(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: SUPERMAN #14
CIVIL WAR II #8
JAMES BOND #12
X-MEN ’92 #10
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #2
Raiders of the Long Box: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #200!
Opinions Are Like @$$Holes: 2016!
SUPERMAN #14Writer: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer Rob Patey aka Optimous Douche
In August, 2014, DC launched Grant Morrison’s multi-issue brain child, MULTIVERSITY. This tale of alternate realities being ravaged by an unknown entity meant different things to different people. For Grant, it was his way of traversing the veil between fiction and reality. It was a heady concept that simply didn’t jive with smaller minds, and more importantly the marketing story being told by DC. The spin-meisters slung it as the end of the Crisis era, the epic mid-80s event that collapsed silver age string theory shenanigans to give us one “true” earth. For this fan-man, MULTIVERSITY was going to be the inception point for a regular monthly delivery of new Elseworlds tales. Yes, I was delusional given the promise, but I figured sales success would leave DC no other choice.
I was wrong, DC was right. People either didn’t get what Grant was going for, didn’t care, or were simply irate by the very finite ending it provided. Continuity tightness was the given end-result, but it took another tale called CONVERGENCE to truly get there. CONVERGENCE helped to finally obliterate the concept of a definitive timeline, essentially offering an escape hatch for any adherence to continuity, allowing for willy-nilly resetting of numbering like Marvel imbibed much earlier sans a big event “to-do” to do so.
What CONVERGENCE delivered on a positive note was the return of the barrel-chested more Superman that was on the precipice of middle age before skinny jeans Superman was introduced in the New 52. Fangeezers like I were so elated by this return of a Clark Kent with a wife and kid in tow, we completely forgot about MULTIVERSITY and the past four years of a Superman universe that could never play catch up from the 5 year before storyline that started it.
Now, in SUPERMAN 14 we see a true “convergence” of these past events with part one of MULTIPLICITY. Let’s first get the Michael Keaton movie jokes out of the way, because this is so much more than simply a one line gag of “She touched my pepe Steve.” What Tomasi has created with this issue is the resurrection of the dream I wanted for MULTIVERSITY coupled with amazing story telling that has been a hallmark of all Superman Rebirth titles.
Since his time editing GREEN LANTERN titles, Tomasi has been writing or guiding epic level grandeur through the lens of the human experience. His time show running the SUPERMAN titles has been a renaissance back to the emotional tenets of Five for Fighting’s “It’s not easy to be me,” as this alternate (yet all too familiar) Superman picks up the pieces of past mistakes. Only Tomasi, seems to be able to have Superman save the day for intergalactic demise, while still being able to dispel some Ward Cleaver level family raising all in the same issue or story arc. If anyone missed issues 12 and 13 of SUPERMAN, you missed an amazing return of Frankenstein and his bride, S.H.A.D.E, and some insightful lessons on what marriage means after many many many years together.
MULTIPLICITY is a play to the grander, but it starts with the quiet calm foundation the super titles’ past 13 issues. While driving home on a back road in his beat-up pickup truck, Clark recognizes a site familiar to Elseworlds fans in the form of a Superman doppelganger with a hammer and sickle where the trademark S usually site. That’s right, it’s the Red Son Superman, and he’s in a world of hurting. For those too young to remember, Soviet Superman was created by Mark Millar back in the days before he took deconstructed superheroes on his own dime. It was a glorious tale that started with a good yarn about Superman’s rocket being veered towards a Moscow rural suburb as opposed to an American one, and ended with an epic tale about the house of El reshaping humanity for millennia to come. This Soviet Supes is clearly at the beginning of this journey, well he was at least until he was hunted by the keepers of the Lyst.
That last line wasn’t a typo, there’s an inter-reality bounty on Supermen, and it’s being checked off by a bunch of demonic looking creatures that enshroud Supermen in a black ooze of immobility. The best way to describe this weapon is like the saran wrap Christopher Reeve ripped of his chest in Superman II to wrap up the ending of Zod’s forces. While old/new Superman and Soviet Supes fight off these forces, some other old friends arrive from MULTIVERSITY, and thus after too long of a wait we meet the Justice League Incarnate. Led by the very Obama reminiscent Superman of Earth 23, this crew with a kid flash, Aqualady and other twits on the norm informs old/new Supes of the goings on, and the fact the new Chinese Superman is the next target for the...lyst.
