Tag Archives: green lantern

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

DC_Bombshells_2_5575d95d36ac86.74035338Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Plutonia #1 (Image Comics) – A new series by Jeff Lemire? Well, that alone gets this on my list, but the idea of him tackling a coming of age story through the lense of the superhero genre is too awesome to not look forward to. Add in beautiful artwork by Emi Lenox, and this is the first comic I’m reading this week.

Imperium #8 (Valiant Entertainment) – Harada and Divinity, two of the most powerful beings in the Valiant universe have come face to face. This is the climax to “Broken Angels,” continuing the awesomeness that is this series.

Midnighter #4 (DC Comics) – Writer Steve Orlando has made punching to solve problems cool again. I’ve never been the biggest Midnighter fan, but Orlando has given me reasons to be as he’s given the character a fresh mix of a personal life and superhero life. Such a fantastic series.

The Omega Men #4 (DC Comics) – Superhero terrorists? This series shows the gray and that there’s a fine line between terrorist and revolutionary, all in space! A very cool sci-fi series that does what sci-fi does best, explore our society through entertainment.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #44 (IDW Publishing) – I’ll keep plugging the various IDW Transformers series until you people wake up and see that it’s more than just giant robots and fighting! Every series has been an interesting mix of political intrigue, action, and religious philosophy. It’ more than meets the eye (sorry had to).

 

Alex

Top Pick: X-O Manowar #40 (Valiant Entertainment) – I’ve become a huge fan of this series over the past few months, and after the way the last issue ended, I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.

We Stand On Guard #3 (Image Comics) – I have been really enjoying this series so far. We’re almost at the half way mark, and I’m really looking forward to see where the story takes us.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Danger Girl: Renegade #1 (IDW Publishing) – Love’m or hate’m, the Danger Girl team is back, and this time focuses on one of the team’s unanswered questions, Abby’s past.  Those that like the series can expect more tongue-in-cheek humor combined with decent action.

Jem and the Holograms #6 (IDW Publishing) – More fun abounds for this series which has been focused so far solely on the battle of the bands, and while it has been a simple enough concept, the creative team fills these pages with life.

Lazarus #19 (Image Comics) –  The ongoing battle of Duluth proves to be an issue for Forever after she is nearly killed in the last issue.  How thia works from here on will be interesting as numerous clans are trying to take down the Carlyles.

Star Lord and Kitty Pryde #3 (Marvel) – A lot of the Secret Wars tie-ins have either mostly ignored the crossover or told a crossover-centric story.  This is one of the few that does both while maintaining the charm of what made the pair of heroes so special to begin with.

Wonderland #39 (Zenescope) – Zenescope’s stand-out series returns with higher stakes as Calie faces threats in Wonderland and on Earth.

 

Elana

Top Picks Tie: 8House: #3 Kiem Part 1 (Image Comics) – Brandon Graham’s inter-connected fantasy world series begins a new storyline. The art by Xurxo G. Penalta is beautifully detailed and creative. The world has an air of Dune mixed with cyberpunk. The story involves astrolprojection. This will be unlike anything else you buy.

Top Picks Tie: Heavy Metal #276 Jack Kirby Issue (Heavy Metal) – Jack Kirby made art for the CIA’s secret Operation Argo plan to free American hostages. Never before published, we can finally see it in this issue! It is based on Robert Zelazny’s famous fantasy series “Lord of Light.” The rest of the mag sounds good too. But the Kirby cover alone with worth the cost of admission.

Jem and The Holograms #6 (IDW Publishing) – The Food Fight of the Century is over and now it is time for the Battle of The Bands! A really fun series for people of all ages and genders. Which band would you be voting for: The Holograms or The Misfits (not the Danzig Misfits, the entirely fictional Misfits that the artist has said sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)? I think Black Sabbath singer Dio would vote for Jem and the Holograms but Black Sabbath singer Ozzy would vote for The Misfits. Please tweet me your own wild speculations to @Elana_Brooklyn #JemBattle (this is just me, not an official IDW tag).

Midnighter #4 (DC Comics) – I’m addicted.

Toil and Trouble #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I’m fairly discriminating about my “re-imaginings of Shakespeare” but this new mini series looks stunning, innovative and feminist.

Silver Surfer #14 (Marvel) – A title that had felt at the periphery of the Marvel U (in an interesting, exploratory way) now finds itself at the middle of it. It looks like the rebuilding of the post Secret Wars Marvel U starts here. The last issue ended on some absolutely stunning art. Among the best I’ve seen in ages. I was very frustrated with Slott’s response to the Hercules bi-erasure story but he’s apologized so I’m still reading this.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: DC Comics Bombshell #2 (DC Comics) – Making this story a period piece has me interested in the many ways they could take Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Supergirl, after a solid set up in the first issue. But it’s mostly the gorgeous art that has me most excited about diving back into this world.

Daredevil #18 (Marvel) – Honestly, I could break down the multitude of reasons this comic is worth reading but, to keep it simple, when Mark Waid is writing Daredevil it is always worth checking out.

