Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What in the world is this story?

On paper, I agree it seems like a great idea…Darkseid vs another evil titan and this conflict taking place on Earth.

But the reality was more like…
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Superman, Vol. 6: The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns

Superman, Vol. 6: The Men of TomorrowSuperman, Vol. 6: The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Say what you want about Geoff Johns, but he definitely knows how to pump new life into iconic characters.
This was FANTASTIC!

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The biggest downer was the art, but I may be the only person who isn’t in love with John Romita Jr’s stuff. It’s not horrible, but I miss Kenneth Rocafort. Sorry, I just think his stuff is pretty to look at, and while JRJ is a beloved illustrator, I’m just not into him.

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Other than that, there’s simply nothing wrong with this volume, though.
Ok, you know how I constantly bitch about crossovers & events hijacking every single title out there? Yeah. Well, it doesn’t happen here! This is literally one cohesive story!
What the what?! I didn’t even know they did that anymore?!

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This next bit might be a mild spoiler, but I don’t think so, because it happens on the first few pages, and is alluded to in the blurb.
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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: Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank (Illustrator)

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 (Batman Earth One, #2)Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

It’s been a few years since the first volume of Batman: Earth One came out, so I was pretty excited when I saw this sucker. Finally!

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For those of you who don’t know, Earth One titles are re-imaginings of DC characters that do not take place in regular continuity. In other words, this is not our Batman. It’s just a neat way for writers to take iconic characters and their origin stories, and put a different spin on things.
Sometimes the stories are very cool…sometimes they suck.
My opinion? This one was awesome!
It’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading it.

The main villain for volume two is the Riddler.
He’s riddling away while blowing up various locations. Not the best re-imagining I’ve ever seen, but Johns does a decent job with the storyline.

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Killer Croc was briefly introduced, as well. His story is pretty different considering he’s just a misunderstood guy with a skin condition.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Waylon portrayed as decent, but usually he’s just more of a bad guy with a heart, not a blameless victim.
Without spoiling the story, I’ll just say that the ending surprised me…
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Two-Face’s origin has been completely re-vamped.
Harvey & Jessica Dent are twins. Since their childhood, Harvey has always hated Bruce Wayne because of his family’s ties with Arkham (Bruce’s mother was an Arkham). He believes that insanity runs in Wayne’s blood. The fact that Bruce and Jessica were something of an item when they were younger probably exacerbated his feelings. Flash forward to the present: Harvey is the District Attorney, and Jessica is now the mayor of Gotham City. When the Riddler starts mucking things up, she goes to her old friend Bruce for help in rebuilding the people’s faith in the city. Harvey still doesn’t like Bruce, but he defers to her wishes…
Spoilery shit goes very wrong.
And you see the beginnings of Two-Face start to emerge.
This was the best twist that I’ve seen in one of these Earth One titles, so far.

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On a side note, Catwoman makes a cool cameo, but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling where she shows up, or what she does.

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Batman is still struggling to figure out how to be Batman, and he doesn’t quite have all the cool moves down yet. But he’s getting there.
And he’s a hell of a lot better at it than he was in the first volume…

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Alfred, Gordon, Bullock…they’re all different from our guys, but I’m totally on board with the way they’re being re-written. I really love that Bullock was the incorruptible cop when this started out!

If you’re not open to What If stories, then cross this off your list, but if you usually like that sort of thing, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
Also, I love this title, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t take another 3 years for the next volume to come out!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me 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: Green Lantern Vol. 3 – The End. by Geoff Johns

Green Lantern, Vol. 3: The EndGreen Lantern, Vol. 3: The End by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m pleased to say, this is a bounce back for Papa Johns after the turd dumping that was Trinity War.

He’s had a hard-on for GL forever; and here, he’s able to close the chapter on a very respectable run for the Emerald Knights.

When last we left our hero, he (and on again GL/Nemesis Sinestro) were killed by Black Hand. We know that Black Hand killing doesn’t quite work, and Hal’s been dead before, so would they go back that way? Who knows, but we do see Hal and Sinestro stuck in the Black/Afterworld with a GL from the past.

Meanwhile, Sinestro’s Construct/Shared ring with Hal, goes for Simon Baz, a Muslim-American living in Deerborn, Michigan (my Great Uncle lived there too, lovely little place lol). There’s some well-meaning but heavy handed “we’re all good people” bit, a sort of Johns apologism for American foreign policy, torture, racism etc…OK moving on.

Simon gets guided by Squirrel/Chipmunk Lantern, who’s very entertaining, and is his Yoda. He ends up going on a quest (shockingly) with very little backup and training. It also turns out that he’s more powerful with his emotional lack of fear than some of the great ones!

This being the end of it, of course John and Guy show up, and I don’t mind them at all, but they don’t have a huge part to play (That would be the GL Corps books). Also, Kyle shows up with his rainbow brigade…ugh.

But this is Hal’s book. Hal’s the hero, he makes some gigantic sacrifices and leaps of faith to save the universe. The best part? Sinestro ends up making different sacrifices for different reasons, but when we see the end result, Sinestro is about as close to heroic as he will ever be.

So it’s a nice finish up, and everyone lives happily ever after…except the bad guys…and the people that die.

The Coda/Epilogue follows what happens to each of the lanterns, looking back many years later, and we see Guy, John, Kyle, and Hal, and what they ended up moving on to, all doing well.

However, for me, the best part of the whole thing was the relationship between Hal and Sinestro. They got to a point where they understand each other, won’t ever agree about the means, but agree to the same ends, and each makes a personal sacrifice to try and reach those ends. Hal is a hero, the greatest GL of them all, but Sinestro, I feel like his actions were even more heroic given the context, and the aftermath.

So, a very enjoyable, sentimental journery. Johns is forgiven here, because you know it’s his baby. It’s a good enough job, it stands out, the universe mumbo-jumbo cosmic shit is minimized, and the fact that it focuses on relationships and people instead of that helps a lot.

Well done.

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Review: Justice League – Trinity War – by Geoff Johns and some other morons.

Justice League: Trinity WarJustice League: Trinity War by Geoff Johns
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ugh.

You know when you go to Denny’s, and you feel guilty when you walk in, but you go sit down anyhow? Even though the last few times you’ve eaten there, it wasn’t all that good? Then you say, I’m just going to get a Coke…but you look at the menu, and end up ordering something that looks good on the menu picture?
However, when it shows up, you’re thinking uh-oh…this is a bad idea; but your brain tells you “You’ve already come this far, you idiot; might as well eat”.
Then you eat it, and there’s a few tasty bites, but mostly not? Then you finish, just because, your mom told you kids are starving in Africa, so you don’t want to feel guilty.
You pay the bill, and before you’re even out the door, your stomach hurts and you feel bloated and nauseous, and you’re thinking “Why the fuck did I ever come back here?”

That’s this book.

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The worst part is? I know I’m going to fuckin’ eat at Geoff Johns’ Denny’s again. I honestly don’t want to discuss this colossal negative meh anymore.

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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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