Saturday, August 23, 2008

Issue #27: Comic Books Fro The Week of Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (of 5) (DC)
Back Issue Special:
Birds of Prey #75 (DC, December 2004)

This week I would not have had any comic books to review, except for the fact that I am reading Legion of 3 Worlds. This is the only Final Crisis mini-series that I am reading. I had gotten to the point over the last several years that I was burnt out on the big event mini-series coming out every year. It wouldn't matter what the plot would be, I wasn't interested. That was why I dropped Countdown near the end. But I am such a Legion of Super-Heroes fan that I could not pass up Legion of 3 Worlds. Plus, with Geoff Johns and George Perez creating the story, it was hard to be patient until issue 1 finally was published. Well, the waiting is finally over.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (of 5) (DC) * * * * *
This story begins at the end of the Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes story from Action Comics. Earth is still recovering from the xenophobia, as well as the rest of the United Planets. We also get a quick summary of Legion history, as well as Jimmy Olsen history, in a very clever way that advances the plot at the same time. The 31st century is definitely in their own crisis, and the odds are stacked against the Legion, as usual. The art is typical Geroge Perez, with multiple panels and minute details. It will take more than one reading to soak in all of the story details from the art. George Perez isn't getting older, he's getting better. And I can't wait to see where the Legion will be after the final issue #5.

Birds of Prey #75 (DC, December 2004) * * * * *
Wednesday, when I went to my local comic book store Bad Apple Comics (http://bacomics.com/), I was going to look for this issue. After doing my episode on Gail Simone on Superman Fan Podcast (http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com), I read the Lady Blackhawk script she had posted on a blog on her MySpace page. I had read a few issues of Blackhawk in the 1960's, and enjoyed the Blackhawk stories from Action Comics Weekly and the Blackhawk series of the 1990's. After reading the script I had to find the issue to read the comic book itself. I was not disappointed. This was a double sized issue, being #75. The first story involved the regular Birds of Prey cast. We are reprised of the catastrophic events of the previous issue, when the clocktower was destroyed. The team spends the issue picking up the pieces. This was the perfect issue after such an action packed story form #74. Just like in real life, we have to recuperate after big events, whether happy or tragic. The Lady Blackhawl story is the second story. Titled There Would Be No Spring, it was pencilled by the excellent Eduardo Barreto, who has a classic drawing style. It summarizes her history, and how she has stayed so young over the decades, and how she puts her life back together now. It's a great story for Blackhawk fans to add to their collection.

Send e-mail about My Pull List to mypulllist@gmail.com.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com. Expanded show notes can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com. E-mail about the podcast can be sent to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Issue #26: Cach Up Week #5

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, July 30, 2008:
Project Superpowers #5 (of 7) (Dynamite Entertainment)
Justice Society of America Annual #1 (DC)

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, August 6, 2008:
Ultimate Origins #3 (of 5) (Marvel)
Terry Moore's Echo #5 (Abstract Studios)
Joe Kubert's Tor #4 (of 6) (DC)

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, August 13, 2008:
Fantastic Four #559 (Marvel)
Action Comics #868 (DC)

Real life reared its ugly head again, "Curse you arch fiend!" No family tragedies or the like occurred, it's just a lot of errands I had to take care of. After I catch up here, I have several episodes of Superman Fan Podcast to catch up on. It never ends, just like comic books, I hope.

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, July 30, 2008:
Project Superpowers #5 (of 7) (Dynamite Entertainment) * * * *
The story has begun to progress from a series of vignettes of forgotten golden age super heroes to a story racing to a conclusion. The plots are staring to come together (there are only two more issues in this first mini series after all). The Fighting Yank and the ghost of his Revolutionary War ancestor face the concequences of their actions; Dynamic Boy's fight against Hydro, Pyroman and the Flame brings the conflict between the Dynamic Family and the escaped heroes to a new level; the Target is hunted by police; Black Terror, Samson and the Scarab continue their fight against the Frankenstein army; and we are introduced to the Arrow. This reintroduction of forgotten, and minor, golden age comic book characters continues to be interesting and educational. I can't wait to see these heroes more fleshed out individually in future story arcs. This first mini-series is a great introduction to the group, but it'll be great to see each character get more of a spotlight.

