|Issue #25||Release Date: 9/21/11||Vol.#10|
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: FRANK MILLER’S HOLY TERROR
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS #0
TEEN WOLF #1
Advance Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Advance review: In stores today!
FRANK MILLER’S HOLY TERRORAuthor: Frank Miller
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo
Arrogant. Arrogant god-damn bastard. Sloppy, arrogant work by an arrogant bastard. Frank Miller. Always building himself up bigger, taller, like some mad gaggle of robots. Always climbing. Now falling. Enjoys repetition and small sentences. Originally a proposed Batman book, this is now...something else. Instead of Batman and Catwoman and Gotham City: The Fixer and Natalie Stack and god-damn Empire City. Cold. Wet. Noisy. Haughty. But all I read is failed Batman, failed Catwoman, Failed Gotham City.
Adds paint splatter like blood. Fingerprints and splatter to hide the rushed artwork. Like a cancerous cough, ink is sprayed everywhere. Figures indecipherable. Lazy. Rushed.
There's a story here. An emotion. Several. Anger. Fear. A need for revenge. But it's lost. The art and writing in this book are like a terrorist attack. A terrorist attack on the purpose of this book, the story. It's buried under all the rubble so that you can barely see it. Buried under all the gimmicks. Art gimmicks. Writing gimmicks. It hurts. It hurts my brain. My eyes. My former respect of Frank Miller. Apparently, this was Frank Miller's quote about the book:
"For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years. Patriotism, I now believe, isn't some sentimental, old conceit. It's self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation's survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don't all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back. So you've got to do what you can to help your country survive."
A shame any message he had intended is overshadowed by the sloppy work inside. Bad-ass fedora and begrizzled demeanor firmly in place, Miller also states this book is "bound to offend just about everybody". Offended by the lack of effort, maybe.
Arrogant god-damn bastard.
JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, drawing a weekly webcomic, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo. His talkback name is PopTard_JD.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1Writer: Scott Lobdell
Art: Kenneth Rocafort
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler
Oh RED HOOD and your merry band of OUTLAWS, what controversy you all have drummed up in your first outing this past week! I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard so many different arguments over the same book (and that’s saying something when talking about comic fans, who light pitchforks ablaze when so much as a character’s costume changes). It’s hard to talk about anything in this book that doesn’t address someone’s side in an argument, but in DC’s defense I’m pretty sure that was their plan here, and they succeeded at it.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 sets out to be a book drenched in action, violence and sexuality and it does it well. Scott Lobdell injects this book with over the top action right from the beginning and you just have to accept that this book is either for you or it’s not. There is really no middle ground. From Roy and Jason’s back and forth banter to them both drooling over STARFIRE, this issue has all the subtlety of a Vegas bachelor party and in today’s ultra-sensitive, overly p.c. world we now live in it was kind of fun and refreshing.
With that said, I have to address what seems to be the biggest controversy of all, which is Starfire’s depiction in the book. Many are upset over what they feel to be a complete reboot of her personality. Seemingly gone is the STARFIRE of old who held her friends and teammates in high regard and in her place we have what equates to an alien nymphomaniac who can barely remember the difference between humans, even when she’s sleeping with them. I get how fans of her character are upset because it does, in a way, diminish years of backstory, but on the other hand STARFIRE was always somewhat of a sexualized character to begin with, so I don’t fully buy people acting like they turned her from a nun into what we are given now. While I agree we’ve never seen her this devoid of emotion before, I also won’t pretend her original “pre NEW 52” backstory didn’t include some” risqué” topics (including her being sold into sex slavery, for one).
The art in this issue is beautifully handled by Kenneth Rocafort, though yet again the controversy overtakes his work here. Despite numerous well-done images of Roy and Jason mid battle, this will be remembered for one thing and one thing alone. That of course would be his depiction of Starfire, especially her exiting an ocean in the smallest of swimwear. There’s nothing one can really say about his handling of Starfire (other than it’s the stuff that 13 year old boys’ dreams are made of….and I mean that as a compliment) as it’s reflective of her personality in the book.
