Archive for November, 2009

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds

November 26, 2009 | Trades

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds Geoff Johns, George Perez, Scott Koblish DC Comics $24.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover) **** ½ (out of five) Long live the Legion! Umm… Legions! When Superboy Prime, the former hero who went mad and started ripping people’s arms off in the DC’s epic 2006 crossover series, Infinite Crisis, and caused even more mayhem in 2008’s Sinestro Corps. War, is mysteriously hurled into the year 3008, it is seriously bad news for the protectors of the age: The Legion of Superheroes. After Prime frees the entire Legion of Supervillains and they start cutting a path of destruction across the galaxy, the heroic Legion calls on their most powerful former member, Superman, for help. They also recruit a small army of other heroes they know they can trust: Themselves. But are even three versions of the Legion enough? Not even close. This crisis calls for the resurrection of two characters fans have been hoping desperately to see more of. Essentially the sequel to Infinite Crisis, but with deep ties to events in Action Comics, Justice Society of America, The Flash, Teen Titans and other books that may or may not have been written by the ultra-creative Geoff Johns, Legion of Three Worlds is truly colossal in scope. It is complex, but masterfully executed with the help of incomparable artist George Perez, who is at his best with character-packed pages and action everywhere you look. While Legion of Three Worlds is technically a spin-off book of DC’s latest universe-shaking event, Final Crisis, it is actually the better work and it may even have larger ramifications for the DCU.

Justice Society of America: Black Adam and Isis

November 23, 2009 | Trades

Justice Society of America: Black Adam and Isis Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway, Dale Eaglesham, Bob Wiacek DC Comics $24.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover) *** ½ (out of five) It’s the end of one amazing legacy and the beginning of a new one. After 11 years and over 100 often-amazing issues, star writer Geoff Johns finally hands over the reins on Justice Society of America to someone else. Johns’ passion for classic characters like The Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Wildcat and Hawkman and flair for introducing well-crafted new ones like Mr. Terrific, Jakeem Thunder and Cyclone has shifted the JSA from sometimes hokey Golden Age geezers to vibrant modern super-team over the past decade. And after all this time and all those incredible tales, you didn’t think he’d go quietly, did you? Former Society member (and on-again, off-again villain) Black Adam has finally been reunited with his beloved (and thought to be deceased) wife, Isis, and they quickly set to work making life hard on heroes again. The duo steals the magical powers of Shazam from former Captain Marvel, Billy Baston, and boots him out of the legendary Rock of Eternity for good measure. When Billy enlists the aid of the JSA, you just know there’s going to be a tussle and it is an epic one with no real winners that hits the virtual reset button on the Captain Marvel family and is sure to have major ramifications for the future of the DC universe. Overall it’s a fine sendoff for Johns, a truly unique talent whose influence on the DC universe is immeasurable.

Angel: Not Fade Away

November 19, 2009 | Trades

Angel: Not Fade Away Jeffrey Bell, Joss Whedon, Scott Tipton, Stephen Mooney IDW Publishing $19.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) Scott Tipton and Stephen Mooney have reopened an old wound — and in fine style. The writer-artist team behind Angel: Masks take fans of this cult-classic Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off TV series back to where it all ended: The gratifying and gory final episode, Not Fade Away, the tale that paves the way for IDW’s Angel: After The Fall. Based on the teleplay by Jeffrey Bell and Joss Whedon, this story of the hero and his allies’ final stand against the most powerful cadre of demons on Earth is Angel at its best: Moody, dark and delightful. It is hard, however, for long-time fans of the series to have to relive the end of something so good, so unique and full of such great characters, in spite of the fact that they live on in Angel comics. Not Fade Away does serve its purpose, though. You’ll want to read After The Fall immediately after finishing it.

Superman: New Krypton Vol. 2

November 16, 2009 | Trades

Superman: New Krypton Vol. 2 Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates, Pete Woods, Renato Guedes, Jamal Igle DC Comics $29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover) *** ½ (out of five) The addition of over 100,000 people with the powers of Superman to Earth’s population has got a few people a little nervous — not the least of which are the leaders of the new inhabitants. As the residents of the former bottle city of Kandor begin to assimilate to life on our planet after being rescued by the Man of Steel, they face a tough decision: Do they trust these humans, some of which have threatened and done serious harm to Superman in the past or should they take matters into their own hands to protect their newfound freedom? When the decision is made to take down any villain, super or otherwise, who has ever been a thorn in Superman’s side — no matter the cost — all hell breaks loose. Soon it’s hero versus hero and family against family as the humans and Kryptonians ready for a war that no one can win. The second collection of this standout crossover series by red-hot writers Geoff Johns and James Robinson is an emotional and action-packed roller coaster ride with more guest stars than you can cram into the Hall of Justice. Oh, and if that’s not enough: Enter Superwoman.

