Monday, May 27, 2013

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 5/22

Aquaman #20
Story: John Ostrander
Art: Manuel Garcia

John Ostrander's return to DC Comics is this fun issue of Aquaman, focusing on The Others, the team of new heroes series regular writer Geoff Johns introduced in his second arc. We spent some time with The Others in that arc, but since Aquaman was present for so much of that story, they were playing second banana to him, which makes sense, because it's his comic. But this issue he has just a cameo, so we get to see new sides of The Others. The Operative, super spy extraordinaire, has some serious issues with his family. We learn more about the secret loves of Ya'wara, the warrior woman. And while we don't learn more about the Prisoner-of-War, we get to see him in action again, with his ghost soldiers fighting an army of skinwalkers. The team also gains a new member, taking up one of the Atlantean artifacts left by the two members who dies in the previous arc, Sky Alchesay, a Native American with the ability to talk to the spirit world. The plot itself is a simple one, with The Others sent to retrieve an Atlantean weapon, and Sky lead to them by the spirit of her mother, but it does a good job of letting new readers understand who The Others are. It feels like Ostrander is setting up future plotlines for them, including who will replace the other lost member of the team and take up the Helmet, the last artifact. I hope that Ostrander is given the chance, maybe with a mini-series to spend more time with these interesting new characters.

Batman: Li'l Gotham #2
Story & Art: Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs

With so few all ages books left in the DC line since the cancellation of Superman Family Adventures and Young Justice, I'm glad to have this family friendly Batman comic. The second holiday themed issue features Christmas and New Year's stories. The Christmas story is a Batman and Nightwing adventure, as they rescue children kidnapped by Mr. Freeze. But like most good Mr. Freeze stories using the classic Paul Dini origin, there's more to the kidnapping, and the end of the story is heartwarming. The New Year's story is a tale of the Gotham City Sirens, as Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn spend the night after New Year's midnight on a New Year's Revolution. Catwoman tries to turn over a new leaf, but after saving animals from experimentation, stealing toys for orphans, and stealing snacks for the love of it, that resolution goes the same way my annual one to spend less on comics does, and goes right out the window. The stories are pure fun, with the usual gorgeous art from Nguyen and Fridolfs. Yes, it's nearly summer, but what better way to stay cool than to read about winter in Gotham?

Green Lantern #20
Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnke, et al.

That's how you end an era. After nearly ten years, Geoff Johns signs off on the book that made him a superstar. I've only been following the core Green Lantern title since the reboot, and have been pleased that I don't feel lost in any of the events that have happened. This issue takes events from as far back as the Green Lantern: Rebirth mini-series and ties it all together in one giant sized issue that establishes Hal Jordan as the core Green Lantern once again. The issue rewards having been with Johns for his run, with nods to all the Lantern Corps and the Blackest Night, and appearances by all the characters that Johns has introduced in his mammoth run. While the story is ambitious, it never loses the human angel that has been part and parcel with Johns's take on Hal Jordan. The story also spends a good amount of time with Sinestro, really getting into the heart of the relationship between Jordan and his arch enemy and sometimes friend. While not everyone gets a happy ending, everyone gets a satisfying one, and there are a few surprising happy endings that I didn't see coming. Johns is joined by nearly every artist he has worked with over the course of these past nine years, all doing a few pages in tribute to their contribution to making Green Lantern one of the cornerstones of the DC Universe again. Next month, Robert Venditti takes over chronicling Hal Jordan's adventures, and Geoff Johns is off on new adventures; I'll be following along wherever he goes.

Half Past Danger #1
Story & Art: Stephen Mooney

Dinosaurs, Nazis, and beautiful spies. Sounds like something out of the pulps, right? Well, Half Past Danger is one of those comics that reads like a classic pulp. As Sgt. Tommy Flynn leads his men on a recon mission against a Nazi outpost on a mysterious island, only to be the only survivor of an attack by dinosaurs. Two months later, Flynn is drunk in a New York bar when a beautiful British Intelligence agent, a strapping US Army captain, and a ninja show up to ask him questions about that mysterious mission. The comic is a fun, wild adventure, with the same feel as something like The Rocketeer, a period comic that is fun for fun's sake. Creator Stephen Mooney's art is stunning. The dinosaurs are astounding, and Agent Huntington-Moss is gorgeous World War II dame with a sense of style. If you've enjoyed The Rocketeer, Black Beetle, or any comic set in the 40s, this is a book well worth your time.

No comments: