Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best of the Rest!

Hey X-Maniacs, it's X here with a rehash of an old idea. What am I talking about? Allow me to explain myself. I've done a lot of reviews lately, and I think I'm ahead of my New Comic Day review prediction of 12 new reviews this week. Since I'm ahead of the game, I figured I'd just clump a bunch of comics together in one blog post like I used to do. Thus ends the explanation of why this is a Best of the Rest post. As a bonus, I'm going to look back at all of the Green Lantern comics I've read recently, so this looks to be a jammed pack post. And that's pretty much what we have here. A couple of reviews that just didn't warrant their own blog post and some Green Lantern thoughts. Well, let's get this over with... How's that for enthusiasm?

Hal Jordan, Life's Ultimate Evil.
Before we get into the meat of this post, I just finished reading the very end of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern years and all of the Kyle Rayner portion of the Green Lantern series, running from Green Lantern #48-181. Upon finishing up ALL of those comics I came to a rather simple conclusion. Hal Jordan(and by association, GEOFF Johns)is the ultimate evil in DC comic books. Now granted, my opinion is biased by all of these Kyle stories I just read, but what was so bad about Kyle that warranted a return to the 1950's and Hal Jordan? Kyle was a unique character who had cut out his own niche in the DCU. He was sort of like a cosmic version of Spider-Man, with his GL ring and quips. He had a strong supporting cast, which included John Stewart, Donna Troy, Jade, Alan Scott as well as several other bit characters. And besides that, there seemed to be plenty of unexplored Kyle-related stories that could have been told. But no, what GEOOFY wants, GEOFFY gets, and so we get a return to the stale Hal Jordan who's only been doing the Green Lantern thing since 1959... Thank god GEOFF and the DC braintrust don't control the world, because if they did we'd still be living in castles, riding horses and dealing with the occasional potato famine... So that's my take on the Rayner years/mini DC rant of the day. Now let's get to the reviews.

First up is Secret Avengers #6. Some ninjas attack Shang-Chi, leading him to figure his father had come back to life to torment him. It turns out that Shang is half right, as his father has been semi-resurrected(semi-resurrected?)by the Shadow Council. Since the return of Shang's father is a bad thing(apparently)Steve Rogers and the Secret Avengers get involved with halting the full return of Shang's daddy. For me there were a few problems here. The first was Shang-Chi. The second was Shang's father and the third was... you guessed it, Shang-Chi! To say that I don't care about Shang is an understatement. I'm not sure what he adds to a comic book, nor am I sure why Ed Brubaker wants to use him in this series. Here's hoping this storyline doesn't lead to Shang joining the Secret Avengers. Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.

Staying with Marvel it's time to take a look at Daredevil #511, which I just found after cleaning off my coffee table. After reading it I kind of wish I'd have left it on my coffee table... The cops invade Hell's Kitchen, the citizens attack the cops and Foggy Nelson climbs up the Shadowland castle like Spider-Man to find and talk to Daredevil. Yeah, that's right, Foggy Nelson made like Spidey here. In the end Foggy got his wish and found Daredevil, but probably wishes he didn't, since Daredevil decided that Foggy had to die. Usually after I finish off a comic I can sum up what I read in one word. I'll take that one word and expand on it, which will give me my reviews. After reading this comic, the word that came to mind? Boring... This comic just seemed to take forever to get through. It focused on cops, Dakota North and Foggy Nelson, with Daredevil making a brief appearance only at the very end. Usually I enjoy reading about Foggy and Dakota, but this time? Not so much... Score: 6 out of 10.

Moving over to DC, here's Justice League of America #50. Wow, has it really been 50 issues since Brad Meltzer started this series? Things have sure gone downhill from there, haven't they? The antagonists here are the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, who are trying to conquer the mainstream DCU since their earth was being destroyed thanks to the machinations of Alexander Luthor. Who's Alexander Luthor? He's the Luthor from Crisis on Infinite Earths/Infinite Crisis and he's dead. In order to save their world, the Crime Syndicate need the body of Alexander and the help of some goof named Dr. Impossible. To this end the Syndicate attack the JLA and manage to acquire the body of Alexander, presenting it to Impossible, who proceeds to betray his Crime Syndicate partners and somehow grants himself massive powers. What do I have to say about this issue? What witty or urbane remarks do I have to say? What's my take on this issue? In a word, I'd call this issue confusing. The Crime Syndicate was vaguely familiar to me, as was Alexander Luthor, but I had NO idea who this Dr. Impossible was. An explanation as to who he is would have been nice. All that's really left to say is this: I miss Brad Meltzer... Score: 6 out of 10.

Sticking with DC(and rapidly going downhill), let's take a peek at Justice Society of America #44. And when I say a peek I mean a quick peek, because I hated this issue. A super-powered terrorist breaks free of a CIA base in Afghanistan and attacks a city near Washington DC. The Justice Society decides to apprehend said terrorist, but are ill-prepared for the terrorists powers and Green Lantern(Alan Scott)winds up getting his neck broken. The remaining members of the JSA then battle the terrorist for seven and a half hours before Lightning(you know, the girl who never does anything)ends up defeating the terrorist... Yeah, this was bad. Really bad. There was SO much wrong with this storyline... First up is the terrorist, who was a prisoner of the CIA for 4 years and yet was able to walk through the JSA like they weren't even there. So the CIA could hold this guy, but the JSA was helpless before him? Then there was the battle itself... The battle waged on for an almost comical 7 1/2 hours and not ONE non-JSA DC hero bothered to head over to the battle to lend a hand?! REALLY?!?! What, was Superman(or the other hundred or so DC heroes)too busy to swing by to lend a hand? And then Lightning, whose JSA highlight reel would include her standing around doing nothing or standing around not saying anything, manages to defeat the villain by blasting him... Um, why didn't she just do that 7 1/2 hours earlier?! So this is the beginning of the Marc Guggenheim era of this series... Ugh. Score: 3 out of 10.

Now we move back to the Marvel U and check out Uncanny X-Men #526-529. Why 4 comics at once? Because I can't stand the main X-titles right now and just want to be done talking about them... Hey, at least I'm honest. The main story of these comics dealt with Hope collecting newly powered mutants for her new series(which coincidentally dropped last week). Hope(along with a few random X-Men)track down 4 new mutants in various parts of the world. None of the new mutants really left a mark on me, by and large they seemed like a bland bunch. Besides the stuff with Hope, these comics also revolved around Emma Frost and her decision to secretly keep the comatose Sebastian Shaw captive. Shadowcat(who's living in a tube...)learns that Shaw is being held after reading Emma's mind(yeah...)and that causes Emma to decide to take Shaw somewhere else. The ONLY good thing about these comics was the back-up story in Uncanny #526, which was written by Allan Heinberg and led into Avengers: Children's Crusade #1. It dealt with Magneto learning that Wiccan and Speed could possibly be his grandchildren, and his reaction to this news. For that back-up story alone I'll give these comics a combined score of a: 4 out of 10.

One more and we're done... The last comic I'll be checking out is the Superman: Earth One hardcover. This hardcover(comic? graphic novel?)re-imagines the origin of Clark Kent if it took place in modern times(and was written by J. Michael Straczynski). Some differences between this Supes story and the regular one include; Pa being dead very early on, Clark trying out for several high paying jobs upon arriving in Metropolis(including scientist and football player), and some crazed Kryptonian hunting alien attacking the Earth to eliminate Clark. It was that last point that kind of soured me on this story. We learn that Krypton was battling a nearby planet and the inhabitants of that other planet managed to destroy Krypton. They learned that the Kryptonians sent away a single craft(the one containing baby Supes)and send one of their own hunters out to eliminate the lone Kryptonian. So basically, this alien attacks the Earth, destroys tons of property and kills several people all because he's trying to find and kill Clark. This means that Clark only becomes Superman to save his own skin, not really save the lives of others... It made Clark's story and decision to become Superman seem somewhat less heroic. Sure he saved others when he defeated the alien, but the only reason the alien attacked was because of him. Other than that, I really enjoyed this story. The art was wonderful, and the non-alien portions of this story were really well done. If not for the fact that the alien basically forced Clark to become a hero, I'd have rated this comic much higher... Score: 7 out of 10.


  1. You have a coffee table and don't drink coffee? Hypocrite!!!! I haven't read Superman: Earth One but I'm not too anxious after that review.

