Originally, I was planning on leading off tonight’s post with the shot of Negative Spider-Man kicking the White Rabbit in the face–because, you know, it’s Negative Spider-Man and the White Rabbit–but then I saw a panel where a werewolf kicked a vampire’s head off while quoting Human Traffic…
…and that’s not the sort of thing a guy like me can really pass up.
And with that, we turn to another Thursday night of the Internet’s Most OTT Comics Reviews! Here’s what I bought this week…
And here’s how they made me feel… on the inside.
All-Select Comics Anniversary Special: Given my affection for the comics of the ’30s and ’40s–which didn’t so much break the rules as exist in complete isolation from them–I’ve been pretty interested in the 70th Anniversary Specials that Marvel’s been putting out to celebrate their long-ignored Golden Age properties, and this is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. Not because of the Blonde Phantom, although I do have a lot of affection for the Nerd Hot adventuress who pretty much fights crime with the power of being sexy, although her story does feature the always beautiful art of Javier Pulido. No, my excitment comes because this issue marks the return of the single greatest character of the Golden Age: MARVEX: THE SUPER ROBOT! And even better, it’s written and drawn Michael Kupperman.
Kupperman, of course, is the guy behind the truly fantastic Tales Designed to Thrizzle, which, thanks to bits like Jesus’s Evil Half-Brother Pagus, 4Playo the Foreplay Robot, and of course Snake ‘n’ Bacon, is probably the funniest humor book on the stands. But the best thing about his story here is that even though it’s hilarious, and even though it’s a perfect example of the style he employs in Thrizzle, it is still exactly like the original Marvex stories that ran in Daring Mystery back in the ’40s, right down to Marvex, who is clearly made of metal, constantly disrobing to prove that he is in fact a robot. Plus, both of the Golden Age Marvex stories that appeared in the incredible Daring Mystery Masterwork are also included, and that alone makes it worth the four bucks if you haven’t already got them. It’s good stuff, and well worth picking up, if only to support the idea of Marvel going to independent creators to have some fun.
Blackest Night #1: I made a very solemn vow about only reviewing comics that I bought, but for this, I’m making a once-in-a-lifetime exception.
A friend of mine actually gave me a copy to read, and I’ve got to say that I’m glad he did, because this is hands-down one of the most hilariously awful comics I’ve ever read. And in case you forgot, I’ve read every single issue of Tarot.
I don’t even know where to begin with this thing, but I suppose I’ll start with the plot, which–despite all my grousing about how it sounds an awful lot like an attempt to cash in on Marvel Zombies three years after it would’ve been relevant–is actually not a bad idea. The idea of dead characters rising from their graves for revenge is certainly one that could lead to some enjoyable stories, and I’ve got to confess, if I wasn’t thoroughly burnt out on Green Lantern and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Corps, it’s something that I’d probably be very interested in as a big summer punchout. Of course, it’d probably make more sense for it to revolve around, say, Nekron, an actual pre-existing Green Lantern villain that rules the Land of the Dead rather than an embarrassingly gritty revamp of the Black Hand that feels like a leftover throwback to the early ’90s, but it’s got the right amount of continuity-heavy fan appeal and action-oriented potential to be enjoyable. I get that.
Which makes it a real shame that it’s written so poorly.
For one thing, it just don’t make any sense, and considering that I’m willing to accept that it’s about a guy with a magic green wishing ring who went gray because there was an evil yellow space-bug that’s more powerful than God living in his brain, that’s saying something. To start with, it seems a little disingenuous that the world would celebrate dead super-heroes on the day that Superman didn’t actually die. I guess that could be as much of a comment on the fluid nature of super-hero mortality as Superman saying “We’ll all miss him, and pray for a resurrection” at the Martian Manhunter’s funeral in Final Crisis, but considering the lengths that Geoff Johns is going to in this script to make a ham-fisted point, I doubt it.
And brother, does he reach. The prose in this thing is so purple that it oughtta have its own set of rings powered by schmaltz. The scene with Damage and Atom Smasher at the cemetery where they talk about how he’s not turning his back on his father is amazingly awkward, but it reads like Shakespeare next to Hawkman’s hilarious “She made the Atom feel small” line, a pun that surpasses even Peter Davidian levels of smug, aren’t-I-clever self-awareness. And of course, Johns continues the trend of having Barry Allen and Hal Jordan stand around talking about how much it sucks to be super-heroes, which doesn’t do a whole lot to make me want to read about them. Seriously, between this and Cry For Justice, these guys are whining way too much, and I say that as a Spider-Man fan.
And then there’s a litany of assorted smaller annoyances, like this panel, which made me laugh and laugh, or the fact that a good number of the resurrections are just nonsense. I understand why you’d go for Martian Manhunter or Firestorm, but Golden Glider and the Top? I mean, Golden Glider?! You’ve got access to anyone who has ever died, and you bring back a bank-robbing ice-skater?! That shit is Amateur Hour, for real.
And the real shame of it is, Geoff Johns is fully capable of doing better than this. I think Douglas Wolk said it best in his column on ComicsAlliance:
There are two different Geoff Johnses, it sometimes seems. One of them is the watertight plotter and pinpoint character writer who comes up with huge, fantastic ideas and builds toward enormous fist-in-the-air moments for months or years; the other one obsessively lingers over gross-outs, dismemberments and violent slaughter and works in what Wikipedia calls “a primarily in-universe style.”
I don’t dislike Johns as a writer–or at least, I don’t all the time. Long after I’d written that guy off, he did stuff like Booster Gold with Jeff Katz and an extremely entertaining run on Superman, but like Wolk says, this thing reads like an entirely different person wrote it. Someone who is not very good.
To be fair–and I’m sure you know how much it pains me to say that–it’s not all bad. Ivan Reis turns in some fantastic art that’s really deserving in being in one of the company’s biggest titles, and while I don’t like a few of his effects, like Barry Allen always being in two places at once, it’s just because it’s not my cup of tea. Although there is a scene where Barry looks like he’s pouting super-hard, but, well, he is pouting, so it’s pretty appropriate. Also, I liked… well, no, Reis’s art is pretty much it. Everything else is pretty much overshadowed by the fact that it’s Not Very Good.
Dark Avengers #7: A few weeks ago, someone asked me in the comments asked if I was planning on picking up Dark Avengers during the crossover with Uncanny X-Men, and–in an uncharacteristically rational moment, I responded with a simple “No.”
