Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman by Dan Abnett

Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder WomanFlashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman by Dan Abnett
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The futility of this book is beyond belief. I came into this with the bare bones of the story, having already seen the movie and I have to say – the movie is infinitely better.

The first four or five stories all focus on how the war in the Flashpoint world came about, then there’s a totally random one about Lois Lane and the resistance and even more random one about a white skull villain called the Outsider.
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Review: Justice League, Vol. 6: Injustice League by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis (Illustrations), Joe Prado (Illustrations)

Justice League, Vol. 6: Injustice LeagueJustice League, Vol. 6: Injustice League by Geoff Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

 

Fuck it.
Not everyone is going to agree with me, but I just loved this!
I’m sure I’m going to look back and find plot holes, or inconsistencies in the ways characters acted during the story. But my initial impression is that I had a great time reading this sucker. I can tell, because I have a giant grin plastered on my face right now. And to me, the most important thing in a comic book is that it makes me smile.

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Ok. So, let me just hit a few of the plot points for Injustice League. I’m going to try my best not to give major spoilers, but I’ve seen people bitch about the weirdest stuff. So if you are one of those weird people? Now is a good time to turn back.
You will be missed. Goodbye!

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You wanna know what I really loved the most?
Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.
A lot of the complaints about DC center around their lack of levity. It’s like everything seems to be set in Gotham these days. Or at least, that’s the feel of a lot of DC’s stuff these past few years.
No jokes, people! Comics are not a laughing matter!
Except, they are. Especially superhero comics. It’s what turned me on to them to start with. You know what making fun of yourself, when you realize you’re more than a little ridiculous, is called?
A sense of humor.
And Justice League has one this time around!
I’m not saying that volume 6 is a laugh-a-minute, but Johns managed to squeeze in some pretty decent one-liners throughout the story.

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Shazam…well, Captain Marvel, but who the hell knows he’s called Captain Marvel, amirite? You say Captain Marvel to anyone, and their mind immediately goes to this:

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Where was I?
Oh, yes. Shazam!
So Billy Batson gets to play a role in this one, thanks to Lex Luthor giving him an invite to the New Watchtower. He’s a kid in a grown-up body, but instead of making him angsty, Johns played it up for comedic effect. Were they all winners? No. But I give him an A for effort.

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By the way, I take back everything I said about Johns hating Wonder Woman in Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin .
She. Is. Badass!

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My only complaint is that I didn’t feel like this one had very much of my favorite guy, Aquaman, in it. He was there, but I don’t think he even spoke. Or if he did, I certainly can’t remember what he said.
Come on, he’s so cool! Give the guy some lines!

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Flash got to play more of a role than usual, and I thought he was showcased pretty well. Sure, his connection to the Speed Force is a big plus, but that isn’t what makes him such a great character.
It’s his humor & heart that make him great.
And, in this title at least, he’s done right.
He uses his super speed to go get ice cream cones for little kids who were in the middle of the Justice League’s battle zone. He makes fun of Batman when he’s too serious. And he’s the guy who’s entrusted with the care of an emotionally damaged woman, who was taken over by the Crime Syndicate’s Power Ring. Cuz he’s sweet. And good with the loonies.

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If the writers of the Flash title would stop fucking with the Speed Force & tossing him through time, they could come up with a pretty incredible comic book for this guy. He’s like Superman in that way. Once you forget the core of what makes him awesome, and just focus on the powers?
It turns into the shittiest reading experience ever.

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WhereTheFuck do you find an awesome cat like that?!
Mine just poops in the box, then hisses at me till I clean her shit up. Whoever said rescue animals were grateful, hasn’t met Selina.
Look at her…plotting against me. Waiting to dirty up her litter box.
Bitch.

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Off track again…
Oh! Ok. I was wrong, the lack of Aquaman wasn’t my only complaint.
Cyborg. Poor, poor Cyborg!
Does anyone else notice that every fucking time he uses his super-special computer brain to hack into something, he ends up getting totally fried?!
EVERY TIME.
They need to stop him the next time he says he’s going to hijack an evil entity’s circuits, intervention style!
Look, Victor, we know you want to help. But, apparently, your programming isn’t All That, buddy. We love you, and just want the best for you. Now…go back to the Watchtower and monitor the shit out of that place.
Or.
He could come through a story without having to go get completely rebuilt & rewired by his dad. Just a suggestion, DC. Just a suggestion…

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You already know from the cover that Lex Luthor becomes a member of the Justice League in this. Unless you’re stupid. And if you are, then you should have heeded my warning at the beginning of this review. So, shut your freak mouth, and sit back down.

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Now how he manages to blackmail worm his way on to the team is a whole different mess of spoilers. And I’m not going into it. However, I will say that I thought it was pretty cool. I mean, why would they ever let him on the team? Well, I thought this gave a convincing reason.
Plus, none of them trust him, so it made for some fun reading.

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Guess who makes an appearance?!
The Doom Patrol!
Yeah, I didn’t really know who they were, either.
But that’s ok! I’m willing to learn. And it looks like they may play a bigger role in some future stories. I’m kind of intrigued to see what’s in store for this team. I’m also hoping they get more mileage out of these guys than they did when they tried to revive the Metal Men.

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Anyway, this was total movie popcorn. If you’re looking for a comic with all of the Meaning Of Life shit, go somewhere else. Justice League is just good fun with capes and tights. Those of you who have loved the previous volumes, will probably enjoy this one as much as I did.

Thank you to NetGalley & DC for a digital copy to review.

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Review: Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns

Aquaman, Vol. 1: The TrenchAquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes!
Aquaman is finally cool.

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Aquaman has been a punchline for years. And why wouldn’t he be?
I mean, he wears a green and orange sparkly outfit and talks to fish!

Instead of trying to do a cosmetic change, Johns addresses the issues that have been plaguing this character for years. In fact, he centers the story around it.
He’s got major power, but everyone thinks he’s a joke. It’s a running theme throughout the entire book. However, somewhere in the middle of it all you stop seeing Aquaman and start seeing Arthur. At that point, he becomes real to the reader.

Raised as a human, and therefore originally rejected by Atlanteans, Arthur is stuck between two different worlds. And neither one really wants him.
Unlike DC’s Namor, Arthur wants to help the surface world. Land is just as much his home as the sea…maybe more so.
Unfortunately, no one takes him seriously. Even beat cops ridicule his efforts to help.
That doesn’t stop him from saving their asses, but it does give you a glimpse into what a thankless job he has been doing.

Which brings us to Mera.
Psst. Don’t call her Aquawoman.
Unlike Arthur, she isn’t one to grin and bear it.
No. She’s more of a Break-Your-Ass-In-Half kinda girl. Sure, she tones it down for Arthur’s sake, but her killer instinct is right there…lurking close to the surface.
And it’s a beautiful thing when she lets it out.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this one may end up being required reading some day. It rivals Morrison’s excellent re-imagining of Clark Kent in Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel. In other words, if you only get around to trying a few of DC’s new titles, make sure The Trench is on your list.

Unless, of course, you just rabidly hate Geoff Johns for no apparent reason.
Mike, I’m talking to you….

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Review: Secret Origins Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

Secret Origins Vol. 1 (The New 52)Secret Origins Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The only reason to read any of these Secret Origin stories, is if your are somehow unfamiliar with the characters.
Not only are the origins not Secret, they aren’t very interesting.
Somehow, I thought that because they were coming out with this Origin volume, I was going to learn something new, or maybe there might be a fresh twist on things.
Nope.
I’ll save you some time.
If you already read comic books, you’ve heard these stories before.
And, honestly, there are better versions of them out there.
Starfire and Harley Quinn were the only ones that haven’t been done to death.
Does that make them great?
No.
But at least I wasn’t rolling my eyes through either of them.
Superman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman were the only characters with stories that felt like the authors even tried to bring some kind of emotion to the table. I’m not saying they were AWESOME. I’m just saying it felt like they tried.
Green Arrow/Oliver Queen is just more we-like-the-tv-show crap, but if you’re into that, it won’t piss you off.
Batman, Batwoman, and Damien’s origins were all unbelievably regurgitated. Nothing was new.
NOTHING.
Red Robin (Drake), Robin (Grayson), and Supergirl, however, rounded out the bottom of the barrel.
I hated all of these guys by the time their issues were done.
Remember when Batman tracked Dick Grayson down and begged him to be his partner?
Yeah, me neither.
And evidently Tim Drake was super excited to partner up with Batman after he caused his poor parents to end up in witness protection.
Mom? Dad? I know I ruined your lives, but Brucey is gonna adopt me now, so…Laters! Enjoy looking over your shoulders for the rest of your (probably very short) lives!
Really? Drake comes off like a total douche. Normally, I like his character quite a bit, so…Thanks!
Supergirl.
*sigh*
One minute she’s fighting a Kryptonian dinosaur, and the next she’s (maybe) starting a war with North Korea over some of their astronauts that she saved.
Yeah. I know that nothing in that sentence made sense.

This isn’t awful, it’s just unnecessary.
It might make a nice gift for people who are just getting into DC characters, but I wouldn’t personally be thrilled to find this under my Christmas tree.

