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Monday, 11 April 2016 16:45
I don’t even know where to begin with this review.  This is not the Wonder Woman so many people have grown to know and love.  I mean, it is and it isn’t. This book by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette is a different creature. This book takes Wonder Woman back to her roots, to her creator’s ideas of submission and dominance. This book may not be for everyone, but it is worth a read to see the brilliant mind of Morrison at work and the breathtaking art of Paquette. Read more...
Published in Comic Book Reviews
Friday, 20 November 2015 16:17
Quick! Name a female super hero! Who was the first character who came to mind? Hawkgirl? The Black Canary? Supergirl?? Well, maybe...or was the first thought that you came up with the Amazon Princess herself -- Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman celebrates a big anniversary this month! November 7th, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the first airing of the Wonder Woman TV Series starring Lynda Carter! Wonder Woman had been seen on the small screen before, of course. There was an effort while the Batman TV show was running for a Wonder Woman TV series. A four and a half minute screen test, "Wonder Woman: Who's Afraid Of Diana Prince?" starring Ellie Wood Walker as Diana Prince, with Maude Prickett as her mother, and Linda Harrison (who portrayed "Nova" alongside Charlton Heston in "The Planet Of The Apes") as Wonder Woman! Read more...
Published in Movies & TV
Monday, 12 October 2015 15:48
Days ago, the saga of the Universal Studios science-fiction lore known as "Heroes" made a comeback with the launch of a miniseries titled " Heroes Reborn". While I never watched the original Heroes series, I actually felt a sense of joy in witnessing the return of a saga full with adventure and action beyond the limits of the realistic as rise science-fiction and fantasy on North American continues to grow, and if you are a fan of the previous Heroes, I am sure a lot of you are happy to witness the revival. Read more...
Published in Movies & TV
Sunday, 06 July 2014 14:07
marvels1What is sequential art? Whenever I use that term..which is the actual technical term for comic books, people rarely know what it means. People usually think it’s “Crazy Dave, speaking gibberish again.” But no, it’s an actual thing. It’s the art of telling stories with pictures. Drawings, paintings, stick-men...it doesn’t matter, if you can make a story with a sequence of pictures, you are creating a comic book. Sequential art is what comics essentially is. Read more...
Published in Let's Talk Comics
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 08:08
young-jj-young-justice-31567443-800-600A lot of fans of the show Young Justice were left perplexed by the 5 year storyline jump between seasons 2 & 3. Well, their questions will be answered later this year with Young Justice Legacy, an Action RPG being developed by Little Orbit based on the (now cancelled) cult TV series. You will be able to create your own teams out of a roster of 12 characters, including Aqualad, Nightwing, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and Superboy, and battle against a slew of DC villains led by Lex Luthor.  Read more...
Published in Toons & Anime
Sunday, 02 October 2011 10:39
*FULL DISCLOSURE DISCLAIMER AND SPOILER ALERT ON A MASS SCALE – IN-DEPTH BREAKDOWNS AND ANALYSIS AHEAD! It has come. The time for me to stop debating the morality from my soapbox (at least temporarily) of the DC re-launch and as I promised review each book in my corner of eXpert Comics entirely on their own merits as self-contained books in a brand new Universe. I have every confidence I can do this even after my record of railing against what I consider an egregious lack of respect for history, fan and every purist’s love – an adored continuity steeped in the finest lore of the medium. I have made clear that other than work my personal spending has ended on DC. Even (sorry collectors) the #1 issues given me by my employers for work will be deleted/left at dentist’s office for sticky fingered hope to be fans. Please remember I am a professional and if these books are good I will be among the first to scream from the highest “printed” page and say so. My argument has never been with the content or technical ability of the creator’s (yet) but the principle of the move itself. So this is full disclosure and these are my reviews of my share of DCNU’s 52 titles for this week. At the end of this column you get THE DAMM VERDICT: DCNU and we can get rid of these disclaimers! This Week’s Damm List: Teen Titans/The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men/Green Lantern: The New Guardians That’s A Wrap: IN WITH JUSTICE AND OUT WITH A NUKE!! I am going to live. I am going to live through this. I am going to live through this launch of the New 52. That HAD to be Johns, DiDio and Lee’s mantra as the finale to the introduction loomed. Or I’d like to feel it mirrors my own feelings. DC has flat-out swallowed the comic Universe for a month. Despite pairings of independent and creator owned books by retailers (#comicmarket shout-out) with the #1’s and a slew of great Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Boom, IDW, Aspen, 215ink and Dark Horse books DC’s first month of its new Universe has broken sales records and stolen every thunderclap. From real controversy to over sensationalized absurdities if you read comics seriously or if you just jumped on you have been talking about DCNU. Or you are boycotting. Well it is obvious that after reading all 52 my position has changed, rotated and mutated and it was me who was "wrong about a great many things." This entire month has been a mix of  an emotional roller coaster of blood pressure raising thrills, lukewarm indifference and childhood destroying disappointments.The whole spectrum was explored. I have been right about some things too. There have been surprises and disappointments, bikinis and leg breaks there has been a lot of hard work by a lot of good people to do this. From publisher to reviewer it was enormous and I actually can’t wait to take a deep breath, blow it out and look at the whole. While if you have read my earlier writings and seen these reviews you will know that I am in quite a pickle. This Week’s Setup I am proud to say that later this week I will post my Montreal Comic Con interview with Gail Simone. I wanted to wait until both of her books were out and and reviewed. Then we can hear what SHE has to say about them. After all we (me) have done all the talking so far. Firestorm was one of the most anticipated titles of this new 52 in my circle of friends. Actually (and not coincidentally) all three of my review selections were high on my list for different reasons. I have a soft spot for Firestorm. I have a love of Scott Lobdell’s writing but the feathers were bugging me. I think Tyler Kirkham is one of the most skilled artists currently working in comics. The GLC run with New Guardians scribe Tony Bedard is some of the most exceptional work in the Green Lantern Universe in a while (Weaponer!) and I was literally waiting for the comics to drop digitally so I could start this. Unfortunately for my reading but fortunately otherwise I was otherwise detained and sat down at 10 p.m. with 23 hrs. to write this and a friend who needs moving in the morning. (Hi Sidney!) So I need to get started, The setup this week is simple – finish strong. This is the week many will remember as the last bang of the relaunch. In so many cases and on so many levels it is easy to tire and it is easy to let the enthusiasm wane. But there are some big finish books and mine are no exception. With the arrival of the Titans cover the waves of moaning started about the feathers and the tattoo. Lobdell it seems is 1 for 2 with Superboy being highly acclaimed and Red Hood and the Outlaws being panned by critics, To be fair most of the criticism was over a promiscuously perceived Firestar and less about the rest of the book. There were some honest reviews but it felt to me that no one wanted to support a potential politically incorrect firebomb. So Titans will be the tie breaker and expectations are high. Firestorm is the one guy in the DCU that has never quite had the right feel. There has been several stand out runs and everyone familiar with comics can remember his flaming head and nuclear symbol if not by name. He was a second generation Super Friend but no one really knows just how and where he fits. It was genius giving him to Simone and Van Sciver and the one letter change in the title indicates drastic change in page. Also a co plotted book by these two and art of Yilderay Cinar has to make your hands shake with anticipation just a little. New Guardians features an array of colored rings on one team led by Kyle Rayner. Bedard. Kirkham. Rings. That’s enough for me. Sign me up. TEEN TITANS #1 WRITER – Scott Lobdell PENCILS – Brett Booth INKS – Norm Rapmund COLORS – Andrew COVERS – Booth, Rapmund and Dalhouse This is the one title I never was against the idea of relaunching. You see every time Teen Titans starts over at # 1 it is awesome. The Marv Wolfman/George Perez run of Titans was a defining and fundamentally forming book to my comic sensibilities. The Lobdell X-Men are MY X-Men. While Claremont and Byrne Kirby and Lee are masters it was Lobdell who deepened the characterization of Gambit for me, yanked out Wolverine’s metal, sent them to the Age of Apocalypse and left after the Onslaught of 90’s mass exodus’ from the big 2. But then the promo art for Superboy and Titans came out and I cringed. I was horrified at the tattoo and the wings and more than a little skeptical at the new concepts. Nor was I alone. The message boards and the vitriol and the tongue-in-cheek jokes lit up the internet and sad to say I too threw a few jabs out of amazement and disbelief. But what I did not do is insult Lobdell or hurl unsubstantiated personal attacks and use his work as the ammo. It was uncalled for. In all fairness Lobdell has had a parade of successes and most of THOSE are shake ups, redefinitions and alternate timelines. So not only was it mean it was a stupid line of attack. So I asked for this book as one of the first, Expectations (mine) were high. So what would