Blackest Night of the West

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Weird Western Tales #71
Written by Dan Didio
Art by Renato Arlem

This black lantern series failed to grab me, and not because it was bad or because it was Didio writing, but I simply don’t care enough about these characters. I never liked Westerns and I don’t follow Jonah Hex, and this issue didn’t convince me to. Why is the Ray here and not kicking ass in the main Blackest Night Book?

A Continuity Buff’s Wet Dream

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Superman/Batman #68
Written by Joe Casey
Art by Ardian Syaf

This is the beginning of Casey’s run (not counting the one issue before Blackest Night) and the first issue of this book where the new format is Superman/Batman stories crossing over with the big events of the past. In other words, this is a continuity buff’s wet dream! Now I think they should have done a quick recap of 2001’s Our Worlds At War crossover but whatever, you don’t have to really know anything about that to understand this issue. The art was fantastic and each page was breathtaking. Definitely the best art we have had on this book in a while. The new villain is interesting at least in the shape shifter sense, I am not so sure about the other guy just yet. Good start to Casey’s run!

When The Stranger Is Needed

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Phantom Stranger (Volume 2) #42
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Adrian Syaf

 

The Phantom Stranger is one powerful mother fucker! No, I don’t think he can carry a series and I am glad he is just back as a star for this one issue, but he is still a great character and guest star. This issue is actually pretty important to Blackest Night as the reveleation that the White Light can not destroy Nekron. I am not sure why Deadman’s body is so important but I look forward to finding out. Good stuff. And the art was superb.

Joker Brains

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Brave and the Bold #31
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Chard Hardin and Justiniano

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of comics that try to explore Joker’s pre-joker past. I like the Killing Joke’s idea that we will never know the true origin because he is crazy and tells different stories. It makes him scarier as a character. If we understand him then he becomes less scary. But this issue managed to avoid that. Sure we get the idea that Joker was a criminal before becoming the Joker (although this was in his brain, and he is the Joker and could have false memories) but JMS never tries to explain why Joker is evil. He just is even as a small child. I would say this is probably JMS’s best issue so far. There wasn’t any strange dialogue or mischaracterization, it worked. I don’t quite buy the idea that because the Atom goes into the Joker’s brain he could become more like the Joker (especially since it is not like this is the first time Ray has been in someone’s brain) but I do like the idea that Ray had to decide whether or not he should even save the Joker’s life. Of course we knew he would make the right decision, but if he didn’t contemplate letting him die it would be even more of a stretch. That being said I see no reason why this issue couldn’t have featured Ryan Choi – he isn’t appearing anywhere else it would have been nice to give him some spotlight here.

Meat Statue?!

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #8
Written by Mike Benson
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Co-Feature by Marc Andreyko
Art by Jeremy Haun

Okay the main story is not at all what was solicited and is by a completely different writer I have never heard of. I was looking forward to reading more of Dini’s story! What the hell! And this is even a two-parter. I really don’t like Benson’s story, it is a generic Batman story and could easily star Bruce, and Commissioner Gordon is written like a jerk. I really don’t see Gordon ever calling a corpse a “meat statue”. DC’s website still has this being written by Dini and a completely different solicitation. That’s just bad DC and false advertising! The Manhunter back-up could have easily redeemed this issue if it were of the same quality as usual, but Haun’s art seemed a little rushed and I don’t buy the idea that little Ramsey knows who Harvey Dent is. Why would a ten-year-old kid know the name of an evil criminal mastermind from the other side of the country?!

Vartox And His Pregno-Ray

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Power Girl (Volume 2) #8
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Connor

This book keeps getting better! Vartox better be coming back soon. Despite him being a disgusting pig, him and Karen have great chemistry. This was a great issue, Connor doesn’t get enough praise for her work on expressions. There were so many moments where I literally laughed out loud reading this. From Vartox’s evening wear to PeeGee smashing the alarm clock. I love this book! Yes, the intitial story arc was pretty awful but the book has improved astronomically since. I was confused by something though…was Vartox really kidding about the Pregno-Ray or not? I don’t think that was very clear.

I Wish I Could Say That Didio Proved Me Wrong

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Outsiders (Volume 4) #26
Written by Dan Didio
Art by Phillip Tan and Don Kramer

You know…I started this telling myself to keep an open mind. That even though Dan Didio is the man who thought Countdown was better then 52 and many other idiotic opinions, he could be a good writer and I shouldn’t prejudge. One issue in and I have little hope. This isn’t a very good comic. All of the characters are off and are not acting like themselves. Katana just stabbed a guy in the chest and Geo-Force is calling for extreme violence and acting like a completely different character then well…Geo-Force. What the hell? I am hoping this is explained through mind control or something but so far it is just bad characterization. Halo is nowhere to be found except for one panel. The art is just awful and Tan’s anatomy changes from page to page. The only good thing was the Eradicator – a former member of the Outsiders. I do like the acknowledgement of that history and he is a character that has been gone for a long time but… Please, Didio, prove me wrong and show me that you can write a good comic.

The Mogo Purge

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Green Lantern Corps (Volume 2) #44
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

In this action-packed and suspenseful issue Mogo arrives to save the day and purges Oa of all Lanterns – Black and Green and sucks all the Black ones into his core. It is a pretty cool idea and was pretty awesome to see. I have to hand it to Gleason for pulling it off so well. Guy is still a Red Lantern and refuses to remove the ring and next issue I suppose will be the Green Lanterns versus the Red. I am still sooo happy that Kyle is alive!

