Week 47 (July 25, 2012)

  • Green Lantern #11 is seemingly the beginning of the end.  Black Hand has re-died and become a Black Lantern once again.  Hal and Sinestro have left Nok and inexorably are drawn to the evil he exudes.  After this issue there is one regular issue and the Green Lantern Annual before a new Green Lantern is chosen.  Whether this means Hal is going to die or not is equally up in the air.  Though it seems that way, considering that the cover of that annual features a design reminiscent of the famous “Death of Superman” issue from the 90’s, I have a feeling that its all a gambit and both Hal and Sinestro are going to dodge the bullet and simply play dead.  But then again, Geoff Johns is getting a pretty big head, and may feel that “what Johns giveth, he taketh away.”  Since he brought Hal back from the dead, he may feel that its within his right to kill him again.  We’ll see.

    Shadows of Green Lantern Future . . .

  • Taking a cue from Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, Flash #11 has the Scarlet Speedster killing off his civilian identity, Barry Allen, and creating a new life under a pseudonym in a rough part of town.  Taking a job at a bar frequented by the Rogues, he has a better scope of how and where his villains’ attacks will come.  As with its predecessors, this issue features the introduction of a new Rogue.  This month Heatwave makes his New DC debut and his newest iteration is pretty intense.  Whereas in the past he was a tough guy with flamethrowers, he is now a scarred monstrosity that generates flame at will from his body, just as the new Captain Cold can generate ice and freezing effects from his hands.  Once again Marcus To is providing art, which though good, is still no substitute for the art of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.
  • Aquaman #11 has the Atlantian king reuniting with the last of the surviving members of the “Others” whom he fought alongside in his past.  Black Manta had been tracking them all down and killing them for the artifacts of old Atlantis that they possessed which could give him power.  What power?  The power to find another artifact that even Aquaman didn’t know existed.  The importance of this lost artifact directly pertains to a question that many have asked for centuries.  This is an issue that will define the series and the character for sometime, me thinks.
  • Green Lantern: The New Guardians #11 may be the winner of the week.  This issue showcases the genocidal beginnings of Invictus’ evil plans, the confrontation of the New Guardians against Larfleeze, and the revelation of the true “Ring Thief” whose mischief ushered in this who plotline almost a full year ago.  The New Guardians have grown so much in the past year and as characters, blossomed into some of the best characters in the New DCU.  That is my opinion anyhow.  Through solicitations it is obvious that this first year is merely an opening salvo, and the ride of these seven warriors is almost up.  Some of them will endure to the next year, but several will not see the start of the next phase.  If this issue and next month’s is to be their swansong, then sing on Tony Bedard.  I’ve enjoyed what you’ve done with these lanterns and will continue to read the book for what you have in store next.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #11 was beautiful, but not a lot happened.  The Scarecrow continues his insane escapades, abducting children and dosing them with his fear toxin for as of yet an undisclosed reason.  There is a slight clue in a background story of Crane’s childhood, but again the exposition is rather vague.  What does strike the reader is David Finch’s incredible artwork.  Gotta love it.  Whatever you say about the plots, which when he ws writing weren’t that bad, his art is top notch.  I will say, however, that when he was writing he plots were framed a lot more interestingly.  That is my opinion and I humbly submit it as such.
  • Fury of Firestorm #11 brings the series close to the close of its first arc and its first year.  Jason Rusch and Firehawk go to Russia and learn some disturbing things about Pozhar, the Russian Firestorm.  In Pakistan, Ronnie sees the sinister nature of the master Firestorm for himself as Pozhar’s Cold War, Darwinian experimentations advance to the detriment of many around him.  Ashra Khan has yet to show, but somehow I am wondering if Pozhar isn’t Ashra.  It would certainly explain a great deal.  The Joe Harris/Ethan Van Sciver written series is ending after September’s #0 issue, with Dan Jurgens coming onboard both as artist and writer on issue #13 in October.
  • Teen Titans #11 brings us to an arc showcasing that explores the character of Wonder Girl, aka Cassandra Sandsmark.  Her powers come from mystic armor that she absconded with that has bonded itself to her person.  This issue show just how closely bonded.  Starting with a full page shot of her locked in  bathroom with spikes pushing their way out of her flesh, we see that there is something very draconian going on with it.  Cut to later when she herself goes over the edge when fighting an adversary that has invaded the group’s New York hideaway.  Also introduced is an enigmatic figure integrally tied to Wonder Girl’s past and the armor she wears.  Once again, writer Scott Lobdell and artist Brett Booth hit it out of the park and write a engrossing comic that pushes its characters to their limits of their potential.

