Comics Ate My Brain

May 7, 2008

New comics 4/30/08

Filed under: crisis, green lantern, legion, new teen titans, star wars, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 12:55 am
For some reason DC Universe #0 (written by Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns, drawn by committee) felt more Johnsian than Morrisonian. It struck me as a collection of preview pages from a half-dozen upcoming arcs, tied together by vague narration from a Certain Familiar Someone. I responded most favorably to the George Perez pages and the Final Crisis tease.

The blow-up-the-base story currently running in Star Wars: Rebellion (#13 written by Jeremy Barlow, drawn by Colin Wilson) is starting to feel padded by about an issue, and this is that issue. Most of it follows a Rebel soldier as she tries to escape a sadistic Imperial officer and the requisite stormtrooper squads. There’s some narration about her coming to grips with the meaning of being a Rebel, but that was lost on me somewhat because I’ve never gotten too invested in this character. A promising sequence at the end makes a good case for our heroine blowing up half the base with a single grenade (not unprecedented in Star Wars, I think you’ll agree). Overall, some good stuff, and my opinion may change after next issue, but for now it still seems a bit long.

Teen Titans Year One #4 (written by Amy Wolfram, pencilled by Karl Kerschl, inked by Serge LaPointe) is, as the cover indicates, a Kid Flash spotlight, but it continues the Batman/Robin storyline which has run through the book so far. The issue doesn’t quite put Flasher in the “I should be the leader” slot, but it does give him an ego to go with his considerable powers. Wolfram and Kerschl root for him regardless, so that he’s never really unsympathetic. Also, Aqualad gets more of a personality, although he still doesn’t do a whole lot. Wolfram and Kerschl’s simple storytelling comes across as very matter-of-fact, and it leaves room for Kerschl’s stylized, expressive designs to work. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and wishing it could go on longer.

Back in the current Teen Titans (#58 written by Sean McKeever, pencilled by Carlos Rodriguez, and inked by various people), this month Miss Martian must fight not only the Terror Titans, but also her evil conscience. (I’ve been reading too many solicitations.) Not knowing much about the character, I thought this was a good way to highlight her inner turmoil. I was a little confused at first, thinking that her Evil Self was somehow connected to her Evil Future Self from a few issues back, but that was cleared up soon enough. The art was decent: not too far from the book’s normal style, not too flashy, but adequate for the job at hand.

I get the feeling I should like “Secret Origin,” part 2 of which appears in Green Lantern #30 (written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Ivan Reis, inked by Oclair Albert), but it keeps falling flat for me. I shouldn’t fault it for changing Hal’s origin so that only he (and not the little training capsule) is yanked out of the hangar by Abin Sur’s ring. Working classic GL characters into the background is also acceptable, as is tying it into “The Blackest Night” and the Ysmault prophecies. Maybe I just have a problem with Ivan Reis drawing Hal to look 17 years old; or with Johns having Hal cause a rival to crash. Otherwise, “Secret Origin” is appropriately reverent, which is nice. I don’t dislike this storyline, but I like it less than Johns’ and Reis’ other GL work.

Johns does better with Action Comics #864 (pencilled by Joe Prado, inked by Jon Sibal), a bridge between Countdown and Legion of Three Worlds which plays like a standalone murder mystery. Basically, Batman and Lightning Lad (of the “Earth-1 Legion”) clash over the corpses of Karate Kid and Una. Batman also makes the point that he’s met three different versions of the Legion, so naturally he’s not inclined to trust any of them. The mystery isn’t solved — it’s a teaser for the aforementioned LO3W, after all — but the issue is tied together by a Mysterious Narrator revealed on the last page. Suspenseful! (Also, this week, redundant!) The art is okay — a little too chunky, but not to the point of Liefeldism. I can’t get used to a Grunge-like Lightning Lad, though.

Fantasy Picks for the Final Frontier

Filed under: star trek — Tom Bondurant @ 12:09 am
(Sorry for the lack of content. I’ve been sick.)

Good news for fans of Star Trek comics: GTI, which did the Marvel comics-on-DVD discs, is giving Trek the same treatment.

This is a massive amount of books. According to TrekMovie.com, it’s

the original Gold Key series, the Marvel series that was placed around the first motion picture, the two volumes of DC releases through the 1980s, Marvel’s second run, and the Malibu and Wildstorm runs to close out the license before IDW came along.

It touches on every TV series except “Enterprise,” and should include adaptations of every movie except Wrath Of Khan, Insurrection, and Nemesis. It should also include print-exclusive books like the Pike-centric Early Voyages, Marvel’s Starfleet Academy series, and DC/WildStorm’s New Frontier one-shot.

And it got me thinking … as long as we’re doing fantasy-drafts for regular superhero comics, why not for Trek comics? I don’t intend this to be a meme, but I won’t tell you not to jump in.

For the most part these ended up being rather predictable, in the sense that the writer and artist were an established team with a substantial body of work together. I chalk that up to being lazy, but I stand by my picks.

To-wit:

1. Enterprise: Geoff Johns and Steve Rude. Johns I picked for his fascination with continuity; and the Dude because he could make the 22nd Century look great. Why isn’t the Dude drawing the Original Series, you ask? Well…

2. Star Trek (The Original Series): Grant Morrison and Richard Case. I trust the prospect of a Kirk, Spock, and Bones produced by the men who brought you the proto-Vertigo Doom Patrol pretty much writes its own proposal. While there is one condition — a post-Motion Picture setting — that still leaves plenty of room for the strangeness that helped define the show.

3. Star Trek — The Next Generation: Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. I’m still not stretching too far here, but I do think that they’d be a good fit for the crew of the NCC-1701-E. (Let’s leave the TV era behind, OK?) Honestly, I’d read Simone & Scott on quite a few books, regardless of genre; but TNG has the strongest group dynamic of the Trek series, and clearly they do groups well.

4. Star Trek — Deep Space Nine: Greg Rucka and Joe Bennett. I haven’t read any of the post-series “relaunch” books, but I’d love to see what Rucka would do with the crew. DS9 just feels like a Rucka/Brubaker type of show. As for Bennett, Rucka’s most recent Checkmate artist has the clean style which tends to dominate the Trek comics. Thinking about it a little more, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing his old Detective Comics collaborator Shawn Martinbrough tackle the former Terok Nor.

5. Star Trek — Voyager: Chris Claremont and Carlos Pacheco. Ah, now we come to the reason for this post! The one-two Naomi Wildman punches in “Once Upon A Time” and “Infinite Regress” have convinced me that she is a Claremont character if ever Trek had one. Voyager‘s grownup crew is fairly Claremontian too. If Trek had thought balloons, the bridge of NCC-74656 would be crowded with ’em, all internally monologuing about their secret crushes, struggles with becoming human, and angst-filled longings. Claremont already did some of that with the Debt Of Honor graphic novel, but Voyager practically begs for the treatment. Combine that with Carlos Pacheco’s elegant linework (he could make Seven’s dinners look believable) and everybody’s happy.

Any other suggestions?

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