Monday, September 03, 2012

Comic shop comics: August 29

Yeah, yeah, yeah—I've already discussed two of these books before, and re-discussed one aspect of one of them again yesterday. But it's my blog, so I'm gonna talk about 'em again.

Aquaman #12 (DC Comics) Want to see some really shitty lettering? Here's an example from the first page of the latest issue of Aquaman:
Oh wait, you probably can't actually tell how shitty that lettering looks by looking at a scan posted to a blog, can you? That's because the shitty lettering is typical of comics today, where the letters are applied by computers rather than hand, and seem to float above the drawings themselves. If you held the comic in your hand and looked at the art with your eyes, you'd see how foreign that "NUMBER UNKNOWN" and "VRNGG" are to the art, but if you're looking at a digitally transmitted image? You probably can't even tell.

Take my word for it: It looks shitty in real life, so maybe it's better that fewer and fewer people read comics in real life, and in a another decade or so maybe superhero comics won't even exist outside of computers.

So, The Associate, one of The Others, the retconned pre-Justice League version of The Justice League Aquaman hung out with in flashbacks during this story arc, has called Mera on the phone and asks how fast she can meet him on his airplane.

She swims super-fast, then flies out of the water, way up into the air and lands in the airplane, landing with the facial expression of an exceptionally angry baby. She argues with The Others, characters Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis created to be killed off throughout this story arc (So far, the female, Iranian one has died).

Meanwhile, Black Manta has found the long-lost "scepter," a golden weapon that sunk Atlantis, thanks to the forced help of Dr. Shin. He orders an underling to shoot Shin, at which point Aquaman stabs the underling to death by jumping out of his hiding space and throwing his trident through his back.
Aquaman is a superhero, and a founding member of a group that unironically refers to itself as the "Justice League."

Black Manta is about to kill Aquaman, when The Others appear, in an attempt to kill Black Manta first (in the meantime, more of Black Manta's henchmen are shot in the head; henching is a much more dangerous career path in the New 52 than it was pre-reboot, apparently). Then one of The Others tries to kill Shin, by having a jaguar eat him. Then another Other saves Shin. Then Aquaman goes to kill Black Manta. But then Black Manta tries to kill Aquaman (attacking silently from behind, just like Aquaman did a few pages earlier). Then one of those guys created to get killed jumps/kinda appears in front of Manta's weapon, and gets totally killed. Then everyone cries. But Aquaman's tears?
They are tears of rage!

This is a pretty well-drawn but overall pretty bad comic book. Reis' mis en scene is pretty fucked up in all the fight scenes though, as characters shift around strangely and unnaturally. It's pretty, funny trash, basically.

Green Lantern Annual #1 (DC) I thought the opening scene, in which Hal Jordan is buried alive in a coffin, was pretty clever on writer Geoff Johns' part: Actor Ryan Reynolds played Jordan in that Green Lantern movie after all, and he was also in a movie where he played a guy who was buried alive. I thought that was kind of funny.

I never actually saw the creatively entitled Buried, though, so I'm not sure if Reynolds' character is able to tear through the wooden coffin lid and then dig his way out of the earth with his bare hands, though.

In this annual, which is essentially an over-sized issue split into a main story and a back-up (to make the transition from Ethan Van Sciver to Pete Woods and Cam Smith seem more natural), Johns wraps up his current Green Lantern story arc while setting up the next event, bannered across the top: "The Rise of the Third Army."

It's Johns doing what he does best with the Green Lantern franchise, and I liked it okay, although I wish we could take at least a story arc to get away from the secrets of the Oan Guardians' past coming back to bite the universe in the ass...just for a change of pace. I'd really like to see The Shark again, or Johns revamp some of GL's old, goofy villains like, I don't know, Goldface or The Invisible Destroyer.

The Guardians, who are usually presented as out-of-touch and emotionless, causing problems by being too inflexible, are here presented as having finally gone around the bend completely, and just plain bat-shit—they reveal another group of Guardians (who smart money says will replace these crazy Guardians as the real Guardians of the Universe when the dust settles) and the mysterious First Lantern (a name I could have sworn was applied to a guardian creature in the bowels of Oa during "The War of the Green Lanterns," but I'm probably misremembering it).

The Third Army seems pretty threatening—the plan is to erase all free will in the universe, is that it?—and the way the Guardians make them is pretty gross. I'm looking forward to the future of this title, as it seems like it will feature a brand new Green Lantern for a while, and he seems ridiculously awesome-looking.

Quick question: Was Black Hand wielding white light in this issue, or does black light just look white sometimes or...what...?

Superman Family Adventures #3-#4 (DC) My shopkeeps left this off my pull-list for a month or so, so I actually missed #3 until I saw #4 on the new racks this week and it reminded me that I missed one.

In the third issue, Jimmy's signal watch is out of tune, so each time he tries to signal for Superman, a different super-pet (and all of the super-pets are in this series) shows up to "help" him. I don't know about you, but few things bring me more pleasure than seeing a mouse, dog, cat and horse dressed up likes Superman, all using super-breath to blow giant monsters and an armada of flying saucers off of the planet. The back half of the issue is devoted to a sorta weird story in which Clark's attempts to to keep his secret identity from Lois using robot duplicates backfires...and trivia from the 1978 Superman: The Movie is alluded too, demonstrating the unique way this title targets parents and children.

The fourth issue introduces Titano, the Superman family's own answer to King Kong (as well as a Negative Superman, reminiscent of Superman's dark side from Superman III and the Jeph Loeb/Ian Churchill "Dark Supergirl"). I like the way Franco and Art Baltazar present the Lois/Clark relationship regarding his secret identity. Essentially, she knows he's Superman more than she suspects he's Superman, and she gamely—if somewhat resignedly—plays along. Meanwhile, Clark seems fairy terrible at keeping the secret.
In this issue, for example, Clark brings Beppo the Super-Monkey to work with him, dressed in a dress shirt, red bow tie and glasses: "Oh, that's Bob! Bob Kent. My pet monkey!"

When Titano appears and Clark excuses himself to run off and become Superman, Lois reminds "Bob", "Don't you have to go, too?"


SallyP said...

Well...I assume that Hal (and Sinestro) were able to claw their way barehanded out of their graves, because they were SHALLOW.

Basically, Black Hand is terribly terribly lazy.

And the Guardians have gone seriously 'round the bend. But yeah, I wondered about that "First Lantern" thing too, since the one in War of the Green Lanterns, wasn't able to speak very well, but ended up helping Hal, Guy, John and Kyle out. Of course...that was PRE- DC-52-verse.
Who the hell knows now?

Caleb said...

Shallow, huh...are you talking about the grave or Hal or both? Ha ha! Yeah, two six-foot-deep graves is an awful lot of digging...

MattComix said...

DC editorial really seems to think that revenge is the only worthwhile motivator for a superhero. Which is a real slap in the face to firemen, policemen, rescue workers of any kind when you think about it.

Michael Hoskin said...

Shallow Hal! I get it!

SallyP said...

Oh Caleb. I was referring to the graves of course, but now that you've pointed it out...Hal does have that side to him!