Thursday, December 30, 2010
With the ending of his own series . . Magog, this issue serves to wrap up the whole Gog / Magog storyline. Well . . sort of. At the end of his own series, Magog and N.I.L.8 were kind of running around all over the place smiting those in defiance of Magog . . non-believers. Which, I would think, would be most of the world. Anyways, they've come across this 'wonder-tech', and it seems to be controlling Magog. His friend, who took over the N.I.L.8 armor, seems to be doing this of his own volition. I guess he succumbed to the cult. He drank the cherry Kool-Aid. And of course the JSA gets involved because . . well . . Magog used to be one of their own . . David Reid. So they feel kind of responsible for him. Even though he's burned them numerous times. Anyways, long story short, David ends up gaining control. It seems his consciousness was fighting the 'wonder-tech' the whole time. Or it could have been the intervention of his one-time friends. Whatever happens . . David regains control and ends up having to take out his childhood friend in order to stop N.I.L.8. But even with it's host dead, the armor still keeps attacking. Apparently it wants a host, but doesn't necessarily need one. And in the end . . there's a big explosion with the 'wonder-tech', and David has to contain it as Magog. Which seemingly leads to his demise. At least that's what the JSA thinks. We see, however, that he's simply been transported back to Albion. Where his 'sister' and 'mother' still seem to be set on getting Magog to reassert his control over this union. But David is still refusing to give in to him. Anyways, in the end . . as far as the JSA and the rest of the world is concerned . . Magog goes out a hero. Also Axel files on Magog, the Gog tech, and the revolution have all disappeared. As well as the JSA's files on their one-time team-mate. However, David does goes a bit of a cryptic message to Axel. And there seems to still be a spark of life in the bunker where the N.I.L.8 armor came from. Obviously . . the story is far from over. But for now . . David has set out on a new path in Albion. Actually . . he's probably relieved to be away from all the stress and turmoil that he's had to face for every waking moment since becoming Magog. At first, Albion probably seems like a bit of a vacation spot for him. However, I don't think that will last for long. Scott Kolins did everything for this book. The guy has really become quite a 'catch' for DC. My only complaint about this whole book would probably be . . while there's some beautiful pages in her . . the problem I see is that when Scott does everything . . there's also some pages that look kind of rushed. But I'm sure it's hard to take on this whole book like that. Don't get me wrong. The guy is definitely talented. Personally, I just prefer substance over quantity. But that's just my own opinion. I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. And it was nice to see this story-line wrapped up . . sort of.
We start out in issue #57 shortly after Hector Hammond has stole Larfleeze's Orange Lantern from him. We catch the end of the battle, but . . Hector decides that he's more interested in obtaining Carol, so . . he heads out. Leaving Hal to console, or argue with Larfleeze. For a being of Avarice, he seems to have a hard time holding onto those items he covets the most. Anyways, while this is going on, back on Zamaron they're dealing with a crisis of their own. They've rebuilt the Star Sapphires central power battery, but . . without the entity . . whom appears to be running loose on Earth with all the rest of them . . without him, it (?), to power the battery, the Queen is left using her own strength to try and keep things going. Which is why they've got Carol, back on Earth, hunting down the Predator. I'm not sure if I've got this correct, but . . it appears that their entity has taken the Predator as it's host. So I guess Carol is trying to wrangle him and get him back to Zamaron. She doesn't accomplish that, but . . in the process of the Queen trying to help her people, she comes to the realization that Love, or power, isn't what her people are missing. What they're missing is Hope and Faith. If she can restore their Faith and Hope in their mission to find and spread Love throughout the universe, they may be able to continue without the entity's help. After Carol separates the entity from the Predator, and takes it back to Zamaron . . the Queen realizes that Carol can best encourage the Hope and Faith that her people seem to be missing. Carol comes to the realization that it's not the entity that is corrupting it's chosen hosts . . it's the other way around. The entity sought out people devoid of love . . it's opposite. And in doing so, it itself becomes corrupted. Watching Carol discover this, and confront it . . the Queen comes to a decision. 'The Lantern does not need totems. It needs our absolute faith in the power we wield.' So in her dying breath, she appoints Carol as the new Queen of the Star Sapphires. But the real revelation in this story, I think, is that if all of this is true . . this could change the whole dynamic of how the various Corps wield and harness their powers. Plus, think about it . . could it be that Hal corrupted Parallax? And not the other way around? This could change everything. But . . we'll see how Geoff Johns expounds on this interesting paradigm as this story progresses. In issue #58 we see Sinestro and Atrocitus as they begin scouring the Earth for the being that is also in search of all the various entities . . Scar. Or is it Krona? I'm not sure which, but . . either way, these two unwitting allies don't have any clue as to who it might be. We also see that Carol has decided to sink herself into her new role. Despite Hal's objections. And Larfleeze is holding somebody for Hal, who seems to know a little bit about his background. He taunts him by telling him that he knows that he was ripped away from his family, and that Larfleeze isn't his real name. And while this is going on, there's some speculation on OA as to why no one has heard from Hal since they defeated Nekron. 'I'm beginning to suspect Hal Jordan's ring is either malfunctioning . . or he doesn't want the Guardians to know what he's up to. But the truly important part of this issue is about a little girl from Michigan . . Nicole Morrison. She's been abducted, and apparently through her compassion and forgiveness for the man holding her . . the Blue entity, Adara has chosen her to be her new host. Which brings Saint Walker to Earth. She seems to want to fill everyone with Hope. She also eludes to Larfleeze's past. 