Deadpool vs. Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Deadpool messing with anyone is usually all I need to be happy, but watching him send Thanos into a massive rage has me feeling extra giddy inside.

Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla #6 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Being a history junky, I am all for any type of twisted history tale. And just the potential of watching Mark Twain versus a book golem is enough to make me want to read this right now.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Deadpool vs. Thanos #1 (Marvel Comics) – The one who personifies death vs. the one who can talk you to it? Oh yes this is a must see even for me. Viva la Deadpool!

Daredevil #18 (Marvel Comics) – The final chapter. See how it all ends. I am on the bench with anticipation.

DC Comics Bombshells #2 (DC Comics) – The Womens’ Super Revolution continues. Is Steve Trevor going to make it? We shall see…

Green Lantern #44 (DC Comics) – Hal as a renegade just really fits and I’m liking this fun little space chase, I’m hoping that some incoming Thanagarian influence can shift it into over drive though!

Thors #3 (Marvel Comics) – Move over CSI and every other crime drama. This one is how it’s done.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Thors #3 (Marvel) – This is one of my favourite books to come out of Secret Wars.  The Thors have been hunting a murderer who has been targeting Jane Fosters from different areas of Battleworld, and now they have a suspect.  This is a great cop story, following the Thors as they uphold the laws of Doom, and I can’t wait to see the interrogation of their suspect.

Age of Apocalypse #3 (Marvel) – Issue 1 was fantastic and took me right back to the AoA I remember…and then issue 2 totally left me flat, basically a rehash of the first.  I am really hoping they pick this story up and we get more into the thick of things.  I’m really enjoying seeing the story from Cypher’s point of view, but I want to see more then some observations on character behaviour.  There’s been hints of a virus that could end all the mutants…can we please see more of this story?

Squadron Sinister #3 (Marvel) – I was surprised that I enjoy this book as much as I do.  I’m familiar with the Squadron Supreme, and Hyperion from his time in Avengers…and it’s a fun read to see Battleworld’s version of this team being nothing more then an organized gang, quietly taking over realms to expand their power…but how long will this go before Doom steps in?

Review: Justice League of America #3

jla003There is a decent amount of exposure for the Justice League at DC Comics at the moment.  Not even counting the Justice League United outlier which contains none of the core group of heroes, there are presently three series containing the stories of the Justice League in Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League 3001.  With three different series, the level of quality seems to vacillate between the great, the average and the not-so-good.  While Darkseid War is elevating the principal series to a pretty high level, and while Justice League 3001 is dragging it down somewhat, Justice League of America continues unabated to tell its standard Justice League story, only with a few twists.

It could actually be said that the story for Justice League of America is still somewhat in its infancy.  After all there is not a lot of cohesion between the separate plot points except in that they all involve Superman to some degree.  Green Lantern and the Flash are stranded on a faraway planet which seems to be Krypton.  The god Rao has come to Earth to provide salvation for its inhabitants, and the team of scientists dealing with temporal energies is trying to find clues as to how Superman continues to show up through their portals on the wrong side of a battle.  Aside from the first issue which included the majority of the heroes together, they are now mostly fragmented into their smaller groups which are dealing with their own smaller problems, not usually one of the hallmarks of a team based series.

While the presentation of the story is sometimes lacking in direction, it is not necessarily to the detriment of the story.  Instead the story here feels like one of the late days of the Silver Age of the Justice League of America.  It hols together pretty well, but it equally seems to be somewhat of the serialized concept of telling the story and then forgetting about it.  For those who are fans of superheroes, this might hit the mark, but compared to some other stories involving modern heroes, it also might seem a bit commonplace, not really trying to be much more than what it is.  For better or worse that is the defining characteristic of this series so far, at least until the creative team decides that it is time to prove otherwise.

Story: Bryan Hitch Art: Daniel Henriques
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Review: Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #2

stgl2Full disclosure: I’m not a huge Star Trek or Green Lantern fan.

I read the first issue of this crossover because it was included in July’s Comic Block, and I enjoyed it enough to be curious about the second issue. While the first issue was a solid opening chapter that did nothing to reinvent the wheel of inter-company cross overs, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how easy it was for a person – like myself – who knows only the bare minimum about both franchises to follow along and keep up with the story. Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #2 continues along in that vein; it doesn’t do anything drastic in the story it tells, instead providing a bit more of a focus on Green Lantern than the first issue focusing on the crew of the Enterprise.

The second issue of the crossover may move the story forward a little, and it’s hard not to want to enjoy the story that’s meshing the two universes so very well. The interaction between Captain Kirk and Green Lantern are enjoyable, and are probably what I’ve been looking forward to most since the beginning of the Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War crossover event. Of all the potential superhero crossovers with the Star Trek universe, Green Lantern certainly makes the most sense.

That being said, I was largely ambivalent to the second issue; aside from some character moments I did enjoy, the writing didn’t do enough to make me care about the story line, however the artwork I found fantastic.

