It Is Good To Have Plas Back

jla36

Justice League of America #36
Written by Len Wein
Art by Tom Derenick

Okay it took them thirty-six issues, but I think finally we have a Justice League issue where the characters are given equal screen time, have unique voices, and well…it just feels like the League. I think I was too easy on McDuffie, sure he was always being overly managed by DC editorial, but he really wasn’t good at writing this book. This was just a sigh of relief. I love having Plastic Man back. I really missed him. I liked how they actually showed Vixen asking Starfire to join the league. Heck I even liked the origin of the Royal Flush Gang that they recapped. When Robinson comes on this book, this book better stay this good.

You Don’t Need The A-Listers To Write A Good Story

jla35

Justice League of America #35
Written by Len Wein
Art by Tom Derenick and Pow Rodrix

What Professor Fortune said in the last line of this book about playing with the cards you are dealt – in other words you don’t need the big three, just create good stories about the characters you have – it could have been said to McDuffie. Heck, Wein makes Red Tornado more interesting with the two lines the character had her then anything Meltzer or McDuffie did with the character. This was a decent issue, I mean it wasn’t great but it had Plastic Man in it, so that elevates it quite a bit in my head. I love how Plas brought up how he was with the team through all those great storylines – that was a great use of continuity while at the same time commenting on how ridiculous that he has been out of the League for so long. Sure we don’t have the A-list big leaguers, but this fill-in arc is going to be a decent read none-the-less.

McDuffie’s Actual Last Issue

jla34

Justice League of America #34
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ardian Sayaf and Eddy Barrows

Okay for some reason DC’s solicitations were wrong on their website and this is McDuffie’s last issue on this book. Well at least he gets to finish his story arc. I actually liked this conclusion. Sure the art is still not great for a book like Justice League, but it was competent. I enjoyed the explanation for how the Milestone Universe and DC Universe merged. I think it was really the easiest way to explain it. Although I was under the impression they were not going to explain it, I am glad they did (Although it doesn’t make sense that Superman would be wearing his Superman outfit on New Krypton). I hope when the new creative team takes over they won’t get rid of Firestorm, I think it is great to see him on this team and I am hoping Icon will still be joining even though McDuffie is not on the book anymore.

Sad Way To Go

jla33

Justice League of America #33
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Rags Morales

Um…what? I am really not sure what this was about. This whole storyline has been convoluted and confusing even without Ed Benes’s art. This isn’t even a conclusion and I am pretty sure this is McDuffie’s last issue. A lot could be said about DC’s mishandling of McDuffie on this title but really…even if you take into account the editorial interference the guy hasn’t written a very good story for this team. Ever. That may not be his fault. I did like last issue but this, this had too many characters and too many plot points I just did not enjoy it. What a sad way for McDuffie to leave this title.

Sight For Sore Eyes


Justice League of America #32

Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Rags Morales

After Ed Benes’s shitty art it’s a sight for sore eyes to see Rags Morales draw the League. I don’t have much to say about this issue. It was good, and I like the current team make up. Despite what people think, the Justice League can work without the trinity and these are a powerful group of characters. Firestorm gets some much needed screen time in this issue and some moments that showed both his comedic side and how much he kicks ass. Starbreaker is a formidable JLA villain and I am interested in seeing where this is going.

JLA 13 – 26

Justice League of America #13
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Joe Benitez

When I first read this issue, I was a little turned off. I guess I expected more from the first issue of McDuffie’s run and I certainly expected better art. But now I think this was a pretty good read and did remind me a lot of the TV show. Good start, and at least much better then anything Meltzer did on this title. I think the Injustice League is very cool and I like how they are opposite numbers of the League. Of the villains we have seen so far this is what the breakdown is.

Superman:
Lex Luthor
Parasite

Batman:
The Joker

Poison Ivy

Wonder Woman:
Cheetah

Firestorm:
Killer Frost

Hawkgirl:
Shadow Thief

Green Lantern:
Fatality

The Flash:
Gorilla Grodd

Black Canary, Vixen, Black Lightning, Red Arrow, Geo-Force, and Red Tornado are sadly without any villains yet.

Justice League of America #14
Written by Dwayne McDuffie

Art by Ed Benes

This is another good issue. The Injustice League is shown to have Cheshire and Shaggy Man in it’s ranks as well. Cheshire is a Red Arrow villain arguably (even if he has a kid with her) but Shaggy Man and Dr. Light are just general villains not specific to anyone.

Justice League of America #15
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Ed Benes

The way Batman basically tells Firestorm that he has no choice, he has to join the Justice League was awesome! This concluded the Injustice League arc and it was good, but this arc as a whole would have been a whole lot better if someone else was doing the art.

Justice League of America #16
Written by Dwayne McDuffie and Allan Burnett

Art by Joe Benitez and Allan Jefferson

Eh….this issue was okay. It just served as a preview to two other mini-series’s which is kind of annoying. I would have rather had a story in this series that starts and ends in it.

