Archive for Final Crisis

The Comics I Didn’t Read

There were a couple of different comics that I didn’t pick up this week. Actually, I didn’t even get a chance to get them — they weren’t in the store when I made it in. Could be because they were already sold out. Could be because they weren’t included in this week’s shipment — something that happens quite a lot. Still, even if they’d been available, I don’t think I would’ve bought them. But let’s talk about them a bit anyway.

The Amazing Spider-Man #583

Yeah, the issue where soon-to-be President Barack Obama does the terrorist fist jab with Spider-Man. I’d already heard from a friend who’d seen the comic earlier that he didn’t think it was a very good story, and I was already leery of this being something I’d buy, read, find boring, and want to get rid of ASAP. So it wasn’t appealing to me at all. Just another publicity stunt by Marvel, though by all accounts, it’s been an uncommonly successful publicity stunt — Marvel’s gone back for three printings already to keep up with the demand.

Final Crisis #6

Well, like I’d said previously, I’m quitting the crossovers, especially the crossovers that are $4 instead of $3. I’ve already heard that Grant Morrison finally delivers what he said he’d have in the “Batman R.I.P.” storyarc — the death of Batman. He gets zapped by Darkseid’s “Omega Effect” right after shooting him in the shoulder with a big gun. Way to go, Bats, you actually use a gun on someone, on the biggest, baddest villain in the DCU, a guy who’s planning on killing, well, everyone, and you still can’t shoot him in the head. Great work, man.

Also, please feel free to gasp in wonder at the stunning and humiliating depths of ineptitude displayed by DC’s public relations office. You’re part of a gigantic media megalith like Warner Brothers. You’ve just “killed” the most popular superhero in the world. And you can’t even get a mention on the news because everyone’s talking about Marvel’s publicity stunt with Barack Obama. Congratulations, DC Comics, you are officially the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

And in a related topic, could I direct y’all’s attention to this silliness over at Valerie D’Orazio’s joint, referring to the new issue of “Final Crisis”?

This book comes out the same day as the Spider-Man Obama cover. Such a contrast in energy, direction.

I choose hope.

Puhhh-lease. The death of Batman and the guest-appearance of Obama have exactly the same goals: sales. In fact, the energy and direction of both events is blatantly, unashamedly cynical — fake events, publicity-seeking nothingness, and short-term sales boosts. Will Batman stay dead? Certainly not. Did Obama’s appearance serve any greater story? Certainly not. Both events are there only because the publishers believe that readers will buy into the hype and buy the comics.

If anything, I think the Spider-Man comic may actually be more cynical. Marvel head-honcho Joe Quesada has said they published the story only because they found out that Obama is a Spidey fan. It’s the equivalent of a commemorative plate. I don’t blame Marvel for publishing it — if I was in charge of the company, I’d be nuts not to hook my wagon to an incredibly popular president-elect. But let’s not ascribe unearned nobility to what is simply a fairly shrewd PR ploy.

Oh, and one more thing, ’cause I just can’t let this go yet. As far as all the “hope” at Marvel, and the “contrast in energy, direction” between Marvel and DC — in the past few years, Marvel has killed off Captain America, the Wasp, and Kitty Pryde, and had Spider-Man make a deal with the Devil to end his marriage. It takes more than a back-up story guest-starring a popular politician to erase years of cynical storytelling. The contrast between Marvel and DC is nil.