The rest of the issue plays out fairly as expected, but there’s a nice pause moment where the JLI gets the back story on old/new Superman being a Super anomaly. It’s a conversation we’ve seen a lot over the past year, but it comes across in a new and interesting light given that half the heroes in the JLI are a bit off the normal scale themselves.
Things don’t work out well as the heroes all arrive a heartbeat too late, and Chinese Superman ends up beyond the great wall of this reality. The close of the issue should have been Superman volunteering to get the kid, but Tomasi instead twists a great cliff hanger. In an alternate plane, we see the Supermen, women, and rabbits who have already been taken. With one drop of elixir, we see the noble Captain Carrot of MULTIVERSITY transformed back into a regular old bunny rabbit. Cue the curiosity as JLI will have to unravel who the mysterious super thief is, and now what they plan to do with those Superman who haven’t been anthropomorphized into existence.
The big question I’ve been asked since I tweeted my early reading if the book during the holiday break, is whether prior knowledge is required to enjoy this tale. My initial reaction was no, but prior knowledge does always add a depth to understanding and enjoyment of almost any comic. After writing this history rich review though, I might be changing that tune. I’ll say now, that knowledge of this old/new Superman and/or MULTIVERSITY might be needed for anyone to truly give a shit about what’s going on. It’s an easy to follow narrative, but context will help it transcend beyond an easy read to a truly exceptional one. If your time is limited and you want to pick between the two tomes that led up to this chapter one skip MULTIVERSITY and instead bask in the past 13 glorious issues of the old/new man of steel in SUPERMAN and ACTION.
When he puts down comic books Rob Patey is in charge of digital content marketing for a little computer start-up called IBM. Head to IBM Security to see the softer side of the man we’ve affectionately called Optimous Douche for the past 9 years.
CIVIL WAR II #8Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez (and a bunch of guests)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
So the second Marvel Civil War comes to an end, with a bang. It's a few months late, but that seems to be Marvel's M.O. with crossover events, these days. To recap for those out of the loop, a new Inhuman (Ulysses) has uncontrollable visions of the future. Captain Marvel (and others) has been using these visions to prevent crime that hadn't even happened yet (apparently she never saw MINORITY REPORT). Iron Man (and others, who apparently have seen MINORITY REPORT) disagree with her and even proved that Ulysses visions are possible futures, but Captain Marvel will not be stopped and boom, civil war between all the Marvel heroes.
Getting to the spoilers of this final issue, pretty much everyone has figured out this is wrong- except Captain Marvel. As she attempts to arrest Spider (Miles Morales) Man before he may or may not kill Captain (Steve Rogers) America (based on a vision), Iron Man, in uber armor, jumps down her throat. As they slug it out over the Capital building, everyone rushes in to stop the fight. Unfortunately, she kills Tony Stark first. As everyone stands over Tony's body, Ulysses shares visions of the future with Captain Marvel, Nova, Medusa and Spider (Miles Morales) Man. This is basically teasing a bunch of up coming stories (stuff like IVX and Monsters Unleashed, etc.). Ulysses than floats off to be one with Eternity, evolving beyond mankind or something like that (though I'm sure Bendis plans to use him again someday). Meanwhile, we learn that Tony Stark has done something, completely unexplainable, to his body, so his is just 'mostly dead' and in some kind of 'Kryptonian coma'. The Beast then tells Captain Marvel that Tony probably did trust her to 'profile' possible bad guys and arrest them (funny he didn't mention that when he fought her to the death). He was just worried about the people who would take over the profiling, after her. Like the President, who then meets with Captain Marvel, tells her how awesome she is and welcomes her to the Goody Room (Youtube it). Showing little remorse over anything, she says she has plans for the future.
For a 37 page (with eight double spreads) comic book, not much happens. Maybe if they kept the issue around 21 or so pages they could have finished on time. Now if you buy the premise of this story, this is a fitting end to it all. Personally, I can't so it's just weak sauce all around. It's weird how Marvel's golden boy, Brian Michael Bendis, and DC's former golden boy, Geoff Johns, are so much alike. They both excel at character moments, but their characters are often as dumb as a bag of hammers. I'm curious if this is on purpose, as in character flaws, as we all do irrational things at time. Or if they don't realize all their characters are so illogical. Doesn't really matter though, because their books sell like hot cakes.
