Friday, February 5, 2010

The Best of the Rest... Part 1!

If you read my Comic Gazing post yesterday, I mentioned that I have a lot of comics to get around to reviewing before my next shipment of books arrive(which will probably be Monday). Since I have SO many comics to read/review, I'm not going to be able to dedicate a whole lot of time to each comic(there are only 24 hours in a day!). So tonight, I'm going to review not one, not two, not even four comic books, I'm going to take a quick look at SEVEN(!)comics! Since I'm planning on going through so many books in just one night, don't expect very in depth reviews. Hell, for that matter, don't expect them to be very coherent! OK, let's get this horror show on the road, beginning with:

The Phantom Stranger #42: Writer: Peter Tomasi. Pencils: Ardian Syaf.

The Phantom Stranger and Blue Devil try to take on Black Lantern Spectre, but that doesn't exactly work out very well for our heroes. BL Spectre eventually figures out where Hal Jordan is(he's in Green Lantern #50!), and leaves Stranger and Devil behind. Stranger and Devil then head to Nanda Parbat and help Deadman reclaim his dead body from the Black Lanterns because that's really important or something... Anyway, this issue ends with Deadman leaving to help the heroes battling Nekron, Devil standing guard over Deadman's dead body and Stranger acting cryptic, 'cause that's how he rolls!

Eh, I'm kind of going through Blackest Night overload right now, and this issue didn't really help with that. It was MORE zombies, MORE Deadman, MORE BL Spectre, plus the Phantom Stranger ran around speaking Cryptic-ese, which is a language I'm not fluent in at all. If you like the Phantom Stranger(why?!?)you'll probably like this issue, if not, then you'd probably want to avoid this one.

Score: 5 out of 10.See, he walks alone because he's a STRANGER!!!

Magog #5: Writer: Keith Giffen. Pencils: Howard Porter.

The Warden tries to torch Magog, but right before Magog gets fried, he gets teleported to a strange world where he eventually meets the woman in charge of the whole shebang, Alba. Oh, and Alba claims Gog wasn't really a god, and that she is Magog's mother. Plus she's also fluent in Cryptic-ese... Ugh. After saying a whole lot of nothing, she sends Magog back to Haven, where he decides he's going to take out the Warden, once and for all. Warden sends a distress signal out to the JSA, and it seems this storyline is going to continue in the JSA annual.

Can't say I really enjoyed reading this comic. I don't think Magog needs to have his origin radically altered, Geoff Johns did a good job creating the guy, but I guess Keith wants to put his own stamp on Magog. Whatever I guess. I'll probably keep reading this series until the current storyline ends, then I'll be dropping it.

Score: 3 1/2 out of 10."Unacceptable"? Yeah, that's how I felt about this comic!

The Power of Shazam #48: Writer: Eric Wallace. Pencils: Don Kramer.

This issue deals with Osiris rising from his grave as a Black Lantern, but with a twist. Thanks to Black Adam's magic, BL Osiris isn't a crazed, heart eating ghoul, he seems to have kept his regular, good guy personality. Instead of eating hearts, he walks through Kahndaq wondering where his sister and brother-in-law were. He discovers they were turned to stone, and his old friend/evil alligator who killed and ate him, BL Sobek arrives. BL Sobek gets pissed that Osiris isn't running amok and eating hearts, so he attacks him. Ultimately, Osiris gets BL Sobek close to him before saying Black Adam's name, which causes a huge lighting bolt to strike them both down, re-killing them.

I actually really enjoyed reading this issue. It wasn't the regular, "Dead hero rises from the grave as a Black Lantern, runs wild and is re-killed." story, this one was actually different, and I for one appreciated that. Then again I always liked Osiris anyway, so I have to admit that I was pleased that he didn't rise as a bland, cookie cutter, Black Lantern, but that he was a Black Lantern with a heart of gold. If you're getting tired of reading the same old, same old Blackest Night story, then you might want to give this comic a read.

Score: 8 out of 10.I love Sobek's reasoning for betraying Osiris!

Green Lantern #50: Writer: THE Geoff Johns. Pencils: Doug Mahnke.