'I am here to give you Hope. Your parents are still alive. And they still miss you.' And then she goes to work on Hal. But before anything can really happen . . Barry Allen, the Flash, shows up. 'We need to talk about you and your new friends, Green Lantern. Right . . NOW!' It seems Atrocitus' demolition, or murder, of the inmates in the buses in issue #58 has caught the attention of the Justice League. Flash, as well as Superman and Batman, are concerned about the people that Hal seems to be working with lately . . Sinestro, Atrocitus, Larfleeze, and in issue #59 . . the Indigo Tribe. Whom now seem to be in control of the Black Hand. The tribe has come to Earth with their entity, Proselyte, who chooses a man, Shane Thompson, to be it's new host. Everyone's immediate concern is . . 'Black Hand?' The Tribe has shown up before, when they needed them. But it surprises them to see Black Hand amongst their entourage. It turns out that their Indigo rings give their bearer 'Compassion'. But when it's explained to them, it sounds more like 'brainwashing'. And it opens up another question, 'So if the rings are forcing you to feel compassion, Indigo-1 . . what are you like without them? To which she describes, 'We are all born again.' Forcing Hal to ask another question, 'But were you all like Black Hand? Maniacs and murderers?' But rather than wait for the answer, Adara tries to help them find it. Between Saint Walker and Adara they figure out . . 'I can't sense any Hope inside of them. It appears as if Black Hand's emotions are being controlled by the ring. Perhaps that applies to all of them. The Indigo Rings are capable of channeling other light from the spectrum. I did not realize it was a necessity.' And then . . Scar shows up with Parallax. But it seems he's not interesting in re-inhabiting Hal. Instead . . he takes over Barry. So in issue #60 . . it's pretty much just a knock-down-drag-out fight between Hal and Barry. And much in the way of the Black Lanterns, Parallax taunts Hal by rehashing the failings of their friendship. But Scar shows his face, and we find out that either he's controlling the emotional spectrum's entities, or . . he seems to be trying to goad them all into coming to one place . . Earth, so that he can work out his plan. Pretty much all of the big players of each Corps, including the entities and their hosts, have shown up to try and fight this guy. Well . . all except for Sinestro . . who gets a call from his Corps-members, and races off to Qward. You can follow that story in the Green Lantern Corps title. And Atrocitus seems more interested in finding his own spectrum's entity, the Butcher, rather than following through on his agreement to help Hal. But when Scar pulls out the Blue, Yellow and Indigo entities from their hosts . . we find out his real identity . . Krona. I mean . . if you've been following this book, and the Corps' book . . we kind of knew who this was going to be. It wasn't a huge surprise, but . . it was a nice reveal. In issue #61, Atrocitus finally catches up with the Butcher, and we see it pick it's host. But it's not who we think it's going to be. We see convict getting ready to be executed for his crimes against humanity, and with his final words he taunts the father of the girl whom he killed. So when he comes busting in, I expected him to choose the convict as his host. But instead . . he chooses the father of the victim. 'James Kim of Earth. You have great rage in your heart. And I am hungry.' But that's when the Spectre becomes involved. It seems that the Spectre and the Butcher have a bit of a history. But before the Spectre can strike him down . . Atrocitus claims him as his own. But of course the Spectre has something to say about that. And while they argue . . the Butcher takes Mr Kim as a host, and then proceeds to strike down the convict. Something we find out from this exchange . . and the few previous possessions that have occurred with the other spectrum's entities . . it seems that the emotion that each of these spectrums embody isn't it's driving force. The Butcher's rage, Parallax's fear, Adara's hope . . the emotion attached to them isn't what drives them . . it's what feeds them. So as Carol discovered back on Zamaron . . it's not the entity that corrupts the host . . but the other way around. Or rather it's the raw emotion that the entities consume that seem to send them into their blind emotional rages. And when Mr Kim's rage is abated . . the Butcher can no longer get what it needs from him. And it chooses another host . . Atrocitus. However, in it's transition . . Atrocitus' willpower, along with the Spectre's help, stops the Butcher from doing so. And instead it becomes a prisoner of Atrocitus' Lantern. It seems that Atrocitus has gotten what he came for. But what about the Spectre? There's usually always some fallen soul in his wake. Well . . he begins by holding Mr Kim in judgement . . for the death that he was responsible for while inhabited by the Butcher. But Atrocitus stands up for him . . questioning the validity and function of the 'eye for an eye' principle. To which the Spectre replies . .'You dare to question scripture?' Atrocitus tells him, 'You may be objective and calm in your judgements, Spectre, but once you pass the you are no longer haunted by their victims. But the victims are our families and the hauntings never stop. No matter what blood has spilled. There will never be enough to balance the scales. So if you wish to judge James Kim, you must first judge me.' And the Spectre tries, but . .'You cannot be judged. Not now. Your mission against Krona is a holy one. But know that it will not last forever.' And finally, in issue #62, we begin the prelude to the War of the Green Lanterns storyline. We start out by learning a little about Krona's history. Including something I didn't know before . .'He was responsible for the accidental creation of the anti-matter universe and all that it gave birth to: Qward and the Weaponers, the Anti-Monitor, and ultimately, Sinestro's Yellow Ring.' We also find out that Krona discovered the pocket dimensions where a lot of the various Corps members keep their Lanterns. So most of the issue is spent in a big fight between Hal, his colleagues and Krona. But, there were a couple of 'key' moments. Having been a scientist for the Guardians . . way back when, we find out that most of the things that the various Corps now use, where actually created or designed by Krona. So there's very little they can throw at him that he hasn't already thought of, or created. Also, Krona has an 'ace' in his pocket in the form of Hector Hammond. He's still possessed by Ophidian, so . . Krona can control the entity, and thereby ,through association, Hammond's powers. Which seems to be enough