Comics

AICN COMICS Reviews: ORIGINAL SIN! TWILIGHT ZONE ANNUAL! DREAM POLICE! GREEN ARROW! & More!

Published at: June 11, 2014, 8:33 a.m. CST by ambush bug

Logo by Kristian Horn
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

MOON KNIGHT #4
TWILIGHT ZONE ANNUAL 2014
ORIGINAL SIN #3
DREAM POLICE #2
GREEN ARROW #32
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #1
MAGNETO #5
Raiders of the Long Box presents KINGDOM COME #2


MOON KNIGHT #4

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Declan Shalvey
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

So…okay, does anyone actually remember liking Moon Knight? I think I've met one guy who genuinely likes the character, and he also swears up and down that Wonder Man is the most underrated character in comics. Moon Knight is just sorta there. This lackluster attempt to replicate Daredevil, who never has consistent characterization or proper motivations.

And then you give him to Warren Ellis, and it's awesome. Mostly because it's not Moon Knight.

After the first issue of the new series, Ellis has only barely touched upon the more ambitious aspects of the character, leaving them open for interpretation. They're really not that important to Moon Knight, as the book has focused almost exclusively on Moon Knight going on missions. They're incredibly inventive, brilliantly written, perfectly drawn little episodes in the life of Moon Knight, and it's better than all of his previous appearances combined.

This issue sees Moon Knight deal with a mystery that has been driving people mad while they sleep. What follows is an incredibly trippy adventure through the dreamscape of…something. Even for such a heady premise, it's actually incredibly straightforward, but Ellis gives the book so much personality, so much effortless character, that the story becomes a thousand times more effective. It's very straightforward, but why mess with perfection? The issue covers his beating, his inner search, and his triumphant return. It's a master class in storytelling, compressing what could easily be a six issue arc into twenty two concise pages.

And a lot of that speed gives Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire room to compose a marvelous comic. Shalvey gives everything an amazing sense of scale, taking small moments like "Moon Knight opens a box" and giving it the height of a last page reveal. And when he gets the time to show movement, or Moon Knight in action? It's huge. The mysterious figure is one of the best effects I've seen in a comic this year, truly feeling otherworldly and like a beast from some great darkness. It's vague and immediately memorable, and if that was all this comic was, it'd be worth picking up.

I'm scared when this team leaves this book. No, not scared…sad. There's not any real room for improvement, and any attempt to return Moon Knight to his roots is going to feel lackluster after such a huge, incredible departure. It's more engrossing then I ever dreamed it would be, and has some of the most dynamic art I've seen in years.

Seriously, this is HAWKEYE levels of good.


TWILIGHT ZONE ANNUAL 2014

Writer: Mark Rahner
Artists: Randy Valiente, Jose Magala, & Edu Menna
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: KletusCassidy


I’m a big fan of the TWILIGHT ZONE television series (no, that doesn’t mean that I’ve seen every episode) but I’ll admit that I have a lot of apprehension when it comes to comic books based on television shows. That feeling mostly comes from me thinking that it would be hard to compete with the atmosphere and feeling that a TV show can create vs. what a comic can create. For instance, as a kid watching TRANSFORMERS, I felt that there was no way a comic could recreate those transformations the way the cartoon could or with X-FILES, I never thought there was any way to replicate the eerie feeling and mood of that series. I realize this is my bias and there may be many TV shows turned comics that have not only recreated that atmosphere but in some cases exceeded the shortcomings of a particular show, but alas, my bias has kept me away from most of them. So when I got the opportunity to review this comic I jumped at it because in my frazzled, beer-soaked mind I feel like the TWILIGHT ZONE is one property that could excel in the comic book medium and has in the past, if my research serves me correctly. So here I am two beers in, just lit a joi...I mean tobacco cigarette, ready to be swept away to the 5th dimension beyond that which is known to man, which lies between the pit of man’s fears and the bottom of my beers (heh heh), a dimension of sight and...well...not of sound but of mind...I, Kletus Cassidy have entered THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

