Monday, December 26, 2011

Update

I plan to start this back up in the next week. Sorry for cutting it off in the middle of the series, but school came first and then there was holidays and work. Let me know if there are any Marvel comics, such as Incredible Hulk or Wolverine and the X-Men that you'd like me to review as well. Not doing it for school, just for myself and anyone who wishes to read it. I may also scale back on the DC titles I review. There will also be no Superman reviews until issue 7, once George Perez stops writing it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evil Comes in a Tiny Package

Evil Is A Living Jigsaw Puzzle
Review of Detective Comics #3
By: Andrew Hines


     When the citizens of Gotham are threatened, their Dark Knight is the one and only defense they have.

     With the Dollmaker having made Commissioner Jim Gordon a target and now gunning for the Caped Crusader, this is an intense issue that only leads to more questions.  The Dark Knight tries to narrow down the identity of the Dollmaker as time runs out for the Commissioner.  We see Batman in a rare scene pushed to both his physical and mental limits.

     As the artist and scribe for the new Detective Comics, Tony S. Daniel is a great talent.  While he does balance the two fairly well, there is always the risk of putting too much effort into one and neglecting the other.  Thankfully it hasn't happened yet.  This story has more twists than a birthday party full of ballon animal, which works in its favor.  The illustrations are great, from the perspectives of characters, backgrounds and visual effects.  It's on par with Jim Lee's Batman: Dark Knight that runs on a timeline of maybe a year later.  Sorry, it's sort of hard to keep these things straight.  Any way you slice it, Daniel is kicking some serious tail in this series.  I'm starting to wonder if there's an endgame or if he's just winging it.  If he is, it's the best BS-ing I've ever seen.  I'm looking forward to where Daniel takes us and just who the Dollmaker gets his orders from.

     Bravo, Mr. Daniel.  You've bumped yourself up to an 8.9 out of 10.

Cover art of Detective Comics #3:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/DTC_Cv3_ds.jpg

Interior art of Detective Comics #3:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/DTC-35.jpg

Monday, November 7, 2011

Still Off-"Planet"

Still Off-"Planet"
Review of Action Comics #3
By: Andrew Hines


     How is it possible that in 73 years of Action Comics (which have just started over), not one person in Metropolis has figured out that Clark Kent is really just Superman with glasses?

     Well, this may be the day that someone finally does.  It will be taken care of in this issue, though not broadcast.*  We'll see some interesting things in this issue that take Clark Kent from being a low-level reporter at the Daily Star to possibly on the staff of the Daily Planet.  Not only is that yet to occur, but there is a strong anti-Superman sentiment in Metropolis as well.  Clark is being hounded by police for his writing at the newspaper and there is a new threat to the survival of Earth.  Basically, what I'm saying is there's plenty of reason to read this.  The only thing we're unclear on at this point is the new vilain(s).  It's either Brainiac or Metallo, maybe both.

     With Grant Morrison's writing, as usual, we see the perfect blend of comic book life and reality.  Seeing both the super and the man at once is a rare thing when dealing with the Man of Steel.  We see the broad strokes and fine lines that make up Morrison's stellar vision of the comics he pens.  Morrison is a man with a rare gift for writing realistic comics.  Not only is the story contemporary in nearly every sense, but there are enough twists to fit three chapters of a proper novel.  There are introductions of two villains and a new look at Kal-El's home world of Krypton shown in a rather intriguing way.

     Rags Morales matches Morrison's words with the strokes of his pencil.  He is proving why he has stayed in the business for more than 20 years.  Morales is the first artist I've seen who has been able to actually make Superman and Clark Kent look the same and yet alarmingly different.  I guess that makes artists like Mr Morales the answer to my question.

     Morrison and Morales have so far made the perfect team to tackle one of the crown jewels of DC Comics.  These two have earned them a 9.5 out of 10.


*     If you want to see what happens when people try to broadcast the identity of a superhero, look up Irredeemable Vol. 1 by Mark Waid.


Cover for Action Comics #2:
http://comicartcommunity.com/gallery/data/media/186/284520_2080468764524_1029186438_32095254_4629919_n.jpg

Greater Than Ion

Becoming Greater Than Ion
Review of Green Lantern: New Guardians
By: Andrew Hines


     Anyone who has kept up with Kyle Rayner's career as a Green Lantern knows that the title is an awfully bold statement, and yet I stand by it.

     With all of the Lantern rings offering Kyle Rayner membership into their respective corps', big things are happening.  Not everyone wants Kyle to have the rings.  In fact there only seems to be one Lantern who is on his side at this point, the Blue Lantern of Hope, Saint Walker.  Seeking the wisdom and guidance of Earth-friendly Guardian, Ganthet, they are in for a rude awakening.  By the end of the issue there will be a new breed of Lantern for the Big Bads of the universe to deal with.

     Tony Bedard writes a wonderful follow-up to an above average first issue.  He continues where the first left off and leads to wonderful possibilities.  There is plenty of drama because it brings so many personalities together in such a confined space.  To see these corps working together would be enough to send numerous shivers down the collective spines of geeks everywhere.  The ending to this one will leave you wanting much more.

     Tyler Kirkham is just as good on this one as he was on the first.  While a few close-ups and head shots are more detailed than they were last time, the overall is basically on par with the premier issue.  Characters like Bleez of the Red Lanterns and Arkillo of the Sinestro Corps are immensely fear-inspiring and the Star Sapphire formerly known as Fatality commands respect just by her appearance.  Kirkham has given form to the emotional spectrum in his treatment of the various Lanterns.  Well done sir, I am very much looking forward to more artwork.

     With pretty good writing and art, New Guardians #2 is worthy of 8.8 out 10.


Cover art of Green Lantern: New Guardians -
http://comicartcommunity.com/gallery/data/media/454/GREEN_LANTERN_NEW_GUARDIANS_2.jpg

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aquaman vs Aqua...things

Aquaman vs Aqua...things
Review of Aquman #2
By: Andrew Hines


     I know what you're thinking; It's Aquaman, what's the worst thing he could be going up against, an angry swarm of Sea Monkeys?

     As an answer to the question, enter the Trench.  This race of deep sea predators look like the love child of a deep-sea angler fish and the Predator.  Add to that the voracious tendencies of a piranha, and you've pretty much got the best and worst sea monsters ever.  Forget the Kraken, the giant squid or the Leviathan.  Moby Dick and Jaws are just more food to these guys.  I've got a strong feeling that these guys will be around for a while.

     Geoff Johns hits another home run with Aquaman #2.  Not only do we see a new view of Aquaman and more of his personality, but we get a good look at Mera as well.  Once again misunderstood and underrated by the general populace, he finally has a fan who has recruited him.  We get to see some more information from his past and a tease of a possible new villain.  It is apparent that Mera is far more vicious than Arthur might ever be.  So thank you for that Mr Johns.  Geeks everywhere need another firey red-head to rally behind.

     Ivan Reis' art is just phenomenal.  From the cover image to the final page, we see nothing short of amazing work.  I'm hard pressed to find anything wrong with any panel.  I'm not used to seeing Aquaman as a badass, but Mr Reis may have changed that.  No longer "the other Namor," his new look comes across as the underdog you love to root for.  Again, Mera is exactly what I've wanted to see in DC for a long time.  Now that we finally have the perfect template for her, I suspect we'll be seeing quite a bit more.

     Geoff and Ivan are a perfect team. Sorry Mr Lee, but you may have met your match. This gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Cover of Aquaman #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/data/media/242/AQUAMAN_2.jpg

Interior page of Aquaman #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/data/media/242/prv10236_pg3.jpg

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Catching Up On Your Flash Facts

Catching Up On Your Flash Facts
Review of Flash #2
By: Andrew Hines


     Here's a Flash Fact: Things just got a LOT more complicated for Barry Allen.

     This comic has everything that the debut issue had, including some awesome throwback nods to such things as his relationship with Iris West.  It should be no secret that I'm a huge Flash fan, especially of Barry Allen, the Silver Age hero.  That being said, this follow-up issue is actually better than the first.  We have a few things cleared up and get fewer questions than answers here.  There are nods to the old DC and an actual reference to the Speed Force.  There are allusions to the Cosmic Treadmill, a device which allows Barry to travel through and possibly alter time.  The last time this device was actually used was in the last issue of Flashpoint, which saw Barry "fixing" the timeline that he unwittingly created, resulting in the DCnU we have now.

     As a writer, Francis Manapul has given us two great issues that get back to exactly why we love Barry Allen as the Flash.  He's a great mixture of all the other Justice Leaguers, which Manapul uses to full advantage.  You see the shy side (Martian Manhunter) and his more analytical/scientific mind (Batman) on the same pages.  A little later you'll see his child-like demeanor (Green Lantern) juxtaposed with his hopeful side (Superman) in a way that most other writers haven't portrayed him in recent years.  Okay, since he was gone for close to 25 years, there haven't really been many "recent" writers. The point is, he give us a fresh, yet classic take on Barry.

     Brian Buccellato's artwork exemplifies Barry Allen's look down to the lightning bolt logo.  From the buildings of Central City to the grooves connecting the pieces of his costume, nothing out of place or mis-proportioned.  Whether in his Flash suit or in civilian garb, Barry looks about the same as always.  All of the visual effects and panel layouts are wonderful.  Then there are the pages in which Barry realizes how quickly his brain is working.  Those "isolated" page set-ups are perfect.

     Manapul and Buccellato are a wonderful team and I'm looking forward to more fantastic issues from them.  This deserves a 9.2 out of 10.

Cover of Flash #2:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/FLS-2_Cover.jpg
Interior page of Flash #2:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/FLS-2_1.jpg

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Captain Atom VS The God Complex

Captain Atom VS The God Complex
Review of Captain Atom #2
By: Andrew Hines


     What if one man had the powers of a god at his fingertips?

     Being reborn for the second time and putting himself together again after taking an active volcano out of commission, Captain Atom is this close to over-stepping the bounds of what it means to be human or even meta-human.  He begins to see the energy around him and is able to interact with wireless electronic transmissions in much the same way as Tom Cruise did in Minority Report.  By the end of the issue, a man who can barely keep himself together physically, may bridge the gap between Man and the Divine.

     J.T. Krul has shown us a new side of Nathaniel Adam and given us a slight departure from the origin of the old DCU.  We now see a mixture of Captain Atom and Dr. Manhattan, despite the Captain still retaining his humanity.  Pop culture fans may see flashbacks to 1997's Contact, at the sight of the craft that the Captain must pilot.  Krul even allows room for human egos and personality clashes, the likes of which are rarely seen outside of procedural police dramas.  Writing implied confrontation such as this is an art form in and of itself that he is close to mastering.  He is able to hint at the history between the characters without stating it outright.

     Freddie Williams II has brought about his own style to the comics industry.  It borrows from no artist I can think of and has a unique look to it.  It's not crisp, but that's exactly what this book needs.  Fortunately, with a character like Captain Atom, crisp is the last look you need.  Since he's a man who can barely keep his body together and is made up of a googolplex of atoms and molecules, Williams' style is perfect for reflecting that.

     Williams and Krul earn their title a 9.2 out of 10.

Stanley "Artgerm" Lau's cover for issue 2:
http://artgerm.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4b61is

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Outlaws Can Be Heroes Too

Outlaws Can Be Heroes Too
Review of Red Hood & the Outlaws #2
By: Andrew Hines


     How do you upstage yourself after coming back from the dead?

     If you're Jason Todd, you'll most likely team-up with an annoying former sidekick and a super-powered alien that used to date your rival.  Issue 2 begins with a flashback of Batman's baby mama, Talia al Ghul, explaining Jason's return to the land of the living.  Right after that we get right back to where we left off in the first book.  There's also a huge attitude change from the first few pages to the present.  Jason has gone from the streetwise punk fans know and loathe to the reluctant leader of a small band of heroic outlaws.

     Scott Lobdell gives everyone their own unique personalities, rather than going with the Golden Age rule of everyone having the same basic attitudes.  He puts a comic book spin on everyday scenarios and brings in conversations from the modern day.  From the flight attendant to the driver of the rented limo, we see twists and turns that might happen in every day life.  The difference is that they are meshed with the craziness of comic book reality.  It takes a bit of vision to merge the two worlds.

     Aside from Kenneth Rocafort's art still reminding me a bit of Cory Walker's run on Invincible, he takes the characters and makes them his own.  Each character's design is far different from their incarnations in the old DCU.  It might just be Rocafort's style that makes Red Hood's costume design work.  I can't honestly think of anyone else who could make a full-body suit, a solid red mask and brown leather motorcycle jacket work together.  There's also the fact that in no shot, is anything out of proportion.  Rocafort is a professional and it shows.  Well done, sir.

     Lobdell and Rocafort make a fantastic team.  The story mixes perfectly with the art in a way you rarely see.  This earns it a 9.4 out of 10.

Cover of Red Hood & the Outlaws #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42666

A Prelude to Fighting a Mirror

A Prelude to Fighting a Mirror
Review of Nightwing #1
By: Andrew Hines


     Holy mistaken identity, Batman!

