Comics

Silver Surfer #4

by Alan Rapp on July 24, 2014

in Comics

Silver Surfer #4And I’m done. I’ve become increasingly less interested in writer Dan Slott’s new version of the Silver Surfer as the series has gone on. Returning Dawn Greenwood to Earth the Surfer encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy (in a shoehorned movie reference) whose treatment of the Marvel Universe’s most noble and tragic character makes as little sense as Slott continuing to fill the Surfer’s dialogue with various pop culture references. Sigh.

Removing his silver coating again (which still makes NO GODDAMN SENSE as it has been long-established that he’s no longer human underneath) we even get Norrin Radd stuffing himself full of Clam Chowder. Groan.

And on attempting to leave our hero finds himself trapped inside the barrier long since removed by Galactus meaning the most interesting aspect not toyed with in Slott’s version of the character (his limitless ability to travel across all of space) has been removed along with his dignity and nobility. Kill me now.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36

by Alan Rapp on July 23, 2014

in Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36With his brothers dealing with Old Hob and Slash (see last issue), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36 centers on Leonardo and Splinter and the introduction of a new mysterious and meddlesome character who will likely cause the Turtles more than their share of grief in the months to come.

Although we learn the Rat King‘s origins are tied to Kitsune (whom he refers to as a sister), the comic keeps the origins and past (aside from his time as the Pied Piper of Hamelin) obscured. What is clear is the Rat King has plans and designs beyond what Splinter and his son can currently upderstand and believes the Turtles may be the perfect pawns enabling the creature to put his plans into action.

Far less goofy than the character from the classic or current cartoons, this Rat King is more consistent with the comic versions we’ve seen in the past. Whatever the creature’s end goals, the introduction here makes him a major player going forward who likely could tip the balance of power in the Turtles’ war against the Shredder (if only to serve his own ends). Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

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The Shadow #0

by Alan Rapp on July 22, 2014

in Comics

The Shadow #0Although the timing of the one-shot seems odd with Howard Chaykin‘s mini-series (and that crappy current-day comic) being Dynamite’s only current titles involving The Shadow, The Shadow #0 offers us an one-shot at the opposite end of the spectrum of Chaykin’s tale be giving us a peek at the vigilante’s earlier days and his ties to an escape artist named Harry Houdini.

Although we get a brief flashback with Lamont Cranston training with the magician, the main focus of writer Cullen Bunn’s story involves Houdini’s competitors targeting the man’s wife after the magician’s death. Knowing what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and with a substantial debt to pay, The Shadow steps in to make things right.

Although the final interaction between The Shadow and the widow is a bit clunky, the use of a secret cabal of magicians as bad guys with all kinds of tricks up their sleeves is an intriguing idea that is left open-ended when the villains manage to allude the vigilante’s usual swift justice. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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She-Hulk #6

by Alan Rapp on July 21, 2014

in Comics

She-Hulk #6She-Hulk #6 continues, and eventually stalls, the Blue File storyline. While offering glimpses worthy of note including resurrecting properties of Angie Huang‘s pet moneky Hei Hei and the fact that She-Hulk is not immune to the mind control involved in making both heroes and villains forget whatever happened in North Dakota (which only kicks in now?), the issue brings the investigation to a halt along with tons of new potential clients for She-Hulk as the comic (apparently) has decided to shelve the storyline (for now) and more in a different direction.

I was less-than-thrilled with switch to Ronald Wimberly’s art beginning last issue, but the Blue File storyline offered an intriguing mystery I wanted to see through. Since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, and the art is even more jarring this month, I’m sad to say I’m probably done with the title. I think Charles Soule has introduced several intriguing ideas for the new series including Jennifer’s Walters’ unorthodox staff and offices catering to super-human characters, but despite my appreciation of the character there’s simply not enough here to bring me back month after month. Pass.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Fables #142

by Alan Rapp on July 21, 2014

in Comics

Fables #142While those behind the scenes, including Maddy, continue to push Fabletown into a war between Rose Red and Snow White, including a spell which puts the two women in off-setting pairs of magical armor, White is far more concerned with the news that an out-of-control Bigby has been sighted in the Mundy world. In a world where symbolism matters far more than it does it ours, it is important to notice Snow White is cast in the black armor suggesting (at least in the view of the person behind the spell) that she has apparently been cast as the villain in Fabletown‘s downfall.

Despite Snow White’s statement of having no interest into going to war with her sister the comic continues to push the story forward. We are also offered more of Lancelot as Rose Red’s lover (and his role as the possible Guinevere in the new story who might betray her to… Snow White?). The shattered Bigby’s return muddies the water a bit (or is it the distraction needed to cause the final wedge between sisters?), and we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for Fabletown’s various magic users to discern the missing piece of the great wolf is being used to control him. Worth a look.

