Review: Aquaman Vol. 4 Death of a King, by Geoff Johns

Aquaman, Vol. 4: Death of a KingAquaman, Vol. 4: Death of a King by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This brings Geoff Johns run on yet another Justice League member’s solo series to a close. (Although you could argue that Johns did kinda force Aquaman into the JL series so hard that Vol 3. of JL and Aquaman were pretty much the exact same reading order and books.)

There’s all kindsa shit goin’ down here…we’re finally getting a chance to meet the people of Atlantis and get a feel for where everyone sits. This is murky. Literally, in the colours of the deep (which look great) and the spectrum of greys of personalities between “Good” and “Evil”. Everyone has motivations, and there’s no one who comes across as a complete villain, even though some do villainous things. Johns actually took the time to think this out before doing it.

Am I really complimenting Geoff Johns in the year 2014???

description

Yup. This is a very good book. I enjoyed it quite a bit. We met some new characters, including some more antagonists for Arthur, I’m sure some of whom will be back again. The introduction of the First King/Dead King is very interesting, the original ruler of the 7 seas, who Arthur is descended from…maybe…but there’s a logical problem here that Johns made, and I have to point it out: (view spoiler)

That was probably the stupidest thing for me.

We have a new villain: The Scavenger, who goes along the seabed recovering things and making weapons/arming his minions. He has his sights on Atlantis and on Arthur.

We have more information revealing who Mera is, where she’s from, and her backstory…it’s actually pretty cool: (view spoiler) we also meet someone from her past, who has loyalties and motivations of his own.

Throw into that, 3 Atlanteans loyal to Orm, who wish to break him out of Belle Reve, and we’ve got all kinds of things to think about and storylines to tie in together and weave. Let’s not forget Vulko, who’s still around after the events of Vol. 3 and his culpability there.

Have I left anyone out?

I would have ended this TPB with Death of a King Part 5, as it was a helluva cliffhanger. We even saw the return of the Aqua-beard!!! Even if only for a short time.

The story wraps itself up neatly, mostly because this is Johns’ swansong, and he’s pretty much in charge of DC enough to do what he wants. However, there’s a crucial introduction of 2 of the characters to each other in the afterward of the book, which sets up a fantastic idea for Vol. 5, if it’s done right.

Also check out excellent reviews by Anne and Mike for other fine insights into this very solid volume.

All in all, Mr. Johns…

description

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2: Volume 1

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2, Vol. 1Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2, Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Damn Tom, three in a row. Tom Taylor’s Injustice: Gods Among Us title gets it’s hat trick with this, the third volume in the series. Never woulda thought a series based on a video game set in an alternate reality could be better than the DC universe’s “actual” reality (the New 52). Now that I think about it, comparing it to most of the New 52 isn’t saying much, but shit is this GOOD. I’m actually wishing this was the New 52, but DC doesn’t have the balls for that. After the first collection I remember thinking “no way Taylor can keep this up past the first volume”. Ate those words. And now he continues to write the series that’s neck and neck with Snyder’s Batman competing for my favorite ongoing DC title. Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2: Volume 1 is really that good.

description
Continue reading

Review: Aquaman Vol. 3 Throne of Atlantis – by Geoff Johns

Aquaman, Vol. 3: Throne of AtlantisAquaman, Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, so this is unprecedented…Geoff Johns has been involved in a storyline I’ve enjoyed for 3 volumes in a row…oh, and it’s AQUAMAN.

description

The only drawback is that this volume includes some Justice League issues that I’ve already read and apparently didn’t enjoy. So Ya, somehow that Origin issue of Aquaman was much more enjoyable, Arthur accepts who he is, meets Vulko (who’s OBVIOUSLY drawn in a way that gives away plenty…..) and returns to Atlantis.