I have a couple of friends that play in a band called NOTHING IN THE DARK, named after an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and these guys love the show, have all the DVDs, memorized episodes, the whole shebang. The thing that struck me about this issue is that I felt as though I could give this comic to those guys (who have little to no interest in comics) and they could enjoy this issue. While the issues dealt with in this comic are all born of a more modern tone, they still manage to capture the feeling of those classic episodes. What I mean is that just as you start to grasp what the twist of the story is and how it relates to the main character, the punchline slaps you in the back of the head leaving the reader with an interesting moral to ponder. The first story deals with a politician who believes welfare is overrated, the second deals with a medieval faire cosplayer who loathes the real world, and the third deals with a woman’s aversion to social media. The last story caught me by surprise with its unique view of social media and how it effects our lives and trust me, it’ not the typical diatribe you think it is. That’s pretty much all I can give you, because going into these stories cold and seeing where they take you is most of the fun (at least for Ol’ Kletus).

The art in this book is great, and I think any of these artists have enough skill to work at the big two. Randy Valiente’s art kind of reminds me of Charlie Adlard of WALKING DEAD fame and had faces that showed a good range of emotion. Jose Malaga’s style is a little like Diogenes Neves (DEMON KNIGHTS), which is an odd coincidence since both comics deal with medieval times, but his art was also good. The last artist, Edu Menna, was probably my favorite of the three, mostly because the detail on some of the faces is perfect, the emotions are dead on and the art did a great job of capturing the mood of the story as well. I think all three artists did an awesome job in this issue, and one of them even manages to sneak a Heisenberg cameo in one story.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with this book given my usual avoidance of most comics based on TV shows. I scanned through J. Michael Straczynski’s TWILIGHT ZONE #5 and was disappointed to find it had a “...to be continued” at the end. I feel like books like these based on TV shows that are mostly single episode series such as X-FILES, OUTER LIMITS, and THE TWILIGHT ZONE operate so much better contained in one comic book issue. In my opinion, having to wait for another issue in comics like these can cause the story to lose its punch. I’d say the same goes for event books as well at the big two companies--put the story out quick and don’t give the reader a chance to get distracted (such was the case with FOREVER...I’m leaving off the EVIL on purpose). All in all, this was a great issue that I could share with my friends whether they love comics or not. Maybe I’ll test this theory and give it to those band dudes I spoke of earlier...nahhh, they already get money for nuthin’ and their chicks for free. If you are a fan of short stories that pack a punch, good artwork, and plot twists that M. Night Shyamalan would trade his first born to have again, pick this up--I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


ORIGINAL SIN #3

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man


The manhunt for who killed the Watcher is still on, yet as the third issue comes to a close I'm still not sure why the series is called ORIGINAL SIN. I know I'm weird, but I usually like the title to relate to the story, or else every comic book should just be titled HOLY SHIT BUY THIS! Aside from my little quirk, Jason Aaron is keeping the series fairly interesting with several “whaaaaa?” moments.

First let's segue over to Mike Deodato, who is making this book look amazing. You'd be hard pressed to find a better looking comic on the shelf than this one. While most comic book artists excel at splash pages and big action, Deodato is pretty much nailing every single panel of this book. Seriously--there is like not one weak drawing in the whole book. To be extra critical, I'm not sure what he's trying to accomplish with the random panel lines. Luckily, it doesn't really detract form the story, so I'll chalk it up as a style thing, though, maybe it's supposed to give the book a jigsaw puzzle feel, in which case--shrug. It's just kinda there.

Back to the story, and hold on to yer butts for spoilers, two big bombs were dropped this issue, the first one being The Watcher's eye unleashing secrets. This kicks off the 'crossover' part of the crossover series. These secrets are ones people have kept from other people, and now these other people know the truth (i.e. - Your best friend loves you, your husband cheated on you, etc). How our heroes deal with this new info will happen in their own series. As an old school reader, it kind of reminds me of DC's MILLENNIUM, where characters discovered longtime supporting characters were Manhunters (characters like Wally West's dad). Now the only person who didn't learn a secret is Nick Fury (I'm guessing it's just because he already knows everything!), but then the second big bomb drops (brace yerselves, long time readers) because Nick Fury (the Howling Commando, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is dead, and it's no secret who the trigger man was (or rather hatchet man): you can see him in all his glory on the last page. Shocker to be sure, but part of me wonders if this was an editorial assassination. You can't have two Nick Furys running around the Marvel U; it will confuse moviegoers (though I would expect this type of move more from DC than Marvel). So as I mentioned earlier, Aaron does a good job of keeping things interesting.

Still, the flaw of this series is The Watcher himself. Despite Mark Waid's best attempt to humanize him in issue #0, he's still more a plot device than a character; therefore it's hard to get emotionally involved in his death. While Aaron is doing a bang-up job with all the cosmic goings on, another impressive cosmic-level body turns up, it has yet to become a real page-turner. So, aside from Deodato's art, it's hard to fully recommend this book yet. We still haven't hit the halfway point, and Aaron has plenty of time to wow us, either with a big reveal or by having all these plot points build up to one amazing goal.









DREAM POLICE #2

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
Publisher: Image Comics/Joe’s Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


I don’t review enough second issues, and companies like Image truly need this sort of PR given their deluge of new titles cropping up. See, there’s this dirty little numbers game with comics: issue ones get so much PR love they sell like gangbusters; you can then watch subsequent issues drop in attention and sales quicker than Justin Bieber’s career.

In many cases this drop-off is warranted, since it seems the muse du jour is to develop a tits concept that can be used as a TV or movie pitch while letting the true intricacies of creating a long-lasting serial become secondary (or even lower on the list). This is where I truly appreciate the Image sub-brands like Joe’s Comics and Skybound: it’s an extra hallmark that tells us the exec producers and/or writers are imbedded and dedicated to the comics medium as opposed to “get less poor” huckster one and dones.

DREAM POLICE is a title that does not deserve a drop-off, and quite frankly warrants a second glance even if you found fault with the first issue. JMS’ exploration of detectives who patrol the land of dreams became far more fleshed out this issue, swapping out cute clichés about naptime for some true world building, exploration and seeds of distress for our protagonist, Joe Thursday.

That’s right--Joe Thursday, a play on “Dragnet”’s Joe Friday. Here is one of those bugaboos purists had with the first issue. This type of wordplay, along with when Joe was flipping through the jukebox in a diner where all of the titles were laden with the word dream, really kicked up some vitriol amongst the review and reader community. Personally, if this land is a construct of where we humans go at night when our frontal lobe is on REM overdrive, I think this embodiment of the zeitgeist makes sense. So fuck you, other reviewers, for not liking it, and suck on the story goodness I got out of issue 2 as reward for not being an elitist snob.

We learned in issue 1 that while this dream city might look like New York, it is only a facsimile. Like other famous fabrications of real world places like Disney World, it takes a swarm of serfdom to keep the wheels in motion so the guests never lose their aesthetic distance. This issue is JMS’ chance to build his classes that consist of our main cop characters Joe and Katie, who respond when dreams go south; the builders, who meticulously craft our real-world settings and then immediately deconstruct them once we wake up (kind of like doozers without the Fraggles); the mighty morphing characters of our dreams or who play us in third-person dreams; and, of course, nightmares. There are others, but these are the big ones for now.

