Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reviews part 8: Zombies! Swooning! Cheesecake! Angst! Zombies!

[Edited to give the post a title]

Spoilers ahead for Empowered volume 3, Action Comics # 879, Wednesday Comics #2, Superman/Batman # 62, Titans #15 (Zombie preparation), Blackest Night #1 (Zombie attack)
Empowered volume 3
This was a re-read, chosen for it’s quickness and lightheartedness. I’d left Justina Robson’s Selling Out someplace else and didn’t want anything to disturb that story.

Empowered did the trick. This is a story about a superheroine (superchica) whose powers are in her suit. She’s a rather inept crimefighter so her suit gets ripped quite often, which leads to her losing her powers. Emp then gets tied up, kidnapped and held for ransom as the plot demands it. It’s all in black and white which I find disappointing – it’s easier for me to read colour art, but having said that the art is very clear so that’s not really a problem.

Emp has a boyfriend, Thugboy, ex Witless Minion, and a best friend named Ninjette. There is also the Caged Demonwolf (who speaks in alliteration and is an eldritch starspawn imprisoned inside power-draining alien bondage gear), and the superhomeys, who are rather mean to Emp. The idea came about after Adam Warren was sick of being asked to draw sexy damsels in distress at conventions.

It is amusing and does succeed in poking fun at the superhero genre - see the sexy librarian episode and the A.R.R story. There are some genuinely touching bits - such as when Thugboy is talking about how Emp sleeps and his origin memoir.

Adam Warren draws very well but I’m not convinced about his writing skills. Some parts are very good, others seem more forced. Maybe that is down to the style though – the language of this annoys me, ‘superchica’, ‘witless minions 4eva yo’ etc. I realise that is part of the joke but it still grates. I think I take things too seriously somrtimes...

The last story features a captured Ninjette beign rescued by Emp and Thugboy. It’s good to see Emp be useful, but also notable to Linda Danvers fans that she gets wings during the confrontation. I have no real evidence that this is in any way linked to the earthborn angel story, but I like to draw parallels.

On the whole it’s worth checking out. Probaby best to start from volume 1 though – I think my reading of it suffers from coming in halfway through.

Action Comics # 879
First thoughts are that nearly a week after reading this I can’t recall much of it, that’s probably not a good sign..[swiftly opens comic and flicks through]..oh yes, the 2 crazy Kryptonians, Nightwing and Flamebird are due for a fight with some orcs.. Flamebird gets caught and the orc leader takes a peek inside her mind. We see Chris, a crystal rose, an angry Kara, Ursa, robots and some other Kryptonian folk.

Then it does get interesting, the Flamebird aspect of Thara bursts through and burns the orc folk to a crisp. She also get wings….curioser and curioser.

We also see Lois get confirmation from Mon-El that her father’s bones aren’t in his grave, proving to Lois that he’s not dead. The art shows her reaction beautifully (it’s a happy one).

Mysterious lady with the blue face reveals more of her powers – teleportation I am assuming, although as we don’t actually see it occur it could be something else (an ability to step out of time for instance).

The Super titles are gearing up for the Codename: Patriot crossover and I am not remotely interested. The back up is Captain Atom, and again I don’t care one iota. I could easily drop this title, but I won’t because I’m a completist.

Wednesday Comics #2
The format is wonderful, the art is so varied and I love the fact it’s out of continuity. Two weeks in and I have more of a handle on the stories. I do not care for Strange Adventures, Metal Men, Sgt Rock, The Demon and Catwoman or Green Lantern.

I think the strongest stories are Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Supergirl –
Superman because of the art and the way range of emotions they’ve packed in already.
Wonder Woman because of the density of it, the unusual lettering and setting of the story.
The Flash for the split panel aspect and the recent cliffhanger. Supergirl is just all out fun – nothing too serious is going to happen here.

I am pleased to see Teen Titans including all aspects of the team and a well balanced Tim. Neil Gaiman is having a lot of fun writing Metamorpho, going for an old time feel, but the strip itself isn’t outstanding. Batman has made me like Batman. Kamandi I have never come across before but am very much enjoying. Deadman has good art and layout. Hawkman is Hawkman-y - I liked issue #1s Flap Flap Flap narration and was disappointed to see this strip being told from Hawkman’s POV.

Overall, a winner.

Superman/Batman # 62
If it weren’t for the advent of the zombies this would have been hands down my favourite book of the week, nay, month. The basic premise is the junior sidekicks - Tim and Kara - hanging out for lunch, talking about their mentors and remembering their first team up.

