Weekly Comic Book Discussion 6/9/2005

JLA 115:

I can NOT believe J’onn said that to Zatanna.

Two words. White. Martians.

Rann/Thanagar War 2:

This, children, is why Adam didn’t want J’onn to send Shayera.

Also, I liked Captain Comet, Vril Dox and Kyle showing up, and the various aliens being mentioned/appearing in the book.

I’m a bit puzzled by the J’onn reaction, given what he did to the White Martians, as well. I have a couple of theories - one being that the Martians believed this sort of justice was okay, but J’onn knows humans value their memories more highly, and thus can’t imagine doing it to a human; Or perhaps J’onn’s just appalled they’d do it to an ally, and to be honest, it’s not like he’s outraged, just sort of coldly miffed…; Or, J’onn’s experience with the White Martians and his experience with being taken over by the Fire God fella (during which time he offered to lobotomize the evil right out of Luthor) have changed his opinion on the whole subject.

Not sure.

Check out the cover to Rann-Than #2 closely, by the way, and one will see a native of Bolovax Vik (if I recall correctly), Kilowog’s planet, in some kind of non-Green Lantern uniform. Another survivor, maybe?

New Books for 6/8/05 continued.

Lighter Fare:

Diehard GA fan, Chris Hansborough hasn’t been too thrilled with the portrayal of Ollie Queen and Co. in recent issues of Green Arrow, so when he raved about issue #51 so I decided to give it a try. While I appreciated the bit about old and new radicals, otherwise I didn’t get much of a sense of Ollie’s personality, something I wanted to see. The story was more a showcase for the return of Anarchy, the walking embodiment of the motto, “live free or die”, and Ollie serves as a witness, an admiring one. (I would enjoy a story where Anarchy met Miller’s anarchist version of the Question from BM: DKSA). I also enjoyed seeing Eric Battle’s work again. Like Brad Walker (*Catwoman #41-42, Richard Dragon #10) Battle was one of the relatively new names whose work stood out on Batman War Games. Here his compositions are fluid and dramatic, and inked by Steve Purcell in a style that reminds me of some of the inkers from the Philippines that graced Marvel titles in the seventies.

People thought the new digital technology (avid, telecine, cgi) would speed up post production: it actually slows things down. For every new efficiency, there are dozens of new options to explore. Sometimes this leads to confusion. The same applies to the reintroduction, via Wildstorm, of multiple universes into the DCU. (Of course, as far as I know, it was a DC writer who came up with the idea first but they dumped the idea for a while with Crisis on Infinite Earths.) I’m sure that’s what’s so confusing about Superman/Batman #20 (or for that matter, Majestic #8). It’s one of those stories that needs some expository narration to clear things up. Still I enjoyed the opening, where a World’s Finest team from a parallel universe (where someone big killed Lois Lane, and Superman and Batman kill) traveled to another parallel universe, and took on analogues of Millar and Hitch’s Ultimates (who were, at the time, in battle with analogues of the old Masters of Evil). I was utterly lost at the meeting between Batzarro and Bizarro #1. I never cared to decipher their distinctive style of speech (it was annoying then as now). I did like the sly gag on Hawkeye’s passing in Avengers Dissassembled, and I didn’t’ see the point of Capt. Atom’s resurrection. He must have a role to play in this series or one of the Countdown spin-offs. Ed McGuinness’ drawing style is really growing on me. I liked his take on the Batkids in the first Superman/Batman storyarc. I wish he had the chance to draw them in action. (I’d also like to see Tom Raney do them some day: I liked his Nightwing and Huntress in the Outsiders).