Also introduced in this issue is the high concept that the workers of this world were never once human, nor have they simply always “just been.” Essentially, every being is “born” as a wisp and then sort of chooses its role when ready. They are functionally useless, but naïve and scamp-like enough to amuse the denizens of dreamland so that they want to protect them. The mystery of this issue arises when one of these wisps is wiped out by a dreamer who can’t control his shit…literally. Junkie dreamers are dangerous--so dangerous, in fact, it brings out the middlemen between the dreamers and, well, God.

I know it’s a lot for one issue, and my play-by-play comes across as quite clinical. To balance characterization with creation, Joe Thursday is more than a simple beat cop pastiche; he carries a secret that could tear this and (ultimately our) world asunder. It’s the heart behind the high concept I frankly demand from a JMS title.

If you're coming back for Kotian, you won't be disappointed; he gets noir meets supernatural perfectly. The dans are square-jawed, the dames are delectable and the dreams are out there. If you felt you were wandering after issue one, this follow-up is your map. If you felt you needed more meat on the bone, then strap on your bib.

When not talking comics, Optimous Douche is the head of marketing for Work Zone, Project Management Software so powerful it could straighten out the New 52. To read Optimous other marketing, comic stuff and advice columns head to robpatey.com.


GREEN ARROW #32

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


I know this is a gross, anecdotal generalization but it feels like less and less we are seeing long, (relatively) self-contained runs on proprietary characters such as old Oliver Queen, Green Arrow here. Runs with vision and direction and that don’t keep getting hijacked by greater, universal events that tend to shift things in ways you wouldn’t know if you do not read the blockbusters from which they take their cues. Again, I imagine this feeling is probably a lopsided bias, but it just seems like most of the comics I do try from the Big Two these days hoping to have a lengthy, defining run get cut short for one reason or another or taken over because thar be crossover dollars to be had!!! I get that expanded universe is one of the big strengths of mainstream comic books and makes for larger and broader interactions and intertwining character moments and so on, but sometimes when you put down your fistful of dollars for a new issue of a comic you want to be reassured that the only relevant story bits are the ones that played out in a nice stretch of preceding issues by the same creative team. That desire, combined with the sheer quality of this book in hand here, makes this Lemire/Sorrentino run on GREEN ARROW that much more standout in today’s comic book marketplace.

My enthusiasm for this current run of GREEN ARROW is really coming from the team building both a legacy and a mythology for this post-FLASHPOINT incarnation of the character, since those two items mostly went out the window when the New 52 kicked up. Now that the creative tandem at hand have a year and a half under the belt with this younger, more CW-esque Oliver Queen we have a lot of meat to digest again. The creation of the weapon-based clans – love or hate the idea (and I’m perfectly content with it) – has not only given more weight to the weapon Ollie carries but has given Lemire license to play with the Queen lineage as well, something I also applaud. There’s just bunches more machinations and motivations in play now than just “rich spoiled brat goes through hell on an island, starts perforating criminals with pieces of tree”, and every month I look forward to seeing what the creative team puts forth within these new boundaries they are creating. And right now those boundaries are surrounding a warzone known as Seattle.

So while Oliver was out moonlighting with The Outsiders, John Diggle (one of my favorite carryovers from the “Arrow” TV show) and Ollie’s techie sidekicks, Naomi and Fyff, were left to defend Seattle from the baddies and, well, that’s not going so great. Ollie comes back to more chaos, and I think chaos has been a good look for this book so far. The year-plus long war that has been waged in Oliver’s life has really shown off not only some great urban crime-fighting action and resolve by the Emerald Archer, but has also showed a creative team was willing to put some stakes behind it all, as we saw with the resolution to the short-lived reunion between Oliver and his father in the past arc. Now that Seattle is burning at the hands of Richard Dragon – the new, beautifully bald version of him with a villain’s take on the Iron Fist origin – and we’ve seen that consequence is very much a thing in this run, this conflict promises to be just as brutal as anything the team has shown us thus far.