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Gog Bless You

Justice Society of America #21

Gog wants to be worshiped, and though Magog, the former David Reid, is willing, the rest of the renegade Justice Society is understandably reluctant. The rest of the JSA arrives, and Sand reveals that Gog is in the process of rooting himself to the planet — if he stays on Earth even one day more, he stands a good chance of completely destroying the world. Gog reacts badly, and the rest of the JSA turns against him. There’s a lot of references to “Kingdom Come” from here on out — Alan Scott takes on the Green Lantern armor he did in the graphic novel, and Jay Garrick gets accelerated toward the Speed Force, causing his body to take on an appearance similar to the blurry “Kingdom Come” Flash. Gog also takes back the gifts he’d given to the team — Dr. Mid-Nite becomes blind again, Starman goes mad, Sand gets his nightmares back, Damage’s face gets destroyed again, and Citizen Steel, after rejecting Gog’s offer to let him feel sensations again, is instead cursed with terrible pain. Is there any way for the Justice Society to defeat a god?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good characterization really helps carry this one home. Nate Heywood rejecting Gog is a great moment, as is David Reid realizing just how bad Gog really is. The final chapter of this one comes up next — it should’ve been several issues shorter, but I’m glad the story is finally picking up now.

Final Crisis #5

And speaking of trying to beat gods, Darkseid and the evil gods of the Fourth World are on the verge of taking over everything. Granny Goodness, in the body of the Alpha Lantern Kraken, tries to steal the Central Power Battery on Oa, Wonder Woman is leading Batwoman, Catwoman, and Giganta as the new Female Furies, Mister Miracle and is still alive, Frankenstein is quoting John Milton, Mary Marvel takes down Captain Marvel and Black Adam, Mr. Talky Tawny shows up with a jetpack, the banished Monitor gets superpowered, a Rubik’s Cube gets solved unusually quickly, Lex Luthor is forced to serve Libra’s will, and the people of Earth become Darkseid’s slaves.

Verdict: I think I’ll give this a thumbs up. Lots of mad, bad, dangerous ideas getting flung around here.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #1

Hellboy is summoned from a house in Italy where he was rooming with a couple of old dead ladies to England, where he is offered the opportunity to participate in the Wild Hunt, a periodic quest by British noblemen to destroy giants before they become too powerful or cause too much trouble. But does the Wild Hunt hold potential for even more fear and treachery than Hellboy can handle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great betrayal and a great cliffhanger. This one is going to be a lot of fun.

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Resistance is Futile


Final Crisis: Resist

The global superspy organization Checkmate is in dire straits — many of their agents, including Mr. Terrific, Sascha Bordeaux, Fire, and former JLA sidekick/teleporter Snapper Carr, are working to secure their Antarctic facility from Darkseid’s forces, when they’re unexpectedly taken down from the inside, leaving only Mr. Terrific, Snapper Carr, the Thinker, and Talen Khalid uncorrupted by the Anti-Life Equation. Snapper’s now the only person able to leave the facility, as he teleports around the world gathering intelligence and striking minor blows for the resistance. Snapper runs into Cheetah, the Wonder Woman villain, a few times — she’s also free from Anti-Life’s influence — and he finally brings her into the Antarctic hideout after he gets his Cat Scratch Fever on with her. Still, after Snapper catches a virus that shuts off his teleportational powers, they’re all trapped in a locked-down base with no way out… unless Mr. Terrific can persuade an old enemy to join the fight.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is one of the few “Final Crisis” books I’ve seen so far that really makes things look hopeless — we at least see a few characters, namely Fire, Ice, the Titans, and Gorilla Grodd, who’ve been enslaved by Darkseid. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of that in the other books. Also, this story has a lot of really cool espionage elements — appropriate, since Checkmate is an espionage organization.


Justice Society of America #20

The Earth-2 Justice Society invades Earth-1, with their version of Power Girl in an insane rage to get at our local version of PG. There follows a great deal of fighting, for little real benefit.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Listen, the “Gog” storyline has been going on way, way long enough without adding a mostly-pointless diversion right in the middle.

