Morrison to condense an already hugely detailed story into 7 issues in order to get to the end much quicker. There is just so much left out from this series that every time we got a big moment like the capture of Batman, Barry's return, Superman leaving and returning, people being taken over by the Anti-Life equation, Batman shooting Darkseid and getting hit by the Omega Sanction happened it did not carry the weight it should have since their is no real explanation for it to happen or it took to long to long that the plotline saw a long delay within the story.
If I have to go to an interview with the writer or editors in order to get all the details of the story than that is pretty sloppy storytelling since I should be able read a comic or a book and be able to make sense of what I read without someone having to explain what the hell I just read.
What makes it worse is that now that the series is finally over we are now told the official reading order of Final Crisis. So the reading order for Final Crisis looks like this:
Final Crisis #1-3
Superman Beyond #1-2
Final Crisis: Submit
Final Crisis #4-5
Final Crisis #6-7
Because we have been getting such a disjointed story all of the important storylines in Final Crisis were massively underdeveloped. And no plotline was more underdeveloped than that involving Barry, Wally, and the Black Racer. For all the build up of Barry's return by various people at DC Barry barely appeared in the series. And I didn't really see it necessary for Barry and Wally to have to outrun Black Racer since it seems that he was already after Darkseid's soul since he was the grim reaper of sorts for the New Gods. So it just seems that Barry was just forced into the story in order for Didio to get back what he thinks is the best Flash. I have no doubt that Geoff Johns will do a fantastic job dealing with the ramification of Barry's return in Flash: Rebirth but that does not excuse the fact that his official return to the DCU lacked the impact on the reader that his return should have had.
Also I do not get the point of having one panel of the return of the original Aquaman's return and that's it. Were in the fuck did that come from. For a character like Aquaman to be just randomly put in the issue just continues Morrison just putting in scenes that look cool but does nothing to add to the overall plot of Final Crisis.
I also do not see why the Japanese heroes were included into this series from the very beginning since all they were good for was standing around, just like half the characters in the series, in front of Checkmate headquarters only to all die once Darkseid broke all of reality.
Now while I did not like the majority of this issue the one thing I will give Morrison credit for is giving a Superman that is a total badass. He really presents Superman as this larger than life figure, similar to All-Star Superman, and his whole confrontation with Darkseid really made that moment feel larger than life. It only feels right that Superman be the center of the DCU, it is a nice call back to Crisis on Infinite Earths were we also saw all the various Supermen help in the final battle with the big bad guy.
The thing that I did not like about the supposed big bad guy is that we do not see him until this final issue within Final Crisis. This just puts more confusion within the reader since for 6 issues we have been told that Darkseid is the big bad guy but to suddenly get a vampire Monitor with his zombie Superman makes the whole ending anti-climatic since he appears for a handful of pages and then is gone along with his zombie Superman.
Also the whole Superman wishing for a happy ending just proves that the Miracle was just a deus ex machina that negates everything that has happened. And it does not make sense that in Superman's supposed happy ending that he would not bring back Bruce. Instead he leaves him in the ancient past were he seems to have aged and balding. Also in this happy ending world it is not clear that Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and everyone else that died in this event came back. It only makes gives an excuse for writers to now say that characters have been dead for a long time were brought back in this new happy ending world.
While we finally only got one artist in this issue in the form of Doug Mahnke the art is still largely inconsistent due to inkers by committee Morrison and Didio set up. This whole issue screams of DC rushing the art in order to get it out on time in order to not further anger fans. And while delaying a title would only mean a short wait inconsistent art will last forever. So when I go back to read this series the delays wont be there but the inconsistent art will.
Story: 3.2 - I continue my rant about this issues horrible pacing but in the end Morrison's experiment that he calls Final Crisis was a big failure. If this was any other writer fans would be calling for his/her head but since this is Morrison he gets a little pass due to the credit he has built up with fans.
Art: 6.1/10 - Even though we got one artist working on this issue the art was still rushed due to the the inker by committee Didio set up for this final issue.
Overall: 4.65/10 - Final Crisis would have been much better left of as the ultimate Elseworld story and not a DCU big event since for now the events of this book have little to no affect in the DCU other than the New Gods and Batman.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Story - Ultimatum Tie-In
Bendis continues to prove that while he may have become a big name through his work on the Avengers title and House of M/Secret Invasion events he is most at home in Ultimate Spider-Man. I continue to say this every month when Ultimate Spider-Man comes out but I believe that Bendis true strength is in solo titles like Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil. The thing that makes USM such a great title since the first issue is that Bendis is not tied down by any other continuity other than the one he has made.
If nothing else Ultimate Spider-Man #130 has me question why Bendis wasn't the one to write Ultimatum? After all he, along with Millar, is the creative architect of the Ultimate Universe. He has already had run's on everyone of the Ultimate titles, except for the Ultimates but has written that team within the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. I kind of wish that Bendis would have taken time of from writting New Avengers for a while so to allow him a couple months to write Ultimatum. Than maybe we wouldn't have gotten the mess that has become Ultimatum under Jeph Loeb.
But that is another topic all together. The strength of this issue, as with all good Spider-Man comics, is the drama around Peter and his supporting cast. Bendis showing how Peter and his supporting cast deal with what has happened in the aftermath of the tidal wave that struck New York. Unlike in Ultimatum, this issue was all about the drama and how all the people are dealing with the disaster that has struck their city. Peter's reaction while trying to save everyone felt like a real reaction and not forced. The reaction Peter gives after going back to the cab to save the driver, after saving the passenger how fell out of the cab, only to realize that he was to late to save the driver felt real and drives home the affect how big the disaster is. It also shows that death is something Peter is still a teenager who may be over his head trying to save as many people he can only to realize he can't save everyone. It was a great scene seeing Peter feel helpless in this type of situation. I can't wait to see what Bendis does now that the Hulk is thrown into the mix with Spider-Man.