Most of my excitement about this issue stems from my belief that it represents a team hitting its stride. So far the copious amounts of action in this run of Lemire and Sorrentino’s has been nothing short of break-neckingly paced and endearingly vicious. But now the family melodrama is also really starting to shape this book and Oliver’s life, and I’m sure it will drive even more his journey to find out just exactly what it means to be a Queen. Plus, I can only imagine the level of tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness that is going to arise from having Emiko – newly revealed to be Oliver’s half-sister – running around the Emerald City sticking arrows in the criminal element alongside, or in defiance of, her brother. I fully expect and hope for some variation of the Damien Wayne Robin with Batman dynamic, and have a gut feeling this is where Lemire is going with the duo. Given the tone that he and Sorrentino have really gone to great lengths to establish so far, I think such a relationship would play fantastically in these pages.

And lastly, bringing it all home for this review and the package that has been this creative run, is the joy that has been Andrea Sorrentino’s art. Frankly, it oozes a style and dramatic flair that brings a lot of that tone I referenced in the previous paragraph to life. The linework, combined with the shading and coloring (which runs a gamut between darker hues and a washed-out style) not only looks gorgeous, but also puts in a very playful noir sensibility. Admittedly, in some of the previous issues I’ve had some qualms with the occasional experimental layout that Sorrentino may have played with (some of them have been more a muddled mess than a unique visual experience), but for the vast majority of this run it has been the perfect vehicle for the largely action-based storytelling and the brand of melodrama that is being peddled here. And it’s a fantastic set of wares to be brandishing about, as my word barrage here has hopefully put across. If there is some justice left in the world of these books about characters who dish up the ‘j’ word by the fistful, this will be a run that’s doing its business for many, many more months (years even) to come, with the only meddling stemming from the villains within the book’s pages and not the editors who manage them.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #1

Story: John Carpenter & Eric Powell
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Reviewer: Mighty Mouth


Growing up as a wee lad in the 80s, few films captivated me like John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China”. I had never seen a movie so odd and yet so wonderful. From its loudmouthed and clueless protagonist Jack Burton to the enigmatic villain Lo Pan and his entourage of bizarre minions, there has yet to be another film quite like it. When I saw John Carpenter’s name on the wonderfully rendered cover featuring Jack Burton and his Pork Chop Express, I couldn’t surrender my $3.99 quickly enough.

Opening with the film’s final scene, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #1 picks up exactly where the film leaves off. After discovering Lo Pan’s hellbeast stowed away on his big rig, ol’ Jack returns to San Francisco’s Chinatown just in time to witness the wedding of his little buddy, Wang Chi. Reunited with Wang and little bastard sorcerer Egg Shan, Jack learns that there is still plenty of trouble waiting for him in Little China.

The story is a collaboration between John Carpenter and Eric Powell, with Powell taking the writing duties. The narrative does a fine job in emulating the characters without overdoing it. Jack Burton’s characterization feels spot on, and the weirdness that made the movie so enjoyable continues to ensue as the plot unfolds. One unexpected addition to the familiar showcases a brief backstory of Jack’s second marriage, including Mexican bikers, luchadors and a death cult seeking the resurrection of a Babylonian demigod. Seems that wherever Jack goes, weird-ass trouble surely follows.

The interior art of the book isn’t quite as impressive as the multitudes of cover art produced for this book. The panels are rather intentionally cartoonish, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it emphasizes a more lighthearted tone similar to humor magazines like CRACKED or MAD.

Like any good first issue should, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #1 gathers the players and sets the stage for the adventure to begin. It’s impossible to know this early on if this comic sequel can live up to the awesomeness of the movie, but I’d say it’s off to an enthusiastic start. I guess I’ll have to stick around for a few more issues and see if ol’ Jack and the rest can still shake the pillars of heaven. After all, it’s still all in the reflexes.


MAGNETO #5

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Gabriel Walta
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


See, this same thing happened with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #5, and I ended up writing a fucking essay about how good it was.

I'm not going to do that this time (thank god), but… okay.