Of course, that was before I realized that the Dark Avengers tie-ins were going to be written by Matt Fraction, and therefore fall under the agreement we have where I buy everything he writes, and he makes sure that everything he writes is totally awesome. Thus, we have this issue, where Cyclops is given not only one of his rare but enjoyable badass moments, but also a jetpack.
Because everything’s better on a jetpack.
Doctor Who #1: This issue launches ongoing Doctor Who series, and while I’m what you might call a casual Who fan–there’s a good chance I’ve read more issues of Doctor Who Magazine than I’ve seen actual episodes of the show, since the mags have Dan McDaid’s comic strips in them–I’ve been looking forward to it.
It is after all scripted by Tony Lee, who turned in a pretty amazing job on Doctor Who: The Forgotten, a story that was steeped in the history of the show without being so complex as to turn off a relative neophyte like me. Plus, it’s got covers by Paul Grist, and we all know how I feel about him. In practice, though, it’s… well, it’s not bad, but it’s strange.
And not in the way that Doctor Who stories are usually strange either. For one thing, there’s the Charlie Chaplin stand-in that the story’s based around, whose name is–and I am serious here–Archie Maplin. Not that using an analogue for a famous person is a foreign concept for comics–who doesn’t love that issue of Firestorm where he has to save Curt Holland, the ersatz Burt Reynolds, from Killer Frost?–but transplanted into Doctor Who, which has stories based around undisguised versions of Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare, it feels a little off. But then again, I’m also reading Sunnyside, Glen David Gold’s novel about Chaplin, so the comparison might’ve stuck out more because of that than anything else. But beyond that–and the oddly confrontational catch-up description of the Doctor on the inside front cover–the story’s fine.
The art, on the other hand… well, it’s not great. There are panels that are really well-done, like Maplin being blasted with the laser, but it’s very inconsistent. Between the scenes where the Doctor looks more like Peter Sellers than David Tennant and the simple mistake of relying so much on photo reference that you forget to flip the locomotive engine when it’s reflected in the Doctor’s glasses on the last page, it comes off as strikingly amateurish, and when it’s stacked against Grist’s cover, or his interior work on Lee’s Time Machination one-shot, or even the strips in Doctor Who Magazine, it suffers for the comparison. Lee’s stories are generally interesting enough that I’m interested as long as they’re, you know, readable, if I remember correctly, it was bad art that killed the first IDW DW mini-series and made it such a relief to get Pia Guerra’s fantastic art on the issues of The Forgotten that she did. Hopefully, Davison’ll get better by the time The Doctor has a team-up with Meonardo MaVinci.
Walking Dead #63: John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew has been getting a lot of positive buzz lately, but owing to the fact that every copy we ordered arrived damaged, I ahven’t been able to give it a read until this week, when it was reprinted in its entirety for no extra charge in Walking Dead.
I don’t even think I have to say this, but that’s an amazingly cool thing for Image (and Robert Kirkman) to do. Throwing in a preview or a backup story is one thing, but to throw twenty-two pages into a book for free is amazing, and really shows that they want Chew to do well.
And they’re not the only ones, either, as now that I’ve read it, I can safely say that it’s totally awesome. Layman is, of course, the writer that brought us the pure, hilarious genius of Dark Xena, but as much as I love that series in a completely unironic way–as Layman takes care of the irony himself–he’s operating on an entirely different level here. The plot revolves around Tony Chu, a policeman with the unfortunate ability of being a cibopath, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats, which comes in handy in a world where food-based crimes run rampant owing to chicken being outlawed.
As you might imagine, this is all played with a comedic bent, even when–well, especially when–Chu has to turn to cannibalism to solve a grisly string of serial murders. It’s a fantastic high concept that’s done very, very well, and Guillory’s art is fantastic. There are spots where it reminds me a lot of Sonny Liew, and his exaggerated figures and expressive faces are just perfect for it.
If you missed the first issue and this week’s Walking Dead, there’s a third printing of #1 and a second printing of #2 coming out when the third issue hits, and having grabbed #2 and seen that it does in fact include a battle with ninjas (yes, really), I’m going to go ahead and highly recommend you check ’em out. It’s good stuff.
Werewolves On The Moon Vs. Vampires #2:
So. You should all be reading this.
Solomon Kane v.1: The Castle of the Devil: About a month ago, I had a dream where Archie Comics bought Sgt. Rock from DC, and then put out a three-issue miniseries called Sgt. Rock vs. Dracula. This is, of course, pretty awesome, but what made it even better was that the issues had painted homage covers to the ’60s Gold Key books, complete with a stylized Archie logo in the corner box. I woke up wanting those covers so bad, but unless the shape of the comics industry undergoes the most dramatic change of all time, I don’t think it’s likely to happen.
So I’ll just have to make do with the awesome Mike Mignola cover to Solomon Kane v.1:
Annnnnnnnnd that’s the week! After all, at this point, nobody needs me to tell them how awesome Preacher is (although they might need me to mention that the new hardcover is pretty nice), but if you’ve got a question or concern, feel free to leave a comment below.
As for me, I’ll be contemplating the life choices that have led me to write 856 words about a Green Lantern story that I did not particularly care for. I’m sure the results will be revealing.
One of the most disappointing parts of being broke now is having to pass up on the Beta Ray Bill mini. Because this issues ending was just perfect. And I never knew Namor had sea turtle sidekicks…
And as much as I love not being the only supers comics fan who doesn’t care for the Green Lantern books, I almost wish you’d put the word count towards reiterating how damn great RASL and Incognito are…
I’d completely forgotten that a Sherlock Holmes series was coming out – though I seem to remember the first one dropped, like, a year ago, so maybe “coming out” is the wrong phrase. Anyway. How is it?
Since you mentioned Cry For Justice, how bizarre is it that GL is in there whining about superheros getting killed when half the people IN THE ROOM, INCLUDING HIM, have been dead and come back? And now, by the time this ends, there are going to be at least another dozen coming back to life. It’s like swimming through tar and it makes my head hurt.
The Chaplin thing reminds me of an Italian comic called Dylan Dog. When I first read it, he had an assistant called Groucho who looked exactly like Groucho Marx. When Dark Horse did some reprints in the US, there must have been something different about copyright laws, because they had taken off his mustache and called him Sylvester or something.