     For some reason, we see new hired muscle gunning for Dick Grayson and all he wants . . . is his head.  Now the former Boy Wonder is stuck between a rock and a hard place as his alter ego fights for the life of the man under the mask.  From what this assassin Saiko has told him, Dick Grayson is the fiercest killer in Gotham.  This is certainly news to the last surviving member of the Flying Graysons.  Now the younger half of the original Dynamic Duo must carefully juggle his two lives or lose them both.

     Kyle Higgins brings a heaping helping of talent to the second issue of Nightwing. There's mystery suspense and action in a book that shows several sides of Dick Grayson and finally speaks of his past.  Higgins brings out the big guns in this follow-up to Nightwing's "return" to his own title.  The dialogue and narration flow as well as any book involving a member of the Batman Family.

     Eddy Barrows artwork is great once again.  Either in the heat of a battle or a static pose, he shines.  His pencils capture the lithe movements of a born acrobat and classic hero.  You can see in the faces he illustrates just how much love he puts into his craft.  I can safely say that Eddy Barrows should be around for quite a while as an artist in the DCnU.  If he continues to hone his skills, in a few short years, the results should speak for themselves.

     With Higgins and Barrows working together, this title should blah, blah, blah . . . just go buy it already. This is issue earns an 8.9 out of 10 for artwork and story.

Cover of Nightwing #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42665&sessionid=df1eb860e60d85a21667687ae43ea004

Clash of the Classics

Clash of the Classics
Review of Justice League #2
By: Andrew Hines


     Who would win in a fight; Batman or Superman?

     This is the question in the first few pages of Justice League #2. Thankfully Bruce gets help from Barry (Flash) and Hal (Green Lantern.) After the initial showdown, the race is on to find where the alien device from issue #1 came from and what it's true purpose is. There will also be a new Justice Leaguer born in the issue's explosive ending.
   
     Geoff Johns redeems himself after the slow first issue.  Here we see DC's premier team finally beginning to come together. We also see their finest scribe doing what he does best, updating classic characters for a modern audience.  Johns is a master of telling us just enough, without revealing too much. There is still an air of mystery and suspense as the larger story unfolds.

     DC co-publisher and master artist, Jim Lee (no relation to Stan), proves one again how he has earned his stripes time and again. Since he designed all of the costumes for the Justice League, it's only logical that he would helm the title that brings them all together. This is allowing him to set the bar for how the costumes should look in every comic from now on.  Well played Mr Lee, You've done our fans proud.

    With not a word or pencil stroke out of place, Johns and Lee have earned an 8.9 out of 10 for Justice League.

Page 1 of Justice League #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=43494

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

(Death)Stroke of Luck

(Death)Stroke of Luck
Review of Deathstroke #2
By: Andrew Hines


     Let's do a recap, shall we? When last we met our hero, er...villain, he had just finished a mid-air smash-and-grab and executed his former accomplices.  "Just how does he do all of this and sleep so soundly," you might ask? The answer would be, "With decades of practice."  We now find Slade Wilson in the back of a secret bar facing down certain death with a grin on his face and a room full of hired guns looking for the bounty on his head.

     This is what our writer Kyle Higgins throws at us in the first few pages.  In this issue we briefly see an extra new villain and a comic full of fight scenes.  All the while we get crisp dialogue and some decent narration.  We still have yet to see anything really personal about the character.  Barring some minor expository dialogue, there's really nothing to show in regards to a motivation.  If you want to see any of his family however, pick up the issues of Superboy and look for Rose Wilson.

     Artist Joe Bennett is still quite skilled and manages to make Deathstroke more intimidating than usual.  This is quite impressive, given who we're talking about.  Thankfully the size of his sword has been scaled down a bit so he doesn't seem to be compensating for anything anymore.  At least with all the action, he gets to prove his mettle and that he's not a Rob Liefeld* waiting to happen.

     The second issue is more action-packed and even carries over from the premier issue.  Because of that, the rest of the writing and the artwork, it gets crazy points.  Some are taken away for not adding any backstory or personal information.  That makes this an 8.0 out of 10.

Deathstroke #2 Cover:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/DSK_Cv2.jpg
Deathstroke #2 Page 5:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2011/10/DSK-25.jpg

*    I defy anyone to prove without a doubt that Rob Liefeld is worthy of being an artist.  Trust me, you can't.


Birth of a Hero

Birth of a Hero
Review of Grifter #2
By: Andrew Hines


     What does a former soldier turned professional con artist do when he can suddenly hear alien voices in his head?  If he's Cole Cash, he waits for the hunters to find their prey so he can turn the tables.  When we left Mr. Cash, he was making the choice to take the fight to his enemies.  Knowing that he was a soldier, it is much easier to understand how he handled himself on the plane.  We also see how he is able to effectively evade law enforcement and the military.

     Nathan Edmondson brings more to the table in this second issue.  We discover that Cole was a Black Ops member for several years before becoming a matchstick man.  We get to know more about Grifter in this issue, though he may have gotten a little too used to the voices in his head at this point.  The basic story structure is solid, especially compared to the first issue.  Given that the first pages of the premier issue looked like a scene from the Lost series, it's nice to finally see something you can actually follow.

     Cafu wows again with fantastic artwork and wonderful panel set ups.  I have seen no discrepancies with design continuity or page layout.  He definitely gets points for that.  The style is consistent and action scenes are beautiful.

     Going back to the "Lost-ness" of #1, if this ends up being a bad dream because he hit his head or the daemonites turn into smoke monsters, I will officially give up on this title.  Thankfully I don't see that happening unless JJ Abrams becomes a writer, so the comic gets an 8.9 out of 10.

Cover of Grifter #2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42683

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deal With A Devil

Deal With A Devil
Review of Green Lantern #2
By: Andrew Hines


     How far would you go to bring back the good in your life?  This is the decision Hal Jordan must make in the second issue of the renumbered Green Lantern series.  Having been stripped of his ring before the reboot, Jordan was replaced by his nemesis and mentor, Thaal Sinestro of the planet Korugar.  At the end of GL #1, Sinestro offers Hal a chance to become a member of the Corps once again.  Now factoring in their "turbulent" history, it's sort of a difficult thing to process.  Imagine your greatest enemy offering to return to you the greatest weapon in the universe and your first thought will most likely be, "What's the catch?" In this case, it's that Hal has to do whatever Sinestro tells him to do.

This is what Geoff Johns brings us in to the story with. The writing is once again sharp and the dialogue fitting of the characters. There's just enough there to link to the past but also to give hints as to where the first arc of the series is going. We see plenty of action and a portion of Sinestro's disdain for Hal and where it comes from. These little bits are part of why Johns is as celebrated as he is.

