Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Comic Book Review: Green Lantern # 42

As much as I'm enjoying what Geoff Johns is doing with Green Lantern, I have to say I wasn't all that thrilled with this issue. I did enjoy the battle of will and avarice (Hal Jordan and Larfleeze) but I couldn't quite get into the story as much as I would have liked to.

There were moments of brilliance however. The moment Hal Jordan finally has sincerity in his heart which gives me the ability to use the blue ring to it's full potential, was absolutely hilarious! I busted out into tears of how ironically funny that moment was. And of course the "Gonzo" moment was priceless.

But what I was most impressed with was the moment Hal attempts to take Agent Oranges lantern away from him and is overwhelmed by this sense of greed. This is a very interesting statement being made by Geoff Johns. When Larfleeze has his lantern back in his clutches, and the power level shows up at 7839%, it shows that greed can be the most consuming and deadliest emotion out there.

This book is filled with angst and intensity, but the most intense part of the story is when the Guardians give up the Blue Lanterns location in order to keep Larfleeze out of their territory. The Guardians have always made me so angry in their values and decisions they make, and making this deal with Larfleeze infuriated me to the point where I called them a "bad" word. I'm starting to wonder who the real bad guys are.

All in all, the book is decent, but not as satisfying as one would hope. It's still well written and the art is fantastic. But it's just not up to par with a lot of the other stories that came out this month. But I am beginning to wonder how many different rings Hal will be exposed to and if he will be the one to inherit a "white" ring to defeat the Black Lanterns?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Comic Book Review: Wonder Woman #33

Wonder Woman is beaten, bloodied and broken from her battle with Genocide. She returns to Paradise Island almost unconscious. Her Amazonian sisters find her, barely alive, and her mother horrified of her child's torn condition. While the Amazons are hectic about Diana's condition, Ares stages his final attack by calling on the vassal of Poseidon to bring the deadliest sea creatures from the waters to assist his army of, what Dan Dido termed as "Manizons."

Hippolyta has her women prepare for a battle which the they have little chance of victory. Wonder Woman, who refuses to accept defeat, straps her lasso and an axe to her burned hands and defeats sea monsters.

Zeus later explains to Diana how he raised Achilles from the ground to be her husband and demands praise for this. Wonder Woman defies Zeus, and since the Amazons cannot deny the gods, she declares herself, "no longer an Amazon."

My Thoughts: This book was fantastic! Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan were at their best! The sea monsters, with their scaley, slimy, and ugly forms, were terrifyingly well done. As an artist myself, my jaw plummeted to the floor (with a thud) when I saw the fifth page where the monsters are charging at Paradise Island. I was HOOKED at this point. And of Course, Wonder Woman has the sculpted body and a Greek Goddess. very well done.

The story, without a doubt, is Gail Simone's best work. The dialog between characters is superb, the battle scenes make ones heart beat more intensely from anticipation, and the ending was a shocker! The dialog is fluid and does not waste time trying to explain what has lead to this point.

With Wonder Woman's hands in no condition to grasp anything, I was not amazed that she asked Phillipus to bind her lasso and an axe to her hands with bandages. She is an unrelenting Woman, as always. I was cheering Wonder Woman on as she flew in the sky and did some real damage to Poseidon's monsters.

But what I loved the most was how Wonder Woman completely defied Zeus by way of punching him dead in the face, knocking him to the ground. I thought to myself "Can you actually do that and live? She just punched a Greek God!!" Apparently you can, but there's a price...you can no longer be an Amazon. Now even though Diana made this choice of her own free will, I felt she had no other alternative seeing as how she denies the authority of Zeus which all the Amazons accept and obey.

Now I was not entirely sure what the scheme was between Ares and Zeus, but we can never truly know what the Greek gods intentions are, especially with the womanizing Zeus. I also felt the switching of sides came to suddenly, but seeing as how the book needed to be wrapped up in this issue, something needed to be done.

Overall, I thought this book was a hit! A great way to end this "Rise of an Olympian" story arc. You'll definatly see this book in my top five for the month of June!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Best and Worst for June

Alright, here's my second installment of my Months best and worst. There were A LOT of great stories that came out this month for DC Comics. With Blackest Night coming next month and the new Justice League mini series on it's way as well, stories are becoming very much focused on getting fans as excited as possible upcoming events!

