Justice and Revenge

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #9
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Felipe Watanabe

The man from Monster Valley’s plan is not as crazy after all he just kind of jumps around like an animal and can’t even kill one of his family members after the Justice League intervene. At first I was dissapointed by that but I liked how the League (led by Batman) taught him justice is better than revenge. They are the Justice League after all. It was a decent issue although I wish there were more moments of discussion between team members because Orlando seems to excel at that.

The Man From Monster Valley Surprise

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #8
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Felipe Watanabe

I enjoyed how this JLA team is really in the spotlight and are becoming almost celebrities. I am forever interested in how the news media treats superheroes in the DC Universe and I am glad that Steve Orlando has brought this to the more “grounded” Justice League team. The dynamics between team members and how they don’t always agree with each other’s actions or Batman’s leadership is why this is the better of the two Justice League books being published right now. The villain that is introduced in this issue is as fascinating as the cover says. I encourage you to read it, I won’t spoil the end like I usually do but let’s just say I did not see that coming. Monster Valley is not really explained well in this issue though, where did this place even come from?

Justice League of America 4 – 7

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #4
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ivan Reis

Lord Havok and the Extremists are defeated and Kravia is free to build a new country on their own terms. Orlando is subtly making a point about America’s interventionism but I am not sure it quite works here since the League (who stand in for America) don’t screw everything up the way the US does. Or maybe we just haven’t seen it happen yet? I was sad that this had actually nothing to do with Liberty Belle but some Captain America stand-in from Angor. It was cool to see Blue Jay again. I like how they make a good point that there is no way Lobo is meant to inspire anyone…Batman is up to something else he isn’t telling the League.

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #5
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Andy MacDonald

Steve Orlando sure knows his obscure DC History, the reporters at the Justice League press conference are reporters from all over the DC Universe and its history. I love it! Like I always say, more writers should be like Orlando and play with the toys they have been given them. Sure enough an obscure Wonder Woman villain is even the villain in this comic as the League fights Nikos Aegeus who has taken over a bankrupted city. It is cool to see a good use of the Ray’s power. Orlando is good at that, the last issue he actually used Vixen’s powers well.

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The Return of Liberty Belle?

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #3
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Diogenes Neves

Okay this was a huge improvement from the last issue, I am not sure if it was the scripting or the art but hats off to the creative team. In this issue, Havok united the coutnries around Kravia in his fight against the Justice League who each take on a member of the Extremists. The Ray even manages to convince one of them to change sides it looks like. The interesting thing is that the Extremists are shown to actually believe they are doing the right thing just like many villains in the real world. I think Orlando has the ability to make some great statements on world politics and I imagine that is why he chose to open this series with this arc. The final page confused me…why is Batman carrying a shield that looks like it belonged to Liberty Belle? Is this a DC Rebith – JSA crossover? I sure hope, but I could be totally wrong.

Looking For More

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #2
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Filipe Watanabe

This new Justice League of America continues their fight with Lord Havok and the Extremists in this issue as they take over an entire country called Kavia. In the end, it looks like they can’t fight further without creating an international catastrophe but they resolve to do so anyways. It was decent but nothing that got me too excited. I guess I want something more from a team with such an interesting group of characters. I will say that a lot happens in this issue. It sure is action-packed and not decompressed. But I can’t say I thought it was that great or that bad. It was just ok and I wanted more than ok.

 

American Heros

Justice League of America (Volume 5) #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ivan Reis

While the main Justice League series is ok at best, the first issue of this new “America” centered team just hit it out of the park for me. The return of the City of Vanity from the Aztek comcis. Yes! The return of the Secret Sanctuary. Yes! The return of Ryan Choi! Hell yes. Not to mention this team doesn’t call each other by their secret identities in the field at all. I can’t say that I like Ryan’s new Legends of the DCU inspired costume but beggers cannot be choosers I guess. He gets a lot of “screen time” in this issue which is fantastic  because I missed him and I hated that they had him kille Pre-Flashpoint. Was he then somehow brought back to life by Dr. Manahattan? It will be interesting to see how this whole Rebirth stuff turns out. This was a great start to what looks to be an incredible Justice League book in both writing and art. The only thing that confuses me is if Batman wanted to build a team of “human” down to earth heroes why did he pick Lobo to be on the team? Also, Lobo kills people right so what are Batman’s motivations for having him around. Also is Batman on both Justice Leagues now?