Doug Mahnke shows more great artwork, though, there are more close-ups, so it's not really that fair. The action shots are better as are the backgrounds.  The colors could be better, though the story sort of makes up for it.

This issue receives an 8.9 out of 10.

Cover art for Issue 2:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42669&sessionid=572e7d3ae3e7ea4f1290c75183a7c238

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Enter the Dollmaker


Enter the Dollmaker
Review of Detective Comics #2
By: Andrew Hines


     There's a new "face" in the Rogues Gallery of the Caped Crusader.  Gotham has long been known for the odd assortment of villains it is home to.  At the end of the first issue, we saw that a new villain removed the Joker's face at his request.  This marks the first time in 71 years that there has been any real change in the Joker's appearance.  Over the decades, however, there have been many new faces joining the ranks of Arkham Asylum's most notorious residents.  None may be so terrifying as the new kid on the block, the jigsaw-faced Dollmaker.

     Written and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel, Detective Comics #2 is simply breath-taking, in several ways.  The story starts off with a rare look at Bruce Wayne without the cape and cowl for which he is primarily known.  We get to see how a hero acts when out of the cape and tights.  Tying in with Ollie Queen, the titular character from Green Arrow and thus the rest of the DCnU, Daniel is quite adept as a scribe.  He proves in these pages just why he has the respect and career that he does.  He even gives us another cliffhanger ending as an ally of the Bat is the Dollmaker's latest victim.

     This is one of those that I and the rest of the comic fan base would definitely recommend.  It gets an 8.6 out of 10.

Detective Comics #2 cover:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lkhfw0dlpMk/TovRI8fLaTI/AAAAAAAAAxI/i1wxAs3rRms/s1600/photo.JPG

Dissecting the Man of Steel

Dissecting the Man of Steel
Review of Action Comics #2
By: Andrew Hines


     The question of Superman's limits has long been pondered by fans around the world.  What sorts of punishment can the Last Son of Krypton take?  We know, at this point what his physical capabilities are and what he can dish out.  Can he stand up to thousands of of volts of electricity at this point or will the Man of Steel end up as crispy as Colonel Sanders' original recipe?  In this issue, that's mostly what we'll be facing as we see the birth of one villain and the engineer of Superman's current predicament.

Grant Morrison is again a writer to be reckoned with in this follow-up to the new Action Comics.  Morrison even includes some familiar faces key to the Superman mythos.  As we begin to go deeper into the story, we find out more about various characters, including: Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, John Henry Irons,  and John Corben.  While most already know Luthor and Lois, it's nice to see an old acquaintances like the men who will become Steel and the villain Metallo.  While we get mere glimpses of them, Morrison shows his skill at foreshadowing events to come.  We also get to see more of Luthor's ego than we ever have before.

Rags Morales shows more of his artistic talent in the details of this issue.  From the cuts and bruises on Superman to the crackling electricity, we see every bit of what is going on in the panels.  While Morrison spins his yarns on the Man of Steel, Morales keeps pace every step of the way in the panels he illustrates.  Few have ever been able to keep up with Morrison and render visuals equivalent to the stories being told. Morales delivers in spades at every turn of the page.

For both the wordsmith and the artist, this issue receives a 9.0 out of 10.

Action Comics #2 cover:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42652

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rebirth of the Scarlet Speedster

Rebirth of the Scarlet Speedster
Review of Flash #1
By: Andrew Hines


     The Fastest Man Alive hits his mark in record time.  For those of you who don't know, shame on you,  Barry Allen is the Scarlet Speedster.  While working a case as a police scientist, or CSI for all of you tv-loving crowd, a lightning bolt struck a rack of chemicals which doused him and gave him super speed.  Becoming the Flash, Central City's resident crime-fighter, he is a symbol of hope for both innocents and super heroes alike.  He even wore a Blue Lantern ring (the energy of Hope) during the events of Blackest Night.  As fans learned last year, Barry is also the generator of the energy well known as the Speed Force where all speedsters draw their power.  With each step he takes, Barry adds to the energy of the Speed Force, meaning that he truly is the "Father of All Speedsters."

     Pulling double-duty, Francis Manapul is both the writer and artist of Flash.  I have been a fan of Manapul for a few years now, since his tenure on Legion of Super-Heroes and Green Lantern Corps.  One of the few artists who can also write well, Manapul's obvious talent shines through.  The artwork The new design (aka fitted, flexible armor) is quite interesting, as is the story of the first issue.  He manages to keep things modern and fresh by referring to everyday issues such as traffic and renewable energy.  Those two are actually rolled up into one thing.  Read the issue, if you don't believe me.

     Flash is one of my favorite comics, so it feels great to say that this issue is deserving of a 9.0 out of 10.


Francis Manapul's cover:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42279

A New Dawn

A New Dawn
Review of Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
By: Andrew Hines


     What would happen if you gave a weapon to an artist? The universe's ultimate weapon, the Green Lantern rings are limited only by the bearer's will power and imagination.  Think of the things an artist could create with that and the things such a wild imagination could create. That is what Kyle Rayner has always brought to the GL Corps. New Guardians is essentially the telling of Kyle Rayner and the various other Lantern Corps' place in the new DC Universe (DCnU). So, to kick off, let's do a basic run-down of Kyle Rayner and the multiple Lantern Corps (as of last year's Blackest Night, which somehow still happened.)


     In the old DC, Hal Jordan went mad due to the destruction of his hometown, Coast City, killed all but one of the Guardians and became Parallax in an event known as the Emerald Twilight.  This surviving Guardian, known as Ganthet, created one last ring from the will power and life essences of his fallen brothers.  The red robed Guardian journeys to Earth to find cartoonist Kyle Rayner who is to become the sole Green Lantern.  In the original introduction to the character, Rayner described his benefactor as "a blue midget in a red dress."


     Cut to about a year ago, and we see the War of Light.  Where the strongest light in the universe is the emerald energy of Will which power all Green Lantern rings, there are six other colors that create the spectrum used to power the individual corps.  The colors are as follows: green for Will, blue is the color of Hope, yellow represents Fear, orange for Avarice (greed), red symbolizes Rage, the violet energy of the Star Sapphires is the symbol of Love and the rarest is that of the Indigo Lanterns whose energy is the collection of Compassion.  The reason for these representatives of the different emotional energies is most likely to replace the emotionless and therefore distant Guardians of the Universe.  That would at least explain part of the title, "New Guardians." Now that we've taken care of this expository drivel, on with the review.


