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Review: Day of Judgement #5

Day of Judgement #5

For fans of superhero movies, the films are extensions of the heroes we grew up reading. I never in a million years would believe I would see a faithful adaptation of any of our heroes. Tim Burton’s Batman was iconic and drew from the source material but also served the Hollywood machine. Then there was the film version of Daredevil, which felt both sincere and yet struggled to find that happy medium.

The closest we came became before the MCU was the film adaptation of Watchmen, which was very faithful and gave audiences a page by page recreation of the book. So when the Avengers movies introduced the Infinity Gauntlet saga, it gave fans a rare element in these movies until then, sentiment. Fans across the world felt the snap of Thanos when many of our favorite heroes were gone. In the fifth issue of Day Of Judgment, our heroes face their final battle for control of the Spectre.

We find Neron facing off Superman and the Sentinels of Magic, as his powers are so immense it temporarily stops Superman. We also find Hal Jordan pleading the case to embody the Spectre, as his past sins give him cause. Asmodel grants him the power of the Spectre, where he defeats and cages Neron to face his family. Neron would have his title stripped and be imprisoned forever by Asmodel. By story’s end, the city has been brought back by Hal, as he quietly acclimates to his new role.

Overall, an issue that shows why so many people still love this story. The story by Geoff Johns is perceptive and electrifying. The art by the creative team is extraordinary. Altogether, a final chapter that gives a sentimental tribute to the hero’s journey of Hal Jordan.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Comicraft, Matthew Dow Smith, James Sinclair,
and Steve Mitchell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Day of Judgement #4

Day of Judgement #4

Marvel has had its share of comic book heroes who have had some huge story arcs. One of those heroes which come to mind is the Hulk. It’s a shame we haven’t gotten to see him in more solo movies as the many story arcs he has enjoyed have given fans much to salivate over the possibilities.

One of his most interesting arcs was Planet Hulk. A story where we saw the inner struggle between Bruce Banner and the Hulk while he tries to stay alive. It’s a story which enjoyed a wink and a nod in Thor Ragnarok.  In the fourth issue of Day Of Judgment, our heroes fight to get control of the Spectre, much like Bruce fought to get control of the Hulk.

We find Wonder Woman’s team fighting The Spectre, Etrigan and his minions, while they lay waste to the city. Dr. Fate and the Justice Society Of America, reverse a tragedy that would have spelled death for one of our heroes ., as Hal Jordan, wields the power of not only his ring but the collective power of the Green Lantern Corps, making him a formidable opponent to Asmodel. Meanwhile, Shazam takes the Spear of Destiny from Starfire, and ultimately counterbalancing Asmodel. By the issue’s end, Asmodel’s hold of the Spectre is neutered, leaving one brave soul to inhabit the vessel, as Batman and Hal, are stopped by Superman from assuming the mantle.

Overall, an issue that evens the playing field for the good guys. The story by Geoff Johns is insightful and exciting. The art by the creative team is exceptional. Altogether, an installment which will leave the reader on the edge of their seat.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Comicraft, Matthew Dow Smith, James Sinclair,
and Steve Mitchell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Day of Judgement #3

Day of Judgement #3

I have always heard the metaphor “There’s only one way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This sentiment shows no matter how big the problem, you must deal with a problem step by step regardless. Some people panic when they see a problem coming at them. Then there are those who settle in focus and attack the problem head on.

The events of Avengers: Infinity War showed that despite your best efforts, sometimes failure is inevitable. It’s not this consequence that should consume those involved, but how does one move through it and past it. Those protagonists fought Thanos on multiple fronts, ensuring his eventual defeat. In the third issue of Day Of Judgment, our heroes are still fighting on three fronts, despite the gloom in front of them

We find some the Spectre evil spirit creating Hell On earth, an act which is met by Batman and The Sentinels of Magic, as they battle his forces in Hell. While Captain Marvel fights the Undead in out space. We also find Wonder Woman leading a contingent of the Justice League in Purgatory, as they search for the Spear Of Destiny. By the issue’s end, we start to find out what Etrigan’s motive for aiding Spectre and one of our heroes fall in the most devastating way possible.

Overall, an issue that shows how high the stakes are for our heroes. The story by Geoff Johns is perceptive and action-packed. The art by the creative team is outstanding. Altogether, an installment which shows glimpses of Johns’  then burgeoning masterful storytelling abilities.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Comicraft, Mathew Dow Smith, James Sinclair,
and Steve Mitchell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Day of Judgement #2

Day of Judgement #2

Turnover can be rough for all those involved. Those dealing with the fallout have to adjust to the change in workload and manpower. Then there are those, who are the change agents, where they are dealing with change on two fronts. They’re the ones causing things to change. They have to deal with the grief they cause and the people they leave behind. Then there’s the unknown they deal with. This new circumstance which changes their lives completely. It’s never easy either way and it’s more difficult for everyone involved.