Freedom Fighters 8 and 9

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #8
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

This book was just as beautifully drawn and written as  I remembered it being. I have been a huge fan of the Freedom Fighters since Palmiotti and Gray did their first miniseries with them. I am sad they aren’t around anymore because we could really use these characters during this awful period in US history. DC if you are reading this I would love to write a Freedom Fighters book for you! Anyways, in this issue the team mourns the loss of Firebrand while the President tells Uncle Sam and Miss America he is sadly going to have to cut any government funding to the superhero team. I love the statement Uncle Sam makes about Superman can’t just stand for the American Way in the modern world he stands for the whole human race. Who knew Palmiotti and Gray would get me to respect this character so much.

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Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

This is sadly the final issue of this short lived book that I loved! In this issue the team disbands after the government cuts their funding. We see Black Condor bust a meth lab (why did Travis Moore draw all the people in the lab as being in their underwear? Is that normal in Meth labs?) and the team go on one last adventure which at the end of the government takes the Human Bomb into custody. This is left on a cliffhanger. Was this ever resolved somewhere?

Superman 710-714

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Superman #710
Written by Chris Roberson and J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Eddy Barrows and Travel Foreman

There is something about the coloring in this issue that seemed a bit off to me, like everyone was super tan. All I can say about this issue is oh come on! How many first meetings between Bruce and Clark can there be. DC shouldn’t let every writer write a new beginning for their relationship. To make it worse they even say that Bruce Wayne’s family car broke down in Smallville when he was a kid. First of all that is so dumb and second of all why in the fuck would the Wayne family be traveling cross country in a car as if they were dirt poor. And why would Batman refer to Superman’s Dad as “Pa Kent”. It wasn’t his Pa and that is so not Batman-like, that is the author speaking, and out of his ass. In fact everything Batman says here is out of character. Horrible issue.

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Superman #711
Written by Chris Roberson and J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Eddy Barrows and Travel Foreman

Superman is drawn to Las Vegas by Jimmy Olsen and finds Livewire attacking him. Eddy Barrows draws Jimm Olsen as a pre-teen in this comic. That being said Roberson really does a good job of mining DC’s continuity by having Iron Munro appear and he even has the electric blue superman suit show up! After last issue’s awfulness this was a return to form and the comic even made a great point about the American dream. And it wasn’t heavy handed. Good issue.

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Superman #712
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Rick Leonardi

We take from the regular arc for this what would be filler but was actually a quite beautiful story about Krpto watching Infinite Crisis happen and witnessing the death of Superboy during that event. Any animal lover has got to love this issue. I wonder why DC took so long to publish this story.

 

 

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Written by Chris Roberson and J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Eddy Barrows, Diogenes Neves, Oclaire Albert, JP Mayer, Jamal Igle, and Jon Sibal

Dear God why are THERE SO MANY ARTISTS IN THIS ISSUE. I was expecting to hate this issue especially when Superman randomly and without warning tells Superboy and Supergirl he no longer wants to be Superman but his talking to people on the street about what their opinion of Superman was actually heartwarming and not in a fake heavy handed way. And the art was actually pretty consistent for having so many different pencillers.

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Superman #714
Written by Chris Roberson and J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Jamal Igle

This was a beautiful ending to what started off as a terrible arc as Superman embraces his role and we flash forward to the future where the “Superman Squad” reflects back on this. As it turns out the shard got plummeted back in time and the essence of Superman is transferred to other heroes including Super-Chief and I believe the first superhero from Final Crisis. That is brilliant! This was a wonderful finale to the first volume of Superman. I look forward to seeing the real Superman – this Superman – returning after DC Rebirth.

 

 

 

 

 

Death and Resurrection

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #7
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

Let me start this off by saying I am pretty upset this book is ending in May. DC never gave it a chance – I blame Flashpoint but whatever. This was an awesome issue as the Freedom Fighters finally come face-to-face with the Jester! Amazing action, story, and art has made this book one of – if not the best – book DC has put out since it started. I sure hope Firebrand isn’t really dead but it was great to see the return of Uncle Sam! Kick his ass Sam!

Miss America Is Agressive

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #6
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

The Freedom Fighters leave the creepy villain gang to die in this issue… on the orders of Miss America who is acting pretty agressive here apparently forcing Doll Man to come out of retirement by gun point. This was a great opening arc for this title and I expect the next arc will be even better. Oh and Phantom Lady and Black Condor hook up!

Trapped in Enclave A

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #5
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

Holy shit! This was an awesome comic! The Freedom Fighters are trapped in Enclave A with the creepiest metahuman prisoners I have ever read in a comic (One is made out of dead babies or something) and you really get the feeling of being trapped while reading this – even as you start to sympathize with the prisoners who it looks like were all brought here and tortured against their will. All the while still dealing with the overall arc of a secret weapon belonging to the Confederacy. I will say it again, everyone should be reading this book! It’s that good!

Everyone Should Be Reading This

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #4
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

Palmiotti and Gray flesh out the back story of the Jester – making him far more interesting then the character ever was in the Golden Age and also introduce a crop of new villains like the disgusting Funerella who’s kisses kill people by having their flesh rot or something like that. In other words, this is still definitely the best new book of the year THAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE READING. It has conspiracy theory, intrigue, tons of action, and characterization. It is everything you could want in a comic.

The Rebirth of Dark Supergirl

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Justice League of America #51
Written by James Robinson
Art by Mark Bagley

Robinson once again shows how much he understands and loves the DC Universe with the beginning of this issue. Instead of a random assortment of heroes trying to save Washington DC, we actually get an explanation for why each of the persons’ powers can help the situation. That is a rare feat in comics and I like the attention to detail! Meanwhile, the League is dealing with the threat of Omega Man – who is a bastard yet we don’t even know who he is yet and he has brought back Dark Supergirl. I miss Starman but this this is getting just as epic as the last arc! Great stuff!

The Return of Miss America

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #3
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

This book continues to be awesome as Uncle Sam is killed by the renegades but will ultimately be reborn as he always is – and the Freedom Fighters find a statue of Robert E. Lee underneath the cavern. The conspiracy theories get even crazier as the Jester (the grandson of the original hero) shows up as a member of the Arcadians in a bad ass costume. I am glad that Miss America is back. I have always loved that character I don’t know why – but I think it’s such an awesome costume although I thought she had been turned into Miss Cosmos in the last Freedom Fighters mini but I guess she is back. I hope she stays with the team.

Best New Series Of The Year

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #2
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

Damn this is definitely my favorite new series of the year! Second issue in and I was excited with every turn of the page. The renegades are cool elemental villains (although the one called Fire Horse doesn’t really make any historical sense since horses came from the old world) and the Arcadians are an intriguing concept. I liked the spotlight on Black Condor and Uncle Sam – who fought bravely even without their team. This book is patriotic in a in a non-blind way and brings me back to the patriotism I had as a kid.

A Spectacular Debut

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Freedom Fighters (Volume 2) #1
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore

 

Palmiotti and Gray’s Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters mini from 2006 with Daniel Acuna is a book i read again and again. I loved Acuna’s artwork and the way that the writing team made me feel so patriotic – but in a liberal America could be so much better then it is kinda way. The second mini was okay although I wasn’t a huge fan of the artwork but I could not wait for this ongoing to start and it finally has arrived! They really started things off with a bang – there is no set up we are brought straight into the action as the team fights on multiple fronts and is brought into a civil-war era mystery. This couldn’t have been any better! In one issue I think this may be one of my favorite books DC is putting out if not THE favorite. Pick this up people!!!

Embarassing

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Outsiders (Volume 4) #32
Written by Dan Didio and Phillip Tan
Art by Tan

Um….can we just have the team back again? Why is this filled with shitty dialogue and no movement in plot months after months? How is it that a guy who writes a comic like this is DC’s co-publisher? This is embarassing. I love me some Outsiders but this book is not getting any better!