be considered a success here? Returning the Titans to that subversive feel of Perez/Wolfman would be a great start. Featuring Red Robin in the kind of intellectual and hand to hand bad ass that the newly incarnated Nightwing did back in that run. (You know what Nightwing had brand new wings too, come to think of it.) But most of all we need them to be visually complemented to the story in a perfect balancing act of teen ideals and characteristics without making them mundanely angst ridden. And one more key ingredient lots of characters infused with lots of action, Beast Boy would rock. SYNOPSIS Kid Flash is brash, annoying, inexperienced and come from out of nowhere - in other words the same as always - no one including the reader knows who this little whelp with super speed is. He is eager to help and unable to do so because of his rash and reckless nature. As a result he blows up a house fire to catastrophic proportions and endangers more people. The world of DCNU we have seen is less tolerant of metahumans. The loathing dripping with barely repressed venom in the reports on TV is a reflection of young metas all over the globe doing things of this nature. Now they are disappearing. But it seems right now only Tim Drake, former Robin current Red Robin, is the only one that has noticed. He has been monitoring teenage metahumans all over the globe and he has been trying to stop the people responsible for the kidnappings from behind the scenes in his Luthor Tower Penthouse. He alludes to the fact that either he or the Batman started this dilemma. He has been laying low and watching the disappearances beneath the perpetrators notice. Till they crash in on his penthouse to abduct him too. But this is the finest mind of the former Robins and Tim Drake comes prepared and he was trained to do. Launching out the window he extends his steel wings and jet pack and Red Robin takes flight! N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (where Superboy is being “raised”) abduction squad is led by the mysterious Thrice. Thrice is a bad man and he is in charge of Superboy...mmm that’s a bad thing. Red Robin decides he has to act. But he realizes he can’t do it alone. So he seeks out Cassie Sandsmark who he has discerned is next on the list. He arrives just in time…to meet a giant helicopter drone armed to the teeth facing down the girl still denying she is a meta. The wings are bulletproof, flexible and strong enough to deflect gunship fire and Cassie shows off her surprising powers – energy shield bracelets, star fields in her extremities, flight and super strength. She trashes the copter and didn’t even use her lasso. But now the world knows she is a meta. She joins up with Red Robin. Just DON’T call her Wonder Girl. The hooded lady lurks again (is it me or is her cloak changing colors?) Half a world away, Thrice releases Superboy. STORYTELLING Characterization is the fundamental building block of comics and after reading Teen Titans I am now convinced that this Universe is going to be a sturdy building. Scott Lobdell is now 3 out of 3 for me, and 2 out of 3 for everyone else. In what can only be called the greatest characterizations of the New 52 (Superboy and Teen Titans) Lobdell has cut a swath through the biased fans against him, the competition of the other writers who doubted him and out shined with talent and technique much beloved legends like Grant Morrison who were expected to be the star of this new U launch. He has left his critics speechless and left to focus their derision on Red Hood and the Outlaws. Lobdell builds the new team without ever actually assembling them in a traditional set up for a team book but it feels like a new phenomenon entirely.  Fans of Generation X (Lobdell’s own team of young Marvel mutants featuring Jubilee) and New Mutants from Marvel in the 90’s and 80’s respectively will drool and kick waiting for #2 because of this intense and meticulous detail in characterization. He invokes laughter, embarrassment for Kid Flash, sadness for Cassie and a new understanding of just how much of a stud Tim Drake is. The other cameos by future members and those not recruited keep the interest level up from page to page. Tim uses the Bat’s money and flaunts it living in the Luthor Tower. Then there is Superboy and the finally the perfect characterization of sympathetic tones in Superboy becomes absolutely menacing in Titans. The genius of this writing is they are the same exact ending scenes with two distinct points of view, two distinct character contentions and two distinct tones. He still made them feel like a team even though they have never met in this new Universe. Also, did I see Raven? Also again, did anyone notice who is lurking in the shadows during Kid Flash’s “debut?” Details. Nobody does story details like Lobdell – maybe Jenkins, maybe Gaiman – and even this takes a back seat to the scripting. This is among the finest dialogue of the DCNU # 1 issues. Perfectly paced with enough pause to process the preceding pages but not long enough for the reader to catch his breath. This may be the finest work I have ever seen from Brett Booth and I believe the fantastic inks of Norm Rapmund