Marquez's art work has been nice through out this series. The drawings of the Capital building were really nice, as was most of his figure work. Iron Man's uber armor, was pretty ugly though.
Putting a final score on this series is kinda hard. The premise pretty much scores Crap, but much of the work scores GOOD. In the end, on the Masked Man's scale of Crap, Poor, Decent, Good, and Great. CIVIL WAR II scores a very strong (meaning in good way) POOR.
JAMES BOND #12Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Master
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Masked Man
Super-star writer Warren Ellis wraps-up his second JAMES BOND arc for Dynamite, “Eidolon”. And top to bottom, it's a vast improvement of his first story arc.
To start on a sour note, the last story arc “Vargr” was just clunky. It had all the pieces of a James Bond story (minus the spectacular of the movies), but none of it gelled and / or became interesting. Master's artwork was weaker in the first six issues as well. Thankfully, both of them found their 'sea-legs' for the next six issues.
So let's jump into the plot / spoilers. It all started with Cadence Birdwhistle, a very low level MI6 field agent, who discovers some odd financial transactions. This puts her life in jeopardy, as she has in actuality discovered evidences of 'Eidolon', Spectre sleeper cells in MI5. Our man James, has to get Cadence safely home to the UK, figure out the impact of what she knows and discover the identity of the Spectre cells. After a big wig meeting goes all to $h!t with the Eidolon members exposing themselves. The surviving member, disfigured and decorated war hero, Beckett Hawkwood (a typical Bond villain, in good way) stands alone for this final issue. Turns out Hawkwood is only looking for a pay day, and when Spectre's long game goes into the crapper, he kicks it into high gear. Armed with a city block destroying bomb, Hawkwood makes his move, but of course he has to go through Bond. Hawkwood proves to be more than what Bond can handle physically, so of course Bond cheats. But in the end, Bond actually 'negotiates a settlement' (if you can call it that- yikes) with Hawkwood. Putting the whole thing to bed rather cleanly (no explosion or shoot out). Surely a rarity for Bond, but Ellis makes it all very Bond like as well.
One of the things that works best in this tale is that Bond is put in interesting situations. So while he's still the killing machine from “Vargr”, he has to be resourceful about everything he does. Oh and he is a cold killing machine here, he's accuracy with a handgun is laughable. But if you take into account that this is what the man is, and he is the best in the world, you can roll with it. It just underscores the whole, don't fu(k with Bond. Going off on a tangent, this is what I find lacking in Daniel Craig's movies. They love showing the cracks in Bond's armor. To me, Bond knows what he signed up for and knows what he is doing. Like Batman, there are no cracks in the armor, because he has given up his life to make sure there isn't any. The one thing lacking from Ellis' Bond, is charm. He tries, but it just doesn't translate and Jason Master's rather cold artwork doesn't help matters either.
While I believe Master's artworks has improved over the passed 12 issues, he's still too hit and miss for me. He strives for realist, but often gets clunky poses (comic book figures should have clear gestures, and not awkward true to life poses). And his backgrounds (I'd bet) are computer generated. So sometimes they look great, other types the look stark and warped (FYI- the rules of perspective only work within a certain range, go outside the range and things go wrong. Without a human hand to 'fudge' the rules when need, a computer model can just looks bad). So he's talented as hell, I'd just like to see more feeling and 'art' in his illustrations.
So while it might not be great, I'd say JAMES BOND “Eidolon” is well worth any James Bond fan's time. On the Masked Man's scale of Crap, Poor, Decent, Good, and Great, it scores a GOOD.
X-MEN ‘92 #10Writers: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims
Art: Alti Firmansyah, Cory Hamscher
Color: Matt Milla, Dono Sanchez Almara
Reviewer: Justin Burkhardt
If I say the words “X-MEN: The Animated Series”, what comes to mind? If you’re like me, you can close your eyes & not only picture the show’s opening, but hum the theme song along with it. As a child born in 1985, those images and stories will always be what I think of when I think of the X-MEN.