to turn the tide of battle, and allow Krona to obtain the rest of the spectrum's entities. Well . . I would assume . . all except for the Star Sapphire's. But I'm not sure about that. Next thing we know, Hal's waking up in the Justice League's infirmary, and Krona has retreated into space . . the Lost Sector, maybe? I assume to plan and begin his war. But before heading off to give chase . . with the rest of his colleagues from the various Corps . . he gets a stern scolding by the 'big-guns' . . Superman, Batman and the Flash. They're trying to get him to accept their help. But, as friends . . I don't think he wants to involve them unless he absolutely has to. But there's something left hanging between Hal and his JLA peers that's going to have to be resolved sooner or later. But right now . . we're heading off into the War of the Green Lanterns. And it looks to be a doozy. Oh yeah . . there's a little preview at the end where we get to see some of the original interaction between the Guardians and Krona . . as well as a hint at some of what led to his expulsion. As well as a peak at Hal's future. Or rather, I guess, what the Guardians perceive it to be. It's also by Geoff Johns and Ed Benes. Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke have done a fantastic job of bringing us this story. And in expanding upon, and explaining aspects of the Green Lantern mythos. There's lots of little 'ah-ha' moments throughout this storyline. Doug has lots of help with the art throughout this series. It all looks great. But he also has some nice help with the variant covers. They include covers by Adrian Syaf, Alex Garner, Frank Quitely, Gene Ha, and Ryan Sook. This continues to be one of my favorite series out there. And what I believe to be one of the best written. I cant' wait to see where we go from here.
We start out this batch of issues with the Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns storyline. In it, Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg-Superman has captured Ganthet. He looks like he's using him to torture the Alpha-Lanterns, one by one, but actually . . he's trying to get him to covert them back to their original state of being . . their human being. Or . . being human. Somehow someone has convinced him that Ganthet can change them back. And if that is so . . he would also be able to, somehow, change him back. No matter what Henshaw's done throughout the years, it seems that it always comes back to him wanting to be human again. He even orders Lantern Glibberquip to blow his head off in front of Ganthet, and Lantern Stel, to show them how serious he is. Plus I think it was a way to demonstrate to Ganthet just how complete his control is over these Alpha-Lanterns. He then has Ganthet experiment on Lantern Hraalkar . . unsuccessfully. And next is Lantern Horroq Nnot. Anyways, Kyle, John and Sora are still hiding in the bowels of the planet, so . . they work there way down to where Henshaw has sent the rest of the robot population. They try to use the planets resident's respect for Stel to rally them against Henshaw. But they are completely under Hank's command. So, with not many options being left open to them . . Kyle decides to call in Hannu . . one of the Lost Lanterns. He shows up about the same time as Boodikka. Whom Henshsaw has sent to check in on the 'servants'. Even though these two were captured together, for years, with Henshaw . . Hannu is unrelenting with Boodikka. His initial attack breaks her battery, which loosens Henshaw's control over her. And before she passes, she uses her own energy to recharge the Lantern's rings. But . . then we find out . . she doesn't pass. Somehow Sora and John save her. And while this is going on . . Ganthet actually figures out how to remove the power battery from Horroq Nnot's chest . . essentially returning her to her original form . . with a few pieces added, and exchanged . . of course. And that's when John and Kyle's plan to attack, with the support of all of Grenda's robot population, occurs. In the battle Hank's body is destroyed. His essence tries to take residence in the newly revitalized Boodikka. But her willpower is just to strong for him, and she ends up destroying him. Well . . at least as far as we know. For now. When they all go back to OA, Ganthet uses what he's learned to give the rest of the Alpha-Lanterns . . if nothing else, at least the return of their human emotions. Physically they're still Alpha-Lanterns, but . . at least now their decision making process will be a little clearer. They're no longer more machine than man. And for their sacrifice in battle, the Guardians grant Ganthet, Boodikka, John, Kyle, Sora, Hannu and Stel Honor Guard status. Basically allowing them to operate in any sector they choose. The Guardians want them to be an inspiration to the rest of the Corps. Meanwhile, back on Qward, the Weaponer has come across a net of some sort that's been left behind. It's made out of the energy of the White Lantern. So he's decided to try to use it to make a weapon to fight Sinestro. And in issue #53 his plan finally comes together, and . . he strikes. But not in the way you'd expect. He goes to Korugar and starts some trouble to attract Sora's attention . . Sinestro's daughter. But she's not there right now . . Kyle is instead. Somehow the Weaponer has configured the net from the White Lantern into his shield, and now at his request it creates the perfect weapon that he needs for any situation. Kyle calls out for her, and when Sora finally does show up . . the Weaponer makes short work of both of them and then captures her and takes her back to Qward. He tells Kyle to warn Sinestro that he has his daughter, because he wants to kill him. The reason he hasn't drawn him directly into battle is because . . for what he's done to him, Qward, and the entire anti-matter universe . . the Weaponer wants him to die on Qward. Kyle goes back to Earth to warn him, but . . Sinestro doesn't seem very eager to help, or to try to save his daughter. Which brings Kyle and Sinestro to odds. Kyle just wants Thaal to come back with him to Qward and help him save his daughter . . Kyle's girlfriend. But for some reason . . Sinestro wants nothing to do with this mission. We also find out that the truce between the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps is not violated so long as they don't use their rings. So instead, Kyle returns to OA and enlists the aid of his fellow honor guards. In the meantime, back on Qward, the Weaponer tells his story to Sora. We find out how, and why, the Weaponers decided to make the yellow rings in the first place, and then what Sinestro . . and later his Sinestro Corps, did to enslave and disparage the entire Qwardian race. It actually all revolves around the being that they looked to as their god . . the Anti-Monitor. Anyways, Kyle and the rest of the Honor Guard show up on Qward. With every intention of rescuing Sora, but . . they aren't prepared to deal with the Weaponer's new weapon . . the net made of White Light. Therefore, he makes pretty short work of all of them. Well . . all except Kyle. He's managed to stay out of the battle in lieu of searching for Sora. By the time he does find her . . and they abscond with some of the Weaponer's own weapons to fight him with . . their fellow Lanterns have all been subdued. However, the Weaponer's own fellow Qwardians consider him an outcast. Since he's the one that forged the original ring for Sinestro, the entire planet blames him for everything bad that's happened to them. And honestly . . they've been through a lot. But the point is . . they don't really care if the Green Lanterns kill him or not. However, I'm sure they're more than a little dismayed when next . . the entire Sinestro Corps shows up at their doorstep. Well . . everyone except for Sinestro, that is. However, it isn't long before he joins the fray as well. As he explains it to the Weaponer . . 'I sent my troops ahead, as any wise General would. I arrive on my terms . . not yours.' And we learn that Kyle and Thaal's little tussle back on Earth was kind of a prelude to what happens here. Apparently the 'no rings' policy, as far as the truce between the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps, also applies here. The Sinestro Corps want to wipe out Qward. Or at least it's population. And obviously the Green Lantern Corps can't let that happen. But . . they have to figure out how to stop them without breaking the truce. As we learned from Ganthet in issue #55, Attrocitus is on Earth trying to find out who is behind the abduction of all of the entities . . and where they're taking them. Apparently Ganthet knows that it's Scar, but . . he doesn't know where Scar is at. However, he does know that the only way they'll be able to stand up to Scar . . especially with the power of the various entities, is with Sinestro's help. But he won't do that if the truce is broken. Hannu is the first to jump in. He doesn't like to use his ring anyways. And Kyle and Sora gather up a bunch of weapons from the Weaponer's arsenal. Issue #56 ends with the Corps . . or rather the Honor Guard, standing side-by-side with the Qwardians, ready to face off against Sinestro and his Corps. In the final chapter, Firestorm is also drawn to this planet . . apparently by the use of the White Light. He's actually in search of the Black Lantern version of himself, Deathstorm. So this is kind of a cross-over with Brightest Day. And it will probably serve to explain, in that book, how Firestorm ended up being in the anti-matter universe. And more specifically on the planet Qward. Anyways, Ronnie and Jason are hell-bent on finding him because the evil guy has absorbed Professor Stein and Jason's own father into his own matrix. And since Firestorm doesn't have any kind of truce with the Sinestro Corps, he's more than willing to help out in this battle. But even with his help, things are pretty much a stalemate. However, we do get a bit of a twist at the end. Sinestro seems to have beaten the Weaponer, but instead of killing him . . he offers him a position on his Corps. The Weaponer is now a Yellow Lantern. And . . there's another question I have about the end of this story. When Sinestro and the rest of his Corps head back to Earth . . including the Weaponer . . it appears that the White Lantern net is no longer attached to his shield. So . . where is it? He may have it. It's never really explained that he doesn't. But when we see him last, it doesn't appear to still be attached to his shield. So . . where is it? Hopefully that will all be explained in the Firestorm part of this story. But, we also find out at the end, from Ganthet, that not only do they face Scar when they return to Earth, but also . . Krona. Remember when, way back when, the JLA were tricked into believing that he was still in his other dimensional prison? Firestorm appeared to be the only one that suspected things to be different. Anyways, this is all leading into the next big storyline . . War of the Green Lanterns. The first part of this group of books . . the Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns, is brought to us by Tony Bedard, with Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes doing the art. And it really does look fantastic. The Weaponer storyline is also brought to us by Tony, but with Tyler Kirkman and Batt doing the art. It looks just as good. The thing I like about this book is the diversity of characters. There are so many great, and interesting characters here. And it appears that Tony is going to introduce us to as many of them as possible. And now that Hal and Guy each have their own books, we get to see more of Kyle, John and the rest in this one. This book is a great read . . and an action-packed thrill-ride through each of it's pages. I look forward to it every month.
Monday, December 27, 2010
This episode introduces Clark to alternate universes. In this one, Clark is transported to the world where he's been raised by Lionel Luthor . . rather than the Kent's, and he's taken on the persona of Ultra-man. He's a very evil and power hungry man on this world. Anyways, Tess is bequeathed a Kryptonian relic . . the mirror-box, by her estranged father, Lionel. Clark finds it, while at Cadmus looking into the Lex clone that's on the loose. When he activates it the two Clarks switch places. On the other Earth he finds out about Tess being Luthor's daughter, and that this other Clark had held this world in a grip of fear. Fearing for his own world, he tries to find the way back. Of course he does, and all is put right. But I think the real purpose of this story was to work Lionel back into the mix of things. When Clark does finally find the other world's mirror-box, with Ollie's help, he comes back but . . Lionel is close by. Somehow Clark doesn't know it, but Lionel has also come back to his Earth with him . . on his heels, or coat-tails. And it looks like he's decided to lay low and get the feel for this Earth before he makes any big moves. This also resolves all the secrets that Tess has been hiding. Her and Clark talk about Alexander, and her being the bastard child of Lionel. So far it seems like Clark trusts her. But it's probably tenuous at best. And . . they haven't told everybody else yet. I'm sure there will be some dissenting opinion. I think this is shaping up to be a great season. I can't wait to see how it all shakes out.