to be largely responsible for the extra clean lines and technological future feel. The pencils are done exactly the same way as the story – meticulous detail focused on characterization. No shortcuts were taken; every panel is consistent with the next. Even the fire scenes are a sight to behold as he has found a way to make them look like they are same event in the same house but each flame clearly defined makes each panel stand out and advance the speed effects and the pace. Add to this the stunning colors and the art team on Teen Titans has done a fine job. The design for the new costumes once so horrid in the concept art really works in practice and I owe everyone involved an apology for taking some early cheap shots at those wings. Now if the tattoo explanation is as good I will have to eat two slices of that not very tasty pie - crow. ANALYSIS Teen Titans is finally as subversive and hip as it was when Wolfman and Perez’ took over the book and turned a green smart-alec into a green monkey smart-alec. For the first time in years they feel real and threatened and not living in a giant T. The pace, story and art are stellar. Cast is right and new Wonder Girl (don’t hit me Cassie!) has great new look. However it seems that Beast Boy is not here. It also seems Rose “Ravager” Wilson is a major player in Superboy and Deathstroke has his own title so where is Jericho and Terra? While this book is phenomenal it is not as good as Superboy which got an A+ plus no Beast Boy so it gets an A- GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS WRITER - Tony Bedard PENCILS – Tyler Kirkham INKS – BATT COLORS – Nei Ruffino LETTERS – Dave Sharpe This is it. When DCNU was announced and I was done throwing my fit, I got pumped for this book. I was reading Green Lantern Corps: War of the lanterns and when I heard they were putting the entire emotional spectrum of rings in one book and that the team of Bedard and Kirkham is at the helm I started drooling even with my fiery indignant caution against the relaunch. It was the most torn I have ever been about a comic book. In fact it is the reason I decided to put aside my gripe and read them all, review a bunch and scope out the DCNU at all. This book, right here is entirely responsible for my modified stance on the DCNU. So I guess you could say I had higher expectations for this book than most and by far this is the one I was hanging my whole readership of DCNU on. If these guys couldn’t deliver then to me the Universe was forfeit. Now I realize it was a great decision to release it in the last week so that I was hooked by a ton of other great books all month long. (Sorry if you were waiting for Suicide Squad!) But still I was waiting until I read this book to make my decision for my pending abandonment of DC. So without further ado. SYNOPSIS On a dying world the last standing Guardian struggles to muster the collective willpower to make one more Power Ring of the green variety. Ganthet will choose this one personally. Kyle Rayner is an unemployed graphic designer in a bar with a full bladder. He walks to the alley to relieve himself and finds a little blue man with a green glowing ring and a charge to become the next Green Lantern in the wake of an insane Hal Jordan and the destruction of OA (I think. IF that is still why Ganthet was in a heaping pile of roughed up Oans,) As Ganthet abducts Kyle he learns right away how to use the ring. He becomes a Green Lantern. Flash to the current day – Sector 422, home of the Xlon Expanse is nasty territory but the Yellow Lantern slaughtering Khunds doesn’t seem to care. Until Sinestro 117 loses his ring by decommission. By decommission I mean leaving his finger to find a replacement mid-battle while surrounded by a hundred armed to the teeth very angry Khunds. A Lantern of every color in various sectors also experiences this decommissioning as well some dying some near dying in the process. But the leaders and members of the colors aren’t responsible for the ring decommissions and they want answers. Power Rings are not hard for Lanterns to track (duh) so whoever is stealing these rings is going to rue the day they pissed off a Star Sapphire once named Fatality and it doesn’t seem LOVE is on her mind. Kyle is on earth however being a hero. Most notably he is a well-liked and famous hero that builds giant burly construction workers to save a fallen crane. He is the first hero I have seen that is well liked in this Universe as far as I can tell and he stops to talk with those he is protecting and honestly doesn’t resent them for it (which isn’t the same vibe I got from GLC’s Gardner and Stewart.) He is doing very well as the Green Lantern. Then all six other colors of Power Rings show up and claim that he has been chosen. Um…Not good at all, because the pursuers of the rings are right behind and one is Bleez the Red Lantern! Who as Reds are known to do wants to kill Kyle so will stop everyone else from doing it, All the colors representatives show up and demand he return their rings. Only one problem, he has no idea what is going on. Oh and yep her cloak is changing colors, is it just faded from time travel and age? Is it Raven