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From The Matt Cave – Review-apalooza

12

Apr

Posted by Steve

Because I’ve been so slack lately, and because he got several comics in the mail at one time, Batmatt is back with several reviews in one post.   So, since he keeps it pretty succinct, I will do the same thing.  Read on For Batmatt’s reviews of  Batman and Robin #’s 5 through 9 and  Batgirl #7.

 

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From the Desk of The Superclerk – Blackest Night #6 Reviewed

23

Mar

Posted by Steve

Still in catch up mode.  I have some things that I am debating on whether or not to do it in podcast form or blog form.  I’m leaning toward blog…just to have content.  Before I get to that though, we’ve got this from Superclerk.  It’s his review of Blackest Night 6.  What did he think?  What’s going on?  Is there any end in sight?  Read on fearless reader and all of your questions will be answered.

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From The Desk of The Superclerk – World’s Finest #1 Reviewed

6

Nov

Posted by Steve

DC is going back to the well of one of it’s more successful titles from years gone by.  World’s Finest used to tell the tales of Superman and Batman as they went on great adventures as the best of friends.  As the Silver Age came and went and we were ushered into a Post Crisis world of a darker Batman and a more down-to-earth Superman, World’s Finest was a mini-series that explored the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader working together to thwart the plans of The Joker and Lex Luthor in 1990.   Later, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness would team up to bring us the exploits of the Dark Knight and Krypton’s Last Son in a book titled simply Superman/Batman.   Well, DC has gone to the well again…this time with a twist.   Superclerk brings us up to speed on DC’s latest foray into the world of the World’s Finest.  Read on to see what he says.

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From The Desk of The Superclerk – Blackest Night #4 Reviewed! (This just got real)

5

Nov

Posted by Steve

My favorite thing about the following review? “This just got real.” I think it did. Read on to see what Superclerk has to say about Blackest Night #4:

The Blackest Night has begun…

Issue four is when the heroes of Earth start to get an idea of what they are up against as Flash gets the word out. Once again… this issue isn’t without its losses.

We begin with Flash, Mera, and the Atom trying not to die as the corpses of the villains stored in the Hall of Justice try to tear the their hearts from their chests. Literally.

blackest_night_4_cover_reveal_20090925071719862.jpgJason, the new Firestorm, manages to get control of his body for a short amount of time to let them know that a voice coming from the ring is calling out for Barry Allen. We have known that the heroes who have come back from the dead in recent years were going to be a target of whatever was controlling all this and now is when that starts. Atom does a sweet move to help them escape by having them piggyback through the phone connection to the local 911-dispatch office.

The next thing we see is the risen Azrael gutting folks in Gotham city and leaving Scarecrow behind alive due to his lack of emotion. While this was a quick scene that some might not think was important at all… I liked it. I’ve always liked Scarecrow as a villain and this scene cements that he’s just not all there in the head.

The next small scene is another on that I liked as we see Lex Luthor locking himself down inside a secret bunker. He knows what’s going on and the thought of all the people he has hurt or killed over the years coming back to get him has him in lock down mode. His conversation with the Calculator was a good one as well. We see that Luthor doesn’t see himself as a villain. He’s better than all those who would consider them his peer. That’s the Lex we all know and love. He’s not a team player.

After a quick pep talk from the Flash, Mera and Atom head out to find the one remaining Green Lantern on the Earth. Alan Scott of the Justice Society. A jump through another phone line leads them into the middle of a battle between a bunch of Black Lanterns and the Society.

Flash speeds about the Earth telling all the groups of heroes what’s going down and they all get ready to hold their ground until the Green Lantern Corps can fix all this mess from the main battle out in space.

Alan Scott attempts to take out the Black Lanterns but his power source isn’t working as well as the actual Green Lantern Corps rings can. With the help of the Atom, Damage is able to fight against the Black Lantern who s posing as his father and get pumped for the long fight ahead. A friendship is forged in the heat of battle. One that is all too brief. The Atom watches as his former wife and lover Jean Loring rips Damage’s heart out through his back.

Now, folks… You may not care that some B List hero from the massive roster of the Justice Society has just been killed in a gruesome manner but I do. Damage is a hero I followed when I first got serious into collecting comics. It was in junior high and at this point I was deep into collecting comics that had teen heroes. Robin was at the top and Superboy right under that. Along that same time I got into a small comic titled DAMAGE. It was about a boy who was thrown into the hero role suddenly when he discovered that his whole life had been fake and that he could potentially be one of the most powerful heroes on the planet.

blackest_night_4_variant_revealed_20090924042741471.jpgHis comic didn’t last long but he popped up here and there from time to time to serve on a version of the Titans and even helped defeat Parallax during the event known as Zero Hour. Most recently he was hurt badly in a battle and his face was scarred horribly. He has since been the ill tempered muscle of the Justice Society on a journey or redemption and self-forgiveness. That journey ended in this comic. I was saddened by this death and it makes me really hope that not all is lost for the heroes falling during this event.

The death of Damage also brings forth the full charge of the Black Lanterns power battery. This whole time we have been seeing each death bring us closer and closer to full charge and us wondering what that means. Now we know.

Barry Allen feels a pull towards Coast City, home of Hal Jordan. When he gets there he witnesses Black Hand welcoming the arrival of the Black Lantern power battery to Earth and the rise of the creature behind the whole Blackest Night. Nekron has risen and with him come the seven million that were killed in the destruction of Coast City at the hands of Cyborg Superman.

This just got real, folks.

STORY: 4/5

I dug the issue. I heard a few complaints about this one and was wondering if the story had finally run out of steam but I found that not to be the case. A lot of big things happened in this issue and I felt it was just as strong as what we had scene before.

ART: 5/5

I’m still digging the art behind this series. I don’t expect my mind to change anytime soon. The death of Damage was drawn perfectly and the splash pages were all really great.

COVERS:

Regular Edition: 3/5

The coming of the risen villains was a good idea for a cover on this issue but I would have liked to see more of them instead of a massive Copperhead face filling most of the cover.

Variant Edition: 5/5

The original Atom about to eat a bite sized Atom. It’s simple. It’s awesome.

ALL IN ALL-

I really enjoyed the issue and I’m excited to see the main villain finally revealed. Plus the fact that the main battle has been brought to the Earth raises the stakes even higher. This series has continued to be well written and planned out and I’m still pumped to see what happens next.

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Scarlett Letters – Wonder Woman #33 Reviewed!

28

Oct

Posted by Steve

Scarlett Lynn returns with her take on Wonder Woman #33. This is the Penultimate chapter of the Rise of The Olympian Story arc and big things are happening in the world of Wonder Woman. It’s kind of fitting that she’s been tied up with this while Superman has been dealing with Kryptonians and Batman has been…well…dead. I like that DC, even though they’ve got the whole Blackest Night thing going are trying to return to a time when a person could collect one or two titles and be happy. Then, crossovers meant something…but…this is Scarlett Lynn’s review of Wonder Woman, not my take on the state of comics, so without further blabbering on my part…

WONDER WOMAN #33 – Rise of the Olympian, Finale: Monarch of the Dead

WonderWoman33.jpgHave I ever mentioned that Wonder Woman travels home to the island of Themyscira via a giant, magical, flying clamshell? Sort of like the one in the painting “The Birth of Venus”… only more mobil? If I haven’t, then consider this a quick little primer and heads up.

Anyway… as this issue begins a giant, magical, flying clamshell is skipping across the ocean and slams into the shore of Themyscira as two Amazonian guards look on. (Now aren’t you glad I provided a clamshell-transportation tutorial? Think of how random that scene would be without it!) The guards rush to find Diana unconscious, badly beaten from her previous battle, and they send for her mother. At first Hippolyta is, of course, focused solely on her injured daughter. Then, however, one of the ladies calls her attention to the ocean and the veritable wall of sea-monsters that’s approaching.

Now, Hippolyta is queen for a reason. The woman knows what to do in a battle. Step One: Have the unconscious Diana taken off the battle field to safety. Step Two: Remind someone to grab you a sword when they get a second. Step Three: Take off robe; prepare to defend kingdom in pajamas.

As her mother fights off the invading hordes in her PJs, Diana is slowly regaining consciousness as Phillipus is bandaging up her injuries. Phillipus asks her what happened to her hands, which are especially burnt, and Diana recounts her battle with Genocide. She explains how she had tried to go back for the creature – not wanting to give into the desire for revenge. Her musings are interrupted when she begins to hear the noises of the battle going on at the beach. Phillipus instantly knows what she’s thinking and tries to reason with her but Diana won’t hear of it. Her hands are too damaged to be of much good on their own so she has Phillipus bind a battle axe to her left hand and her lasso to her right hand using the bandages.

In the midst of the battle, the creatures begin to retreat. Ares has ordered Euphemus to focus the attack on Thalarion and Zeus’ Olympians. Athena appears to the Amazons and asks Hippolyta if they will help the men that Zeus wants to replace them with. The two groups join sides against Ares’ forces but Diana bypasses all the carnage and heads straight for the source. In order to stop his twisted plans for the future and to put an end to the war that he had instigated, Diana kills him.

