Brightest Day

After the Blackest Night was prevented, twelve superheroes and villains were revived by the power of the white rings. These chosen people have been brought back and given a task by the life entity so they can have their life returned fully. Brightest Day follows seven of the heroes: Deadman, Aquaman, Hawk, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, Hawkman,and Martian Manhunter. This story is told by jumping between five different adventures that the characters are on and they merge together near the end.

Deadman’s plot could be considered the main story because it gets the main focus. After the revivals, all the white rings dissipated except for Deadman’s. This gives him a connection to the life entity, who tells him to find a new champion of the light. During his journey he works with Hawk and Dove and experiences life again after being dead for so long. This is an enjoyable story and it’s really unpredictable so I was always hooked on it. The character dynamic between Hawk, Deadman, and Dove is good too because of their opposing personalities.

The Aquaman story involves Aquaman’s powers starting to revive dead sea animals. Before he can deal with that he is attacked by underwater soldiers from his wife Mera’s homeland. Secrets come out about Mera’s origin and an unknown teenager begins to develop water related powers. All of this ties into the return of Aquaman’s nemesis, Black Manta. This story is quite like a soap opera where ridiculous twists about family and killing pop up. I still enjoy it for what it is and Aquaman is still such a cool character and the fight scenes in his story are really good.

Firestorm’s story involves Jason and Ronnie trying to get along after Ronnie kinda murdered Jason’s girlfriend while he was a Black Lantern. They find out their Firestorm Matrix is corrupted by something dark and that by fighting each other they might explode. This is an alright story, but the two leads aren’t that interesting and it’s mainly their villain who carries the plot.

The Hawk’s story is about them fighting Hath-Set, a priest who is hunting down their previous lives’s bones to create a gate to Hawkworld. This story starts out on the slow side but really picks up towards the end when the true villain is revealed and an unexpected team up happens. The love related dialogue in the beginning hurts it kinda but it all leads to something.

The final story is about the Martian Manhunter and how he is trying to restore life to Mars. He also must face another martian, who is a woman martian who wants to restore their race. There’s also the sudden appearance of a giant star shaped forest in the middle of Star City that somehow connects J’onn to the Earth. This story is very interesting and puts J’onn into situations that make him look like a vulnerable, relatable character who isn’t too strong. He doesn’t just fight his way out of all issues, he uses his mind and this makes the story a smart one.

All across the board the art is fantastic in each issue of the book and the way the stories come together is cool to see, even if after the first one concludes you start to expect the next three stories’ endings. All in all it’s another really good event, where strong plots and characters make a little bit of a scattered format actually work.

Writer: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi

Artist: Patrick Gleason & Ivan Reis

Rating: Full Price

JSA #1

The marathon is winding down with JSA #1. I’d like to think of myself as a JSA fan. I haven’t read any of their comics but when I see characters from the series I want to read it. With this #1 I hope that this is a good jumping on point.

The issue begins with Kid Eternity, a hero with the power to bring historical figures to help him fight, being chased and eventually killed in a sewer. We then see a dream where the Sandman turns into sand and then dies in real life. At his funeral, Wildcat and Starman talk in a scene meant to introduce the JSA members. At the funeral more death and a fight breaks out. We end on a cliffhanger where another character, who says he is well known but I’ve never heard of him,  arrives.

As a #1 issue I quite enjoyed this one. They mention a lot of things that have happened previously to the characters without sounding very expository. There are a lot of characters and they all get a moment to shine in the fight scene. One odd thing is Wildcat’s dad, who would be very old based on Wildcat’s age, but they don’t mention him having some anti-age power.  He’s the supervisor for Johnny Thunder, another old guy, and Star-Spangled Kid or Stargirl as she is known now. Star is the stereotypical teenager in this and I’ve seen her written better in other books. Art is some high quality stuff and the artist or writer put in a reference to the Red Bee of all people. Overall it’s a fun read.