While I enjoyed a few of the X-MEN movies that have come out since 2000, I’ve yearned for a return to the X-MEN that I knew. Now I know there’s a recent trend of bringing back anything just for nostalgia's sake (I’m looking at you Full House, which was never a good show even when it aired originally); but just like Ecto Cooler, I have always believed the X-MEN of the animated series should return because it was really first-class and fun material! X-MEN the Animated Series was critically acclaimed, a commercial success, and helped a whole new generation of comic book fans fall in love with the X-MEN characters and Marvel Universe.
So that’s why I was excited when Marvel first announced X-MEN ’92 as a tie-in to their Secret Wars event. In the end, I thought X-Men ’92 & Thors were the two best titles from the Secret Wars event. So naturally I was glad when Marvel announced that X-MEN 92 would continue as an on-going series. That series comes to an end this week with X-MEN ’92 #10 and its “giant-sized finale”. The series has been a nostalgic, interesting, and yes even wacky at times ride. For example, previous issues have featured the likes of The Flaming Lips and The Toadies (which if this series got even one new fan to listen to “She Don’t Use Jelly” or “Possum Kingdom, it was all worth it).
In the finale, Professor X and the President demand the X-MEN and X-FACTOR help to save and protect Apocalypse from an attack led by the X-FORCE (Yes, Cable and Deadpool are in this as well). It turns out that Apocalypse could be the key in helping to save the world from the cosmic force known as Xodus the Forgotten.
To save the world however, they would have to alter the human genome on a planetary scale which would change every human on earth into a Mutant. Professor X allows the people of earth to decide their fate telling them that no matter what they decide the X-men will fight for them. What happens? Something major, but you should really read the issue (and the other 9 issues before it) to find out.
This finale does cram a lot into one issue, which if there was one complaint I had with the series it is that that towards the end, it tried to do a bit too much. I feel that may have been due to length and if the series was given a longer run, it wouldn’t have had that problem. The ending leaves some hope that maybe in the future Marvel will again revisit the X-MEN ’92 universe, which I would welcome with open arms. I enjoyed the whole creative team, especially the writing duo of Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, and would welcome them back on another X-MEN 92 book as well.
In the end, was this series perfect? No, but damn if it still wasn’t one of the best X-MEN comics of the past 4-5 years. The series had a lot of interesting things: X-MEN 2099, a “new” origin for Cable, Dracula, Abigal Brand (‘92 version). etc, and it always stayed true to its retro feel. When it comes to comics, it’s been a dark few years for X-MEN fans. The comics have departed so far from the 90’s golden age of X-MEN that they barely resemble X-MEN stories anymore. I understand that stories and characters evolve, but you can’t stray so far away that it no longer feels like it’s a part of the universe you know.
Maybe things are about to change. Marvel announced recently that as part of its X-MEN ResurrXion in 2017 that we will see the return of the Blue and Gold teams. Senior Marvel editor Mark Paniccia says these new books will bring us “the kinds of stories we all grew up on.” Call me pessimistic, but given Marvel’s recent X-MEN track record, I’ll believe it when I actually read it. I’m still not sold that the stories will match the throwback names. In fact I truly don’t believe we’ll ever get consistently good X-MEN material again until Marvel and FOX straighten things out.
I hope I’m wrong, because I would love for the X-MEN to return to glory, not just for readers my age, but especially for those who didn’t get to experience X-MEN in their heyday. Until that happens, we’ll always have this fun run of X-MEN ’92 to enjoy.
For 10 issues, X-MEN ’92 took me back to the fun X-MEN I remembered. X-MEN ’92 is proof that things can be both nostalgic and good. In pop culture, we don’t need to reboot something just for the sake of nostalgia (seriously though were there that many people clamoring for a Full House reboot?!). We should only reboot something if the source material was good in the first place AND there is a need for more. X-MEN ’92 got the art of nostalgia right and provided us with a fun old-school adventure when many of us X-MEN fans really needed it.
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS SUICIDE SQUAD #2Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
DC's big event rolls along as this issue gets us to round one. With a full on slug-fest between the Justice League and the Suicide Squad. It's all put together by Joshua Williamson, who has several creator own titles at Image: GHOSTED, BIRTHRIGHT, NAILBITER, etc. And current DC staple, Tony Daniel takes on the art chores for this issue (Jason Fabok did issue #1).