Also I thought that the subway was well done. It is good to see Kitty still play the part of the hero even though she is not an X-Men. I hope that Bendis starts showing more of Kitty acting as the hero in future issues.
I also thought the Gwen being afraid of death thing work well in this issue. It is understandable after being killed and then being brought back that Gwen is the one most afraid of the whole situation and the one that worries most about if Peter is okay going into the heart of the disaster. It will be interesting to see were Bendis takes this sub-plot in future issues and see how Peter and the gang help her get over her fear or at least come to terms with it.
The best part of this issue was seeing how Aunt May deals with the cops knowing about, at least somewhat, the connection between Peter and Spider-Man. It is only a natural progression of the story after all the crazy stuff that has been happening at the Parker household that eventually the cops would figure out that there is some sort of connection between the Parker's and Spider-Man. The only thing I am worried about this plot thread is that the detectives that interrogated Aunt May are going to die at the end of this storyline as casualties of Ultimatum. But for now we will just have to wait and see were Bendis goes with this plot point.
I will be interested to see how Spider-Girl's meeting with Aunt May will go since she still does not know about Spider-Girl being Peter's clone, at least I don't think she knows. Also I hope that Johnny is okay, since in Ultimatum #1 he looked like he was casualty of the event, so that we see more Johnny/Spider-Girl interaction. I just want to see Johnny's reaction to when he finds out that she is Peter's clone. That should be a classic scene. I kind of hope the scene goes a little like this:
Johnny: Hey Pete! Why don't you introduce me to Spider-Girl?
Peter: Ah, I don't think that is such a good idea.
Johnny: Come on man. I told you I want to meet a nice girl and they don't get nicer than Spider-Girl.
Peter: All right man. Don't say I didn't warn you. Hey Jessica!
Jessica: Was up Peter?
Peter: I like you to meet Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four.
Peter: And Johnny this is Jessica Drew. My female clone.
Johnny: Whhhhaaaaaaatttttttt? (anime faint)
Hopefully we get that scene sooner than later.
Now I got to give credit to Immonen for turning in his best issue of Ultimate Spider-Man to date. Before this issue the best issues have been were it is hero vs villain. But in this issue he shows that he has improved a great deal in drawing the dramatic moments. And his two spread pages in this issue were fantastic. He did a nice job replicating Finch's artwork from Ultimatum while still giving the two visuals his own style. While I am not a fan of his 12-year old looking Peter and some of the cast, he is showing a great deal of improvement.
Story: 9.6/10 - As much as I may not like his work on the Avengers titles Bendis work here on Ultimate Spider-Man continues to be head over heels his best work.
Art: 8/10 - Immonen did an impressive job showing how horrible the tidal wave disaster is and how various characters are handling the situation through his artwork.
Overall: 8.8/10 - No matter how bad Loed's Ultimatum has been it is great to see that Ultimate Spider-Man is unaffected by that supposed big event. And USM continues to be one of the best comics on the market.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Laira shows off some serious crazy eyes.....
and eats some dirt at the hands of the Sinestro Corps.
Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow Lanterns. Ysmault knows how to throw a party.
Just as Hal promises to help Laira Sinestro kills her. Good job on keeping your promise Hal.
Hal Jordan the Red Lantern. This should be interesting since he has both his Green Lantern ring on even though he has turned into a Red Lantern (I smell White Lantern for "Blackest Night").
It will be interesting to see what role Mentor plays in War of Kings.
Cosmo needs to work on his teleporting skills.
Posted by Kevin at 6:41 AM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
"A Bride in the Vermilion Forbidden City"
I have to hand to the writers of this show for making the talking heads moments are just as compelling, if not more, than the action scenes. That is rare no a days especially when the anime/cartoon main mode of fighting are with huge mechas that there characters pilot (cough*Gundam*cough). But as Code Geass has shown it is one of those rare shows that we get every once in a while that we get that keeps the viewer on the edge of there seat whether it is during all the mecha fighting or if it is characters siting around a table talking and playing chess. In this this episode all the mechas basically serve as nothing more than statues that are shortly seen in the beginning part of the episode. Instead this episode was basically based on the latter with a big party and wedding that Zero and The Black Knights crash.
This episode basically had everything a person may expect from Code Geass (minus mecha battles). There was fanservice (LelouchXKallen), usual CC comedy, meeting between two leaders of the war (Lelouch and Schneizel), betrayal (Zero kidnapping the young Chinese princess), and the appearance of characters we haven't seen in a while (VV and Jerimiah).
The best part of this episode was the chess match between Lelouch and Schneizel. It is rare to see Lelouch sweet in these types of moments since he was obviously on edge throughout the match continuously thinking of a new strategy to beat his older brother. During this match I remembered what was a throw away line in R1 that is said again in this episode before the match. That was Lelouch telling himself that Schneizel is the only person that Lelouch could never beat. It is going to be interesting to see were the writers will take Schneizel since we have seen more of him than the emperor this season and he seems to have his own endgame in mind.
This episode continues to do a great job reminding the viewer that there really is a war going on and the chess match and the political marriage that was interrupted were nice tools to reminded of this fact. It will be interesting to see what Lelouch has in mind for the young Chinese princess he kidnapped at the wedding. We will probably be seeing a lot of mecha battles next episodes since both Xingke and the Britannian army will be going after The Black Knights to get the princess back.
The one thing that I did not enjoy about this episode was that right when Zero entered the party the scene suddenly cut to Milly and Nina confrontation out in a balcony. This scene seem to come out of nowhere since I thought both these girls were suppose to be friends and the scene seemed to be just forced into the episode even though we did not need this confrontation that lasted one minute. Also with each episode she appears I am getting more and more annoyed by Nina's character since she has basically become the b!@#$ character every show has.