I think I’m sold on Chew.
100% agreed with your assessment of Blackest Night, Chris. My girlfriend and I read it together and laughed our asses off at Zombie Ralph and Sue (how terrifying!) and at formerly-dead Hal & Barry getting their BAWWW on about their fallen comrades.
I hope this turns out to be like FC:Lo3W where it’s a just kinda-OK Johns story that brings back a lot of missed characters.
I’m gonna have to stick with my theory that Black Hand may be the subconscious manifestation of that Geoff Johns who’s obsessed with gore and darkness. I mean…I’ll admit, I think I’m still gonna read Blackest Night because I continue to find the concept a good and creepy one, but I’ll already I’m starting to have doubts over whether I can enjoy it even for what it is. I’m fine with zombies, I’m even fine with zombies of sacred loved ones coming back evil and twisted…but now we see zombies that charge energy by ripping people’s hearts out? When the scenes hit of people having sex with said zombies that we all know will be coming (hello, new and modern DC!), that’s when things may be done for me.
And “Peter Davidian levels of smug, aren’t-I-clever self awareness” is one of the best throwaway terms you’ve ever used, Chris :) Matched only by Brubaker’s comments on him here [http://www.thefourthrail.com/features/0801/edbrubaker1.shtml].
But, hey, on the positive, a pretty damn good week for comics. Not only was this the once in a blue moon week that RASL decided to come out, we also got Walking Dead, Sherlock Holmes, Fables going back to normal, Incognito,
Oh, yeah…and one other thing, reading the issue of Blackest Night made me pull out the two issues of that Busiek/Perez Avengers story where Grim Reaper brings back several dead Avengers to life (including his brother Wonder Man) as evil zombies who take down the Avengers, run amok in the mansion…and then find their heroic spirits, turn good and kick the Reaper’s ass. Good times, good times, and one of the best stories of that incredible run.
I mean, really? You trash Blackest Night yet you cream your jeans over Cyclops’ jet pack? Many many moons ago, I started off as an X-Men fan, and while I still read their books (when well-written, thank you Morrison, Brubaker, and Fraction), I thought the jetpack was just out of left field and completely ridiculous. I respectfully have to disagree with you. Blackest Night FTW!!!
Just two comments on Blackest Night:
-Anyone else gfind themselves developing a headache trying to picture what the Flash was supposed to look like in those two-in-one shots? Like, when he apparently put his head in his hand at superspeed? I mean… deep down… doesn’t he realize he’d look like kind of a douche doing mundane emo stuff at hyper-speed?
-Anyone else get the impression that, if he could have, Reis would have drawn Hawkgirl solely from behind, preferably up on her toes? There seemed to be an obsession with her ass in every panel she appeared in, including one where the under-cleavage of her cheeks framed the shot, iirc.
^^….not that there’s anything wrong with that…
NICE ONE BRUV
Anyway, I am now looking for an excuse to use “Green Lantern and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Corps” in casual conversation. Let the good times roll.
“just out of left field and completely ridiculous”
Have you read his reviews of Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane and Herbie Po…Sorry. Have you read any reviews Chris Sims has written? :D
I feel compelled to mention that there’s a theory circling fandom that the secret Big Bad of Blackest Night IS Nekron. Scar’s taking orders from somebody, and it ain’t the Anti-Monitor. And it would fit right with John’s continuity fetish..
“…but owing to the fact that every copy we ordered arrived damaged, I ahvenâ€™t been able to give it a read until this week..”
First, I never would have guessed that you would be such a stickler for mint-quality comics. Second, this raises an important question: At what CGC grade does a comic become “unreadable”? 9.4? 9.5? Will only a perfect 10.0 allow for full reading pleasure? Thirdly, which brand of tweezers do you use to turn the pages of your comics when reading them? Fourthly, do you have separate “in-store” and “in-home” tweezers, like I do? Finally, what type of butane lighter do you use to sterilize your page-turning tweezers? If you use a candle for sterilization, I will lose all respect for this site.
I’m hoping Reis’ Hawkgirl ass obsession doesn’t continue now she’s a zombie.
I always think there’s that enevitable niggle with the big DC events where the writer tries to drag the disperate events and characters of the DC Universe into a single cohesive story, and you just don’t get a snug enough fit, like over at Marvel, where there’s a clear editorial plan (which as flip side can be conscricting).
I always think Geoff Johns falls between those two stools a lot, a man with a very clear vision full of scope and drama that would find it tricky to work for Marvel (unless they gave him the whole show a la Bendis), but also a passion for continuity that’s always in danger of highlighting more narrative inconsistencies than remaining faithful to the mythos.
Morrison got a lot of internet stick (but not sales) for Final Crisis from people saying that Blackest Night would be the one worth waiting for. On this evidence it’s not been worth the wait, although the exposition heavy start did make me wonder if there had been some post FC pressure to spell things out, which is a shame (new readers? who are we kidding here?). Here’s hoping for a bit of momentum in later issues.
Blackest Night was real GEOFF JOHNS!!! overload alright, crazy melodrama and indulgent gore, and it was crying out for some humour and a real wow factor cliffhanger on the level of his previous epics. Very arrested adolesent, which is superhero comics’ demographic I suppose.
What Candid Gamera said.
I know you don’t read either Green Lantern on a regular basis, but there’s been SOMEONE on The Other Side giving both Black Hand and Scar (the renegade Guardian now heading the Black Lanterns) orders for a while now. Nekron is the most obvious suspect.
“I mean, really? You trash Blackest Night yet you cream your jeans over Cyclopsâ€™ jet pack?”
I wanted to get in here before the inevitable overblown internet freak outs over “someone has a differing opinion oh my god” but it might already be too late!
Look, I didn’t agree with the review either, but I can respect Chris’ opinion because he’s a cool guy and hey, people have differing tastes.
Furthermore, why would you even think insulting someone’s opinion in their own blog would be a good idea? It’s not like its lead to such rational and thought-out discussion EVERY OTHER TIME it happens here.
Good to see someone else buying Nexus. I liked it, but there was a brief scene that was a callback to I think issue #10, like 25 years ago? Not for everyone, then.
How many issues are we going to give Escape before it has to start making sense? That’s not to say it’s bad, but…
And that Solomon Kane cover is great. I’ll read Kane stories when they show up as Conan backups or something, but aside from when he’s actually fighting succubui or vampires, I don’t like him. He seems like a dick; moreso than even someone like Judge Dredd, so a lot.