In their Thanksgiving episode, we get even more revelations about Volkoff and his relationship with Chuck's mom. It appears that in the many years that she's been working for him . . deep undercover for the CIA . . he's actually developed some pretty deep feelings for her. That, apparently, is why he always seems so protective of her. We thought it was because he knew that she was a double-agent . . or maybe suspected so. But actually . . he's in love. Well . . as in love as a guy like this can get. In usual Chuck fashion, he and Elle don't really celebrate anything traditionally. Instead, they have an after Thanksgiving left-over dinner. Anyways, first Sarah and Chuck are attacked by some of Volkoff's assassins. They seem to be holding their own, but . . they're still outnumbered. Until Chuck's mom comes along and saves the day. Actually, she was ordered by Volkoff to take out Chuck, when he learned that he was still alive, so technically . . these guys are working for her. They take her into custody and try to interrogate her. During which Volkoff captures Jeff and Lester, and places a bomb inside the Buy More. He's threatening to take them all out unless Frost is returned to him. They end up in a confrontation outside of Castle, where Volkoff learns that Chuck is actually Frost's son. Which also occurs just as Elle calls to invite everyone over for dinner. So . . long story short . . Volkoff meets everybody, after which . . he still wants to kill them all. But Frost won't let him. But she also won't leave him. Sarah realizes, and tells Chuck that she's doing so to ensure that they all stay alive. Because of Awesome and Elle's involvement in all of this . . plus Awesome's revelation that Chuck is still in the spy-business . . Awesome gives Chuck his father's computer back to him. Of course he solves the riddle that Elle couldn't, and . . ta-da . . the Intersect is back in Chuck's head. All of this is interwoven with hilarious scenes of the Buy More, as well as Morgan and the rest of the 'Nerds'. I especially thought the scene with Chuck and Morgan, deciding that they need to get some training in, attend a kick/strip class. That's what I think I like so much about this show. There's the scenes of action and adventure, but then . . there's also the scenes of sheer stupidity. I love it. I think it's great. But now I have another show to watch . . the Cape.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to go about this, but . . I've got a whole lot of issues here, so . . I guess it's best just to get started. As we go through these 8 or 9 issues, a lot of the story revolves around Boston Brand and Dove. They're on a mission, by the White Lantern Ring . . the one on Boston's finger, that keeps talking to him . . they're on a mission to find 'the new Protector'. The problem is, they have no idea who or what they're looking for. The White Ring can be pretty vague when it's talking to it's 12 disciples here. Well . . maybe disciple isn't the best word. It's not like they're serving the White Ring . . or even understand it. It's more like . . they all know that the White Ring brought them back, and . . they're all just trying to figure out why. And, even though the White Ring is pretty vague . . it still speaks up and creates havoc for them all whenever they get off in a direction that the White Ring doesn't approve of. They've been given life, and power, and free-will . . as long as they continue along the path of the goals of the White Ring. It doesn't sound very benevolent to me, but . . I'm thinking at this point . . it's more like it's just misunderstood. Anyways, Boston and Dove are off on their mission, after separating rather quickly from Hawk. Apparently whatever his purpose . . it's divergent from the other two. Although . . I thought his mission was to protect Dove. Anyways, their search is pretty futile until Batman returns. Boston is convinced that he's the only person smart enough to be the 'new Protector'. But . . his assumption turns out to be erroneous. But he does learn another lesson. 'Quit Searching. Live Life. The Chosen One Will Come To You!' And during the course of this . . a spark ignites between Boston and Dove. There may be a bit of a romance brewing here. Or is it just a connection between their individual connections to this White Light? Also during the course of these issues, a whole lot of stuff happens to J'onn. It starts out we he and M'gann searching for this other Green Martian that attacked her. He's been told by the White Ring that he needs to 'Burn Down The Forest', so . . when he finds the psychic dead zone in what is now Ollie's forest in Star City . . he thinks that's what the ring is talking about. Of course it doesn't help that his powers run amok as soon as he enters the forest. It appears that his psychic and physical selves are at war with each other. Also, since his return, his proximity to plant life acts much the same way as Arthur's to sea life . . they suck the life out of everything within close proximity to them. Anyways, it's not long before Ollie gets involved and helps him get out of the forest. Once he gets a chance to clear his head he realizes that the ring is talking about the forest that he's brought back to life on Mars. So he heads there, where he finds D'kay D'razz trying to corrupt everything that he's tried to recreate. Apparently she was a very powerfully psychic Green Martian that was imprisoned for her erratic beliefs. In that prison, deep under the surface of Mars, she also survived the extinction of it's people. When Professor Erdel brought J'onn to Earth . . all those years ago, he apparently also pulled her along for the ride. However, she wasn't ready for the psychic assault of all the minds on Earth, so she retreated and hid in human form for all these years . . forgetting the memories of her Martian heritage. That is until J'onn died, and his telepathic burst awakened her. But she still thought that she was alone until she saw on TV that J'onn had returned. So now, I guess, she wants to be part of Mars' return. She tricks J'onn into thinking that in a burst of White Ring power, he brings everything, and everyone on Mars back to life. He also apparently lives out this fantasy for what he believes to be the next 25 years. That is until events in this fantasy convince him that he's dreaming and that he needs to awaken. What D'kann has neglected to tell him is that he's brought the plant life on Mars back to life by siphoning from the plant life of Earth. In order to bring one back, he'd have to destroy the other. Which obviously D'kann doesn't really care about. But obviously J'onn is going to have to decide between bringing Mars back, or . . giving up on the whole idea. On Hawkworld, Carter and Shiera find out that this world is ruled over by