With Black Lanterns running wild through the streets of Coast City, Hal and his strange mix of allies are trying to eliminate as many of the buggers as they can. For the most part, everything is going well, that is until BL Spectre arrives(from Phantom Stranger #42 I guess!). BL Spectre shrugs off the combined attacks of EVERYBODY, and basically beats the hell out of Hal and his allies, even going so far as to eat Ganthet and another Guardian of the Universe! After freeing Ganthet and his gal pal, Hal decides the only way to defeat BL Spectre is to become Parallax again... Uh-huh... Sinestro scoffs at that, since HE wants to become Parallax, but since this is Hal's comic book, Hal gets his way, and allows Parallax to repossess him, setting up Parallax Hal vs. BL Spectre.

Don't get me wrong, this was a real good comic, but I HATED Hal resorting to becoming Parallax again to defeat BL Spectre... I literally JUST finished reading the Emerald Twilight story, which details crazy, Parallax possessed Hal marauding through the cosmos, killing friend and foe alike, so Hal voluntarily deciding to become Parallax again was quite vexing... I know the Spectre is supposed to be uber-powerful and all, but still, Hal becoming Parallax to defeat the Spectre is kind of like smacking yourself in the head with a hammer to kill a fly. Sure it'll get the job done, but it's probably not the best way to go about it! Had I not just read about all of the atrocities Hal committed while under Parallax's thrall, maybe I would have enjoyed this issue more, but as it is, I can't forget the terrible things Parallax Hal had done before, so I have to say, Hal's actions in this comic were a bit of a letdown.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Well, that's one way to deal with bothersome Guardians of the Universe I guess...

Nova #33: Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning. Pencils: Andrea Divito.

While trying to figure out where they are and why the Sphinx transported them to a replica of ancient Egypt, Mr. Fantastic, Nova, Namorita, Black Bolt and Darkhawk are attacked by a younger version of the Sphinx. Unable to defeat the younger Sphinx's forces, the heroes retreat into a pyramid and are transported to the older Sphinx, who explains that his younger counterpart is trying to steal his all-powerful Ka Stone, which would give the younger Sphinx two Ka Stone's and WAY too much power. The young Sphinx arrives and attack his older self, but the two stalemate each other. The heroes decide to attack the younger Sphinx, so he responds by summoning villains from various points in the timestream to deal with the time-lost heroes.

I've got to say, I've never been a big fan of the Sphinx. Whether it was in the Fantastic Four, Nova or the New Warriors, he's always been a really annoying(and confusing!)foe. This issue didn't change my opinion of him at all! He's still annoying AND confusing! Somehow this is all tied into the Realm of Kings storyline, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how! Even with all that said, this was still an above average comic book, just not as good as a few of the previous issues of this series have been.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Umm, nice dress there, Sphinx...

Superman #696: Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Bernard Chang.

Following the explosion at Science Police Headquarters in Action Comics #885, Mon-El and Guardian are sifting through the rubble trying to find survivors. Nightwing wants to help with the rescue effort, but Mon-El, Lois Lane and Flamebird convince him to leave, since General Lane was prowling around the devastated building. Gen. Lane orders his soldiers to attack the fleeing Kryptonians, but Mon makes the save before confronting Lane. Lane tells Mon that by saving the Kryptonians he had committed a treasonous act, but Mon scoffs at that, stating that since he's not an American, he can't be charged with treason. The two bicker for a while and Mon for some reason has a flashback to when he was in Gen. Lane's custody and was being tortured by a damn talking monkey. Guardian snaps Mon out of his flashback sequence by requesting his help at the control center of the SP Building. It appears that the woman who was running the SP was actually Chameleon from the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Eh, this was another comic that didn't really move me one way or the other. I'm actually not sure what exactly this comic accomplished to be honest. I guess we now know that Chameleon was running the SP for some reason, but I really could care less... Chameleon isn't exactly one of the more interesting members of the Legion. When somebody major like Saturn Girl or Cosmic Boy show up, I'll take notice, but Chameleon and Bouncing Boy aren't exactly what I would call Legion a-listers.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.What's worse then a talking monkey? A CREEPY talking monkey!

Blackest Night Flash #2: Writer: THE Geoff Johns. Artist: Scott Kolins.

The story in this one follows Flash's Rouges, as well as Saint Barry Allen, God of the Speed Force, and Savior to all things Flash. I'll hit the Saint's part of this comic first. Saint Barry, now sporting a snazzy Blue Lantern ring tries to separate the current Firestorm from BL Firestorm, but winds up getting interrupted by BL Kid Flash. Saint Barry is almost able to stop BL Kid Flash's rampage, but BL Professor Zoom arrives on the scene to attack the Sainted One. Luckily, Wally(the OTHER Flash)West shows up and makes the save. However, one of those damned talking apes, in this case, BL Solovar, arrives on the scene, laying the Saint(and the other, WAY less important Flash)out. As for the Rouges, they enter Blackgate Prison, looking to destroy the resurrected BL Rouges, but the BL Rogues prove to be a tougher challenge then the Rogues originally thought. After a give and take battle, the son of the original Captain Boomerang(also named Captain Boomerang... Very creative...)arrives on the scene and tells the Rogues to leave his BL Daddy alone! With that, he spirits BL Capt. Boomerang away, promising that he knows a way to bring him back to life.

As expected, I liked the parts of this comic that featured the Rogues, while I was apathetic towards the parts with Saint Barry. Well, that's not fully true, I did enjoy seeing BL Bart attack the Saint. For a Blackest Night x-over, this issue was pretty good.

Score: 8 out of 10.Yeah, yeah, yeah, as long as YOU'RE around, all will be well, Saint Barry...

Whew, that's it for me tonight. I'll either post a whole mess more reviews tomorrow, or I might do another one of those "Let's Talk About..." posts to change things up a bit. I guess it'll all depend on what kind of a mood I'm in tomorrow. Anyway, if you've managed to read through this entire post, give your self a pat on the back, you've earned it! Long Live The Legion!


  1. I do agree it was different to see Osiris' role but I hated the fact that Sobek was so...easily defeated I guess? Also the fact that Billy and Marl served no purpose at all...

    I loved GL 50 but I see your pint about Parallax and that Fly/Hammer line had me laughing so damn hard. Also glad that you enjoyed BN Flash 2.

  2. Except for a few of the books, this post almost could have been called "Best of the Rest - Blackest Night Edition"! I find all these one-issue revivals interesting in concept, although I haven't read any yet. I wonder if it's actually worked at pulling in readers who weren't already reading Blackest Night. For example, do you think hardcore Starman or Phantom Stranger fans who weren't reading BN are really coming out of the woodwork now to read these new comics? There's no practical way of actually quantifying any of this, of course, but it's interesting to think about.

    Changing gears, I'd love to see another "Let's talk about..." post. I very much enjoyed reading everyone's comments on the last one.

  3. Eh, for me the Shazam comic was a nice send-off for Osiris. I mean, the last time the poor guy was seen, he was getting eaten by Sobek! Sure, the way Osiris took out Sobek seemed way easy(plus didn't really make sense in the context of the greater BN storyline), but I was actually pretty happy to see him get his revenge on his one-time friend.

    I'm glad you liked the fly/hammer joke JT, it's good to know somebody out there gets a kick out of my bad jokes!

    Good point on the "Blackest Night Edition", Marc. When BN finally ends, I kind of wonder exactly what I'll be reading! It seems like every other comic I read has the BN banner across the top!

    Your comments on the revivals are actually kind of interesting... I'd personally doubt that said hardcore Starman/Phantom Stranger fan isn't already reading the BN mini. I mean, for the most part, the revivals have featured obscure(ish)characters that would only really interest the readers who are already checking out BN. I can't imagine there's this large number of Phantom Stranger fans who are all now picking up BN thanks to the Phantom Stranger comic... Of course I could be wrong...

    I was *thisclose* to doing another Let's Talk About... post tonight, I had the topic picked out and everything, but a new shipment of comics scuttled that idea. Since it seemed like a pretty popular post though, I'll definitely be doing another one, maybe as early as Monday or Tuesday, depending on how much free time I can create for myself.

  4. If I had to guess I'd say you'll be reading some Brightest Day comics or something lol. And I agree with Marc, I'm also awaiting another Lets talk about columns as well.

  5. You know, you're right... I'll prob just start reading whatever the next big mini-series/x-over event is. Jeez, I've really got to try to put up a new Let's Talk About... post!

  6. First, Osiris' revenge was sweet and it seems to bring the character some closure.

    Second, Blue Lantern Saint Allen seems like the perfect fit for the character. I like the idea of Wally keeping the red and yellow suit and Barry having the blue suit w/ the BLC ring.

    Last, I third the motion for a "Let's Talk About..." post. What do you want to talk about?

  7. I couldn't agree more with your first point Cole. I completely enjoyed seeing Osiris get even with his murderer.

    I WISH Barry would remain a Blue Lantern, leaving Wally to be the Flash, but I think Saint Barry is only a Blue Lantern for 24 hours(or something like that)so there already seems to be an out for him.

    Wow, I really have to get around to that next Let's Talk About... post!