As a concept, I did want to like this story, but I think that my lack of any serious fandom in either franchise probably isn’t working in my favour here. In a story about the lost rings of various colours, I’ll admit I was utterly lost beyond the yellow ring, it also doesn’t help that I have barely a passing familiarity with Star Trek lore. While I think that my lack of familiarity with either Green Lantern or Star Trek may be the chief cause of my growing indifference to the crossover, I’m quite sure that if you’re  a fan of one, or both, of the franchises involved in this crossover then you should be really enjoying this series.

While non fans may want to consider flicking through the preview pages before picking this issue up, fans of either franchise should definitely check this out.

Story: Mike Johnson Art: Angel Hernandez
Story: 6 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

Review: Green Lantern #43

GL_Cv43_ds“As worlds die”

This month is a real treat as prolific artist Ethan Van Sciver takes on guest penciling duties for this issue and knocks it out of the park. On to the action though, we start on a remote distant planet where Black Hand is trying to resurrect the recently dead to no avail. He is quite troubled by his powers not working. His hands are currently stone and he is reduced to weeping at his plight. Van Sciver’s pencils are fantastic here as he actually makes you feel sympathy for this horrible being. (Something I would not think possible) Instead of using his touch to resurrect the dead, it is now inexplicably turning them to beings of stone. Writer Robert Vendetti here, conveys Black Hand as a lost child who is so alone. This is a far cry from the demonic despot he has been portrayed before. This dynamic sucked me in right away. Kudos to you, sir.

We venture across the cosmos to the confines of a lone ship floating in vast nothingness. The crew aboard: a gentle being named Virgo, a ruthless hunter named Trapper and of course the star of the show, former Green Lantern now an army of one: Hal Jordan.

Hal is intent on finding out what happened to his former fellow Green Lantern Corps as well solving the mystery of the stone transformations. He is using his gauntlet and will to create tools to help him construct a special space suit that will allow him to masquerade as a different being to get answers. Again the pencils here just really bring this to life and remind you of why Van Sciver was “the” Green Lantern artist for quite some time. Hal has some touching dialogue as he notes he was always so busy being a Green Lantern first, that he never stopped to see the roses. Little human moments like this show Hal’s non cocky side and they really flesh out his character more.

Hal finishes his suit and orders Virgo that no one touches his stuff but him and to watch over Trapper while he’s on his mission. Hal needs the suit because where he’s going the spectrum of his green energy would be detected and make him an immediate threat.

Here we get my favorite panel of the book in the form of a splash page, showing the giant known as Relic maintaining the mystery artifact that is the Source Wall. Hal manages to get to Relic undetected and is even able to ask a few questions. Relic states it is a positive outcome that the Green Lantern Corps are no more. (C’mon we all know they are still kicking around, they have their own title each month but for this issue we suspend disbelief and roll with it.) Hal not pleased with the comment goes to leave, when Relic informs him that Black Hand was already here. Cue the ominous music, that is not good.

Back on the ship Virgo senses Hal might need some assistance and tries to don the Gauntlet but the energy defenses attack him. This act unwittedly alarms Relic of his presence and Hal hightails it back to the ship. Things have just gotten worse.The rest of the issue shows Hal rushing back to save his friend, arguing with his sarcastic ship Darlene and us being introduced to a new group threat.

Overall: I thought this month’s adventure was far better than the previous and the best installment of the “Renegade” storyline so far. The pacing was great, there were no slow spots and of course wonderful art from Mr. Van Sciver. (They definitely need him back on this title, pronto) I really enjoyed the switch of desperation in Black Hand’s character and Virgo’s attempt to be a hero. We all know the Corps are out there and it’s only a matter of time before they make their presence felt. However if we keep getting issues like this, I’m more than fine with the delay. 30 days seems like sufficient time to recharge the Gauntlet, and I have a feeling Hal and Co. are going to need it. See you across the stars next time readers…

Story: Robert Vendetti Art: Ethan Van Sciver
Story: 8.75 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Midnighter #3 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A fun and trippy start of a series that mixes the fun of rock and roll with ghosts. This is Spinal Tap meets Ghostbusters, and it works in an awesome way. By the end of the first issue, you won’t be sure what is supernatural and what is drug induced, and that’s half the fun.

Bower Boys Our Fathers HC (Dark Horse Comics) – The webcomic is collected in print. The series focuses on Tammany Hall and Union busting, but it’s so much more, it’s about the relationships we have with our fathers. The fantastic story is backed up by beautiful artwork.

The Bunker #13 (Oni Press) – The time bending series continues its fantastic ways. In this issue we get some more info on what the deal with Heidi is including where she’s been the last three months, and more importantly who she’s been with.

Midnighter #3 (DC Comics) – Punching corporations! Seriously, this series is violent fun, that shows the struggle of a man designed to hurt attempting to figure out who he is. Steve Orlando is killing it (and a lot of people) in this series.

Nailbiter #15 (Image Comics) – One of my favorite series that has a few folks attempting to discover why a small town has produced so many serial killers. We’re getting closer and closer to finally getting an answer… I think and hope.

 

Alex

Top Pick: The Fox #5 (Archie Comics) – I picked issue #1 up on a whim, and this series has fast become one of my favourites. I love the fun, almost cynically innocent take on the superhero genre, and I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on the final chapter of the opening arc.