The JL stuff was still kinda dumb, the reserves being called in was cool, but seriously, ELEMENT WOMAN??? VIXEN??? Hawkman and Firestorm, sure, Black Canary and Lightning, OK, even Zatana, but those 2???

description

Issue #14 of Aquaman is missing from Vol. 3 of Justice League, and it’s actually a pretty crucial piece of the puzzle, and probably the other reason I like this version of the story than the JL version. Here Arthur and Orm have an actual conversation like adults, and Orm comes across as perfectly reasonable and actually having some love/respect for his half-brother. When you put it into the context of the whole story of Atlantis attacking Earth, it adds more to the story and the shades of grey that everyone lives in.

Here’s a strength; everyone IS a shade of Grey. There’s no absolutes. As much as Arthur shouldn’t be attacking JL members, the JL members seem pretty dense about things (other than Batman, who’s just his usual self, but actually gives Arthur more leeway than I’ve seen him give anyone).

#14 also has a great section with Black Manta in Belle Reve Prison and his interactions with Amanda Waller. His actions here do more to build him up as a pretty badass mofo. When he tells Waller what he does (view spoiler) it only makes him a much stronger character in my mind.

When you add the events of 14 to the whole story, it makes it flow much better, gives a depth of understanding to characters, and adds borderline levels of Greek Tragedy to the relationship between Orm and Arthur. The JL Vol. 3 collection omits this issue, so we lose out on that whole part, which I actually feel is crucial to the feel/emotion/shades of grey.

Oh and to echo Anne’s thoughts…Mera IS a badass. She for sure deserves her own miniseries or at least a spot on Birds of Prey (they could call it Fighting Fish and crosspromote with Namor!).

So even though the difference between Vol. 3 of Aquaman and Vol. 3 of JL is but 2-3 issues change, it makes a WORLD of difference…I’d up my review to 3.5 stars.

Looking forward to Vol. 4 (I’ve already read it, so I’ll put my thoughts up now.)

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Suicide Squad: Discipline and Punish

Suicide Squad, Vol. 4: Discipline and PunishSuicide Squad, Vol. 4: Discipline and Punish by Ales Kot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Suicide Squad, Vol. 4: Discipline and Punish is the only volume of the New 52 Suicide Squad I’ve been willing to roll the dice on for two reasons. One, my home girl Anne seems to have really enjoyed it. And two, because Ales Kot is so stinkin’ fresh. His offbeat style continues to charm the hell outta me.

description
Continue reading

Review: Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller (Text), Bill Sienkiewicz (Illustrator)

Elektra: AssassinElektra: Assassin by Frank Miller

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

 

 

This was a big steaming pile of buttjuice.

I get what Miller was trying to do.
It’s a glimpse into the crazy assassin’s head…
Enter If You DAAAAARE!

What. Ever.
If your main character isn’t going to have even ONE lucid thought, then you need to create some sort of reliable narrator to help the reader wade through her delusional thought process.
Someone who knows fact from fantasy. Instead, we are given a skeevy S.H.I.E.L.D agent whose mind is under Elektra’s control.
And I’m still not sure how the fuck she managed to do that?! But I decided to roll with the psychic ninja shit, because I know very little about Elektra.
Which is why I was reading this in the first place…for all the good it did me.

The first few chapters are nothing more than psychotic ramblings from inside Elektra’s mind.
*I see men with lights…
The lion is old and sick…
I drive away in a truck, my hands coated in blood…
The cat rides with me…
I laugh…

The fuck?!
Except I guess she’s not really there in the jungle anymore. She’s locked up in some facility. Sort of. ‘Cause she gets locked up more than once. But you’re not sure where the hell she is, or even when the hell she is most of the time.
She’s so whacked out of her mind that nothing makes any sense.