Overall, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS is something different from what we’ve seen so far in the NEW 52. It’s over the top, crass and seems like the literary equivalent of a “Fast and the Furious” movie. Tons of people are going to hate this book and tons more are probably going to love it because of that fact. I find myself leaning more towards the positive side as, even though I fully understand people’s critiques of the book, I find myself really looking forward to what the future holds for the series. It’s been said that controversy creates cash, and if that’s the case then I think DC will be smiling all the way to the bank with this book. For the sake of seeing where this series will go, I hope it works.
You can follow The Writing Rambler on his blog here and follow on Twitter @Writing_Rambler !
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS #0Writer: Aaron Stueve
Art: Oscar Bazaldua, President Nelson, Joel Rasmuessen, Gregg Paulson
Publisher: Bluewater Comics
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty
When you go to a school that uses a magic 8-ball to decide its curriculum, you don’t get to learn about fancy stuff like Greek gods. In fact, my first introduction to them came via CLASH OF THE TITANS – the masterpiece starring Harry Hamlin, not the unflushed turd headlined by Spam Worthington. That being said, I don’t know much about them outside the initial allure of well, being gods. Unfortunately my bromance with Zeus isn’t enough to keep Mount Olympus from tumbling to the ground – at least that’s the premise in Aaron Stueve’s TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, a colorful and entertaining look at the closing curtain in Greek mythology.
In order for religion to survive, you have to believe in it. I used to skip church all the time and when I did, Jesus didn’t call me on Monday morning and chew me out for blowing him off. That’s why the zealots are always trying to pluck new recruits from the unwashed, filthy masses, like Lucy and Ethel used to pick chocolates from the assembly line. Christianity thinks it has it rough, well, the Greek gods have it ten times worse. When’s the last time you had a day off from work to celebrate Poseidon’s birthday? Or got a basket from the Hephaestus bunny? As a result, the gods have suffered a steady decline until finally, mercifully, Zeus himself fades away. That leaves Artemis as the last of the finest, but it also means that with the big man upstairs no longer ruling the roost, ol’ Heracles (Hercules) will be free from the prison I didn’t know he was in.
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS #0 is what you would expect from a numberless issue. It’s largely expository and gives you a quick rundown of why the gods are dying, who will remain and how it will affect the mortals on earth. There’s a great tease about the return of Orion, the hunter of the famous constellation by the same name, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the direction Stueve takes with him as well as the aforementioned Heracles, who’s (understandably) kinda grouchy for being locked up by Hera. Artemis, on the other hand, isn’t really doing it for me, but it’s issue #0 so I’ll reserve judgment for a later date. As far as whether or not this is a good comic, that I can say with some degree of authority. It’s wonderfully crafted and the writing respects the source material without being overly dramatic. My one complaint is the illustration by committee, for which I am never a fan, especially when one or two artists are heads and shoulders above the rest. I don’t want to call anyone out by name because I don’t feel like getting my ass whipped at the next comic con, but there should be a little more balance in the contributing artists. Is it enough to detract from the experience or deter you from buying it? Hell no. Or in this case, Hades no. It’s a fun read and a line that could have a very bright future.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.
SUPERGIRL #1Written by: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Pencils by by: Mahmud Asrar
Published by: DC Comics
Reviewed by: superhero
OK, yeah, so…
This is not a good comic. Sorry, sorry, I know everyone is super excited over DC’s new 52 but this is not a good comic. It’s not a horrible comic, it’s not the worst I’ve ever read, but it’s not a good comic.
Supergirl’s rocket ship crash lands on Earth and secret government robot types fight her and that’s it. This is Supergirl issue number one and that’s all that happens. That’s it. Oh, and Superman shows up on the last page. There’s barely any character development. We barely find out anything about Supergirl except she has a crappy costume (more on that later). I didn’t care anything at all about this new Supergirl when I read this book. Even the fight stuff was uninspired. Heck, she’s fighting big ol’ robots! I thought that would at the very least be exciting! But it’s not. The whole issue is one boring ol’ fight scene with bits of Supergirl doing her best to think deep thoughts and failing.
This issue of SUPERGIRL is an abject failure as far as I’m concerned.