Justice League of America #17
Written by Dwayne McDuffie and Allan Burnett

Art by Ed Benes
and Joe Benitez

Haha the main story I could care less about. It was lame and had awful art. But the back up written by McDuffie was good because McDuffie comments on the fact that Meltzer’s whole Vixen is using the powers of the Justice League thing makes no sense. I love it! Take that Meltzer!

Justice League of America #18
Written by Dwayne McDuffie and Allan Burnett
Art by Ed Benes and John Boy Meyers

Meh….this was very decompressed and was basically filler. They could have cut this entire issue of the arc. But the back up was good.


Justice League of America #19
Written by Allan Burnett
Art by Ed Benes

Thank god this arc is over because it was not very good. It just served as a sidestory to another mini-series! Whatever happened to this series having its own stories. Hawkgirl being so jealous over Cheshire is just stupid and seems completely forced. Also, I know Geo-Force was transferred to the Outsiders but you would think someone would have mentioned it for people who aren’t reading
the Outsiders. Instead, he just dissappears. That’s bad editing.

Justice League of America #20
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Ethan Van Sciver

This was by far the best issue of McDuffie’s run so far. And you wanna know why, Ethan Van Sciver. Look at how much of a difference Ed Benes’s art makes with McDuffie’s writing. McDuffie is a good writer, but Benes’s art is soo bad that it is killing a good story. Anyways, this was a beautiful issue with a nice story with the Flash and Wonder Woman. I liked it a lot.

Justice League of America #21
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Carlos Pacheo

This is a final crisis tie-in issue that is rather enjoyable. In fact, it was just as good as last issue. This book is sooo much better without Ed Benes. Please DC, get rid of him! Anyways, it made me happy to see that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were going to add Martian Manhunter back in the league before he died but the trinity is acting kind’ve elitist. Libra is a visually stunning character and I can’t wait to learn more about him in Final Crisis.

Justice League of America #22
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Ed Bene

Unfortunately Bene is back this issue….with some ultra terrible art. He draws just one body type…it’s so annoying. Plot-wise, it was only okay. Red Tornado taken over by Amazo does NOT interest me, especially when the League already fought Amazo under Meltzer’s pen. The vixen subplot interests me more but not by much. I really can’t reccomend this issue.

Justice League of America #23
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Ed Benes

While this may have not been a horrible issue if Ed Benes was not doing the art, it was horrible when comined with the art and the rather dull fight with Amazo that lasted the entire issue. Damn. And this series was finally getting good again.

Justice League of America #24
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art byAllan Goldman

Yay! Benes is gone again this issue. This made the fight with Amazo so much better but still rather dull. The best moments of this issue were at the end where they go to meet Animal Man. I did not even think of the vegatarian thing. I am intrugued as to where this is going.

Justice League of America #25
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes, Ian Churchill, Doug Mahnke, Darick Robertson, Shane Davis, and Ivan Reis

This anniversary issue was rather good. I am happy to find Red Tornado leaving the team as I never really grew fond of the character. Also, Anansi seems like a great villain for the league to face. I like how he speaks and how he spins the webs of stories. I look forward to the next issue.

Justice League of America #26
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes

Now this alternate reality issue of JLA is one of the best issues of McDuffie’s run. He can write some great stuff when he isn’t editorially mandated to do things. There were so many great moments. The Brown Bomber! LMAO. It was refreshing to see Vixen calling upon Animal Powers again and I have to wonder if Meltzer only had it go away because he was too lazy to look up animals to use (:. But the anansi thing did seem to end rather quickly. I bet McDuffie wanted it to be longer but then was told he had to do the whole Milestone crossover thing. Well at least this is a new arc I can look forward to, even if it is editorially mandated.

Finale

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #35
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Pop Mhan

I am sad to say that this is the last issue of Firestorm. After thirty-five issues, it is time to say good-bye. While the main body of this issue was only mediocre, the ending of this was amazing. We got to see Gehenna and Jason go off together into space to find the missing Professor Stein. Perfect…there really wasn’t any other way of ending this. While we will not necessarily see the resolution of this in this series, it will most likely be in Countdown so I hope no one feels cheated. Going off into space together was the perfect closure for this series and a good way of sending off two characters and a relationship that I love. It was a very respectful way to end it and I am glad McDuffie didn’t end it with like killing Jason or bringing back Ronnie, thereby undoing the importance of the last thirty-five issues and the build-up of Jason’s supporting cast. Thanks you Dan Jolley, Stuart Moore, and Dwayne McDuffie for this series. I am going to miss my monthly fix of Jason Rusch.

Firestorm 33 and 34

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #33
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Dan Jurgens and Ken Lashley

McDuffie begins the final arc of this series with a bang. He utilizes the great supporting cast created by Stuart Moore perfectly and at the same times being the New Gods into the equation. It is good to see the New Gods again (which is weird, since I have never found them to be as cool as other think they are). McDuffie also makes great use of Firestorm’s powers throughout the issue, including turning Guns into Peanut butter!

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #34
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Pop Mhan and Rob Stull


In this penultimate issue of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man, we find that the Firestorm Matrix hides the key to a sort of Anti-Anti-Life Equation (The Anti-Life Equation is that thing that Darkseid is always looking for. Any fans of the Fourth World are certainly going to enjoy this, but Firestorm and causual fans will enjoy it as well. Oh and any time we see Metron in that chair is always a plus. I am genuinely sad that the next issue will be the final issue.

Stuart Moore’s New Years Good Bye

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #32
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Ingle

This is Stuart Moore’s last issue on this title and honestly, I am sad to see him go. You can feel in his writing that Moore cared about Firestorm and he truly enjoyed writing what he wrote. It is sad it didn’t sell so well and that is why he is leaving it. If the next writer is half as good as Stuart Moore was on this title, I will be happy. Moore has built a nice supporting cast around Firestorm and I hope that the new writer continues this and doesn’t just throw them (ala everytime someone take over Wonder Woman) This was really a quiet issue, but a good one at that. We are shown Jason thinking about his relationships with people as the new year rolls in. I can really relate to that and I think most people can that you reflect on your relationships with friends and family on new years and it is nice to see a superhero do the same.

The Firestorm Team

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #31
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne

This was one crazy issue. So many secrets revealed, so many mysteries solved. It got a little confusing and jumbled, but I suppose it wasn’t bad. The art though was usually good, but for some reason everytime Firehawk appeared, she looked so messed up. She looked like an Elf or something. Weird. I do not know what that was about. Anyways, I like how Moore has built this family around Firestorm. Firestorm has a pretty strong supporting cast now. I mean with Firehawk, Pozar, Pionic Man, and Gahenna, he could start his own team if he wanted. Pretty cool. I wonder what Hewitt meant when he said he knew why Jason was Firestorm. Is he talking about Earth-8 or maybe something else? I am not sure. I suppose we will find out though.

Firestorm 26 – 30

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #26
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Ingle

So “The Pupil” is a villain I like. He is creepy, yet I can identify with his search for knowledge. He is an interesting little psychopath. Now my question is, is Martin Stein really dead? It seems so at the end of this issue, but this is a comic book and that means death isn’t always what it seems. Good issue, I would like to see what happens next.

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #27
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Ingle

This issue ends the search for Martin Stein story arc and of course he is not dead. But it also leaves us with lots of questions. Whos is this new guys that calls himself Firestorm? Is it Ronnie? I doubt that but it is possible. I was kind of sad to see Gehenna leave. I like her a lot, she is a fun character. She has the potential to go bad though.

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #28
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Ingle

Oh, so the fake firestorm from last issue wasn’t Ronnie, but another old Firestorm, Mikahl, the russian firestorm. The only way I know about his is from reading up on firestorm history and being a continuity buff, I am glad to see him in this issue. Another good issue, but the monster Firestorm faces seems just like a big rip-off of Chemo.

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #29
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

Where do I know the name Hewitt from in this series? I can’t seem to remember but I know his name was mentioned. Outside of the fact that those “dollies” are kind of boring villains, this was a good issue. I like how Moore blend’s perfectly Jason’s life as firestorm and his family life. Oh and it is good to see The Pionic Man again.

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #30
Written by Stuart Moore
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze
Art by Jamal Igle, Steve Sadowski and Keith Champagne

This issue was probably the best in a while. We finally get some answers. Henry Hewitt is behind all of this, and he is now called the Human Reactor. Hewitt was the man who originally made Loraine into Firehawk. Anyways, I am glad to see Jason and Gehenna back together. I just can’t get enough of her her and I hope she stays on this book for a long while to come. Also, the Pionic Man’s reaction to Jason was just hilarious! Check this issue out to see what I mean.

More Fiery Fun

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #25
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

This series is fun. Killer Frost trying to suck all of the heat out of the sun was just cool. Stuart Moore is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I love how strange Gahenna is, I love the moment between her and Jason’s father. I love the interaction between Firehawk and Jason. I really just have soft spot for this series. I like how Stuart acknowledged what happen to Nora Freeze in Batgirl. Nice use of continuity. By far the best moment this issue though was Firestorm’s reaction to Batman. He admires Batman because Batman manages to be so scary even without any powers. That is how real heroes should treat Batman, with admiration. Take that HAL JORDAN.

Killer Frost and Mr. Freeze Sitting in a Tree

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #24
Written by Stuart Moore
Art by Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

The previous issue of this series was reviewed here. This issue was okay. I liked it. It just wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. Killer Frost does not appear to the end and I think she is a great character so I was expecting more of her. But it was cool to see her and Mr. Freeze teaming up, it seems like the perfect fit, I am surprised that this does not happen more often. There was a pretty funny moment between Gahenna and Jason’s Dad. Gahenna’s just a weird character but I like that. I think Stuart is doing a good job of building Firestorm’s supporting cast. The mystery of Martin Stein’s dissapearence does not really interest me greatly. Maybe because I never read the old Firestorm series but I still want to find out where he is, just not that bad. The part on Capitol Hill was a cool bit, kind’ve brought the book down to earth. Okay Issue.