ala’ Teen Titans Animated? Madame Xanadu? Granny Goodness? A female Dr. Fate? STORYTELLING While I alluded to it above I will flat out say it now. The Green Lantern Universe is better when Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham are involved in it. The two can’t be separated because they are so dependent on each other. They are the best overall tandem of the DCNU because they truly seem one being. Let me see if I can explain. First I’ll go separately then try to demonstrate how they are melded of mind like some crazy Spock thing. Tony Bedard is better than any other Lantern writer at emotional connection to the characterizations in relation to powering the ring. Kyle’s constructs (while some were based on Marz’ origin too) are what will or willpower (what powers the ring) would actually look like if it was made into a physical object. Kirkham knows this like he has a hotel room in Bedard’s cranium and just looks into what Bedard is thinking. An example if Mr. Bedard said to me (were I an artist) “I want to save the guy in the crane with green ring constructs that look like construction workers, because there are people around and it is a strong but soothing image to the crowd and the panicked crane operator” I would not have known instinctively like Kirkham that these should be proud American truck commercial construction workers, who even though they are 50 feet tall do not seem to cause a panic because they are familiar and comfortable images. Then draw them solid, make every detail perfect and let the best inker in the industry (in my opinion) - BATT lash up a depth that is often missing in Lantern constructs due to the nature of energy weapons. They tend to be drawn more ephemeral than concrete but this team has an acute vision for Lanterns of every color. Plus, Kyle is a commercial illustrator and graphic designer. It is what he would make. Colors are flawless and bold, letters in perfect voice emulation. But what makes this team great, not just good, is that they have the same chemistry and innate understanding of every color of the emotional spectrum in relation to characterization and Kirkham is as much responsible for that as Bedard. From Kyle’s longer hair and proclivity for smiling, (does anyone else smile besides Joker in this new U?) to the Sinestro Corps vicious attack in space where terrorist turns fearful. Fatality and her saving of her dying Star Sapphire was another up front, direct but not wooden introduction to full gist in but a couple pages. In every instance with every Lantern they nailed the emotion without being quaint or cheesy. That is hard to do. Let’s talk panels. This book is structurally exquisite and it is a joy to look at before you read one word. Like always Kirkham ‘s layouts pop right off the page like springs because of the lack of borders and the willingness to go the extra mile in the illustration. It seems like every page he is attempting to set a new precedent, to do a better job than the one before it. Some are better than others but he always goes big. Batt is a fearless, meticulous inker and he knows Kirkham like Kirkham knows Bedard. He pulls every last panel to the top and lets the pencils shine while that BATT style, y’know like Klaus Janson feel to it but no corpses, is how I like to think of it, radiates smooth, seamless transitions. ANALYSIS This is cosmic superhero storytelling at its finest - Shooter and Zeck, Starlin and Perez/Lim & now Bedard and Kirkham/BATT only in an ongoing title. It is compelling; the ending is a classic superhero comic page worthy of traditional homage but sharp, sleek and wholly modern. Where GLC and Red Lantern disappointed on some level New Guardians does not, in fact it does everything it sets out to do. It draws in the faithful with brilliant characterization; it retells a classic origin in a modern way without ruining it thus enticing new readers. It has action at the same time as it sets up the team thus keeping a fun pace and exciting tone. It doesn’t tell too little or too much thus compelling the reader to come back for issue #2.  I looked high and low for a weakness in this book and there isn’t one. There are two perfect #1’s in this DCNU launch review extravaganza – I have read them all with this much scrutiny and reviewed 17 of them in this much detail – Superboy is the first and this is the second. A+ THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MAN CO-PLOTTERS – Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver ARTIST – Yildiray Cinar COLORS – Steve Buscellato LETTERS – Travis Lanham So between the New Guardians review and this Firestorm review I had some technical issues and something which has never happened - happened twice. Completely by accident at first, I saw two other reviews in the computer crash down time. Smart phones aren’t that smart. I was using Stumble Upon waiting to hear the diagnosis and landed on this review from ComicBook.com By: Nick Winstead  and I should have looked away because after reading it I was a little surprised because it was not a positive and friendly, shocked it was in fact not “firing on all cylinders” in the review. I had already read the book on