Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blackest Night #6 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story – The New Guardians

Yeah I know I said earlier that I was not going to be able to get Blackest Night #6 but somehow found myself going to the comic shop after having a very busy morning. In any case I got this 6th issue of DC's big event and like the other five issues of this event Geoff Johns seriously disappoints with another issue. This issue more so than the last five issues relied heavily on Ivan Reis's artwork to deliver the "WOW" moments.

I am going to be honest in saying that the last part of the issue where each one of the leaders of the 7 different Lantern Corps choose seven different heroes of Earth was entertaining more so for the fact it was something I was hoping would happen in Blackest Night than what it means to the story. Johns did a very good job giving the reader a reason why each character was chosen to be a member of their respective Lantern Corps. The only weird one I found was Wonder Woman as I have never seen her as the DC character who symbolizes love but that is more because I have never being a fan of the character and have never actually read her ongoing series.

The one thing I will praise Johns for is his characterization of the various characters he is handling. Each of the leaders of the Lantern Corps was all great. I especially liked how they acted when Ganthet revealed that all of the Lantern rings have the power to clone a ring and give the power of a Lantern to one person. Also I did like the scene with Barry going into the future by two seconds in order for the Black Lantern rings that were chasing him and Hal to stop.

The problem with what Johns wrote, however, is that there is absolutely no plot progression in the first half of the issue. The first half of the issue was just one giant recap of what the reader already knew and all the scenes we got where just recycled scenes from previous issues. And with us being in the latter part of this event and only three issues left in this event I should not feel like I read most of these scenes before. It is just unacceptable for Johns to continue to do this after we already got five issues of the same thing, not counting the Green Lantern tie-in issues.

Also because the first half of the issue felt like a recap what happened in the last issue with the resurrected heroes who were turned into Black Lanterns had absolutely no consequence in this issue. The roles Johns gives the various heroes turned Black Lanterns in this issue could have been taken by any of the Black Lanterns, even the ones without a connection to the heroes on the scene. We never see the Johns play up the emotions that Hal, Barry, Wonder Girl, the Titans, and the JLA that are on the scene actually react to what is happening. The heroes that where turned into Black Lanterns is yet another example of Johns employing flashy cliffhangers and spread pages that don't add anything to following issues as he instead continues to waste page space on scenes we have seen in other Blackest Night issue and in Green Lantern.

Also though I liked the explanations that Johns gave for deputizing the various DC characters as temporary Lanterns I did think that was a waste of pages as well. I probably would not have felt that way if the first half of the issue did not feel like a bunch of recap BS. But after Johns dedicated half the issue of recapping what the reader already knew to waste another 7 pages on just choosing the characters felt like Johns was again wasting time.

Another good example of Johns providing us nothing but filler was the scenes with Atom and Mera in the Black Lantern ring fighting Jean and John Stewart heading to Earth. Those two scenes were just recycled material of what happened in Green Lantern #49, which came out last week. And though I can understand why the scene with John heading to Earth may have been needed the scene with Atom and Mera did not anything to move the story forward and was just felt like Johns was trying to fill the page count.

And honestly the only plot progression we actually got in this issue was Ganthet introducing the fact the leaders of the Lantern rings can clone their rings, which was about two pages, and the last page which gave us a two page splash page of the seven new Lanterns. That is a total of four pages of development if you count the splash page as two pages. That is unacceptable at this point in the event. And the reason that the last page got me excited for the next issue was more to do with Reis's artwork than Johns writing.

The other problem with this issue is the other problem I have had with Blackest Night so far aside from the poor plotting. And that is that there is no sense of the epic scope of this event. Even though I was not a big fan of Grant Morrison's Final Crisis the one thing I thought he did very well with the event was portray how big and devastating what Darkseid was doing had huge ramifications for the entire DC Universe and the Multiverse. For all of its faults at least in Final Crisis I understood why it was such a big event as it had huge ramifications for the DC Universe if the heroes were unable to stop Darkseid.

That is what Johns fails to do here as Blackest Night feels more like an event that only affects the Earth and not the entire DC Universe. Even with the involvement of the other leaders of the various Lantern Corps it feels like they are just there to save the Earth and not the entire universe. If anything Blackest Night feels like a Justice League story and not one deserving of a company-wide event. And what hurts Blackest Night the most is that even though this is supposed to be the main book Johns and Peter Tomasi have done a much better job making this event epic in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps than this main book.