Getting into the plot and spoilers, I gotta say I'm not feeling the logic behind this plot. Currently, there are two plot lines: One, the League and the Squad bumping heads and two, the big bad Maxwell Lord. Going with plotline one, the Squad has been sent to a small island to prevent a cult from blowing it up with a bomb (in a nutshell). Why no superhero team is coming to the rescue is beyond me. The Squad is involved because there's a hidden U.S. Base on the island, that could be exposed if the bomb goes off. Meanwhile, Batman tells the League about the Squads existent, he wants to take them down. Searching for the Squad's whereabouts, Cyborg finds them currently on the island. So the League flies down to capture the Squad. They also make sure to belittle the Squad for screwing up, even though they saved the whole island; an island the League didn't even know was in danger. Amanda Waller doesn't the Squad captured, so she threatens to blow the Squads brains out (they all have bombs in their brains) if they let the League capture them. That's a little odd, since the Squad is supposed to be all about plausible deniability. Anyway, El Diablo attacks the two newbie Green Lanterns, Harley Quinn attacks Wonder Woman, Captain Boomerang attacks the Flash, Deadshot attacks Batman, Croc attacks Aquaman (Croc is somehow talking and breathing underwater too, huh), Killer Frost attacks Cyborg, and Enchantress attacks Superman. And as Stan Lee once said, who can beat who? Well it depends on the story I'm writing. So the Squad last longer than they really should and then a supercharged Killer Frost freezes everyone solid. Next thing you know, the Justice League are the prisoners of Amanda Waller. Though, I'm not sure why she thought capturing the League was a good idea- she's supposed to be smarter than that.
Plot two: Maxwell Lord frees the most dangerous super villains on Earth, from the prison designed to hold the most dangerous super villains on Earth. Emerald Empress (not sure why she's in the 21st Century), Lobo (I thought he was killed by the new guy), Dr. Polaris (wow, that's an ugly outfit), Johnny Sorrow, and Rustam (Wait Rustam is one of the most dangerous super villains on Earth- Bwa-ha-ha!). I don't know anything about Maxwell Lord, post-Flash Point, but he appears to be the same mustache twirling villain Geoff Johns turned him into (yay). One weird thing about this new 'super villain' Maxwell Lord, is that his nose still bleeds when he uses his mind control powers. That was meant to be a joke. So it's weird that when they turned him into a serious super villain, they kept the obvious joke about his character. Anyway, Lord wants all these villains, who apparently all have a grudge against Amanda Waller, to kill her- so he can save the world. That's all we know at this point.
So, I'm not sure I understand or buy the set-up, but this fight issue was decent enough. Williamson had a fairly plausible reason for why the Squad gave the League so much trouble, and why they were defeated. The story is also loaded with Rebirth Easter eggs, mostly on how the world had been modified. It's unclear if that will play a roll in the story, but Williamson promises JLVSS will set-up many stories for 2017.
Tony Daniels does a fine job of drawing everything. Though it's all rather fast and loose, like the action. The weakest pages are the Amanda Waller splash pages. They are just dull and uninspired, and probably not a good idea to start and end the comic with 'em.
If you've been a fan of these two teams in recent months, I'd assume you'll love this mash-up. Anyone else, who also isn't simply wow'd by superhero mash-ups (because it's a fine mash-up at this point) might want to wait and see what tricks Williamson still has up his sleeve.
THOR #14Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Steve Epting
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
The War of the Realms wags on as Thor (Jane Foster) and her League of Realms (comprised of a fighter from each of the nine realms) seek to rescue the Light Elf queen, Aelsa, from the Dark Elf king, Malekith.
A few years ago I was enjoying the hell out of Aaron's run on Thor. Then they pulled a silly stunt and Jane Foster is now Thor. I dropped the book assuming it would all end soon, and I'd come back when Thor was Thor again. Imagine my surprise as Jane Foster is still Thor (mental note, next time I replace someone at the office, take their name as well). I blame Aaron for this, because he's doing such a good job writing it. He's even jumped into the storyline he had been building up to when Thor was Thor, the War of the Realms. Joining Jason Aaron here is Steve Epting, the guy who helped Ed Brubaker turn CAPTAIN AMERICA a hit; and creating the Winter Soldier.
