John Layman’s run on Detective Comics is coming to a close very soon. The few of his issues that I’ve read, particularly the fourth volume of the new series, have been really good, and he has certainly impressed me with each issue. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that he is one of my favourite writers at the moment. This weekend, I got to meet him in person at Comic Con India and it was great! Given some of my other plans this year, I’ll be reading his other series Chew quite soon, probably once his excellent Gothtopia arc on Detective Comics is done.
In last month’s celebratory issue, we saw the beginning of Gothtopia, a story in which Gotham is the safest city in America, by far, and where crime is at an all-time low. In fact, it is virtually extinct, except for suicide rates going up. Seemingly an Elseworlds take at first, the story quickly morphs into something else, and things really get interesting. In the new issue this past week, John fills in some of the blanks and shows how things got to this point. And Aaron Lopresti’s artwork is just as amazing as ever, supporting John’s script in every way.
In its first eight issues, The Movement did something that wasn’t really being done in comics. It told the story of a vigilante superhero team that didn’t see itself as superheroes. And it tapped into the ongoing discussion of how social media can be used for changes in social structures and tackling corruption. It had characters that were flawed, and many of these characters represented minorities in comics in a way that perhaps only Earth 2 under James Robinson did. Suffice to say, Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II tackled something really different, and they made it work.
With the latest issue, #9, we see the beginning of a new arc on the series, and we finally see a meeting of the characters of the Movement and Batgirl, something I’ve been waiting to see ever since The Movement was announced (for the unaware, Gail is the writer for Batgirl as well). The setup here is quite interesting, and I loved how all the characters interacted with each other, especially Katharsis’ reaction to Batgirl being in town, another confrontation that I’ve wanted to see here. The art is not quite as good as what’s come before, but that is not all that big a deal.
Arrow returned from a long break of some six weeks or thereabouts three weeks ago and just while things were building up the momentum once again, it is taking a two-week break for the next two weeks. It will return on February 26th. But to help us tide over, this week’s episode packed a hell of a lot of awesome, just as the mid-season finale did with everything that went on with Barry Allen and Sebastian Blood and Roy Harper. I’ve said several times that I love the show despite its faults, because it does a ton of things right, and because it has improved a lot since its first season.
This week’s episode, titled Heir of the Demon, brings back Sara Lance aka Canary and it also introduces Katrina Law as Nyssa Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, the immortal leader of the League of Assassins, of which Canary is a part. The majority of the episode is focused on the relationship that Sara has with Ra’s, and it also gives us some interesting flashbacks to six years back before Ollie and his father went on that fateful trip on their yacht. This particular episode packed in a ton of emotional drama that I really liked, and for that alone, I loved it.
Note: This review contains some significant spoilers.
For the Crime Syndicate of America, the end has finally begun. For four issues now, they’ve continued to establish their dominance over the Earth. Whether we talk about the big time heroes like those of the three Justice Leagues, or the lesser heroes like the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans, they’ve taken out almost everyone, and have shown themselves to be supreme. But nothing lasts forever. And this new issue is a perfect example of that. The story has taken a long time to get to this point, but it is finally here, and I’m honestly very relieved that things are actually moving forward now.
The new issue is a contest of arms. In the last issue we saw that Lex Luthor led his band of supervillains to Wayne Enterprises in Gotham to procure some tech, but ran into Batman and Catwoman there. In the midst of it all, Power Ring arrived with a band of Earth 1’s villains like Deathstroke and Giganta to take them all out. This is the issue that packs a ton of action into the story and moves the story forward in the context of the big enemy that the Crime Syndicate ran away from, from their own Earth.
Things are finally beginning to really heat up in Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. Their issues over the last six months have been really amazing and the current arc, The Outsiders War, has been highly entertaining as well. In the past two issues, we saw a lot of the setup for this arc as Green Arrow traveled back to the island with Shado, looking for answers to a lot of questions. He found few answers and many more questions. Green Arrow #27 ended on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, and the new issue carries on straight from there.
As always, I’m not really sure what to say here, except that the star of this issue is definitely Andrea Sorrentino with his mind-blowing pencils, and even Marcel Maiolo with his captivating colours. The story here is pretty good of course, as are most of Jeff Lemire’s scripts, but the art is totally something else. The time for revelations to be had is over and it is the time now for action, whether we talk about the heroes or the villains. And John Diggle finally makes his return here after the teaser we got in one of the previous issues. So this book is definitely firing on all cylinders.
Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
In December Jeff Parker took over writing duties on Aquaman from Geoff Johns. After more than two years of Geoff’s excellent run on the title, which saw the title become one of DC’s best-selling titles in the New 52, we are finally getting a fresh perspective on things and based on #26 and #27 both, I have to say that some really exciting times are ahead for the readers. The previous issue was almost perfect. It met my expectations and it has some great story and art both.
