Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dark X-Men #3 & Blackest Night Starman #81!

Thankfully my package of comic books arrived in the mail today, giving me something to review tonight. First off, I have to say, this was one hell of a good haul! Besides the two books I'm checking out tonight, I also have REBELS #12, Streets of Gotham #8, Batgirl #6, Blackest Night Catwoman #83 and several other really good books waiting in the wings! This should be a really good week of comic book reading for me. But before I get to those books, I have Dark X-Men #3 and Starman #81 to get to first... My all-time favorite comic book character appears in Dark X-Men and my all-time favorite comic book series gets resurrected in Starman... I literally feel like a kid on Christmas morning looking at the covers of these two comic books! I'm giddy with anticipation! Alright, enough hype, it's time to dig in!

Dark X-Men #3(of 5): Writer: Paul Cornell. Pencils: Leonard Kirk.

This issue begins with X-Man(Nate Grey)breaking into Avengers Tower to confront Norman "Marvel" Osborn about the way he's been running the Marvel Universe since Nate's "death". Upon entering the building, Nate runs into Venom, and makes quick work of him. The Dark X-Men arrive on the scene and are surprised to learn that Nate's attack coincided with their arrival at Avengers Tower. Mystique is ready to go rushing into the fight, but the other members of the team aren't exactly chomping at the bit. Omega is afraid that he may begin to absorb Nate's powers, which wouldn't be a good thing for Omega's mind, Mimic wants to get close enough to Nate to take his powers so he can sample Nate's precognitive abilities, while Dark Beast would rather just observe the fight from the sidelines, which is exactly what the team decides to do. With Venom down and out, Osborn and the entire Dark Avengers team confronts Nate. Right off the bat, Nate tricks Sentry into leaving the battle, thus removing Osborn's most powerful weapon from the battlefield. Nate then offers the Dark Avengers the opportunity to join with him to oppose Osborn, but Ares and the rest of the Dark Avengers decide to take the battle to Nate. While Nate battles the Dark Avengers, the Dark X-Men watch the battle unfold from the sidelines and debate what course of action they should take. Unfortunately for Omega, he gets too close to the fight and begins to absorb Nate's massive powers, going temporarily insane in the process. Omega crashes into Nate and Ares, which gives Bullseye enough time to pull a knife with the intention of killing Nate off, once and for all. Mimic, still wanting to use Nate's powers, knocks the knife away from Bullseye and grabs a hold of Nate, duplicating his powers. Before Nate's powers can overwhelm Mimic, Nate steps outside of time with Mimic and the two discuss whether or not the future that Mimic saw when he first used Nate's powers(back in Dark X-Men #1)could be changed. Before Nate could fully answer the question, they are interrupted by Ares, who as a god is able to follow them outside the time stream. Ares gains the upper hand, and Nate returns the three of them to the present. Nate collapses to the floor upon returning to the proper time period, which upsets Mimic since he never received the answer to his question about the future. Osborn walks over to investigate Nate's body, but it explodes in a fireball of psionic energy, leaving nothing but charred bones, and leaving Mystique quite upset. This issue ends with Osborn happily sitting in his office, pondering his next move. He is interrupted by Mystique, who reveals that she knows that Nate is currently occupying Osborn's body!

So far, so good! One of my greatest fears upon hearing that Nate was getting brought back to life in this series was that the writer would completely butcher his character and that the Nate Grey I loved reading about a few years ago would be totally and irreparably different. Three issues in, I've got to say, Paul's portrayal of Nate has been right on the money! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Nate hold his own against the Dark Avengers, and I was also impressed with the way this issue ended. As this mini heads towards its climax, there are a lot of interesting ways Paul can end things. I know I'll be eagerly anticipating the penultimate issue of this mini when it drops next month.

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Take those losers apart Nate!

Blackest Night: Starman #81(!!!): Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Fernando Dagnino.

This issue starts off with David Knight(the Starman immediately preceding Jack Knight)rising from his grave as a Black Lantern. BL Starman heads to the Starman museum and steals his old Cosmic Staff, transforming it into a Black Lantern Cosmic Staff(I guess). From there we head to the home of Opal City police officer Hope O'Dare and discover that she's been shacking up with the Shade(!). Shade wants to move their relationship from a sex thing to something deeper, but instead of answering the Shade, Hope realizes that the sky had turned pitch black. In the meantime, BL Starman is running rampant in the streets of Opal City, killing several police officers and citizens before running into Mason O'Dare, another member of the O'Dare police clan. Before BL Starman can kill Mason, he is saved by the timely arrival of his sister Hope and the Shade. Upon observing BL Starman, Shade realizes that whatever it is, it isn't the real David Knight, and that it is immensely powerful. Shade tells all of the cops and Opal citizens who were watching the battle to take refuge in the shadow realm which the Shade can access, but by taking his eyes off BL Starman, Shade's heart winds up getting torn out(!). A black lantern ring heads to the Shade, but before it affixes itself to him, he wakes up and throws BL Starman into the shadow realm, thus ridding Opal City of its menace. This issue concludes with Hope telling Shade that she thinks she loves him, but that she needs time to sort her feelings out, which Shade is willing to give her, since time is something he has plenty of.

Hmm, I'm not really sure what to say here... I loved returning to Opal City with James, but there was something that kept me from really loving this comic. I smiled with every little tidbit of information James revealed about what had been occurring in Opal since the end of the Starman series, but I have to say, there was a part of me that was absolutely disappointed by the fact that Jack Knight himself didn't actually show up. Not only that, but we really didn't find out any pertinent information about Jack... Sure, James gave a glimpse as to what the Shade, Bobo Bennetti, the O'Dare's and others had been up to, but there was precious little news about Jack. While the lack of Jack did hurt this comic a bit, I was quite pleased to see the Shade(probably my favorite Starman character besides Jack)get the starring role in this one. While I'm not quite sure what I think of Shade's relationship with Hope(I've still got to sort THAT out in my head!), it was nice to see the Shade continue his trend of helping Opal City out whenever it was in crisis. Reading this comic was kind of bittersweet, for me anyway. Like I said in the intro(oh so long ago it seems!), Starman isn't one of my favorite series, it IS my favorite series. Ever. While it was nice getting to reminisce a bit about the awesomeness that was the Starman series, it was a bit of a letdown as well. In the end this was a good comic, but it was never able to recapture the magic that the Starman series had. At least that's what I thought.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.THAT'S not a good sign!

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