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Review: The Flash #768

The Flash #768

The Flash kicks off its Infinite Frontier run with Wally West taking center stage. It also stumbles right out of the block with a forgettable issue that feels like a filler arc. The Flash #768 has Wally West making the decision that he wants to hang up his suit to spend more time with his newly reunited family. And, to do that, he feels like he needs the Speed Force taken from him.

Writer Jeremy Adams delivers a story that’s just ok. There’s nothing bad about the comic but it also doesn’t deliver anything that really stands out. It takes what should be some solid concepts and distracts things with a time travel sci-fi comedy. While Wally and Barry race so Barry can suck the Speed Force from Wally, the Speed Force acts up. Wally is sent to the past for unknown reasons that are teased as the issue progresses. There’s a lighthearted take to it all and some comedic moments. But, the issue’s strength is the exploration of how Barry and Wally have approached their roles. That is far too short.

But, this is jus the opening chapter in this arc and it all might come together. Beyond Barry and Wally’s different approach to life there’s an interesting exploration of Barry and Wally’s attachment to the Speed Force. Barry has a better understanding but Wally has a greater attachment to it. Again, there’s potential.

The art races around with Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, and David Lafuente mixing things up as the story hops around time. Mike Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, and Luis Guerrero handle the colors. Steve Wands provides the lettering. The art is good but it lacks a certain sense of motion that has been a highlight of the art of the series for some time. While Wally and Barry race, there’s a lack of flow that makes the art feel more like a snapshot in time as opposed to enhancing the movement of the characters.

There’s some small details to enjoy in The Flash #768. A scene of Wally and Barry and Iris walking down the street has some great comments from those watching. There’s also a lighthearted and “fun” tone about the comic as well. It’s a throwback in some ways. Overall though, this is a starting arc that doesn’t excite enough to have readers coming back for more.

Story: Jeremy Adams Art: Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, David Lafuente
Color: Mike Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, Luis Guerrero Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Future State: Green Lantern #1

Future State: Green Lantern #1

Future State has been delivering a fascinating look at possible futures of the DC Universe. While some have provided pretty smooth transitions, others have left too many questions. The world these comics exist in themselves are a distraction. Future State: Green Lantern #1 is one of those issues. In this future, the Green Lantern battery appears to be no more, and the Lanterns a shell of what they were. Why? Who knows. But, it’s a question that’ll be in the back of your head while you read the comic.

Geoffrey Thorne delivers an interesting story of a siege and last stand. John Stewart is leading a band of Lanterns as they protect a planet under siege. Their goal is to get survivors off the planet and slow the tide of attack. Coming out so soon after the events of January 6, it’s an odd comic as it’s hard to read it and not think of the officers who stood against the attacking crowds.

Thorne gives us a valiant issue. Future State: Green Lantern #1 presents the Lanterns as heroes who put their own lives on the line even when the odds are against them. There’s no fancy rings to wield, it’s just guns and swords to hold off the evil they face. And, some give their lives in doing so. Thorne delivers emotion and trauma as the odds diminish and you’re left not knowing if Stewart and team will walk away.

I sort of like Tom Raney’s art. With color by Mike Atiyeh and lettering by Andworld Design, it’s more of a personal thing for me. There’s a slight cartoonish style to the comic that doesn’t quite click for me. But there’s some great moments and I really like the design of the characters. Raney gives us the emotional hits and a good look at Stewart’s reactions. But, the art doesn’t quite click with the drama. As a sci-fi comic, the style works really well but here it doesn’t nail the emotional moments.

The comic features a second tale, “The Taking of Sector 0123“. Written by Ryan Cady with art by Sami Basri, colors by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Dave Sharpe, it’s a solid story featuring Jessica Cruz. Some of Sinestro’s Yellow Lantern Corp have headed to a Green Lantern station with an intention of taking it over. All that’s left to stop them is Cruz without her power ring. What takes place is a story we’ve seen many times before. It’s Die Hard and numerous other films of that sort but it works. It works really well. That ending though! It’s the strongest of the three stories within.

The third story, “Book of Guy“, is really humorous as Guy Gardner is stuck on a world after his Ring’s power gives out. Written by Ernie Altabacker with art by Clayton Henry, color by Marcelo Maiolo, and lettering by Steve Wands, the story is entertaining and cute, a solid back-up story. It’s funny and definitely had me laughing by the end.

Future State: Green Lantern #1 isn’t a bad issue at all but it dances the history of the DC Universe up to this point. It’s hard to not keep wondering what problem hit the Green Lanterns. Why are things like the way they are. It left me wanting to learn about that more than what was presented. That’s good in a way but also a bit frustrating as well.

