Green Lantern #39

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Written by: Geoff Johns

Art by:Philip Tan

Things just keep heating up in the Green Lantern ‘verse. Not only do we have the Green and Yellow Lanterns, but we have the Reds, the Blues, the Sapphires, and now the Orange. The Orange Lantern, or “Avarice”, meaning insatiable greed, has now been born and adding even more fuel to the upcoming event, “Blackest Night”.

This issue is mostly about the birth of the Orange Lantern, but it does reveal more about Hal Jordan’s inner battle between his green ring and his blue ring. Both rings are trying to consume Hal, while not as terrible as his fight with the red ring, the blue and green ring are merely in a symbiotic lock. Both rings are, as far as we know, for lack of better terms I’ll reference Star Wars and say that both rings are deemed “light side”. Both rings are fueled from each other and therefore need each other.

So with that power struggle going on, the Orange Lantern makes his way through space and greedily consumes whatever he can, eventually throwing a monkey wrench into the Green Lantern homeworld, Oa.

Destined to consume everything he can, the Orange Lantern finds himself in the midst of a very appetizing opportunity.

Once again, Geoff Johns shows us why he is a top nerd book writer. He just has a unshakable grip on the GL universe. Philip Tan’s artwork helps bolster this book. Crisp, detailing and down right fuckin’ purty art, this book is a must read.

With this book, the GL book is going full steam into the next Lantern war. If you haven’t been reading GL, now is the time to get in. With very little heavy continuity being used, and more about establishing new concepts, GL is very open doored.

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2

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Written by: Tony Daniel

Art by: Sandu Florea

While not necessarily as high profile as Batman RIP seemed to be, Battle for the Cowl does succeed in being understandable. Cowl #2 keeps it flowing with the mystery of who is the “Batman” swooping around town and bussin’ caps in people.

Mainly, this book is just there to perhaps throw us off. We are given every characters thoughts on who they think this new Batman is, and they are all thinking of the same person: [spoiler] Jason Todd [/spoiler]. Whether or not that will be true, I tend to think that it is a trick. It can’t be that easy. While I’m not totally sure who it might be, I can’t agree with Robin, Damien, and Tim’s thoughts.

We also get a explosive scene that proves that the Black Mask can really get things going in Gotham. In a really gross scene involving Jane Doe and Zsasz, we see just how much the criminals intend to upset society.

Tony Daniel’s writing is pretty straightforward. It is not as head spinning as Grant Morrison, and that is a real compliment.

Florea’s art is very solid. I especially liked Black Mask’s scene on the rooftops as Gotham exploded behind him. And Jane Doe wearing some slob’s face is just creepy. I’m gonna throw this out there, but if Batman RIP had more cut off face wearin’ antics, I would have liked it more.

All in all, a pretty solid second helping of Battle for the Cowl.

Frank Castle: Punisher #69

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Written by: Duane Swierczynski

Art by: Michel Lacombe

Funny comic issue number aside, Punisher 69 is nothing to laugh at. Three issues into Swierczynski’s arc about Frank being injected with a toxin that will kill him in just six hours, things are getting out of control for Frank. With just about no weapons left to defend himself with, and the whole city is basically after him, let alone the fact that if he doesn’t find the antidote soon, he will die, Frank is basically in deep shit.

Closing in on a lead, Frank is savagely beaten by a hallucinating meat head. Barely escaping with his life, Frank continues to follow leads in hopes of finding that antidote for the deadly toxin coursing through his body. Throughout the night, it seems like that while he is weak from the toxin, Frank runs into everyone who wants to take him out with a bullet. Running from battle to battle, a weary Frank is just about to break from the stress.

Swierczynski has grabbed the reins from Garth Ennis a few issues back. Filling Ennis’ shoes is a tough task. Ennis is synonomous with the Punisher now. While not as gritty and chock full of dark humor you come to expect from Ennis, Swierczynski does a very nice job. Giving readers a “Crank” esque plot, the Punisher continues to get my money every time it hits shelves.

Lacombe’s artwork is very nice too. It is a little cartoony for the Punisher, but it does very nicely. The Punisher seems to have gotten a much more middle aged face. Receeding hairline and a less meanacing grin are given to Frank. While not the Punisher I think of when I think of a tired and beaten, Vietnam vet who goes around town blowing away gangsters and mobsters with high impact artillery, it is tolerable.