Comixology once through and had a couple more to go but I found that I was feeling a tad confused. So I looked at another review to see if it was just a fluke and found another. I still don’t get it. It is the only time I have read a review before I do mine so in the interest of full disclosure…what gives? I used my regular process and well…you will see. SYNOPSIS In the city there is a ruthless band of thugs seeking a football sized object of immense scientific worth and they kill everyone and everything to possess it for their benefactor, who is a major global player – men, women, children and even entire neighborhoods. They are professional killers and they are professional accumulators. The object of their brutal hunt – exceedingly intelligent kids tied to a now deceased scientist Dr. Martin Stein (who was a Firestorm with Ronnie Raymond at one time) and an experiment of world changing potential. You see it is the physics of matter manipulation. It is a brand new science of power and weapon profiteering. Only when they exhaust all the likely subjects they are left with the unlikely and head to Walton Mills High School. High School sucks. No matter your proclivities or talents whether jock, brainiac or artistic no matter what area you pursue the factions opposite you will make your life hell. It is the very nature of coming of age. Learning how to interact with the diverse and distasteful with your own comfortable sensibilities can’t be anything but the definition of rite of passage. Just ask Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond. Two completely opposite talents and two opposite social status isn’t nearly the obstacle that their prejudices are. When Ronnie Raymond forgets about a school paper interview with Jason Rusch the two get off on a bad note. Jason is an African-American brainy nerd (is there any other kind?) working on the school paper and only at his editors insistence did he agree to interview the significantly less bright Raymond, who Jason is sure is also a racist. Ronnie takes umbrage with this but keeps his self analyzing eye on himself, open minded and willing to see. Jason seems more rigid. The tension escalates at school and it is getting ugly between them when after consulting with their culturally and socially different single parents the bickering continues the next day with frustration on both sides. We learn the Firestorm project was a weapons program and several countries have Firestorms in their employ as said weapons, but if one went rogue, if one initiated the process without the proper measures in place imagine the problems that could cause for a clandestine organization selling or developing the Firestorm weapons for sale. Oh and the entire world would probably do better with a matter changing, fire throwing flying NUCLEAR man trained or under control in some fashion. She endorses her team for acquisition. The psycho pros hunting for the object arrive at the school and Jason knows why they are there, much to Ronnie, Tonya (Jason’s editor) and the readers surprise (never saw it coming he would already know.) he suggests they run and as they do he removes the Firestorm canister out and heads for the exit the other two right behind him. They run into a friend in the hall who is summarily shot in the head and killed. This catalyst enrages Jason to the point of invoking the detonation word while holding the canister and Firestorm is born! And Firestorm! What two of them?!! Yes there are indeed (one red - one yellow) and they start fighting each other when Ronnie realizes what has been done to him. This makes them unstable. Then they explode in the air fall to the ground and there is one again. A huge, muscled hulking Firestom weapon comes out of the hole and announces “The ‘guys’ are gone forever sweetcheeks say hello to Fury!” The hooded lady is always lurking. STORYTELLING This is the only book I reviewed I think I am going to start with the art. It is sophisticated and utterly refined. Cinar is an amazing talent that is worthy of note. This issue was all about tension, and while it can be written well it can NOT be properly communicated in the art without supreme skill. Sometimes tension can come across as rage, or pout or even hate. It is often under drawn in the aspect that facial expressions become the most puzzling of shortcuts and take a detail back seat to hero effects and backgrounds. Not so here. Cinar pulled it off perfectly. There are moments of really uncomfortable contention not just from the subject matter but because the expressions on the players was illustrated really well with body positioning and mood lighting effects that could go unnoticed if not looking for them. So look. Colors seemed consistent fierce and bold energy palates with earth tone reality tones. Letters were stellar and so important to vocal context. The art in this book was on the top end of the gamut of launch books. I want to start on plot/script with what struck me as strange about the two reviews I read. I thoroughly disagree with the review on the “ It may actually do more to set the character back, as it relies on a clunky sub-plot about racial tensions to get itself jump