Optimus Prime… MORE SECRETS!

I hid my mouth during the '80's and '90's because I... I had bad teeth.

secret…

I never liked Chip. Robot/ human hybrids make me uncomfortable.

secret…

I can't grow a mustache. I'd like to, but it just doesn't look good.

Secret…

Edna, my ex-wife/ trailer, and I have been divorced since 2007.

Secret…

I've accidentally stepped on a lot of house pets.

SECRETS!

Survery Says: Blackest Night!

A couple weeks ago our LIST was a series of polls gambling on the new Green Lantern movie.  Now that we’ve actually seen it, we can give some answers.

  • How many minutes into the movie before we see Hal with a GL ring?

If you answered 30-45 minutes, you win at 10:1 odds!

  • Number of times Kilowog will say “Poozer” (over/under 3.5)

Hopefully you took the “under,” because he only said it twice.  Of course, that was in about 30 seconds of each other, so you’re forgiven for thinking there would be many, many more.

  • Name check/cameo by one or more of the following DCU characters/ Comics creators

Other than a John Broome reference, I didn’t hear ANY other name drops, though the guy at my LCS claims to have heard a quick reference to “Guy”.  anyone else?

  • Will there be references to other Lantern Corps?

Yes!  The Sinestro Corps even got it’s logo in the movie, as did Star Sapphire, on Carol Ferris’s helmet.

  • Will Hal Jordan kiss Carol Ferris while wearing GL uniform

Of course!  And I believe it happened both with and sans mask.

  • Number of times the Green Lantern Oath will be recited (over/under 2.5)

Only twice did the oath get recited, both times by Hal Jordan.  Surprising, I expected to hear the entire Corps say it in unison at some point.  Hey, they did it at Comic-Con!

  • Odds on the film winning each of the following movie awards

We won’t know for many more months, but I’d still bet heavily on MTV.

  • Odds of the following Green Lanterns making appearances

I only think I saw Salaak.  Anyone else?  I just KNEW C’hp would be there, but I never saw him.

  • What useless atrocity will happen to one of Hal Jordan’s family members?

As everyone knows, Hal’s father died in a test plane.  Pushing someone’s mom down the stairs is what Geoff Johns did to Barry Allen.

This Week’s Comics

Yet another light week for me.  Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • BATMAN INCORPORATED #7
  • BATMAN KNIGHT AND SQUIRE TP – Seriously, if you’ve been on the fence this one is worth reading.  Each issue is a done-in-one, and it provides a great look at the British Batman and Robin, although the differences have been far more interesting than the similarities.  I just hope they include the text pieces, as they describe all of the British slang that lost me.
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #878
  • GOON #34 – The return of the Goon!  And written by Evan Dorkin, no less.  (Oops, that’s not until #35.) This will be incredible.
  • GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS #11
  • VENOM #4 – So far I’ve found the premise of this book remarkable, but haven’t gotten any issues yet.  I think I’m going to wait until I can dig up the first arc until I make the decision on whether or not to go further with it.

Last week was pretty disappointing, but I wasn’t expecting to wind up with a copy of Hack/Slash #5 in my bag.  I’ve been pretty pleased with the samples I’ve read, but it’s not really something I’m into.  This month’s book featured Fantomah the Jungle Woman, who along with Stardust the Super-Wizard is one of Fletcher Hanks’ insane creations. They must be in the public domain now to be featured in a modern book.

This is great news in and of itself, as long as the books they’re in are worth reading.  H/S #5 isn’t one of those books, though.  The book starts off with an amazing homage to the old Hanks stories that really works well (the only thing Kyle Strahm needs to remember is that Hanks draws his characters with a very distinct style of flying), then cuts to the present as Fantomah returns and picks up where she left off. Fine so far, but the b-story featured characters I wasn’t  familiar with and never got explained and the art was too rough around the edges.  If you regularly follow the title you may have a better experience, but jumping in as a less-than-casual reader it didn’t convince me to come back.

But that cover…Wow.  Worth the cost of admission alone.

That’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?

The LIST: The Corps, The Corps, The Corps.

With the Green Lantern movie out, the idea that green is the power of will while yellow is the power fear has entered the public consciousness. In the comics we’ve seen a proliferation of new Corps. What other colors are we not reading about, and what powers them?

Joseph Wapner: Guardian of the Walnut Corps. Powered by the collective juris prudence strength of television judges.

Thistle Lantern Corps is powered by Smarminess

The Grey Lantern Corps is powered by Grumpiness

Rainbow Lantern Corps is powered by Pride

Brown Lantern Corps is powered by turkey gravy

The Aquamarine Corps is the toughest bunch of SOB’s you’ll ever meet wearing teal

Cerulean Lantern Corps is powered by Daytime Television

Periwinkle Lantern Corps is powered by fashion sense

Avatar of the Kelly Lantern Corps, powered by leprechaunian magicks.

