Sunday, May 16, 2010

Deadshot's Bullet Reviews Week of May 12th

A monster week in comics this week and that sound you hear is comic fans' wallets screaming. Still, its a good scream as lots of good stuff hit the shelves this week. Let's get to it!

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Grant Morrison/Chris Sprouse

The inevitable return of the one true Batman begins here. Picking up from the end of Final Crisis, we find Bruce Wayne kicking it really old school in caveman times. No Fred Flinstone in sight but a crew of cave dudes who seem vaguely familiar to more modern day Gothamites who come in conflict with another tribe of more warlike cavemen led by one Vandal Savage. At the end of the issue Bruce Wayne Quantum Leaps his way forward in time just before some familiar friends track him down. They say Bruce can't make it back to his own time on his own or the future is doomed! I wasn't crazy about the issue as Morrison usually tries too hard to weird but this isn't him at his worst in this regard. The art by Chris Sprouse was top notch and I am interested to see where this goes. Still, I like Dick Grayson as Batman and I hope the return of Bruce Wayne doesn't prompt an immediate switch of the cowl.
3 of out 5 bullets.

The Flash #2
Geoff Johns/Francis Manipul

The new Flash series continues on with a surprising reveal on who killed the Mirror Monarch. The story adds in familiar Flash elements such as time travel and the advantages of having super speed (i.e. rebuilding destroyed apartment complexes in a blink of an eye). Johns is assembling the pieces albeit a bit slowly for my tastes (and ironically for a Flash title). Manipul's art is solid and works well with the type of action that he is called upon for a Flash title. The Barry Allen supporting cast is still developing but some potentially interesting sub-plots are starting to develop.
Its early in the title but its Geoff Johns so I am willing to give him at least the first arc to get things set up and rolling. If you are a Flash fan or a Johns fan definitely worth picking up (and #1 as well if you missed it).
4 out of 5 bullets.

Siege #4
Brian Bendis/Oliver Copiel! After 7 long years, the 'epic' Bendis story reaches its final resolution. The war of Asgard is over and things shift to the final confrontation with Sentry in all his Void-ness. The core of the original Avengers reunite to find a way to take out Sentry and save the world bringing to an end all the turmoil that has beset the Marvel universe in the last 7 years. The art was great but this event ultimately disappointed because it was a rather lackluster finale for me. I was never a Sentry fan (a blatant Superman rip-off) so I am glad to see that they finally did something with him after years of him moping around being crazy.

Still, while the Bendis grand sweeping saga had some interesting moments, I guess I wonder what it got for us in the end? Steve Rogers is running S.H.I.E.L.D and the rest of the Avengers are back together and buddies again. The Registration Act is gone and everyone can go out in jammies and beat up criminals again. I am looking forward to the beginning of the Heroic Age and putting this dark period of Marvel's history behind me. 3 out of 5 bullets.

Iron Man - Legacy #2
Fred Van Lente/Steve Kurth
The new Iron Man title rolls along as Tony continues his one man war against the country of Transia. It seems that one side of the civil war is using Stark patents which makes Tony a wee bit upset. I like the political aspect of this storyline. Tony is in doing what he feels is right but it at the cost of some political bank with Henry Gyrich and the U.S. government. Tony gets to see the personal impact that this civil war has on its populace and there are some cool fight scenes showcasing some of the stolen Stark tech. At the end of the issue, Tony comes face to face with the individual who is making these new 'Iron Men' which is a nice cliffhanger for next issue.

I am enjoying this title but am surprised that they didn't slide this under the new Astonishing line which seems to unhinge the title from current continuity. I am not overly familiar with Steve Kurth's art but have liked what he has done with this title so far. Looking forward to the rest of this arc.
4 out of 5 bullets.

Booster Gold #32
Keith Giffen - J.M. DeMatteis/Chris Batista

I was ready to drop this title and I have been pulled back in with one issue by the new (old?) creative team. Giffen/Dematteis are no strangers to Booster having written him during one of his defining time periods as a member of the Justice League International. Their sense of timing and humour are still evident here but more they working with a more competent Booster who is not quite so slapstick as he was in those days. The story opens up as Booster has been tasked by Rip Hunter to retrieve an artifact in the 30th century. It just so happens that Booster arrives to pick up said artifact on the same day that Darkseid enslaves the Daxamite people and gives them the powers of Superman and has them doing the heat vision version of carpet bombing the surface of the planet.

The style of this issue was a throwback to an old day. There were lots of panels and stuff going on. No decompression here. Batista does a great job fitting in all the dialogue and still putting in some great details. There was a bit of unevenness with the story, however. While I did like some of the lighter tones to the book at one point it didn't seem to fit with what Booster was seeing. Still, I chalk that up to the new (old?) writers returning to a familiar character but attempting to work with him in his more mature state. I think there is enough good stuff going on here to warrant checking it out.
4 out of 5 bullets.

Justice League - Generation Lost #1
Keith Giffen-Judd Winick/Joe Bennett

The sister title to Brightest Day sees its release this week in the form of Justice Leage - Generation Lost. One of half of the legendary JLI writing team - Keith Giffen - teams up with Judd Winick to follow the exploits of four former JLI'ers: Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and Captain Atom as they hunt for the man who betrayed them all - Maxwell Lord. The issue starts off strongly with a worldwide manhunt for the returning from Blackest Night - Maxwell Lord - co-ordinated by the Justice League. The rest of the issue follows the four above mentioned members as they get involved in the manhunt but soon find themselves as the only one who even remember who Max Lord is.

I loved the scene between Max and Booster near the end of the issue that was very reminiscent of the scene between Max and Blue Beetle that kicked off the events leading to Infinite Crisis. I'm eager to see what Max is up to and why he was one of the one's resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. 4 out of 5 bullets.

Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1
Eric Wallace/Fabrizio Fiorentino -Mike Mayhew - Sergio Arino -Walden Wong

The languishing Titans title gets a 'bold' new direction with this special which sees Deathstroke recruiting a new team of villains in flashbacks as they take on their first mission of dispatching a now redundant hero. I was not expecting much from this issue and bought it mostly out of morbid curiousity. Wallace was able to invoke a bit of sympathy for the poor hero in this case but Deathstroke's recruitment scenes for each member was exactly the same. The art was a mismash of styles that at times was jarring and didn't help the what little story there was.

I'm a Deathstroke fan but even I hope that someone drives a sword through this title's gut like we saw Deathstroke doing on the front cover of the issue. I suspect that DC is hoping to put the actual hero impaled on the sword on any 2nd prints of this issue. Hopefully there won't be any. :)
2 out of 5 bullets.

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