So let's get into the spoilers of this issue. Malekith (you may remember him from THOR: THE DARK WORLD) has forced Aelsa to marry him. Meanwhile, his army of dark elves have sacked her realm. When the League of Realms appears to confront him, he unleashes Kurse on them- although just like Thor, Kurse is now a woman too (though, I'm really not sure how anyone can tell). In a move that disappoints me about Aaron, the League actually gets the better of Kurse(!?). Loki, playing the angles, as always, switches sides to joins Malekith. Malekith really proves himself to be an S.O.B. in this issue, but then Aaron has been showing us how awful Malekith is since day one. With his army feed and well supplied, Malekith is ready to moves on, but not before attempting to kill Aelsa and burning her kingdom to the ground. This of course just helps to piss off Thor (Jane Foster) even more. Where is 'I can't believe it's not Thor'? He's off in his own book trying to get worthy again.
As I've come to expect, Jason Aaron writes a fine comic book. I'm still not crazy about the ideal of Jane Foster replacing Thor as Thor, but it's still a good read. The whole War of the Realms is just a great display of characters and politics, in a mythological smorgasbord. Aaron just really knows how to use all these elements. For his part, Steve Epting is a great artist. Although tonally, I think he's wrong for this book. Since his time on CAPTAIN AMERICA, he has really excelled at low key, gritty story telling. And the War of the Realms is none of that. So while there is not a thing wrong with any of his pages, I feel he would be better suit on DAREDEVIL or PUNISHER. Another thing that was odd to me, was although Kurse and Malekith looked like comic book Kurse and Malekith- the dark elf army looked like the THOR: THE DARK WORLD dark elf army (instead of the comic book version).
I'd recommend this title to anyone, especially anyone who likes fantasy. Although I feel the lack of Thor-Thor will harm the legacy of this run.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #200By Masked Man
This week you are going to get a heavy dose of opinion with yer old timey recap. As I present the greatest single issue of the Justice League ever! The 72-page anniversary issue, #200, featuring 17 super-heroes and eight pencilers, three inkers and one writer: Gerry Conway.
Right off the bat, I gotta say it's hard to imagine a comic getting to number 200 anymore. As they get rebooted every 12 months or so, so the published can make more money with a new #1 issue. I'm not even sure how many #1 JUSTICE LEAGUE “blank” issues there have been now. But when the original run hit #200, being penned by the man who has written more issue than Gardner Fox himself (the guy who created the League), DC went all out! Editor Len Wein and Gerry's good buddy Roy Thomas helped Conway decide on the structure of the book, because the book does have an specific structure to it. Showcasing each hero, the League breaks off into solo missions then combine into small groups for final missions (Gardner Fox pioneered that structure with the Justice Society in the 1940's). Oddly enough, all 15 members of the League only get together for one panel in the whole issue, so there's no grand finale to the story. The book is covered with a double-sided cover, and is loaded with splash pages! The inside covers feature an extra long editorial by Conway. Giving a little history of the team and talking about how we got to this 200th issue.
Let's get into the spoilers now. The book starts with the regular artist, at the time, George Perez (although it would also be his last issue, as he would go off to create the NEW TEEN TITANS with Marv Wolfman) giving us the secret origin of the JLA. How as individual heroes, they faced the warring constructs from the planet Appellax then circumstances forcing them to work together to defeat all of beings from Appellax. The beings from Appellax sent constructs to Earth to fight each other, as a way of determining who would be the next leader of Appellax. The constructs could infect and hypnotize human to fight for them as well. So if their plan succeeded, Earth would have been ruined in a global war. Perez would also draw all the linking scenes of the first half of the book. The bulk of the first half of the book are one-on-one (mostly) fights between the original members of the League and the one original members. Each fight is illustrated by a different artist. It starts with the Martian Manhunter, the first member to quit the League (back in 1969, #71) attacking Firestorm, the newest member. Patrick Broderick and Terry Austin handle the art and it's awesome. After the fight, all the non-founding members figure out the founding members are collecting the Appellax meteors (which the constructs came to Earth in) for some reason. So they split-up to confront the founding members who are also under the delusion that they are still in the founding time period.