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A Little More Politics for your Post-Election Hangover

DC Universe Decisions #4

The assassin targeting the presidential candidates has finally been identified — it’s Jericho, the Teen Titans’ body-possessor, and he’s somehow turned evil yet again. He’s also managed to take over Green Lantern’s body, so he’s got the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe sitting on his finger. Luckily, Hal is able to expel him before he does too much damage, and the superhero psychic Mento determines that in the process of jumping from one body to the next, Jericho has managed to acquire traces of the personalities of hundreds of people, and it’s turned him into a psychotic loon. As for all the problems with superheroes endorsing politicians, Superman apparently solves it all by speechifying.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Supes comes across as an opinionless weasel, and the stuff with Jericho was just embarrassing. It was just a year or two that DC worked their tails off to redeem him into a non-villainous character, and now they’ve chucked him back down the hole again. This entire series was pushed as an explicitly political story, and in the end, it just ended up being dull, middle-of-the-road, and afraid to express any strong political opinions at all. What a waste.

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns

Okay, Sinestro is going to be executed by the Green Lantern Corps, so they take him back to his home planet of Korugar because… I really don’t know. Anyway, the new Red Lantern Corps, composed of people who can harness great hatred and rage, is on the rise, and their primary attack appears to be vomiting blood on their enemies. Their members include Atrocitus the demon, Laira, a former Green Lantern, and a pretty blue kitty. The Red Lanterns jump into a fight between the Green Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps, and we get our first glimpse of the Blue Lantern.

Verdict: I think I’m going to give this a thumbs down, too. The blood puking is really pretty silly.

The Family Dynamic #3

Troylus, Terran, and Little Wing swing into action against Monstero and quickly find themselves over their heads. Luckily, their parents show up to help take down the villain. Afterwards, at Sloane’s birthday party, it becomes clear that he’s the only person in the family who doesn’t know that his sister and niece are Blackbird and Little Wing. And before anyone can spill the beans to him, a new villain appears — Replik8, a duplicater with a weird beehive hairdo.

Verdict: Ehh, not bad, but not all that great, either. The back-and-forth between the family members is grand fun, and I’m not sure we need quite so many supervillains anyway, especially when they seem to come and go so quickly.

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Evil Wins Again


Final Crisis #4

Darkseid’s Anti-Life Equation has been released all over Earth, instantly subjugating most of the Earth with its irresistable message of despair and servitude. A fairly small number of superheroes is still operating, spread out across the world. Officer Turpin is trying to resist becoming Darkseid’s newest incarnation, the Tattooed Man has temporarily joined the good guys, Barry Allen and Wally West escape the new Female Furies, Black Lightning and Green Arrow are captured and exposed to the Anti-Life Equation.

Verdict: Pff, not real thrilled with it. Maybe it’ll make more sense as a complete story. I’ve said that before, I know. But there’s a lot of stuff happening, and not a lot of progress being made in the storyline. Nothing to inspire, excite, or terrify here.


Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1

A nice extra-length one-shot focusing on Jimmy Olsen. He’s got a handle on the scoop of the decade, and he can’t get enough respect from most people at the Daily Planet — or self-respect for himself — to take the initiative to get the story. A pep talk from Clark Kent gets Jimmy out tracking down the details of his story and quickly running afoul of an assassin called, umm, “Codename: Assassin.” He learns that “C:A” has already killed the Newsboy Legion and Dubbilex, and he has some narrow escapes from the assassin before meeting up with Greg Saunders, the Vigilante, and the last clone of the Guardian in a small town in Arizona.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good fun, great focus on Jimmy as a person, not just a kid in a bow tie. My only regret about this is that it’s a one-shot, designed solely to lead into a new storyline in the Superman comics. This is a great comic, and I think it’s time we saw a new monthly comic about Jimmy.


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #29

Odin comes to New York looking for his son, Thor, but Thor doesn’t want to be found — he has a date with Storm, and dad wouldn’t approve of a god dating a mortal. So the rest of the Avengers have to run interference to keep Odin from busting up the date. There’s a subplot with Mr. Hyde and Cobra repeatedly trying and failing to complete a plot to defeat anyone, but ya know, the important stuff here is the Avengers trying to keep Odin occupied so he doesn’t ruin his kid’s date.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good gravy, this is an awesome comic. I don’t care if it says “Marvel Kids” on the cover, everyone should be reading this ’cause it’s so blasted fun.