Overall this was another great episode of R2. It is great to see that this series is heading into more of a global war since it helps makes the scope of R2 much bigger and epic that R1.
Episode Rating - 9.3/10
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artists: Brad Walker and Carlos Magno
Inkers: Wil Quintara and Bruno Hang
Story - Prison Break
Guardians of the Galaxy #9 was another great read. From the beginning this title has been one of the best Marvel titles on the market. DnA have done an impressive job over the past 4 years in resurrecting Marvel's cosmic characters. Up until Annihilation I wasn't very familiar with the cosmic characters outside of Nova. But now all of the cosmic characters have become some of my favorite Marvel characters. Not counting "Sinestro Corp Wars" I would say that the work DnA have done with Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy matches what Geoff Johns is doing on Green Lantern month in, month out.
My favorite part of this series is how DnA have been able to make Star-Lord into the take no crap type character. This issue was filled with great Star-Lord moments. Seeing Star-Lord being able to hold his own against all the various villains in the 42 prison was awesome. DnA have made Star-Lord into the cosmic version of Captain America. And now that the Guardians will be joining Star-Lord in his fight against Blasteer the next issue should be one hell of ride.
Also I have to give DnA credit for using the 42 prison built back in Civil War and utilize as part of there story in such a great way. The whole battle scene in the 42 prison was really chaotic and it will be interesting to see in the end how Blasteer will get all these villains to work for him and participate in a cosmic war. And with the Guardians now in the middle it will be interesting to see how he deals with them and if he will escape to Earth.
And while the 42 prison scene was the main part of this issue DnA do an impressive job balancing that scene with what the other former GOTG members are doing. In this issue we saw Drax and Quasar interact with Mentor. Even though we have yet to see how all these various events connect with one another I hope that after the 42 prison stuff is over with these other events happening in this book get more attention than they have been getting.
Now the only real negative to this issue was the art. Walker and Magno art was really inconsistent throughout the issue and was distracting in some scenes that should have been stronger. Rocket Raccoon, Cosmo, and Groot really looked awful in this issue. I enjoyed Walker's art in the issue before this one so I hope he gets solo art duties in the next issue since his and Magno's art styles do not mesh well with one another.
Story: 8.5/10 - DnA continue to work their magic on Marvel's cosmic characters. They have definitely found their niche within the Marvel Universe.
Art: 6.2/10 - Walker and Magno combined for some rather unimpressive artwork that weakend what should have been a stronger read.
Overall: 7.7/10 - With all of Marvel's cosmic characters all heading into War of Kings this issue did a great job building all the various players for that event up for what looks to be one wild ride.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
With how big comic book movies have become, especially after The Dark Knight and Iron Man, there was no doubt that companies would go back to creating cartoons from some of the most popular comic book characters. We already have the great Spectacular Spider-Man and the kid-oriented Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Evidently we also have a new CGI-type Iron Man cartoon with a teenage Tony Stark becoming Iron Man (?) in April. And yesterday the first two episodes of Wolverine and the X-Men premiered on Nicktoons. So I decided I would give my two cents on these cartoons and review the ones that catch my interest. I will definitely be reviewing The Spectacular Spider-Man when it comes back for its second season. But since Wolverine and the X-Men premiered yesterday I thought I would start with that series.
"Hindsight: Part 1 & 2"
Like many X-Men fans I winced when I heard the new cartoon would be called "Wolverine and the X-Men." Now I have always liked Wolverine and he is one of my top 5 favorite Marvel characters but to see his name be in the title ahead of the X-Men doesn't really sit right to me as an X-Men fan. But I see why Marvel and Nicktoons would do this. With Wolverine being one of the most popular characters amongst the general public and having his own movie coming out this year it is understandable why he would be the star of the show and be mentioned in the title. It is nothing new for Marvel since they have always been all about marketing and what would make there product sell to both long time fans and new fans.
Now the first two episodes of this series was decent. It was nothing spectacular but Yost and crew set up some nice ground for the future of the series. I will give credit to the writers on this series for not having these first few episodes starting from the very beginning of the teams history. Instead the X-Men are already an established team with all the character being in their late-teens or early twenties, outside of Wolverine and Xavier. It is a good move that the writing team already assumes that their viewers will already know each memeber of the team is most of them are X-Men fans, have seen the X-Men movie franchise, and/or the recent X-Men: Evolution cartoon from a few years ago.
It seems that this series really doesn't take from just the comic book or the movie history of the characters but instead is a combination from both source material. Wolverine and Rogue share a relationship similar to their movie counterparts with a bit more romantic implications to the relationship. We still have the usual Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle. Scott is shown as a depressed (and drunk?) character due to Jean's "death." Iceman's parent are ashamed about their soon being a mutant like in the movie. And so on. Outside of the depressed Scott we are presented with in these two episodes I am fine with how each character is portrayed.
While the character relationships are already in place the first episode did start of with the X-Men disbanded due to the "deaths" of Xavier and Jean Grey. The main focus of that episode was Wolverine, and later Beast, as he frees the family who saved him and some mutants from the Mutant Response Division (MPD) prison. And like Wolverine said at the end of the episode it was weird seeing him be the one to get the X-Men back together. Wolverine has always been more of a loner than a leader and even though he will be the leader of the X-Men, due to the title of the show, I hope that Scott is able to clean himself up and assume the role of the leader of the team in future episodes.
The story of this series seems to be set up around the "Days of Future Past" and "Age of Appocalypse" storyline since we see a world were the mutants are being hunted or forced to registered and Xavier missing/dead. But the problem about these two episodes they seem to have to be seen with the third episode since both episodes seem to be incomplete story and I hope that with the next episode we discover what happened to at least Xavier.