Mythological Backgrounds

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Magog #5
Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Howard Porter

The mythological background behind this is actually rather interesting and I look forward to seeing how it plays out. So was Magog a being captured by Gog and then imprisoned inside of David Reid? Was Gog really from the third world or was he lying? I still can’t stand the character of Magog but at least the back-story is interesting and the art is good. I have no idea still what is going on with this Haven place. There really should be more of a catch-up at the beginning of issues to remind the reader of what has gone before.

Integration

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The Shield #5
Written by Eric Trautmann
Art by Marco Rudy
Co-Feature by Brandon Jerwa
Art by Greg Scott

 

The main story introduces two old Archie characters into the DC Universe: The hero The Jaguar and the villain Baron Gestapo. Both of these characters have a lot of potential in my opinion already. Even though I know nothing about the Archie heroes I am loving watching them become integrated into the DC Universe and both this series and the Web. It’s a real shame more people aren’t reading as they are both good books. The Great Ten guest stars but the new characters are the more important parts of the book. The Inferno back-up introduces another new character from the old Archie days, The Comet, and he seems more interesting then Inferno although I am not sure how I feel about his costume just yet. The back-up is definitely still inferior to the main story though.

Benefits

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R.E.B.E.L.S. #12
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Geraldo Borges

This series continues to be good and since it involved Black Lanterns this issue should have had a Blackest Night label on it to bring in readers – even though it barely involved them I still think more people should read this book. Vril Dox’s plan to take out Starro is interesting and I wonder what it is – and how it benefits Vril Dox in the end which I believe this issue implied. Good stuff. Oh and the guest artist was a perfect fit. I liked it.

Gotham’s Most Dangerous Nun?

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Catwoman (Volume 3) #83
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Marco Marz

What has happened to Will Phieffer? Why is he not writing this? This book was his baby before it got cancelled and it was great! That being said, this was an okay issue of this resurrected titled. There were obviously last minute creative changes but the art was fantastic and Bedard wrote everyone in character. The ending was surprising. Is Maggie Kyle as a Nun-villain going to be explored in Gotham City Sirens? I sure hope so.  The Black Lantern stuff was just like every other surprise I’m alive Black Lantern stuff. I am honestly getting sick of it but whatever.

Doll, Stop Playing With That Girl

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Secret Six (Volume 3) #17
Written by John Ostrander and Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

This is part 2 of the Blackest night crossover that began here. I miss Nicola Scott. Caliafore is good but he’s not Scott. I think this is all and good but Blackest Night is interrupting the narrative in this book and I was enjoying it so much. Anyways, there were still great one-liners like Doll, Stop Playing With that Girl haha.

Mystery and Speculation

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Batman #695
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Daniel

 

Tony Daniel’s run on Batman continues to impress me. He utilizes Gotham and it’s characters in a great way. I hope he isn’t leaving this book any time soon. I loved every page of this issue and his art is getting better and better. This has as many Gothamites has Hush had but it’s an actual coherent story and good mystery unlike Loeb’s Hush was. So is Kitrina Falcone working with Riddler or with Penguin and Mad Hatter? Could Jeremiah Arkham be Black Mask? The mystery to all this is great and the speculation is fun to make. I can’t wait to the next issue.

The Return of Shadowpact

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Action Comics #885
Written by Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann
Art by Pere Perez
Co-Feature by Rucka and James Robinson
Art by Cafu

You can tell we are approaching a war here as shit goes to hell in the handbasket when the army tries to retrieve Flamebird and Nightwing and are defended by Guardian and Mon-El. Sam Lane is such a dick I can’t wait to see him get his ass handed to him. The Co-Feature was just awesome as we see the return of Shadowpact! I didn’t realize how much I missed those guys! Good old Detective Chimp.  This was a great issue!

Implications

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Titans (Volume 2) #21
Written by J.T. Krul
Art by Angel Unzueta and Chris Batista

 

I am sorry if I got the wrong impression, but did this issue imply that Lian Harper is dead and Roy doesn’t know it yet because he is in a coma! Is this a spoiler for Cry for Justice! If so, what the hell is wrong with DC? That is completely unnecessary. They kill off Red Devil for no reason, as he doesn’t even become a Black Lantern, and now this? You have got to be kidding me. I hope I am wrong. I hope Donna is talking about something else besides the death of a loveable little girl! The art by the way was good except for Batista’s part, in those parts it was downright awful. Look at how he draws Black Canary! I hope it’s just Unzueta next issue. It was well-written though. Krul continues to prove he understand the Titans very well.

Black Lantern Marvels

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Power of Shazam! #48
Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Don Kramer

This is another resurrected title special for Blackest Night…I loved this book. It was great series that introduced the Marvel Family to me. But this Eric Wallace-written resurrection isn’t very good. I don’t really like the idea that Osiris resisted the Black rings. I thought that the bodies of the Black Lanterns were just bodies and their minds were not there, why is Osiris different? This isn’t really explained and seems to fly in the face of everything else we have seen about the black lanterns. Not to mention Billy and Mary’s voices seemed a bit off. I was not thrilled with this at all.