I mean, look, Supergirl’s never been the most interesting character in comic books. The best run she probably ever had was when Peter David wrote her for a short while. Her most impactful moment was when she died in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS almost thirty years ago. She’s not what’s considered an A-Lister by any means, at least not to me. But I was interested in checking this book out, mostly because I’m a Superman fan and I wanted to see how they’d try and re-invent Supergirl. I wanted to see a new, fresh take on Kara Zor El just because she’s never been all that gripping. I was hoping for something attention-grabbing. Something fresh. Something…I don’t know…new!!! This is just the same tired old stuff. Actually, it’s not because I really find Supergirl’s first appearance in ACTION COMICS # 252 infinitely more entertaining than this story.
Ok, ok, the art is good. I actually liked the art. The coloring's great too! Visually I think that it's a decent looking comic book. Except for the costume! The costume is pretty much terrible. I mean. the torso's OK. The cape collar is a neat touch. But once you go south of the equator…whoa!!! What the hell happened? Her crotch area is…what the fuck? I mean, it looks ridiculous! An S-Shield right over her vagina? Hell, her hips aren’t even fully covered! Really? And then those boots! They are the silliest looking things I've ever seen! Yes, I get that people are going to say something about them being alien boots…well then for all of their advanced technology Kryptonians can't design footwear to save their…well…planet. Who designed this costume? Certainly not a woman! For all the guff that Wonder Woman's costume gets this makes Wondy's outfit look like high fashion! And then the real thing that made me laugh, the bit of dialogue that made me practically do a spit take, was when Supergirl says something about her only being able to wear this outfit after "graduation". Graduation from what? S&M academy???
C'mon, DC! COME ON! I've seen way, way better Supergirl costume designs than this at Project Rooftop! Call one of those people and get a decent Supergirl costume design! Or better yet, get a female artist to design Supergirl's costume because this…this is comical.
It's too bad about this issue of SUPERGIRL. I was hoping to like it. As a fan of the Superman family, I was hoping for a first issue that would get me interested in a new take on this character. Everything about this issue is just uninspiring. Unfortunately this looks like another one of the new DC books that I won't be picking up on a regular basis. Poor Kara Zor El…she's had so many chances for someone to get her right. Looks like it's going to take another re-vamp years down the road to take Supergirl from being a C-List superheroine to a comic book character that could actually be interesting in her own book.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com.
VENGEANCE #3 (of 6)Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Nick Dragotta
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Now this is more like it! I’ll admit this summer left me quite cynical when it comes to superhero comics. Neither of the big two’s “events” was particularly fetching, to say the least. My perspective on costumed tomfoolery shifted to just that: a masquerade of aimless violence committed by characters who cared less for anything but where they stood on a moral spectrum too contrived to matter or justify the endless violence. The whole endeavor was getting staler than last month’s bread and just as lousy to consume. Enter Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta, who inject the genre with enough youthful vigor and eye-popping visuals to turn the smoldering cynic in me back into a twittering fanboy once again.
In tone and feel, it’s similar to Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s run on X-Force/X-Statix, but that still doesn’t quite do it justice. Yes, the art is both spectacularly executed and incredibly clear in scope, yes the characters are fresh and multi-faceted, but this is a different breed of superhero comic than what we’ve seen before. It’s less about superhuman media relations and more about the groups that occupy and operate on the fringe of the Marvel universe. VENGEANCE is a comic that seeps into the cracks of Marvel continuity without ever losing its freshness or getting bogged down with details. In fact, much of the enjoyment in reading this book arises from a combination of classic and cutting edge, and it’s the way the creative team explores this dynamic of old and new that’s kept me coming back for more.
Chronicling the exploits of two upstart superhuman gangs, the mysterious Teen Brigade (led by a duo of Captain America knockoffs, and also containing New X-men favorites Beak and Angel) and the dangerous Young Masters of Evil (which includes a female Black Knight and a deadly NEW Radioactive Man!) work from opposite ends of the moral spectrum, but there’s much more at stake here than the battle for good and evil, resulting in a line in the sand that is becoming increasingly less distinguishable. Halfway into the series, the two teams are finally interacting more with each other, and the entire story is merging into a more cohesive plot. The issue begins with a psychedelic journey into the Astral Plane, with the help of the embodiment of order and chaos. This leads to a sequence where both teams are vying for the fate of Dr. Octopus, with only the not-so-good doctor’s accomplices from the Sinister Six standing in their way. There’s also some crap about an ex-SHIELD operative, and the Red Skull’s there too. Not all of the strands are connected yet, but the mystery is all part of the fun.