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The Last Night on Earth


DC Universe: Last Will and Testament

It’s the night before the final battle against Captital-E Evil, and all the superheroes expect to get slaughtered. So everyone’s spending their last night trying to take care of the things that are most important to them. Superman goes to visit his dad; Batman hangs out with Robin and Nightwing; Wonder Woman and Donna Troy perform some ancient warrior rituals; Rocky Davis, of the Challengers of the Unknown, of all people, acts as a confessor for various superheroes; and Captain Cold does some good. But most of this issue is devoted to Geo-Force’s obsession with Deathstroke. Can he finally figure out a way to kill the assassin he blames for the death of his sister?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Way, way too many pages devoted to a C-lister like Geo-Force? With maybe two or three pages for the real heavy hitters? No, sorry, this was complete, useless garbage, and I’m mad at myself for buying into yet another load of crossover-inspired bilge. My life is actually worse for having read this comic.


The Spirit #20

The Spirit investigates a murder at an aquarium — one that was apparently carried out by innocent dolphins! The Spirit has some severe doubts about the official story, and he enlists Ebony’s aid by getting him to apply for a job at the aquarium. But when some of the dolphins are stolen in the dead of night, what could really be going on here?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The mystery here is properly intriguing, and Spirit’s interactions with Ebony and with Ellen Dolan’s class of pint-sized students are lots of fun. Some elements of the solution to the mystery seem a bit unlikely, but nitpicking a mystery in a comic like this is a little unfair…


Wonder Woman #23

Wonder Woman has to keep the demonic D’Grth from destroying the world, all while struggling to maintain her own humanity after the loss of her soul. Meanwhile, Tom Tresser has really stepped in it this time. He’s called in a DMA strike team on Agent Diana Prince’s apartment, unaware the albino gorillas inside are on the side of the angels. Donna Troy shows up to help out, but Tresser is still going to have to risk arousing the suspicion of his bosses by calling off the strike team.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but it’s a near thing. The fight against D’Grth is pretty good, but dangit, Tresser is just an irritating character. And as bad as he screwed things up, it’s really pretty unbelievable that he was able to keep his job or stay out of prison.


The Flash #243

Missed at least one issue of this one. In the interim, it appears that the Flash’s daughter, Iris, has aged into an old woman because of her out-of-control speed powers. Can the science of Gorilla City determine a cure for Iris and her brother Jai in time, or are the Flash’s kids doomed?

Verdict: Kinda hard to say, ’cause I have no idea what happened in the previous issue. I got no clue how Flash took care of Spin, and I got no clue what’s up with the Nzame. I think I’ll give it a thumbs up, though. The kids weren’t irritating, and Flash got to do some actual superspeed running, which it seems like he does mighty little of these days. Even better, the kids’ powers appear to have stabilized, so maybe the comic will stabilize, too.

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Surrendering to the Inevitable

Fine, fine, I was weak. I swore I’d never give in to the marketing hoopla behind “Final Crisis.” Shows what I know. I broke down recently and bought all the three issues of “Final Crisis” so far.


Final Crisis #1-3

The storyline? Darkseid and his Apokoliptian allies have killed the last of the New Gods and are now preparing to destroy Earth. They’re able to possess the bodies of people, and one of their minions, Libra, is organizing DC’s villains. Martian Manhunter gets killed, the Daily Planet gets blown up, Superman gets distracted, Batman gets kidnapped, John Stewart gets mugged, Hal Jordan gets framed, martial arts tough guy Sonny Sumo and super escape-artist Shilo Norman recruit some young Japanese heroes, Oracle loses control of the worst computer virus ever, and Wonder Woman gets corrupted. Busy enough for ya?