Game Tape

It’s been awhile since Jesse or I have written anything substantial about a Jeff Parker book. Thunderbolts #159 is remarkable then for a couple of reasons. The first is a slight negative: I’m not sure why this issue merited an increased page count and increased price tag, but it was worth it. The book itself is formatted as several vignettes…essentially an old-style annual. Each story looks at the destruction of the Raft from a different point of view. The remarkable thing about the vignettes is that they are not all written by Jeff Parker (again not unlike an old-style annual). While not remarkable in and of itself, the genius here is that the editor brought together four writers with the same panache for dialogue and character. Not a beat was missed in this book between the stories and its intertwining characters. Well done on this issue, Marvel, well done.

For every misstep that IDW is making with their mediocre Transformers books, they are making all the right moves with GI JOE. The re-imagining and depth they are giving to familiar plots/ characters is outstandingly done. Case in point is the current arc running through the JOE titles as Cobra’s upper echelon is in the middle of a pissing contest to replace the assassinated Cobra Commander. Cobra #2 focuses on Serpentor’s role as observer to the contest of power. Mike Costa’s re-imagining Serpentor as a cult figure/ life coach/ cash cow for Cobra is interesting and manipulative. Well done, IDW, well done.

Secret Avengers #14 was about the small moment. Let the other Marvel books handle to grand scale of the Fear Itself event; Nick Spencer is doing solid work with character focused plots. This issue and the last both focus on a character (in this case Valkyrie) and explore their depths. In this case, it’s an origin story mixed with an attack on Philadelphia.

Action Comics #902 had some good moments and dialogue. This shaping up to be a pretty decent ending for the current Action Comics volume.


This Week’s Comics

Another light week this time around. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • ACTION COMICS #902
  • ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #2 (OF 4) – The first issue of the new Rocketeer anthology was a breath of fresh air, with a remarkable opening story from John Cassaday (always a treat to see his art) and a solid tale by Mike Allred. I’ll be anxiously keeping up with this one.
  • SECRET AVENGERS #14 – Secret Avengers stays on the list solely because of Matt’s recent thumbs up. I recently caught up with issues 1-11 (expect a review soon a la yesterday’s) and found it better put-together than New Avengers, but somewhat lacking. I’ll give the next story arc a shot before dropping it, though.
  • WOLVERINE #11 – Wolverine, though…Well, I love Wolverine…
  • X-MEN AGE OF X HC – Is Age of X over already? I remember when I heard about the Age of Apocalypse 15 years ago you could have knocked me over with a feather. Now Marvel does it again and it hardly makes any news at all. I blame the 90 OTHER X-Titles out there diluting the brand.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten to read some other new comics over the past couple weeks.

Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #2 hit the stands last week and continues to bowl me over. I’m not even going to call it an all-ages title anymore, that’s how solid it is. We start off with the book’s strongest scene, a look at the different classes our villains-in-training have to attend, a nice mix of Harry Potter swirled with villainy, then cut to a pretty expansive fight scene where we learn a bit more about the villain’s code, a nice angle in a title where it has to make sense that villains are more organized than you’d expense. Another outstanding issue by Smith and Villavert.

I didn’t mean to pick it up, but because it was a light week I did grab IDW’s new Godzilla title, Gangsters and Goliaths.  Set in a different continuity than the Kingdom of Monsters title Eric Powell is writing, in this book Godzilla and the gang on Monster Island are already well-known. When a team of gangsters winds up on Monster Island, mayhem ensues. I don’t feel like this is as strong as KoM, but if you’re jonesing for a Godzilla book, G&G is a solid read.

Frank Cho is one of the most amazing talents in comic books, and every time he works on a title –no kidding — I feel like the industry is lucky to have him. That said, there are certain bad habits he tends to rely on. Now, Frank can work on whatever makes him happy (a la Jim Balent on Tarot) and his art is so spectacular that it usually makes up for any perceived definiciencies in the story, but 50 Girls 50 #1 is built around one cheeky idea (hot girls in space wind up having their spacesuits slowly dissolve) and doesn’t have his artwork backing it up*. So, as far as I’m concerned there’s not much worth sticking around for.

That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?

*There were a couple pages at the end it looked like he worked on, but I could be willing myself to see that.

Some Long-Overdue Reviews

Because of my hiatus on picking up new Marvel and DC comics, I’m a few months behind on some series as I wait for prices to drop and make sure I have consecutive issues to read.  Recently I had the chance to get caught up on a series picking up some serious buzz, a favorite I was reluctant to drop, and a new series by a favorite author.

