Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Comic shop comics: October 3

Green Lantern #13 (DC Comics) I'm sorry, Doug Mahnke. I really, really like your work. I do! I think you're a swell artist. And I generally like the work of all of the inkers on this book. All five of them. Hell, even the two colorists did a pretty swell job.

But when you see a splash page like the one above, none of it matters because good God in heaven look at those stupid fucking costumes.

Aquaman is now the coolest-looking Justice Leaguer based solely on the fact that his costume isn't comprised of weird sections and full of meaningless, extraneously line sinking the design. I mean, just look at The Flash there. They screwed up The Flash's costume! Do you realize how hard that is to do...? I keep hearing great things about the New 52 version of The Flash, primarily that the art is great, but every time I see the Tron-like glowing lines on his costume, I balk—he looks like The Flash from an alternate future or something.

Anyway, a couple of interesting things happen in this issue, which is apparently a part of the "Rise of The Third Army" storyline, although only two pages seem directly related to that.

First, we see President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, being briefed by Skinny Amanda Waller on the state of the Green Lanterns on Earth, briefly reintroducing the New 52 versions of the four Earth Corpsmen before moving on to the new one with the funny ski mask costume, Simon Baz (WTF? Guy Gardner used to be a cop in Baltimore now...? And Kyle Rayner is the only one with a secret identity...? I didn't realize the New 52 Hal Jordan was "out").

Second, Johns does a fine job detailing Baz's background, supporting cast and predicament; it's such a thorough job, that it seems like he may be here to stay for a while, which, come to think of it, I wouldn't mind a bit. Hal was always the least interesting Lantern, anyway.

Finally, the Justice League enters the scene, sicced on Baz by Obama. Perhaps it's just because Johns is writing him, but this Superman still seems like the brash, over-eager super-jock "Year One" version that appeared in the first few issues of Justice League.

Here, for example, Superman ambushes Baz at super-speed, punching him off a rooftop and into the top of a car (we has a forcefield, so he'll live) before saying, "You're in a lot of trouble, Mr. Baz," which, okay, sounds Supermanly enough, but then, ugh, "Like JUSTICE LEAGUE trouble."

Come on, guys; I'm still working on taking Superman's 13-month-old new costume seriously. I certainly can't do that and believe in a Superman that says "like."

UPDATE: Bonus nitpicking! See that image above? Apparently both Cyborg and Wonder Woman can fly in the New 52...? The folks who do Wonder Woman have gone to pretty great lengths to keep her from flying, only doing so when Hermes stabs her with one of his feathers in the last month's issue.

Legends of the Dark Knight #1 (DC) This $3.99/31-page book replaces the too-long-gone Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series, in which rotating creative teams—usually high-profile and/or high-talent teams of the sort that wouldn't last too long on a regular Batman comic—produce standalone story arcs set sometime in a murky, "Year One" era of Batman's fictional history.

Where this differs is that these stories are short (about ten pages apiece), originally appeared...somewhere, on the Internet, or reading devices, as digital-first. And they don't seem bound by any particular era or version of Batman "continuity."

I liked it. All three stories are decent in different ways, but for a reader like me, it was pretty refreshing to see "my" versions of Batman, Robin and the Justice League, after so long away from the old DCU thanks to the New 52.

The first and best of the three is by the biggest creative team, writer Damon Lindelof (who wrote a shitty Superman short, the hilariously delayed Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk miniseries and some TV show—Lost, maybe) and artist Jeff Lemire (Best known to DC readers as a writer, but a hell of a cartoonist).
I can't tell you the title of the story, as it would spoil it, but it's pretty clever, and a rare demonstration of Alfred being as much of a complete psycho as his boss, and a drunk Bruce Wayne (although he insists he's just acting drunk).

Lemire's art is as great as always, and since I've seen it mostly in black and white, it was a treat to see it in full-color (by Jose Villarubia), and to see it applied to DC Universe regulars like Batman and some of his associated characters. It reminds me quite a bit of Paul Pope's Batman, and, weirdly enough, quite a bit of Frank Miller's Batman. (Guys, I know you like Lemire's writing on Animal Man, but come on, imagine a regular Batman comic that looks like this! Woo!)
The second story is "All of the Above" by writer Jonathan Larsen and artist J.G. Jones, and is a pretty simple Batman Vs. Amazo story, set on the Justice League satellite headquarters, with Batman using his smarts to dance around the super-powered android in a variety of interesting and surprising ways.

I found this one pretty interesting in that it is so clearly and thoroughly pre-New 52, with Martian Manhunter referred to as a Justice Leaguer repeatedly, Plastic Man mentioned and a panel set in a hall full of statues showing pre-New 52 Leaguers Power Girl, Green Arrow, J'onn J'onnz, Booster Gold and Superman, in pre-New 52 costumes.

This one made me curious about where some of these stories are coming from—are they inventory stories being given new life online...?

The final story is "The Crime Never Committed" by writer Tom Taylor and the art team of Nicola Scott and Wayne Faucher. It's basically a simple—but again, clever—story, highlighting Batman and Robin as detective crime-fighters, and somewhat merciful, pro-active one's seeking to prevent crime before it occurs. I liked it quite a bit, in large part because of Scott's great artwork and distinct character designs.

And check it out—
Why it's young Tim Drake, Robin III, wearing his original, pre-"One Year Later" costume! Neat!

And that's all I bought this week. That Judge Dredd: Cry of the Werewolf trade Jog mentioned yesterday sounded pretty buy-able, but my shop didn't order a shelf copy, and I'm looking forward to Sailor Twain, The Carter Family and A Wrinkle in Time, but I'm pursuing 'em through the most affordable route—borrowing 'em from libraries.


Diabolu Frank said...

My first thought on seeing the image was that the Justice League were fighting Kick-Ass, which isn't a new observation, but it holds up even from a back view. My second thought was that Cyborg looks so out of place, and my third was that everyone looks extra silly in those suits. They're trying way too hard, like the CGI movie Green Lantern costume where vinyl would have been perfectly fine.

Greg said...

I felt like Lindelof's story was awfully similar to Alfred's portion of "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?". And of course WHttCC is very similar to the final episode of Lost. Hmmmm.....

googum said...

Amanda Waller's GL briefing seemed like revenge for being in the movie. "Skirt chasing pervert, ex-cop so you know something's wrong with him, Marine (USA! USA!) and hippie hipster kid we don't care about."

SallyP said...

It's true, Aquaman has the best costume. Seriously, WHAT did they do to the Flash? He's always had a simple, but effective and very classic doesn't NEED...thingies!

Next thing you know, they'll be putting pouches and ponytails on them!

Bryan Levy said...

Guy was a cop in Baltimore since his series in the mid-90's. It was a big deal for me since I'm from Baltimore.

SallyP said...

Um...actually Guy's brother Mace was the Cop in Baltimore in his old 90's series. In the new revised history, his entire family are cops. Sort of like the O'Dare's apparently.