Now the character designs for this series were alright and seem to be a combination of Whedon-run on Astonishing X-Men and X-Men: Evolution. All the designs were fine except for Wolverine's. Wolverine is suppose to be the short 5 foot guy with an attitude problem. But the appearance of Wolverine is much more like his movie counterpart since he is the same size of all the other X-Men, or taller, and doesn't have that mountain man from Canada look he should have.
Even though I had my problems with these two episode the series is of to a nice start that has things for both long time X-Men fans and its target market. It seems that this series will lead to a darker story in the future. And I hope that we see Magneto and if he is connected to the Brotherhood and we see what happened to Xavier in the next episode.
Episode Rating - 7.6/10
Friday, January 23, 2009
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Story - Rage of the Red Lanterns Part 3
With "Secret Origins" well behind us Johns has really picked up the pace of Green Lantern in order to preparer "Blackest Night." This issue was packed with twist and turns that at no point the reader is able to predict what will happen next. Johns does a good job balancing the four different Corps he has in this story and showing how each Corps differs from the other.
Johns has done a great job building the Red Lanterns into one of the villains in this summer's big event. While it is known that the Black Lanterns will be the primary villain of "Blackest Night" but more and more the vicious Red Lanterns have been set up to play the villain role in the opening chapters of "Blackest Night" and may be killed of by the Black Lanterns in order to show how bad that corp is. Johns did a nice job at revealing that a Red Lantern will die if their rings are taken off due to the nature of it being tied to the blood of the user. This fact along with rage being one of the most uncontrollable emotions may lead to the downfall of the Red Lanterns in "Blackest Night."
I love how Johns is writing both Attrocius and Sinestro as two beings with a vested interest in Hal by each giving him a version of his future. From the beginning of the issue it is clear that there are many different paths that Hal will be able to make in the upcoming war of light. It is interesting to see that both leaders of their respective Corps continue to play mind games with Hal. Both Attrocius and Sinestro are ruthless characters and this issue was a great example how ruthless both men are: Attrocius torturing both Hal and Sinestro with trying to instill rage in both men; and Sinestro killing Laira right when Hal promised to save her.
Also, I get the feeling that some of Attrocius prophecy of Hal betraying the Guardians to be correct. From both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps I continue to get the feeling that Guardians will die in the war due to how unemotional and detach they are becoming with each issue of both series. Since every Lantern Corps is linked to one of the emotions in the spectrum of light the Guardians have only shown their disdain for all emotions and it is clear that most if not all the Guardians will die because of their lack of emotions when they themselves are drawing from the power of emotion with out them realizing it.
Back to Hal, I was surprised to see Johns turn Hal into a Red Lantern. It is not that surprising to see Hal show a lot of rage when he is fighting, especially when it is Sinestro, but for all that rage Hal has within him to lead to him becoming a Red Lantern is something I did not see coming. Though from the image of Hal as a Red Lantern with both the Red and Green Lantern rings on each hand is making me think that Hal will be wearing each of the rings from all the Lantern Corps, like many people are already predicting.
What I am expecting to see is that during "Blackest Night" Hal will actually gain all the Lantern rings towards the end of the war and will go of into exile due to having all of the power of the Lantern rings but before the last issue will finally find a way to control each individual ring as one and become the first (and maybe only) White Lantern. It would make sense since the Black Lanterns are not even part of the emotional spectrum and White holds the whole emotional spectrum that their would be a White Lantern to stop what may be the unstoppable Black Lanterns. So Hal will basically be the messiah of the war of light, fulfilling Ganthet prophecy of Hal's importance, and lead all the corps against the Black Lanterns as the balance White Lantern.
The only complaint I have against this issue is that it completely focused on what was happening in Ysmault. In the previous issue we saw Fatality full transformation as a Star Sapphire member complete and her stating that she is going after John Stewart was not mentioned or seen in this issue. I hope that after "Rage of the Red Lantern" arc is over that we get to see the face off against Stewart and Fatality in the next story arc.
Anyways, we still have some time to go before we get to "Blackest Night." But I have to say that Ivan Reis continues to be DC's best artist when it comes to drawing all the cosmic characters. Reis has done an incredible job drawing all the different Lanterns and showing how each Lantern Corps varies in their look. He does a great job with all the action scenes and the two splash pages of Sinestro Corps and the Blue Lanterns appearing Ysmault.
Story: 9.3/10 - John's continues to do a great job building each Lantern Corps as being different from one another and power ring works differently from one another.
Art: 9.2/10 - Reis artwork was just awesome in this issue and I hope that he is the artist for "Blackest Night."
Overall: 9.25/10 - Green Lantern #37 does a great job building the storylines for Blackest Night and it is great to see both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps doing a fantastic job building all the Lantern Corps for the war.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Was an enjoyable chick fight. And I am glad we got finally got rid of this slutty Mary Marvel since she has been an annoying character for the past two years. Now let see how DC is going to rehabilitate Mary and the rest of the Marvel Family (I smell mini-series).
Yet again Wonder Woman is giving nothing to do while Superman and Batman are both given their time to shine. If DC really wants to make me believe that Wonder Woman really is part of the Trinity than they need to give her, her own moment to shine and save the universe like Superman and Batman have in almost every major DC event.
Lord Eye is a cool concept and I like that it is named after Maxwell Lord and Brother Eye. Though I question presenting this weapon this late in the game and giving all this power to Renee Montoya of all the characters in the DCU.
For all the build up of Libra being this great supervillain he went out like a little punk to Lex Luthor. Though we will probably see him appear somewhere in the next issue.
For characters that are named the Flash this plotline involving Barry and Wally has been one of the slowest moving plots in this series. And all we get here is two pages of them showing up.
