Archive for February, 2012

Animal Man #3

February 7, 2012

(SPECIAL NOTE: I forgot to post this back in November, so here it is, presented as it would have been back then.)

As we enter the third issue on all of the New 52’s in November, this is really the week that will make or break some titles. I have a handful of titles that I am really excited to read every month, at the top of that list is Animal Man. Does the third issue deliver? Most definitely.

I will say that this was the first issue that really exposed a weakness to me. As Animal Man and “Animal Girl” enter the Red, we are briefly introduced to the main plot of this arc. Unfortunately, it all felt a little rushed and glossed over. It seemed Lemire was trying to forget/re-write Animal Man’s origin without really showing it to us*. I don’t mind re-writing his origin, but I wish this one part was handled a little better and not crammed into a panel or two.

*I read an interview with Lemire about this “new origin” which is quite justified, but still, I think the execution was a bit rushed. Read the full interview here.

Despite that slight problem, the rest of the book is left unscathed, with the writing and art still top-notch. Foreman’s really given full creative freedom here, with liquid flesh and muscles and bones and teeth spanning panels and pages, they are as horrifying as they are beautiful. Beyond Animal Man, I would love to see him get into more horror titles, and really lay off the reigns and go full-bore into weird wacky stuff that he is so adept at.

The focus of this issue is on two parties; Animal Man and his daughter Maxine in the Red, and Ellen and Cliff in the real world. Both story lines keep things interesting and exciting. Ellen and Cliff’s little side quest leaves them alone and trying to survive an encounter with one of the Hunter’s Three, showing that Ellen doesn’t rely on Buddy to save her all of the time. In the Red, we really get a sense of how little Animal Man is aware of his powers and his place within the larger picture, and how much he has left to learn. There is a much higher purpose here that elevates everything in the book. Animal Man is shaping up to be a big player in the DCU.

I continue my claim that this title is setting the bar for all of the New 52, and despite a few missteps, this issue certainly maintains it’s position as a must-buy.

Rating: 9/10

Justice League DARK (Issues 1-5)

February 7, 2012

What’s up, wordpress? This is your boy Keith Carmack, a vet/usual blogspot poster of terrible movies. My slacker-in-disguise friend Tyler asked me (all the way back in November) if I would be interested in reviewing some comic books that he and I were getting into and I said “oh fuck yeah dude!”. 3 months later my enthusiasm to “write” about the things I am reading went from “who gives a shit?” to “I should really write this down if for anything to keep track of what’s going on in this bullshit world of the new 52 comics from the DCU” and here we are. I apologize to Tyler first and foremost for ruining his really efficient and streamlined blog on my rambling, curse words, poor grammar, and run on sentences. Oh and my awful opinions on cool shit.

JL:DARK #1:

I don’t know who these weird characters are. Ty made me buy this because of the cover art by an artist I’ve never really heard of (comic book fan or clueless schlub?) and so my fate was sealed. The title of this Peter Milligan penned book is misleading to me having just finished issue 5 because there is really no justice sussed out nor are they a proper league of super heroes. I’ll give them this much, the legit Justice League do show up in this inaugural issue only to be laid to waste by a witch and never heard of/referenced again in the coming issues. Also is Batman banging this racktacular Zatanna girl? Why are they hanging out? I’m already getting off track here. Basically Madame Xanadu (who?) is reading tarot cards and peeking around in this magic filled world where the future can be seen and she sees nasty stuff that could be avoided if she just meddles in it. At the epicenter of this maelstrom of shit is a witch (sans hat and broom) who goes by the name “The Enchantress” who is…in a tiny envelope on the floor…of an old house in the middle of nowhere? Ok. I guess. At this Evil Dead house, Supes, Wonder Woman and Cyborg (the varsity squad if you will) try to give The Enchantress the boot but of course get their asses handed to them as they are fucking with magic and they are superheroes with no knowledge of the dark arts. This is basically the nerdiest of the new 52 titles as it contains both super abilities and fucking magic, so dumb. Even writing this I’m cringing and in fear of being stuffed in a fucking locker. Anyway Madame Xanadu who is also a stacked headband clad palm reader decides she should assemble a crew of freaks to try and prevent this terrible future she’s foreseen. A seemingly non-power/magic possessing chick named June Moon (no idea) shows up randomly and causes society to deconstruct in a plague of confusion and shit.  Turns out she is the attractive and cute side of The Enchantress who wanders aimlessly into Deadman’s apartment where he is having a tough time with his girlfriend as he has possessed the body of a frat boy to try and bang her. Weird. Wild. Stuff. Deadman sets his sights on June Moon because he wants to hook up and it’s a scooby-doo esque mystery he must solve. I dunno. John Constantine gets a page devoted to him and he’s hands down the most throw away character of the series he does basically nothing, which is a shame because he’s arguably the coolest character of the bunch. Um a guy in a magical trenchcoat/”meta-vest” or something (yep) named Shade does some crap but it’s not important. He ends up going to Xanadu’s place and is all like “what is up? the dark arts and the black masses are acting weird, you summoned me?” cliffhanger splash page and we are off to…

JL:DARK #2: The Enchantress’ reach spreads from hicksville to major cities now as Zatanna strolls into a weird bug infested jungle in the middle of a street and the witch starts speaking to her from a car radio. Sigh. Jesus, reading the issue was one thing, recapping it makes it sound so dumb. Anyway Zatanna peaced out on Bats and is on her own now to figure out or stumble haphazardly into the events that unfold in this issue. She puts herself into a protective trance like coma. Deadman blows it hard with his babely white haired boo and she peaces on him HARD leaving him with a dazed and confused (read: easy) June Moon. Mistake. At the cliffhanger Xanadu is left saying the words “I will give you names of the others. Destroy them all, witch” and you’re all like “whoa is Xanadu evil? is she saying to the witch to kill our would be heroes?” this cliffhanger and subsequent question are never answered again. It’s dumb. Maybe they’ll come back to it in the next arc but I highly doubt it.