     Tony Bedard starts off the issue brilliantly tying in an old Corps-shattering event known as the aforementioned Emerald Twilight.  Even better is the fact that he stuck with the first few pages of the original introduction to Kyle Rayner, without going too far into his personal life. They also thrust it into the present day and to the action of the moment quite efficiently.  The only question raised at that point is how long it has been since the Ganthet, or rather, the ring chose Kyle Rayner.  I enjoyed Bedard's writing because, like Geoff Johns, his writing is perfect for 18-35 year old readers.  This is because he can take a rather mundane scene like sitting at a bar and turn it into a situation that reveals something about the character.  He does the same with the action scenes, wherein a brawler would immediately go in for a kill or a more passive individual would try to find a peaceful way to solve the current dilemma.  Thankfully he also brings in formerly established characters like Fatality and Saint Walker.  The ending is enough to get me excited about another issue, though I'm hoping a few things like the timeline, accomplishments and the like will be cleared up.


     Tyler Kirkham's artwork is a bit distictive, especially in terms of shadows and facial design.  It's a great way to start off a book like this without causing too much hype.  Many fans latch on to an artist whose style matches up with their idea of a given character, causing them to follow only the issues that particular artist works on.  Having someone like Kirkham drawing one of my favorite characters will probably have that exact effect for me.  I hope to see his artwork for at least the next dozen issues.  With Rod Reis' rich colors also featured on both the cover and interior pages, the artwork is a joy to behold.


     There are very few errors in design, or scripting.  The fact that there are even a few mistakes, puts this at an 8.6 out of 10.

http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/categories.php?cat_id=454&page=1

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Man Who Found Nemo

The Man Who Found Nemo
Review of Aquaman #1
By: Andrew Hines


     Given all of his strengths, it is a shame that Aquaman doesn't have a larger fan base.  Given that he's spent most of his time as the laughingstock of the DC comics universe.  We've all heard the jokes and made more than a few.  Yes, I'm guilty of it as well.  What we need to focus on is the history behind Aquaman that made him the hero that he is.  Here goes nothing, I guess.

     Arthur Curry, also known as Prince Orin of Atlantis, was the son of the Atlantean Princess, Atlanna and surface-dweller and lighthouse keeper, Tom Curry.  Because of who his father was and the fact that he had blonde hair which is known in Atlantis as the "curse of Kordax." Because of this, he was left on Mercy Reef to be devoured by sharks. Because of his blonde hair and lineage, he had telepathic control over marine life and was able to persuade a dolphin to carry him to the surface, back to his father.  He lived there for thirteen years, until his father was killed by Atlanteans who had come for Orin, because his maternal grandfather had died and they needed a king.  He eventually became somewhat comfortable in Atlantis, never shirking his responsibilities, despite Atlantean superstitions.  While mocked by the general public, he is respected in the superhero community for his bravery, superior strength, speed, enhanced senses, mid-level invulnerability and intelligence.

     Geoff Johns is back on another book.  I gotta say, this may be his best yet of the new #1's.  While there are numerous jokes about the King of the Seven Seas, this issue tackles his comedic mythos head on.  This is the Aquaman you might remember from the old cartoons.  Proud, despite the constant snickering going on behind his back.  The fact that the entire public calls him out on his reputation and his responses to those individuals makes for a much more compelling character.  In the old DC, we would have seen someone laughing in the background and Arthur would have either shrugged it off or been completely oblivious of it.  This is why Geoff Johns is as renowned as he is, because he makes characters and dialogue very real, rather than stiff.

   
      From Brazil, artist Ivan Reis is one of the few comic artist I would consider being an artist for the sake of art. He has also taught comic illustration in his native Brazil.  His most notable works are the covers and interior illustrations on DC's Blackest Night and Brightest Day sagas.  His artwork here is the epitome of perfection.  For the life of me, I can't think of anyone else in the comic industry bestter suited to illustrating this title.

     Aquaman gets a 9.8 out of 10 for this issue.  I am definitely hooked on this one.

Here is a link of Ivan Reis' cover work for this issue:
http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=42278&sessionid=159624b913ef4495239aed71e2695d8e

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hood & the Gang: review of Red Hood & The Outlaws #1

Hood & The Gang
Review of Red Hood & The Outlaws
By: Andrew Hines
     What do the second Robin, a renegade archer and a vengeful alien princess have in common?  They've all had short tenures as heroes. In the old DC, the Joker beat Jason Todd to death because the fans requested it.  He was too judgmental, forceful with criminals and generally a bad Robin.  When he came back, all of that made him a fantastic vigilante seeking justice by any means necessary.  The Red Arrow, Roy Harper is the former sidekick to Green Arrow, former Teen Titan and apparent international criminal.  This brings us to the femme fatale of the group, Starfire.  Born a princess, then sold into slavery by her sister, she came to Earth and fought crime as one of the founding members of the original Teen Titans. Forget what you thought you knew about her.  Love it or hate it, she's quite different by several accounts.

     Scott Lobdell, the writer for this title has a lot to live up to in terms of fan expectations.  All of the characters are both loved and hated for different reasons, though respected in nearly all circles.  This isn't the Teen Titans, though two of them are former members.  Both the Red Hood and Red Arrow are former sidekicks of two of the greatest heroes in the old DC comics.  There is one disappointment in regard to a character that I must mention.  Starfire, also known as Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran, is far too cold to Roy and too sexual in nature.  On the plus side, there is a new character named Essence, who has apparent ties to how Jason Todd became the Red Hood.  Honestly, with the exception of Starfire as a character, there's really nothing i would change about the book.  Nearly everything else is spot-on.

     Kenneth Rocafort is a highly talented artist, whose previous works includes the iconic Action Comics. There's really not enough I can say about Rocafort as an artist.  Unique, talented, and near perfect, he is an artist not to be trifled with.  There are only a handful of artists that get close to what Rocafort does.  He doesn't try to be edgy, dark or realistic.  He does what he does and it suits his intention perfectly.  His grasp of the human anatomy and basic physiology, human or otherwise is clear and I couldn't ask for a better artist for each of these characters.  He is also one of the few artists at home with interior artwork as he is with cover designs.  The colors were also pretty fantastic, thanks to the colorist known only as Blond.

     From what I know of Jason Todd as both Boy Wonder and Red Hood, I had high hopes for this title.  Despite a minor setback with the characterization of Stafire, both Lobdell and Rocafort met my expectations.  This deserves a 9.3 out of 10.