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #4

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Written by: Damon Lindelof

Art by: Leinil Francis Yu

Wow. I really expected three years to pass before I would be reading this. And honestly, maybe three years should have passed, that way I would feel somewhat interested in this book.

In a book that has VS in it, there isn’t a lot of fighting going on. In fact, in this issue, not even a punch is thrown, let alone by anyone other that Wolverine or Hulk. This issue is centered on the Ultimate She-Hulk identity. While not exactly the most jaw dropping choice of characters to become the She-Hulk, it is the most obvious. For what its worth, I’m not really a She-Hulk fan. I was kinda excited to see her appear last issue, just because she has never been in an Ultimate book yet, it has kinda lost its appeal. Quite frankly, I’m reading this book to see Wolverine and the Hulk fight. The first 2 issues set up a really cool brawl. With Wolverine being ripped in fucking half by the Hulk, I was hooked. But that was 3 years ago. Now, its kinda like waiting for Duke Nukem Forever to drop, it can’t live up to expectations. Unless the two titular characters start brawling next issue, I will cry.

I guess that the She-Hulk and the Hulk’s connection is interesting enough, it’s just not what I’m reading the book for. Fighting a character that I don’t really care about really isn’t enough for me. Plus, this book has really lost some of its charm along the way. Like I said, Wolverine was ripped in half and had each half thrown several miles away from each other. THAT is interesting. And for god’s sake, there is blatant ad placement in this book. I’m gonna spoil it for you all because it made me so mad. Betty Ross sells a copy of the new Star Trek movie to some buyers. God, could Lindelof be up J.J. Abrahms ass any further? We all know it is coming out in theaters, but come on. It just comes off kinda arrogant. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but this issue was just a total letdown. Art and writing and all. Total letdown.

If this series doesn’t get back down to two guys beating the shit out of each other soon, I’m gonna drop this book just like I dropped Lost. And in keeping with the 3 years theme, I dropped Lost during season 3.

Wolverine: Weapon X #1

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Written by: Jason Aaron

Art by: Ron Garney

Man, Jason Aaron rocks. Even before he joined the Marvel Bullpen, he rocked. With the gruesomely fantastic “The Other Side” a Vietnam centered meeting of two soldiers on opposing sides, and the brilliant “Scalped”, a Sopranos, mob style book centered in a Indian reservation, Jason Aaron continues to impress. He has brought back characters who were metaphorically hanging onto the edge of a friggin’ cliff. After Jeph Loeb straight up teabagged Wolverine fans with his bear and cat nonsense in Wolverine issues 50-55, Aaron stepped up and fucking hit it out of the park. The Man in the Pit is one of my favorite Wolverine issues ever. And after the cool “Get Mystique” storyline, Aaron continues to rock the Wolverine fans. Now with Weapon X, he is set up to give us clues to Wolverine’s past. And it never looked bloodier and darkly interesting.

While the end of the book doesn’t land our hero knee deep in the shit, it does set up a really cool, global conspiracy. With various locales and people involved, Weapon X is gearing up to be a feral, claw popping blast. Mysterious figures? Check. Small village being massacred? Check. Dude with a fucking grenade in his throat? Check.

Weapon X is a great start to a great new Jason Aaron series.

Next Week’s Pull List

DC

100 Bullets #100

Action Comics #876

Green Lantern Corps #35

Marvel

Amazing Spider-man #591

Captain America #49

Halo Uprising #4

Incognito #3

Punisher #4

The Stand: American Nightmares #2

Uncanny X-men #508

X-men Legacy #223

Others

Man with No Name #9

Walking Dead #60

Wrap Up

Yep. Another big week. I’m gonna begin to massage my wallet for the pounding it is gonna take on Wednesday.



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8 Responses to Comic Book Reviews: Week of 04/08/2009

  1. Hilden says:

    Agreed on the Green Lantern thing. I jumped on at the end of the “origin” series and it’s fast becoming one of my favorite books. Now is a great time to get on board.

    I also grabbed Battle for the Cowl on John’s recommendation and I’m actually liking it a lot more than I thought I would. This whole “Batman is dead” shit seemed like a huge DC cash grab to me, and it is, but there have been a few really good stories that have come out of it. Namely, this series and the Neil Gaimen run in Detective Comics.

  2. John says:

    “While not necessarily as high profile as Batman RIP seemed to be, Battle for the Cowl does succeed in being understandable.” Amen!

    And while I agree that the [spoiler]Jason Todd[/spoiler] thing could be a trick, I can’t figure out who else it would be based on his “thought bubbles”.

