Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brightest Day #0 by Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, and Fernando Passarin - A Review/Primer

Review by Chris Clow

“Once dead, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled deep from within the center of the Earth. Deemed a miracle by many and a sign of the apocalypse by others, the reasons behind their rebirths remain a mystery. But it will not be a mystery for long. This is the BRIGHTEST DAY.”

A common criticism I hear from people who see the posters for this series go along the lines of, “Oh great! Now DC’s stories are going to be happy, bright, and shiny! BOOO!” However, after reading this introductory issue to Brightest Day, #0, it appears that the stories within the pages for the next year will be far from light-hearted. This issue was full of a despair wrapped in a blindingly bright white light. Not the warm, reassuring kind of light. This bright light felt more as if it could be on the front of a train that you can’t see barreling toward you, and it seems that the heroes and villains that have returned, except for maybe Deadman, might not get out of that train’s way fast enough.

Osiris finds himself without a family after his return. Captain Boomerang is stuck in Iron Heights, and is bold enough to threaten the Fastest Man Alive. Aquaman’s return is rejoiced by his wife Mera, but the King of the Seven Seas looks in the water and sees himself as a Black Lantern staring back at him. Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are the new Firestorm, but Jason’s hatred toward Ronnie for what his corpse did as a Black Lantern could fracture their partnership before it even begins.

And Deadman isn’t dead anymore, and is adjusting to life, and his larger role in the DCU. All the heroes that were resurrected by the White Entity no longer need to wear their White Lantern Rings. So, why can’t Deadman take his off? What does a man so defined by death do when the death that he touches gains new life? Is this a good second chance, or does his new life spell doom for our heroes?

A lot of questions, I know. But after reading Brightest Day #0, it seems that questions are exactly what you’re supposed to have. Issue #1 is on sale next week, and if you’re at all curious about what’s in store for the twelve resurectees of the DCU, Brightest Day is the book to read.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ultimate Comics: Enemy #3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Rafa Sandoval

Review by Art Delgadillo

The cover for this issue was a great takeoff of “The Three Stooges” looking around the corner of a building. The story features a nameless attacker that has murdered Reed Richards and has tried to do the same to others. With more unanswered questions than answered ones, the attacker is trapped. Is it the same one, or someone different? Notice that I didn’t say who. Again, cover art was great, interior art was adequate; with Nick Fury’s eye patch shifting on page nine to the wrong eye. However, this issue had a good bathroom brawl. Issue #3 gets you set up for the ending of this four-part story. Will the Thing survive and can Reed really be dead? Hopefully, all will be answered next month.

I like a story that wraps things up fairly quickly in comic book time. One month between issues in a good story with strong characters can seem like forever. I won’t say it’s a must-read, but it is a good one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kickin' Nazzy as . . tail. (In case any youngsters're readin' this)

The new Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers is set early in Cap's career, telling the pulse-pounding tale of his first mission with Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos! The Howlers & Cap are off to Wakanda to head off Hitler's attempt, led by Baron Strucker, to steal the African nation's Vibranium for use in their missile technology. Cap quickly runs afoul of T'chaka, the WWII-era Black Panther, and that leads into the next issue.

There's plenty of nasty Nazi business, a great battle scene right in the first few pages of the book, amusing dialog from the Howlers about this new star-spangled joker that never removes his mask (Nick Fury, particularly, is suspicious of him), but what really grabbed me with this first issue was Gabriel Jones' narration during the Howlers scenes. I'd never thought about how it might've been, being a black soldier, hand-picked by Fury himself, in an elite WWII commando squad. The Army's not desegregated yet, he's on this elite force with guys from Brooklyn & Kentucky, and they're heading into Africa for the first time (well, I think Fury had been there before). There's thoughtless comments and jokes about Africa from his teammates, and an impressive scene in the mess hall when Cap sits down right next to Gabe, doesn't have any silverware, and asks to uses Gabes, who is done eating. That's something you just didn't do back then (heck, I wouldn't do it now; not outa racism-that's just plain unsanitary w/anybody)! Actions like this, and Cap's fighting skills, yet ridiculous (to them, at that time) costume, have all the Howlers asking "who IS this guy?" When Cap first shows up, Dum Dum Dugan asks "who is this clown?" to which Fury replies "America's secret weapon." "I thought WE were America's secret weapon" is his response, shown in a tight close up of Dugan's shadowed eyes and hard-set jaw. Tension's a-brewing, right away!

These tensions of preconceived judgments and prejudices, roles, and battle action will make for a great Cap, Year One-style story with a little more than just Nazi-bashing (not that that ain't enough any day o' the week), if writer Reginald Hudlin (Black Panther) can keep it up. The art, by Denys Cowan (The Question) and Klaus Janson (tons o' stuff) is nice, too, lots of good character perspectives and cinematic transitions.