Despite some morbid curiosity I’ve steadfastly refused to finance J. Michael Strazcynski’s Superman run, believing Superman’s walk across the United States to be a fascinating writer’s exercise but a dreadfully dull reader’s chore.  When JMS bailed on his own awful experiment I thought that was it for “Grounded,” but then something unusual happened: Chris Roberson took over the writing details and the book started generating some positive buzz.  Despite being saddled with continuing The Long Walk, Roberson has been able to act as the fans’ advocate and a) return Superman to his proper character, and b) explain why he went so far off-track for the past several months.

The results have been refreshing, and returns the “Super” to Kal-El that has been missing for more years than you’d think.  Seriously, aside from All-Star, Superman has pretty much been limited to flight, speed, strength, and heat vision for ages, and he hasn’t even been doing anything creative with those powers.  Now Roberson has him racing The Flash, re-routing rivers, and using super-speed to put out fires.  It’s a more modern sensibility rather than a Silver Age homage like All-Star — as it should be — but it does reclaim the Superman we all know and love.

There are still some rough spots here and there, but each issue gets better and Roberson is a writer to keep your eye on.

Superman #707-709
Cover Price – $8.97
My Price – $4.50
Average Wait Time – 89 Days

Pity Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts.  It’s consistently one of Marvel’s best books but after several months of excellence my reviews have denigrated to the point where that’s all I can say about it.  Either you’re reading and loving it, or you’re not and missing out on an exceptional superhero book starring some of Marvel’s greatest villains.

The first and most important thing to note is that Parker gets characterization.  The T-Bolts team is comprised of very different characters, and by the dialogue alone you could tell any of them apart even without art.  They’re that unique.  Parker doesn’t just line up 6 characters and aim them at a challenge, they interact with each other in some very interesting ways.  Everyone has different motivations and methods, and I swear I feel the world-weariness of Luke Cage having to deal with these villains and their chaos in each and every issue.

Something not completely necessary but highly appreciated is most of the issues stand alone, even as they contribute to the larger story. This means almost every issue is a great jumping-on point, no .1 issues needed!  This shouldn’t be as novel a concept as it is.  These standalones also allow each team member some focus.  To that end we get a Ghost issue (and his decidedly old-school villain origin!), and even a Man-Thing issue, where we finally learn how Swampy feels about being the team’s Nightcrawler.   Adding to the overall story structure, Parker anticipates the necessarily high turnover of the team (a la Suicide Squad) by setting up the T-Bolts farm league, which will also create another dimension for characterization and friction among the team.

Thunderbolts 152-155
Cover Price – $11.96
My Price – $6.30
Average Wait Time – 70 Days

My love for Jason Aaron’s work has been fairly well documented at this point.  I just wrapped up “Wolverine Goes to Hell” and fortunately have several issues left to go through before I run out.  Credit Aaron and artist Daniel Acuna for being able to appropriately convey the oppressive bleakness of Hell.  While I’m usually able to support my protagonist, in a way just reading the book made me feel beat down by the environment even as Logan was not, and I admired his perseverance all the more for it.  There’s no surprises or gotchas here — other than a guest appearance by someone from waaaaay back in Logan’s past — that aren’t self-evident from the title, but that’s okay.  It’s about the journey.

My only real complaint is, having read it so close to his Manifest Destiny mini-series from 2008, the story arcs drift just a little too close to each other.  <SPOILERS> Wolverine gets in over his head, meets bad people from his past, overcomes all obstacles and wins, then becomes the new ruler.  And while the first three are staples of EVERY Wolverine story (and roughly 68.3% of all comic book stories), the last once should be used more sparingly.  </SPOILERS>  That said, my Aaron man-crush goes on unabated.  I have started but not yet finished Wolverine vs the X-Men, but it is as strong as story as the first arc, as the X-Men must deal with the after-effects of a possessed Logan (starring the Ghost Riders!)

Wolverine 1 – 7 (only 5-7 calculated for 2011)
Cover Price – $15.96
My Price – $8.64
Average Wait Time – 82 Days

There we go: that’s where I am at the moment.  I’m frustratingly close to being able to plow through Paul Cornell’s Action Comics run, along with the Adjectiveless, New, and Secret Avengers.  I’m fairly caught up on Batman, but have found it fairly generic and not really worth delving into. 

Read anything I’ve mentioned?  Argue with us in the comments section.

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

Green Lantern — likely this summer’s biggest superhero movie — opens this Friday, June 16th.  Because Geoff Johns has been so hands-on, and we know Mr. Johns fairly well, we here at the L.E.M.U.R. Comics Blog have decided to turn this week’s list into gambling material*, and we present Gambling Lines for the Green Lantern Movie.









* Please understand that the only thing you’ll win from us is bragging rights, but we totally encourage you to play along with your friends.