Tag Archives: storytelling

Green Lantern #0 Green Lantern Sector 2814 Gets a bit more crowded

Green Lantern #0

Written By: Geoff Johns

Art By: Doug Mahnke

While most of the #0 issues have focused on the past to flesh out their stories and characters this issue focuses on the future of the Green Lantern franchise. We’re introduced to new Green Lantern recruit Simon Baz this issue. Simon is an Arab American living in Dearborn Michigan. The opening pages set Simon’s story into motion by utilizing the events of September 11th to show that Simon and his family haven’t had it easy due to the terrorist attacks he witnessed. We see how Simon and his families lives were effected 1 day , 5 years , and 10 years after the fact. John’s touches heavily on the topic of racial profiling in America and while it’s not easy to read its not hard to believe this could have happened to Simon based on his race.

We are then brought to the present as Simon is fleeing police after he had stolen a van to try to make ends meet and to help his family. The van itself houses something very lethal however that Simon wasn’t aware of and it is here that we first see Simon’s courage (which is actually tattooed on his arm in Arabic) and strong moral code come into play.

Simon is then moved to an undisclosed location where agents begin to interrogate him. Even though he is telling the truth the agents don’t trust that the Arab American in front of them was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and look at him as a potential threat to the US. Things move quickly and the agents decide to try to water board Simon to get the “Truth” from him. It is in this moment that the ring chooses Simon as he struggles to fight from being tortured and escapes.

The art this issue is a step up from the annual both in execution and tone. Doug seems to enjoy filling the earlier pages with detail and his style continues to suit John’s writing perfectly. Especially in the quieter moments when Manhke does most of the storytelling. His facial work is great and goes a long way in conveying the sincerity in Simon as well as the anger and disbelief in the situation he’s left in.

John’s even manages to throw in a one page Epilogue showing us the fate of both Hal Jordan and Sinestro and the direction he’s heading in with their story. After reading last weeks Green Lantern Annual I was left doubting the new direction that Green Lantern was taking. However after this issue I’m behind Johns and Mahnke once again. The solicits and cover image would have you believe Simon Baz is a gun toting criminal so its refreshing to see a very complex and interesting character inside. While there still is some uncertainty about The motivations of the Gaurdians and the Third Army story in general I am completely sold on this new Green Lantern and I’m happy to say Simon Baz is a wholly realized and worthy character in the Green Lantern Mythos.

Review Score: 9.5/ 10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


Review: Batman Earth One – Average at best

Issue: Batman: Earth One
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Gary Frank
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 7/4/2012

From GEOFF JOHNS and GARY FRANK, the acclaimed team behind SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN and the SHAZAM! stories in JUSTICE LEAGUE! In the tradition of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, this spectacular original graphic novel gives new insight into BRUCE WAYNE’S transformation into BATMAN and his first year as THE DARK KNIGHT

Story: 7/10 • Artwork: 9/10 • Overall 8/10
“Batman: Earth One” is a new take on an old tale. No, not really. It feels more like a reboot in the New 52 than a game changer of the “Earth One” universe. J. Michael Straczynski raised the bar with “Superman: Earth One.” In turn I hold DC Comics to a higher standard with the “Earth One” universe. I hope you do to.

Geoff Johns is a game changing writer, just look at the rainbow over in the Green Lantern titles. The Penguin as the mayor of Gotham City is not a game changing move, did Johns forget that Lex Luthor was president once. What “Batman: Earth One” was, is a very good Batman story with minor tweets to his origin. Bruce’s parents still get shot and die, and Bruce becomes Batman to fight the corrupt Gotham politicians. This sound like every other day for Batman, doesn’t it?

What John’s does will is develop supporting characters in the story. Alfred is a badass! Who doesn’t want to see Alfred running around with a shotgun? Also, John’s develops the characters just enough to where you want to see more of them by the end of the book. Harvey Bullock, James and Barbara Gordon are setup beautifully in this book. Johns even puts a twist on the Dents.

Gary Frank’s artwork is fluid in his storytelling and spectacular in his splash pages. Frank slows down the reader with his detail so that the reader can enjoy every panel. Frank draws action on level that only few have reached.