started and doesn’t do much from there” point because this is one of the most tactful, smooth, passionate modern discussions of race in a comic I have ever seen and it is absolutely compelling to think of them merged into one being struggling with this discussion open is thrilling. It is convincing and thought provoking and it stays with you after you are done, Maybe that is why the reviewer thought it was as he stated. There are however a few plot stalls in this book in pace and the characterization on the bad guys as far feels inconsistent in spots. I believe it is the new collaborative process between Simone and Sciver. When you put two creators of this caliber together it is going to take some time. They are feeling each other’s styles out and they are making a new one for Firestorm all his own. It is obvious to me that this is a serious book with riveting things to come. Simone and Sciver will find the voice for Firestorm. But re-launches are for new ideas, and #1’s on a character with so many complex parts is going to take some time to iron out. ANALYSIS Wow last one, kinda Limbo-ey. Firestorm is a fantastically illustrated book with sharp, insightful dialogue and a work in progress story. The appeal of the book is the social honesty and its detraction the disruptions of pace and characterization that are merely the first issue jitters. Simone and Sciver have glowing records in their new ideas and execution of them. This book was a fun read and I will buy #2 just to see what Fury is all about. B TEN FAVORITE DAMM DCNU BOOKS 10. Deathstroke 09. DCUP: Deadman 08. Batman 07. Batgirl 06. Hawk and Dove 05. Blue Beetle 04. Aquaman 03. Teen Titans 02. Green Lantern: The New Guardians 01. Superboy TEN LEAST FAVORITE DAMM DCNU BOOKS 10. Superman 09. Savage Hawkman 08. Mr. Terrific 07. Grifter 06. Justice League 05. Wonder Woman 04. Blackhawks 03. Detective 02. Action 01. Suicide Squad THE DAMM VERDICT: DCNU ALTERED STATES: A MODIFIED STANCE FOR PURISTS In the wake of the DC relaunch I railed incessantly against the morality of this move. About its unfairness to the long time loyal readers keeping the industry alive on life support every time the economy or poor business practices and giant world spanning event flops. In fact I spoke about how comics are intimate and continuity is really important to this medium. More than ANY other. I talked about how the history was Americana and pop culture and those creators had an obligation to honor the histories to the letter because it MATTERED what happened when, to who - no matter how cheesy. I argued that this would not fix Batman and Superman’s hideous current (at that time) state but that slow meticulous writing over a year or 18 months could. I insisted that no matter how good these books were I would not spend my personal money on them only company funds. In Rants of a Comic Book Purist: It’s a Personal Thing I stated NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE TALENT AND NEW STORIES IN THIS RELAUNCH IF IT DOES NOT KEEP THE CORE CHARACTERIZATIONS AND MAJOR COMPONENTS OF CONTINUITY IT WILL FAIL, OR IT WILL CEASE TO BE DC COMICS IN ESSENCE, ONLY A HISTORYLESS SHINY BAUBLE FOR THE UNEDUCATED READER AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION ERA FAN. But I am thrilled to say they did those things and it isn’t. Guess why – the DC relaunch of their entire 80 year line to all #1’s worked. No one who was closely watching and sane can deny this fact. I don’t mean the gimmick audience and the sales records for # 1’s. That was expected but still nice. I don’t mean the likelihood of #2’s not dropping off. That was not expected and still nice. No I mean they succeeded in the hard things like their claims of updating characters to the modern world and still respecting the old ones. I admit when they said  - it all did happen but it didn’t happen if you get specific -  line of perspective floored me. I could NOT get my head around it. It was genius of the editorial staff to pick and choose where to reveal what was still here and what wasn't because if it is necessary (Hawk and Dove and Batgirl) it was there but if you didn't need to know it wasn't told. I am exceedingly glad. I am glad not only because I love the industry and a failure would have been catastrophic to our industry. I don’t want the entire business damaged – it was the point of my being against -  it preventing damage. But I am glad because it is so good. I am giddy actually. The overall quality of this vast and untried till now event is stunning. It is flat out breathtaking. Out of the 52 titles I would give (if I could afford them) all # 2’s a chance on 37 of them, and only 10 or so of the bottom ones do I really dislike. I am glad that most all of these new versions very much feel like improved versions of an old skin, as long as you don’t ask any questions (I sure would like to see how Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen happened in this U when Superboy has completely different origin. But Killing Joke and Crisis on Infinite Earths are referenced as have happened in the DCNU to my glee.) In my defense though as I indicated would probably happen, I whole-heartedly