Tim is not angsty, he’s happy, friendly and well balanced. There is such a marked difference between him in this issue and Tim in Red Robin. Nevermore999, if you’re reading this post, you’d love this issue.

There’s a truly wonderful depiction of Batman (and his teeth) fighting crime in Gotham, and Kara is in secret identity mode, meeting Tim as Linda Lang. Rafael Albuquerque is a damn fine artist. Colours are done by Rob Leigh – he’s got a really important job in this issue as he shows the different moods of both the protagonists and the rooms/places they occupy.

I think this version of Kara is the one most people wanted to see when the Supergirl was first launched. She’s not snarky or messed up, she’s heroic, honourable and pure - so pure the horrors of Arkham Aslyum drive her to a black rage. As much as I love this issue I prefer immature snarky Kara to immature peppy Kara. What can I say – pep and innocence irk me.

Robin and Kara have each other backs throughout the issue and by the end their friendship is cemented, both preventing the other from crossing the line.

They should definitely do this again or at the very least give Robin and Supergirl their own mini series. Either set it out of continuity or place it back before the crises started, before Tim went angsty and lost everyone he loves and when the Titans were still fun.

Titans #15 (Zombie preparation)
Purchased as the internet gave me a heads up about it – this issue is centred around Tempest. In it we learn that Dolphin (wife) and Cerdian (kid) have died. This right royally pisses me off because I loved Dolphin. The issue is mostly about Tempest angsting over how he brings doom to all he knows, probably linked to his purple eyes. Slizzath, Tempest’s brother, reveals himself as being on the side of the Blackest Night, Garth goes to Gotham to chat with Dick, (it’s mighty bizarre to see someone else under the cowl) and decides that he will take up the post of King of Atlantis.

The last page is a glorious image of Garth sitting on the throne, mirroring the opening page of Arthur sitting on the throne.

The story will be continued in the Blackest Night mini and in the Blackest Night: Titans mini. Which means another one to add to my pull list because, lets face it, the main reason I was interested in this was the prospect of a zombie Aquaman. Now zombie Dolphin will be added to the mix I’m delighted.

The actual issue was ok. Not great, but not bad.

Blackest Night #1
Run for the hills the zombies are coming!

I’m not sure what else I can add to anyone else’s comments and reviews. I loved the issue. I’m a massive zombie fan, a big horror movie fan actually. My favourites seem to be from the 80s (Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, the Ash movies, Poltergiest), with a few more recent ones thrown in (Cabin Fever, 28 days later, Dog Soldiers). In amongst these The Night of the Living Dead films are a favourite. Zombies are a bloody awesome concept. Anyone seen the X-Files zombie episode? At the end they all get up and dance.

So, the promise of the entire dead DCU returning to (undead) life tickles me immensely and has left me smiling whenever I have thought about it.

There’s some lovely moments in the book – in particular the Rogues graveyard and Alfred. Zombie Ralph and Sue are horrifically delicious.

I really really like the Flash’s Rogues - they seem to be a group of folks who are really just trying to get by, they’re happy to thieve and pillage but they look after their own and they’ve got some morals. They’re not out to take over the world, they aren’t out to murder needlessly and they’re not evil. They’ve got a lot going for them and I find them really interesting. Since you ask, Captain Cold is particularly interesting.

If folks are interested, The Aquaman Shrine has a post up giving info on all the dead heroes that Hal shows Barry.

[Just a minor gripe – when will we see the Caped communities first reactions to Bart and Kon coming back? I would like to see FC Legion of 3 Worlds #5 pretty sharpish please]

Now, I know I’ll end up buying the Titans, Batman and Superman tie ins, how important do you reckon it will be to get the Green Lantern and Tales of the Corps tie ins too? Pretty important I reckon. I’m just starting to read Green Lantern, starting from v2 (Hal’s first series), so by the time I’ve finished that I reckon I’ll want to read all the tie ins. Plus, it will be nice to read an event and actually understand what’s going on for once.

*sigh* This will be expensive. But Zombie mayhem will make up for a lighter wallet.

Bring on the brain (heart) eating! Zombiezombieombiezombiezombiezombiezombie!


wiec? said...

i highly recommend you check out the trade about the Rouges that just came out. the series was only 3 or 4 issues and was tie in to Final Crisis. it was probably one of the best DC minis to come out in a long time.

Captain Cold is my hero.

Saranga said...

I bought it when it came out. loved it.