Here are links for those wanting to see how it came out before purchasing.
Blond's colors : http://blondthecolorist.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4atto2
Kenneth Rocafort's artwork (cover): http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6XPw_ix8_fE/Te2De357LYI/AAAAAAAABuY/gJAus_dCscs/s1600/art.kenneth%2Brocafort.red%2Bhood%2Band%2Bthe%2Boutlaws.001.jpg


Oh Captain, My Captain

Oh Captain, My Captain
Review of Captain Atom #1
By: Andrew Hines


     The man of the atom is back and bigger than ever!  Imagine Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen fame if he still held any compassion for humanity. That's what Nathaniel Adam brings to the table as Captain Atom, especially given that he was the original inspiration for the Superman of Alan Moore's iconic graphic novel.  A government agent, who was once an Air Force pilot. In the old DC universe, Nathaniel Christopher Adam was accused of a crime he didn't commit and given two options: execution or a strange military experiment, after which he would receive a presidential pardon. Obviously he took the latter choice and became a hero, more clandestine and underrated than Superman, but with the same sense of duty.


     Writer JT Krul teases us with a few brief mentions of the backstory, while diving straight into action and a healthy dose of scientific conversation.  Great pacing and clear dialogue set the tone early on for a good read. Starting off during a "battle" with an unnamed and short-lived villain, we see at once a very human character and man of action. We see Captain Atom's  thoughts on the human condition as contrasted with the rest of the animal kingdom. For a man who thinks of himself in rather simple terms, we see from he start, a rather deep individual. Thankfully that doesn't last too long and we're back to watching the hero of the story kick ass and take names. This isn't merely an action-packed story, it also sets the stage for a life-and-death situation for our tireless hero. We discover, as does Captain Atom, that using his awe-inspiring powers may actually kill him.


     There are two fantastic artists on this issue, the interior pencils of Freddie Williams II and the cover art of Stanley "Artgerm" Lau.  Williams' interior art has a sort of noir-ish feel to it, with it's contrasting and sort of dull-yet-lively colors.  These contrasts are most notable when Captain Atom flies around the city.  The dull landscape of the city is made even more so when paired with the bright glow of Captain Atom's blue sheen and red symbol.  Then there's the cover art.  Stanley Lau, whose covers have astounded me for the last year or so on his various jobs, may have outdone himself with the work I've seen on this issue and the next three covers as well. If you don't believe me, check out the link to his gallery at the end of the article.


     Despite going into this with reservations, I was blown away by the time and effort that was clearly put into this issue.  From the inner ramblings of an underrated hero to the climactic ending, both the writing and the artwork were well above average.  The cover art definitely worked in the issue's favor.  Everyone from the comic geeks to the science instructors should read this one.  In my book, it gets a 9.4 out of 10.


As promised, here is the link to the artists galeries:
Stanley Lau (covers): http://artgerm.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d3hwopu
Freddie Williams II (interior art): http://www.freddieart.com/Recent/Recent.htm

Last of the Flying Graysons

Last of the Flying Graysons
Reviewing Nightwing #1
By: Andrew Hines


     Holy big top, Batman, the original Boy Wonder is back! That's right, the other half of Gotham's City's original Dynamic Duo is back with his own title. The original Robin is once again leaping across the rooftops of Gotham City. Now using the moniker, Nightwing, and doling out justice to the innumerable villains of his city, the surviving member of the Flying Graysons is as fun to watch as ever.  After his parents were killed by the low-level mobster Tony Zucco, he was adopted by Bruce Wayne. Soon, he was donning the cape and tights as the first Boy Wonder. After a few years as Robin, he stepped out from under the Dark Knight's wing and made a new name for himself as Nightwing. Last year, due to Bruce Wayne's "absence*" he took up the mantle of the bat. 


     With Bruce having just returned, Dick is once again Nightwing, albeit with a few minor costume changes. We also get to see some more writing from Kyle Higgins who wrote last week's Deathstroke #1. Higgins even brings back Dick's old home under the big top.  For the first time in several years, Haley's Circus is back in Gotham City.  Higgins moves into the meat of the story cautiously.  By the end of the issue, we have one question: Can Nightwing save Dick Grayson?


     The artwork from Eddy Barrows is fitting of the story in it's entirety.  Clearly showing the athleticism and acrobatic skill of both Dick Grayson and the new villain, Barrows is a very visual story-teller.  You could almost figure out the narration just by seeing the panels. JP Mayer's colors are pretty cool, giving just enough shine to the more metallic parts of his costume. The two also gave us a great cover, one that is fairly memorable, though not exactly epic.


I'm hoping for something more in the next few issues, but for now I give it an 8.0 out of 10. 


http://eddybarrows.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0#/d47hrkv

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Hero With a Gift for Grift


The Hero With A Gift For Grift
Review of Grifter #1
By: Andrew Hines
WHINES@CSUMB.EDU
     Cole Cash is a charming con artist who has been traveling across the United States for the better part of the last decade, stealing from men just as dishonest as he is.  There is, after all, no honor among thieves.  Let’s go through a run down of the character in the classic WildStorm before we jump into the ins and outs of the issue. 
     As a member of the genetically modified Team 7 and then the infamous WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams, he is no stranger to combat.  As both the gunslinger and “mystery man” of the teams, he is at once hotheaded and calm.  If you take the blonde hair and temper from Arthur of Atlantis (Aquaman) and blended it with the Casanova charm and penchant for trench coats of Marvel’s Gambit, you’d get the classic Grifter.  This is the Cole Cash I grew up with, the man’s man, a good ol’ boy with a silver tongue and itchy trigger fingers hell-bent on saving the human race from shape-shifting aliens.  Well, that last part is a whole other story, so let’s get to the current issue.
     With Nathan Edmonson as the writer, Cole’s story starts out interestingly enough.  Despite the jump on the fourth page looking like something from Lost, it’s a cool transition.  The problem with it is that it doesn’t keep the same pacing as the first few pages.  Rather than a day in the life of a man of action, you see a speedy descent into paranoia.  We see a man in control of his life suddenly hearing voices in his head that he can’t explain.  At least there’s a cameo appearance from Cole’s younger brother Max and a glimpse of the trademark bandana mask used to identify Grifter.
     The art by CAFU (that is the actual name of the artist,) is good, as are the colors by Andrew Dalhouse.  The art is clearly their own and there is no trying to duplicate anyone else’s style.  The colors are perfect for the style of art, sort of soft but visually striking.  The overall effects aren’t exactly epic, but still nearly perfect for the character.
     Knowing the character as I do and the struggles he has gone through during his time in WildStorm.  This is one of those that I was looking forward to since I first heard of the re-launch.  As hard as it is to bring a new character into the fold from another company, Edmonson did a decent job.  This gets a 7.4 out of 10, only slightly better than average.

     Andrew has been reading comics for the last 18 years, namely those from DC Comics and their WildStorm imprint. He started with WildC.A.T.s and the titles of Batman, Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern. 





"The scariest badass on the planet."


