Thursday, February 28, 2013

No Fear

"No Fear" from Green Lantern vol.5 #5 (DC, 2012) by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Mark Irwin and Keith Champagne
Another Lantern that should be getting some respect is Sinestro, probably the coolest thing about the New52 Lantern book, though not enough to reverse the trend that led me to finally dropping the title,event-exhausted. I even bristled at the idea that Green Lantern could just continue its bloated story arc post-Flushpoint while other favorites, not so written by DC architect Geoff Johns, ended early or suffered a reboot. It seemed unfair, and I guess that weighed into my decision as well. Now Johns is finally letting go, and I might come back into the fold. The franchise is taken over by Josh Fialkov (on GLC and Red Lanterns) and Robert Venditti (on Green Lantern and New Guardians). As it turns out, I really like both these guys, and it sounds like they're taking the Lantern books back to space cops as opposed to space military. It's been Corps against Corps for too long, and with some jerky Guardians in charge, it's hard to remember these guys are meant to be heroes. I look forward to the next phase...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Four Lanterns

"Our Four Lanterns" from Green Lantern vol.4 #25 (DC, 2008) by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Julio Ferreira
I felt kind of bad that I didn't feature John Stewart in volume 2, or Kyle in volume 3, so here are all of Earth's Lanterns at the end of the Sinestro Corps War, the story - I won't lie - that brought me back to the Green Lantern fold after losing interest early in Ron Marz' Kyle run. It wasn't that I couldn't accept another Lantern (my favorite was John, after all), it was that I didn't care for the writing. The whole Rainbow Lanterns thing invigorated the book and built up its mythos considerably. The franchise is still running built on those ideas. But it went on too long, in my opinion. And though I was loyal to the end, that didn't carry through for long in the New52... but that's a story for another day (tomorrow).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Down to Earth

"Down to Earth" from Green Lantern vol.3 #1 (DC, 1990) by Gerard Jones, Pat Broderick and Bruce Patterson
In the wake of the success Emerald Dawn, a sort of Hal Jordan Year One, Hal got his own series back after the last died as Green Lantern Corps. He was an older, if perhaps not wiser character, with graying temples and the tried and proven superhero job of "drifter". Of course, he was soon called to help rebuild the GLC, just as Gerard Jones was building the Green Lantern franchise into a multi-title giant. This volume of the series would go on to introduce John Stewart's Mosaic, which spun off into its own title, and a ready-for-action (from the pages of Justice League International!) Guy Gardner, who would ALSO get a Jones-penned spin-off. And then there was Green Lantern Corps Quarterly for all those Lanterns who weren't Hal, John and Guy. People don't seem to talk about Gerry Jones anymore, but for a while there, he was getting a lot of work, and whether straight superhero, slightly surreal or comedic, it was pretty good.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Lanterns of Two Worlds

"Green Lanterns of Two Worlds" from Green Lantern vol.2 #52 (DC, 1967) by John Broome and Gil Kane
Hal Jordan's original series would morph into other titles (they'll be covered), be handed over to John Stewart, etc., but when I think classic Green Lantern, my mind always goes to Gil Kane's work on the series in the late 60s. Magical issue #52 has him team up with his Golden Age forebear, Alan Scott, and as you'll note, only Hal shows his butt to camera. You're welcome, Sally!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Green Lantern Always Had Problems with Lumberjacks

"Green Lantern Always Had Problems with Lumberjacks" from Green Lantern vol.1 #36 (National, 1949) by John Broome, Irwin Hasen and Frank Giacoia
And... welcome to Green Lantern Week! All Green Lantern, all week (and at this rate, well beyond). You know how the Silver Age Green Lantern was always getting into these ridiculous situation where the color yellow, his one weakness, would come into play? Well, it's a tradition that was already well-worn by his precursor, the Golden Age Green Lantern, whose weakness was wood. What other hero would face lumberjacks on a regular basis?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tackled Before It Happens AGAIN

"Tackled Before It Happens AGAIN" from Green Arrow vol.6 #17 (DC, 2013) by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
Green Arrow Week ends on a hopeful note, I think, as Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino take over the New52 book and finally make it work. The way they do it is to bring it closer to the show (Arrow), with the island holding a dark secret and Green Arrow the subject of a police manhunt. Early still, but the creative team has a strong resumé. Like I said, I'm hopeful.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why Does This Keep Happening to Green Arrow?

