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Thursday, June 27, 2013

*Clever Title Here*: Comic Review

Every Wednesday, new comics hit the newsstands and comic stores. Every Wednesday I have a pile of new comics to read either physically or digitally. So every week, maybe on Wednesday, or maybe the next day, I'll try to pick out one issue to go over and talk about. Ideally, this would be a 1st issue, a last issue, the start of a major arc or crossover event, or something other than just "the next issue". But today, since it's my first installment of this, and that I couldn't get said comics yesterday in a timely manner, I've got two issues to really go over. Otherwise, I'll give my brief thoughts on the many other issues I've read this week. So let's get to it.

The first proper review is for DC Comics' 1st issue of "Larfleeze", written by Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis, and illustrated by Scott Kolins. Larfleeze is a character created by Geoff Johns during his acclaimed run on Green Lantern. In his expansion of the GL mythos, Johns created more colors of the Emotional Spectrum, such as Red Lanterns stand for Rage, Blue Lanterns stand for Hope, etc. Larfleeze was the single holder of the Orange part of the Emotional Spectrum, Avarice. His whole thing was that, unlike the other colored Lantern Corps., he was the only wielder of the Orange light. His Power Ring could increase its power seemingly without limit and his ring's "constructs" were the bodies of those he has killed with his Orange power, effectively creating and controlling an army of constructs. The flip side of this was that Larfleeze was perpetually greedy and a bit dim. After the events of "Wrath of the First Lantern" (Johns' big finale of his GL run), Larfleeze was basically sent to the edge of the universe nearly powerless with only his alien butler for companionship. This story picks up after that, much like the other titles in the New52 Green Lantern group of books.

This first issue reestablishes Larfleeze's character with a (possibly inaccurate) life story reiterated by the sleaze himself to his butler, since at the end of the universe there isn't much better to do than tell stories. However, at the end of the issue his story gets interrupted by something that calls this part of the universe home. It's not a very eventful first issue, but it sets up the character of Larfleeze for anyone who doesn't already know about him (and let's be honest, if you don't know, then you don't care about the GL part of the DC Universe too much and this book on the shelf won't attract someone who isn't already terribly familiar with its continuity). What we get from it is the setup for what would make a decent mini series of maybe 5 issues instead of the ongoing series it's supposed to be. I really don't see how they can make this character into something readers will come back for each month. But I've been wrong before. So far we've got the makings of a clever romp through the outer reaches of space with a greedy little monster and his companion/slave.

Keith Giffen is a writer I've not read much of, but I have heard good things about. His issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians was not what I expected, but it was setting up a new series called Threshold which has since been cancelled, I believe. With Giffen on the plot and Dematteis writing the scripts, however, we get some clever dialog and an interesting set up for the rest of this particular story. Giffen also wrties Larfleeze like he was depicted in New Guardians; as a conniving, greasy, and sometimes amusing ball of greed as opposed to the more sinister version that Johns wrote before the reboot. Scott Kolins' art is actually pretty good too. It leans ever so slightly towards the cartoony than many more realistic approaches the Green Lantern books have had over the years. The colorist makes good use of the various colors and glows of the Orange light, and the whole thing has a unity in its orange gutters and dialog boxes.

All in all, for the Green Lantern fan this offers a more focused look at one of the lesser known Lantern colors with not much to offer right away. But, with good back-and-forth between the two main characters, some well timed gags, and a sudden appearance of conflict near the end, this COULD be an interesting title. But with all of the problems DC has been having, trying to make this a continuing story could prove difficult. Even if Giffen manages to get a huge arc out of this I have little faith in DC keeping this around for long.

The second book I picked up to review was Marvel's "All New X-Men" #13, written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Stuart Immonen. The main idea behind this book is that, after the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover, Hank McCoy (Beast) traveled back to the past to recruit the original team of X-Men (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) to come to the future with him to shame the main timeline's Cyclops into... I dunno, undoing all his actions from the aforementioned conflict? It's confusing to explain, and silly when you ask why is this a good idea. But the status quo is that the young, original team of X-Men are now living in the current X-Men continuity. Meaning some amusing or depressing conversations between a young Bobby Drake and his older self, or a young Angel asking his future self why he suddenly has metal wings. Bendis writes these conversations amazingly, since his forte has always seemed to be dialog between confused teenagers (great for Ultimate Spider-Man, silly and grating for Avengers). Bendis is basically in control of the X-Men corner of the Marvel universe for now, and ANX-Men, along with his also ongoing run on Uncanny X-Men, show that it is actually in capable hands. The past team getting timey-wimey'd off to the present is hard to get over for the first few issues, but it actually works out.

Anywho, the story right now is that Mystique is up to her old (or new) tricks, using her shape-shifting ability along with Lady Mastermind's illusion abilities to make it seem like this old team of X-Men have been robbing banks and dealing with HYDRA. This issue focuses on Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, and the original X-Men finding their hideout to bust some heads, without spoiling too much. Stuart Immonen has been on art duty for all 13 issues, and it has been really good. Just good design, layout, and action in the whole package, as you can see from this spread near the end of the issue (forgive my poor scanning abilities).

There's not much else to say on this. It's continuing Bendis' plot and developing how these younger X-Men interact with a confusing modern world. It is an interesting status quo for the X-Men, but all the time travel antics in this and many other books are setting up for something big in the Marvel U.

So this is roughly what I'll be doing each week, hopefully. With my work schedule never being totally set in stone, I don't know if I'll be able to make this every Wednesday, as this post clearly illustrates on account of it being Thursday. But at some point each week I will try to pick out an issue to review in such a way. Since I'm sure I'm boring anybody reading this by now, I'll leave it at that.

Yay, comics!

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