If I may interrupt the Blackest Hand discussion for a moment, the awful art in the first IDW Doctor Who series was only that way to compliment the horrible, nonsensical story.
Escape is inspired by The Prisoner.
I expect it to start making sense appropriately never.
So, did you just decide that SOMEONE online had to dislike Blackest Night, and gosh darnit why couldn’t it be you? I mean, when you say something as boneheaded as (paraphrased) “this shouldn’t revolve around Black Hand,” it seems pretty clear to me that you’re trying rather hard. That’s almost as bad as your “Hush’s appearance in Streets of Gotham #1 is completely pointless” tweet. As in that case, this may be a situation where your complete dislike of a character/concept is clouding your ability to utilize logic, but we’ll see.
As far as who is brought back to life, the whole point of this story is that EVERYONE is coming back. To go to the trouble of criticizing Johns for a single character is absurd, if anything he should get props for remembering someone as obscure as Golden Glider and not skipping over him. I mean, if you want to talk about ridiculous cameos, your boy Fraction actually used ADAM-X THE X-TREME in an in-continuity, major crossover book (and wrote him pretty poorly, to boot).
And while I’m at it, kudos to Johns for calling back to the excellent body-snatching arc in Nightwing. I guess I can see where it bothers some people, but Johns’ attention to continuity has always been my favorite aspect of his writing.
Eh, I liked Blackest Night.
But I also liked Spiceworld.
I’m surprised no Wednesday Comics comments. Although I suppose the format makes it hard to hit on everything that’s going on.
But, still, Hawkman throwing terrorists out of airplanes and talking smack. Paul Pope combining jet packs and talking apes. Barry Allen vs. The Flash. Kamandi. Neil Gaiman teasing us with the adventures of Element Dog. Lots of good stuff right in the wheelhouse there. (And a truly awful Superman installment too. Talking heads. Whiny emo Superman. Batman acting like a dick for no reason. “Super-Prozac”.)
“To go to the trouble of criticizing Johns for a single character is absurd, if anything he should get props for remembering someone as obscure as Golden Glider and not skipping over him.”
Golden Glider is a her, not a him.
Man, the “Magic-Wishing Ring” Technicolor Fan Corpse sure are whiny, aren’t they?
Your 856 words are well written but I disagree: I thought Blackest Night was a really good comic. I like the pacing from the intro giving the DCU an excuse to dwell on the dead and explain to the reader the major players and relevant plotlines, to the oh daaammn moments in the last third of the comic.
The things I didn’t like are minor. Hal is a cock for showing Barry all of his dead friends in a friggin puppet show. Alfred is kind of weird (and having a bad week, given this and Dini’s comic).
Blackest Night aside (I liked it, but I can see why someone might not)… Should I really resign myself to FCA: Escape never making sense? I love a lot of these characters (Waller in particular), and I really want something cool to come out of this. Is there any hope?
“if anything he should get props for remembering someone as obscure as Golden Glider and not skipping over him.”
Agreed. Remembering useless characters from the past? It’s like he cured cancer.
I see my plea for sanity was to no avail. Oh well!
So, we’ve got multi-colored Corps and dead Flash rogues coming back.
It’s quite obvious who’s behind it all. The Rainbow Raider.
Gosh darn it, Luke J. – you’re supposed to WARN us before you drop spoilers!
Was my comic store the only one giving out Black Lantern rings if you bought Blackest Night #1? (Suffice it to say I didn’t get a ring. It’s really just the FCBD GL rings painted black with another piece put on, possibly at the molding stage but it looks like a seperate piece glued on.)
As for the first Doctor Who story, I didn’t think the art was that bad depending on the issue you had. On the other hand the story was bad, reminding me of why I hate the episode “Tooth and Claw”. Just a horrible take on the Doctor. Tony Lee’s writing was much needed mouthwash, and Pia (as well as Kelly Yates, who stood in for a couple issues) put out some darn good art.
Thanks for the shout-out, Chris. I will note, though, that the Atom-feeling-small thing is actually straight from Identity Crisis–as Ray Palmer shrinks down into relative nonexistence at the end, he cries out something along the lines of “I’ve never felt so small in my LIFE!”
And now you know why Identity Crisis is not high on my personal hit parade.
“Nekron, an actual pre-existing Green Lantern villain that rules the Land of the Dead rather than an embarrassingly gritty revamp of the Black Hand that feels like a leftover throwback to the early â€™90s,”
I think it’s more likely, given the Black Lantern’s propensity for tearing people’s hearts out, that the Big Bad in Blackest Night is probably Kano.
Marvex is clearly wonderful, but Taxi Taylor is the best Timely character. I thought everyone knew that.
What we’re seeing, with the Blackest Night review, is an unfortunate outgrowth of what is, when handled right, a pretty decent idea.
On a comic forum that I read, the mantra is “Follow creators, not characters.” The essential idea being that instead of buying every comic featuring Hourman, you should instead buy comics written by authors who write Hourman well.
Unfortunately, filtered through the internetizen mindset, that fundamentally good idea gets warped to the point that the people who used to be arguing about how Wolverine could totally kick Superman’s ass are now “more mature” and talking about how Grant Morrison could write Ed Brubaker under the table or Geoff Johns if fucking awesome and “the best at what he does.”
It’s the same lack of actual thought and rah-rah boosterism only (thankfully) without the polyester shirts with Geoff Johns silkscreened on the back.
I love how Green Lantern has become this entity now in comics and where ever you go if people say even the slightest bad thing about it everyone jumps on you
I think if Blackest Night will have 1 problem it will be TOO MANY CHARACTERS
Jeez, if I was Chris, I’d shut off the comments.
I remain surprised that BLACKEST NIGHT has so many ardent fans- or even ardent detractors- because it’s just sort of there. It’s not a spectacular failure, but that’s because it’s not doing anything that would ever qualify as risky. Ironic character deaths, gore galore, summaries of several past events- sounds like just another Wednesday in the DCU.
Why? He doesn’t strike me as that thin skinned. I find myself confused by Chris’s taste sometimes (Loving Speed Racer, refusing to see Watchmen?), but he’s welcome to his opinion.
I only glanced at Blackest Night (too poor at the moment), but I’ve been digging most of Johns GL stuff, though he does have a weakness for melodrama. The sheer volume of characters being used as Black Lanterns is what appeals to me.
So because a handful of people disagree with his review, and then a few more people decide to disagree with those people, this is the end of the world or something? Why are comic book fans so terrible? Obviously I was being tongue-in-cheek with my first sentence in my previous post, but I stand by the rest of it as completely reasonable. Oh, and the “him” was a typo. Or Golden Glider is just SO worthless that I couldn’t be bothered to check on her gender. YOU DECIDE.
“The prose in this thing is so purple that it oughtta have its own set of rings powered by schmaltz.”
Great line, Sims.
Agreed that if I was raising an army of zombies from the ranks of anyone who ever died in the DCU, I probably wouldn’t start with the Top either. Is the wizard Shazam still dead?
@David Thiel No, he was brought back recently in JSA.
“Jeez, if I was Chris, Iâ€™d shut off the comments.”
I didn’t think Blackest Night was that bad. It’s not a rip-off of Marvel Zombies, but a story about the nature of death in the DC Uinverse. Of course, the delicious irony of an undead Nick & Nora taking on the toughest fated lovers around is delicious, but it is undermined by gratitious imagery, so I’ll understand why it’ll get bashed. I just don’t think it deserves the treatment that, say, 4thletter gives to Ultimatium.
Also: undead Golden Glider = more chances for Johns to write her big brother, Captain Cold, whom got a badass makeover during his run on The Flash. I’m looking forward to a Superboy-Prime/Risk showdown, provided Risk got killed when his other arm was torn off. Where would he put his Black Lantern ring?
Just gonna say.
“Green Lantern and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Corps” is my new favorite anything.
Wait–Chris, you loved Speed Racer, too?
All is forgiven!
C’mere, ya big lug. Lemme kiss ya.
I’m totally with you on two points Chris: your Blackest Night review was right on, and EVERYTHING is better on a jetpack.
And for the guy that’s ripping on the jetpack; A. it’s a comic book, and B. Cyke has pretty much unlimited resources. He’s got Angel’s bankroll, and he has the science crew in the basement, which inludes Madison Jeffries, who, ya know, can pretty much manipulate anything to make whatever he wants. So, he probably called down and said, “Hey Madison, I need a jetback and I need it in 15 minutes.” Boom, jetpack.
But we’re probably going to find out in the next issue or so that it was Mystique impersonating Cyke with an old S.H.I.E.L.D. jetpack.
Chris, you’re my favorite guy who talks about comics on the internet, but can’t you review Streets of Gotham once in a while? Last month I saw your remarks on Twitter after I’d already bought the comic. If I’d known it sucked (which it did, you were right), I wouldn’t have thrown the money at it, Harley Quinn in the opening pages or no.
Agreed that Nekron would be the obvious Big Bad for a story like this, particularly one involving the Green Lantern Corps(e), but the way this is shaping up, I’m calling it right now: it’s going to be Mopee. Mark my words!
Re: Doctor Who
After the first read-through, I’ve had no problem just reading Archie Maplin as Charlie Chaplin (as well as swapping Dictator for Oppressor). Is the Little Tramp character not in the public domain? Perhaps that necessitated the name change.
Good catch on the inside cover description of the cover. It’s evoking one of the Doctor’s speeches from the 2007 Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned,” where he does indeed finish with “Got a problem with that?” In the comic, it’s stupid and out of place.
Also, nice catch on the last page train reflection. What bothered me there was how the Doctor looked like he was yawning so much more so than screaming. The art isn’t nearly as bad as the first IDW series (BTW, Lartigue is SPOT-ON). I can stand to actually look at and read Al Davison’s work.
Iâ€™d completely forgotten that a Sherlock Holmes series was coming out â€“ though I seem to remember the first one dropped, like, a year ago, so maybe â€œcoming outâ€ is the wrong phrase. Anyway. How is it?
It’s not bad. It’s well-drawn and well-written, although unless I’m completely wrong, Leah Moore and John Reppion are being a little obvious with the clues. This issue also could’ve moved a little faster, but overall it’s a very satisfying read.
Since you mentioned Cry For Justice, how bizarre is it that GL is in there whining about superheros getting killed when half the people IN THE ROOM, INCLUDING HIM, have been dead and come back?
I didn’t even think of that, but that’s an excellent point, and it brings me back to Morrison. I remember there being some eye-rolling over the “pray for a resurrection” line, but it’s an acknowledgment of how the universe these characters live in actually works. Peter David did the same thing with Nick Fury’s funeral in Hulk, and there’s a fine line there about trying to still find meaning in character death, but coming from Johns, whose entire career is based around killing characters off and bringing them back to life, it seems awkward at best. But then, that might be the point of having the Super-Hero Memorial Day be on a day when a guy didn’t really die. He might be more clever than I’m giving him credit for, and I’m willing to recognize that.
It just doesn’t seem like it.
I feel compelled to mention that thereâ€™s a theory circling fandom that the secret Big Bad of Blackest Night IS Nekron.
If it is, then that’s great, but it doesn’t change the fact that the “reimagining” of the Black Hand is the kind of thing that would’ve been right at home in the pages of Extreme Justice, which is my real beef with it. But it would be a good reveal.
First, I never would have guessed that you would be such a stickler for mint-quality comics. Second, this raises an important question: At what CGC grade does a comic become â€œunreadableâ€?
I never imagined when I woke up this morning that I’d be faced with the scathing wit of “10FootBongz!”
But, since you asked, here’s how the sausage gets made: When the comics come in damaged, I report them to Diamond and then hand them off to one of my coworkers, who deals with shipping out the returns once the order comes through. Anything that’s not returned is dealt with separately from the stuff that goes out on to floor. I assumed that after I reported them, we’d be getting replacement copies, but with Chew, it went to back order and was then canceled (which is not entirely unheard of when independent titles arrive damaged), and we never got our order on the second printing either. So this week’s Walking Dead was the first version of the story to arrive in salable condition, and so it’s the first one I picked up for myself.
I’m not much of a “mint freak” when it comes to back issues–I’ve killed enough weak staples scanning panels from 40 year-old comics for the blog, after all–but on new comics, there’s really no excuse to pay for something that’s banged up.
So, did you just decide that SOMEONE online had to dislike Blackest Night, and gosh darnit why couldnâ€™t it be you?