Ok. Fine. At least we can figure out what’s going on from Garrett (aka the grody agent), right?
Yeah. No.
He’s just as freakin’ crazy as she is!
Most of the time he makes even less sense than Elektra does.
*Crazy bitch…too many muscles..
Gonna kill her..
Oooh, baby…
I need her…
Oh, baby, no…
Oh, baby, yes…

He’s a fucktard with bad hair. Really bad hair. Swear to God, it takes on a life of it’s own by the end of the book.
*shudder*

And the villain? The Beast!
Wanna know how he gets people to jump on his antichrist bandwagon?
Wait for it…wait for it…
He makes them drink sour milk.
That’s right. Milk.
Also, Elektra and Garrett can tell when he possesses someone.
Because they have mad psychic ninja skills?
Not hardly. Evidently, the devil smells like rotten mayo.
And thou shalt know the Beast by his scent! And the Beast shall smell like rancid Hellman’s!

If you loved this. Bully for you! For me it was like trying to watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall…sober. And, yeah. I did that shit on a dare when I was younger. Guess what? Unless you’re baked, it’s just a really stupid-looking cartoon.
And this is the literary equivalent of that.

*Those are not quotes, just examples. I’m not opening that book up again. Ever.

View all my reviews

Review: Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek

Superman: Secret IdentitySuperman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Secret Identity


Introduction:

Now, I have just recently gotten into the “Superman” comics, starting with Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and after enjoying that comic, I decided to check out more “Superman” comics! So, I finally managed to stumbled upon a “Superman” comic that my friends have strongly recommended to me and it was called “Superman: Secret Identity,” which was written by Kurt Busiek along with artwork by Stuart Immonen and I have to tell you that this is clearly one of the best modern “Superman” comics I have ever read!


What is this story about?

Imagine living in a world that is more real than anything you read about in the comics and that you have the same name as one of the world’s most iconic superheroes. Well, that is certainly the case here with Clark Kent, who unfortunately was named after the real Superman and is often teased at school about whether or not he has powers like Superman. One day however, Clark discovers that he has super powers like the real Superman and he will soon find out about the advantages and disadvantages of having powers that will go on throughout his entire life!


What I loved about this story:

Kurt Busiek’s writing: Since this is the first time I had ever read a comic book written by Kurt Busiek, I was amazed at how beautiful and emotional the writing in this story is. I loved the way that Kurt Busiek explored Clark Kent’s personal problems with being compared to Superman due to his name being similar to the real Superman and the kids at school making fun of him because of it. I was also amazed at the way that Kurt Busiek detailed the story from Clark Kent’s high school years to his adult years as we not only get to see one of the most natural story progressions for a character, but we also get to see how Clark starts discovering his powers and starts using them to protect people as he gets older. What I really loved about this comic book is that the story is kind of set in an alternative universe (well, a universe inspired by Superboy of Earth Prime) and I loved the way that Kurt Busiek gave us a universe where Superman seems to only exist in comic books and that the main character, Clark Kent, is just a regular boy who lives in Kansas who somehow develops super powers and the fact that he tries to find out how he got his powers is one of the driving forces of the story. This is story is sort of like “Kick-Ass” where the main character lives in a realistic world (except in this case, there is no blood or gore to make the story edgy). I really loved Clark Kent’s relationship with Lois Chaudhari (who also got a lot of flack for having the same name as Lois Lane) as it felt so natural and it is obvious that they clearly care for each other and they try to do what is best for each other.

Stuart Immonen’s artwork: Probably the best part of this comic book was Stuart Immonen’s artwork as it was truly gorgeous and realistic to look at! I loved the way that Stuart Immonen made the landscape and the characters look so realistic, especially of the buildings looking like they came straight out of a photograph (which is a good thing in this case)! I also loved the way that the characters’ expressions were drawn as they look truly effective and realistic to the point where I actually felt so much emotion for the characters whenever they are sad or angry.

Secret Identity


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language in a comic book, this comic book does have some language, even though it is not as strong as something like Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” series.