I have based my comic books rankings on three thing...
1) A well written story
2) Quality of the art
3) How well the art and the story blend to captivate the readers

Keep in mind a few things, the story in a comic book could be exceptional, but if the art is lacking that could be a factor in how I ranked it, and vice versa. I also give a brief description of my thoughts on each individual book as well.

This month, I'm going to go backwards from worst to best. Keep in mind, being at the bottom of the list doesn't necessarily make the book bad, just not as great as the ones above. But in the case of this list, the bottom few are not actually that great.....

13. Justice League of America #34
It truly does pain me to put The Justice League title back on the bottom seeing as how it was the comic book that got me hooked on comics early in my childhood. Never the less, McDuffie proves again that The Justice League is a book he should never lay his hands on again. If the writer cannot do a title justice, no matter what the circumstance, then that writer should not have anything to do with it. Bringing in Icon and other Wildstorm characters was a poor decision that should never have been considered. I hope Len Wein can bring this book back up to the level it was when Brad Meltzer was on this title.

12. Justice Society of America #28
The story wasn't bad, just not great. I became bored at times while reading it. I wasn't sure I understood the storyline in relation to last months book. I did enjoy the art to a certain point, but ultimately I don't think it serve the book well.

11. Superman #689
Last month, with Mon-El realizing he was dying, I had high hopes for this issue. There was so much potential for an angst driven story. Sadly however, the potential this book had didn't quite carry through. Mon-El reminiscing on what he's done around the world, going from country to country doing what he could to protect it and the allies he seems to be forming is a very creative way to approach this story. However it is a little to slow to follow. But the ending did show promise for next month...but of course I said that last month as well. Mon-El replacing Superman wasn't the best choice on DC's part if you ask me.

10. Superman: World of New Krypton #4
I have to be honest, I did enjoy this book, it was a lot of fun. But there wasn't any huge new realizations that was brought to light which I felt was needed for this 4th issue of the Superman mini-series. I find it strange that Superman is being charge with treason when he's only been on the job for a short time. I'm interested to see how DC plays out this story. And I am enjoying the art for this title!

9. Green Lantern Corps #37
nothing really wrong with this book other than the fact it felt way to short! I think with everything building up towards the Blackest Night for next month, DC wasn't sure how to get ready for it in this issue. Once I finished the book, I felt empty rather than wanting more. I wanted more and I'm excited for what's going to happen, but the story just leaves you hanging with nothing really to grab onto until the very end. And the ending is very out of the blue.

8. Green Lantern #42
Honestly, Geoff Johns did a great job writing this, it just wasn't his best. The characters and twists the story takes are fantastic, but the story wasn't as epic as it should have been. I have a review that will be coming out next week which will explain more on my feelings towards this issue.

7. Supergirl #42
Excellently done. The story and the art are a match made in Heaven. Supergirl has been interesting for me. When it started it was strange, and it got better, than went down hill, then got strange again and now it's great! I'm just waiting for it to go downhill again, I pray im wrong. There's so much tension right now with Supergirl having accidentally murdered Lois's sister and with the mystery revolving around her mother, Superman and the events on New Krypton.

6. Power Girl #2

Sarah Conner doesn't disappoint. Power Girl proves to, once again, be one of the toughest Females hero's to ever grace the pages of comic books everywhere. please read my comic review of this issue to find out more.

5. Batman & Robin #1

As a grant Morrison hater, I must say this issue was damn impressive! Frank Quietly is an amazing artist who has a style all his own that goes under appreciated all the time. I hope Morrison can continue to bring great life to this title. please read my comic review for more on this issue.

4. Action Comics #878
Overall, this book was a great and refreshing read. The social commentaries made in it are so subtle, yet so profound. I love the interesting take on how love means different things to different people. Please read my comic review for more on this issue.

3. Batman #687
Perfect! You couldn't ask for a better transition for Dick Grayson as Batman. This was such a tear jerker and depressing book...but that's why it's so good! Please read my comic review for more on this issue.