What happens when the people you most rely on are simply not there anymore or have moved from your inner circle? In the second issue of Day Of Judgment, our heroes are fighting on three fronts, and one hero chooses not step up this time.

We find some being inhabiting the Spectre battling the Sentinels Of Magic, finding a moment of weakness to temporarily defeat this demon. Meanwhile, Batman and Wonder Woman gather a contingent of the Justice League, where Zatanna, Firestorm, The Atom, and Faust head to an alternate dimension to reignite the fires in Hell since it has become frozen with Spectre’s exit. Alan Scott, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman head to Heaven to convince them to join the fight. By issue’s end, an unlikely hero decides to step up, making an uneasy alliance for all.

Overall, an issue that explores how vast the story is, making for an exciting climax. The story by Geoff Johns is intuitive and action-packed. The art by the creative team is remarkable. Altogether, an issue in this evolving story which gives fans the quality of storytelling which we have known Johns to provide.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Comicraft, Mathew Dow Smith, James Sinclair,
and Steve Mitchell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Day of Judgement #1

Day of Judgement #1

When it comes to enigmatic characters, by far, DC has the competition beat. Never has a stable of characters been so storied. When it comes to the darkness of human nature, that DC’s characters show that part well. Take for instance, the recently released Joker, which gives viewers a more realistic vision of how such a person gets pushed to the brink. Readers have seen the character’s more twisted ploys including the much-celebrated, and controversial, Killing Joke.

It was within this movie; we got a much more realized and off-putting narrative to this legendary antagonist. The story, itself spoke to the societal ills of today but also how a revolution on certain levels can give rise. One of my other favorite characters is the Spectre, whose own story is both macabre and part detective noir. In one of Geoff Johns’ best outings, Day Of Judgment, we find this hero in the crosshairs of a major force rising through the DCU.

We’re taken to Hell, where an angel is being tortured for a plot to take over Heaven, which prompts Etrigan to offer Spectre’s physical embodiment since Corrigan recently vacated it. As he uses the demon, Asmodel, to rein in the power of Spectre and raise all the demons in Hell to carry out carnage on Earth. This catches the attention of certain superheroes, first, Zatanna, then Enchantress, and a few key figures in the JLA including Batman and Wonder Woman. As The JLA faces Spectre and Etrigan, we find an unfair fight, leaving each member defeated especially the might trio of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. By the issue’s end, when all hope looks lost, this is exactly when Zatanna ad the rest of the heroes known as The Sentinels of Magic spring into action.

Overall, a stunning debut issue into what was the world’s introduction to Justice League Dark, which is more than a fitting introduction. The story by Johns is layered, complex and intellectual. The art by the creative team is spectacular. Altogether, an outstanding origin story to one of the best teams in the DC Universe.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Steve Mitchell, Comicraft, James Sinclair,
and Matthew Dow Smith
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #3

For us fans of Bruce Lee, in his limited filmography lies a treasure trove of life lessons. Ones that pushes people beyond what they accept for themselves and ones in which infinite potential is the ceiling. His book, the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do, impresses on its readers to“Not being tense but ready. Not thinking but not dreaming. Not being set but flexible. Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement. It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.” As these words would confuse most, but to see the forest through the trees per say, is what his philosophies demanded for comprehension.

These philosophies were embedded in every role he played, as these backstories for each character, he had something to do with it. Enter The Dragon carried many of his philosophies about martial arts and life in general. His most personal film was his last, Game Of Death, very action packed and one which intertwines his philosophies all throughout. In the last book of Green Lantern: Dragon Lord, our hero must go on his ow quest to find the woman who holds his heart and to purge evil throughout the kingdom.

We find Jong Li, about to enter the fabled Lung Mountain, where a series of trials and marauders await his arrival, each one he must conquer and save Jade Moon. General Shan plots to have the power of the Green Lantern to himself as well as overthrow the emperor, both are at his grasp, if he defeats Jong Li. As Jong Li, fights his way to the top of the mountain, he brings back the Dragon Lords, is finally able to confront Shan. By book’s end, not everything goes as planned, as he saves Jade Moon, but she still suffers a fatality, her son becomes the new emperor and Jong Li enters history a legend.