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Review: Justice League, vol 1; Origin by Geoff Johns

Justice League, Vol. 1: OriginJustice League, Vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahhhhhh, it was soooo good!
Well, except.
But I’ll get to that later. For right now, let’s just focus on the good. And there was plenty of good.
Most of the characters seem like an improved-on version of themselves.
Superman was probably the best in that regard. Finally you see what he should have been like all along. Very cool.

Batman was super-cool. Then again, he always was. I think you have to actively try in order to turn him into a douche.
Example: All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Vol. 1
*It can be done, folks. It just takes a special person to do it.*

Aquaman was the biggest surprise for me. Wow! I wanna read more about that guy! He popped outta the water and just stole the show from there on out. Seriously. Couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

Hal Jordan was not what I was expecting, but his interactions with Bruce provided quite a bit of comic relief.

The Flash. He was…The Flash.
He’s never been my favorite, and I doubt that’s going to change any time soon. Still, he wasn’t annoying. I can live with it.

Cyborg? How awesome is it that they stuck Cyborg in there?
Let me tell you.
Very
. I wouldn’t have thought it would have worked, but it did.

Ok. So you put all these guys together, add some great dialogue by Johns, and some incredible artwork by Lee…
Ta-da! Perfection! 5 stars!

Oh. Wait. I’m forgetting someone, aren’t I?
Ah, yes. Wonder Woman.
And here comes the above mentioned Except.

She was so stupid that I wanted to cry. Cry! As in, big fat tears rolling down my face. What the hell were they thinking?! Not only is she still clad in The World’s Most Recognizable One-Piece, but she also evidently has the mental capacity of a child!

Hm. Ice cream is wonderful.
Steve! Have you ever had ice cream? You must try it. This cook is truly blessed.
Steve, this place, you home is filled with so many wonderful things. Ice cream and rock and roll and…many wonderful things.

And…

Greetings warriors. I followed these things from your capital city. I saw you and saw you needed help.

Ok. Maybe that last one wouldn’t have sounded so bad, but everyone else was so…not using stilted dialogue.

Sooooo. Yeah. Wonder Woman is retarded.
I don’t get it. Maybe Geoff Johns had his heart broken by a chick who liked to dress up like the Amazon princess?
Sure, I’m reaching here, but why else would he hate her so much? And he must. There is no way he accidentally made her sound so…Gah!

Jim Lee did a great job making her look incredible (while she spouted nonsense), but in the end…
sigh
I knocked a star off for making the only girl look like an idiot.
Boo! Shame on you, Johns!

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Review: Superman: Red Son, by Mark Millar

Superman: Red Son (New Edition)Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, so I recalled reading this, but I think I got it confused with Last Son of Krypton…because there’s no WAY I wouldn’t have gushed about how awesome this book is.

Superman: Red So(u)n (You’ll get it.) is, quite possibly, Mark Millar’s finest work.

This book is so full of little teasers and links to the original DCU that it’s like a Where’s Waldo game to find them all…I only read once, and I saw a few that were AWESOME.

I could literally gush about this non-stop. It was one of those few books you read the panels over and over again just because it’s so F’n awesome. It’s also one where you cover the next page with your hand because you don’t want to get ahead of things at all, you want to inhabit this story in real time.

Millar has also done the impossible, and made a major character even better than I thought possible. (hint: I’m not talking about the main character.) Millar has taken the essence of what makes each character we encounter important, and twisted it around just enough to remain interesting, while still, importantly enough, remaining true to each character’s roots.

I don’t want to give away too much, because reading this without any spoilers or clues other than the title and the obvious fact that Superman was going to be a Soviet Comrade instead of an American Citizen.

If I was to sum up in words how much I loved this book…I think it would be:

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To the Power of

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Oh…then there’s the ending. Mind. Blown. BOOM.

I was so jazzed I said out loud “Holy S**t!” My wife came in to ask me what was wrong…then she saw the comic book, and started crying for some reason…anyhow. YAY! COMIC BOOK AWESOME!

So so so so sooo good. I might not be able to be friends with you if you don’t really enjoy this.

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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???

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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…

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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.

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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???

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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.)

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Review: Aquaman, Vol. 4: Death of a King by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier (Illustrations)

Aquaman, Vol. 4: Death of a King

 

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Return of the AquaBeard!
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Ok. Let’s just get the Aquaman is Lame jokes out of the way right up front, shall we? I mean, there’s a wealth of them, and it would be a damn shame to let them go to waste.


Who really “found” Nemo?

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An Idiot’s Guide to Capturing Aquaman.

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Mermaid Man? Is that you?!

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Career counseling session.

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Poor Aquaman…these jokes make him sad.
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*There may be some spoilery stuff below*

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