[Vertigo,$2.99]

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Robin Rises: Omega

by Alan Rapp on July 20, 2014

in Comics

Robin Rises: OmegaHow much you like Grant Morrison and his work on Batman over the past few years will certainly temper your response to Robin Rises: Omega #1 which launches the storyline which will likely bring Damian Wayne back from the dead and re-install him as Robin once more. Much like Morrison’s own work, Robin Rises: Omega #1 is overly-complicated, clunky, and unnecessary long winded (can’t they just throw the kid in a Lazarus Pit and be done?).

The $5 comic features an extended highlight reel of Damian’s story up to this point which leads more than a little like writer Peter J. Tomasi’s Morrison fan boy wanking. With a fifth of the comic taken up with the prologue, the story finally offers us into the main conflict by introducing Glorious Godfrey and Apokolips into the question coming between the conflicted sides of Batman and Ra’s al Ghul‘s forces. Stealing Damian’s body for a magic crystal hidden inside (because why?), Batman looses the villains when the Justice League shows up (unnecessarily) and forces them to flee back to Apokilips – with Damian’s coffin.

[click to continue…]

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Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4

by Alan Rapp on July 18, 2014

in Comics

Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4Wrapping up the latest mini-series, Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4 features Green Arrow getting a measure of revenge against Prometheus and Superman calling on the help of Chloe and Tess to reboot the yellow rings and stop Parallax and his new army of brainwashed Yellow Lanterns who include John Stewart.

The final issue wraps up the various threads of the mini-series, although it does have to rely on a giant space whale fighting a giant space worm which began to make my eyes glaze over (as it did when Geoff Johns introduced the various space entities in charge of the color spectrum). Despite being impaled by a yellow-ring construct Superman comes out unharmed, and with the reboot of both Yellow and Green Lanterns rings he also says farewell to the responsibility of being a member of the Corps. Although Lex doesn’t actually get his hand on a ring he does learn the valuable lesson on the usefulness of allies which means we may see a legion or secret society in Smallville’s not-too-distant future. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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Justice League United #3

by Alan Rapp on July 17, 2014

in Comics

Justice League United #3The latest issue of Justice League United finds the team on Rann where they must not only save the young child from being corrupted into something true monstrous by Byth but also fix a damaged Zeta-Beam which threatens the lives of thousands. Although Martian Manhunter is able to reason with the child, Byth manages to escape capture and one member of the team will sacrifice himself to stop the Zeta Beam from destroying the city.

Much like the issues which have preceding it, Justice League United #3 works best when playing with the relationships of the new team – particularly the bickering between Animal Man and Green Arrow. The crazy alien space baby storyline hasn’t been as effective but that part of the tale seems to be concluded here.

The death of a major character seems a bit odd, especially as the title hadn’t even had time to properly work Hawkman into the group dymnamic (as nearly all of his storyline was separate from that of the League). I expect him to miraculously return next month (like his severed arm did earlier in the series). Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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All-New X-Men #29

by Alan Rapp on July 16, 2014

in Comics

All-New X-Men #29Continuing the storyline involving the attacks on the school by Xavier and the Future Brotherhood of Mutants, All-New X-Men #29 finds the team victorious over the future mutants. Despite capturing Xavier and turning him over to the authorities, it appears the time loop involving the team’s meddlesome trips to the past has not yet been broken.

Of all the possible relationships between the past and current X-Men I’ll admit I didn’t expect Angel and X-23 to get together romantically (which is teased more at the end of this issue and even further on next month’s cover). Although on the face of it the pairing seems odd, the more I think about it the more I like the pair together and the possibilities such a relationship might yield.

All-New X-Men #29 is another strong issue although by their nature the Brotherhood’s failed attacks are beginning to grow stale. Hopefully next month’s issue moves towards an end to this storyline and begins to look forward to something new for the team to sink its teeth into. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Worlds’ Finest #25

by Alan Rapp on July 15, 2014

in Comics

Worlds' Finest #25The twenty-fifth issue of the series sees both the Huntress and Power Girl make their goodbyes before returning to their own Earth. Although the journey back home has been foreshadowed for some time, I’m less than thrilled with the comic sending the two heroes back to a universe I care even less about than the New 52 version of Earth-1. However, given that future solicitations suggest one or both characters will be making appearances in titles taking place on the main New 52 Earth it’s a bit unclear how long their trip home will last.

With at least the next several issues taking place on their hellish homeworld which has fallen to Apokolips and an evil Superman, Worlds’ Finest #25 plays to the series strengths by centering the storyline on the friendship and interaction of our two heroines. The issue works well and even an appearance of the New 52 version of Desaad (adding a bit of action to the proceedings) can’t ruin what works as a bittersweet portend that perhaps the series’ best issues may now have already been told. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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