I started writing this review back as I was reading this issue for the first time last week. I'd been enjoying the book, despite its relatively few flaws. Sure, the book can be a little absent-minded at times, not really going anywhere and just having Magneto putt around delivering a monologue about himself. It was well written, well drawn, and not bad, but…look, MOON KNIGHT has been WAY better than it has any right to be, and it's by Warren Ellis, AND the third issue had Moon Knight fighting ghost crust punks using an ancient skeleton as armor. It's tough to get me to stop talking about MOON KNIGHT lately. But MAGNETO had been good, and consistent, and it's just really nice to read a good title about one of my favorite villains.

And then issue five came out.

The overarching plot hasn't changed much. It's still Magneto protecting mutants in the only way he knows how. But apart from just being “The Punisher with powers”, the book has done some really cool things with the premise. Magneto's reflections on his actions, how SHIELD responds, how the disenfranchised have come to see his new moves as heroic…the book even addressed a really interesting aspect of that, that Magneto's crusade accidentally invites tragedy for the people who unwittingly help him, and it has to be SHIELD to bring down good people. It explores the ramifications of violence on not just the protagonist, but on the whole. Bunn, Walta, and Bellaire have done a very good job so far, and while it may not be the best Marvel NOW has to offer, it's still a strong book.

And then issue five came out.

Bunn doesn't advance the plot much in this, with much of the plot dedicated to Magneto meeting a mysterious new woman who definitely doesn't have it out for him and certainly will never betray him. The art is good, the writing is good, it's typical Magneto.

But there are five pages in this issue. Five. The first two are Magneto thinking of himself, and the latter three center on the woman's views of him. And they are INCREDIBLE. Magneto feels otherworldly, like a god amongst men…Walta does amazing work during these pages, making everything flow and break and bend beneath a completely still man. And Bunn delivers, in one (albeit one very long run-on) sentence, maybe one of the best summations of the character I've ever read, followed by a harsh (but just as true) condemnation. But this book belongs to Bellaire. The use of colour, limiting the pages to a harsh red and black, making the scenes truly terrifying and awe-inspiring at once, the goddamn use of white space to not only represent his powers but to also isolate Magneto from the world around him? Oh. Ohhhhhhhh it's good. It's really good.

MOON KNIGHT, BLACK WIDOW, and MS. MARVEL have been getting all the press (because they're incredible), but here's the thing. MAGNETO isn't just as good as them. At times, it can even surpass them.


KINGDOM COME #2

Publication Date: June 12th, 1996
Writers: Mark Waid and Alex Ross
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man


As DC's big crossover event FOREVER EVIL comes to a close, I thought we'd wind the clock back 18 years when another big DC event was taking place: KINGDOM COME. Not only was it a grand adventure featuring nearly every DC character; not only did it give us a look into a possible future (seeing who had kids and who didn't); it also celebrated superstar painter Alex Ross's first real debut at the DCU. Two years earlier, at Marvel Comics, Alex Ross set the industry on fire with writer Kurt Busiek with MARVELS. Now he was at DC, about to make history again.

Mid-June 1996: Alanis Morissette had won the Grammy for JAGGED LITTLE PILL, BRAVEHEART won for Best Picture, the computer Deep Blue managed to defeat chess champ Garry Kasparov, DEXTER'S LABORATORY debuted on the Cartoon Network, X-FILES and FRIENDS were still the top network shows, and Japan just gave birth to Pokemon. In the world of comic books, it was still boom-time. Image was still making waves as Todd, Jim, and Rob were all still on the same page. Dark Horse and Malibu were still running their own superhero lines with Comics' Greatest World and the Ultraverse. DC and Marvel continued to fuel the Wizard Magazine-inspired investor frenzy, with specialty books and gimmicks, Including the now abandoned Dark Knight or prestigious printing format miniseries, like KINGDOM COME.