Which makes for another case why this event should have stuck to being in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps and not its own mini-series event. But in the end Blackest Night has just turned into what Secret Invasion turned into over at Marvel last year with the main story being told in what are supposed to be side books while the main mini-series is nothing but popcorn for the brain.

And that brings me to my final point, what the hell happened to Nekron and Black Hand. They did not even appear in this issue. For the two characters that are supposed to be the end bosses of this event they have done very little to make them a true threat. Johns has done nothing with the characters to make them come across as deserving villains for our heroes to band together to fight them. Nekron himself continues to come of as nothing better than a B-List villain at best.

As has been the case with Blackest Night so far the one part that does not disappoint is Ivan Reis gorgeous pencils. Along with his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair they turn in some stunning artwork. For all my complaints about the story what helps Johns snail-like paced story out is Reis's artwork. Without Reis this event would have been even worse.

Reis is near perfect with all of the artwork and with all of the spread pages and action Johns gives him to draw Reis is able to make Blackest Night at least look like a big event. From Barry running two seconds into the future to the choosing of the various DC characters to become Lantern Corps members to the final spread page the issue looks absolutely fantastic.

The only complaint I had against the art of this issue is the uncreative look of Lex Luthor's Orange Lantern costume. It just looked like Sinclair colored Lex's kryptonite suite orange. But that is just a very minor complaint as Reis artwork looked incredible throughout the issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 5.2/10 – Again Johns provides very little in terms of plot progression even though now he only has two issues left in this event. Though I still will give Johns credit for some quality characterization even though it did not equate to making the story any better than the previous installments of this series.
Art: 9.6/10 – Outside of one character design Reis's artwork was incredible yet again. Reis and his inking and colorist crew are really the one's carrying this event. The artwork is just awesome.
Overall: 7.8/10 – Blackest Night #6 was another disappointing issue by Geoff Johns as he continues to stretch out the story to fit the eight issues of this series. The snail like pace that this event has been moving at is just unacceptable. Those who are waiting for the trade paperback of this event made the right choice as this event might read much better in one complete sitting than in single issues. Though because of all this recapping that Johns continues to makes me wonder about how it will read as a trade/hardcover.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 12/23/09

Amazing Spider-Man #616

Creative Team
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Javier Pulido
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

Story – Keemia's Castle

Sometimes saving the day does not always mean that the hero and those he or she saved get a happy ending. That is what Fred Van Lente and Javier Pulido reminded us with Amazing Spider-Man #616 that ended this short Sandman arc. It is a refreshing change of pace when a comic can give us this type of ending instead of a cliffhanger type ending that leads into another arc that has become common place during this modern era of comics.

What makes the ending that we get at the end of this issue is that it plays up the old Peter Parker luck. Even when Peter does something good it somehow turns out bad for Peter and making him look bad as himself or as Spider-Man. And I liked what Carlie told Peter after he saved her job in saying that making the tough choices is what makes a person a hero which is a great way for Van Lente to sum up why Spider-Man is amongst the greatest of heroes.

Fred Van Lente did a great job in creating a very fun, classic feeling two-part Sandman story. Sandman, like other classic villains from Spider-Man Rogue Gallery, has been underutilized over the past few years. It is a shame to since Spider-Man has one of the better Rogues Gallery in
comics which is why this Gauntlet overarching story arc running through Amazing Spider-Man has been fun to read so far. Van Lente prove that you can take a villain like Sandman and give him a story that as a reader I will remember and still enjoy when I read it again in the future.

Also, Javier Pulido and Javier Rodriguez deserve a lot of credit for this two-part story as well as they combined to deliver some great artwork. I really enjoyed all of the art for the Spider-Man vs. Sandman. The fight was a lot of fun as Pulido and Rodriguez combine to deliver a great looking comic and the art in these two issues is amongst my favorite artwork we have gotten on this title up there with Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr. and Jr., and Marcos Martin.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.5/10 – Fred Van Lente knocks another issue out of the park as he is proving to be one of the better writers on the Spidey Brain Trust.
Art: 8.8/10 – Pulido and Rodriguez combined to deliver a great looking Spider-Man book.
Overall: 9.15/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #616 was another great read in what has become one of the most consistently well written comics on the market. It is great that I am able to say this about Amazing Spider-Man again. I have said it before but I am going to say it again, if you haven't been picking up Amazing Spider-Man because of all the OMD/BND stuff than you need to come back to this title because it has gone back to being a great title.