    As for Kyle, it sucks he's got pushed back but I like that he still gets some spotlight, plus Soranik is hotter than Carol so he wins. :P

    Oh here ya go dude. Saw this the other day on facebook.

  2. "You have a coffee table and don't drink coffee?" I know. I'm an inhuman monster. :D

    You might like Earth One, JT. For me I just didn't like the WAY Supes became Supes. It just bugged me a bit. But the first half of the story, and especially the artwork was really, really good.

    It does suck that Kyle got pushed back. His series really wasn't that bad at all. Granted, there were a few awful issues, but what run doesn't have a few awful issues in it? By and large, the series was quite good, and like I said, even though Kyle was the main GL for a good 100+ issues, there seemed to be so many stories left on the table. Damn Hal...

    AH! That's from the X-Man/Hulk annual(1998 I think?). Anytime I can see some sweet, sweet Nate action I'm a happy camper though. Thanks JT!

  3. "I know. I'm an inhuman monster. :D" I'm glad you said it so I didn't have to ruin our friendship. ;-)

    I did see the art work when I cracked it open and it does look damn good, hell if you noticed it it must ve really good.

    Sad thing is I like Hal and Kyle so I can't really comment. Also no even Guy and John are used, the sad thing is that Guy, Hal, Sodam, Arisia, Kilowog, Guy and John are used yet they barely touch Wally West in Flash comics anymore.

    Haha, my pleasure. Best part is I saw that after ya signed off Saturday and had it open on my browser for two days because I forgot to send it the next day.

  4. I always liked this feature X, and I especially like this one since I just read some of these issues.

    Re: JLA 50-I admit it, I only bought it because of the Van Sciver cover. I HATED this comic. One of the worst I've read all year (the others being those issues of Groo I got on sale, and....wait for it....James Robinson's first JLA issue). I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I read online it was the best JLA stuff in a while. I think we all got desensitized to really bad

    "Daredevil #511, which I just found after cleaning off my coffee table. After reading it I kind of wish I'd have left it on my coffee table" - I didn't think it was that bad. I'm interested to see what will happen to Foggy. Maybe he'll "die" again.

    And the JSA? Wow. I really thought Guggenheim/Kolins would bring that book to new heights, until I saw the really weird 5 person line-up they had in the promo. You couldn't be more correct about Lightning, which may be the reason for her sudden inclusion. If Guggenheim screws her up, no one's going to complain that he's ruining a classic character like Wildcat or Jay Garrick.

    Wow, my comment's longer than a battle in a JSA comic. See, I told you I liked this feature!

  5. It really would be nice if there was a... I don't know, Flash Corps comic where Wally(and the other non-Saint speedsters)could have a place to shine. Like you said, JT, at least Kyle and co can still show up someplace while Hal dominates the main GL title.

    You know, since you guys both seem to enjoy this feature, maybe the BotR will make a more permanent return to the ol' blog...

    Doesn't this version of the JLA make you long for the early days of this series, Kello? I mean man did things go downhill. I found myself kind of enjoying the early part of this comic with the Crime Syndicate, but that stuff with Dr. Impossible just totally lost me...

    As for DD, I REALLY think Foggy is gonna die to conclude this event. I think Foggy's death(probably at the hands of White Tiger)is going to be the catalyst for DD to break free of the evil magic that is controlling him. I hope that's not the case, but if I was betting, that's what I'd bet.

    As for the JSA, the less said about that abomination the better!

  6. Hmm, I didn't get that "selfish" sense to Superman: Earth One at all. The selfish thing would actually have been for him NOT to become Superman...remember, the only thing he really wants is to be left alone and for people not to realize that he's different. He didn't want to live life in the public eye (although by the end of the story, he realizes that's the right thing to do).

    I just posted a review of this book yesterday, which is why I came back to this post to check out your thoughts. Feel free to drop by and check it out if you get a chance.

  7. Hmm, now I have to try to think back to this story... After 3 months and god knows how many comics, that may be hard to do! :P I think my main bone of contention with that story was the fact that Supes was forced to defeat a threat to Metropolis that was only there because of him. It's not like he WANTED to be a hero, it's more like he HAD to become a hero to deal with his own enemy. But I may be WAY off! I'll have to check out that review in between classes tomorrow, Marc!