Writer: David Goyer & James Robinson

Artist: Stephen Sadowski

Rating: Full Price

Justice League Task Force #1

The reviews keep rolling with today’s comic, Justice League Task Force #1.

Justice League Task Force follows the same idea as Marvel’s Secret Defenders, where a group of heroes are put together to solve certain missions. The book also follows the ideas of Justice League International and Justice League Europe by having the team be government sponsored. The way it finally differs from those three books is by being garbage, in at least the first issue.

The book begins with Martian Manhunter fighting crime in a scene that’s just here to show off his powers. We cut to some Caribbean island where some British guy (You can tell he’s British because he says “Mate” and “Blimey” all the time) and a blond guy in a power suit named Blitz are bartering with some rebels who want to use Blitz as a threat to free themselves from a dictator. We cut to the Pentagon, where the government wants to protect that dictator and assign some guy called Martin to create the Task Force. Martin finds Martian Manhunter and tells him to pick the best members of the JLE for this mission.

Martian Manhunter picks Flash, Aquaman, and Gypsy. After the team is together, Nightwing arrives but no one on the team except for Flash wants him around. The book falls apart at this moment. I can understand picking someone no one wants around to create drama within the team. However, the character they chose doesn’t work. Aquaman doesn’t trust him because he’s a Titan and not a Justice League member and Martian Manhunter says he has a reputation for grandstanding. Both are dumb reasons and someone like Booster Gold or Blue Beetle would have filled this role much better.

The art’s nothing special and characterization isn’t there. I don’t know Martian Manhunter’s reasons but many people better than Aquaman and Gypsy could have been on the team. Green Lantern is seen at the JLE HQ and he’s much stronger than any of them. But that’s nitpicking, and at the end of the day this is still dumb in many other ways.

Writer: David Michelinie

Artist: Sal Velluto

Rating: Rubbish

Cover for Justice League Task Force #1 (1993)

Justice League Vol. 1 – Origin

And we’re back with the first review of 2016. So I’m gonna start off with the book that kicked off DC’s New 52 reboot, the Justice League.

“In a world where inexperienced superheroes operate under a cloud of suspicion from the public, loner vigilante Batman has stumbled upon a dark evil that threatens to destroy the earth as we know it. Now, faced with a threat far beyond anything he can handle on his own, the Dark Knight must trust an alien, a scarlet speedster, an accidental teenage hero, a space cop, an Amazon Princess and an undersea monarch. Will this combination of Superman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman be able to put aside their differences and come together to save the world? Or will they destroy each other first?”

For the beginning of a new universe and as the flagship title of DC I’m glad to say that this book is really good. The banter between heroes establishes some motivations and characterizes them well. The personality choices are a little odd, especially for Superman and Green Lantern, but in story they just started being public superheroes. The story is told well with a good mystery aspect as we follow Batman trying to solve the mystery of who’s invading Earth and how to stop them. In the tradition of heroes fighting, Green Lantern and Batman fight against Superman in issue 2 and it’s the highlight of the book.

There’s also the top notch art of Jim Lee that keeps this book enjoyable. His designs for the Justice League have this uniform “collared” look while still standing out from each other. There are multiple splash pages that emphasize the epic moments of the heroes while keeping the story moving quickly. My only two complaints would be how Hal is kind of a tool who admits he’s only here to look cool and doesn’t really care about saving people. The villain of the story, while a good choice, is defeated a bit too easily with not much effort on the heroes’ side.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Jim Lee

Rating: Full Price

Blackest Night- Comic Review

“The Blackest Night falls from the skies,
The darkness grows as all light dies,
We crave your hearts and your demise,
By my black hand, the dead shall rise!”