  3. Hilden says:

    I still hate that they brought “him” back. What a lame ass thing. If you bring a previously dead character back to life, than you better do it bad ass (ala Brubaker) or don’t do it at all.

  4. John says:

    That’s the one thing that bugs me about comics. Or two things. 1) They’re always going for the next “big event”, rather than just trying to tell good stories. “This is the event that will change the _____ universe as you know it!” How’d that work out for Bendis? Not really. 2) I hate it when they stage deaths of major characters. You always know that they’re going to find a way to bring that character back, and probably within a year or two. It takes away any sort of drama.

  5. Hilden says:

    Agreed. I understand staged death as a comic gimmick, and I’ve come to terms with it by and large, but there are a few exceptions that bother me when writers chose to use them.

    For starters, it was always an unwritten rule at Marvel that Bucky stays dead. As does Ben Parker. These are deaths that serve to make the character what he is. Bucky was never even a character in the old Cap stories. His death was always off frame and told as anecdotes but it never really “happened” in the normal comic time line. Bucky’s death is one of those things that has always driven CA and made the book what it was.

    Jason Todd is another one of those characters. As soon as that event happened in the 80’s with the call in numbers and all of that, DC has been all about making his death a huge part of what makes Batman a tortured hero these days. He’s constantly referenced in the books.

    Now, Bucky returning was a huge event but I think everyone agrees that Brubaker did and outstanding job with it. He didn’t just make it tolerable, I think it’s made the book far better than it has ever been.

    This shit that DC keeps trying to do with Jason is just hacked. It’s never been treated with respect or with any sort of care. It’s always been the big shovel that they use to “shock” the Batman audience. And that makes it a poor, poor use of this character and makes the book shittier.

  6. Ryker XL says:

    I have to agree with you guys on the whole, “Big Event” disease going on in comics. I remember reading “Secret Wars” when I was young and thinking HOW EFFING COOL, but then they released “Secret Wars 2” and it was crap, pure garbage. Perhaps that’s why releases like “Watchmen,” “Squadron Supreme,” and “Dark Knight Returns,” were my favorite books when I was deep into comics. They told a great story and that was that. Dead people STAYED DEAD and chracters were left dealing with the consequences of their actions. People coming back from the grave simply weaken the Canon, for when there are no more consquences and the stories become…irrelavent (IMHO).

    As for Hulk Vs. Wolverine, I may skim that one and I’m wondering if anyone saw the “Hulk Vs.” DVD that recently came out? Tiny I enjoyed that immensely.

  7. It’s one thing to kill a character off, but another to successfully and appropriately bring that character back.

    Case in point, Bucky in Captain America. Who would ever think that Cap would be killed off and have his “robin” like sidekick come back from the dead and replace him AND the book is just about better if not better in most cases? I would have never thought that.

    But now that Cap died and the press blew it up, everyone thinks that their books needs the killing off of characters, when they really dont. Killing off a character has to have some kind of reason to it, otherwise it comes off as lazy storytelling. Batman dying should have had more impact on me, but it didnt. Why? Two things:

    1. It was so convoluted and post modern that the impression of Batman dying was lost on me and just about every reader because we were too busy wondering how he died and what the hell else was going on. BIG mistake.

    2. Just by killing off a character doesnt vault the book up higher. Look at Sabretooth being killed of in Wolverine issue 55. No normally Sabretooth is around to fight Wolverine, but throwing in some cockamamie story about wolves and cats and some kind of uber sword that can kill off Sabretooth isnt necessary. What have we gained from Sabretooth’s death? Nothing. No mention of it in any story since, and most people probably didnt even know Sabretooth was dead. Big mistake.

    Even the legendary Joss Whedon is guilty of this. He has announced that Kitty Pryde is his favorite X character. He ended up “killing” her off in Astonishing X-Men, but with constant delays and a strange premise for her character to die ended up losing the impact it had on me. A giant bullet being shot through space? Lame.

    So those are my biggest gripes with character deaths in comics. There has to be some kind of reason for it, and if not, well that is why there are like 500 retcons in comics nowadays. Bringing back characters who needlessly died or killing off ones because some writer doesnt like or know how to write for that character.

  8. Ryker XL says:

    I agree that Bucky coming back is kinda cool; as a character he was never fully explored or developed. In a sense it’s a breath of fresh air.

    You’re right, I had no idea Sabertooth was dead. Gotta catch up on my Xmen. But it proves your point.

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