Deathstroke the Terminator
Review of Deathstroke #1
By: Andrew Hines
           
            “Deathstroke the Terminator – The scariest badass on the planet.”  This is the first line of Deathstroke #1.  The man known as Slade Wilson has been a mercenary for decades by this point in the story.  Not only is Slade a battle-hardened mercenary, he is also a master strategist.  After losing his right eye, he volunteered for experiments, which increased his strength, endurance and healing abilities.  While almost every person on the planet uses a maximum of 10% of their brain, Deathstroke uses 90%.  This is a man who notably decimated a 7-member squad of Justice Leaguers in less than five minutes without breaking a sweat.  With that being said, this is obviously a book about a villain. 
            Writer Kyle Higgins had a few hurdles to get past in this premier issue.  First off, there’s the treatment of Slade from the Teen Titans cartoon, as a man who is constantly owned by a group of high school sidekicks.  Thankfully, Edmundson delivers a brand new, more ferocious Deathstroke.  This time, saddled with a team of twenty-something wannabe mercenaries, Slade is given a job he barely wants.  Acting little more than arms dealers, transportation specialists and intelligence providers, the “Alpha Dawgs” are, in Slade’s own words “only competition.”  This issue is rife with action, blood and some humor, plus a killer ending.  Staying true to the character, though revealing little personal information, it’s as fun to read, as it is to watch.
            Artist Joe Higgins gives the reader an eye full in the first few pages with a blood bath that would make Freddy Krueger feel insecure.  He dazzles on every page and keeps the action interesting.  Somehow, despite Deathstroke’s incredible abilities, he manages to keep the feats of strength and athleticism within a believable range. The shapes on several pieces are a bit clunky and over-sized, leading to questions of how he can perform some of his more acrobatic stunts.  The shoulder pieces, for example are problematic as are the Batman-style gauntlets. 
            Questionable design choices aside this title is a fun romp through the life of a cold-blooded villain.  I look forward to where else this series goes and hope for some more personal stories in the future.  Having weighed the pros and cons of this issue, I conclude that it stands as an 9.2 out of 10.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beware My Power . . . Sinestro's Light?


            Anyone who has read Green Lantern in the last 30 years, or even seen the recent film starring Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong, ought to know the equal parts respect and disdain most fans feel for Sinestro.  He is not only the enemy of Hal Jordan, but the best friend of Jordan’s predecessor, Abin Sur.  He is both a strong leader and elite Lantern, but in contrast, is the greatest enemy to the Green Lantern Corps.  That being said, he and Jordan equally share the spotlight in Green Lantern #1.  As the self-appointed Guardians of the Universe and Sinestro grapple with what it means to allow one of their greatest enemies back into their ranks, Jordan is trying to make sense of his life without the Corps.  The twists and turns and references to the old model, are numerous.  Finally we get to see what happens when a hero is AWOL as many years as Jordan has been.  There are very real repercussions, which is something I'm quite happy to see in a comic book.  The last time we saw real life hit home for any comic book characters in the DC realm was in Alan Moore's iconic Watchmen.  
The writing Geoff Johns is great (this time) and it pulls you into the story faster than a twister appearing in Tornado Alley.  All of the characters, including the immortal Guardians, are spot-on from what the fans expect.  Johns is perfect and in his element writing for the Green Lantern title.  He has spent years on this and according to an interview with the geek-centric website, IGN.com, has enough Green Lantern stories in him for the next several years.  Given that Johns is the writer responsible for Hal Jordan’s return to the land of the living, it was to be expected that he is a force to be reckoned with in the pages of Green Lantern. 
Doug Mahnke’s art is exceptional and possibly the only real artistic competition so far for Jim Lee.  He is true to the look of the characters and their essence, while still allowing room for his own take on them.  It’s a fine line and he rides it with the precision of a high-wire performer.  Christian Alamy’s inks are pretty good, the shading is near-perfect, though the feeling is slightly off.  David Baron’s colors, on the other hand are to be admired.  Every color compliments the others in the panel.  No color seems too dark or light, as they lend an elegant aesthetic.  Then there’s the cover.  Ivan Reis, whose covers are art gallery quality, has nearly outdone himself with the cover of this issue.  At the same time, realistic and surreal, his colors, lines and shading are spectacular, in every sense of the word.  Even if you’re not a fan of comics, and just an art lover, this is the series to follow.
Being a fan of Green Lantern since day one, this is a great read and bound to be a fantastic story arc.  Having seen more than a few bad comics in my time, and a couple that hit below the mark in the New 52 so far, this is a wonderful issue.  The issue ranks 9.6 out of 10.


The Bat is Back and Better Than Ever

The Bat is Back
Review of Detective Comics #1
By: Andrew Hines


            Batman: Detective Comics delivers what is essentially a classic tale of the Caped Crusader.  Set just five to seven years after Bruce Wayne first donned his trademark cape and cowl, readers are thrust headlong into the criminal melting pot that is Gotham City.  Still a vigilante in Gotham, the Dark Knight’s only ally is Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.  Younger fans will finally get a glimpse of Jeremiah Arkham, the man who built and now runs Arkham Asylum, the maximum security facility that the city’s criminally insane call home.  Unfortunately in this new Gotham, a brand new villain known as the Dollmaker is on the loose, though Batman seems unaware of his presence.  The first pages are a mad dash to get to the Joker before he harms another innocent life.  Though he only appears once, it is his actions at the end of the issue that will leave fans speechless. This truly is the quintessential Batman story and a perfect point to jump into the action.

            A talented writer by any means, Tony S. Daniel hits his mark at every turn in this modern take on the classic Detective Comics.  This takes me back to the original stories of the Caped Crusader by creator Bob Kane.  The story and pacing are wonderful.  So much better than Justice League, it’s amazing that these stories came from the same company.  Daniel’s writing just gets straight to the action and the essence of the story.  This issue reminds you exactly how Batman gained his reputation, both as the World’s Greatest Detective and as the Caped Crusader.  It really gets to the source of what Batman is all about.
            The artwork, also by Daniel, shows off the newer look for the Dark Knight Detective.  The more technological twist is apparent in the design.  Crisp and clean, there’s no mistaking that Daniel is a true double-threat in the comics industry and both of his talents are clearly featured.  With such shining talents, which is pretty handy in a city as dark as Gotham, I look forward to more from Mr. Daniel. 


            I hope for great things from the entire creative team on this one.  I have to give this one a 9.2 out of 10.