2. Action Comics Annual #12
So where Batman #687 was perfect, The Action Comics Annual #12 was even a step up. This issue went above and beyond giving us a tremendous story filled with love and angst. Greg Rucka writes a story about how the current Flamebird and Nightwing came to be. This was a mythological story at it's finest. The connection these two have, how Flamebird finds Nightwing, and the loss that the two characters had to endure is so sad. But seeing as how these two truly care for each other is such an uplifting thought. I recommend this book to everyone.

And now, The best comic for the month of June....

1. Wonder Woman #33
Yes, wonder Woman #33 makes it to the top of the list. All I can say is WOW! Aaron Lopresti gets the best artist of the month gold star and Gail Simone should be given an award the equivalent of the noble peace price for comics!

This book shows how strong of a human being Wonder Woman truly is, unrelenting and a true warrior in heart and soul. For a story synopsis, please read my comic review which will come out next week Monday.

I am most impressed with how Simone writes the confrontation between Diana and Zeus, and how she defies his authority and leaves the Amazons because of the plans Zeus has towards her people.

What impresses me most about this book is how I feel like I'm reading something that might as well have come from the pages of a Greek Mythological story. In both the written story and in the art, it's as if this story was torn from the history books, and rediscovered for all the world to see and enjoy. Simone and Lopresti truly did their homework on this title and I find myself wondering what I'm going to do once Simone decides to stop.

If you aren't a Wonder Woman follower, please become one! When the "Rise of The Olympian" story arc comes out in the trade paperback, go buy it! You'll enjoy every page. But pick up this issue in particular, even if you haven't been following this title for the last eight months. You will still appreciate the artistry and creativity that went into this issue.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

DC vs. Marvel - who would win in a fight??

Back in 1996, there was a 4 issue mini-series titled "DC vs. Marvel." The series is written by Ron Marz and Peter David, with art by Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini. Due to popular demand by comic book fans who, for the longest time, argued about which Marvel and DC hero's would win in a fight, Both companies got together to create the ultimate one on one battles, The ultimate dream fights come to life! DC and Marvel got together and discussed how to go about choosing winners of battles and it was decided that they would put it to fan votes as to the victor of each battle.

Now they couldn't create this free for all with no purpose, that wouldn't make for a good story. Ron Marz and Peter David came up with the concept of this God like creature that controled the universe, but was split in two (along withhe universe) because of a "big bang." Now they are considered brothers in the comic that controlled their own dimension, but neither had any knowledge of each others existance. Somehow they became aware of each other. These brothers were the personifications of the DC and Marvel universes. The two brothers felt only one of the dimensions should be in existence and a series of battles between each universes greatest hero's will determine the dimension that will remain and which will cease to exist.

Now, when the mini series was published in 1996, Marvel Comics received more votes and the tally in the end was DC - 5, Marvel - 6. Here were the battle lines ups and who came out the winner....

Aquaman vs. Namor - Aquaman wins
Elektra vs. Catwoman - Elektra wins
Flash vs. Quicksilver - Flash wins
Robin vs. Jubilee - Robin wins
Silver Surfer vs. Green Lantern - Silver Surfer wins
Thor vs. Captain Marvel - Thor wins
Batman vs. Captain America - Batman wins
Spider-Man vs. Superboy - Spider-man wins
Storm vs. Wonder Woman - Storm wins
Wolverine vs. Lobo - Wolverine wins
Superman vs. Hulk - Superman wins

However, myself and many others like me felt that the battles were either unevenly matched or didn't make sense. SO! being the person I am, I have redone the battle line ups! Some will be the same from the 1996 mini series, some will be different. But regardless of who fights who, I feel I have made good and fair decisions as to who would win battles. So, without further delay, Please enjoy my DC vs. Marvel....

Nightwing vs. The Punisher - Nightwing wins!
Both equal in strength, and skill. Nightwing's stealth would defeat Punisher's mass arsenal of weaponry. However, I think Nightwing would have taken a lot of damage, and wouldn't walk away from that fight without being bruised, maybe have some broken bones.

Lobo vs. The Incredible Hulk - The Incredible Hulk wins!
With Lobo being this crazed alien bounty hunter, The incredible Hulk is a foe right up his alley. Sadly for Lobo however, the Hulk is victorious. But seeing as how Lobo is near the strength of Superman, this would be no walk in the park for Hulk.

