Archive for Tangent

RASLing with Destiny



Hrm, I get the feeling this is a story that’ll be a lot better when it’s collected into a single volume, rather than doled out one at a time in the single issues. Rasl (that’s apparently our dimension-hopping protagonist’s name) spends some time with his hoochie-mama, talking about alternate-universe Picassos, maze mandalas, and, well, hoochie. But someone is trying to track Rasl down, and they don’t care who gets hurt.

Verdict: I ain’t gonna give it a hard thumbs down, because I am enjoying Jeff Smith’s art a lot, but this series is just not interesting to me.


The Brave and the Bold #14

Boston Brand, better known as the superhero ghost Deadman, enlists Green Arrow in a fight against the Ghost Killers of Nanda Parbat, a band of spectral assassins created by Siva Anuttara, a death-worshipping monster who’s actually managed to capture Rama Kushna, the powerful god-spirit who runs Nanda Parbat and helped train Deadman. The big problem is that Green Arrow doesn’t have any ghost arrows, so all he and Deadman can do is run.

Verdict: Honestly, thumbs down. The team-up woulda been interesting if only there was someone Ollie could fight, and I also felt like GA acted out-of-character at the end.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #4

Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Lightning, and Black Canary manage to make their way to the Tangent universe to join Flash and a bunch of Tangent heroes. John Stewart has been captured by Tangent’s version of Superman, who’s taken over the world. And it turns out that the Atom the heroes previously liberated from Superman isn’t the real Atom at all, but a secret operative.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s just going on too darn long, and it’s not giving me nearly enough entertainment. I’m dropping this one.

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Numbers and Tangents


Number of the Beast #3

More people are dying, the oceans have turned to blood, and the members of the Paladins are accepting that this is the end of the world. A former superhero called the High has been mysteriously resurrected, accidentally blowing off Dr. Sin’s legs and later throwing him across the city. Supervillains are doing good deeds, Neanda the cavegirl accidentally lets slip that she’s not as primitive as she pretends, and the High discovers that he can’t leave the city. And it’s becoming more and more obvious that the city, the superheroes, and the supervillains are all actually in some sort of virtual reality environment run by the government.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m enjoying some of the character bits — Neanda losing her temper and reverting to normal speech is pretty good, and the scenes with Dr. Sin are stone solid winners.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #3

Batman, Black Canary, and Black Lightning discover that Flash and Green Lantern have traveled to an alternate universe and start working plans to get them back. Meanwhile, in the Tangent Universe, the two Flashes, the DC Green Lantern, and the Tangent Joker go to the Tangent Superman’s fortress to rescue the Atom. They end up getting the Atom free, but John Stewart gets captured.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I think I’d enjoy this story more if moved a lot faster. I mean, a LOT faster.

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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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Assembled Avengers


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #22

I lost track of this one for several months, but there was a spare copy or two at the store last week, so this seems as good a time as any to get back on the bandwagon. What is it? It’s part of Marvel’s all-ages line of comics that’s not so tied down by continuity. The members of the team include Captain America, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Storm, and Giant-Girl (basically, she’s what the Wasp woulda been if Janet van Dyne had been more interested in stomping buildings flat than in fashion).

This issue puts most of the focus on Wolverine and Storm, because the Avengers travel to Wakanda, home of Storm’s semi-ex-boyfriend the Black Panther, and try to track down Wolverine’s nemesis Sabretooth. And… well, that’s pretty much the gist of the plot. Ain’t nothing wrong with simple and straightforward.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of good superhero-ey action and nice artwork. Wolverine’s personality is a bit stereotyped (“Grr, I have to get Sabretooth on my own because he’s my responsibility, for some reason no one knows. And because I’m moody.”), but Storm is a good deal more interesting. The Black Panther is cool, and his costume is just about the best one I’ve ever seen designed for him. And every time I look at this, I get more and more impressed by, of all things, the coloring work by Ulises Arreola, especially in the night scenes, when the light from the moon hits all the right highlights. I had a heck of a lot of fun reading this.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #1

Okay, back in ’97, DC came up with a temporary new imprint called “Tangent Comics” for one of their “fifth-week” events. The gimmick with Tangent was that it was an all-new superhero universe, built using new characters with familiar names — the Flash was a light-based superheroine; the Atom was an atomic powerhouse; Superman was a hyper-evolved psychic cop; the Joker was an anarchic female hero. The Tangent Universe has been established as Earth-9 in the post-“52” universe, and references to it have popped up occasionally, but this is its first major series since a short Tangent series in ’98.

The Tangent Universe is a lot different place than it used to be. Superman has taken over and is trying to “reform” most of the world’s heroes and villains, against their will. The Joker has lost most of her sense of humor under the totalitarian parole system, and Green Lantern has lost her Green Lantern, leaving her at death’s door. Manhunter and the Spectre, meanwhile, are trying to rescue the missing Atom. And over in the regular DC Universe, our Flash meets the Tangent Flash, and they and Green Lantern take Green Lantern’s Green Lantern (umm, what?) into the Tangent Universe to see what’s up.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve always kinda liked the idea of the Tangent Universe, though I’m worried that all the duplicate names is gonna make it rough to describe what’s going on.

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Tangents and Permutations


Justice League of America #16

This is another one of those stories that’s gonna require some fairly extensive background info first. Back in 1997, DC published a small number of comics under a new imprint publishing arm they called “Tangent Comics.” The gimmick was that this was a superhero universe where all the characters had the names of DC characters but were completely different otherwise. Their version of the Atom was an atomic-powered energy-blaster; the Flash was a teenaged girl with light-based powers; the Joker was a crimefighting anarchist; the Green Lantern was a mystical artifact that could temporarily return the dead to life. In fact, Tangent’s version of the Green Lantern actually turned up in the regular DC Universe a while back, and it’s being kept in a storage locker by Guy Gardner.

And that’s where this story picks up, as a couple of no-luck lowlifes burglarize Guy’s storage building and somehow manage to activate the Green Lantern, which acts as an interdimensional teleporter, causing one of the burglars to switch universes with Tangent’s mega-powerful Atom. The Justice League — well, just Black Canary, Red Arrow, and John Stewart — respond to a police call about the incident. They manage to subdue the Atom and move him back to his proper universe, but they don’t realize that there’s another Tangent Universe hero in their universe — the Flash is stuck over here and doesn’t know how to get back home.

Verdict: Thumbs up, with some reservations. I really dug the Tangent concept when it first came out, so it’s neat to see some of these old characters. I wish they’d given the Atom more of a chance to shine, though. The JLA, on the other hand, gets plenty of opportunity to kick off some cool moments and lines — the best moment is probably Red Arrow defeating the Atom by beating him with garden implements. Unfortunately, this story isn’t going to be concluded in the next “Justice League” comic — it’s going to be in a miniseries about the Tangent Universe. I HATE comics that serve only to promote another comic series.


Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman

Wow, that is one way too long comic book title.

Well, we’ve got Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Jason Todd, and (ugh) Bob the Monitor searching, for some durn fool reason, for Ray Palmer, the Atom, who’s gone missing for the last couple of years. Since his miniaturization powers allow him to travel to other dimensions, they’re jumping from one alternate earth to another trying to track him down. This issue, they visit Earth-11, where genders are reversed. They watch as the world’s superheroines fight Wonder Man and his invading army of extremely hairy male Amazons. Aaaaand that’s about all that happens.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Boooooring.

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