Just like Libra, Darkseid went out like a little bitch. For being the ultimate bad guy all Darkseid has done/did for the six issues of Final Crisis is sit on his butt and do nothing but give the thumbs down.
This should have been more impact on the reader but Batman only other appearance on Final Crisis was in the first issue and a very short scene in issue two being placed in the machine he was hooked up to in Batman #682-683. Personally Morrison did a better job in Batman RIP showing Bruce Wayne's demise, even though he didn't die in that story but in here.
With only one issue left we are told that there is someone even worse than Darkseid. Great work Morrison (NOT!!).
The image everyone, well DCU fans anyways, are talking about.
Typical, while the Green Lanterns are fighting for their lives the Guardians set in place a new law affective immediately.
Awkward! Hopefully Soranik isn't another one of Kyle's love interest that is killed by one of his villains and this plotline is given time to develop.
Predictably hundreds, if not thousands, of Green Lanterns give up their position rather than continue to follow the Guardians new law. With seven laws yet to be revealed I wonder how many more people will give up being Green Lanterns once the other laws are revealed.
"Mongul leader of the Sinestro Corps." That is sure to go over well with all the other members.
Nightwing kicked some serious League of Assassins ass in this issue. And also it was cool seeing Nightwing drive the origina Batcar.
No Ra's Al Ghul appearance is complete without him having to talk to someone from the Batfamily around the Lazarus Pit.
Nightwing and Ra's had one serious sword fight similar to the ones Bruce and Ra's have had in the past. And it is great seeing Nightwing being able to go toe to toe with all of Batman's villains and actually winning.
It seems more and more that Nightwing will become the new Batman. Ra's has already given his approval to his "new" arch enemy.
Mario Alberth artwork continues to be one of the highlights of this mini-series and I hope we see more of his artwork in one of Marvel's ongoing books.
Carnage has one weird appetite.
See not even Mr. Sinester can handle the train wreck that was the Clone Saga.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Rebecca Buchman
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Story - Sins of the Star Sapphire: Hearts and Minds
Month in month out Green Lantern Corps continues to be just as good as its big brother title Green Lantern. Tomasi has done a great job using all the characters not used by Geoff Johns on Green Lantern in order to continue the march to "Blackest Night." Each character has his or her own unique voice and artist Patrick Gleason has done a great job in drawing all the various aliens Tomasi has appear on this title. Each character has there own look to them and no one character looks like another character.
One of the things I have enjoyed about this "Sins of the Star Sapphire" arc going on in GLC is how Tomasi is able to build the Star Sapphires as their own Corps and show that unlike the Green Lantern Corps they allow themselves to show their emotions instead of being the robot soldier the Guardians what the Green Lanterns to be. The way the Star Sapphires are presented it seems they will be one of the neutral Corps in the war along with the Blue Lanterns in the war of light. But seeing as how the emotion of love works they may actually be against all the other Corps and try and turn all of the female members of the other Corps into members similar to what they did to the female Sinestro Corp member in this issue. And I will be interested if the Star Sapphires will remain as an all female Corps or if they will allow males to also become members. It will be interesting to see Kryb become a member of the Star Sapphires and if they will continue to "cleanse" all the female from other corps without consent.
And it was great that we finally saw the third law finally set and it was obvious that many members would rather give up being Green Lanterns than go on without having to let go of all their feelings and become robots with no feelings. With so many Green Lanterns giving up their rings it will be interesting to see how the other seven laws the Guardians will in act will go over. Hopefully we will see the other acts inacted soon since "Blackest Night" starts in the summer.
It will be interested to see were Tomasi takes the relationship of Kyle and Soranik in the future especially with the new law in place. I just hope that Soranik becomes another one of Kyle's love interests that dies at the hands of one of Kyle's villains like all those before her.
I am also glad that we will be seeing Mongul back in the limelight. It will be interesting to see Mongul try to take leadership of the Sinestro Corps and how Sinestro will be involve with someone try to take control of the Corps he started by someone else.
Story: 8.7/10 - Tomasi continues to do a great job developing all the characters that will be involved in "Blackest Night" with each character having their own unique voice.
Art: 7.8/10 - Gleason has done a great job getting the cosmic feel of this book. He does a great job showing all the various aliens that exist in the DCU.
Overall: 8.25/10 - This was a great conclusion to "Sins of the Star Sapphire" arc and I can't wait to see what happens in the next arc involving the Sinestro Corps chain of command
Monday, January 19, 2009
"Hitsugaya Strikes! Slice the Enemy in the Middle of the Forest"
After last weeks episode that was average, outside of the fight between Ichigo and Byakuya vs Kariya, that didn't advance the plot to much other than making the Bounts to be weak this week we got some actual positive plot development. It is nice to see that Bleach is actually finally make some plot development and hopefully this means that this filler arc will end soon and we can get back to the next story from the manga.
I found it interesting that the Bounts aren't actually just some humans genetically modified or modsouls but actual humans mutated, similar to the X-Men in Marvel. As a comic fan I found that as interesting twist to this filler arc. It is an interesting concept and I kind of wonder how the Bounts will able to get an increase in power they will need to fight the Soul Society and if it is some sort of device Rantoa created before.
Also now that Mayuri revealed that he knew all along that the information was being manipulated by Ichinose I wonder what the Soul Society will do to him when they find out he allowed the Bounts to enter the Soul Society all along. I wonder how Mayuri when he gets caught will try to get in the good grace of the Captain-Commador without being exiled or killed.
Also I found the end of this episode to be interesting with Ichinose surrounded by Ichigo, Toshiro, and the rest of the gang. I hope that in the next episode we see Kenpachi step in and kick Ichinose's ass.