(the team of idiots)

JL:DARK #3: The brilliantly drawn cover by Ryan Sook offers up a collage of images of Zatanna doing a huge jump on a motorcycle (lol), Constantine throwing a ball of fire and Deadman about to throw a huge punch! Make no mistake, readers, NONE OF THIS COMES CLOSE TO HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. Okay the witch is now out and about in her 100% pure evil mega-gross form, she apparently wants her 100% babely innocent cute side (June Moon incarnate) back, make sense? No? Good. Constantine wakes up Zatanna from her self inflicted coma as he is the only who knows how to snap her out of it since they have history together (noice) and they do a meditation thing together in their pj’s and you see Zatanna in her bra for a panel and it’s rad. Anyway they barely share panel time together and he’s off like a stone cold pimp. Meanwhile back in Deadman land he and Moon are kicking it in his living room getting cozy and talking pure nonsense when Shade summons a portal to the living room and it freaks her out she leaps off a building thinking it’s the witch who has found out her whereabouts. Why fucking Shade can’t just like text Deadman or call him or send him an e-mail or something is beyond me. He, instead, non-verbally communicates to Deadman “yo D, hop through this portal I know we don’t know each other and this light show might freak you out but we need to talk” hey go figure Boston Brand (Deadman) doesn’t jump through he instead jumps into the body of Moon just before she is going to plummet to her death and saves her. Also rape vibes. Shade freaks out and is bummed Boston didn’t fall for his stupid teleport thing, goes to a bar where Constantine is watching him and they don’t do anything together. Great “teamwork” here for this league of…oh nevermind. Shade is told by Xanadu to recruit a real menace a loose cannon named Jay Young AKA “Mindwarp”. I dunno it’s fucking stupid. Mindwarp ain’t home, he’s in Sydney doing god knows what. Shade ports to him and is like “yo dude, we got some dark arts that need tending to”, Mindwarp could give a fucking steaming pile of shit. Deadman and Moon are driving around the countryside now (?) where they run into (literally) the witch and she’s super pissed and oh no she’s finally found June Moon cliffhanger/splash page!

JL:DARK #4: Oooooooookay, let’s wrap this fucker up, Milligan. Deadman literally rips the witch apart from the inside out and is all “Sike, it’s not even the witch it’s a shell” thus rendering the previous issue’s cliffhanger a big ol fart. Constantine then goes to Deadman’s ex’s place and eats beans from a can, one of my least favorite cliches of all time nobody fucking eats beans out of a can, and broods and says some scary shit to her and is like “wherever that June Moon goes death is sure to follow, she’s no bueno” blah blah blah he’s on his way out. If you’re keeping track John is fucking all over the place, he’s at this apartment, he’s at a bar watching Shade from the…shadows, he’s in London falling from the sky. Motherfucker has no legit super powers he’s just catching SouthWest flights like all the time? I don’t get it. Through narration Xanadu tells us that the witch has basically driven people all over the globe crazy stupid stuff happens all over the place her witch grip tightens with every passing blah blah blah hurry the fuck up dark justice league. Zatanna shows up in hicksville where the almighty white envelope holding The Enchantress is and she gets her ass kicked. Why did she go alone? Why the FUCK is the witch hanging out in a furniture-less room in a tiny pocket sized envelope? GAH! Zatanna mind teleports (handy) into Shade’s arms, they’ve never met…it’s taken them 4 issues to meet. John slaps Madame in the face for being spooky and sketchy I dunno it’s never resolved. Boston and June are in a hotel room now and he’s like “hey lets try this light show portal thing of Shade’s real quick” they jump through it and she is left there as the Witch approaches and Deadman is now hanging with Shade and Zatanna and he’s pissed about it. Ultimate cock block move.

JL:DARK #5: Constantine having used his frequent flyer miles is now with June Moon and he’s like “yo, there is a witch tornado of death surrounding us hop in this pentagram I drew on the floor and we’ll be safe, bet you’re glad I showed up out of nowhere and did this.” Shade, Zatanna, Xanadu and Deadman bicker then go to hicksville real quick to fight the witch where she throws every trick in the book at em, it looks hopeless until out of fucking nowhere that Mindwarp guy shows up and doesn’t do fucking anything at all, John is over there casting a fucking spell (I shit you not) which basically melds Moon and The Enchantress into one docile little green riding hooded chick and that’s it. The 6 hang out at the ol’ palm reading shop say mean things to each other and then part ways never to work again together. The last panel is Xanadu looking at another tarot card her face in horror and “NEXT: THE ROAD TO HELL”.

(good god man)

Jesus, if you read all of that I’m truly sorry. So there you have it. Absurd right? My final review of JLDARK 1-5? Good not great. Characters I’m wholly unfamiliar with barely interacting in any manner that could loosely be described as a team let alone a league. Fucking none of them like each other, and they only all get together in issue 5. It’s a decent read, it’s much more wordy than many of the other new 52 titles I’ve read but it’s also very convoluted and very confusing.  It’s an unclear story of whys and how comes for me. What happened to Superman and Co. in issue 1? Why did the Madame say that cryptic shit at the end of that one issue? Why can’t anyone communicate with each other? The Mikel Janin art is very, very cool (though most of the time I am left wishing that cover artist Ryan Sook was doing the interiors oh well) and lends itself to the dark subject matter very well. Will I read more? I guess so. The addition of Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Essex County Trilogy, Animal Man, etc) coming on as writer has saved this title for me. Thing I liked most about the book? Zatanna in her bra.

6/10