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Butch Guice and Luke Ross
Colorist: Dean White

Story – Who Will Wield the Shield?

Before I say anything about this issue let me get this out of the way. Marvel seriously mishandled the return of Steve Rogers. Sure it was obvious that Steve would return in Captain America: Reborn, it is in the freaking title, but that is no excuse for how Marvel spoiled the hell out of the ending of Brubaker's story before it was even done. And if my memory is correct Reborn has only missed one month since the start and Marvel even added an extra issue to the series meaning the story would end in January. Something like this is known by a publisher for a while which should allow them to tell their writers like Fraction and Bendis, both of who spoiled Reborn's ending in Invincible Iron Man and Dark Avengers Annual, to tell them to calm down Steve's return story is still not officially over. Just some common professionalism for both the writer, Brubaker, writing Steve's return as well as the readers reading the story is all a fan asks for especially when comics are coming out on time with little to no delays. Just a poor management job by Marvel's editorial team.

Alright, now that mini-rant is done. As for this issue even though the recap page spoiled how the Reborn ends by giving us most of the details of how issue #6 will turn out Brubaker, Guice, and Ross turned in a very good issue with an unexpected twist at the end. Like many I expected Steve to take back the Captain America mantle even though I have like Bucky being Captain America much more than when Steve was in the role. I was glad that didn't happen as Brubaker gave us a valid reason for why Steve is not ready to take back the role upon his return to the
Marvel Universe.

Bucky in many respects is in the same position that Dick Grayson is currently in over on all the
Batman titles as he has taken over the role of his mentor. The big question in comics when it comes to sidekick characters has always been when are we going to see them take over for their mentors. But because of how comics work when a sidekick is allowed to grow he usually takes another separate role instead of taking his mentor's role, like Bucky becoming Winter Soldier and Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing.

Because of that the work Brubaker has done to make Bucky a fully realized character as Winter Soldier and when Bucky took over the role of Captain America is so great. Brubaker has shown that there is a way to allow a former sidekick to actually take over the role of his mentor and make it be an accepted change of the guard to many fans. And that is what Brubaker does a great job in reinforcing Bucky has been doing a great job as Captain America in this issue.

I like that the way Brubaker chose to reinforce this is by having Steve in his Captain America costume watch Bucky, in his Captain America costume, fighting Hyde and his crew. Even though Steve was still trying to recover from the events he just went through you could tell through his inner monologue that he was proud of Bucky, like a father is of a son when the son grows up. Even though Steve did feel weird watching someone else as Captain America he knew that for now it is for the best that Bucky continues being Captain America as it is has become an important part of who Bucky is now.

And I am curious to the image of the future that Steve did see at the end of Captain America: Reborn #6, which has yet to come out. It is clear that it played a part in why Steve didn't want to
resume being Captain America and with his meeting with President Obama I do wonder what kind of role Steve will play in Siege. From the covers to Siege and all the related material to the event I kind of figured Steve would be leading all of the heroes as Captain America in their fight against Norman Osborn but now I am not sure.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 – Brubaker provide a great story that showed why Bucky is still going to be Captain America while Steve takes on a different role.
Art: 9/10 – Butch Guice and Luke Ross combined to deliver some excellent artwork that is very similar to their and Eptings work on Captain America. Though I am enjoying Bryan Hitch's work on Reborn the artwork by Guice and Ross is more of the look I expect now from a Captain America book.
Overall: 8.5/10 – Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? was a great read that would have been better if Captain America: Reborn was over before this one-shot came out. But you can chalk it up as another one of Marvel's editorial screw ups in how they have handled Steve's return to the Marvel Universe. Still a must read if you are a Captain America fan and have been reading Reborn.

Green Lantern #49

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ed Benes, Marcos Marz, and Jerry Oroway
Inkers: Ed Benes and Luciana Del Negro
Colorist: Hi-Fi

Story – Sempte Fi; The Birth of Nekron

Aside from a few brief appearances in Green Lantern here and there John Stewart has become the most underutilized member of the Green Lantern Corps post-Sinestro Corps War but finally Geoff Johns gives John some much deserved screen time. This whole issue was a look at what John is up to during Blackest Night as we see him fighting a planet filled with Black Lanterns.

After being neglected for so long Geoff Johns did a very good job writing John Stewarts character and reminding readers why he is a Green Lantern. Even though John was against all the odds facing down a planet filled with Black Lanterns that have even given all of Earth's heroes and the Lantern Corps trouble he stood up and fought back with a vengeance.

And I really dug the flashback to John's time in the war was a good way to inform readers unfamiliar with John's history and show give some background why he creates military constructs with his ring. The final few pages with John creating his own military with his ring and then leaving the planet he is on only to see he is right by Earth was great. This actually has me looking forward to Blackest Night in hopes that Geoff Johns is able to pick up on this plot thread in an effective way.

Ed Benes provided some solid artwork. He did a very good job with showing how powerful John's will is and I especially like the moment when Jon made his own military corps. And the artwork Marcos Martz provided for the flashback scenes were equally impressive even if there was a noticeable difference in art styles.

The only problem I had was with the back-up feature that was a month to late. The art by Jerry
Oroway was good the back-up didn't do much other than give us a look at something that happened before. Though I am interested to see what role Deadman will play in Blackest Night #6 with his appearance at the end of the back-up.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.6/10 – It was good to see John Stewart's character gets some attention as he showed why he is a Green Lantern.
Art: 8.1/10 – Even though we have three artists working on this single issue Benes, Martz, and Oroway combined to provide a great looking comic as there were three different stories being told in this issue.
Overall: 7.85/10 – Green Lantern #49 was a nice spotlight issue on John Stewart. And again this Green Lantern issue was a good lead into Blackest Night as there seems to be big things that will be happening in that issue. Now I just hope Geoff Johns can follow up this development and actually deliver with Blackest Night #6.

Wolverine: Weapon X #8

Creative Team
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Michel Lacombe
Colorist: Nathan Fairbarin

Story – Insane in the Brain

It is a shame that I have not been able to review Weapon X often because Jason Aaron has been doing a spectacular job with this Wolverine series. Aaron has reminded me why as a kid Wolverine was one of my favorite superheroes. What is great about Weapon X is that Aaron is going back to making Wolverine a great character by not being brought down by the whole Wolverine remembers his past that the character has been stuck on since House of M.

And this "Insane in the Brain" arc is something new for the character as I never expected Wolverine to end up in the type of setting Aaron puts him in. It is a great idea placing him in an insane asylum. Aaron is doing a lot of quality character work as he is exploring the characters psyche in these past three issues.

And he has really created some interesting characters in this setting that are as awesome as they are creepy. Aaron shows he has the creative mind to create some new characters in a story and instantly make them a threat. It is always good to see a writer take time to create new villains with depth and that challenges the title's hero in a new way instead of the usual villain that gives the hero something else to fight (cough*Rulk*cough).

Yanick Paquette provided some excellent artwork in this issue as he has throughout this arc. This is some of Paquette best artwork. He does a great job putting a lot of detail into the issue and with this arc being mostly talking heads and very little action he has done a great job with all of the characters facial expressions. He does an especially great job with the doctor's lab in making it just a creepy mad science lab.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.6/10 – Aaron continues to prove that he was born to write Wolverine and that he is still able to find new stories to tell with the character.
Art: 9/10 – Paquette again provided some spectacular artwork especially for a story that has been mostly talking heads.
Overall: 9.3/10 – Wolverine: Weapon X #8 was another great read. Weapon X is one of the better comics on the market and if you are interested in reading stories about Wolverine than pick this title because it has been great. Aaron is telling some of the best Wolverine stories that I have read in a long time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Legen...wait for it...dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 12/23/09

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Because of the holidays I haven't been able to post much these past few days but I am working on putting together the reviews for this past week's comics which hopefully I will have up later. Also even though I know that Blackest Night #6 will be coming out next week I am actually going to hold off on getting that issue until the following week. So because of that I wont be posting any reviews after next week. Instead I am going to writing up a couple post to make up for it. Also as a quick mention if you haven't yet be sure to read my review for James Cameron's 'Avatar' movie up now over at the Revolution.