"Why Does This Keep Happening to Green Arrow?" from Green Arrow vol.5 #2 (DC, 2010) by J.T. Krul, Diogenes Neves and Vicente Cifuentes
Green Arrow - most killed superhero of the modern age? It just seems like a big joke, especially in the wake of Blackest Night/Brightest Day which was all about revolving door between life and death in superhero comics. It's a shame Krul doesn't write with a more obvious sense of humor, because the idea of making Star City a sort of city-state with its own star-shaped Sherwood Forest is whimsical nonsense. Played straight, it just comes off as nonsense.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oliver Queen on Amazon Island

"Oliver Queen on Amazon Island" from Green Arrow and Black Canary (vol.4) #2 (DC, 2008) by Judd Winnick and Cliff Chiang
When Green Arrow married Black Canary, they just had to restart his book with her as equal co-star. Of course, Dinah seemed to have killed Olie on their wedding night, but that was revealed to be an impostor. Olie was actually on Paradise Island, which sounds like the exact opposite of holy matrimony. Well, this trip to the land of the Amazons isn't what does the marriage in, but this explosive combination couldn't stay together for long. 2½ years as it turns out before Black Canary's name was taken off the book. 3 issues later, the book would be cancelled and restarted with a new #1 as volume 5...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Old Archers Die Hard

"Old Archers Die Hard" from Green Arrow vol.3 #1 (DC, 2004) by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester and Ande Parks
As it turns out, the Green Arrow resurrected by Hal Jordan was only a VERSION of Oliver Queen, leaving Oli's soul up in heaven no problem. This recreated GA had no soul and no memory of anything Longbow Hunters on. It's Kevin Smith's armchair theology, don't worry about it. His soul eventually returns to keep a bad guy from possessing it. Smith didn't stay for long, but did introduce a new female Speedy before he left the book to Brian Meltzer, and then to Judd Winick who gave Speedy HIV. I'm reading all of this off of Wikipedia, because past Smith and Hester, no one involved with the book really turned my crank.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Green Arrow's Seattle

"Green Arrow's Seattle" from Green Arrow vol.2 #3 (DC, 1988) by Mike Grell, Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano
In the late 80s, Mike Grell relaunched Green Arrow in a grittier, more realistic, mature readers-labeled series, a status quo first introduced in his Longbow Hunters mini-series. The mini featured some gorgeous art, but the only real splash had a near-naked Black Canary getting tortured, which I found unsuitable for this blog. And in fact, that's what troubled me about Grell's Green Arrow series. Every time I picked up an issue, Black Canary was getting brutally assaulted or shown naked for some reason. It made me squirm. Grell had a very long run - 80 issues! - so perhaps it's time I reevaluated it. Perhaps I'm more willing to accept a Green Arrow who lives in a real city, doesn't use trick arrows, and is never seen standing next to a super-powered person (Black Canary never used her cry and guest-stars like Hal Jordan never appeared in costume). After Grell left, the series was reintegrated into the Immature Readers line, and in less than 2 years, Oliver Queen was dead. He was replaced by his illegitimate son Connor Hawke for the remainder of the series. But in that last issue, part of the Final Night crossover, Hal Jordan as Parallax resurrects Oli, a parting gift for his one-time road buddy...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Green Arrow Week Begins in 10...2...1!