The second issue of DC's newest Elseworlds (stories taken outside of the typical DCU continuity, again long abandoned) has arrived, and with it more amazing artwork by Alex Ross! Let's face it: even if the story was a dud, Ross' artwork would still make it a best seller. Thankfully, Mark Waid makes sure the story is not a dud.

In the first issue we saw how the world had gone to hell, thanks to the new generation of super'heroes' who value combat and capital punishment over saving lives and due process. In this second issue we are treated to the return of all the main DC heroes who we all know and love (though hey, where's the Atom?). And, in a word, it's pretty amazing.

First off, I'm just going to jump into the sheer awesomeness of Alex Ross' artwork. And not just for his amazing watercolors, or his great style of making these characters look like real people (I heard his dad is the model for Norman McCay), but for all the cool stuff he crams into every page. There's the dork from the SuperFriends, The Shadow, the Village People, 'Chun Li', Agent Skinner from the X-FILES and more! Nearly every page is a 'Where's Waldo' treat of DC and pop culture. They even found a way for Alex to recreate the covers of ACTION #1, DETECTIVE #27 and WONDER WOMAN #1. Curious that he didn't do SENSATION #1, and why he replaced Wonder Woman's lasso with a spear, though this does mirror how Wonder Woman has changed in this Elseworlds future. Still, Alex has really stepped up his game since MARVELS (these day Alex Ross spends most of his time painting covers for Dynamite, and his last piece of interior artwork was for Dynamite as well, with the first issue of their MASKS mini-series).

Ok, let's get into the story, so beware of spoilers. As we learned last issue, the new superhero head honcho, Magog, screwed up and blew up Kansas, so Superman has come back out of self-exile to see if he can fix things. To that end in this issue he has reformed the Justice League with Wonder Woman and other kind of familiar faces. Seeing Alex Ross' interpretation of these newer and older heroes is all pretty awesome. The one hero who refused to join him is Batman (ok, two--Aquaman says he's too busy upholding law and order under the sea, even though it's mostly unpopulated). Batman feels Superman and company are pushing too hard to restore order, and will probably break as many things as they fix. This could be very true, based on Wonder Woman's current state of mind. We learn that WW is not longer the Princess of Paradise Island (hey, I told you there were spoilers) and it may be taking a toll on her sanity. Even though she claims to be a good guy, she seems to be sliding into 'an eye for an eye' territory. It will be interesting to see how far Wonder Woman has fallen and what Superman will do about it. Meanwhile, Batman has been setting up his own Justice League, for lack of a better term, with Green Arrow. A third group has popped up as well--the remaining supervillains (not killed by the new generation heroes), led by Lex Luthor. Luthor hopes to exacerbate the situation and blame the Justice League. To support his position he has two surprising allies; one is a real 'Holy Moley', and the other is Batman?!? Yup, Batman and Luthor have joined forces to take down Superman and his current bull in a china store ways. But you can smell the double cross coming--question is, who will get who first.

Now, the stellar moment of this issue is the Superman vs. Magog showdown. Wow--just wow. Mark Waid really seems to get Superman. As we learn of the events that caused Superman to retire, you can really see how everything has spiraled out of control. Even Magog himself is not the man he wanted to be. This also acts as a criticism of us fans. We make the current fad of violent and grim heroes hits and call heroes like Superman irrelevant (Mark Waid would go on to update Superman's origin in 2003 with SUPERMAN BIRTHRIGHT, and currently writes DAREDEVIL (for which he won an Eisner) for Marvel. Not too surprising, I suppose, that neither Waid or Ross, who had such a huge impact on DC in the past, have been included in the New 52 era.)

We are half way through this series and so far I'd say it's far superior to MARVELS. If Waid and Ross can keep on this track and live up to the Superman/Magog confrontation, history is going to list KINGDOM COME up there with THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE WATCHMEN. If you are a DC fan of any degree, you'd be out of your mind not to pick up this series.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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