It’s a busy issue, but it flies by so quickly you’ll be shocked when it suddenly ends. That’s not criticism but praise, as it’s rare that a comic can deliver entertaining material with such gusto that the last page leaves you clambering for more, even after dropping a wealth of material on you. If you missed the first two issues, the summary page, which is clearly and concisely delivered in the form of nine panels, makes this a perfect jumping on point for new readers, which is a good thing since this is not a book anyone should miss. Also, the title of the issue, “Every Little Thing” suggests this issue may contain secrets to what’s to come, so scholars of the Marvel U may want to take notice. To top it off, next issue’s cover sports everyone’s favorite god of mischief, so it can only get more interesting from this point.
I thought Nick Dragotta was good in the first two issues, but he’s topped himself here. The correlation between order and chaos is reflected in the layouts which perfectly display the action, never letting some of the more absurd battle scenes lose their precision or energy. There is a nice balance between the conventional and unconventional as the characters slip between worlds and battle each other in the streets of Manhattan. Plus, I really liked the Ultimate Nullifier’s gun, which apparently shoots depowering bullets that can speak binary code. Really, I don’t see how anybody could think this book looks less than stellar, from the colors to the ridiculously cool costume designs, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Without spoiling much, this is the second comic I read last week that featured She-Hulk and Nighthawk but it’s the vastly superior choice in just about every way. In fact, if the last half of this story proves to be as excellent as the first, I would strongly consider buying the trade as well. My favorite part of Marvel comics has always been the periphery characters that fill the world and keep it feeling as unique and varied as our own. I could care less what Iron Man is up to any given day of the week, but I could read all day about the exploits of a retired SHIELD operative or Beak and Angel’s field trip to the Smithsonian. This issue sadly doesn’t offer such a scenario, but it gets damn close when the pair of mutants have a creepy meeting with Doctor Octavius himself, who seems to be brewing another one of his harebrained schemes. Make no mistake; this is a superhero comic that is both cutting-edge and eerily familiar.
If you’re like me and you like a little variety to break up the monotony of costumed crusading, give this book a shot. It’s funny, brilliantly illustrated, and presents compelling ideas on the relationships between older classics and the youth culture, while never feeling artificial or preachy. It remains faithful to older comic continuity, and in fact embraces the classic tropes of the genre, while pushing them towards a new direction that is hopefully intriguing for readers young and old. Buy this comic.
FABLES #109Writer: Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy
A small epidemic (on top of a surprisingly early flu) has hit my school, and again it's on me. Though, unlike the other outbreaks where I was patient zero, this one's good; everyone I know wants to read FABLES. It's awesome. I'm having everyone from friends to casual acquaintances to very cute girls to even a few people I don't know asking to borrow my trade set of FABLES. And why the hell not? It's a rather fantastic series, and if it keeps as it's always been, may even surpass titles like SANDMAN and PREACHER for the coveted "Bestest Comic Ever" title.
,br>Where last story was maybe too soft on the epic, this one effortlessly juggles the wide scope of the series with a soft look at the Wolf clan.
Writing: (5/5) Willingham does two things extraordinarily well in FABLES: developing a rich mythology and showing brilliant inter-character relationships. Both are well represented here, as the servants of the North Wind attempt to work out who shall assume the mantle from their deceased father.
The tests provide much in term of the cubs, who while defined have never really been thoroughly explored. Here, each is given some appropriate screen time, and none of them feel shorted. Each is covered briskly and with an interesting turn, providing further looks into them. It's nice to see a slow shift in focus from Snow and Bigby to their children, as the two continue their way into full supporting players. The prophecy regarding the children becomes more and more intriguing with plotlines like this, and while I have theories (and an obvious idea) about the future King of the North, I wouldn't want any of them to leave the focus they gain here.
The tests I mentioned above provide further clues into the truly mythical world that the Fables inhabit and don't completely understand, and it's fantastic. Seeing the experts on the odd and strange baffled by these enigmatic tests (that not even the servants truly understand--they just have faith something will happen to reveal the next in line) is gratifying in a very unusual way. The conclusion to the book as well really opens the door to a place that even the Fables have never considered, and I'm very excited to see where it takes us, the best compliment you give a cliffhanger.