Episode Rating - 7.3/10
"One Million Miracles"
After spending most of last weeks episode in a state depression this episode was Lelouch at his best leading the Black Knights and convincing everyone his plan would work. Even though Lelouch was able to get everyone to go along with his plan there is already dissension in the ranks of the Black Knights. It seems that the writers are setting things up for Todoh and some of the other Black Knights who have not gotten over being abandoned by Lelouch during the Black Rebellion in the second half of R2.
Throughout the episode we see Lelouch the three different sides Lelouch plays: Lelouch Lamperouge the student; Zero the leader of the Black Knights; and Lelouch vi Britannia his true personality that he shows to only the people he trust. It is interesting how seamless he is able to go from one persona to the other without having others realize when the change occurs.
It is interesting to see how Lelouch is also able to manipulate Rolo and Villetta in order to keep his cover. But now with Lelouch being in exile I wonder what plan he has set in place for people not to question Rolo and Villetta were he is since he is constantly being watched by the Britannian army.
I continue to enjoy seeing how Lelouch is able to manipulate everyone from Suzaku to the Britannian army to even the Black Knights into thinking they are making their own choices but really they are all following his plan. Lelouch was smart to use the massacre Euphy committed back in R1 and make the million Black Knights and Japanese that participated in the neutral zone as Zeros since he knew Suzaku would not allow another massacre to happen since he doesn't want Nunally to also be known as a person who commits massacres. It will be interesting to see were Lelouch plans for everyone to go and if his relationship with the Chinese will continue or that the relationship ends now.
Speaking of Suzaku I found it interesting that his "live on" geass command that Lelouch placed on him in R1 to still be active. It makes things interesting since it looks like Suzaku is a bit suicidal. I get the feeling that by the end of the series Suzaku will actually die because of this geass command would torment his head to much were he will make a mistake in battle against Kallen or Todoh or another major character and will get himself killed.
One thing that I noticed about this episode is that this series has a huge cast with more people added to the cast. There is the ever growing members of the Black Knights, everyone at Ashford Academy, the Chinese Federation,The Knights of the Round (of which we have only seen 3 of the 12 members with speaking roles), VV, and the Britannian Royal Family. Almost everyone in the cast, so far, is either seen or mentioned in the episode. It makes me think that unless the writers actually start killing off some of the supporting cast that there will be to many plotlines in the end to resolve. And I kind of wonder were the hell is VV, who we haven't seen since the end of R1, and his relationship with the Emperor. I hope that we get to see more of the Royal Family especially the Emperor in future episodes since they are the only ones that we haven't seen much in terms of screen time or character development.
Overall this was another great episode of R2. I continue to be impressed who the writers of this series are able to deal with series topics like war, racism, nationalism, ideals and corruption without making this series be preachy. And now that Lelouch has taken the Black Knights out of Japan it will be interesting to see the wat between the Black Knights and Britannia into a global conflict and how the other countries will become involved.
Episode Rating - 8.7/10
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Don Kramer
Inker: Jay Leisten
Story - Eminence Front
With Batman's "death" finally revealed (Spoiler Alert!!) all the Batbooks can officially say that Bruce is dead instead of him disappearing. So unlike the Two-Face story were Tomasi had to be a bit restrained of not spoiling what happens to Bruce's fate over in Final Crisis he can finally have Dick deal with the death of his father.
The beginning scene of Dick in the batcave, before the League of Assassins attack him, was a great opening scene with Dick staring at all the different versions of the Batsuit Bruce has(had). Tomasi and Kramer both did a great job with the writing and art (respectively) in that scene. They both did a great job capturing the deep sadness that Dick has with Bruce dead. The flashback scene to the candle ceremony was a great way to show how far back both Bruce and Dick go. And it was great seeing all the different versions of the Batsuit and it was cool seeing how the batsuit has changed over time, and if I am not mistakken one of the batsuits looked like the suit Bruce wore in Kingdom Come which is a nice Easteregg.
I will be interested to see what Alfred "final business" he was conducting for Brcue to be. It probably has to do with who will inherit Wayne Enterprises which will most likely be Dick since he is the only that can handle taking over Bruce's business. In any case this sub-plot will probably be dealt with in the next issue (final issue) of Nightwing.
The face off between Dick and Ra's Al Ghul was great to read. Don Kramer did a great job in all the action scenes in this issue. Kramer did a great job with the sword fight between Dick and Ra's and was one of the best sword fights I have seen in comics in a while. Tomasi definetely made the right decision to allow Kramer's art carry the story in some panels and pages were there was little or no dialogue.
While the sword fight was awesome, especially since Kramer drew the hell out of the fight, the discussion Dick and Ra's had could have easily been placed with both men standing in the cave around the Lazarus Pit or with both men sitting at a table. Tomasi's dialogue was that strong. Both Dick and Ra's discussion about Bruce's fate was a reasonable stance each one would have.
There is no doubt that Ra's is on the same level as Joker when it comes to Bruce's Rogue Gallery and it is understandable that Ra's would be pissed that he wasn't the one to kill Bruce. In many ways Ra's is right that Gotham should celebrate the death of Batman instead of having his death covered up by Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, and the rest of the Batfamily. And many long time Batman fans, like myself, will probably think the ways which is why Bruce's death in Final Crisis felt so cheap since he appeared for all of 3 pages and then died. For an icon in the level of Bruce's caliber he deserved much more than that, even if this "death" will only be for a couple years before Bruce eventually comes back.
At the same time Dick's assessment about the real reason Ra's is pissed is because Ra's knew no matter what plan Ra's could come up with he could never kill Bruce. And that fact is killing Ra's on the inside. It is probably how many of Batman's Rogue Gallery feel since they have tried for years to kill Batman only to have someone that is not a Batman villain be the one to kill him.