Detective Comics #43 (DC Comics) – I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying Mecha-Batman, and while I expect the original to return eventually, I’m enjoying this while it lasts.

We Stand On Guard #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue of this comic took me by surprise when it came out last month. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, and whether it is the underdog nature of the story or the Great White North setting, this is a series I’m looking forward too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #5 (Marvel) – This all ages comic has not been on many people’s reading list, bust it proves that some minds at Disney are still interested in creativity.

Morning Glories #47 (Image Comics) – The standout series continues by weaving in new plots to the old. Every answer continues to create five new questions.

Groot #3 (Marvel) – This series has only run two issues thus far but has been unexpectedly amazing. The story is simple enough, but executed flawlessly.

Ms. Marvel #17 (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s stand-out series gets the Secret Wars treatment. It is nearing the end before Marvel relaunches and it remains to be seen how that will affect this series.

Red Skull #2 (Marvel) – It is the Suicide Squad of the Secret Wars as Red Skull takes on the role of Deadshot.

 

Elana

Top Pick: The Humans #7 (Image Comics) – Apesploitstion biker madness continues! I love this series so much I have a lenghthy personal essay about it coming out this week. This month’s issue features even more sex and violence and drugs and rock and roll and vengeance and period accurate hair and the color orange and oh my god the lettering! The lettering!!! All the important things in art, really.

Top Pick: The Wicked + The Divine #13 (Image Comics) – At last an issue about the mysterious goddess Tara jokingly called “goddess of who knows what” because there are so many deities with that name that it’s unclear who she’s supposed to be. I’m not sure which real world pop stars the character was inspired by. Beyoncé?

One thing is for sure, the new art by Tula Lotay is stunning!

Kaptara #4 (Image Comics) – This charming sword and sorcery in space comic won my heart. It’s saturated in lurid colors and riffs on He-Man but it doesn’t get in the way of being a very human story about a scientist who really needs a hug. And a date. Do you know any nice single men for Keith to date? I worry that Manton the warrior may take a while to come around.

Midnighter #3 (DC Comics) – Last issue our hero started to square off with the corporate powers that be. I’m really looking forward to a comic that tackles Monsanto. At least that’s where I think this is heading. Also, Midnighter punched a steak through a killer’s head. A dinner steak.

This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – What if Led Zeppelin really did sell their souls to the devil? It’s a brand new series from the ever funny and inventive and very British Paul Cornell (art by Tony Parker). I simultaneously love over-indulgent boomer rock and I also find it hilarious and worth deflating. This comic seems to be doing the same– both reveling and lovingly mocking the 70s rock pretentious and conventions. But with the actual Devil.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Green Lantern #43 (DC Comics) – I’ve really been enjoying this Hal on the run as a bounty hunter storyline and now that they’ve thrown Black Hand back in the mix, it should only get even better. Proof that he doesn’t need the most powerful weapon in the universe to still be a bad ass, this title is still providing bright days!

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3 (Marvel Comics) – Back in black and the marriage still intact? Let’s see if the removal of Spidey’s bright colors bring the foot out of the grave on this one. I really want to like this Mr. Slott, don’t disappoint me please. I’ve waited a long time for this.

JLA: Gods and Monsters: Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics) – Having seen the movie, Wonder Woman was my favorite part. I hope they delve even deeper into her loss and betrayal. I really enjoy the twist on the New Genesis vs. Apokolips War. Should be a good one! Plus that boom tube sword is just epic. DC make a replica now!

TMNT: Color Classics Series 3 #8 (IDW Publishing) – Turtles, Shredder, April, Eastman, Laird. Isn’t that enough right there?

 

Paul

Top Pick: Age of Apocalypse #2 (Marvel) – Fabian Nicieza and Gerardo Sandoval took me right back into the Age of Apocalypse that I remember from so long ago; great story and fantastic art make this one of my favourite Secret Wars books, and I’m looking forward to seeing Magneto give Apocalypse’s forces the smack down!

Civil War #2 (Marvel) – Steve Rogers and Tony Stark; opposing sides in this world of Civil War have been pushed further apart after an assassination attempt has left a proponent for peace dead at their feet. I really enjoyed the first issue of this book, and I’m excited to see if the two sides come together…or tear each other apart.

Siege #2 (Marvel) – I really loved this story of the SHIELD, the wall that separates Battleworld from the zombies and robots that would destroy the planet. Not to mention Abigail Brand is calling the shots, so that alone has me hooked.

Spider-Island #2 (Marvel) – The Spider Queen has turned almost everyone in this area of Battleworld into human/spider hybrids…including the heroes…and they all serve her. Flash Thompson is one of the few not affected, and with his resistance force, has managed to help some former colleagues break from the Spider Queen’s control…but will what he’s turned them into be a help or a hindrance? This was a fun first issue and I’m excited to see how Venom’s newly freed friends help him out.