Yes. That is exactly what happened. I decided it would be a good idea to stay up ’til four in the morning writing completely dishonest reviews because I love reading the well-reasoned, thought-provoking responses and criticisms provided by fans of Green Lantern. You have found me out.
Thatâ€™s almost as bad as your â€œHushâ€™s appearance in Streets of Gotham #1 is completely pointlessâ€ tweet.
Every Hush appearance thus far is completely pointless.
I mean, if you want to talk about ridiculous cameos, your boy Fraction actually used ADAM-X THE X-TREME in an in-continuity, major crossover book (and wrote him pretty poorly, to boot).
I’d disagree with you that he was written poorly–I thought that scene was great–but the fact remains that Fraction’s playing Adam X for laughs, while the resurrection of Golden Glider and the Top is played straight, and, for me at least, it completely fails to engage me emotionally. I like the idea of using old characters as much as the next guy (probably more than the next guy, if we’re being honest), but bringing back a bank-robbing figure skater strikes me as a waste of potential that not only asks me to care about Golden Glider, but to believe that Captain Cold is important enough that his sister coming back should have emotional resonance that’s just not there. I like Captain Cold just fine, but he’s a supporting character, which makes Golden Glider a supporting character of a supporting character, and there’s nothing about that that makes me care when I could be reading about Black Lantern Hitler or Black Lantern Evel Kneivel or Black Lantern Sgt. Rock or Black Lantern Grant Morrison.
Attention to continuity is fine, and even laudable, but it’s not enough to carry a story that’s executed this poorly.
But I also liked Spiceworld.
As well you should have! It’s like the proto-Josie and the Pussycats, and almost certainly Elvis Costello’s finest film role!
Iâ€™m surprised no Wednesday Comics comments. Although I suppose the format makes it hard to hit on everything thatâ€™s going on.
With the exception of the Superman strip, I thought the second issue was a big improvement over the first. A gorgeous Metamorpho page, a Wonder Woman installment that was slightly more readable than the first, and a page of Green Lantern that actually featured Green Lantern.
Of course, that brings me back to the fact that that first GL installment was damn near useless, and this one really should’ve been last week’s but there you go.
Supergirl was great again, and Hawkman was, of course, fantastic, with Baker’s wonderful stylistic comedy coming to the forefront. But that Superman story… Yeesh. I like Arcudi a lot when he’s writing BPRD, but his DC stuff always seems so off, and a page of Superman trying to out-emo Batman is the exact opposite of what I want to see from that character in a giant page that lends itself so well to huge action.
Was my comic store the only one giving out Black Lantern rings if you bought Blackest Night #1?
We got a bunch, but to make sure we had enough to go around, I was only giving them out to folks who bought Blackest Night and BN: Tales of the Corps #1.
Jeez, if I was Chris, Iâ€™d shut off the comments.
Yes, but you don’t have my masochism or my constant need for approval.
Chris, youâ€™re my favorite guy who talks about comics on the internet, but canâ€™t you review Streets of Gotham once in a while?
I chose to not review it this week because I was absolutely certain that I’d written up the first issue, but looking back through the archives, it looks like that’s not the case.
So here’s the short version: It’s great to have Manhunter back and I think Andreyko’s doing a wonderful job–especially in this one, where things start to pick up–but the main story is not very good. Dustin Nguyen is a fine artist, but Dini’s scripts just make me wonder what the heck happened to that guy, as he went from doing fantastic done-in-one action mysteries to overblown nonsense involving Hush and other assorted villains monologuing their way through bog-standard stories that would be boring even if they weren’t unavoidably compared to Morrison and Quitely’s Batman and Robin.
I’m planning on sticking with it because I really do want to see more Manhunter and hey, reading a bad comic is still better than digging a ditch, but it’s definitely not doing it for me.
Why you gotta be hating on the ditch digging fandom Sims!
I assumed that after I reported them, weâ€™d be getting replacement copies, but with Chew, it went to back order and was then canceled (which is not entirely unheard of when independent titles arrive damaged), and we never got our order on the second printing either.
Jesus. What a terrible situation for comics trying to gain a foothold. Vive le Web, I guess.
I was wondering which came first (and I am too lazy to just look it up), Millar having Pym scream “You shouldn’t have made me feel small, Jan!” in the Ultimates or that line from the Atom in Identity Crisis? Either way, I couldn’t help but think of Ultimate Pym when Hawkman was dropping knowledge.
Sargent Rock is dead?
Now who’s going to help me make the girl mine?
The Elvis Costello cameo in Spiceworld is majestic.
So, I’m apparently one of the few people on the internet who enjoyed Blackest Night AND is fine with the fact that people didn’t. I hope I can join the Gray Lantern Corps, who are powered by apathy.
There is absolutely no reason not to love “Speed Racer.” Anyone who claims otherwise has nothing more to say to me.
I only follow modern-day DC through the efforts of bloggers such as Sims, so I’m grateful for a review from someone whose opinions I trust. “Blackest Night” doesn’t sound like something that would appeal to me, as I’m neither into stories which cross into dozens of issues, nor those which involve heroes that I like having their beating hearts ripped from their chests. But hey, different strokes.
When I first heard about the Sinestro Corps, I thought “Cool idea, and I can’t believe that it’s taken this long.” And the Zamorans have been a quasi-Lantern Corps at least as far back as “Millennium.” But an entire spectrum of ring-wielders seems to be taking it much too far.
Do GLs even police the galaxy any more? Or do they just fly around fighting other ring-wielders like Jedi vs. Sith?
With the exception of the Superman strip, I thought the second issue was a big improvement over the first. A gorgeous Metamorpho page, a Wonder Woman installment that was slightly more readable than the first, and a page of Green Lantern that actually featured Green Lantern.
I’m loving “Wednesday Comics” in concept, but I do feel like they still don’t quite grasp that they only have 12 pages to tell a tale. As you note, the Green Lantern strip (Volga Jetmen? Awesome!) should’ve started with this installment. I loved the first Metamorpho page, but this one, as pretty as it was, barely advanced the story. There’s more going on in the fake letters section (Element Dog? Don’t tease me like that!) than in the strip proper.
I would spend $3.99 on a Blackest Night: Evel Kneivel one-shot.
Oh, and while Wednesday comics is on the table, that goddamn Wonder Woman strip is just a mess. I’m a little ADD-afflicted, but I should be able to get halfway through a single page without starting to skim.
I can’t even enjoy the art, as it’s so murky. I feel like I’m reading the pressed fairy book.
I do like the Prince Valiant homage in Kamandi.
You mention bringing back Golden Glider as dumb….he brought back Phantom Lady…who’s power is to hit people while they stare at her boobs!
(Of course, Johns should be fired for killing her off in the first place, because her power is to hit people while they stare at her boobs!)
“You trash Blackest Night yet you cream your jeans over Cyclopsâ€™ jet pack?”
(1) I’d be both thrilled and horrified to be in a situation to say Scott Free’s above comment out loud to someone.
(2) I can’t read that without the SNL “Jizz in My Pants” song playing in my mind.
I dunno, I’m pretty excited about Dread Scot and the Plaid Lantern Corps.
i think the real tragedy outside of the discussion of “Blackest Night” is…
At your local Walmart, The Rise of the Cobra Storm Shadow Action Figure is a direct rip-off of DC Ronin Action Figure…WTF?
Or is this taking it too far left field?
Wait, there are two Phantom Ladies I know of in recent memory, both being almost identical in terms of costume and powers.
Is the one he’s bringing back the one that was killed in INFINITE CRISIS, or did the one from the series that followed that die too and I just missed it?
Dread Scot and the Plaid Lantern Corps is my new ska band.
Morrison has written a couple of really great funeral scenes, including the ones in the Prologue and Epilogue of the JLA with Tomorrow Woman (which is still one of the best one-shot comics I’ve ever read).
I don’t mind the characters being unaware that death means nothing, but to say “every crisis there are fewer of us” is demonstrably untrue. There are twice as many Teen Titans post Superboy Prime, twice as many Green Lanterns post Zero Hour, Twice as many JSA’ers post COIE. So to use that as a justification for a more extreeeeem JLA just means you didn’t really think you needed justification at all. This is completely true, of course, neither Robinson nor DC editorial needed justification, it’s their company. But when the premise is the kind of thing that I personally hoped would stop once The Authority finally got put on life support (where I expect it to stay until Geoff Johns gets the OK to jam them into the DCU as well), I personally need a little bit more convincing as to why I should care. OTOH, if the justification were just to hand Robinson a paycheck, that would be fine with me, so I’m probably just overanalyzing all this.
Am I to understand that only GOOD GUYS can come back as Black Lanterns? I guess that’s the way it has to be, because if bad guys could com back, there are plenty of universe-level threats that could be brought back that would take the crisis into levels of pure ridiculousness. Can Mageddon come back, for instance? Darkseid? Scar an Black Hand really aren’t thinking very tactically here.
“He might be more clever than Iâ€™m giving him credit for, and Iâ€™m willing to recognize that.”
No, I think you’re giving him the exact right amount of credit. When Johns is on (and I know we disagree on some of those times but who cares) he’s like Roy Thomas mk. II; a continuity fueled engine of hypercomics. And then sometimes he throws a rod and you get the 90’s revisited.
It actually reminds me a lot of Morrison though Morrison’s binary state is self-indulgent psuedo-philosophical gibberish and whiz-bang neo-silver age.
Tell me more about Nexus 101/102. I need inspiration to go and track down the other 100.
I caught the Dark Horse hardcover reprints in my library a while back, and Goddamn if it isn’t a great book, but I fear that actually compiling it all may be beyond my abilities; as such I wish to live vicariously through other people’s readings of this fine comic.
So does somebody wanna point out where the Hawkgirl ass-obsession is? Because I never noticed it.
So, Iâ€™m apparently one of the few people on the internet who enjoyed Blackest Night AND is fine with the fact that people didnâ€™t. I hope I can join the Gray Lantern Corps, who are powered by apathy.
Nah, I’m fine with it too. Too many people online take it personally if you criticize something they like.
I’m just sad that no comic stores in my area got a BL Ring.
Cyclops jetpacking in to tell Osborn to GTFO of San Francisco is one of the rare moments where I really wanted to be a Cyclops fan.
And Osborn’s reaction just sold it.
I think I can respectfully disagree with Chris’ assertion of BN. We both have an overwhelming love for Incredible Hercules. This is one of those rare moment where I hoped he would have stuck to an earlier comment and not have read something he knew he was going to hate. Granted, it satisfied my morbid curiosity of what he would have thought of BN.
I actually liek the Technicolor Dream Corps becaus eit accomplishes one of Johns missions for GL which is to expand his mythology and open new creative outlets. I think he did well here and introduced some good new characters, Larfleez being top on my list. As for empowering Black Hand, I appreciate Johsn attempt to present GL’s villains in more grave of a light. Its not like it came from nowhere anyway. He’s been building up Black Hand for about 5 years now.
I guess Im not as familiar with Johns because as far a over the top violence goes, I dont see it as much as I have seen in a Grant Morrison read. Personally, I never liked Morrison because I find some of his stories too confusing, or willing to leave out too many details to advance a plot within the confines of 22 pages. I think Johns is using the violence to hint at teh horrow of the Black Lanterns, because if the math works out right, to charge a Black Lantern ring will take a hefty death toll on any world one is present on. But I’m not looking to this to be suspense, I’m looking at this as a zombie/slasher comic event, which is unique in the scheme of mega crossovers. Of course, its not in good company when the last “horror” oriented mega crossover I can think of is “Bloodlines”.
The pacing of BN could have been better, but I’ll forgiv ehim for it being a #1 issue. I dont know many #1s of mega events that satosfy on the first go around. I hated FC #1 because the only time I was upa nd ecited for it was when Orion crashed dead. The other pages? They put me to sleep. I can forgive Johns though is he utiizes the mega page space he has to tell this events story. Atleast * issues of BN, 8 GLs, 8 GLCs atleast give plenty of room to cover the war of light AND the Blackest Night. I fully expect him to try and keep the war of light in the pages of GL and GLC for the time being while the Black Lantern menace stays mostly confined in BN.
Finally, I thought Cyclops’ jet pack was silly. He should have used an actual Jet.
Wow. I’m rather thrilled to be known as “the guy who’s ripping on the jetpack.”