Cover of the Week: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #58
Skottie Young's covers on Marvel Adventures Spider-Man are always awesome and this one in particular standouts to me this week, which truth be told didn't have many standout covers. In any case I love the dark mood of the cover as Spider-Man is standing in front of a billboard of him saying "Wanted" as it is raining.

Amazing Spider-Man #616 Highlights
Spider-Man gives out some advice to the reader on how to take a beating while he gets the snot beaten out of him by all of the Sandmen.

Sandman has some serious self-esteem issues as he beats himself up and letting Spider-Man escape.

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? Highlights
When I think of Captain America I think of the star shield and the wings on his mask but that is just me.

Hey why mess with a costume that works.

See even Obama didn't like Bush's Superhuman Registration Act. Now the question is how are they going to sold the Norman Osborn crisis while also working on the health care stuff. I say bailouts just like how we have solve everything else.

Fantastic Four #574 Highlights
Spider-Man brought his clone to Franklin's birthday party.

Ah, Johnny always having to trie and diss Spider-Man just cause people like him more even your nephew.

I always new our universe was created by some kid under his sheets.

Green Lantern #49 Highlights
I am guessing John Stewart has a military background. Just a guess. Though I still wonder what the point of making a sniper gun is for. The armor/military gear makes sense for protection but a sniper gun not so much.

Green Lantern Corps move out.

Guardians of the Galaxy #21 Highlights
Have I ever mentioned how awesome Drax is. Well these two pages sum that up.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Legen...wait for it...dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 12/16/09

Cover of the Week: Green Lantern Corps #43
I always like it when a cover actually gives you a slight preview of what to expect from the issue and this cover for Green Lantern Corps #43 tells you all you need to know about what happens in the issue. Simple but powerful.

Amazing Spider-Man #615 Highlights
I always enjoy scenes between JJJ and Robbie when they start talking about the past and serious current topics. There is just a different air about their conversations that you know it is something important between these two long time friends.

Hey even Spider-Man needs to wear some winter clothes. And how can you not smile at the winter Spider-Man costume.

Javier Pulido artwork was great in this issue as these two pages show he has a very good Steve Ditko and Marcos Martin style in his art while still adding his own style to the artwork.

Batman #694 Highlights
It was good to see that Dick is actually trying to teach Damian something other than fighting and playing nice with others. It actually feels more like a Batman and Robin relationship as Dick is having Damian in the cave doing some detective work.

Things just keep getting worse for Dick in the first few months as Batman. But the bigger the challange the greater the hero Dick will be as he deals with the mountain of problems he faces and overcomes them.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #7 Highlights
Ouch! Felt that burn all the way here.

Will you look at that, Damian is a real boy.

What a great final challange to face.

Manhunter has some explaining to do.

Captain America: Reborn #5 Highlights
See kids Uncle Skull says it is okay to lie. Lying is good.

It is good to see MODOK back. Have not seen MODOK in a while.

While this is a good way to end the comic it is to bad Marvel has spoiled the hell out of this mini-series as we know both Bucky and Steve are alive and are both Captain America.

Daredevil #503 Highlights
Man, Master Izo and Matt never have a civil conversation.

Gotta love Wilson's plan to take back his kingdom and regain his rightful title of Kingpin of Crime.

Green Lantern Corps #43 Highlights
Rage is not your friend kids......

unless you want to kick some serious ass as Guy takes out a bunch of Black Lanterns and, as this image shows, a Sinestro Corp member.

You know things are getting serious when Mogo is ready to kick ass. Time to lay a planet size smackdown on the Black Lanterns.

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 Highlights
What better way to catch up with an old friend than bashing a bunch of skulls of an enemy.

It is never easy to talk to your ex. Pietro really stuck his own foot in his mouth in his discussion with Crystal that lead her to say she is much happier with Ronan than she ever was with Pietro.

DnA continue to do an impressive job with Medusa's character. And they did a very good job here with Pym's character.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 12/16/09

Amazing Spider-Man #615

Creative Team
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Javier Pulido
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

Story – Keemia's Castle

Amazing Spider-Man #615 was another solid issue from this series that has been very consistent in providing good reads almost all of 2009. There have been very few times I have been disappointed by an issue of Amazing Spider-Man which is great for me as a Spider-Man fan. And what I like about this issue in particular is that Fred Van Lente reminded the reader that Peter does have a science background with Peter using his brain to figure out the mystery of this issue, creating some new web fluid to fight Sandman. Also it was cool seeing Spider-Man using the web parachute that I haven't seen used in a while.

Though the mystery of this story arc is pretty obvious of who did the crime's and is setting up Carlie to take the fall Van Lente did provide a good mystery for Peter having to use his brain instead of just going into different places and punching people to get answers. It has become rare to see Peter actually solving a mystery using his science background and Van Lente did a solid job showing that Peter is a guy with a master's degree in bio-chemistry. I especially liked him using specific web fluid to battle Sandman as it is something that I am surprised is not used more often in all the different situations he is in as Spider-Man.

Also I liked how he Van Lente wrote the various interactions of Peter and his supporting cast in this issue whether he was working or as Spider-Man. The interaction between Spider-Man and Betty as an interesting little development seems to be happening with Betty and her starting her own "newspaper" by using a her own blog and using Bugle old information data banks. It will be interesting to see where this is taken in the long-term for Betty as a character as I originally thought she was just going to join Peter by working at the Frontlines but I am digging this new development for her character.

My favorite interaction for this issue was between JJJ and Robbie. These two always have great interactions with one another and it is always great to see them have scenes together. Van Lente did a solid job in the scene between these two in the aftermath of the Daily Bugle being destroyed.

Javier Pulido provided some very good stylized artwork in this issue. The issue had a more old school look to it with the issue being drawn in a similar style to the early Amazing Spider-Man issues. I especially liked Pulido drawing Spider-Man wearing some winter clothes because of the time of the year. It was a very nice touch to set up the time of the year the story is taken place in.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 – Van Lente provided a solid mystery to re-introduce Sandman into the series as well as providing some great character interaction.
Art: 7.7/10 – Pulido gave some very good artwork with this issue having an old-school Amazing Spider-Man look to it.
Overall: 8.45/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #615 was another solid issue of this consistently fun
series. If you're an Spider-Man fan this Gauntlet story arc is a great way to get back into the series as the Spidey Brain Trust are doing a solid job so far introducing characters like MJ, Black Cat, Electro, and Sandman back onto the Spider-Man universe.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #7

Creative Team
Writers: Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko
Artists: Dustin Nguyen and Cliff Richards
Inkers: Derik Fridolfs and Art Thibert
Colorists: John Kalisz and Nick Filardi

Story – The Bleak Midwinter; Face Off

Paul Dini returns with this issue after Chris Yost filled in with a good filler two-part story and Dini continues what he was doing with the first story arc by continuing the story arc with Zsasz and the man in the trench coat. Dini just continues to provide his excellent characterization in this issue with Batman (Dick Grayson) and the cast of this series.

And what is shocking about Streets of Gotham is how much emotion is out into this issue. This was a very emotional issue with the scene we get between Batman, Robin, and Humpty. That scene was very touching and revealed a side of Damian we have not seen before. I will even say that Dini gives us the best version of Damian out there.

As has been the case since Dick became Batman the interaction between him and Damian continues to be the standout of every issue where both characters are together on the pages as Batman and Robin. Though the relationship is suppose to have a mentor and protégé feel I like
that Dini is adding the fact that both of these characters are brothers and is portraying Damian as the snobby younger brother while Dick is the more experienced and educated big brother. And the scene with Humpty's "orphanage" was great in developing both characters and humanizing Damian especially.

Dustin Nguyen provided some great artwork. While I am not a big fan of Nguyen style I have started to come around and am enjoying his art style on this title much more than I did in the first issue. He does a great job capturing the mood of this title and I especially like how he drew the last few pages that lead up to a very horror-esque image of Zsasz.