Justice Society of America Annual #1 (DC) * * * * *
What's not to like about this special issue? First of all there's the Alex Ross cover. Then there's the Jerry Ordway art. I was introduced to his work in the pages of The Adventures of Superman, which continued the numbering of the original Superman after John Byrne got a new #1 with his mid-1980's revamp of Superman. this story continues the story from JSA #17, when Gog sent Power Girl somewhere else. She winds up on Earth-2 from before the Crisis of Infinite Earths. Earth-2 is back, part of the new multiverse. Once again Huntress is the daughter of the Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman, and the children of the JSA, told in such comic book series as All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc., are now members of the renamed Justice Society Infinity. We meet the adult Earth-2 Robin as well as a very old Joker. There are several subplots which involve Huntress, and a very surprise ending involving Power Girl. At the end of the story is a great two page spread of a Norman Rockwell-esqe artist painting a group portrait of the JSA. It's a great contrast of the the group trying to sit for the artist, and the painting he is creating. And of course the story is continued in the next regular issue of JSA. Look for a few "easter eggs" in the scene with Power Girl in her bedroom, showing elements of Superman's inspiration, as well as a map of Krypton, originally from a Superman Annual.

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, August 6, 2008:
Ultimate Origins #3 (of 5) (Marvel)
Terry Moore's Echo #5 (Abstract Studios)
Joe Kubert's Tor #4 (of 6) (DC)

It was another great week of comic book reading. It was tempered by the recent news of the death of Joe Kubert's wife from breast cancer. He credited her as his strong right arm in establishing his comic book school, with her education in Business Administration. My condolences go out to the Kubert family.

Ultimate Origins #3 (of 5) (Marvel) * * * *
The Ultimate Fantastic Four continue their investigation of the strange obelisk, and we are introduced to the beginnings of the Ultimate mutant universe. We are introduced to a young Magneto and Dr. Xavier before he became a paraplegic. Magneto has an interesting motive for his megalomaniacal personality, different from his past as a holocaust survivor in the regular Marvel universe. It's great reading the beginnings of the Ultimate Marvel universe and the different twists to familiar origins, told in an updated, more sophisticated way we've come to expect from the Ultimate universe.

Terry Moore's Echo #5 (Abstract Studios) * * * * *
Julie and Dillon are thrown together as they run from Henri, Inc., who want the remnants of their mysterious "suit" in the most desperate way. And Ivy is hot on Julie's trail, and seems to have learned her deductive skills from Batman. What she can learn from the trash from a vehicle is scary. Lucky for Julie, Dillon has some unique friends to help them out, we hope. Terry Moore continues to show he is a master storyteller. His realistic portrayal of people, especially women, is fantastic. He can also draw people with different shaped heads, facial features and body types. And the preview image of issue #6 is very ominous.

Joe Kubert's Tor #4 (of 6) (DC) * * * * *
Tor and his female companion face underground perils and find themselves hunted by the "ape" tribe. It was sad to read this issue, knowing Joe Kubert was a recent widower. But his mastery of portraying character emotions using only art and captions, with no word balloons, is amazing. And his panel layout continues to be a textbook for students of comic book art, like me. This series goes on that short list of series that can be used as a textbook for teaching comic book layout and storytelling. That would be a good topic for a future blog on a week that no comic books come out.

Comic Books for the week of Wednesday, August 13, 2008:
Fantastic Four #559 (Marvel) * * * * *
Mark Millar and Brian Hitch continue to create one of the best FF stories in a long time. Johnny finds his fat in the fire big time after his recent tryst with a female super villain. Sue meets with Alyssa, Reeds ex-girlfriend from his single days, and reveals a shocking secret (and it isn't that she and Reed were having an affair). And you won't believe the reveal that Millar/Hitch make at the end of this issue. Ben has a great scene to open the issue. What's up with Mrs. Deneuve and Valeria is left for a future issue.

Action Comics #868 (DC) * * * * *
Brainiac part 3: Greetings continues Geoff Johns run on the greatest run of Superman stories, other than All-Star Superman, in a long time. I'm still hopeful that James Robinson can do similar things for Superman. And from the news comic from the recent ComicCon in San Diego, it looks like we have a lot of great things to look forward to from Geoff Johns. This is definitely the best Brainiac story ever. The issue opens with a great scene between Cat Grant and Supergirl, especially one panel in particular. We learn a shocking new facet about Krypton's destruction. And Koko, Brainiac's pet from the first Brainiac story from the silver age, makes an appearance. Ma and Pa Kent make a brief appearance near the end of the issue, and in the next issue preview. And check out the panel with Steve Lombard, showing a dark secret about how a few sports reporters cover some sporting events. This is the most frightening Brainiac story ever.

Send e-mail about My Pull List to mypulllist@gmail.com.
I hope to catch up on Superman Fan Podcast this next week. It can be found at http://www.supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes can be found at http://www.supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about my podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

If you haven't already, check out Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross MacDonald. It is a young reader's biography of Jery Siegel and Joe Shuster during the years they were creating Superman. The book is getting rave reviews, and is avialable at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com. Also check out the author's blog http://www.noblemania.blogspot.com/.

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