*~A Little Rant~*

Okay, this is just a little rant I have on the state of relationships in superhero comics due to what I read in this comic. If this graphic novel pretty much detailed a relationship between a couple (Clark Kent and Lois) in an extremely positive and natural way, then why do they barely do that with other superhero comic books? I am not saying that there are no good relationships in superhero comics (trust me, I have seen plenty of great relationships), it is just that I keep seeing good relationships getting broken up for no apparent reason other than for the sake of drama and it is starting to get on my nerves. I just wish that there were more positive relationships like Clark and Lois’s in this graphic novel where they do not break up for illogical reasons or they just live happily together with understandings between them.


*~Rant Over~*


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Superman: Secret Identity” is easily one of the greatest modern “Superman” stories ever created and one of the greatest alternative universe stories I had ever read, next to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns! If you are a huge “Superman” fan, this graphic novel is definitely worth reading!

My Rating?

5 pows

View all my reviews

Review: Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Batman: The Killing JokeBatman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OH…MY…GOD…

description

I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes. But after reading “Batman: The Killing Joke” and how the Joker was portrayed in this book, the Joker has officially become one of the most VILE, TWISTED, DARK and most DISTURBING villain I have ever come face to face with…AND I LOVED IT! Being brilliantly written by Alan Moore and being masterfully illustrated by Brian Bolland, “Batman: The Killing Joke” has remained to be one of the greatest and most disturbing “Batman” stories to ever be created!


What is the story?

When it turns out that the Joker, one of Batman’s greatest foes, breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Batman must stop this evil doer at all costs. Unfortunately, the Joker then comes after Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara and performs some of the most vile and disturbing acts in his villainous career (starts by shooting Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her and then twisting Commissioner Gordon’s mind to make him crazy) and Batman must stop the Joker before it is too late. Also, we are introduced to the back story of the Joker and how he became the villain he is known as today.


What I loved about this comic:

Alan Moore’s writing: WOW! I mean, I thought that I have read some of the best Batman stories around (“Batman: Year One” for starters), but I think that “Batman: The Killing Joke” has nearly beaten some of the best “Batman” stories I had read! I had read some of Alan Moore’s works (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), but I can easily say that this graphic novel is easily one of his best works! I loved the way that Alan Moore made this story extremely disturbing and dark and I was actually cringing during the scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured, which proved how demented the Joker really is. I also loved the way that Alan Moore portrayed the relationship between Batman and the Joker since it is rare that I see a hero and a villain have a sort of understandable relationship seeing as how they both had lost people dear to them, but viewed life in a different life. I enjoyed the psychological message that Alan Moore was presenting in this story as the Joker sees life as being a huge awful joke (meaning that life is miserable) while Batman is truly trying to see the reality of the situations in life. I really enjoyed seeing the back story of the Joker as we learn what he was like before he became the villain he is known today and that really added so much depth to the story and to the character of the Joker. The ending of this story was truly terrifying yet amazing to see at the same time (I will not spoil it for you, but let us just say it is the confrontation between Batman and the Joker).

Brian Bolland’s artwork: Brian Bolland had done a truly amazing job at providing the artwork of this story as all the characters look truly realistic and colorful. I loved the attention in details that Brian Bolland gives to the characters’ facial expressions, especially the Joker as he is seen smiling dementedly, which makes him a truly menacing character to look at. My favorite artwork in this graphic novel was of the images of the rain drops making small circles in the ground, as they look truly beautiful and yet give this story a truly ominous feel as these images appear at the beginning of the book towards the end of the book.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

The only issue with this graphic novel that some readers would have problems with is the fact that the story is extremely dark and disturbing for your average “Batman” story. For one thing, there is a scene where Barbara Gordon is shot and then tortured which would disturb many readers (it definitely disturbed me a bit). Also, as in many “Batman” stories, the atmosphere of this story is extremely dark and brooding and that might be a bit uncomfortable for many readers who are not used to reading dark stories to handle.


Final Thoughts:

So what is my final verdict on this story? “Batman: The Killing Joke” is easily one of the most disturbing yet most amazing stories I have ever read and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this story to “Batman” fans everywhere who love a good dark and intelligent story about the follies of life.

My Rating?

5 pows

View all my reviews