The Manhunter back-up to the issue continues the solid job that Marc Andreyko and Cliff Richards have been providing throughout Streets of Gotham. The battle between Manhunter and Two-Face was good and I will be interested to see how Batman and Robin factor into the story.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.6/10 – Dini returns to provide another good issue of Streets of Gotham. Andreyko was also a solid back-up to Dini's story.
Art: 8.1/10 – Nguyen artwork in this issue was great and perfectly captures the mood of the story Dini is writing.
Overall: 8.35/10 – Batman: Streets of Gotham #7 was another great read. If you haven't picked up Streets of Gotham yet than do yourself a favor and pick this series up if you are interested in reading a Batman title as it is the best one on the stands right now.

Daredevil #503

Creative Team
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Inker: Marco Checchetto

Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

Story – The Devil Laid Low Part 3

For the past year I couldn't think of an ongoing title that has been better than Daredevil. And Andy Diggle is continuing the work done by Smith, Bendis, and Brubaker on this title and just continuously progressing the character to his limits both physically and mentally. Diggle's work so far on this title has been very impressive so far and issue #503 continues that strong start from the previous two issues.

What I am enjoying the most that Diggle is doing is how he is taken a slow burn approach in order to show us the new status quo of Matt. Daredevil is one of those titles you do not need a bunch of action at the beginning and Diggle understands this. Everything he is doing on this title is setting things up for future stories where we will no doubt get a lot of action. And as a long time fan of Daredevil I really appreciate this approach from the new creative team as the changes that have happened to Matt and his whole supporting cast are huge and they need to take time to develop everything.

These first three issues specifically have been a great study of Matt's mentality as he is continuously questioned by those around him how far he is willing to go as the leader of The Hand. Tarantula and White Tiger do a great job presenting both sides of the argument for what Matt should do and you can see that at times being The Hand's leader is taken its toll on Matt. It is great thing to question as it is still unclear where everything is going to go which adds a great
suspense to what is going on that does not exist on many titles.

And as always the standout scene of this issue is between Matt and Master Izo. Izo is has really
become the standout character of this series as his ominous words to Matt are always great to read. He is a character that you never know what side he is on as he could be manipulating every character in the series and we will not know until the end of the story.

The scene in Kingpin's place was perfect. It is just awesome to see how Wilson Fisk is getting back his empire by manipulating the current situation of Norman Osborn being in control to his gain. Wilson is really going to be a character to watch after Siege because it really seems that Diggle is setting up the character to have a much bigger presence within the Marvel Universe after Dark Reign ends.

Roberto De La Torre artwork continues to improve with each issue. De La Torre is perfectly capturing the noir aspect of this title and Daredevil has never looked better. He is just able to breathe so much life into each scene, whether it is outside in a pier, in Kingpin's office, or The Hand's secret lair, it all looks great.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.4/10 – Diggle continues to be a great follow up to all of his predecessors. The story of Matt being in control of The Hand feels original and fresh while still having the same noir this title has had for a very long time.
Art: 9/10 – De La Torre artwork is just freaking awesome. His art style is just a perfect fit for Daredevil.
Overall: 9.2/10 – Daredevil #503 was another phenomenal read. Diggle and De La Torre continue to make Daredevil one of the best comics on the market. If you haven't given this title a try yet do yourself a favor and pick up this title from #501 as there are some great stories being told on this title.

Green Lantern Corps #43

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman and Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Randy Mayor

Story – Red Badge of Rage

As has been the case with Green Lantern Corps for the past year this issue continues to explore the concept of the War of Lights and Blackest Night much better than the main title and the main event. In everything Geoff Johns has failed to do with Blackest Night, the main mini-series, Peter Tomasi is able to do with Green Lantern Corps. Reading this issue gives me a great sense of how big this event is and how far it reaches where Blackest Night only makes you believe the even affects the Earth.

Tomasi's continues just to show that characters like Kyle, Guy, Soranik, and others are just so much more interesting than Barry, Mera, Atom, and all the other DCU heroes that are dominating Blackest Night. Guy's transformation into a Red Lantern would have been an awesome moment within the event and Tomasi proves that this development is much more interesting than anything we have gotten over in Blackest Night so far. Seeing Guy tear up the Black Lanterns and the Sinestro Corp member was insanely fun to read and watch. A lot of credit has to go to Patrick Gleason for that scene as it just felt like an epic moment.

