Comic Review: Green Lanterns: Evil’s Might

Published: July 4th, 2018 – October 17th, 2018
Written by: Dan Jurgens, Tim Seeley
Art by: Mike Perkins, Andy Troy, various

DC Comics, 206 Pages

Review:

This eight-part arc came out pretty quickly, as it was released bi-weekly after the recent Green Lanterns annual. While I prefer Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps a bit more, I do like the characters in this title as well. But really, both the current Green Lantern titles share a lot of the same core characters anyway. This one just has a lot of focus on Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, who, until recently, weren’t major characters in the same vein as Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner. But with the Corps being so massive, it’s always welcome to see the focus switch to other characters.

This story arc is found in Green Lanterns issues 50 through 57.

I’m not sure if there has been a Green Lantern story like this before but the big thing here is that the Lanterns’ rings become unreliable. They are given bad advice and played against one another. This is an easy weakness to exploit given the means to do it and the villain here does just that. The reveal of who the villain is in this story was a big surprise and it doesn’t even come until the end of the fourth issue. If you don’t want that part of the story spoiled, stop reading here.

Anyway, the big bad in this is the Cyborg Superman a.k.a. Hank Henshaw. He has acquired the Phantom Ring, which is something we’ve never seen before. But he uses it to take control of the Green Lantern power battery, even though he is locked away in the Fortress of Solitude on Earth. Henshaw infects the power battery like a virus, infecting any ring that has since charged with it. Luckily, Hal Jordan hasn’t charged his ring in awhile and therefore wasn’t corrupted.

This story shows how reliant the Lanterns are on their rings and why that’s a bad thing. The Lanterns have to turn towards themselves to figure this out, as their weapon and trusted ally is no longer working on their side.

The big battles in this are great and it has a very similar vibe to the massive events the Green Lanterns fought in during the Geoff Johns run a decade ago. This really felt like a throwback to those stories, which is where I really fell in love with the Green Lantern mythos.

This was a solid finale to this ongoing series and closes things out with a big bang, as some of the key characters move on to different things.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: All the current Green Lantern series, as well as the Geoff Johns era.

Comic Review: The Flash: Rebirth

Published: October 8th, 2013
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Ethan Van Sciver

DC Comics, 158 Pages

Review:

I love Geoff Johns work at DC Comics and I have always loved his collaborations with artist Ethan Van Sciver. Their work on Green Lantern got me back into comics during a time when I had sort of faded away from the medium due to no longer being as engaged by it.

Green Lantern: Rebirth was one of my favorite comic book stories of all-time. It made me love Hal Jordan and I was pulled in by Johns’ writing and Van Sciver’s wonderful art. Since I also liked Johns’ Flash stuff, I figured that The Flash: Rebirth would be something that I would also love. But sadly, it just didn’t do it for me.

The biggest problem that I have with Flash stories is the damn Speed Force. Also, in recent years, the Flash pocket of the larger DC universe is overloaded with too many characters with the same lame set of powers. There are so many damn speedsters that it’s really f’n redundant.

In an era where people are screaming for diversity, even though it has existed in comics for decades, maybe there should be a call for diversity in powers in the Flash titles. I mean, if you’re going to cram a dozen heroes and villains into a plot, why are they all similar? And why is that exciting? And to be frank, this is why I lost interest in The Flash TV show, which I loved when it started.

Anyway, the art in this is damn good but Van Sciver hits the right note stylistically speaking when it comes to how this era of DC felt. He was a premiere architect in DC’s visual style from 2007-2014 or so. This book lives up to the standard one should expect from his work but apart from that, there wasn’t much here for me to enjoy.

The premiere villain is the Reverse Flash, another f’n speedster. And really, this is all about the weird, mystical Speed Force that is capable of anything a writer needs it to do. I don’t know, Speed Force heavy stories bore me to tears and they’re hard to keep up with because it’s all pseudo-science mumbo jumbo made up on a whim to explain random ass shit. I prefer stories where one Flash takes on one of his many awesome rogues that aren’t speedsters.

This is probably really good if reading about a dozen speedsters and Speed Force stuff is your thing. For me, it numbed my brain and made it hard to get through.

And fuck… this had so many damn cameos. I felt like it partially existed just to wedge in as many characters as possible.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: The Geoff Johns era of The Flash, as well as his era of Green Lantern.

Comic Review: Dark Nights: Metal

Published: June 12th, 2018
Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo

DC Comics, 204 Pages

Review:

I didn’t read this as it came out. I also was much more frugal about how much I spent on comics at the time. I’m less frugal now, as I’m spending more time reviewing them. And to be honest, while this is $30 for the collected edition at my local comic shop, I found this on a brief Comixology sale for $5.99. So at that price, I figured I’d give it a go. If I ended up really liking it, I would’ve gone back to buy the single issues. But I didn’t really like it all that much. I’ll explain.

To start, I typically like Scott Snyder’s writing, especially in regards to anything with Batman in it. As far as Greg Capullo goes, he is one of my favorite artists of the last few decades. So seeing them reunite for this was definitely a selling point, even if what I knew about the project’s story didn’t peak my interest.