It was just awesome to see that Dick was able to go toe to toe with Ra's Al Ghul and is the first time that I have seen both men fight one on one. Tomasi has done a great job showing that Nightwing is able to go toe to toe with all of of Batman's Rogues and win. First there was Talia then Two Face and now Ra's. As a long time Nightwing fan it is great to see that Nightwing is finally given the respect he deserve by showing that he can take on anyone of the Batman's villains without the help of Batman himself.
Also throughout the fight I started noticing that Dick was acting a lot more serious in his fight with the League of Assassins and Ra's than he usually does. Usually Dick would joke around with the villains he fights to get them to make a mistake, similar to Spider-Man. But with each arc Tomasi has made Dick fighting style be more like Bruce in that he is looking for his enemies weakness a lot more than trying to make his enemies make mistakes. The same thing has been going on in Robin for Tim. Both have been taking all their fights more serious than before especially with Bruce gone. This probably will be addressed more in "Battle for the Cowl" were we will see both Dick and Tim along with the rest of the Batfamily take protecting Gotham a lot more serious due to Bruce's "death." This may create friction between everyone in the Batfamily since they will all have their own idea in how they should protect Gotham without Batman.
Story: 9.6/10 - Tomasi continues to do a great job on this title and the dialogue between Dick and Ra's was perfect in how each one views the death of Bruce.
Art: 9.2/10 - Kramer kicked ass with his artwork on this issue. He continues to draw excellent fight scenes and the sword fight was just awesome.
Overall: 9.4/10 - This title continues to be an excellent comic under Tomasi and Kramer and it sucks that there is only one issue left in this series.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, and Doug Mahke
Colorists: Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy, and Jesus Merino
Story - How to Murder the Earth
A true epic! One for the ages! A must read! As good as comics get! Heart pounding! Brilliant! Perfect...! A masterpiece!
No these aren't words or phrases to describe my feelings for this issue or series. Far from it. But if any of you have visited any major comic book websites review of this issue and series so far these are the types of things you probably have come across when reading those reviews. And it is these kind of words and phrases that DC will be eventually use to describe Final Crisis on the cover of its trade paperback.
I will admit that after reading this issue for the first time I read it during my lunch break. All I remember from when I read this issue for the first time was being super pissed off and thinking what the hell I just read. Except for the first issue this has been my general reaction to all of the issues of this series so far. But after a few hours were I was able to get my mind of what I just read in this issue by going back to work and school for the rest of the day. After calming down and drinking a bit of caffeine to stay awake I figured that like any of Morrison's recent work I would have to read this issue over at least two or three times to see if I missed anything from the first read through of this issue.
In truth if I had reviewed this issue after I read it the first time I would probably have to had placed a disclaimer on this review since it would be filled with a lot of inappropriate wording. After reading this issue a few more times, along with some overwhelmingly positive reviews of this issue on comic book websites, I found that while their were some things that I did miss I was still highly disappointed by this issue.
Now before I start ripping this issue I will say there were a few positives in this issue. For one we finally get to see the big Supergirl vs Mary Marvel fight that has been talked about as much as anything else that has/will happen in Final Crisis. The fight was one big chick fight, which I don't mind one bit. With Desaad controlling Mary there were moments were it actually looked like Mary was humping Supergirl. The fight between the two super-chicks was brutal and the ending to the fight was predictable but satisfying. It was great to see that the one to get Mary back to being Mary to be Freddy. It was a nice scene seeing Freddy holding a crying Mary in his arms and it would be interesting to see a mini or ongoing series that explores the relationship of both characters, since Freddy has had a crush on Mary in the past, and Mary return to being Mary Marvel.
Also I got to give it to Morrison for making Tawky, a character I know nothing about, into a badass with how he was able to kill Kalibak. Tawky slashing Kalibak's guts and his people accepting him as their knew leader was a pretty cool scene.
What I most enjoyed about this issue is that Morrison presented both Superman and Batman as complete badasses in this issue. It was obvious with all the build up Morrison has done with Batman that it would be he who took the shot that would kill Darkseid. It was a great sight to see and it was even better seeing Superman rushing towards were Darkseid and Batman were located. Superman completely teared up everything in his way and the final scene, probably everyone has seen by now, of Superman carrying out Batman's dead body was incredible.
With that said my biggest problem with this issue and series is the "final" fate of Batman. As big as Batman is, and his books being DC's best selling books, Bruce deserves to be killed in one of his own titles (Detective Comics or Batman). As a big Batman fan I feel very cheated with not only how but were Bruce meets his "final" fate. In total Bruce probably only appeared for about 10 pages in Final Crisis with his last appearance being him hooked up to the machine that made go into a dream like state. Even the Batman tie-in to Final Crisis still had Bruce hooked up to the machine without knowing how he took care of all of Darkseid's men in order to get to Darkseid's chamber. Morrison just wants us to think Bruce just magically appeared out of nowhere and not question it. It is just weak storytelling and actual makes Darkseid to be completely stupid to leave his whole hideout without any guards except for the three that were suppose to look after Bruce. And in truth it doesn't feel that I had to read "Batman RIP" or the two Last Rites issues to undertand what was going on in this issue since RIP has basically become a mute point now and all dangaling plot lines from RIP are still left up in the air for the readers of that Batman story. And from the looks of it it will stay that way for a while.
I understand that for writers to make the reader feel there is a big payoff to the events than their should be at least one major death in the book to make the event feel epic. I am fine with that. I actually thought it was a great idea that Martian Manhunter was killed since he was a major character in the DC Universe but also a character that has never been big enough to maintain his own monthly title. But for Bruce to die in any other title outside of Detective Comics or Batman feels cheap.