For some reason, I tend to think of the New Warriors and the Thunderbolts as sides of the same whole: this of course is due to the fact the same writers and artists worked on both books in the 80’s and 90’s. New Warriors #1 was nice, light fare. Young’s drawing style is charming, and I like the way Wells writes Speedball. I’d like to see more frission between Namorita and Nova. (Not sure I’m too thrilled about Germ Boy: he seems too much like a one-gag character. He could get old pretty quick.) Another enjoyable read was Ninceiza, Grummett and Erksine’s first six issues of the New Thunderbolts, which I picked up this week in trade format. The story was fine, the usual fast paced soap opera that made the earlier incarnation of the Thunderbolts and the original New Warriors so much fun in the eighties and nineties; and I always liked Grummett’s work on team books, like the Titans, Teen Titans and The Power Company. While I haven’t cared for Sienkiewicz or Hanna’s finishes over Grummett’s pencils in more recent issues of the New T-bolts, I really liked Erksine’s. Sienkiewicz’s style doesn’t really fit Grummett’s pencils, and comparing Erksine’s to Hanna’s, it’s clear that the problem with the former was a lack of variation in line quality.

Like Gail Simone’s work on Birds of Prey, her first two-issue story, in Action Comics #827 & 828 was fun and imaginative. I loved what she did with Repulse (such creative use of magnetic powers) and Polaris (I hope other writers make as interesting use of Polaris’ acute psychosis). I was also surprised at how well she wrote Superman’s supporting cast. It was one of the rare times I actually gave a damn for any of them, and I liked what she did with what must be an obligatory Villains United tie-in. Here the SSoSV functions like a union, taking care of their own (though Polaris’ psychosis makes him more of a liability than an asset). It was also nice to be reminded what a good visual storyteller John Bryne can be. An all around fun read. (Do you think it would dampen things too much to try to work in the psychotic Thorn sometime?)

Opps.

Apologies for the Yellow Spoiler text.

I forgot to change it to [spoiler ] tabs for this message board. (Everywhere else I post gave up on the spoiler tabs and uses colored text instead.)

More interesting to me is, if you look in the background, to the right, behind the Khunds and one of the Xudarians (I count 3 of those, FTR), you’ll see Validus.

I think it’s the difference between executing a criminal after a trial and appeals process, and killing some punk in the street, and then an ally to cover it up.

Here’s a canon example of Martian justice: J’onn’s own brother, Malefic, was condemned to have his telepathic capabilities removed, and then have his memories of ever having those abilities also removed*. Malefic’s crime? Mind rape. The worset crime concievable to the Martians. Same as what was being done to him. Same as what the Justice League did to Light and (arguably) Batman. Thematically similar to what Light did to Sue Dibney.

So, yes, J’onn will alter someone’s mind, and has done so in the past. But never lightly, and never to an ally. He may even consider himself uniquely capable of giving such punishment, since as a telepath from a telepathic society, he knows exactly what such a thing would mean.

But that’s way too much to put in the space budgeted for J’onn. So he says “I would never alter someone’s memories. It is the ultimate violation.” Which, as a certain old Jedi would say, is true, from a certain point of view.

*This would come back to bite the Martians on their pointy green asses. Malefic, out of revenge for being such a freakishly disabled Martian, developed the telepathic plague that wiped out the species, which he alone was immune to.

I did see them, but I forgot about Validus this morning - the Xudarian I found unremarkable, because I don’t recall Xudar getting all blowed up. Validus piqued my curiosity, but when I wrote my post, he’d slipped my mind.

Heh…yeah…my count of Xundarians was just part of my cataloguing of ‘things I recognised’…R/T War, and VU put me in that mode. DoV and OMAC less so, since they have fewer cameos. (Also saw a Dominator next to the Bolivaxian.)

I thought his brother was named Tom? (Kinda a joke, but also ancient canon.)

T’omm J’onzz?? That’s…unusual. Well, then again, maybe it’s not.

That just about made me fall out of my chair.

I can think of no clever reference to a lyric to put here. I understand it’s not unusual. Cite 1 Cite 2
Cite 3

Any Fathom fans out there? I picked up Fathom: Beginnings today and really enjoyed it. There are a couple of “Preview” issues out to. Should I read them or skip straight to Fathom #1? I’m new to the Fathom universe other than looking at the pretty pictures my art major former roommate used to point out.

T’omm J’onnz? Snarf

Tom Strong #33
This was a fine stand-alone issue in both story and art, but without Alan Moore on the book I’m not sure how much longer this title will continue, or how long I will continue picking it up. It’s just not the same without him. (It also takes me longer to read because of all of the "krtik"s and "sss"s when Pneuman speaks).

JLA #115
I enjoyed this opening issue of “Crisis of Conscience” quite a lot. I am a big fan of Geoff Johns, and I think he has a good undrestanding of many of the DC characters involved in this issue, as well as the universe in general. Now if they could just find a good regular writer for this book, I would be happy.

JSA #74
Another great issue of JSA, which in my opinion is the best DC comic out there. It has been consistently great from the first issue. A great story, and wonderful art. Atom Smasher is a complex character, and I am enjoying this arc as it is examining his role with both Black Adam and the JSA.

Batman: LOTDK #192
A good start to this story, with really good art. Not that the art is outstandingly beautiful, but the detail that is put in helps make the story come to life. Batman’s characterization is also great here, as we get a look at the early days of his career.

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #2
I love Grant Morrison, so I am picking up all of the Seven Soldiers titles. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the first issue of this series, but I really enjoyed this issue. Grant gets to play around with some of his crazy ideas, such as the shapeless one disguising himself as the 7th letter of the alphabet. Such weirdness can only come from Grant, and this issue felt like something from his excellent Doom Patrol run.

Rann-Thanagar War #2
I can’t say that I am terribly impressed with this series so far. It can’t help that I didn’t read the Adam Strange mini-series that immediately preceded this series, but I have always had a hard time getting interested in the “space” aspect of DC Comics. There is just so much happening on Earth! Still, the book was alright, though I will agree with the earlier comments that Kyle seemed extremely generic.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #4
Hope’s character seems very similar to Faith from the JLA, but maybe that is intentional (where is Charity)? The dialog between Mr. Orr and Toyman was out of place in a typical DC book and was obviously something that fit better in an issue of 100 bullets. I half-expected Orr to hand him a briefcase with a gun and some untraceable bullets. I just don’t like the character of Mr. Orr, and this is due in no small part to Azzarello’s ABYSMAL run on Superman. A year of my life that I’ll never get back.

FWIW, many Preacher fans (this one included) feel the series doesn’t hit its stride until the next TPB, Until the End of the World. That’s not to say the content becomes radically different, just that the material is handled in a more interesting way. As long as you didn’t absolutely hate the first TPB, it might be well worth borrowing a copy of the second volume.

Agreed. I read the first Preacher TPB back in 1996, and despised it. I didn’t touch the series again until years later, actually when Selkie herself convinced me to give it another chance, starting with the second volume. I ended up loving it, and read through the entire series of 9 TPBs over three evenings. The second (and third) books are so much better than the first, and they might hook you if you give them a chance.

For me, PREACHER hit its stride right from the get-go but I agree it got even better. It never occurred to me you’d have a “Meh” reaction to the first tpb. Arseface dumb?? HERESY.

Okay, c’mon. Arseface felt like a gag the Farrelly Brothers would leave out of a movie because it was “too over the top”.

CandidGamera. Nuh-uh. Nope. Not again. Last time we had this go 'round, arguing over niggling comic book minuitae, we went back and forth for days and got nowhere. My new codewords for you is ATDA YETYO. (Agree to disagree, amigo. You’re entitled to your opinion.)

Preacher: sucks.

OK, ok, it doesn’t suck. But all the stuff that turned me off in the first volume – the over-the-top violence, the weird sex, the canonization of Jesse, etc., etc., is ratcheted up in subsequent volumes. The ending was great, but everything up to that is sorely disappointing.

What you really need to read in The Invisibles. Read it three times through – it cannot fail to change your life.

–Cliffy