Queen Shrike. Who is actually Shiera's original mother . . from way back in Egypt . . Queen Khea. Apparently her, and Hath Set's mission is to activate the gate that he's created out of the bones of all of Carter's and Shiera's resurrected lives. They need Carter and Shiera to be in contact with it to activate it. They capture Shiera, and through that lure Carter into their trap. In the process, Shiera kills Hath Set . . which Queen Shrike would've done eventually, anyways. And now it appears that she's got her doorway and sights set on Earth. But actually . . she and her army head to Zamaron. Although, I'm not really sure why . . yet. Aquaman and Mera are on a mission of their own. Aquaman has recently found out that Mera is actually one of the Atlanteans that was banished to Xebel. She originally came here to kill Arthur . . because of her people's hatred towards him and the Atlanteans. But she fell in love with him instead. Now her sister, Siren has shown up and is trying to finish what Mera started. Anyways, there's another person from Xebel here also . . Jackson . . Black Manta's son, and the future Aqualad. The reason he's so important to everyone is because in his powers he holds the key to open the portal between Xebel and Earth . . which lies in the Bermuda triangle. Siren and her people want him so that he can open the gate and they can exact their revenge upon the Atlanteans, as well as the land-dwellers. I'm not sure how Black Manta plays into that whole plan . . other than the fact that he's Jackson's biological father, but . . apparently Siren wants to use him for some reason. Anyways, Aquaman and Mera want to stop all of this because . . well, who really wants an all out war between the denizens of the deep and the rest of Earth? Anyways, during the course of all this, Jackson finds out his true origins from Arthur. His mother was a surface dweller, and when Jackson was born . . she died. His powers came about because of experiments they did on him when he was an infant. And at first he lashes out at Arthur, until . . he realizes just how much alike the two of them are. Although their two circumstances are quite different . . their way of looking at the world . . and their place in it . . is quite similar. And then . . we have Firestorm. First of all . . this is a character that's near and dear to my heart. I've been following Ronnie and the Professor ever since their very first mini-series back in 1978. I've read every appearance of his since. I'm thrilled the Geoff Johns has taken an interest in him and is trying to once again adapt him to the current times, and state of affairs within the DC Universe. This is a great character, and I was really upset when the first series was cancelled. In fact, at the time, I even submitted a few story ideas of my own, to try to keep the character alive . . a way to explain some of the things that had happened at the end there. Anyways, I'm just happy that he's been given some new life, and a new purpose. Even if, right now, it appears that fate may be the end of the entire DC Universe. Anyways, what's happened is that now Ronnie and Jason inhabit the Firestorm matrix. Each providing their own unique wisdom and guidance. And either can be in the driver's seat. But, there's also someone else in there. Apparently, because of their respective guilt or regrets, neither of them have been able to let go of the negative, or dark side of their egos. Thus creating a third ego inside of the matrix, and . . he calls himself Deathstorm. He looks like the Black Lantern version of Firestorm. Probably because that's the way that both of the boys see him. And that's part of what they both feel most guilty about . . the things they did as a Black Lantern. Anyways, this entity has released itself from the matrix, and has assimilated the Professor and Jason's father, Alvin, into it's own being. We also find out that this version of Firestorm can transmute organics. Which is how he appears to bring the Black Lanterns back to life, when he transmutes the fallen heroes out of the dirt around him. But the Ronnie/Jason version of Firestorm isn't without a set of it's own improvements. First of all, they're much more powerful together than either of them were separately. But, in that power comes a price. They have to stay calm and focused because . . they appear to be the living embodiment of the 'Big Bang'. The Professor theorizes that the accident that originally created Firestorm . . bonding his and Ronnie's lives together, forever . . was actually him not only recreating the 'Big Bang', but . . also capturing it. Thus creating the Firestorm matrix. So . . if they should become agitated or upset . . the resultant release of energy could be a spark for the next 'Big Bang'. In the end, the boys decide to go to the JLA to try to seek some help. But, while being examined by Dr Mid-Nite and Ray Palmer, the boys become upset and it appears that they explode, literally, in a cacophony of rage. The issue ends with them appearing to be the only living thing within an overwhelming vastness of darkness. Obviously they didn't destroy the DC Universe, but . . what did happen? And what about the good Doctor and Ray? I think this is a fantastic series and I've loved every issue in it. I think Geoff Johns and Peter J Tomasi are doing a great job with the story. Obviously all these individual stories are connected, but . . we don't get to see the picture as to how . . yet. I also think it's a good idea to leave Max Lord out of this series, as he's the chief protagonist in the Generation Lost series. His story is being explored and expanded upon there. But, he is brought up every once in a while here. Really the only one of these resurrected 'heroes' that I'm a bit confused about is the Reverse Flash. But, I still have to catch up on the Flash book, so . . hopefully I'll know some more then. Anyways, this series has also brought together a fantastic pool of talent. The art chores on these books have been shared by Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Adrian Syaf, Joe Prado and Scott Clark. Not to mention some beautiful covers by David Finch. Anyways . . I've really been thrilled with this book so far. I'm sorry that it took me so long to get this posted . . personal problems and issues, and all. I guess I was just a little overwhelmed by what I was trying to bite off here, plus . . this is post #5000. I wanted to make it a good one, and about a book that I really enjoyed. I think I put a little bit to much pressure on myself. Oh well. Such is life. Anyways . . it feels good to get that one out of the way and to move on to whatever the future may hold. I'll try to post as much as I can, but . . with my personal life it's been getting harder and harder. But I promise . . I'll do what I can.