"Green Arrow Week Begins in 10...2...1!" from Green Arrow vol.1 #1 (DC, 1983) by Mike W. Barr, Trevor von Eeden and Dick Giordano
All week, at least until Saturday, we'll be looking at various volumes of Green Arrow - the Battling Bowman, the Ace Archer - starting with his very first book, a rare GA mini-series not concerned with his origin story (the last two, The Wonder Year in 1993 and Year One in 2007, were about exactly that). But back in 1983, Mike Barr gave us corporate shenanigans and a mystery, and Trevor von Eeden's often extreme pencils were reigned rather effectively by the expert inks of Dick Giordano, giving them an almost Neil Adamsish look at times.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chinese Pantheon

"Chinese Pantheon" from The Great Ten #1 (DC, 2010) by Tony Bedard, Scott McDaniel and Any Owens
This seems a comic made for me. Chinese superheroes? That's totally in my wheelhouse considering I've been hosting a kung fu movie night for 3½ years now. They were created by Grant Morrison in 52, they're super-functionaries with wonderful names like Mother of Champions and Shaolin Robot... But I didn't pick up the mini-series beyond the first issue, and a few things keep me from getting the rest. Tony Bedard is hit and miss for me, but even at his best (REBELS), he draws out each story far too long. I'm pretty cold on McDaniel too. And it bodes ill when a mini-series starts out as a 10-issue story (the Great TEN, makes sense) and suddenly becomes a 9-issue series midstream. August General in Iron made it out of the Chinese ghetto at least, but you tell me, worth a second look?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Batman vs. Vigilante: No Contest

"Batman vs. Vigilante: No Contest" from Gotham Underground #8 (DC, 2008) by Frank Tiere, J. Calafiore and Jack Purcell
It was a big gang war mini-series set in Gotham that had the Penguin snitching on other Batman villains for the Suicide Squad, and because Gotham City doesn't have ENOUGH gang warfare, threw in Tobias Whale and Intergang for good measure. Who comes out on top? The status quo, I guess. The 9-issue series also features a violent, splashed-filled fight between Batman and Vigilante, which might as well be a completely pictorial debate about gun control.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Harley's Sketchbook

"Harley's Sketchbook" from Gotham City Sirens #21 (DC, 2011) by Peter Calloway, Andres Guinaldo and Lorenzo Ruggiero
Remember when Harley Quinn was a beloved character? I sometimes think she should never have been 'ported to DC's comic book universe and had stayed in the Animated 'verse forever. Ah well. As for the cutely named Gotham City Sirens, it was basically Gotham Girls played straight (for lack of a better expression), which I'm not sure ever really worked. I mean, what was Catwoman doing with two criminally insane villains, really? Except posing for sexy art, I mean? It was a great, camp relationship in the cartoons, but in the darker, more violent DCU... ehh.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dead Robin

"Dead Robin" from Gotham Central #33 (DC, 2005) by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Kano and Stefano Gaudiano
There's a big hole in my comics collection in the early 2000s that I've begun to fill out, and Gotham Central, the Batman-Lite Noir police procedural by the considerable talents of Brubaker and Rucka (and excellent artists very appropriate to the genre) is definitely on my must-read list, if I can put enough issues/trades together. Gotham has such a deep police force compared to any other comic book city, it's perfect for this kind of book. With all those costumed vigilantes swinging around, you'd think the GCPD could take it easy, but no. Gotham City is a hell hole.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Paul Kirk, Manhunter, Dreamer

"Paul Kirk, Manhunter, Dreamer" from The Golden Age #3 (DC, 1993) by James Robinson, Paul Smith and Richard Ori
This nightmare brought to you by The Golden Age, the book James Robinson used as a back door to his best remembered DC work, most prominently Starman, and today, Earth 2. Is Robinson the new Roy Thomas? The keeper of the flame for old characters (note also the various oners from 1st Issue Special showing up in his Superman work), though unlike Roy Thomas, he seems a little more willing to reinvent them as oppose to keep their legends as archival mint as possible. And do you have a preferred approach?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dr. Thirteen Believes in Ghosts

"Dr. Thirteen Believes in Ghosts" from Ghosts #100 (DC, 1980) by Howard Bender and Tony DeZuniga
Terry Thirteen shilling for Ghosts? I guess someone has to, and he WAS a regular feature at the time. The series, which started out as "True Tales of the Weird and Supernatural" and later fessed up to actually being "New Tales..." was one of DC's supernatural mystery books through the 70s, and far from the most memorable. It still managed to get to 112 issues, so it must have had readers. Anyone want to admit to it?

Monday, February 11, 2013

To Me, Somehow Funny: Captain Marvel's Expression While Being Stabbed in the Face by a Parademon

"To Me, Somehow Funny: Captain Marvel's Expression While Being Stabbed in the Face by a Parademon" from Genesis #3 (DC, 1997) by John Byrne, Ron Wagner and Joe Rubinstein
Oh Genesis, you were maybe the lamest of the 90s' DC events. Written by John Byrne, but not drawn by John Byrne. Introducing the Godwave as an unneeded rationale for why superheroes exist. Ultimately impacted so few characters, and none which would be considered big guns. For example, you killed off Takion, then resurrected him as the new Highfather, big [later ignored] whoop. Kind of a love letter to Jack Kirby's Fourth World, I suppose, but a  better tribute would have been a story people actually remembered. I certainly don't.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

King of the Bank Robbers

"King of the Bank Robbers" from Gang Busters #7 (National, 1948) by Phil Evans and Dan Barry
Based on the "the only national [radio] program that brings you authentic police case histories", this series ran some 67 issues, and I mostly know it for featuring a proto-Human Target story in its 61st issue. It has nothing to do with the Metropolis street hero Gangbuster (Jose Delgado), but I now realize, there may well have been a connection in his creators' heads. Have Marv Wolfman or Jerry Ordway ever said anything about it?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Haunted Tank vs. War Wheel

"Haunted Tank vs. War Wheel" from G.I. Combat vol.2 #7 (DC, 2013) by Peter J. Tomasi and Howard Chaykin
The new G.I. Combat book was a disappointment, I must say. Its take on The War That Time Forgot looked gorgeous, but didn't have much of a story to go with it, and the Unknown Soldier back-up wasn't enough to keep me reading. When the Haunted Tank returned to the title, I picked it up again, and stuck with it until I could see the Tank/War Wheel confrontation, because I'm a sucker for both those concepts. Vertigo's attempt to bring the WWII heroes back  a few years ago was more successful, if only for the Unknown Soldier book (Haunted Tank was interesting and darkly funny, Sgt. Rock was a bit dull), but in either case, I think I'm disappointed by DC trying to divorce all the properties from their respective wars. Even during the Vietnam War, a LOT of war comics were still about WWII, and allowed its creators to comment (or not) on Vietnam, one step removed. But we're so literal these days. It just has to be Iraq and Afghanistan. That's fine, those stories need to be told too, but in many cases including this volume of G.I. Combat, it's led to wizened old warriors taking up the fight again, or leaving things to a new generation that really isn't as valorous or interesting as the original (like Rock's grandson in Men of War).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Don't Turn This Page!

"Don't Turn This Page!" from G.I. Combat vol.1 #140 (DC, 1970) by Joe Kubert
This fourth-wall-breaking Haunted Tank illo is from the long-running G.I. Combat, which was started by Quality Comics way back in 1952 before being sold to DC in 1957, skipping not a beat in bringing readers lots of WWII (mostly) war comics until 1987. Ulp! That's 30 years at DC alone! Among its best-remembered features are the Haunted Tank (impressively running from '61 to '87), the O.S.S., and the Bravos of Vietnam, but it was mostly the Haunted Tank's book.

Wikipedia tells me G.I. Combat #274 was the Monitor's first full appearance, which is just the craziest thing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"Megalastorm" from Fury of Firestorm vol.2 #15 (DC, 2013) by Dan Jurgens and Ray McCarthy
Ewww, bring back Ronnie and/or Jason! Did you know you could win stuff JUST by liking Firestorm, in ANY of his incarnations? (Yes, even this one?) Well, you can thanks to Firestorm Fan - your one blog stop for all things Nuclear Man - because Shag's launched a competition to ONLY requires you to say why YOU like Firestorm. Your greatest challenge, Internet? No negativity! Yes, I know, it's hard. How can you praise the Firestorm you like without trashing the Firestorm you don't? Well, you have to if you want to win the cool goodies Shag is offering, including original art from the above iteration of the book, by Dan Jurgens and Ray McCarthy. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Firestorm vs. Firehawk

"Firestorm vs. Firehawk" from Fury of Firestorm vol.1 #17 (DC, 1983) by Gerry Conway, Pat Broderick, George Tuska and Rodin Rodriguez
I'd read a number of issues before then, but Fury of Firestorm #17 was where i fell in love with the book. That whole "Nuclear Men" arc (my name for it), featuring Enforcer and Multiplex, and introducing Firehawk and Tokamak, was tops in my book at the time. I still love it today. I was off and on once Pat Broderick left, and only started picking it up regularly again during Ostrander's run, as I matured and came to like international politics in my comics (a fruit of the Suicide Squad tree, if you will), but by then, there wasn't so much "Fury" anymore. But when I think of Firestorm, I always think back to those days and to those dog-eared comics (one quite literally has a big bite taken out of it by my cat at the time, so it IS dog-eared)...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Buffalo Bill and the Iron Horse

"Buffalo Bill and the Iron Horse" from Frontier Fighters #7 (DC, 1956) by Dave Wood and Joe Kubert
For 8 issues in the mid-50s, DC published an anthology featuring various real-life frontiersmen like Davy Crockett and (above) Buffalo Bill. Probably because the Buffalo Bill stuff was drawn by Joe Kubert, some of those particular stories were reprinted in the early 70s. But only some, and that's a real shame. Pretty much a forgotten series.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The American Prison Metaphor

"The American Prison Metaphor" from Freedom Fighters vol.2 #4 (DC, 2011) by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Travis Moore and Trevor Scott
After a long rest, the Freedom Fighters returned in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, a mini-series that associated them more closely to American metaphors and had them working for Father Time and SHADE, recently of Frankenstein fame. After a couple minis, they got a series, which only lasted 9 issues, one more than each of the previous mini-series. In each case, Gray and Palmiotti were in charge, just as in the New52, they are once again re-inventing the team. It's their pet project, and I understand and share the love, but will they ever be able to make the FF successful? That's uncertain. Perhaps they can be better integrated into the DCU, since even the previous incarnation seemed to take place on another Earth. Yes, they sometimes met characters from other parts of the DCU, and participated in events like Countdown and Blackest Night, but in their own comics, always seemed to be fighting villains we'd never seen before and never would again. Wherever they go, a sort of alternate reality seems to pop up.

You know what? I miss them kicking Nazi tail every month. I'd love it if they moved to Earth-X and got back to their - well, not roots exactly, that would be the Golden Age when they weren't even a team. But you know what I mean.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

American Rampage

"American Rampage" from Freedom Fighters vol.1 #2 (DC, 1976) by Gerry Conway, Pablo Marcos and Tex Blasdell
There are two reasons why I like the Freedom Fighters as much as I do. One, they're Golden Age characters and I have a soft spot for all those guys. Second, they appeared in an issue of DC Comics Presents opposite Superman at my most impressionable age, comics-wise. I love a LOT of the characters I discovered through those team-ups - my interest in Ambush Bug, the Legion of Substitute-Heroes, OMAC, the Demon, and many others can trace their origins to that series. And the Freedom Fighters have a cool hook: They're the All-Star Squadron of Earth-X, where WWII never ended and the Nazis have invaded America. Unfortunately, their 70s comic wasn't very good...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Monster Who Went to School

"The Monster Who Went to School" from The Fox and the Crow #105 (DC, 1967) by Arnold Drake and Win Mortimer
I don't really know anything about The Fox and the Crow, other than it was a Golden Age cartoon property, and that it was the birthplace of Stanley and his Monster, what you might call the original Calvin & Hobbes. Or is that just what I think it is based on the Phil Foglio mini-series? Cuz here, there's no doubt that lady does see the Monster.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Infinity Man!

"Infinity Man!" from Forever People vol.2 #5 (DC, 1988) by J.M. DeMatteis, Paris Cullins and Karl Kesel
Wouldn't normally have posted the mini-series since the series itself had such nice art yesterday already, but Paris Cullins? Really had to. DeMatteis, the philosopher of comics, handed in a story that had the Forever People examine how their hippie generation became the Me generation, the kind of stuff only DeMatteis can really get away with. And the metaphor works well with the whole Combine into the Infinity Man thing. He the ultimate ME! because he's the Me of several people.