The problem with this book is that it’s not bold enough to be called an “Earth One” book. Johns needed to be bolder with Batman’s origin. You could have changed the meaning of the “no gun” rule or not killed his parents. That would have been bold or you could have killed them in a different way or killed someone else. If you killed Jim Gordon, that would have been bold.

The question that every person in a comic book shop should ask, is do I want to pay $22.99 for an average Batman story with great artwork? The answer is no, wait a month and buy a used copy for $10.

Follow Matthew Sardo on twitter @comicavult

Review : Swamp Thing #8 : Swamp Thing Unleashes Green Hell on the Rot

Swamp Thing#8

Story By: Scott Snyder

Art By: Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy

Review Score: 9/10

After a near perfect last issue of Swamp Thing Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette , and Marco Rudy continue to produce a Dark and engaging comic that stands at the top of DC’s New 52. This issue starts off heavy on the narrative side as Snyder works with Rudy to show the Rot making its way through State after State, killing and claiming victims to add to Sethe’s Army and world of death. Snyder finally gives Sethe a voice warning his Dead Army that Swamp Thing is coming to take everything away from them. It’s an interesting touch that he chose to have the numerous dead speak for him and creates an added sense of fear and despair to each page as his puppets await The new Swamp Thing Alec Holland.

Rudy’s final Splash page provides an amazing reveal of the New Swamp Things Face , not only showing the new touches to Swamp Thing included Moss Covered Wings and a body that’s as much plant as it is Bark, but he uses the panel construction to show you the design and shape of Swampy’s new face. It’s both effective and a great use of the page that continues to show how strong of an artist Rudy has become working alongside Snyder and Paquette. The new and improved Swamp Thing is definitely something unique and fun to look at , and Snyder writes him just on the edge of being heroic an embracing the fury and anger that the Green and Parliament of Trees have for the rest of the world.

Paquette continues to push the boundaries of conventional Page construction with each issue..page provided by IGN

While the first half of the issue focuses on setup the last half amps the action up into an all out war between Swamp Thing and Sethe’s army of the Rot . Snyder allows Paquette to do most of the storytelling drawing page after jaw dropping page of interior art as Swamp Thing tears through morbid hybrids of Flesh and animals all of the dead variety. There is a visceral sense of awe you get seeing how much detail gets put into each page and the varied amount of characters on the page. Swamp Thing has come for his love Abby and refuses to stop killing until he gets her back. Unfortunately Swamp Thing he gets his wish , only Abby herself has went through some horrific changes and isn’t herself any more leading to one last beautiful page of art. There aren’t many books made with this much love and attention to detail page after page. If you’re a fan of Horror , Superheroes or comics in general you need to be reading this book.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


New DCU Earth Two images : Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman

DC Comics Friday afternoon released a variant cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado of Earth Two #1 written by James Robinson. Earth Two #1 will be in your local comic book store in May.

From DC the Source:

We recently announced DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 “Second Wave,” featuring six new series coming in May. With an entire parallel world to explore in EARTH 2, writer James Robinson expands the scope of the storytelling potential in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. There are new characters, new enemies and new conflicts – but for now, Robinson’s keeping the details under wraps.

“I’m excited and eager to let people know all the facts about the new EARTH 2 comic, but for now I have to remain vague,” teased Robinson. “Earth 2 is a world that’s very like our own, but at the same time vastly different. It has known great conflict and danger…a dark menace defeated but at a great cost both to the Earth and to its superheroes of that time. Now, in the present as new menaces emerge to attack the Earth, so new heroes must emerge too, learning to work as a team (or perhaps Society is a better word) while facing these new threats head-on. Who are these heroes? Will their powers include speed, bestial fury, and maybe even green light? Wait and see.”

Review: Wolverine #17

Wolverine #17
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney & Jason Keith

Jason Aaron’s run thus far on the relaunched Wolverine has been nothing short of what fans of the Marvel Universe’s favorite clawed berserker want.  It gives them all the claw popping ultra-violence the character’s solo series have become known for without sacrificing a more fleshed-out approach to Logan’s personality.  After all, Wolverine is not a cold-blooded killer so much as a failed samurai, or a man with a noble idea of who he wants to be and yet doesn’t realize he is already that person.