There are certain characters in comics that should never die in anything but their own titles. Those characters are Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and Captain America. Two of the biggest deaths in comics that I have seen are the deaths of Superman and Captain America. In "The Death of Superman" I remember reading that as a kid and thinking that his death was one of the coolest moments ever since Superman was always suppose to be invincible. And Captain America was handle so perfectly by Brubaker that it only felt that Steve's death in his comic to be a natural progression of what was being built in that title over the past few years in that title and Civil War. The reason these two deaths were so big was because they happened in those characters titles and not another title.
Also because Batman is the #1 comic book character his death will probably overshadow the whole series and is what people are going to be talking about more than the conclusion of this big, convoluted series. And also if you look at were the Omega Sanction hit Bruce each beam hits him in the back of the head (brain) and in his chest (heart) which is a big red flag in how Bruce will eventually return from the dead. From what Darkseid said Bruce mind and soul will be probably be transported to other universes in the multiverses living lives that are more horrible than the next until Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, and everyone else in the Batfamily go on a big event to get Bruce back.
I think I talk about this about the "death" of Bruce Wayne enough (for now). Now I want to talk about Darkseid's. Morrison what the hell were you thinking when you came up with that and this story. For all the talk about Darkseid being the most evil of evil to walk this Earth to go out like a little bitch like that makes all the build of the Darkseid character unneccessary. Even though I suspect that Darkseid will make some sort of miraculous return, along with Libra, in the next issue since Superman does need someone to fight in the last issue. Up to this point Darkseid has done nothing but sit on his ass and talk about how big and bad he is. Either Darkseid is suffering a serious case of couch potato syndrome or Morrison just didn't know what the hell to do with Darkseid since Superman wasn't in the series at all until now. I suspect that the latter and because of that Morrison clearly shows a lack of giving the any pay off for what he build Darkseid to be.
Also outside of the Battle in Bluehaven and the short scene/fight in the Watchtower this was another issue were all the heroes mostly stood around hiding in there shells and being clueless of what has been happening the past six issues. The new Brother I that Checkmate has is cheap and not going to work out well for the end that is been their done that. And the Mister Miracle crew has done nothing but stand in front off Checkmate headquarters doing nothing but talking. And to make things worse Morrison in his attempt to make this event feel huge by shifting from one scene to the scene has failed to capture the magic of what a big event should be (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Identity Crisis, and Civil War are a few examples of what a big event should be written like).The only real person that gives any shred of information to the reader is Barry Allen who seems to know everything. But the problem with Barry's return is that because Morrison continues to shift from one scene to another completely different scene the Barry part of the story has been seriously underdeveloped.
There are other things I could mention about Morrison storytelling (or lack thereof) in this issue and series, like how did Lois go from being on her death bed to being fine and standing in the middle of the street or the point of Libra. But what I want to talk about is the Superman part of the story. From the looks of it this issue wasn't suppose to be read at all without having read Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, which comes out next week, and Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, which still has three issues left. Because if you are a person who is waiting for this series to come out in trade or even just reading this series will be confused how in the hell did Superman get transported from being with that weird woman that appeared earlier in the series to being with Brainiac 5 in the future. Didio, Morrison, and DC really dropped the ball with this one since now those to mini-series are pretty much a must to understand why the hell Superman is where he is in this point of the story. If there was one series that needs an Omnibus collection edition is this series. The Omnibus should include all the tie-ins along with the main series because or else this is one confusing series.
Also I find the GEH-JEDOLLAH-THE ABSOLUTE (Miracle Machine) to be a lame plot device that is basically Morrison and DC saying they are going to yet again reboot the DC Universe after only doing it a few years earlier. This series should have just been called "Crisis: Reboot" since with the introduction of the Miracle Machine that is what has turned out to be.
The art in this book wasn't that great either since their was an artist and colorist by committe in this issue. There were some scenes that were just horrible and none of the characters looked right. For most of the issue the art was just sloppy and all over the place. Am I the only one that noticed that Rennea Montoya is all of a sudden white and not Hispanic. Also Mr. Miracle and Sony Sumo look exactly the same. The colorist were did not help the sloppy art.
There are only two real scene that I thought were great: Batman being hit by the Omega Sanction and Superman carrying Batman's dead body in his arms. Those two scene were some of the best art in the series so far. The good thing is that Mahnke will being doing the whole last issue himself so we will at least see consistency with the art in the last issue.
Story: 4.7/10 - It is clear that Morrison need a lot more pages in each issue to tell his story since he was all over the place in this issue. Morrison has dug a huge hole for himself but he did create a scapegoat for the series in the Miracle Machine which makes his story that much worse.
Art: 5.2/10 - The art lacked consistency throughout the issue and making this a perfect example why artist by committee does not work.
Overall: 4.9/10 - After being excited of what was going to happen from the 5th issue of the series this sixth issue was a big disappointment. Unless you have been steeped in DCU history for the past 60 years this series makes no point in making it new reader friendly.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
One of the things that I like about Marvel's "Dark Reign" direction is that they have returned Norman Osborn to being Marvel's version of DC's Lex Luthor.
I think this is the first time I have seen Maria Hill kick some ass. She definitely pwned these H.A.M.M.E.R before she is outnumbered and captured (though she later escapes).
Norman declares war on Tony. With Norman, H.A.M.M.E.R, heroes, and villains hunting him down Tony will have to pull off his best Jason Bourne impersonation just to stay alive long enough to be the hero again.
Pelletier provided this issue with some great artwork and this spread of the Inhumans turning their lunar city into a space station was incredible. I love the little touch of Earth being in the background with part of the planet covered in the Moon's shadow.
The Skrulls learned first hand that you do not mess with Black Bolt.
With the Kree behind him Black Bolt and the Inhumans are one serious superpower not to be messed with.