    What It Means To Wear The Armor

  • Superman #11 was . . .  something.  In the land of Clark Kent he goes on a double date with Lois and her boyfriend, Jonathan Carroll, with Lois’ little sister, Lucy, as his date. Sort of.  It advances innocent trouble and drama in his civilian life, but in his superhero life, things get a little weird when he goes to Russia after the contents of a submarine he saved breaks loose. Trying to get their own extraterrestrial superman like America’s, the Russians found . . . a Predator.  I am serious.  Writer/artist Dan Jurgens has Superman fighting a predator, complete with two pronged punching dagger, dreadlocks, metal mask with glowing eyes and crazy tribal things.  Seriously, read the issue and see what I am talking about.  Where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Glover failed, Supes . . . might also fail.

    That’s . . . That’s a Predator . . .

  • All-Star Western #11 brings the two Gotham cabals, the Court of Owls and the Religion of Crime, to direct confrontation.  It had to happen at some point. And as ever, caught in the middle is Jonah Hex, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, and now Tallulah Black.  The Court of Owls is pretty straightforward.  They are, as ever, affluent men and women living in opulence wearing owl masks.  They are like that in our time, they were like that in the 1880’s.  The Religion of Crime, however, is quite a different matter, because they do not hide their identities.  With that in mind, the five Lords of Crime are perhaps the best part of the issue as they themselves are very disparate characters embodying the various disciplines of villainy.  In the backup feature we are introduced to Dr. Terrence Thirteen.  The Thirteens have shown up in modern times, but to my knowledge this is the first incarnation that existed in the 19th century.  A man of science, he cuts a very similar figure to Sherlock Holmes looking pragmatically at the supernatural occurances of the Old West to not only solve crimes, but debunk superstition, the latter of which being his primary motive.  Once again an incredible issue from three masters: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Moritat.  Guest artist, Scott Kolins does a good job too on the backup.

    The Lords of Crime

  • National Comics: Eternity is a oneshot comic by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Cully Hammer that introduces readers to the character of Kid Eternity in this New DCU era.  This appears to be the first of several oneshots designated National Comics, the original name of DC back in the 1930’s.  In this incarnation, Kid Eternity is no longer killed in a U-Boat attack, but rather a gangland drive by shooting.  He does return to the power set of recalling the dead to the realm of the living in ghost form for the purpose of justice.  This issue is interesting to read as it is both a return to a classic character’s origin, but also a redux.
  • The New Deadwardians #5 takes us to the English countryside to see how the gentry live in this England plagued by the Restless hordes (zombies).  The basic setup of English culture and politics of the day are permeated by this issue.  Young women are apparently not allowed to take “the cure” (vampirism) until they are married, and only if their husband allows, which is a hot button issue in the Women’s Sufferage movement.  Also English fox hunts and pheasant shoots have been replaced by hunting the random Restless for sport.  And all the while the keynote issue of the series, the murder of a Youth (vampire) without the use of the three methods leads police inspector George Suttle further into this strange subculture.  I hate zombies, but I love this series.  Downton Abbey meets Walking Dead.
  • American Vampire #29 is just awesome.  Going into the second chapter of the “Black List” arc, Scott Snyder sends Agents Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet of the Vassals of the Morningstar against a secret coven of vampires that have nested in Hollywood during the infamous McCarthy trials of the early 50’s.  Full of action and intrigue there is little I can reveal about the plot that wouldn’t ruin it.  I will say that many assertions are made about the characters and what dark fates lie in store for each.  Also, Skinner’s survival after being shot by Pearl in WWII with a golden bullet is disclosed for the first time.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Green Lantern #11: Drawn by Doug Mahnke, Colored by Tony Avina & Alex Sinclair, Inked by Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin & Doug Mahnke

Aquaman #11: Drawn by Ivan Reis, Colored by Rod Reis, Inked by Joe Prado, Jonathan Glapion & Andy Lanning

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #11: Drawn by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Nei Ruffino, Inked by BATT

Teen Titans #11: Drawn by Brett Booth, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse, Inked by Norm Rapmund

Superman #11: Drawn by Dan Jurgens, Colored by Hi-Fi & The Hories, Inked by Jesus Merino, Vincente Cifuntes & Rob Hunter

All-Star Western #11: Art by Moritat, Colored by Mike Atiyeh

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