I gotta say, I think I prefer reading these big crossovers this way. If I’d been reading these issue by issue, I would’ve been either outraged or bored stiff. Reading all three back-to-back, things make more sense and seem to connect much better. Not all crossovers or event comics seem to work this way — I thought “World War Hulk” and “Sinestro Corps War” worked very well on an issue-by-issue basis. But the scale Grant Morrison is writing for is easier to read when you’re taking the entire thing in at once, not focusing on a tiny portion of the plot at a time. And yes, this is one of the best reasons to read collected editions instead of single issues of comics — you get a complete storyline all at once instead of a piece at a time over six months or more.

However, as of the end of the third issue, things looks to be moving forward really quickly, so I’ll probably pick up the rest of the single issues until the series is over. It’s going to be fun seeing how Darkseid wins, how awful the Anti-Life Equation really is, and what happens to Earth and DC’s superheroes in the meantime.

Verdict: Thumbs up. But only for all three issues at once, not singly. I think reading ’em one at a time would drive you nuts, especially if you’re not familiar with Morrison’s peculiar obsessions.

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Stomp the Yard


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #24

Jeff Parker’s writing this comic again?! Holy Words-I-Am-Not-Allowed-to-Say-on-this-Blog!

Well, this is part of Marvel’s all-ages line, and it features Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Storm, Giant-Girl, and Ant-Man. In this issue, Marvel’s Mightiest Team can’t stop hating each other. Any little disagreement will lead to knock-down, drag-out brawls until, a few minutes later, no one can even remember what the fight was about any more. Not even taking out a Hydra base cools ’em down. Will they ever manage to find out what’s causing them to rage out on each other? Even if they do, will they be able to keep from killing each other just for kicks?

Verdict: Thumbs WAY up. This is the funniest comic I’ve read in ages. We get the triumphant return of Karl the Henchman, Wolverine eating tater tots with his claws, Doc Samson’s psychoanalysis of the team (including his bwah-ha-ha funny notes on Spider-Man and Wolvie’s bwah-ha-ha reaction to a familiar Rorschach inkblot test), jokes about Storm’s hair, tons of hilarious Spidey one-liners, and great dialogue like “Captain America was the one who started it — with his corn!” and “Ow! You shot that little nerd right in my eye!” This comic is drop-dead, soda-snorting funny, and you need to go read it right now.


Green Lantern #31

More of the re-telling of Hal’s origin, as he pays his first visit to Oa, gets put through GL boot camp by Kilowog, and earns the right to be a Green Lantern. Besides that, we get a few more details about pre-giant-head Hector Hammond and Sinestro when he was still a Green Lantern.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s all stuff we’ve seen before, but it’s well-done, so I’m happy with it.


The Brave and the Bold #13

The cover pretty much says it all — Batman and Jay Garrick vs. a horde of evil robot samurai.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s Batman and Jay Garrick vs. a horde of evil robot samurai, fer cryin’ out loud!


Final Crisis #1

Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. Not buying it, not reviewing it. I’m sick of pointless, stupid crossovers. I’m tired of comics companies killing off characters because they think they need shock value to sell comics. I’m tired of being asked to spend hundreds of dollars every summer on crossovers that are driven solely by marketing. And I don’t care if it’s written by Grant Morrison — I still think I can live without reading it.

Verdict: Who cares?

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And Justice for All


Justice League of America #21

I’m amazed this one came out as well as it did. The first seven pages of this one are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman sitting around talking, just summing up the current state of things in the JLA. Wheee, exciting! The rest of it is a couple of extremely minor supervillains fighting a couple of really minor superheroes. The Human Flame, a pudgy guy who had one appearance fighting the Martian Manhunter a few decades ago, tries to rob a bank, fights Red Arrow and Hawkgirl pretty unsuccessfully, then gets rescued by Libra, another supervillain who had just one appearance in a JLA comic back in the ’60s. Libra takes the Human Flame before a whole trainload of supervillains and offers him anything he wants. And the Flame says he wants to be able to kill the Martian Manhunter. If you wanna see what happens from there, you have to read “Final Crisis.”