Really, that was my biggest problem with the entire comic. I agree with Dominique above: He should have used a jet. Or something. (Couldn’t Pixie have teleported him in, therefore not risking being shot at by overzealous H.A.M.M.E.R. soldiers?) The rest of the scene between Cyclops and Osborne was well-done.
And for the record, I rather enjoy Chris’ blog, and have read his reviews before. Haunted vagina? Classic.
If you can’t appreciate a jet pack, I don’t know what to tell you.
It’s like arguing about how talking gorillas and robots which consist of little more than a brain under glass and rolling wheels could never be in a relationship.
Well, clearly, no matter what I say, I can’t win. Oh, well.
Is this the longest that a DC Event Series has run without a Flash being killed and another resurrected?
It’s kind of funny how Chris hasn’t gotten this much flak for a review since the last time he wrote about Kevin Smith.
My shop gave me a ring without my having to buy the comic, for which I’m very grateful. They even gave me an extra one to give to my bartender.
I’m sure it’s getting him bathroom action even as I type this.
Speed Racer was fantastic, I don’t know why anyone would compare it to Watchmen. (I mean the movie. Well I mean it would be pretty weird to compare the Speed Racer movie to the Watchmen comic book as well, but you understand what I’m trying to get at here.)
Oh no. I just thought of something. If he’s doing the resurrected corpse of Phantom Lady, he’s setting up a silicone boob joke. Oh, I really hope I’m wrong about that. Maybe its just because she had some kind of “darkness” gun.
Speed Racer was fantastic, I donâ€™t know why anyone would compare it to Watchmen. (I mean the movie. Well I mean it would be pretty weird to compare the Speed Racer movie to the Watchmen comic book as well, but you understand what Iâ€™m trying to get at here.)
Now I want to see Watchmen as told by Speed Racer.
(And really, considering Mr. Sims oft-repeated comments about the Amazing Technicolor Corps… is his review THAT shocking? Really?!?)
A friend of mine actually gave me a copy to read, and Iâ€™ve got to say that Iâ€™m glad he did…
Wrong, Chris! It turned you Evil!
I mocked the Speed Racer movie before it came out.
However, Chris was spot-on in his enthusiasm for it. I’d call it one of the most re-watchable movies in the last 5 years.
Yup…. it’s always time for Speed Racer or Rio Bravo.
I stand by my disappointment in Speed Racer.
I haven’t read Blackest Night, so I can’t comment on the quality, but why does the JLA have a morgue? How many people do they murder a year? Or just feel the need to dissect? Hell, who from that team is even qualified to do an autopsy? The team has through its many incarnation consisted of special agents, reporters, a graphic artist, aliens, a physics teacher, playboys, royalty, pilots, and a fucking crime scene fingerprint monkey.
Not one of those people should be messing around with autopsying absolutely anyone.
Johns’ GL has been incredibly inconsistent ranging from great cosmic stories to absolute muckwork.
Can you set a GPS tracking device to Hawkgirl ass-obsession?
Batman might not be an officially qualified doctor, but he’d be more than capable of pulling off a decent autopsy. When he’s busy or dead, I don’t know, maybe Dr Mid-Nite comes over for tea and scalpels?
I havenâ€™t read Blackest Night, so I canâ€™t comment on the quality, but why does the JLA have a morgue? How many people do they murder a year?
That’s addressed in the comic that you didn’t read.
It’s a Tomasi Nightwing run story, which is the single most under-rated great run I’ve ever come accross.
I for one am delighted to see the Top and Golden Glider back, because I love them both.
And echoing what Jason said above, I’m sure they’re back to torment Captain Cold (who Johns totally loves and will no doubt have a big role in BN: Flash).
I don’t give a damn about Firestorm and most of the big name Black Lanterns coming back, but I don’t bitch about it. There’s something for everyone, isn’t that a good thing?
Some of us out here actually like Golden Glider and the Top :/
And believe it or not, I’m actually not trying to be a smartass here: What about Golden Glider and the Top makes you like them and want to see them come back as crazy rotting zombies? Is there something I’m missing?
I mean, I’m a guy who swears U.S. 1 is the most underrated comic of all time, so it’s not like I can throw stones on the subject; I honestly want to know what the appeal is.
Well first of all, I love the Rogues in general, as well as Silver/Bronze Age Flash comics. I didn’t start reading Flash comics until a few years ago, though.
At first I just got a good laugh out of the Top’s bizarre backstory, but it appealed to me. I find his mix of on-and-off craziness, asshole arrogance, inventive genius, unique powers, and often testy interactions with the other Rogues to be a lot of fun and interesting. And I absolutely love the relationship between him and Glider, which was surprisingly sweet and devoted despite the fact that both are bugnuts crazy.
Glider is just fun, thanks to her stormy relationship with her brother and obsessive hate of Barry Allen (I thought a lot of writers dropped the ball with her once Barry was dead. But now that he’s back it’d be interesting to see them interact again). The skating is kind of silly nowadays, but it’s unique at least.
I know it sounds weird, but the Top is actually my favourite DC character, and Glider is one of my secondary favourites. I do tend to like unpopular characters, for whatever reason.
In the end, I guess it’s always hard to quantify why exactly one likes a character. Why do people like Batman? I honestly don’t know, he doesn’t appeal to me at all. Presumably, people just *do*.
If I had my druthers, they’d come back as regular living people, not as zombies, but at the moment I take what I can get.
Does that make sense?
I figure that anyone excited to see GG and Top come back are Rogue junkies, like me. Geoff Johns did a great job characterizing many of them during his Flash run, or building off of what others set up, such as Waid and Millar/Morrison. While Golden Glider is certainly a minor villain, she’s important because she was Captain Cold’s sister, and I’m willing to bet my weird blue sunglasses that any fans of Johns’ Flash run love the shit out of Captain Cold. The Top also figures in there, with his history with various Rogues. (Used to date Glider, mind-controlled Heat Wave, tried to frame Pied Piper for assassination, etc.) We figure, anything that gets the Rogues involved is fine by us.
There’s always the chance, too, that people are just excited for The Top or Golden Glider themselves. Remember, every character is somebody’s favorite. Even Gunfire.
Well…maybe not Gunfire.
I actually just got into Flash a few months back and the Rogues are the bomb! XD Captain Cold is my favorite, (followed by Zoom) but the more I’ve read Flash, the more I’ve fallen in love with all of those characters and thought the Top and Glider were a unique couple as well as fun characters in their own right.