I had to include Justice League #48 here because it's all part of the Dark Things story-line. This is the cross-over event between the JSA and the JLA this year. James Robinson does a great job with the story, and I'm really enjoying Mark Bagley's work on the JLA . . and by association, this entire storyline. Well . . except for issue #43 which is the epilogue to this series, and sets the groundwork for the future of the JSA. Well . . kind of. It actually sets the stage for Alan Scott's next evolution and role within the JSA. As well as Jade and Obsidian. Anyways, that issue is by Jesus Merino. Also Mark Bagley not only did the covers, but . . if you take all 5 chapters of this story-line, it provides a nice panoramic view of both teams. My only concern is that Mark does some work on the 150th issue of Ultimate Spider-man, and . . there's reports of him going back to Marvel to do some more work. I'm afraid this may be his swan-song as a DC artist. I don't know that for sure, but . . if so . . that would definitely be a loss for DC. As well as the readers. I think he's brought a great energy to the titles that he's done over the last year or two here. But . . such is the way of the comic book creator. Right? Anyways, Issue #42 shows us the amalgamation of Jenni-Lynn and Todd . . Jade and Obsidian. Apparently their respective powers exemplify the light and dark natures of the Star-Heart. With this new more powerful Star-Heart on the scene . . and their already seeming lack of control of their powers over the years . . especially Todd . . it seems as if they've been drawn together to form a physical manifestation of the Star-Heart persona. But, part of it is also because, for some reason, the Star-Heart is afraid of Jenni. Or at least uncomfortable with her. I think it all has to do with her being dead . . then a Black Lantern . . then resurrected . . and in this issue, for a short period of time, a White Lantern. Anyways, it's that power that she's tapped into that she eventually uses to break free of her brother. Although it breaks both their hearts as they can now never be within about a half mile of each other, as the temptation for this amalgamation will be to strong for either of them. Anyways, Faust figures out that the Star-Heart isn't actually there because Alan is really only a construct. He figures this out because the Star-Heart is using Fate to bind the heroes. Therefore, the real Alan/Star-Heart must be someplace else, and consequently . . they can attack without fear of consequence. Unfortunately . . for the Star-Heart, after this revelation Fate regains his composure, and after dissipating the Alan construct . . they force Alan and the real Star-Heart to return to the moon to face this army on it's own. And that's the beginning of the end. Alan shortly regains control, and the war is over. However, for Alan . . it's a tenuous relationship at best. Because of the Star-Heart's increased power he has to remain in control at all times. The slightest misstep and everything starts all over . . again. Finally in issue #43 . . the epilogue . . we find that Alan has decided to keep the Star-Heart's city on the dark side of the moon in tact. In fact it's become a safe-zone, of sorts, for all types of magical creatures from Earth. He's also become their leader . . for lack of a better term. Maybe administrator is better. And he's formed alliances with many other magical worlds. This includes Sorcerer's world, the 5th dimension, and Gemworld . . to name a few. Most of this issue is spent with Alan explaining all of this to Todd, as well as the dangers of him and his sister falling into the trap of the Star-Heart again. It's nice to see Alan and Todd talking like this again, but . . I don't think Todd fully accepts his father's reasoning. I have a feeling this is going to be something that's going to come back and bite them all in the butt again . . sooner or later. Also, between parts 5 and the epilogue . . JLA #48 and JSA #43 . . it seems like there's something missing. Almost like there's a part of the story in there that we didn't get to see, or something. I don't know . . maybe it's just me. Overall I really enjoyed the story. I thought it was a good run. Then in issues #44, #45 and #46 we start off in a new direction, under the tutelage of Marc Guggenheim and Scott Kolins. It starts out that there's this guy (?) that's been locked in this Afghanistan prison for the last 5 years. Two months ago he breaks out, and a couple of weeks later ends up in Monument Point wreaking havoc. It appears to me that all of this happens before the Dark Things story-line. The story actually starts out in the present, with Jay being asked to become the new Mayor of Monument Point, and . . then we flash back 2 months to what I assume are the events leading up to this. The reason I'm pretty sure this occurs before the Dark Things is because Alan is seriously hurt . . paralyzed actually, and taken to a hospital in Florida. So, in the course of stopping this obviously super-powered terrorist, the JSA pretty much lay waste to this little town. After they beat him, the stop to survey the damage and Wildcat asks . . ' . . what have we done?' In issue #45 we find out that this new 'super-villain' is actually connected to a mission Jay and Alan had during WWII. Since they were being kept out of Germany by the Spear of Destiny, they decided to do what they could in Japan. They were ordered to destroy a secret project called 'Drachen'. What they found was a baby. So obviously they couldn't bring themselves to destroy it. Fast forward to the present and 'Drachen' is this new 'super-villain' that they're calling Scythe. So ultimately Jay and Alan are responsible for everything that's happened here. Which forces Jay to decide that he's going to stick around and help them rebuild. Then in issue #46 we find out, for sure, that this is actually happening after the Dark Things. Alan talks to Dr Mid-Nite about how he's pure energy, but . . he's taken physical form. And with all the concentration he has to wield to keep the Star-Heart in check . . he doesn't have enough energy to heal himself. They've got Scythe locked up in a local back vault . . which Michael converted into a prison cell, but . . he still appears to be pulling some strings. The Mayor's aide, Mr Hogan, has hired a Dr Chaos for some reason or another. All we know is that at the end of the issue Lightning loses her powers, and appears to be dead, as does the new Mayor . . Mayor Voytek. Of course it doesn't help that Todd decides he wants to enact some revenge on Scythe for what he did to his father. He ends up distracting Jay right when he's needed most. The blurb at the end of all of this . . for next issue is . . 