believe the most egregious errors in this endeavor are with the new characterizations of the Trinity. Superman Batman and Wonder Woman are all wrong still in that the changes are so deviant from whom they really are, and have lost their light, their goodness and their heroism of heart if not deed. A specific Batman is inaccessible for young children (even young teens in some cases.) On the positive side Batgirl is actually (a tweener book) and Batman are much lighter in tone and filled with a wry dark wit that allows for some freedom from the darkness. Capullo is by far the most classic characterization Batman artist in the relaunch in my opinion. So far in this Saw or Touristas feeling Batverse – largely sadistic and vile – we have seen skinning, graphically depicted gun murder, brutal stabbing and sadistic glee from hero and villain alike . With Superman... Well, I get all twisted up inside over Superman and I lose articulation; I shake sometimes with unprocessed emotion. I can’t be rational over how violated and betrayed as a reader I am over his makeover in look and persona. It’s like they replaced Darren on Bewitched again. It is like taking a shining white sheet of unbreakable good and throwing the mud of ego all over Superman, Lois, Lex and Clark leaving an indelible stain against the Super and leaving us with uninspiring, regular, pompous man. All the hope, inspiration and American patriotism that is Superman (my Superman at least) and replaced him with the adventures of Superboy from Reign of the Supermen (which can’t have occurred and that is so wrong if true – sorry it really bothers me) even in his armored high collared “good” uniform. I am extremely connected on every reader to character level and I literally was sick after reading Action, the second worst book on my list, despite the exquisite art, because what was done to Superman far outweighed the talent. On the positive side, yep I am always looking for the good, I saw how maybe Superman could work, how you could write the current version to be … just slightly more traditional. Justice League Dark and Swamp thing were a tad closer to accurately portraying Superman to who he is. I think if more  light and some awe inspiring characterizations can be added to the styles employed in those two books even Superman could work. The Hooded Lady rolling through all 52 stories was my favorite part. I want - no -HAVE to know about her and why she is so creepily hanging round like the Watcher. Also in my position I stated this The reboot is wrong.  You can’t build anything worth keeping if the foundation is cast in moral transgression cement. No justification excuses it. There IS NO rebuttal, not business, not artist vision, not the new age of digital. Kicking someone in the groin, stealing their lunch money, ordering them to like it and then have you do it to yourself next time at knifepoint is wrong. What I am actually protesting – breach of contract. The special, personal one made with a 7 year old me. I was right then I am right now. It is just this is not one of those types of situations. So in that I was wrong – flat out. I am so grateful for Blue Beetle, The New Guardians, Teen Titans, Aquaman and especially Superboy a character that has in his whole canon never been interesting or necessary until now. I am going to get every issue I can. These re-imaginings are truly works of art for #1's. I have made a new contract with DC to stay around for the ride because they delivered up front this time. I will not be boycotting anything. I am not reading any Superman titles (ugh)  save Supergirl oh I guess Superboy is technically a Superman book. (I always think of it as a Titans book or sidekick book)  I am ot reading any Bat titles except the two mentioned above as is my prerogative like any reader. But I miss the old U. I miss the Marvel Family. The concept of multiple Batmen in a corporation is still the stupidest concept in the history of Batman. Superman is still not Superman and I am going to cherish what he was and ignore these bastardized versions until I see one glimmer of the Superman that existed before. I will even take the version from just after 52. My sorrow over Superman is real but not enough to throw the rest of this brilliantly compelling new U out with it. I need certain events to have happened the way it happened in the old U to hold my interest. I still feel betrayed. But I am now willing to find out if I actually was. I realize it is going to be an ongoing adjustment like a bad breakup and the new girlfriend. There are issues. In time with some work and adjustment on both ends I hope they resolve themselves. Until such time as DC starts this all over again and erase THIS history. Hopefully I will be long gone by then and kids will be reading them everywhere. They will arise continually and I will react passionately and vocally but I will know that is all right too. In other words comics are still the same. All in All I am Lucky DAMM "Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right.”.... Ralph Waldo Emerson eXpect eXcellence. eXForceColumns on eXpertComics Read more...
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