AVENGERS ACADEMY #35: Gage continues to ramp up the excitement in part 2 of “Final Exam”. Grummett did not do the art this time. I know I saw where Gage is working on some creator owned book. Hopefully, DC will pick him up. They have not announced the new writers for ACTION COMICS and GREEN LANTERN. I would be happy if he picked both of them up.
GREEN LANTERN #12: Johns is in the home stretch on this series. Most of this issue is the battle with Hal & Sinestro on the good side fighting against the Black Hand and the Black Lanterns. I am very curious how Johns is going to handle the last page revelation. One of the side bars of this issue is the revelation that the Guardians have been orchestrating the events in the lives of the big players in the Lantern Corps. They played them like chess pieces to have them in the place where they would be easiest to defeat. Now the Guardians are making their move to take them out of action. I am not sure if the last page reveal is part of their plan or an event that will disrupt the Guardians master plan. When you think about it, Johns has set up one of the great cosmic epics in the history of comics. Events like THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, BLACKEST NIGHT, BRIGHTEST DAY, and the WAR OF THE CORPS was all set up that has built up to this event. All along the way, Johns has shown in the stories that “the big event” was coming. When he is finished with GREEN LANTERN, I plan on going back and re-reading the entire epic. This has been Johns magnum opus.
AVENGERS ACADEMY: Despite Marvel’s claims to the contrary, they have now announced that “Final Exam” is the final arc of AVENGERS ACADEMY. Issue 39 will be the last one. So far, I have not heard Gage’s name mentioned on any of the MARVEL NOW books. Hopefully he gets a new title soon. I read the first chapter of “Final Exam” last night. It was kind of like reading an issue of THE WALKING DEAD. Everything seemed to be going great then it all took a turn for the worst. The combination of great writing and art will make this a classic story to end the series on. I loved how Gage used a character to make fun of big event superhero battles.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #15: This issue is a little bit of a letdown, partially due to the art. When you switch from Patrick Zircher to Scott Eaton/Rick Magyar it is a step down. The art is okay but does not make you stop and stare like Zircher’s. The other disappointing part was Brubaker brought in Cullen Bunn to help with the story. I was hoping for solo Brubaker writing on his final arc since it wraps up the storyline from issue #1. When I saw the television personality, I could not help but think of Glorious Godfrey from Kirby’s Fourth World titles. I was not impressed with Cap’s lack of faith. It seems like we have been down this road before. Back in the Englehart days, he built up to the crisis with the revelation of Richard Nixon being the head of the Secret Empire. It was logical that having a president betray the U.S.A. would have a devastating effect on Cap. I don’t believe that what has happened here would be enough to shake him to his core. I would say that it is a good thing that Brubaker is leaving but knowing that Remender is taking over is not a good thing. It will be a good time to go back and re-read the Englehart/Gerber/DeMatteis/
CAPTAIN AMERICA #s 13-14: The final 2 chapters in the Scourge storyline. I loved Patrick Zircher on this arc. At times his art reminded me of the John Byrne/Joe Rubenstein work on Cap. It’s hard to believe that he has not landed a regular assignment for Marvel or DC. If I heard right he is going to draw SHADOWMAN for Valiant. Poor Dennis Dunphy. It seems like he is always being mind controlled/brainwashed. It was a good set up for the final chapter in Cap’s battle with Bravo. I plan on continuing to read this series tonight.
WORLD’S FINEST #4: Perez continues to shine. The combination of Perez art and the coloring really made the opening sequence jump off the page. It seemed like we would learn more about the villain in this issue but it did not happen. Other than that I thought it was an excellent issue. Levitz is doing a good job of developing the main characters. Based on the next issue blurb, it sounds like it will be focused on the back story. This has been a solid companion series to EARTH 2.
AQUAMAN #11: In this chapter of “The Others” storyline, we find out what Black Manta has been searching for. Johns is a master of pacing a story. He saves the big reveal for the final pages so the reader is anxious to pick up the next issue. The combination of Johns’ writing and Reis’ art keeps this book near the top of my must read stack.
GREEN LANTERN #11: And speaking of Johns, his epic finale to his version of GREEN LANTERN continues to gain momentum. The Hal/Sinestro partnership takes a turn in a different direction. The Black Hand has become one of the most deranged and powerful villains in Johns’ pantheon. This has been one of his strengths. In FLASH he was praised for developing the Rogues gallery. Sinestro and the Black Hand have become major characters in this series. In some ways, Sinestro is the co-star of the book. After reading this issue, you have to wonder what the Black Hand will do next. I would be very interested in seeing Johns’ take on the Joker. I guess the only chance we have for that would be in the BATMAN EARTH ONE series. I don’t think the Joker appears in the first book but maybe he will show up in a later book.
THOR #17: I enjoyed this issue. Terry Kissinger was dead on about the similarities between Blake’s fate and “The Menagerie” from STAR TREK. Another great Fraction story.
COMPLEX #2: An intriguing series that I stumbled on by accident. The closest description I can give you is it is a mixture of X-FILES/THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS/THE PRISONER. The art is the weak point but does tell the story. It is definitely a writer driven series.
ACTION COMICS: The character who is the Blake Farm Ghost in this series was Captain Comet in the Pre-New DC52 continuity. His main story started in SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS (in the 70s) and continued in SUPER-TEAM FAMILY. I think Conway was the main writer for him. Leave it to Morrison to bring back a Pre-Crisis character. Unlike the critics, I am enjoying this storyline. It appears that the man who shows up in Lois’ niece’s room is from the 4th dimension (home of Mr. Myx…I always forget how to spell it). So Clark’s landlord is also from that dimension. One of the best Mr. Myx stories was a classic multi-parter written by Joe Casey. It was called “Emperor Joker”. The Joker tricked Myx into giving him his powers. Then Joker used the reality warping powers to remake the Earth in his image. You can imagine the chaos. Batman was constantly being killed and brought back to life. If you ever get in the mood for a crazy old Superman story, I would recommend this storyline. A search on Google should give you the issue numbers. Meanwhile, DC is keeping it quiet about who will follow Grant on this book. I would not be surprised to see Rags leave it then.
EARTH2 #4: Nicola Scott had a co-artist on this issue but it stays very consistent with her style. The opening splash page was one of my favorite Nicola pieces yet. It was another excellent issue. I won’t talk about it until you have the chance to read it. We do learn more about Al “Atom” Pratt and his place on this world. The next issue comment on the bottom of the last page makes it sound like it will be another good one.