Jeff’s Comics Review, 7/22/09 releases, Part 1
Power Girl 3: It turns out that Power Girl is wearing the same costume here as in JSA vs. Kobra, but when Amanda Conner draws it it looks cute and when Don Kramer draws it in the other book it looks slutty. Palmiotti and Conner seem to know this, since they make jokes about it when Kara gets heckled during a prison visit. (“I love that they never wear pants.”) I would have rather seen more of the new supporting cast instead of the extended guest appearance by the new Terra, and I generally dislike “Manhattan becomes detached from the Earth” stories, but otherwise this is fun.
Nova 27: Somehow, I completely misread the ending of the previous issue and thought that it was Rich (Nova Prime) Rider in that scene instead of his brother. That makes this issue a race against time as Rich has to navigate some of the front lines of the war, including an encounter with Blastaar, to rescue Robbie. Abnett and Lanning deliver their usual surprise ending twist, which if it sticks will have some lasting effects.
Immortal Weapons 1: Jason Aaron tells the story of Fat Cobra in this issue, and strikes just the right balance of comedy and tragedy. There’s also an Iron Fist serial in the back by the regular team, which is a great idea to keep people from losing interest while the front of the book focuses on other characters.
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four 5: Loved this from the opening scene (“…get away from the children, Osborn.” “Make me.”) to Franklin’s attack (and the scolding from his parents that followed) to Reed fulfilling the letter of a promise but not the spirit, leading to Hickman’s run on the regular book where Reed will try to solve all the problems he thinks he’s created over the past few years. Hickman also references the Dwayne McDuffie run, which makes me happy. I’m very much looking forward to Hickman and Eaglesham taking over FF.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance 3: The idea is good here: Joe Casey is basically saying these characters are so generic that their enemies (“The Parasitic Teutons of Assimilation”, for some reason) can’t tell the difference between them and partygoers dressed up like them. However Chriscross, whose work I usually really like, doesn’t pull off the staging well and half the time I wasn’t sure which characters were “real” in each scene. Also, the Twitter captions are starting to annoy me, because they’re appearing when Most Excellent Superbat can’t possibly be typing (like during a kiss on a roof.) Maybe that’s just Casey trying to be funny, but if he’s going to use the gimmick he should play by its rules and not just use it as a glorified thought balloon.
Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps 2: If you’re following Green Lantern and not just Blackest Night, I’d call this issue essential because there’s a major development for Carol Ferris in it. The Red and Orange lantern stories are also good, but nothing that looks like it will impact much on the main story. Also includes a short essay by Ethan Van Sciver about the design of the various lantern corps symbols.
Green Lantern 44: Geoff Johns says you don’t have to read Green Lantern to follow Blackest Night, but you do have to read Blackest Night to follow Green Lantern. That starts here, as this is mostly an expanded version of the Hal/Barry/Black Lantern Martian Manhunter fight from BN #1. It also gives some insight into what the Black Lanterns (assuming for now that they’re individuals, which I think they may not be) are trying to accomplish and ends with a significant development for John Stewart. Geoff Johns basically blew away my prediction at San Diego by saying that Barry will definitely be around after Blackest Night, but wouldn’t it be fun if that was a huge fake-out? (It’s not – Johns admits he’s a terrible liar – but it would be great.)
Supergirl 43: The best issue of the current team so far, as Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle tell the story of a Kryptonian coming-of-age ritual for Kara in the form of a letter to her late father. This lets us in on some of her innermost feelings, and gives an opportunity to show Alura as not the queen bitch of the universe for a change. Very well done.
Dark Wolverine 76: There’s a lot of this issue I like, with schemes going in all directions between Osborn, Daken and Bullseye, but I completely don’t buy that Daken could get into FF headquarters undetected. Even Way & Liu admit this by having the characters acknowledge how implausible it is, but then not explaining it anyway. If Daken’s going to be a total badass in this book, that’s fine, but I need to be shown that not just told it.
Guardians of the Galaxy 16: This is the issue with the original (future) Guardians in it, or at least a possible version of them as affected by events in the present day. I was looking forward to this anyway, but it was extra fun because I just read the two hardcovers that came out recently reprinting the original stories. (Which is a discussion for another day.) The contrast between the original team’s more traditional heroics and “our” team’s seat-of-the-pants approach is great.
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds 5: Worth the wait, this is basically a giant love letter to the Legion literally featuring every Legion character ever. (Some of the art may have been cut off, according to inker Scott Koblish’s blog, but all the characters were drawn.) Not surprisingly this issue clears the way to tell stories of the “original” Legion in Adventure Comics, but to my surprise and delight instead of being decimated both “reboot” teams are given new purposes – in one case a new name and a new mission and in the other case fulfilling a prediction I made in one of my reviews of the earlier issues. Superboy-Prime’s fate is really clever and suitably ironic, and the fate of the 31st century Green Lantern Corps is seen. I’m sure you can go ahead and read Adventure Comics without this (and by the way the preview pages look amazing), but if you have affection for the Legion and haven’t been buying this off the stands you should definitely get the collected edition when it comes out.
More tomorrow, including Amazing Spider-Man 600 and Hulk 600. (Guess which one I liked better.)