Rebirth of the Golden Age: A Look at Action Comics #1


Look, up in the sky … it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s probably not Superman just yet.  The comic that single-handedly launched the Golden Age of Super Heroes, Action Comics starts back at number one. DC’s Man of Steel is just developing his powers.  Merely able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, rather than fly, he is brand new to Metropolis.  With many familiar faces showing up in the first issue, this is a stirring new take on one of the most iconic characters of the past century.  Branded as more of a vigilante than a trusted ally of Justice, he is on the run from the cops and not yet working at the Daily Planet.
            Grant Morrison, the writer for Action Comics, has been at this for more than a few years.  After celebrated runs on Batman, Batman & Robin and the two-part graphic novel All-Star Superman, Morrison’s words will now grace the pages of Action Comics.  As he stated in a recent NPR interview, Morrison’s first glimpse of American culture came in the form of Superman.  On a cold day in his native Scotland, the cover of Action Comics had the young Morrison transfixed. With this in mind, is it any wonder that he writes with such enthusiasm?
            The only possible result is a mixture of the powers of Superman/Kal-El with the “humanity” of Clark Kent.  To be fair, we can only guess as to whether he is aware of his extra-terrestrial origins.  He manages to get the most crucial characters of the Superman mythos to play the roles that the readers love.  Jimmy Olsen is exactly as fans remember him while Lois is just as dedicated to the stories as she’s always been.  Lex Luthor, intelligent and arrogant as ever and true to form in every way, is at the center of the events unfolding in this ground breaking first issue.  The dialogue is very real, as if you were over-hearing an actual conversation.  It never seems stiff, and thus makes the characters all the more real.  Beyond that, he makes Superman quite young and a bit cocky, though his heart is obviously in the right place.
            Artwork by Rags Morales is nothing short of inspiring. I haven’t followed Morales’ work as closely as some other artists over the years, but each time I pick it up I see plenty to admire.  The look of both the characters and backgrounds are great.  Add to that, Nick Bryant’s awesome colors and you get a comic that lives up to its hype.  Somehow, Bryant manages to capture the threat of Superman’s heat vision in a way that I’ve never seen done before.
            I would say that this is one of those few titles that you should follow every month. That being said, I give this a 8.7 out of 10.

Modern, Refreshing & Beautiful, Though Slow


To kick-off the historical re-launch of one of the most successful and enduring comic book companies, DC has delivered their first new #1 in the form of Justice League.  Written by Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns and illustrated by Co-Publisher, Jim Lee, this is definitely a book worth reading.
Set five years before the majority of the New 52 titles of DC’s new Universe (DCnU), the story arc follows Batman as he recruits the champions that will become the Justice League.  In the first few pages, Green Lantern (Air Force pilot, Hal Jordan) comes to his aide and the two begin to clash, just like in the “old” DC. This world that they live in has just been introduced to super heroes, though the average Joe doesn’t trust them. This is made clear as the first panels feature Batman running across Gotham rooftops, pursued by several SWAT helicopters, all taking aim at the Caped Crusader. This merely lends an air of realism to the story, which something only a talent like Johns could pull off effectively.
As the avatars of light and darkness, they were always at odds.  It is refreshing to see that dynamic alive in the first pages of the DCnU. Johns has a way of bringing fresh voices to iconic characters while staying true to their core spirit and values. They take verbal jabs back and forth for most of the 40-page issue to the point that you want to clock GL just to shut him up for any length of time. Once it does happen, you’re greeted by a gripping cliffhanger.
Now we proceed to the artwork of Jim Lee. Lee is the artist who first pulled me into the world of comics during his early run on WildC.A.T.s, which ended it’s 18-year run last year. He is also well known for his early 90’s work on X-Men, the mutant heroes of rival company, Marvel. In the minds of many fans, Jim Lee is one of the finest artists 
That talent is made abundantly clear in the pages of Justice League. Every detail is clear and the whole of the images are stunning, as usual. Lee is one of the few artists out there who sees the forest despite the trees. He doesn’t get lost in details. His work shows the major focus of the image and visual storytelling. Over the years, his artwork has only gotten better. The issue also features inks by Scott Williams and incredible colors, courtesy of Alex Sinclair.
To put it in perspective, the last time I saw artwork and colors this rich and crisp was in the pages of Alex Ross’ graphic novel, Kingdom Come.
If we continue to see this level of creativity (and hopefully a bit more action) in the coming months, there may just be a new favorite for this fan. Hopefully we can see a bit more action and better pacing in the next issues. All things considered, I give this an 7.8* out of 10. 
(After reviewing my article and a second look at Justice League, I scaled the score back from 8.8 to the 7.8 you see above.)

The World's Greatest Heroes Start Back at #1


Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash have been built up to astronomical proportions in our hearts and minds since our grandparents were children. We all know the names and origins of our favorite heroes. From the Last Son of Krypton and the Caped Crusader to the Amazon Princess, we have connections to the characters. These types of heroes from our wildest fantasies and most enduring hopes have fueled our imaginations since as far back as we could remember.
Very soon, however, all of our memories will be re-written as the company that created the World’s Greatest Heroes reboots its entire history in one shot. Anyone who grew up knowing anything about Superman or Green Lantern will certainly be thrown for a loop starting August 31st. The first new #1, Justice League, came out on that day.
Just so we’re clear, this isn’t your daddy’s DC Comics.
Thankfully the heroes that we know and love, including the mentors and inspiration for many of the Justice League are going to be back in a big way. DC Comics is about to launch a company-wide restart on 52 titles. No company has ever attempted this before, which leaves the world’s comic nerds on the edge of their seats. A large part of the reason is because DC has been locked in legal battles with the creators’ heirs over the rights to the Man of Steel. This re-launch and minor reinterpretation of the characters should help them in the courtroom. According to press releases from the DC department heads, re-launching all titles of the company will give them a venue to negate all non-canon material. This will allow them to breathe new life into characters whose essence have been diluted, altered or exaggerated over the decades by various writers. It’s also a great way to bring characters into the 21st century.
There will most definitely be changes as Lois Lane will be of-limits to Clark Kent/Superman for a while since she has a boyfriend, as is evident in the preview pages of Superman #1. Batman and his son Damien will now make up the Dynamic Duo, with all of the former Robins having their own titles. While the “new” Batman and Robin pairing will be slightly unsettling for returning readers, there’s also the lack of explanation for how the original Batgirl’s paralysis gets left in the dust.  With all of these changes, DC has recently announced that they are keeping the old guard in place in the form of the Justice Society. Their ranks include the Golden Age versions of Flash, Green lantern and Wildcat, the guy who taught Batman, Catwoman and Superman the art of boxing.
With all things considered, the reboot of an entire comics universe looks to be an event that will reshape the pop culture we’ve come to know and launch us into a new world full of excitement, modern mythology and instant classics. If you’ve never read a comic book or if you’ve been a life-long fan of the other guys, this is the time to dive into the world of DC Comics.
You can thank me later.
Here, for your convenience, is a link to DC Comics The Source blog: http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/