Buffkin's journey, as the cover suggests, begins another chapter in here, and it too is fantastic. The team he's assembled continues to play off one another well, and a fun dynamic breaks up the tension from the main story. The other lingering plot lines (the possible return to the Farm, the whereabouts of Ms. Sprat) are all addressed briefly and sufficiently, and it's clear that things will reach a head soon.
Art: (5/5) Have I mentioned how much I love Buckingham? Yeah? Oh. Well, how about on this series? With the perfect mix of bright, colourful landscapes juxtaposed against the subtle facial cues and body languages, in a way few artists are able to provide, let alone perfect? I have? How about how brilliant his character designs are? I have.
.......THE ART IN FABLES IS FANTASTIC!
Best Moment: I really love the ending.
Worst Moment: I don't want it to end. I'd rather just read about the cubs some more.
Overall: (5/5) This was really good. As always.
TEEN WOLF #1Writer: David Tischman
Art: Stephen Mooney
Publisher: Top Cow
Reviewer: Ambush Bug
Having just completed my own werewolf comic book (***Quick Plug: FAMOUS MONSTERS PRESENTS LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF will be out in late October!***), I try my best to check out as many werewolf stories as I can. So for the last year of so, I’ve immersed myself in all things werewolf. That means I’ve read a lot of good werewolf stuff and a lot of bad werewolf stuff. Although the mere mention of TEEN WOLF (a classic 80’s update of I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF) plucks my strings of nostalgia whenever I hear it mentioned, I couldn’t help but cringe when I heard MTV would be bringing us “not your pappy’s TEEN WOLF” for a while new ADHD emo generation. Trying my best to be optimistic, though, I figured I’d give this comic book version of the property a try, hoping it might lure me into the TV series. That’s what multi-media tie ins are for, right?
The thing is, TEEN WOLF #1 is full of the stuff that gives comics a bad name. To start off, in the very first few pages, our narrator begins with a caption claiming how Scott the Teen Wolf’s origin is like something out of a comic book. Dissing the media you are writing in is not meta. It’s not a great move to win over the reader who is…reading a comic book. It’s just disrespecting the media you’re being published in. Throwaway lines like that work in films based on comics because it’s slightly ironic, though completely overused. A line like that doesn’t work in comics because you want folks to read your comic, don’t you?
Anyway, the story goes on with some of the most expository word captions I’ve read in a while. Captions explain what’s going on in the panel. Captions explain things that would have made for a great scene. Scott hugs a classmate he has the hots for. This would be a great scene to zoom in, show the heart pumping, the wolf hair starting to grow, to accentuate the point of the story which should be that Scott’s lycanthropy is triggered by feelings going out of control. Does writer David Tischman do this? No, he says something to the effect of “being this close to her makes me fearful that my werewolf side is about to be unleashed.” over an image of the two hugging. Again and again, moments that could really been personal and interesting are glossed over. The result: me not giving a shit.
Stephen Mooney does a capable job with the art, though the design of the werewolves—you know, the reason why we tune into this book—are pretty uninspired. Michael J. Fox’s TEEN WOLF was iconic, looking more like those creepy hairy acrobats from South America than a snarling Lon Cheney Jr. Here, it’s your typical furry wolf guy.
The story reads more like a lame redux of Peter Parker, who spends most of his time being angsty and worried. There are a few extremely uninteresting field hockey scenes, a jaunt in the woods, and a cliffhanger that really doesn’t make a lot of sense (why would Scott’s high school rival show up at his house?). In the end, if the book’s job was to get me to become interested enough to check out the TV show, it failed. If it was supposed to get me to check out the second issue, it failed. Breaking the cardinal rule of “show don’t tell” and uninspired designs of the werewolves pretty much put the silver bullet in this book’s chances of showing up on my pull list.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Mark is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and will be releasing FAMOUS MONSTERS first ever comic book miniseries LUNA in October (co-written by Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees) Order Code: AUG111067! Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!
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Advance Review: In stores today!