Justice League of America: When Worlds Collide

November 9, 2009 | Trades

Justice League of America: When Worlds Collide Dwayne McDuffie, Ed Benes, Rags Morales, Jose Luis, Shane Davis, Ardian Syaf, Eddy Barrows DC Comics $29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover) *** (out of five) It’s a Milestone event in the DC Universe. In a move that fans really should have seen coming since Dwayne McDuffie took over as writer of DC’s premier team book (sorry, Teen Titans), the heroes of Milestone Comics make their full-time debut among icons like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. McDuffie, of course, is co-founder of Milestone Comics, created in the mid-90s in response to the perceived dearth of black superheroes available for readers. When Worlds Collide sees Icon (think black Superman), Hardware (an odd fusion of Batman and Iron Man, who is also black) and the Shadow Cabinet (Milestone’s answer to the JLA, featuring about 50 per cent black membership) come to blows with the JLA over the remains of a dead villain, which the Milestoners (is that what to call them?) believe could be the key to averting a crisis of galactic proportions. The event is more or less your standard heroes-have-a-conflict tale and doesn’t dramatically change either of the worlds in collision — outside of integrating some new characters into the DCU — but it may help readers reflect on how far things have evolved for the better in comics. Four of 12 current Leaguers (Green Lantern, Black Lightning, Vixen and Firestorm) are black and five in total are women. Hopefully this is a sign that long gone is the era of tokenism in comics and here to stay is that of racial and gender equality.

James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s

November 5, 2009 | Trades

James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s James Robinson, Travis Charest, Jim Lee, Barry Windsor-Smith, Richard Bennett, Terry Dodson Wildstorm/DC Comics $29.99/$24.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) One great British writer finally got his due for a fine run on WildC.A.T.s. Now another gets his. Alan Moore’s run on volume 1 of this Wildstorm-founding title appeared as Alan Moore: The Complete WildC.A.T.s, which collected issues #21-34 and part of #50, marked the first time a substantial portion of this series was included in one volume. Now James Robinson’s WildC.A.T.s run, spanning issues #15-20, the other part of #50, and a few related books, gives readers another entry point into the explosive and action-packed lives of this Covert Action Team (that's the C.A.T.s part) featuring Grifter, Spartan, Warblade, Maul, Zealot, Void, Voodoo and Emp. Robinson, best known for his 80-plus issue run on DC’s Starman, a recent run on Superman and an upcoming turn on Justice League of America, adds depth to this widescreen action book with his trademark sharp dialogue and strong character development. The adventures, which include a plot to discover which member of the team may be an alien assassin in disguise and a showdown with the government-sponsored hero team, Stormwatch, are solid, but do rely a bit of readers having a general familiarity with the Wildstorm universe of that era. While the focus on writers for these trade paperbacks is an interesting approach, another look at the WildC.A.T.s shows it’s definitely time to make more of the original series available. Of the initial 50-issue run, only 23 are in currently available collected editions (including #5-7 in WildC.A.T.s/Cyberforce: Killer Instinct, which may also be out of print). One or two volumes with issues #0-4 and #8-14, featuring great work by writers Brandon Choi and Chris Claremont and star artists Jim Lee and Erik Larsen, would leave just 15 issues outstanding. Perhaps there’re issues with rights to Larsen’s work on issue #14 (what with him now running Image Comics and all), but still, everything else ought to be out there for comic fans to enjoy. (They should also finish collecting the underrated Wildcats 3.0 and all of Vol. 1 of Gen 13, but I digress.) And really, isn’t publishing a comic with “art by Jim Lee” on it kind of like printing money? Lets hope Wildstorm finds a way to make it happen.

Titans Vol. 2: Lockdown

November 2, 2009 | Trades

Titans Vol. 2: Lockdown Judd Winick, Sean McKeever, Howard Porter DC Comics $18.99/$14.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) The Titans are like a family; they always look after their own. Even the black sheep. When former long-time Titan Joey Wilson, a.k.a. Jericho, returns to the fold with a major problem - his super-human ability to take over people's bodies has left him stuck in the Bizarro Superboy, Match - his friends are quick to help. When things quickly go wrong and Jericho - who has a history of sociopathic behaviour, including trying to kill the Titans before - leaves Match and possesses one of the Titans, things get very complicated. With the identity of who is possessed a mystery, the eight Titans agree to lockdown their headquarters and try to figure out in whom Joey is hiding. But when the Justice League shows up to take them all in to help secure Jericho, he's not interested in going quietly and he doesn't care if he has to jump into every single Titan and battle every single Leaguer to break free. All this and a tearful farewell for a founding member off to bigger things in an entertaining and fast-paced second collection of this solid new Titans series by writers Judd Winick and Sean McKeever and artist Howard Porter.