Next up, Jim Aparo draws Red Tornado battle with Aquaman. The Phantom Stranger then steps in to make sure Aquaman wins. Then Dick Giordano covers Wonder Woman slugging it out with Zatanna. Gil Kane has the Atom confronting the Green Lantern, followed by Carmine Infantino with a Flash vs the Elongated Man fight. Brian Bolland handles Batman taking on Green Arrow and Black Canary. And finally Joe Kubert has Hawkman going after Superman. Adam Strange would appear to help Hawkman out. With all original seven members of the Justice League victorious, George Perez takes over as artist again. Then within the old Justice League Secret Sanctuary the founding members discover what has happened to them. Seems the Appellax aliens set-up a fail safe, in case they were destroyed by the people of Earth. Using a timed hypnotic suggestions on the original members, the heroes were forced to bring all the meteorites together which started a rebirth process. So the Wood King, the Stone God, the Fire Giant, the Crystal Creature, the Mercury Monster, the Glass Man and the Golden Roc live again! And they make quick work of the Justice League. Spreading out across the globe, they renewed their battle for Appallex.
Back in the cave at Happy Harbor (the Secret Sanctuary), the non-founding members catch-up with the founding members. The 15 heroes then break up into teams to take on the Appellaxians! Batman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna whip the Wood King, Crystal Creature and Mercury Monster. Aquaman, Elongated Man, the Flash, and the Red Tornado take down the Fire Giant and the Glass Man. And finally, The Atom, Firestorm, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter defeat the Stone God and the Golden Roc. Scooping up every last crumb of the Appellaxians (and their meteorites), the League shoots it all into the Sun, hoping to prevent this from ever happening again- and it’s been alright ever since!
So this is just superhero awesomeness cover to cover, with some of the best comic book talent ever! We did not know we had it so good back then. Modern comic books just can't seem to grasp the concept of epic superhero fun. And Conway and Perez were and awesome combo. While no one wants to miss out on Perez's work on the Titans, I still wish he could have done more Justice League with Conway. One of the greatest 'crimes' in the history of comics is how two were never allowed to finish their (original) JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VS THE AVENGERS. It surely would have been the greatest single comic ever. Either way, we still have this one, and with so many artists and heroes it's perhaps the greatest single issues ever and easily the greatest single JLA issue. I also believe Gerry Conway wrote the greatest Justice League story ever, but that's for another day. Lastly, what kind of ads did you see in this issue? Not a single one! You got all 72 pages, wall-to-wall story and art for $1.50- need I say more?
2016By Masked Man
Well as we said goodbye (and in some cases good riddance) to 2016 this weekend, I thought we should look back at it and see if it was all worth it.
As the year started out Marvel's Jonathan Hickman fueled SECRET WARS (drawn by Esad Ribic) finally came to an end. About two months after it was suppose to, meaning we had already seen this All New, All Different Marvel Universe. Spoiler, nothing really changed, aside from Ultimate Universe's Spider-Man Miles Morals now living along side Billionaire Peter Park and the Fantastic Four being a semi-permanent vacation. While the Reeds thought it would be nice to repair Dr. Doom's face (as they recreated the universe), they felt Ben Grimm should still be the Thing (wasn't that nice of them).
As the All New, All Different comics were continuing to launch, some notables were, POWER MAN & IRON FIST, getting their comic back after 30 years(!), BLACK WIDOW getting her first regular series (opposed to limited ones), and BLACK PANTHER returning to a regular series. You can see the strong connection to everything happening at Marvel Studios (movies and Netflix series).
For their part, DC finally wrapped up their 12 issue event in a series, JUSTICE LEAGUE: DARKSEID WAR. Geoff Johns' final Justice League tale came to a ridiculous conclusion #babycanon, as Darkseid was turned into a baby.
BOOM! Studio proudly launched their POWER RANGERS comic book. Later in the year they would crossover with the Justice League.
The 'Gold Key' heroes were trotted out again in GOLD KEY ALLIANCE from Dynamite, by Phil Hester and Brent Peeples. Seriously, it seems like the only company to have success with these characters was Valiant back in the 90's. Since then, they have been passed from company to company with no luck. Kinda makes ya wish Valiant bought them, instead of just licensing them. As I'm sure Valiant would still make good uses of them today.
Marvel had themselves a mini event with Avengers Standoff by Nick Spencer. It set-up Captain (Steve Rogers) America to becoming a life long Nazi or Hydra agent. Not to be left out, the X-Men had a mini-event too with DEATH OF X, which revealed the Terrigen Mist clouds circling the Earth, giving hidden Inhuman's superpowers, was also killing mutants. It ended with Cyclops being killed. More later.