The Strangest Members of the Justice League

snapperThe Justice League of America is best defined by its core of main characters.  As opposed to other major superhero teams like the X-Men, Avengers, or Teen Titans, the core seven members of the team are considered as almost sacrosanct.  Without Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter, the League is considered to not be at full power (though Manhunter has been somewhat replaced on this list by Cyborg.)  That being the case, the membership of the League has mostly remained constant over its publication history, but as with every team there are always the odd ones that find their way in.

Snapper Carr – The modern reader of comics might not recognize it immediately at a glance, but the history of comics is the history of trends.  Characters that might seem to represent some diversity in the modern day such as Power Man/Luke Cage or Shang Chi were in fact added to comics as they helped to capitalize respectively on the popularity of blaxpoitation and kung fu films.  One character long before them was Snapper Carr.  Although he existed as a sidekick more than actual superhero, he was nonetheless a vital member on some missions, (such as the first involving Starro).  The character was inspired by the Beatnik generation which was somewhat popular at the time, and for those that might look for a related Marvel character, they would be wasting their time, because the trend of beatnik characters came and went long before Marvel got established.

daleDale Gunn – After the X-Men took over the medium of comics in the 1970s it was determined that the Teen Titans became DC’s best hope to fight against this success.  After the youth oriented book performed well it was decided to give the Justice League a makeover as well, and what resulted was what has become known as Justice League Detroit, a weaker version of the team, but one focused more towards the street.  Out were Batman and Wonder Woman, in were street level characters like Gypsy and Vibe, the latter of which was enough of an attempt to cash in on the breakdancing genre that was actually popular for a while, for those that remember their Electric Boogaloo.  The stranger character though was Dale Gunn, introduced as a ladies-man character that was the custodian/tech expert for the new team, who wore a superpowered suit of armor in his first appearance, but then just faded into the background.  Zatanna and Vixen both fell in love with him almost from the get go, but his impact was never really noticed after a few issues.

maxMaxwell Lord – Whereas the X-Men had Dazzler and the Outsiders had Looker, the Justice League never really managed to capitalize on the big hair and big money 1980s, or at least they wouldn’t have except for the influence of Maxwell Lord.  The character was essentially a Gordon Gecko rip-off, and one whose moral code was also somewhat skewed.  He served as the bank roll for the team, but had delusions of heroism at times, and eventually went bad when he almost had every superhero killed during Infinite Crisis.

Blue Beetle – The Justice League of the post-Legends DC Universe was one very different from what came before.  Legends was kind of an attempt to do the final clean-up on what had happened during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it resulted in a new Justice League.  Whereas a lot of titles were getting darker at the time, or at least geared more to a mature audience, this team went the opposite route, becoming goofy.  Another trend at the time was that the Justice League becoming a dumping ground for characters who couldn’t hold their own series.  Thus the League assimilated Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom among others, but it really became the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold show, with their not-so-serious antics proving to be the fodder for most issues as opposed to real threats.  The character had been serious before, but never really recovered before being killed off.

drfateZan and Jayna – The so-called Wonder Twins didn’t come from the Justice League exactly, but instead came from the children’s show spin-off, the Super Friends.  It might have seemed likely that the characters might have just retired into obscurity as many others did, but they were actually revived for a time in the 1990s.  As a bit of a running joke before hand they never really caught on, and were used for only a few issues.

Dr. Fate/Guy Gardner – These two are not exactly the strangest characters exactly, except in how they were used.  Once again another influence of the post Legends Justice League, the writer Keith Giffen was a big enough fan of gender swapping some of his characters.  Not as in the usual sense of making a separate character like Supergirl or Batgirl, but in simply finding a way to switch genders.  It was done first with Doctor Fate and recently with Guy Gardner.

Ambush Bug/Super-Chief  – After Infinite Crisis the creators promised to give exposure to pretty much every character that had ever shown up in the pages of DC Comics.  This meant that some strange and obscure characters had to be brought in.  In this case it was a Firestorm led Justice League that contained among its members the Ambush Bug and Super-Chief.  They showed up for a couple of panels and then were never seen of again.

poisonivyPoison Ivy, Lex Luthor and Captain Cold – It turned some heads in the pages of the Waid led JLA when the rotating cast of team members included what was kind of Catwoman for one issue.  People wondered how it was that a thief was allowed membership to the team, even when she didn’t really join.  This was later rendered somewhat moot in the era of rooting for the bad guys in comics.  In the modern day, many series focus on villains, and Lex Luthor, Captain Cold and poison Ivy have worked alongside the Justice League, the latter in the most recent issue of Justice League United.  As villains become the new cool characters, it is not surprising to see some join the ranks of the superheroes.

To read the list of the strangest members of the League is partially a way to read the trends which have defined the medium of comics since the team’s inception.  There have been characters that have been stunts, or put in place to take advantage of what was happening in popular culture.  The team usually goes back to the main seven, but it is interesting to note that they are not always there, and sometimes some odd choices are made.

Review: Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1

Green Lantern Star Trek 2“The Crossover Event of 2015!” is the tagline on the many variant covers of IDW‘s Star Trek and Green Lantern miniseries. Unfortunately, that’s the overstatement of 2015.

The lukewarm first issue contains hardly any Green Lantern at all, so fans of that universe will find little to excite them. Instead, it takes place almost entirely on the Starship Enterprise, but it leaves behind the wit and depth of character that make IDW’s ongoing Star Trek series such a pleasure these days. Mike Johnson also writes the ongoing series, and he gets in a few fun moments of banter between Kirk and Spock. But he has so much plot to cover that his dialogue lacks its usual spark. Bringing the Green Lantern rings into the Star Trek universe shouldn’t take too many narrative somersaults, but somehow, this gets bogged down in setup.

Angel Hernandez‘s art is another weak link here. The current penciler for the ongoing series, Rachael Stott, and her predecessor, Tony Shasteen, have set a high standard for Star Trek comics art- both have a talent for capturing not only the facial features of the actors, but the nuances of their performances. In comparison, Hernandez’s characters look expressionless and stiff, like he’s trying so hard to get Chris Pine’s nose right that he overlooks the mischief in Kirk’s eyes. Space-scapes and even wide shots of the Enterprise‘s sickbay look oddly flat and distorted, deadening the drama of explosions and alien planets. Hernandez’s minimalist settings and angular character designs make sense in his work for DC, but his style doesn’t translate here.

The crossover’s premise is cool enough that I really wish it worked. A fan-favorite villain from the pre-reboot Star Trek movies makes a welcome appearance, but he feels wasted so far. If you’re looking for your Star Trek fix, stick to the excellent ongoing series. If you’re here for Green Lantern, you’ll see so little of him here that you’ll feel ripped off. It’s too bad, because with a lighter touch and less ambitious mythology, this could have been a fun crossover.

Story: Mike Johnson Art: Angel Hernandez
Story: 6.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Green Lantern #42

4647863-gl_cv42_ds“I’m not a Green Lantern anymore.”

We open up our tale racing across the stars in dashing fashion as the crew of a class 3 light cruiser named Darlene is streaking post-haste through the cosmos. As we adjourn inside captain: Hal Jordan, former Green Lantern turned renegade is transporting some very important cargo on a tight schedule. The cargo’s name is Trapper. He is a bounty hunter who tried to collect the wrong check and now finds himself in the comfort of a plasma barred cell. Hal seeks to show him the error of his ways via the means of taking a trip. The destination: Ketleth Prime, a distant planet. Hal is transporting Trapper as well as a native of that World, Virgo there.

Along the way Hal receives much heckling from both his captive and his spacecraft (and you thought Michael from Knight Rider had a raw deal) but he remains focused on his objective. However Hal receives a big surprise when he arrives at the coordinates where Ketleth Prime should be. When he investigates closer it appears to be that the planet, is now made entirely out of stone. This sends Virgo spiraling into grief. After a few tough moments, Hal not knowing what to do allows Virgo to grieve.

4647869-5+gl_42_5Before any kind of reprieve can be made, Hal’s ship Darlene warns him that a full-fledged armada is right outside his window. Now not being the one to shy away, Hal makes ready for confrontation. What makes the dynamic so interesting is even though he is a pariah in the eyes of the Green Lantern Corps, he’s still not willing turn his back on them. It’s very old school honor and I like it.

Trapper’s buds show up with an enormous fleet and he laughs thinking that Hal is all but done for. A great moment of dialogue is exchanged as Trapper says to Hal “You against my whole crew? Does this heap even have cannons?”  Hal just brazenly replies “No, because I don’t need any.” He then shows why he is the Embassador of Badassery as he fires up his Krona Gauntlet and floats outside the ship to handle the whole armada himself.

4660594-img_0108Hal then shows us why “will is skill” and any weapon is the greatest one in his hands, as he fully unleashes unbridled power on the fleet. On a personal note here, I go back and forth on Billy Tan’s art a lot but it’s the moments like this one that he makes me eat my words and just smile back at the page slack-jawed. I’ve heard people also give a lot of criticism on Hal’s new duds (which I absolutely love btw) and I think it’s unfounded. This is comics and entertainment folks, things will come and go and things will change (remember all the guns and extra pouches and cheesy violent code names in the 90’s?) but as long as the creative teams tackling this, respect and honor the essence of the character it’s perfectly fine. Besides I think Hal’s new costume is great and encompasses the changes to his character. It makes complete sense as he is now an individual and not considered a “Space Cop” anymore. No need for a team uniform. The long coat and costume change give him a much more lone gunman style look which I just think is freaking cool. Bottom line to me, if it walks like Hal Jordan, talks like Hal Jordan, and kicks an incredible amount of ass, then it’s Hal Jordan.

B5QCP06mThe remainder of the issue shows Virgo dealing with his grief, Hal having some trouble asserting dominance over his gauntlet (it’s sentient and strong willed too, giving a great dynamic as open’s the question as to who wields whom?) and the return of a very powerful Green Lantern villain who finds himself in despair as well.

Overall: This was a fun read that took sci-fi and gave Hal a touch of Chuck Norris (Hell I bet even Hal wishes he was Chuck) as he took on the entire fleet himself. After last months issue which started slow it turned it around for me, and I absolutely dug it. I liked the story and the art and they meshed great for some entertaining moments. Seeing Hal cut loose with the Gauntlet had me cheering. This is how you do a GL book, adventure, witty banter, and action..action..action! With the return of a classic lantern villain at the end, I am excited to see where this one goes next. We may be in for some strange alliances. It’s true he may not have the ring anymore, but if this momentum can continue there are sure to be plenty of “Brightest Days” ahead. Till next time guys, I gotta recharge the battery. Over and out!

Story: Robert Vendetti Art: Billy Tan
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Diversity In Comics: We’ve Come A Long Way, But We’re Not There Yet

THOR 001_coverThe comic book industry has been making great strides when it comes to introducing more cultural, and ethnic, diversity in the last decade. Superheroes are no longer just straight white men with the odd woman around, but depending on who you talk to about diversity in comics, you could easily  be mistaken for thinking that there really isn’t any. There is diversity, but not as much as perhaps there should be.

Beginning with Luke Cage, the Black Panther, and Shang Chi in the 60’s and 70’s, Marvel Comics did begin to slowly introduce ethnically diverse characters to their roster, but in a medium traditionally dominated by straight white superheroes, diversification had been a comparatively slow process. Not because publishers were against diversifying their lines (although that may have been a part of it for some) but because the publishers wanted to make money, and because the existing popular characters they had were primarily white, and it was those that were selling the comics. In roads have been made over the years, however, with the previously mentioned characters, and also characters such as Marvel’s Northstar, who famously came out in a 1992 story, finally married his long term boyfriend a few years ago; and the hugely popular Kamala Khan, the current Ms Marvel, is a Muslim American teenager.

Stan Lee has been quoted as saying in an interview with Newsarama about the casting of a white Peter Parker as the latest on screen Spider-Man;

I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to,” he also added “it has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that. Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.

While he certainly has a point, it can be difficult to launch a new superhero into the public consciousness, but by casting a person of colour into a previously white character it can be an immediate show of support.

The same is also true for replacing existing characters in story for various reasons; most recently Steve Rogers retired as Captain America and so The Falcon stepped up to the plate. Thor Odinson became unworthy of his hammer, and then gave his name (Thor) over to the woman who was worthy. Likewise for reinventing existing characters; when DC rebooted their universe with the New 52, the Green Lantern Alan Scott was a gay man.

Progress is being made, but we’re not quite there yet.

Just in the last month there have been some controversies; during a recent Batgirl story objections were raised over the portrayal of a male character impersonating the lead character (however in the collected edition, the creators revised their original script).

More recently, Image Comics has long been championing diversity and inclusion for all with many of the comics they publish. Up until, that is, Airboy #2 came out this week. Whether it was the creators’ intent to show the cultural differences between the modern day and the Golden Age (from which Airboy both literally and figuratively comes from), and how far we’ve come as a society from the 1940’s in accepting transgender individuals, (or not – I may be giving too much credit here to a misguided depiction of support for the LGBTQ community) the message that many have received loud and clear from Airboy #2 isn’t one of support and acceptance, and as such, it isn’t resonating very well – if at all.

As an industry this is obviously not the message we want to give.

Regardless of the intentions behind that scene in Airboy #2, this kind of portrayal of transgender individuals not only harms the progress the industry has made in the past, and continues to make, but it can also potentially harm real life individuals.  Admirably, the writer of the comic recognized the outcry and responded.

Comics have come a long way when it comes to inclusion and acceptance for all, but we, as an industry and as a community, still have a long we to go. We need to ensure that comics are inclusive to everybody, and when they’re not then we should follow the examples that the very comics we love have shown us so many times, and speak out in favour of those who are being treated unfairly.

It was Stan Lee who said “with great power, there must also come great responsibility,” and we’ve all got the power to speak up when we see something that isn’t right.

Also published on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

We Stand on GuardWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

We Stand on Guard #1 (Image Comics) – Brian K Vaughn is taking on giant robots and Canada. Sign me up. I’ve been awaiting this one since it was announced at Image Expo.

The Bunker #12 (Oni Press) – Josh Fialkov’s time travel comic has been amazing with each issue and the fact is, I have no idea what will happen. It’s just beyond amazing and one of my favorite comics.

Red Skull #1 (Marvel) – If there’s one character that can mess up Doom’s new world, I’m convinced it’s the Red Skull. Maybe we’ll get the first hints as to how Doom will fall here?

Secret Wars #4 (Marvel) – The first three issues were solid in the best Marvel event in quite some time. It’s interesting to see where it all goes, and I’m along for the ride.

The Wicked + The Divine #12 (Image Comics) – Did you read the last issue? That alone is the reason I’m looking for this one. I seriously have no idea what’s happening next.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – I’m a sucker for anything set in the 40’s, and the Spirit is no exception. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I heard the comic was being released. I even though the movie was pretty decent. Did I just lose my nerd-cred?

Detective Comics #42 (DC Comics) – I’ve always been a closet Harvey Bullock fan, so to have at least a two-part story focused exclusively on him? There is no way I couldn’t pick this up.

We Stand On Guard #1 (Image Comics)A military comic that features giant robots and is written by Brian K Vaughn? What’s not to love?

 

Elana

Top Pick (tie) The Wicked + The Divine #12 (Image Comics) – Ack! My heart! It’s been smashed somewhere on the floor! It’s listening to “People Who Died” and “Rock and Roll Suicide” on repeat.

But Don’t You Cry Tonight (Gillen/McKelvie still love you, baby). There’s an underworld bellow us (BAYBAAHH) and Persephone is the goddess who comes back from the dead every spring.

This month’s issue is a flashback to Inanna’s origins. So put on Purple Rain and pretend you don’t know what’s to come.

Top Pick (tie) The Humans #6 (Image Comics) – It’s been reported that this issue is going to start giving us some more material about the women in The Humans and Johnny’s long lost former girlfriend. I’ve always appreciated how even in this male-centered story all of the female characters are easily identifiable and unique. This issue could make good on that promise.

But that’s not what I read this comic for. That’s just my intellect talking. I read it because it’s in my guts. (Teaser of a thought piece I’m working on).

It’s safe to say this comic will continue to be some of the best crafted, most addictive, least office appropriate reading you’ll find.

A-Force #2 (Marvel) – All of everyone’s favorite female heroes on one team! I was a bit thrown off by this new issues’s summary page. It describes Sister Grimm and Ms. America as foster sisters. Brett and I had interpreted them as a romantic couple. But let’s see where this goes. Hopefully there will be girl kissing and sharks being punched. And more She-Hulk.

Airboy #2 (Image Comics) – Hey Kids! Airboy is appearing in a comic of the same name! But I’m not reading this for a WWII Boy Adventurer. I’m here for the gonzo struggles of the artist as a middle aged man. (Read my review of issue 1 to find out more.) Will this comic’s writer and artist– this story’s actual protagonists– despoil the golden lad of the Golden Age? Pretty sure all of the hangovers we’re ever had, all put together are less interesting then the hangover that this creative team is about to experience (and they invite us along for the ride).

I want to warn our readers that there is seriously transphobic content in issue 2. I did not have a review copy when I put this issue on my picks list and wrote my endorsement based on my having enjoyed issue 1. Now, having read this issue I am not endorsing it.  We will be discussing the problems with it soon. I’m really disappointed.

For more on this, you can read our post “Airboy Crashes and Burns With Transphobic Second Issue

Years of Future Past #2 (Marvel) – This Secret Wars title seems to have gone entirely under the radar. That’s a shame. It’s a Claremonterrific spin-off of the classic X-Men Future Dystopia, the one that birthed all those crazy X-Men continuities. The book’s got heavy handed but emotionally resonant political metaphor to spare. It also has Kitty Pryde married to Colossus (though he’s only the 2nd best member of the Rasputin family for her to be in love with) and they have a daughter! And she meets Logan’s mysterious son “Cameron”. Ooooo. Who’s he named for?

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Secret Wars #4 (Marvel Comics) – Sheriff Strange, Lord Doom. Marvel’s version of Game of Thrones continues and it’s been epic! Unlike Convergence, part of me doesn’t want to see it end. If only Doom can win…

Action Comics #42 (DC Comics) – Truth continues and we see the “Man” without the “Steel” try to adapt and overcome everything put in his path. Last month was a joy and I’m waiting to see where this month takes us. Hopefully up, up and further!

Barb Wire #1 (Dark Horse Comics) The return of the bounty hunting Babe! Adam Hughes cover alone sold me on this one. If the inside is as good as the cover, I won’t need to keep the receipt.

Green Lantern #42 (DC Comics) – Everyone’s favorite renegade: Han.. er.. Hal Jordan continues his outlaw journey through the cosmos without the Corps by his side. Doesn’t mean it won’t be any less action packed!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #47 (IDW Publishing) – Evil Baxter Stockman, a horde of Mousers and half- shelled heroes. Is it 1984 again? That’s well and ok with me! Me thinks it’s Cowabunga time again!

 

Paul

Top Pick: A-Force #2 (Marvel) – All the women from the Marvel Universe on an island, fighting and protecting their island from outside threats…led by She-Hulk? YES PLEASE!  This is one of the few Secret Wars tie ins that I have really enjoyed, AND it has been reported this title will survive as an on-going title with the MU figures itself out.  I highly recommend getting on board with this one.

X-Tinction Agenda #2 (Marvel) – The second Secret Wars tie-in I really enjoyed, this title sees Havok and the mutants of Genosha dying from a virus running rampant, and their only hope is charging into X-City against Phoenix and taking the help they need to save their people.  Definitely a show down I look forward to seeing.

Years of Future Past #2 (Marvel) – Kate Pryde, along with her parents Shawdowcat and Colossus, have broken free from their prison, and with a handful of fellow mutants, have to race through their ruined city to try and save their surviving friends.  I’ve always enjoyed stories showing a bleaker future, and how the X-Men, no matter their numbers, band together to try and set things right.

 

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