Story: Geoffrey Thorne, Ryan Cady, Ernie Altabacker Art: Tom Raney, Sami Basri, Clayton Henry
Color: Mike Atiyeh, Hi-Fi, Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Andworld Design, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Future State: The Flash #1

Future State: The Flash #1

Future State: The Flash #1 is an interesting comic. As much as it takes place “in the future”, its style and story feel very much in the past. Team Flash has been depowered and are on a mission to stop Wally West who has turned evil running around the world killing.

Written by Brandon Vietti, the comic is an interesting one in concept. Team Flash are forced to take up arms with the weapons of the Rogues in a mission to gain tools to stop Wally. The story would normally be totally ok and a story arc I might expect in the ongoing. But, the focus on Wally being a murderer, not too long after he was in fact a murderer, seems like odd timing. Wally just redeemed himself in a way with his actions in Dark Nights: Death Metal but we’re reminded so soon after of his dark side. Fans of Wally West will likely hate this.

The story itself though is pretty good. The mission of the Flashes is intriguing and the build is good. Vietti does a solid job of depicting Barry Allen. He’s center of the story and his hope is on full display. This is an aspect of the character that has been played up since his return. It’s nice to see that here as it emphasizes that it’s a theme within DC Comics as a whole. Even with a “dark” storyline, there’s still hope at the heart of it.

Dale Eaglesham’s art is pretty solid. There’s a “classic” feel to it and it’s interesting to see a Flash comic without the need for much motion in the art. With the group depowered, we don’t get the running we normally see. There isn’t that sense, or need, for much motion. But, Eaglesham does a solid amount of action with delivers some subtle moments of emotion. He’s joined by Mike Atiyeh on color and Steve Wands handles the lettering.

Future State: The Flash #1 is a solid story arc for an ongoing series. It feels like one of those fill-in stories in between bigger arcs that lasts a few issues. The comic doesn’t blow me away, or excite me, but it’s still a good read that’s entertaining.

Story: Brandon Vietti Art: Dale Eaglesham
Color: Mike Atiyeh Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


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Review: Shazam! #4

Shazam #4

“Shazam and the Seven Magiclands” continues as Billy Batson and the other foster kids are lost in the dangerous Wildlands! A realm where animals walk like humans…and where humans live in zoos! When Freddie and Darla are captured and paraded around like oddities, it’s up to Billy and the others to rescue them from the greedy Crocodile Men! Plus, the shocking ending to issue #1 could up end Billy’s new family…or make it stronger than ever.

The only reason I read Shazam #4 was to see how easy it would be to pick up the newest issue of the comic after having recently seen the movie (on an advanced screening, not through nefarious means). Having only read the back up stories in the New 52 Justice League series, my familiarity with the character relies primarily on the movie. And, having no intention of reading the first three issues in the series… I was curious how easy it would be for me (and by extension any other readers turned on to the comic from the movie) to dive right in.

Obviously, starting a story on the fourth issue with no recap beyond the first paragraph above isn’t ideal, but the comic was easy enough to follow, and more than enjoyable. Following Billy Batson and his siblings as they’re separated across various different lands, we get introduced to a handful of the seven Magiclands.

Geoff Johns crafts a tale in this issue that’s essentially a fish out of water situation featuring superheroes, which will assist any newcomers like myself. That the comic looks fantastic doesn’t hurt things either; the lightning effect is almost electrifying (though that may have been the static electricity that got me earlier).

Shazam #4 isn’t a must read comic, but it’s a damn fun one that serves as a decent introduction to the series for new readers.

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Dale Eaglesham & Marco Santucci
Colors: Mike Atiyeh Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Shazam #1

Teenager turned super-hero Billy Batson struggles to balance school and superheroics! (Guess which one is more fun?) But when Shazam unlocks a shocking secret deep within the Rock of Eternity, it challenges everything he knows about the worlds of magic and his family’s future as its champions!

Potential. That’s the word that sticks out the most after reading Shazam #1 which as presented is a lot of setup and some humor and that’s about it. How this classic character fits in the Rebirth world is a bit of a mystery but the Marvel, I mean Shazam family is back. There’s so jokes, winks, and nods, as to the previous naming of the characters but this first issue is the set up the series is more than just Shazam, Mary, and the rest are along for the ride as well. How? Well, that’s not really explained but again, this is an issue that’s set up.

The potential is all in the character interactions. Writer Geoff Johns focuses on that dynamic and out of everything, how a group of kids with superpowers interacts has a lot of potential to be a lot of fun. When we see that in the comic, it absolutely is. But, beyond a robbery and some exploration of the Rock of Eternity, the comic is fairly thin on excitement or anything of interest.

Dale Eaglesham‘s art though is interesting to look at with a classic New 52/90s look to it that you’ll either like or hate. While something more stylish and unique would have been interesting, the art is crisp with color from Mike Atiyeh. There are some good small details like the robbers’ masks and some looks flashed here and there but overall, the style is one we’ve seen a lot of.

Where art does stand out is a backup story focused on Mary with art by Mayo “Sen” Naito. The story provides the origin of Mary as far as the family and the art has a manga influence with a young adult bent. It’s fantastic art and makes me want to see Naito’s style on some of DC’s Zoom and Ink imprint releases.

There’s nothing particularly bad about this first issue. There’s also nothing that’s all that exciting either. The series is going to rely on the interaction of the kids and how much Johns goes down the Harry Potter direction it feels like he’s heading. Again, there’s potential which has me interested in at least checking out more issues.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Dale Eaglesham, Mayo “Sen” Naito
Color: Mike Atiyeh Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Protectors, Inc. #10

Protectors, Inc. #10

Story By: J. Michael Straczynski
Art By: Gordon Purcell
Art By: Mike Atiyeh
Cover By: Ben Templesmith
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: ICSEP140740
Published: November 19, 2014

In the finale to this first arc, Riley learns a tragic secret about the Angel and finds himself in the crosshairs of a battle royale between The Patriot and the man responsible for a series of brutal murders, who is as powerful as any of the Protectors…maybe more so. The ending will forever change the world of the Protectors…and not in a “we’ll reset this later” way.

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Preview: Protectors, Inc. #8

Protectors, Inc. #8

Story By: J. Michael Straczynski
Art By: Gordon Purcell
Art By: Mike Atiyeh
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JUN140564
Published: August 20, 2014

After having mysteriously disappeared over a decade earlier, The Patriot has returned from his long absence. But what has prompted this sudden reappearance? Does he know something of value about the murders that have lately gripped Chicago in a fist of terror…or is he trying to hide something? Who do you trust in an organization where everyone wears a mask and very few tell the truth? Detective John Riley must decide whether or not to trust someone he once idolized, but who may now be a serial killer.

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Preview: Protectors, Inc. #7

Protectors, Inc. #7

Story By: J. Michael Straczynski
Art By: Gordon Purcell
Art By: Mike Atiyeh
Cover By: Gordon Purcell
Cover By: Mike Atiyeh
Variant Cover By: Renae Deliz
Variant Cover By: Ray Dillon
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: MAY140720
Published: July 2, 2014

The Angel and Detective Riley have joined forces to determine who killed the Huntsman, and why. With each new discovery, the suspicion grows that it was one of the Protectors who did the job…and that there may be other, unsolved murders that could only have been committed by one of their own. In a world without super-powered bad guys, has someone finally crossed over to the other side? And if they have, how can they be stopped? And what secret is Protectors Inc. hiding about all this? Tune in for another thrilling adventure…

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Preview: Protectors, Inc. #5

Protectors, Inc. #5

Written By: J. Michael Straczynski
Art By: Gordon Purcell
Art By: Mike Atiyeh
Cover By: Gordon Purcell
Cover By: Alina Urusov
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JAN140609
Published: March 26, 2014

In every good mystery, there’s a moment when the detective confronts the suspects to try and figure out which of them is the killer. But generally speaking, the suspects aren’t powerful enough to fly you five miles straight up, rip off your limbs, and drop you into the Atlantic. That’s the problem faced by Lieutenant Detective John Riley, when he finally comes face-to-face with the Protectors, one of whom may have murdered the Huntsman. Meanwhile, an autopsy on a woman presumed to have died in a boating accident reveals a grisly connection to the Protectors…

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Celebrity, Murder, and Super Powers Collide in Protectors, Inc.

What’s it like to be a hero in a world without villains? In Protectors, Inc., the life of a superhero is wonderful, thanks to a bevy of corporate sponsors, an adoring public, polite rivalries, sports franchises, and best of all, no super-powered bad guys to worry about. Wonderful, that is, until a hero is murdered in such a way that the only possible culprit is an unknown person with superpowers, throwing the status quo into upheaval. Protectors, Inc. comes from a place of deep appreciation for genre fiction.

The latest project from writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Gordon Purcell, Protectors, Inc. focuses on Lieutenant Detective John Riley’s search for the truth behind the murder of a being that shouldn’t have been able to be murdered by anyone. Nothing is as it seems, however, and Riley’s case will lead to a fifty-year-old secret, love affairs, and possibly even more death.

Protectors, Inc. #1 will be in stores on November 6, is currently available to pre-order from the September issue of Previews, and features two separate covers. Cover A (Diamond Code SEP130489) features art by Gordon Purcell and Mike Atiyeh, while Cover B (Diamond Code SEP130489) features art by Whilce Portacio and Mike Atiyeh.

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