The Flash vs. Quick Silver - The Flash wins!
The son of Magneto is no match for the fastest man alive. With Barrey Allen having the ability to move at speeds close to the speed of light, Quick Silver is no match for The Flash.

Superboy vs. Spider-Man - Super-boy wins!
Spider-man may have the abilities of a spider, but Superboy contains the powers of a native Kryptonian exposed to a yellow sun. I don't see Peter Parker posing much of a threat.

Catwoman vs. Elektra - Elektra wins!
An evenly matched pair. Both masters in the martial arts. However, I think Elektra would come out the winner in this battle. Except Elektra would walk away with her share of trauma, cuts, bruises and broken bones as well.

Steel vs. Iron Man - Iron Man wins!
Yeah, Iron Man wins here, hands down. Both scientists, but one is a little more advanced in the craft of armored suit making. I think Iron man could fly away from this fight with minimal damage as well.

Plastic Man vs. Mr. Fantastic - Plastic Man wins!
Even though Mr. Fantastic has done a lot of good, he would be no match for Plastic Man's crazy, cookoo brained fighting styles. Plastic Man has always proven himself to be able to survive the most dangerous of tasks.

Black Canary vs. Wolverine - Black Canary wins!
Even with Wolverines healing factor and unrelenting attitude, Black Canary is tough as nails and would carry this battle to the end. However, she would not walk away unharmed. She might even end up with a concussion.

Captain Marvel vs. Thor - Thor wins!
Two beings who receive their powers from a heavenly source, a perfect match! However, seeing as how Captain Marvel channels his power through another God-like being, and Thor is an ACTUAL God, I have to give the win to Thor. however, Thor would have a limp in his step after this fight.

Green Lantern vs. Silver Surfer - Silver Surfer wins!
This Battle is probably the most evenly matched battle of them all. The most powerful weapon in the universe goes up against one of the most powerful beings in the universe. It really was a tough call, but I would have to say Silver Surfer would win this battle. It hurts me to say that, but I think it's the correct outcome.

Power Girl vs. Rogue - Power Girl wins!
To strong hearted, yet stubborn hero's. I wouldn't want to get on either one of these two womens bad side. But I would have to say Power Girl has the edge over Rogue.

Wonder Woman vs. Phoenix - Phoenix wins!
Honestly, this is probably the toughest one for me to decide! I love Wonder Woman, but can she win against a telepath? In the end, I would say Jean Grey is the winner. But She would not be victorious without having her share of Amazonian scrapes and bruises tattooed all over her body.

Batman vs. Daredevil - Batman wins!
Two hero's with scared pasts. Both masters in martial arts. Both exceptionally intelligent in tactical defense and offense. This is the dream battle. However, seeing as how Batman has beaten the famed Superman, I would have to give the win to Batman.

Superman vs. Apocalypse - Superman wins!
I could not think of a hero that could contend with Superman in the Marvel universe. So, I chose a villain. And Apocalypse is definitely no push over. He might even be strong even to kill Superman. However, I believe Superman would over power this most evil of villains.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Comic Review: Power Girl #2

Last Month we were left at the edge of our seats with Power Girl in the clutches of the Evil Ultra Humanite! As Power Girl and Ultra-Humanite duke it out, he explains to Power Girl how he has been unable to find a new body suitable enough to transfer his mind to. Manhattan, hanging by exceptionally strong cables from Ultra-Hamanite's ship, is ready be destroyed along with all who live on the island unless Power Girl agrees to give him her body as the new vessel for his evil doing. Power Girl of course shows no sympathy and refuses his demands. The fight continues where Power Girl ultimately, due to a blow to the head from the ape scientist, goes blank.

Meanwhile on the Island of Manhattan, The Justice Society are doing all they can against Ultra-Humanite's android army while the people of Manhattan are running around in hysteria due to a toxic, fear inducing pathogen let loose by Ultra-Humanite.

As the mayhem continues below in Manhattan, Ultra-Humanite straps Power Girl down and prepares for the mind transference. As he does this, he describes in detail about his life growing up and how he ultimately came to transferring his mind into the body of an albino ape. As he finishes the story, so begins the mind transference with drills digging into Power Girl's skull.

This issue was a joy to read, better than the first issue! The one thing that makes power Girl so incredible is her sarcastic, kick-ass attitude. In almost every panel of the fight between her and Ultra-Humanite, Power Girl has the most abrasive look on her face, as if she's saying "what the hell are you doing?" This is an all out, bare knuckles, "whose your daddy" type of brawl, and I feel I should be concerned with Power Girl's well-being. Yet, I can't stop seeing her face and being reminded of all the times I've made a mistake and got the EXACT SAME LOOK from my wife! It was like Power Girl was becoming more annoyed than physically hurt.

There were no new realizations in this story however. It was basically a rehashing of what we already knew about Ultra-Humanite. However this did not kill the story. It was actually a very well done retelling of Ultra-Humanite's origin.

The one thing I have already determined that will be a constant for this title is the strange, sexual humor involved, Bestiality being the focus of this issue. But of course we can't forget the clever ways Sarah Conner (artist) can position Power Girl's body, and her boobs always seems to be perfectly set.

This title is quite refreshing thus far. Even though there is tons of drama and earth shattering events occurring, the book seems to be taking a "silver age" approach to this particular monthly title. Palmiotti is writing a fun story and not so concerned with making it so overly dramatic. I appreciate how this title is being approached and I sincerely hope it continues!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Geoff Johns Podcast!!!

Geoff Johns Discusses Flash Rebirth, Green Lantern Origins and Blackest Night! Go to the Word Balloon blog site

scroll down until you get to the pod cast box on the right and click on the "Geoff Johns, welcome to the middle of the film" line and enjoy the interview!

Again, I must emphasize how much I love Geoff Johns' work. He ranks up there with Brad Meltzer and Alan Moore. Now with Flash: Rebirth, and Blackest Night, Geoff Johns is going to town with these incredible stories he is bringing to the DC Universe! Currently, I'm pushing for Geoff Johns to map the DC Universe and use what Geoff establishes as cannon!

Comic Book Review: Action Comics # 878

Chris Kent and Thara Ak-Var continue their search for General Zod's sleeper agents Az-Rel and Nadira. However, Chris and Thara's search isn't that hard as the two sleeper agents continually make their presence known more and more as the days go on. This issue shows Az-Rel and Nadira attacking an innocent women in her home and participating in sexual activities once they have disposed of the woman.

General Lane continues to show his hatred towards the Kryptonian race and persists on making his campaign against the alien species while ignoring the arguments opposing the Generals plans made by his fellow officers. A clear cut case of the General operating under blind hatred of a species based on what happened to many American officers by Kryptonian soldiers.

On a lighter note, Lois Lane's character has not been put to rest due to Superman's absence. After a deadly battle between Nadira and Thara in issue #876, Lois has been looking over Thara who sustained many injuries and also has been, what looks like providing housing for Thara and her son Chris. Along with this, it appears Lois is taking advantage of the contacts she has made as a reporter in helping Chris and Thara out in this mystery adventure and in capturing the two Kryptonian villains.

I enjoy the contrast that's happening with this story. Chris and Thara are the complete opposites of
Az-Rel and Nadira. It's as if two were cloned, and out popped their evil twins! Greg Rucka is approaching this story arc quite intelligently as he makes his commentary on the difference between love and lust. We find the two kryptonian criminals , as they continually reek havoc on earth, constantly tell each other "I love you," whereas as Chris and Thara never say this to each other even once. Now it's obvious to me that Chris and Thara truly do love each other, whereas Az-rel and Nadira are only it it for for the sex and violence.

Now, to be honest, the majority of the book is actually boring me. The hissy fits that general Lane keeps having about his hatred for Kryptonians is annoying me to no end. I know it's going to lead to something, but it isn't clear as of yet. The mystery surrounding General Lane and what he ultimately intends to do is not putting me at the edge of my seat in any way.

The artwork is not particularly my favorite.
Fernando Dagnino has never really done anything that I've loved, and this issue is no exception. When I saw the cover, my expectation for the artwork was topped out, it's a mastery of color mixed with with great emotion on the characters faces. However, once I turned to the first page, my expectation was met with great dissapointment. It reminds me of Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles comics for kids, just a little too cartoony for my taste.

After finishing this issue, I contemplated on dropping the Action Comics title until Superman returns from New Krypton. And currently that notion still wanders around in my mind. However, I think the drama with Nightwing and Flamebird plus the awful nature of Az-Rel and Nadira and the mystery revolving around these four is what will keep me with this title.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Magneto, IGN's #1 comic book villain

IGN.com recently created a list of the top 100 villains in comic book history. Now seeing as I have no desire to list all 100 for you, I will list the top ten villains.

10. The Kingpin
9. The Dark Phoenix
8. Loki
7. Ra's Al Ghul
6. Darkseid
5. Galactus
4. Lex Luthor
3. Dr. Doom
2. The Joker
1. Magneto

Below, is a video of why the IGN editors decided to choose Magneto as the number one pick...

Now, to start off, I have to say that I completely disagree giving Magneto the number 1 spot in thehistory of comic book villainy. I know I'm partial towards DC comics, but I believe most people would agree with me on this, especially for people who know the X-Men and more importantly, for those who know Magneto.

Magneto, yes is a powerful villain and quite ruthless. I would probably rank him in the top ten and maybe even in the top 5 of the best comic book villains. However, the reason why I disagree with the placement is for the mere fact that Magneto, deep down inside is not truly a villain. If you examine the character of magneto, his history, and ask yourselves the question "why does he do what he does?", then you can see the reasoning of why he isn't the number one comic book villain.

Magneto grew up a mutant, and thus followed the discriminatory actions towards him and his kind. This is true for all the X-Men and mutants. What makes Magneto different is his desire to do what is necessary to preserve the mutant race and achieve the type of freedom that he feels mutants deserve and have a right to.

Now, like most things, doing what is necessary is relative. How does one achieve a certain goal? Prof. Charles Xavier believes the best way is for mutants and non-mutants to exist as equals, whereas Magneto would much prefer that the humans be obliterated from existence so mutants can finally be free. Now you're probably asking yourself, "well doesn't this make him pretty darn evil Jimmy?" and I would respond, "no, it doesn't." Just like anything else, evil is also very relative. From a humans point of view, he is the most terrible mutant to exist. From the X-Men's point of view, he is a misguided person who needs help. And from the mutants who desire the same thing as Magneto, he is the mutant's Jesus Christ. But regardless, Magneto's purpose is what qualifies him as a notorious villain or not.

Magneto has one goal, to free mutants from the tyranny of the humans. And justly so, the human's treat mutants as if they are freaks who came in this world by unnatural means and should be forgotten. Thus, when humans meet a mutant on the street, they are met with hostility and savagery. Magneto sought to end this, by any means necessary. (hhhmmm, where have we heard this before?)

Now the question is not what is his goal, rather now the question we must ask is what are his reasons for behaving in such violent ways to achieve Mutant freedom? When you look deep down inside his heart, he's doing all of this for a mass group of living beings. Too often do we mark off people who care for something as being silly or ridiculous and typically laugh or make fun of their ideologies. Look at how certain groups are treated, environmentalist, animal rights groups, etc etc. We treat these groups as the equivalent of a joke, and that ultimately there is no need for these groups because what they fight for is faulty.

However, the fact still remains that Magneto, along with any other group that is belittled for what they believe and fight for, is standing up for the rights of living creatures. Magneto isn't attacking humans because he enjoys it, he's doing it because he feels humans are killing mutants, or running experiments on mutants against their will, or because of the general mistreatment by humans towards mutants. Magneto fights for a group of of living creatures who desire to live life to it's fullest. Magneto fights evil. No matter how you look at it, Magneto is fighting evil. I can understand why Magneto does what he does. I don't agree with his methods, nor do I condone them, but I do understand him.

Now I do consider magneto a villain based on the fact that he has killed thousands of people and feels no remorse for it. But their are reasons for what he does, and even though I do not agree with him, I have a great deal of respect for his ideals of freedom. And I think most people do respect his ideals and convictions. This is one reason why I feel he qualifies as a hero more than a villain. Of course he will always be a villain because he defies the X-Men. But here's a question to ponder, what if the X-Men never started? What if Magneto was the only mutant doing anything to achieve mutant rights? What if all mutants began to follow him and there was no group of mutants opposing him? Would we then qualify him as a villain or a hero?

If anyone deserves to be the top, number 1 villain, I think that title without a doubt have to go to the Joker. Disagree? comment below!