“Blackest Night” was DC’s big crossover from 2009. After the Sinestro War an entire emotional spectrum of corps appeared, all signified by a color and an emotion. All these Corps must come together to stop the Blackest Night, when dead heroes and villains from around the universe are revived to feed off emotions and spread death. They are lead by a Black Hand and Scar, one of the Guardians who was injured by the Anti-Monitor. The true villain is revealed near the end, and many secrets about life and death are brought up.image

Now this is exactly how a comic book event should be: the stakes are raised each issue, the plot twists and shocking moments pile up perfectly, and the ridiculously awesome moments only comics can achieve. This book really shows the expansiveness of the DCU with zombie characters like Pariah and Azrael making appearances. The art is exceptional, with colorful details on each corps member and modified costumes for the Black Lanterns. The last note is how well it sets up its tie-ins. The beginning takes place in a cemetery where most characters are seen mourning their loved ones. These characters seen here get some lines and then go off into their own book, instead of lingering around wasting time.           DC’s events are always fun, but Blackest Night is one of their finest.

There’s also a very heavy focus on character. Hal Jordan makes most of the narration and he isn’t a horrible character in these few moments. Aquaman’s wife, Mera, is the breakout character of the issue along with a newly revived Barry Allen. The Atom gets a lot of panel time where he is mourning Sue and Ralph, and his ex-wife, Jean. Scarecrow is seen a couple of times, but he is immune to the Black Lanterns as he has no fear. All of these subplots converge perfectly near the end, in a very famous scene.

Rating: Vintage

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #2

Now for the final issue of this week. I thought this one was the best issue of Week 2 last month, so I have high hope for it.

Last time, Parallax attacked the city of Electropolis after they assaulted Kyle Rayner. Kyle wakes up in this issue and naturally tries to stop Parallax. Sadly, Princess Fern is an idiot and keeps trying to attack Kyle and Hal, when Kyle almost gets Hal back from Parallax. Now this issue shows what a good guy will do when they are pushed too far. Parallax still wants to help Kyle, which is a good motivation that I’ve never gotten from him. The art in this one is still very bright and colorful, which really highlights the darkness lying beneath the characters. Not to spoil the ending, but it sets up one of the characters as important to the main Convergence story. This issue lives up to the last one and actually shows the strength of Parallax, and why he was such a big threat back then.

GLPARCONV_2_2-3

April Comics Ranking

Time for part two of April’s comic rankings.

#10-9

#10- “Convergence: Justice League of America #1”

Pros:  Nice to see Ralph and Sue together again, best villain introduction of the event

Cons: Spends too long introducing characters, basically nothing happens until the end, muddy art

#9. “Green Lantern 23.4”

Pros: Great origin story, Sinestro is still a great villain

Cons: Hard to read with the layout, doesn’t explain why Sinestro has so much will

#8-7

#8. “Convergence: Aquaman #1”

Pros: When he arrives Deathblow is cool, Aquaman has the respect he deserves

Cons: Stilted art, spends too long introducing the villain

#7. “Convergence: Justice League International #1”

Pros: Good fight scene, Ted is a funny guy, nice setup for the next issue

Cons: Doesn’t focus on the other members much

#6-5.1

#6. “Convergence: Shazam #1”

Pros: Replicates Golden Age art, the battle against the Monster Society is really good

Cons: The dome doesn’t come down

#5. “Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1”

Pros: Gives equal focus to the team, colorful and bright art, very emotional scenes

Cons: I have a hard time buying that Batman can’t bring down the dome in a year

#4-3.1

#4. “Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1”

Pros: Bright art, delivers exposition very well, the fight kicks off quickly

Cons: Princess Fern is such a ridiculous villain even Parallax makes fun of the idea

#3. “Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1”

Pros: Goes deep into Guy’s psyche, unique art style, great to see John and Guy interact

Cons: Ending scene doesn’t make much sense

2.2

#2. “Convergence: Booster Gold #1”

Pros: Very quick moving story, explains a lot about the event, they recognize all the things Booster has done for the DCU

Cons: There’s a lot of dialogue, but it is well written

And the winner is…

Winner

#1. “Convergence: Blue Beetle #1”

Pros: Focuses equally on the three heroes, funny jokes throughout, first glimpse of Telos, explores more about the dome

Cons: The other city isn’t shown

And that’s the end for April. Hopefully the second issue of these are better or just as great in some cases.