As Diana stands there, removing the weapons she’d tied to her hands, Zeus approaches and congratulates her. Then, oblivious as always, Zeus proceeds to cheerfully tell Diana that he’s created a champion to replace her so that she can run off and be a good wife and mother like she was always meant to. Clearly not catching on to the fact that Diana is not a giddy-little-school-girl at his news, he continues blathering on. When he gets to the part about killing her patron god, however, I think he begins to catch on to the fact that she’s none too pleased. It may have been her punching him in the face and screaming “Murderer!” that finally made her feelings clear. Zeus, however, pompously believes that he knows best and continues on with his decree. Hippolyta will no longer rule, Achilles will take over her role, both the Olympians and the Amazons will be under Zeus’ command and Diana will obey him as her god.

Diana refuses. She renounces all her gods and because they are the gods of the Amazons… she declares that she will no longer be an Amazon. She says goodbye to her mother and promises her that she’ll be alright with her friends and alludes to possibly making amends with Tom. With a final warning to Achilles to look after her people she flies off. Alone.

Skulking around (as she apparently just lives to do) Alkyone mutters to herself about Diana still being an evil dragon and is disgusted with her for abandoning her mother. She reveals that, prior to his death, Ares placed Genocide’s soul in a totem in Alkyone’s possession. She vows to kill Diana and become the mother of Genocide.

STORY: 4 out of 5

DANG! They really weren’t kidding when they said they were planning on shaking up the lives of the DC Trinity. Diana’s not an Amazon any more and is on her own. Her former people and family just had their whole world completely turned upsidedown. And you’re left at the end of this story with no clue as to where it’s going to go next. Her best friends in the superhero world aren’t around anymore… for various reasons. The people who surrounded her in her day-to-day life are just completely messed up at the moment.

I love the story for having the guts to just take the character out of her comfort zone and try something new. Best of all, though, is that they haven’t just shaken up her story in some arbitrary way. It’s been a slow, honest change based on the logical progression of the story and the characters. Continuity for the win!

Forget about what’s coming next, though. [Although considering how late this review is... you may already know what comes next and what happens after that and whatever comes after that. Sorry!] What this issue does so well is payoff one little thing I’ve been begging to happen. Someone finally decked Zeus like he’s been deserving for a while now. Thank goodness it was Diana. (I also would have accepted Hippolyta.)

The only thing that’s holding me back from five stars was that face off with Ares. Really? Way to go out without even trying, Ares. I get that quick is good sometimes but of all villains in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery… Ares has been there a pretty long time and could have gone down with a little more fanfare and a bit more of a fight. Especially on the heels of the previous issues epic battle with Genocide. Maybe that’s it, though. It’s kind of impossible to top that smack down so they went with the exact opposite.

It was a good summation of this Rise of the Olympians arc and it definitely makes me want to see what comes next for Wonder Woman.

863474_ww_cv33_var_super.jpgART: 4 out of 5

Not quite the 5 out of 5 that the last issue delivered for me but still good. It probably has a lot to do with my own personal bias. Big, scary monsters are never going to be my thing. They always come off a little cheesy for me and there are quite a few in this issue. It’s the renditions of the characters that always impress me with Aaron Lopresti’s art. Their body language and facial expressions are always so honest and indicative of precisely where that character is at in that moment. I could have used a few more epic frames though. A panel or even a full page to really climax the events. Near the end it all felt so small. Still, it was definitely enjoyable.

COVERS:

Main Cover: 3 1/2 out of 5

I liked that this cover was essentially a sequel to the cover of issue #31. It’s as though Wonder Woman is standing in the aftermath of the events on that previous cover. While I do like it for that aspect, there’s something about it that comes off a tiny bit bland. It feels a little more like an internal panel than a cover. The imagery works… Diana, alone on the battlefield with evidence of the Olympians and the Amazons having been there. It definitely conveys what’s going on for the character at this point. Yet, while it worked for me on the other cover, here it just feels a little too spelled out and on the nose. Nice art but I think the concept could have been played with just a bit more.

Variant Cover: 5 out of 5

This cover is just pretty and I mean that in the best of ways. I think it’s a beautiful piece of art. A haunting, elegant portrait of Wonder Woman. I love the colors that were used. The sleepy-eyed, close-up of Diana as the feathery sparks and flames fall all around her makes for a gorgeous picture. Plus, it still manages to convey elements of the story. It’s a striking cover. It jumps out at me. I really liked it.

MEMORABLE QUOTES/LINES:

Diana: “Bind the lasso to my right hand, General.”

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Athena: “Will you aid the men who mean to take your place and everything you have sacrificed for, for thirty centuries and more?”

Hippolyta: “… I’ll get my boots.”

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Diana: “Then I will no longer be Amazon.”