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Mikel Janin
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
For anyone like me that resented the death of the otherworldly weirdness of XOMBI in the new rebooted world – rejoice. JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK twists the mind and soul and sets a stage for palpable fear with a clear distinction between the deluge of JUSTICE LEAGUES in the new DCU.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK also corrects two big problems I had in the old DCU: an actual purpose for a league and magic being more than a last ditch golden parachute.
I have not been able to stomach the LEAGUE post-IDENTITY CRISIS. From the talent agency recruitment of members (seriously, anyone else remember the issue wrought with 8x10 headshots and descriptive word balloons?) by the big three before they went off into their own land of publishing weirdness, to the uneventful events that followed, the title was around simply because the title was always around.
In the new DCU JUSTICE LEAGUE is simply a moniker, not an official title. We know little of the primary JUSTICE LEAGUE only having dabbled with 22 pages thus far, but nowhere in those pages was a decree that “We are JUSTICE LEAGUE!” Likewise with JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, this origin issue doesn’t even show team members like soothsayer Madmae Xanadu, reality bending vest wearer Shade the Changing Man, sans fishnets Zatanna and John Constantine together yet. Yes, they cross paths as Enchantress weaves death spells of insanity upon the world, but the team is coming together organically through this crisis. The only team that has established themselves as an official JUSTICE LEAGUE is the JLI for the sake of good PR between humans and heroes (brilliant in inception, even if the execution was far less brilliant).
I may not be the best guy to do this review since I abhorred magic and the ethereal in the old DC JUSTICE LEAGUE stories. “Oh no, the monster has defeated Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, what do we do?” The answer was always to call Zatanna away from her shopping spree at Fredrick’s of Hollywood so she could stare the monster in its fifteen eyes and say RETSNOM OG YAWA. Lame. The inherent problem in my opinion was the fact that magic and might played in the same clubhouse. You couldn’t do stories solely focused on magic because it sidelined the heavy hitters, while the flipside of this analogy was as I mentioned, using magic based characters as clean-up rather than an integral weaving into the overall plan to defeat the latest foe.
By splitting these various teams into their own entities, as fans we have to buy more books, but the reward is JUSTICE LEAGUES fighting foes meant to test the mettle of their unique and vastly different abilities. I don’t know about you, but I prefer separate books as opposed to team stories that are set up like pee-wee baseball. Everyone should not always get a chance to play simply because they haven’t been used for awhile. That’s communism, not winning.
Like most of the team reboots, we get a series of introductory pages into the lives of each team member as they are weaved into the overarching story of Xanadu’s prophecy of doom at the hands of Enchantress’ insanity. Deadman and John Constantine fans will be most disappointed in this approach; their page time was the scarcest and mainly used to sense a disturbance in the force. Not being a zealot fan of either I almost forgot they were part of the book when I started writing this review because Milligan’s treatment of Zatanna, Shade, Enchantress and Xanadu was more than enough to bring me back for issue 2. Each has their own little pocket of insanity: Shade conjures love and is resented by his creation; Enchantress is wreaking havoc across the world with the words in books and sentient nuclear reactors (all from within the pocket universe of an envelope). Xanadu, as I mentioned before, provides narration, a wonderful choice given her skill of prognosticating.
Really though, Zatanna is the most changed from before. Not only will she no longer have to worry about snags in her uniform now that she is wearing far more appropriate black leather pants, but she also comes with a “don’t fuck with magic” attitude I really don’t remember from before (it’s probably because of the pants). After Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg get their collective keisters handed to them, Zatanna has a wonderful tete-a-tete with Batman on why magic matters should be left to the experts. Might is not always right.
Now that we have reached the end of the #1 deluge I know there will be the naysayers that will read this book and say, “This ain’t no SHADOWPACT.” To which most will reply, “You’re right, it’s not.” However, I’ll say, “Yes it sort of is.” This is what we have now, folks. SHADOWPACT and all the other old titles are no more. You want a dose of magic based stories in the new order, this is it. It’s fine to disagree with choices made in the books, but overall condemnation will simply lop huge categories off our collective reading lists. This isn’t full-on INVISIBLES weirdness, but it’s damn close and I could see it getting much darker once we get past the new reader catch-up.
Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.
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