Verdict: I think I’m actually going to give it a thumbs up. The Big Three sitting around and talking gets really, really boring, but I didn’t mind the stuff with the Human Flame that much. Of course, it’s all leading to Grant Morrison killing J’onn J’onzz in the first issue of “Final Crisis,” which is going to really suck. But this issue wasn’t that bad.


Justice Society of America #15

Basically, the entire issue is a fight scene with the Justice Society trying to beat up Gog. No, really, that’s it. A few highlights include Obsidian fighting Gog from the inside, Lightning’s spiffy new battlecry, and Citizen Steel effortlessly withstanding Gog’s punches.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This isn’t particularly subtle storytelling, but it’s a good brawl, so we’ll call it a win.

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Running to Catch up…

Thanks to having the blog shut down for a week and then spending most of last week promoting the Comic Book Expo, I’ve fallen way, waaaay behind on my comics reviews, so I’m gonna try to get as many of these out of the way as I can.


DC Universe #0

This is the one everyone was talking about last week. Superman hangs out with the Legion of Super-Heroes in the distant future, Batman hangs out with the Joker, a bunch of bad guys want Wonder Woman dead, the Green Lanterns are unaware that the Black Lanterns are coming for them, a minor villain called Libra is trying pretty weakly to get a bunch of villains to join the Cult of the Crime Bible, and Barry Allen comes back to life.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s an ad for “Final Crisis,” and it’s not even a particularly well-done ad. And was anyone here really jonesing for Barry Allen to come back? I wish DC would quit being stupid and quit screwing their comics up for no good reason.


Justice League of America #20

A nice little done-in-one story about Wonder Woman and the Flash taking on the Queen Bee.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seems like the Queen Bee should be more of a regular threat — I thought comics thrived on things like hyper-evolved space bees, right? Still, fun stuff, some good speed tricks from the Flash, and a nice Silver-Age feel to the story.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #2

The Tangent Universe’s Green Lantern gets her magic lantern back, restoring her youth, and the Tangent version of the Flash, along with the regular DCU Flash and Green Lantern come along for the ride. The Tangent GL summons the spirit of the Tangent version of the Joker, who was a superhero, to fill in the gaps of the Tangent Superman’s ruthless rise to dictatorial power.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but just barely. The characters are pretty interesting, but I’m having trouble accepting this as a story that needs 12 issues to tell. They could make it a heck of a lot shorter by cutting out those useless history lessons that take up about a third of the pagecount.


Teen Titans #58

We focus on Miss Martian, trying to make a life for herself and ignore the voice of her evil future-self, who has taken up residence in her head. On top of that, she’s also being stalked by the Terror Titans’ Disruptor, and Kid Devil is still being horribly tortured to try to get him to turn evil.

Verdict: Thumbs up, I think. I don’t much like the idea of Evil Miss Martian, but the story is well-done and does a good job of continually raising the stakes.


The Flash #239

The new supervillain Spin managed to use Keystone City’s fears about the Flash’s money problems to turn him, temporarily, into a superspeedy thief. Now everyone’s more afraid of Flash than ever. He also manages to mind-control Jay Garrick into attacking Wally. Oh, and Wally has gotten a legitimate job at last — watching videotapes at super-speed? Weird…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Spin is still a pretty dumb villain, but the scheme is getting better, bit by bit. Still, next time they want to use a supervillain with fear and mind-control powers, why don’t they just raid Batman’s rogues gallery for Scarecrow and Mad Hatter?


She-Hulk #28

She-Hulk gets arrested again after causing a ruckus at a football stadium while trying to apprehend the guy who knocked down an apartment building a few issues ago.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Dangit, this storyline completely vanished several months ago, then it’s back and running hard like we’re supposed to remember it again? Guys, please stop jumping randomly from one storyline to another.

Oookay, that’s enough for now. Another review-burst tomorrow…

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