Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Comic Reviews - A Light Shines in the Blackest Night

Okay geeks of all stripes! I've been overwhelmed with school these past few weeks but this post will catch me up on all my pull list reviews. All of these issues except for Blackest Night: The Flash #1 came out two weeks ago and BN: Flash came out last week. But what a great group of issues these were! DC really is really amping up the Blackest Night storyline! So dig in...

Superman: Secret Origin #3
This series is such great fun! John's writing and Franks art evoke classic Superman in a way that I haven't seen in years. In this issue, Clark arrives in Metropolis for his new job at the Daily Planet. Most of the story revolves around Clark meeting the iconic DP staff and the bumbling ways he does it would make Chris Reeve proud. The iconic scenes are all here too. Clark opening his shirt to reveal the big "S" and flying off to catch Lois falling from a rooftop. It's all brilliantly written and I can't wait to read more!
Score: 4.5 out of 5

Superman #694
The tales of Mon-El standing in for Supes while he's away on New Krypton have been hit and miss. I love the character and the writing of Mon-El but the stories don't always click. This one is written to be a turning point in the series and, hopefully, will lead to bigger and better things for the series. Mon-El, coming to grips with his new life and where he fits in the scheme of things, pays a visit to Smallville. After some heart-to-heart chats with Conner and Ma Kent, he returns to Metropolis in full force (with a new Superman-inspired costume courtesy of Mrs. Kent). In Metropolis, the action ramps up with a showdown between Mon-El and Bizarro. The final page reveals that it's not just Bizarro that Mon should be worrying about with the appearance of the Parasite! Not a bad issue. It got my attention and I'm going along for the ride.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Detective Comics #859
Of all these new heroes standing in for DC's big three, Batwoman is the one that's really not clicking for me. I absolutely love the artwork of J.H. Williams III but I'm not digging the storylines thus far. This second storyline is better than the first but it's uneven. I like the flashback sequences to Batwoman's origins but, when the story returns to modern times, it is just so weird that I just can't get into it. The Gotham that I love just doesn't mesh with these shapeshifting monsters and demonic cults.
Score: 2.5 out of 5

Justice League of America #39
Since almost all of the JLA's major players left some months ago, this title has been hit and miss. I've liked seeing some of the B and C list characters being utilized but none of the stories have really hit. This trend has started on an upswing with this issue as Blackest Night finally makes it to the JLA. The team heads into the Hall of Justice to check on the bodies of their fallen enemies only to find that they've of course risen as Black Lanterns. They come face to face with Zatara which makes for an amusing showdown between him and Zatana as they jockey for a magical upper hand. After that situation is cleared up, it's b-lister vs b-lister as fallen heroes Vibe and Steel return. Then the big finale as clearly depicted on the cover is the return of Dr. Light. I said this was the start of an upswing and I hope that is the case because this issue was pretty good.
Score: 4 out of 5

Green Lantern #48
More brilliant writing from Geoff Johns this issue as we see the various corps of lanterns starting to form an uneasy alliance. Even the Red Lanterns start to set aside their rage in an effort to destroy the Black Lantern menace. I absolutely loved the twist that, to get Agent Orange into their alliance, the team had to concede to his wish that, after the Black Lanterns are defeated, he will get his very own Guardian. The issue ends with the team pretty much solidified and the countdown to the end of Blackest Night beginning.
Score: 5 out of 5

Blackest Night #5
This issue picks up directly after the events of Green Lantern #48 with the newly formed rainbow rodeo (as Hal calls it) preparing to chase down the missing Black Lantern battery. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the heroes are holding off against the recently revealed mastermind behind Blackest night...Nekron! Nearly all the DCU heroes, including Superman and Wonder Woman, seem to arrive on the scene. As the battle rages, it is revealed that any time a Black Lantern tries to harm Dove (of Hawk & Dove) that she emits a white light that has the ability to completely them. The Lanterns then, as I'd predicted when this series began, combine the color spectrum to create white light and fire on the Black Lantern battery. Oddly, this attack seems to have no effect. Then the tide turns as Nekron revives the skull that Black Hand has been carrying since the series began and resurrects Batman as a Black Lantern! As if that's not bad enough, Black Lantern Batman spits out rings that, instead of claiming the dead as Black Lanterns, begins to claim those who have died and returned! Superman! Wonder Woman! Superboy! Kid Flash! Green Arrow! Then Nekron reclaims Batman's black ring and turns him back into a skull. (And don't think I didn't notice the quotation marks when Nekron called him "Bruce Wayne"... that's not the real Batman!) Then the new killing rings turn on the recently returned Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. Will they become Black Lanterns? I doubt it but I can't wait to find out!
Score: 5 out of 5

Blackest Night: The Flash #1
In what I'll vote for as cover of the week, this issue mimics the iconic image from the first issue of Flash: Rebirth with the Black Flash standing in for Barry. The storie begins somewhere during or slightly after the events of Flash: Rebirth with Barry still battling Thawne after it is revealed that a time-travelling Thawne is the cause of a lot of Barry's suffering throughout his entire life. Meanwhile, the Rogues are making plans of their own. The new Capt. Boomerang seeks out his father in the hopes of talking to him when and if he is resurrected. Capt. Cold appears to be doing the same in tracking down his sister, the Golden Glider. As the new Boomerang mopes around the graveyard, he witnesses the rising of Thawne as a Black Lantern (or Black Flash as he refers to himself). Yes. You heard that correct, now there are two Thawnes in this timeline. Barry, in an attempt to figure out what's happening and if the Black Lantern is the cause of all his misery by resurrecting Thawne, heads to Gorilla city to speak to Solovar only to find Solovar killed and the city taken over by Gorilla Grodd. Barry then faces off against a Black Lantern Solovar only to run away. As he's running, the Black Lantern rings reach 100% power and Barry calls all the speedsters to Coast City. What's his plan? I don't know but with the issues these past two weeks, Blackest Night has reached a head and I'm dying (bad pun fully intended) for the next issue!
Score: 4.5 out of 5


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