The biggest problem with Metal is the same problem with most mega events in comics, it is chock full of so many characters that the plot loses fluidity and the story seems to placate more to wedging in as many cameos as possible, as opposed to keeping the train on the rails.

This wasn’t a bad idea for a story but it should have been kept fairly simple. People just kept showing up on nearly every page, though, and it becomes distracting. New twists and turns are thrown in as often as characters and this just loses its focus. It also introduces a whole horde of villains, most of whom will just be one-offs in this story anyway. But this reads more like a sketchbook than a coherent story. What I mean by that, is that this feels like Capullo trying to fit in every cool design that he wasn’t able to wedge into Spawn throughout his run on the book in the ’90s.

Another thing I didn’t like was how wordy this was. While there are good action scenes, sometimes these characters felt like they weren’t surrounded by villains but instead, were surrounded by word balloons, trying to wedge their way into the panels and asphyxiate the characters. The word balloons were the real villains of the story. At least, that should be a twist whenever this gets a sequel.

I did like how the ending looked into the future as a way to tell you what stories would be coming out from DC Comics over the following year. But, at the same time, this was disappointing to some degree, as a main reason why I picked this up was to see the introduction of DC’s “New Age of Heroes”. I always see mentions that this is where they debuted but their appearance here is limited to one panel where we see into the future.

Anyway, this at least kept my attention over the six issues, even if they felt like twelve due to the dialogue and having so much detail to drink in. I wouldn’t say that this is a waste of time and I can see where this will be a lot of people’s cup of tea. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, really. But I also don’t regret reading it simply because I liked seeing Capullo have fun and get really creative with the art and character design.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: Any other DC Comics mega event of the last decade or so.

Comic Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Last Charge

Published: July 11th, 2018 – August 8th, 2018
Written by: Robert Venditti
Art by: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Tomeu Morey, various

DC Comics, 76 Pages

Review:

I haven’t read a Green Lantern comic since the Geoff Johns era. But one of the guys at my local comic shop keeps telling me that the current stuff is on par with the Johns era. I don’t quite agree that this is that good but it was still a call back to some of the elements that made the Johns stories so friggin’ great.

Former Green Lantern Tomar-Tu, son of the more famous Tomar-Re, has left the Corps and is leading a different intergalactic police group, the Darkstars. Hal Jordan, along with Green Lanterns John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner team up to stop him. But they also align themselves with former villains Hector Hammond, General Zod and Sinestro Corps member Arkillo. Kilowog and other Lanterns are also in the story as the wage a big battle elsewhere that is tied into the showdown between Jordan and Tomar-Tu.

The downside of reading this is that I didn’t have much context to draw from. I understood the story but you’re just sort of thrown into things if you pick this series up with this arc. That’s how comic books are nowadays though, as stories are told over massive arcs made up of smaller arcs. This was really a smaller arc within a larger arc. I know Tomar-Tu but I don’t know what lead to his fall.

The backstory is discussed by the characters though, so you get the gist of the context but it is missing the long term emotional weight that probably would have been there had I read the 47 issues before the start of this tale.

I still thought this was enjoyable and it entertained me. Mainly, I want to know why Hammond, Arkillo and Zod are quasi good guys in this.

This arc is covered in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps issues 48 through 50.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: All the current Green Lantern series, as well as the Geoff Johns era.

Comic Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern

Published: November 8th, 2017
Written by: Justin Jordan, Robbie Thompson
Art by: Barnaby Bagenda, Emilio Lopez, Ethan Van Sciver (covers)
Based on: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle; Green Lantern by John Broome, Gil Kane

BOOM! Studios, DC Comics, 157 Pages

Review:

I can’t believe that this came and went and I never saw it. I was at a different comic book shop than my normal one, though, and that’s where I discovered some of the single issues of this series. They didn’t have all of them for me to grab so I got the digital version of the collection because I didn’t want to wait to read it. I’m just a massive fan of both franchises and seeing that they have now crossed over got me really excited, as both universes just fit really well together. More Planet of the Apes crossovers, please!

The way that these universes collide was also really well orchestrated. If you remember the original Planet of the Apes movies, all five of them, once all is said and done, become a time loop. This is due to the ending of part 3 and the events of part 4. Because of this, the Apes version of Earth has been locked away from the rest of time/space. So, at some point, a Universal Ring was created as a sort of master ring over all of the Lantern rings from all of the different color/emotional spectrums. This ring was hidden away on the Apes Earth as it was locked off from the rest of the multiverse.

Anyway, Sinestro wants the ring for obvious reasons. Hal Jordan confronts him but soon finds himself waking up on Apes Earth at the head of the Statue of Liberty, reminiscent of the closing scene of the original movie. A group of other Lanterns tracks him down with help from the Guardians. Guy Gardner brings Grodd with for assistance (not a good plan) and the Red Lanterns follow the Green Lanterns, once they open a gateway to Ape Earth because Atrocitus also wants the Universal Ring.