Overall, a heart rendering end to a great story, one which gets to the core of what makes Jonng Li, one of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time. The story by Doug Moench is whimsical, thriving with lore and gives the reader a nice slice of history. The art by the creative team more than complements the story, it  illuminates these great characters. Altogether, an almost perfect ending to a such a momentous story.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Bob Lappan, Dave Stewart, Joe Rubinstein, Paul Gulacy 
and James Sinclair
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #2

The world is in love with the “reluctant” hero figure. Men and women who can and should save people. But those heroes always have some boiler plate excuse like “I don’t do that no more.” Of course the worse excuse being “I’m no hero.” This is exactly why Alan Ladd’s seminal classic Shane is a favorite among middle aged men, even those who don’t like Westerns. The story revolves around a high plains drifter who wanders into a small town and accepts a family’s hospitality. This peace of course doesn’t last. He eventually gets caught in the war for the Wyoming rang as a land baron looks to take over the family’s land. This leaves Shane in a precarious position as his honor leaves him no choice but to get involved.

There have been some pale imitations of this hero archetype over the years and many have come close but very few can truly compare. One of my favorite characters that fall into this type is D from the anime film Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. He fits the type perfectly. Add to the fact he is also half vampire, and hunt vampires and you got one of the more badass characters ever written. In comics the legendary Wolverine fits this type in many ways as his stature causes most to underestimate him but his “lone wolf” posture is what makes him both enigmatic and magnetic to his fellow X-Men and readers alike. In the second book of Green Lantern: Dragon Lord, Jong Li is another occupant of this archetype but he engages only when the lives of Jade Moon and her son are in danger.

We catch up with Jong Li, as he tries to get closer to Emperor, as his heart leads him to find Jade, as he disguises himself as a magician, so no one knows who he is.  This is where he gets close enough to find and rescue Jade from General Shan and hundreds of soldiers surrounding the royal palace, where he runs away with her. While in the woods, he reveals the very thing Shan is looking for and, which attracts assassins, but the ring’s power proves to be too much for any adversary, as Jong Li finally embraces its might. By issue’s end, Jong Li’s honor renders him powerless but sends him on a quest to restore it and the legacy of the Dragon Lords.

Overall, an excellent installment in a rather epic story which purports Green Lantern lore to legendary proportions. The story by Doug Moench is exciting and multilayered. The art by the creative team is extraordinary. Altogether, this story only gets better with each issue and this is more than the standard bearer for the quality of this series.

Story: Doug Moench Art: Paul Gulacy, Dave Stewart, James Sinclair, and Joe Rubinstein
Story: 10 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Dragon Lord #1

There is nothing a like a great prequel, especially if it fills in all those holes that the reader wants to know about their favorite characters. One of the best ones I remember from growing up is the Muppet Babies, as I grew up watching The Muppet Show, and the cartoon offered us fans another side to our favorite characters. This is also true of the Truth: Red, White and Black book where we see that before Steve Rogers became the iconic hero, many Black soldiers volunteered, much like the Tuskegee Experiment. As I always wondered who was there before, as the new Black Panther comic book, showcases in many trips to the Hall of the Black Panther, where he seeks the council of all the Panthers who came before.

As Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602, though not an origin story, but rather an alternative history, how would our  favorite characters favor in an another time in history? This is precisely what Gotham By Gaslight sought to show readers that Batman will for all intents and purposes, be the same, just with 17th century ideology.  This is also what Milestone’s Icon, Kumail Rizvi’s Kahlil and Superman: Red Son shows audiences, that depending on the circumstance, we might not have Superman as we know him to be. This leads me to ask of one of my favorite characters, Green Lantern, how was there never no one worthy before Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner, to be a Green Lantern? In Doug Moench’s superior Green Lantern: Dragon Lord we meet Earth’ first Lantern, Jong Li.

The reader is transport ancient China, 660 A.D. precisely, where we are taken to the Last House of the Dragon Lords, and meet a young tempestuous monk, named Jong Li, one whose impatience overshadows his potential. We are also introduced to jade Moon, who belongs to the Emperor’s Harem, as she looks to escape the palace with her child, she seeks refuge within the Dragon Lords temple, unfortunate for her, the palace guard tracks her down. This unfortunate chain of events leads to the massacre of the Dragon Lords, the capture of Jade and Li to flee with Jade’s son. While Li hides in the woods, the Guardians of the Universe, finds Jong Li, to become Earth’s first Green Lantern, one he is uneasy to accept and finds it even harder to navigate at first. That is until Jade through the Lantern acts as his conscience, guiding his actions, as he frees the country from the corruption the Emperor’s rule has brought. By issue’s end, an experienced Jong Li, finds himself on the precipice of reuniting Jade with her son , as his abilities become even greater.

Overall, an excellent story which combines a story told in Ancient China using the familiarity of the Green Lantern canon. The story by Moench is smart, action packed, and delicately weaves Eastern mythology with superhero lore. The art by the creative team is refined, vivid and striking. Altogether, a story that more than deserves to be part of the Green Lantern pantheon, as it proves that Jong Li is the standard all Green Lanterns including Hal Jordan could only hope to follow after.

Story: Doug Moench Art: Paul Gulacy, Bob Lappan, James Sinclair, Joe Rubinstein
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy