Comic Reviews for May ’12

I have three weeks worth of comics to review instead of only two this time, so there are quite a few more. I also hand out mostly good grades again, because nothing I bought was awful. Maybe I should rate these thing tougher, but I know how bad comics can be and none of these issues are really bad at all.

  • Action Comics 9:  Morrison gives us a fun look at a pair of alternate reality Supermen here, with only a few connections to the overarching run he is building in this title. It is an illuminating look at what makes Superman work, and what doesn’t. The two realities that collide here couldn’t be more different, but that collision makes for a nice done in one story. Gene Ha’s art is always a plus, as is Cully Hamner’s in the back-up story. While this issue seems disconnected from the rest of the run so far, I expect major parts of it to come back and influence this title at a later date. A

 

  • Animal Man 9:  Lemire continues his dark, weird and awesome run on this title. Steve Pugh’s art doesn’t miss a step from Travel Foreman’s (I know he’s been around for a while now). Here Buddy “dies” kind of, and one of the baddies steals his skin. It is weirdly fun. A-
  • Batwoman 9:  JH Williams III and Haden Blackman continue to experiment with their storytelling, but letting the story in small chunks from a multitude of viewpoints. I’m not sure it is working, but it is still an interesting story. Trevor McCarthy takes over art for Amy Reeder, and it is miles better. His art put this book back on the must read list. B

 

  • Captain Atom 9:  Another excellent issue. This is easily writer JT Krul’s best work to date, and it is possibly artist Freddie Williams II’s as well. The strands of this series are beginning to tie back together, in what I cynically assume is the beginning of the end, with Cap Atom’s time traveling being responsible for some unexplained parts of previous issues. This series has been largely terrific, as is this issue. A-

 

  • DCU Presents 9: Savage  This is just Robinson and Chang doing Silence of the Lambs with Vandal Savage and one of his numerous offspring. It is well done, but it doesn’t really go beyond its premise yet. The only real compliant I have is that Sook only does the cover, but that is a complaint nearly every time Sook does a cover. B

 

  • Earth 2 1:  James Robinson has a whole world to play with here. I question the wisdom of using nearly the whole first issue to spotlight characters that won’t be a part of the series as it goes forward, but I do like the seeds laid here. This isn’t going to be the old JSA, but it looks to be shaping up into an interesting series on it own terms. Still, this issue feels like a lot of wasted pages. B-

 

  • Exiled 1, Journey Into Mystery 637, New Mutants 42:  This crossover should have been a lot of fun, with the New Mutants and Kid Loki trying to fix a reality altering magic spell, but it really isn’t. This has got to be the most boring alternate reality, with all of the Norse Gods becoming normal people. Not with any sort of interesting twist, just normal. It is an adequately executed story, so far anyway, but not an especially good one. Just like the rest of Abnett and Lanning’s New Mutants run. C

 

  • Frankenstein Agent of SHADE 9:  Lemire ends his run with a touching and fun tie in to his Animal Man series. Frank and Nina try to track down a cop that disappeared in Animal Man and needless to say things get weird. The monster protecting us from monsters is just a fun concept, I don’t care that they stole from Hellboy. I wonder is the growing concerns about Father Time are going to carry over when Kindt takes over, but I hope that the book remains as fun. A-

 

  • GI Combat 1:  The first story, soldiers vs. dinosaurs, is exactly what the cover makes it look like: soldiers fighting dinosaurs. It isn’t anything special, but it is kind of fun. The back-up Unknown Soldier story is better. Not great, but it works. This issue is verging on crazy enough to work. C+
  • Green Lantern 9:  This issue is all exposition, all the time. We get a look into Sinestro’s past, and what helped turn him to the villain everyone one has known. We also get the sordid history of the Indigo Lanterns, finding out that they are all forcibly reformed villains. And lastly the Guardians go full bad guy. Not a bad issue, but not the most exciting one. B-

 

  • Green Lantern Corps 9:  John is on trial for killing a lantern a few issues ago, and it is all revealed to be a further plot by the Guardians to undermine the Earth Lanterns in their ongoing plot to eliminate the Green Lantern Corps. I’m not sure I like where this is going, because the series is best when it is about space heroics rather than pseudo-political hand wringing. C+

 

  • Justice League 9:  Geoff Johns seems like he is having a lot of fun here, and it shines through in how fun this series has been. He and Jim Lee are starting up the second big arc on this title, trying to give the Justice League another legitimate villain in Graves. I really like what Johns is doing with Steve Trevor, and I sure hope he comes out of this okay. The back-up, starring Shazam, is excellent. Billy Batson may not be the angel he has been in most previous incarnations, but he feels very real and is still a good kid, if a damaged one. I wish it was going faster, but such is the way of 8-page back-up stories. B+

 

  • Mega Man 13:  A new arc, a new artist. The art looks significantly more sloppy here than in previous issues. This in between games arc is starting better than the previous one, with an interesting debate on the ethics of humanoid robots. It is also sowing seeds for games past 3, with Dr Cossack and Pharaoh Man running around a robotics convention. B
  • Saga 3:  I don’t have a lot to say about this issue. Saga continues to be good, even with its rather juvenile sense of maturity (look at us, we have cusses and boobs!). Characters are fleshed out a little more and the story continues, in a mostly entertaining fashion. B

 

  • The Shade 8:  Robinson teams with Jill Thompson to take another look into Shade’s past. Shade helps his grandson extricate himself from an indiscrete relationship, by destroying the demon that had taken over his boyfriend. It isn’t an especially complex story, but I don’t think Robinson can tell a bad Shade story. Plus, it is always nice to see Thompson on art. Just an all around great comic. A
  • Supergirl 9:  Mahmud Asrar is rapidly becoming one of my favorite artists. His work on Supergirl has been uniformly excellent. This Supergirl series has been mostly very good too. This issue is about 80% fight scene, which I don’t really like, but it does help flesh out Kara some more, as well as Siobhan, the now possibly heroic Silver Banshee. I’d still like the see Supergirl acclimate to Earth a little faster, but so far this series has been good. B+

 

  • Swamp Thing 9:  This title has been kind of forgotten, what with Batman stealing all the Snyder attention ( I mean from fans about Snyder, not that Snyder is putting less effort into this series) and Animal Man getting the bulk from the dark line. But Swamp Thing has been really good. This is the end of this story, with Swamp Thing taking on Sethe. It emphasizes that this is a horror love story, and it works. Especially the art from Paquette and Rudy. Good stuff. A-
  • Wonder Woman 9:  I get the feeling that Azzarello is having a lot of fun with his romp through Greek Mythology on this title. I hope to get to see Wonder Woman find a way out of her predicament next issue. I rather like his take on Hades, but I hope he isn’t supposed to be a full on villain. The one thing that this book has established is that the Gods are dicks, with the possible exception of Hermes. I don’t expect Hades to be a nice guy, but I don’t like him as a villain. He isn’t the devil. Akins is no Chiang on art, but he isn’t bad. I would probably quite like him in any capacity except filling in for Chiang. B+

 

  • Worlds Finest 1:  This is light and fun, preserving a lot of the good stuff of previous incarnations of these characters while telling a fresh story. I like the flashback scenes, if only for Maguire’s art, but the ‘current’ stuff isn’t bad either. Power Girl and Huntress have been forcibly transferred across realities and PG wants to go home while Huntress is trying to create a new life on this Earth. It is a good set up, one where either one could get what they want. I hope this series keeps its peppy attitude. B
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