The premise may sound a bit convoluted but it isn’t hard to follow in the book and I loved it. And hell, maybe it’s created a plot device with the Universal Ring that could pop up again down the road.

I also really liked the art in this book. BOOM! Studios is doing a really good job producing quality indie comics. Hell, this looks better than most modern Marvel series and is on par with the better DC titles.

Additionally, I love that Ethan Van Sciver came back to do a few of the covers for this series.

If you love Green Lantern, especially the Geoff Johns era and everything after, you will probably love this too. If you also love the Planet of the Apes, this will be a fun read for you. If you love both, prepare for a rollercoaster of awesomeness and possibly the need to change your underwear after this book reaches its climax.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: Other similar crossovers: Planet of the Apes/Star TrekPlanet of the Apes/Kong, as well as Star Trek/Green Lantern I and II.

Comic Review: The Man of Steel (2018 Miniseries)

Published: May 30th, 2018
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Jason Fabok, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Alex Sinclair, Steve Rude, Evan Shaner, Ryan Sook, Wade von Grawbadger, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes

DC Comics, 155 Pages

Review:

Brian Michael Bendis lost me a long time ago. But when he left Marvel for DC Comics and was given a weekly Superman miniseries to write, I was intrigued. It had been a while since I really got into a Superman story and even longer since Bendis wowed me. Would these two forces coming together give us something great?

Well, not really. But this did get off to a really strong start. I’ll explain.

This story is stretched over six issues that were released weekly, as a lead-in to the Bendis Superman ongoing series. The story started out really strong and it had me hooked over the first four issues. Things changed as I got to issue five though and I didn’t like the conclusion. Anything after this sentence is going into major spoiler territory, so you’ve been warned.

A new villain has arrived in the DC universe and his name is Rogol Zaar. Apparently, Zaar was instrumental in the cataclysmic event that destroyed Krypton. Now, he wants to do the same thing to Earth, as he must “cleanse” it from Kryptonians. I thought that Zaar was a pretty cool and intimidating villain but his design could have been better. He kind of just looks like a generic cosmic brute that Superman or a Green Lantern would take out after a bit of a struggle on the way to fighting a badder, major villain.

Ultimately, Superman gets help from Supergirl and his Justice League pals: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, Cyborg and the Flash.

Superman also has to deal with the surprise appearance of his father, who randomly crashed into his apartment to take his grandson away for some sort of training experience. Superman’s son Jonathan wants to go but Supes and Lois Lane don’t agree. Then everyone ends up ganging up on Superman and cucks him out (for lack of a better description) and his son and Lois both leave with his dad, leaving him alone clutching a teddy bear. For real, this happens and it is baffling as hell seeing Superman without balls.

Then in the final battle, Superman is struggling and Supergirl just shows up and throws the big bad guy into the Negative Zone in the most anticlimactic, easy and bullshit ending possible. So he was upstaged by his little cousin like it was no big deal.

Yeah, the last two issues had me scratching my head and then I remembered what was going on here and his name is Brian Michael Bendis. For four issues, Bendis had his audience back in the palm of his hand and then he Bendised the fuck out of us!

Now I can excuse this dime store bullshit if it actually leads to something better and greater for the ongoing Superman series but I’m going to go into that title with serious caution.

It’s just that 66.7 percent of this story was really damn good. I don’t know if Bendis does this shit on purpose or if he just has good ideas without the ability to close out his stories.

In any event, this miniseries and the regular series to follow are going to have a major impact on the larger Superman mythos. Hell, they already have by making Rogol Zaar the force behind the destruction of Krypton.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: One would assume, the upcoming Superman series by Brian Michael Bendis.

Comic Review: Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime

Published: December 3rd, 2013
Written by: Dennis O’Neil
Art by: Dick Giordano

DC Comics, 176 Pages

Review:

This book collects the mid-’70s Joker series, which ran for nine issues. The only story from this series that I had ever read was the one featuring the Creeper, which was also reprinted for the collection The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told. It was cool finding this and being able to check out this classic series.

I think the thing that I enjoyed most about this is that it allowed the Joker to shine on his own without any involvement from Batman whatsoever. The Caped Crusader never appears and just when you think he does, it is a ruse by the Joker. Although, I’m not sure why he is on the cover, or the Riddler and Penguin for that matter, as none of these people appear in the book.

We do see the Joker interact with other famous DC Comics characters though.

There are stories that feature Two-Face, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Lex Luthor, the Royal Flush Gang, Sherlock Holmes and a brief cameo by the Hal Jordan version of Green Lantern. Then there’s also that entertaining story with the Creeper.

Being that this is a Joker comic, it really plays up the comedy and is actually funny, even if it is chock-full of ’70s hokey cheese.

This is a nice time capsule back to the Bronze Age of comics before things started to evolve with the style by the mid-’80s.

This is also a must own if you are a big fan of the Joker and want to have a nice laugh at the expense of the other villains and heroes he toys with here.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told