From the stories that began in Aaron’s earlier book, Wolverine: Weapon X, to today’s Wolverine #17, everything has felt streamlined and there has been a great balance between fast-paced, energetic storytelling and deeper exposition.

Having just returned from his isolation following what happened at the hands of the Red Right Hand over the course of the first dozen or so issues, Wolverine finds himself at a crossroad at the beginning of this story.  If you’ve kept up with the events in the wider X-Men universe, there was a falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops during the Schism event.  Logan, feeling it wasn’t right that Scott expected the children on the X-roster to become warriors, ultimately decided to return to Westchester, New York to restart Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (which, if you haven’t been keeping up, was destroyed during the “Messiah CompleX” crossover a few years ago).

Before he can leave San Francisco, however, Logan has a few loose ends to tie up — like letting his reporter girlfriend know that he’s leaving and ending his masquerade as Chinatown’s kingpin the Black Dragon.  Upon visiting Kung Fu Master Po’s dojo, however, he discovers the money he had stashed in a safe there has been stolen by a gang involved in a Chinatown drug war.  This is the money Logan planned to rebuild the school with.  (Yes, he has that kind of money.  He’s been around for like 200 years, you know?)

Needless to say, he’s pissed.

The pace of the issue is rather fast, feeling much shorter than it actually is.  It sets up a team-up with Gorilla Man, including some fun back-and-forth banter (not just with Gorilla Man, but with Po, as well), and introduces some elements of Chinese mysticism.  Ron Garney and Jason Keith’s art continues to fit the tone of the book well, whether Logan is slicing and dicing his way through a hail of gunfire or having a heart-to-heart with Melita.

That said, I’m not really sure how I feel about mythical elements and Wolverine being together.  I’ll be honest and admit it took me a few issues to wrap my head around “Wolverine Goes to Hell” last year.  This is only part one of the story arc, and a fun read regardless, so I’m willing to further suspend my disbelief to include those elements for the time being.

Story:  7/10
Art:  9/10 

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Review: Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #2

Now that the hype has died down, and everyone knows that Ultimate Peter Parker is dead, and there is a new Ultimate Spidey, and his name is Miles Morales, lets take a look at this new title from Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis tends to be pretty expository and in this reboot he is no different. Stan Lee took 11 pages to tell the origin of Peter Parker, and Bendis so far is up to 2 issues, and we haven’t even seen Miles in costume or seems like we will see him in costume anytime soon (other than on the cover of course!)

The Good:

-Sarah Pichelli’s art is stunning, she is a stickler for detail, and the lush backgrounds and character emotions she draws are outstanding. Really excited to see where she takes her artwork as she continues to develop into one of the industries top talents.

-Growing the supporting cast with Miles friend Ganke and also fleshing out his relationship with his father. Important thing to remember when reading this book, Miles is an 8th grader. An 8th grader, Peter was at least in high school when he got his powers. It throws a whole different wrench into the storytelling, and that shows in his discussions with his friend Ganke, and also when he is discovering his powers, and the two different reactions they share.

-As far as his father, it is an interesting dynamic, his father has a big reveal, and perhaps hints at more, as Miles is starting to come to grips as a scared kid, when something happens to change his mind. The whole discussion felt like a rehash of “With Great Power, comes great responsibility.” I am intrigued as to where this familial plot is headed, if it’s familiar Uncle Ben territory and he has to move in with his Uncle Ultimate Prowler, or something else. Also, where is this mother we keep hearing about?

-The last page, and how it mirrors a last page of the original Ultimate Spider-Man series, and the two main characters very different reactions to their new found abilities.

The Bad:

-Did I mention how talky and slow the plot is? I know that from Bendis it is natural to expect it to be a wordy book, but seriously almost nothing happens. This issue could have been condensed into 5 pages. Seriously. He is going to have to kick it up a notch before everyone starts to lose interest.

-Invisibility powers? Seriously? Is he the Ultimate Spidey Chameleon? Lame.

Overall, mostly the book is good. Artwork good, story generally pretty good, but it is very slow moving. Something needs to start happening to move us into him wearing the costume, and fast. My only worry is that it’s going to be jumping too fast to make up for the pace of the first two issues.

Story: 6/10

Art: 9/10

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