And though it feels like it was too quick to bring back Kyle I am glad he is back to lead the charge of all the secondary Lantern Corps members from the other Corps. His return also helps to further validate his relationship with Soranik is not just a quick fling but is a real relationship. I just hope that his return does not mean Guy will not be a Red Lantern anymore as it was a very interesting development and no character better fits in with the Red Lanterns than Guy.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 – I don't know what else I can say about Tomasi's writing on GLC that I have not said before. Tomasi is just telling the story of Blackest Night in a far superior way than the main mini-series.
Art: 8.8/10 – Gleason's artwork continues to be superb. He does a good job capturing the big event feel of Blackest Night.
Overall: 8.9/10 – Green Lantern Corps #43 was a phenomenal read. If you are reading Blackest Night GLC is a must read. It has been far superior than the main mini-series that everyone should be reading the great work Tomasi and Gleason are doing on this title.

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Pablo Raimondi
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Adriano Lucas

Story – High and Mighty

Though I have been mixed on Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard I loved the first issue of Realm of Kings: Inhumans. This second issue of Inhumans continues the fantastic story DnA started in the first issue. DnA just understand how the Inhumans tick and giving us a great look at the politics behind the Kree and Inhumans post War of Kings and Black Bolt's disappearance.

And what is great about DnA's writing is that unlike most other writers who become intimidated with a large cast of heroes DnA relish in it and even bring in more heroes to write into their stories. Even though I am not reading Mighty Avengers DnA did a very good job catching me up on why they are in this issue. Having the Avengers appear also help to give the reader a new point of view to show that the Inhumans are not the Inhumans of old. Instead they are a race of powerful people that have more power and control of their lives than they have ever had.

Hercules and Gorgon's interaction at the beginning of the issue in the big brawl did an effective job showing this. Hercules barely recognized Gorgon even pointing out that Gorgon seemed different. And It was fun seeing the two characters busting heads of the attackers of the Kree homeworld.

Another great interaction in this issue was between Crystal and Pietro. The scenes with them added a nice closure to the relationship of the two and showed that Crystal is much happier being with Ronan. It also helps to reinforce the fact that Crystal is not the shy scared woman she used to be and is now a very brave and strong woman. I am interested to see what Luna has to say about her mother as she seemed to want to speak up when she saw her mom and dad talking.

But yet again the standout character of the issue is Medusa. DnA have been doing a great job writing Medusa showing that she is a very powerful and imposing figure. Her interaction with Hank Pym showed that she is not messing around anymore and that Black Bolt's disappearance has affected her in becoming a much more cold character than she was before. Medusa is really becoming my favorite among the Inhumans as she has a lot of things going on in her head than just the cold stare she has been giving everyone. It will be interesting to see her interaction when she finds out the Kree have found a sign that Black Bolt may still be alive in the Fault.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.2/10 –DnA continue to weave an excellent story filled with action, strong characterization, and politics. They are really building up the Inhumans into great A-list feeling characters with the empire they have built for themselves.
Art: 8/10 – Pablo Raimondi artwork was very good in this issue. He provides very consistent art and does a great job with both the action and the talking head moments in this issue.
Overall: 8.6/10 – Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 was another great read. This title is doing a great job in the aftermath of War of Kings. If you have been enjoying the Marvel cosmic titles than pick this issue up as DnA continue to work their magic on the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Legen...wait for it...dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 12/9/09

Cover of the Week: Invincible Iron Man #21
Even though I did not like Invincible Iron Man #21 (as you can read in my review here) I have to admit this cover for this issue is just awesome. Love the color scheme used on the cover.

Amazing Spider-Man #614 Highlights
Sucks to be Bennett. See kids it does not pay trying to get one of your enemies killed. It always backfires on you as it did to Bennett when he sent JJJ to go inside The DB.

Never expected to see this happen. Looks like The Frontline is now officially the newspaper of the Marvel Universe.

Batgirl #5 Highlights
Come on Batgirl, this is Gotham after all. It is all about Batman and Robin.

Oh snap! Barbara went there.

Oh Damian you crack me up.

Invincible Iron Man #21 Highlights
And Marvel again spoils another one of there big stories by showing us that Steve is in control of his body.

Is it me or does it look like Steve was cut and pasted on to this splash page?

Red Robin #7 Highlights
Red Robin to the rescue.

And Ra's is dead yet again. What is that the 10th time he has died this past decade.