'Things get worse!' That doesn't bode well for . . anyone. I like the story-line so far. I'm just a little confused about the timeline. In the beginning of all this Jay was being asked to be Mayor . . after Voytek's death. Then we see that Scythe broke out of his cell 2 months before that. He attacked this city 3 weeks after that. The initial attack is when Alan was paralyzed. So I'm not sure how this all fits in with the previous story-line. Or, maybe . . I'm just reading to much into all of this and I just need to accept the story for what it is, and not get all caught up in the continuity of the situation. Right? It certainly sounds like a plan to me. Anyways . . great covers by Shane Davis. And on issue #46, Mike Norton steps in to help out Scott on the pencils. Oh yeah, and the title of this story-line is 'Supertown' . . for whatever reason.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Captain America is somebody that I've always held a passing interest in. However . . I can't afford everything. So . . I don't usually follow this book, or character on a regular basis. I do however know enough about the character that I'm not usually lost if I decide to pick up a few issues . . or follow a mini-series. I really liked the story about Cap's return, so . . when I saw this mini-series coming out, I decided to give it a shot. Of course it didn't hurt that Dale Eaglesham was doing the art. I think he's a great talent. I love his work. Anyways, in the first issue we saw that Doctor Erskine . . the original doctor that created the Super-Soldier formula . . apparently he had a grandson. And, as evil genius' progeny are apt to do, he's also decided to follow in his grand-father's footsteps and is trying to recreate, or refine, the formula. However, he doesn't appear as altruistic as his grand-father, as he's attempting to mass produce it and sell it on the open market. However, when Steve goes to Mandipoor to confront him, the professor is as shocked as he, as he claims that he was developing it as a cure for cancer. But he doesn't tell him much else as a sniper bullet then ends his life. Steve's also surprised to see the the professor's wife bears a striking resemblance to his first love, Lieutenant Cynthia Glass. But she died back in WW II, so . . this can't be her. It isn't long though before we find out that the actual person behind all of this madness is the Machinesmith. He's an enemy that Steve has faced before. But in his previous demise, his soul, or personality, was captured within an electronic device. He can now apparently move from one electrical device to another at a whim. So he's infiltrated the professor's company, Nextin Pharmaceuticals. He built a construct to pose as his head of security, and then he built a woman to be his wife, Anita . . who also resembled Cynthia, to lure Steve into the picture. Anyways, by the end of issue #2 the Machinesmith has deactivated the serum in Steve's body, and has reverted him back to his 98 pound weakling self. I assume that the reason he doesn't also age is because the serum is actually still in his bloodstream. It's just dormant. I guess. Anyways, Anita helps him get back to normal, and then . . they're off to stop the sale of the formula. In issue #3 we learn a lot about what made Steve the man he is. And it doesn't really have a lot to do with the formula. Sure it helped him achieve physical perfection, but . . the drive, the stamina, the desire for truth and justice . . those things all came from Steve's adolescence and his personal experience. And then all the fighting and strategy and such was taught to him when he joined the armed forces. So . . keep that in mind, because next Steve takes down the Machinesmith. With Anita's help of course. She sacrifices herself. During the course of the fight Steve gets the Machinesmith to destroy everything else in the bunker. So when they shut down the satellite and cell transmissions, he has nowhere else to go but into his creation . . Anita. However, with the Beast's help, they've rigged her so that signals can get in . . but nothing can get out. And then Steve shuts him off. Unfortunately you know the Machinesmith will be back. He's not going to be taken out that easily. But in the epilogue we find out the he's not the real villain here. At least . . he's not the brains behind the whole thing. We find out that Dr Erskine faked his death. And then, with what looks to be a government type, they massaged the circumstances so that it looked like the Machinesmith had manipulated this whole series of events. When actually they were the ones putting all the pieces into place. Since Steve took out the Machinesmith he has no reason to suspect, or look in their direction. And they are proceeding with the Super-Soldier program. But they're focusing on Steve's social/economical background as well as his body type. They've got a dozen or so young men around Steve's original age . . with similar life experiences that they're keeping an eye on. So, nothing will be happening soon . . probably. But . . it's still in the works. This is all going to come back to bite Steve sooner or later. I thought Ed Brubaker constructed a great story here. The Machinesmith part of it all was a bit predictable, but . . I liked the little twist at the end. And of course Dale's art looked fantastic. Overall this storyline probably wasn't to important to the character, other than putting into motion a series of events that will affect Steve in the future. But . . it was interesting. And . . I liked it.