This past week’s #27 proved to be another good installment of the series. It wraps up the plot with the Atlantean mythological sea-monster that was terrorising Reykjavik, Iceland and at the same time it furthers the subplot involving the political tensions in Arthur’s advisory council while also giving us more information on Triton Base, a hidden underwater research base created to investigate future potential threats from the underwater kingdom and Aquaman’s relationship to it, among other things. And the art was also good, although the switch at the end with the pencillers created a bit of a WTF moment.
Continuing on with the DCAU Spotlight feature is this review I did for the second Green Lantern animated movie, quite a different one in both tone and mood and content than the previous one, which was really good. I didn’t enjoy Emerald Knights as much as I wanted to, largely because the split narrative had bad pacing and some of the characters just weren’t as interesting as they could have been. But there were some really cool moments throughout, and that, I suppose could have been the point.
So here it is, another repost of an old review, from way back in 2011.
So this is another one of my early reviews. It was a part of a feature I ran called “DCAU Spotlight” in which I covered DC’s various animated direct-to-DVD features. The DCAU is a really fun place where a lot of different stories and characters have been covered. Its given us some really great movies, and some not so good ones. 2009’s Green Lantern: First Flight is one of the former, and is certainly one of my favourites from the last few years.
As always, its a rather short review, but I hope it is a convincing one, in that you are motivated to watch the film if you haven’t, or rewatch it if you have. I’ve always enjoyed watching it and it certainly never gets old or boring.
After all the exciting epilogue-ish reveals of last week’s episode, Arrow did one better this week by dropping a big bomb on the proceedings and showing that whatever we as viewers thought was going to happen with certain characters isn’t quite going to happen like we imagined. I love the format that the show has evolved into, where the last five minutes or so are often used to drop hints and clues as to the larger story arcs of the season. Last week’s highlight was we saw Slade Wilson as Deathstroke, in full gear, laying down justice on four of Blood’s henchmen for the price of Blood failing in his mission. This week, well, this week was quite special altogether on a different note.
Once again, we have an aptly named episode. While the name “Tremors” might give you certain ideas about the plot of the episode, it is also something more, it is about the shake-ups in the lives of the main cast and the supporting cast. Each and every character in the show is impacted to a certain degree here and their world is shaken up because of it. All I can say on seeing the episode is that I am still in love with the show. It is going from strength to strength and is finally picking up the momentum after the recent six-week break.
The news is finally in that Robert Venditti and Van Jensen will be writing The Flash starting from #30 and the art will be headlined by Brett Booth. I’m both excited and apprehensive about this since while I love Brett’s artwork, Venditti’s writing on Green Lantern after taking over from Geoff Johns has led me to drop the title from my pull list. But still, I’m interested to see where things are going. In the meantime, we had that one-shot by Christos Gage and Neil Googe that was pretty decent and this week we have the first in a 2-parter by returning (for temporary measure) writer Brian Buccellato and guest-artist Patrick Zircher.
I have to say that I love the idea of one-shots and 2-parters because most of DC’s comics in the New 52 have been built around the concept of 4-7-issue arcs, with some being even longer, and while I enjoy reading arcs, I’ve been quite hungry for more easily consumable stories. Which is why I loved The Flash #26 last month and why I’m enjoying this week’s The Flash #27 as well, in part. More than that, I’m excited that Brian is back for this, even though his co-conspirator Francis Manapul is not. And Patrick Zircher is an amazing artist so it was great to see his take on the Scarlet Speedster as well.
The only Catwoman issue I’ve read, in the New 52 or otherwise, is the recent Catwoman #25 which was a Zero Year tie-in and was written by one of my favourite writers, John Layman, and drawn by Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert. It was a really fun issue that I picked only because it was a tie-in and because John and Aaron were behind it. I’ve heard far too many negative things about the current Ann Nocenti run to really be interested in picking up the series for long-term. But, that’s kind of where the Gothtopia crossover story stepped in.
John introduced Gothtopia in his short story for Detective Comics #27 and just a couple weeks ago we had Gail Simone doing a Gothropia issue for Batgirl, which I really liked. Both stories were excellent, so I managed to drum up some drive to pick up this issue. And I kind of wish that I hadn’t. Because this was mostly a very tiresome read with some odd artwork here and there. Not at all what I expected, even with the low expectations that I had of it. I’ve tried Ann Nocenti’s Katana in the past as well but that title didn’t work for me either. So I suppose, Ann Nocenti’s work really isn’t for me. Maybe I should try something else that she’s done that’s received some acclaim.