Wonder Woman finally got the Earth One treatment (by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette) from DC. Currently, Superman has three, Batman has two and the Teen Titans have two as well.
Then DC's Rebirth finally hit, with writer Geoff Johns promising to buy back any issue if someone didn't like it. No real word on if he did. On one hand it was nice that DC actually admitted to screwing up with the New 52. On the other hand, they didn't really change anything about the New 52, they just killed Superman. It was also odd how Johns talked about how he set-up Rebirth to fix it DC Comics- and then left to oversee the moves full-time. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not slamming Johns for that. But it is funny for someone to say, “I'm going to fix everything- good luck without me!”
Over at Valiant, they are starting to spice up their line with events of their own. Last year had the BOOK OF DEATH and this year had Matt Kindt bringing his RAI storyline to a conclusion with 4001 AD.
Archie Comics continued with their New Riverdale update, launching BETTY AND VERONICA by Adam Hughes, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio and REGGIE AND ME by Tom DeFalco and Sandy Jarrell.
Marvel then rolled out their big event for 2016, CIVIL WAR II (which many suspect was to tie-in (in name alone) with the box office crushing CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR movie), by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. The result of the series ended with Iron (Tony Stark) Man being mostly killed, and replace with Iron (Victor Von Doom) Man and Iron (the only thing you need to know is it's female and African American) Man -er Heart. Captain Marvel, who started the whole mess (not to blame BMB of course), is now celebrated as the world's greatest hero (saving the world from Tony Stark I guess).
Over at DC, they launched two imprint lines, Young Animal and Hanna Barbera. Young Animal is headed up by (rock band) My Chemical Romance's front man Gerard Way. To create fresh comic books at appeal to Millennials: MOTHER PANIC, CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE, SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL and the DOOM PATROL. While Hanna Barbera was to take old Hanna Barbera cartoons and update them (again probably for Millennials): FINTSTONES, WACKY RACELAND, SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, and FUTURE QUEST (which oddly enough really wasn't updated).
Marvel then followed up with their yearly rebranding, “NOW!”. Which is failing to impress most fans. Plus nasty rumors say they are shipping more issues then what was order to inflate their sales numbers. NOW! also gives Marvel the No Prize Award for relaunching a comic book twice(!) in one year: NOVA (they may have been others). Marvel also got their hands on the brand “Champions” again and put to use with a Millennial team of replacement heroes.
DC then kick off their first big event in this new Rebirth era, JUSTICE LEAGUE VS SUICIDE SQUAD. Again, one can see the a strong connection with DC's box office hits (critical flops) movies. As they even mentioned the Squad could be the governments answer to the League in the film. Joshua Williamson is the writer, with a team of artists as the series has a weekly publishing schedule.
Marvel of course was not done with events either. As they rolled out INHUMANS vs X-MEN, as the year came to a close. This picks up the story from DEATH OF X, as the mutants and Inhumans continue to fight over the Terrigen Mist. Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire are handling the writing as Leinil Francis Yu handles the artwork.
For sales notables, THE WALKING DEAD was easily the best selling none DC / Marvel book of the year. DC's BATMAN was the best selling title over all. For Marvel, the CIVIL WAR and their STAR WARS titles were best sellers all year. DC dominated in the middle of the year with the release of Rebirth and the biweekly $2.99 publishing schedule. Nearly all of the Rebirth titles started very strong. But the start of the year, started with Marvel dominating and ended with Marvel dominating again. After them, the next three companies were Image, IDW, and Dark Horse, who's combined numbers can't even match DC's at their lowest (they also publish fewer books too).
As for controversy, the biggest one of the year had to be J. Scott Campbell's IRON MAN / HEART cover. While you could definitely say she looks older than she's supposed to be, you're average comic book fan hardly noticed it. But then comics get way more mainstream notice than they used to. And the with marketing department telling you the only reason to buy the title is because it features a teenage African America girl as the hero- well drawing her sexy made everyone's mind explode.
Well, that was pretty much the year in comics. The best of the year (and the farewells) will be announced, in February with the annual @$$ies Awards. Until then, sober-up, school starts soon and most of us have already had to go back to work. Here's hoping only bad celebrities die in 2017.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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