Review: Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Guess what, Chicken Butt?
I finally like Earth One’s Superman!
Maybe it’s because I’m finding most of the New 52 Superman stuff to be tragically bad by comparison, but this really didn’t suck.

Earth One’s Clark is much more confrontational and outspoken, which is what I prefer. He’s a nice guy, but nobody is going to push him around.

Zod. Zod, Zod, Zod…
Ugh. He’s my least favorite villain in Superman’s rogues gallery, but even his appearance in this one didn’t kill it for me. His origin is a bit different, but he’s the same villain underneath it all.
Kill Superman! Take over Earth!

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This one also solidifies the origin of this Earth’s Lex Luthor, but the less I say about that, the better. Cool twist, though!

Clark and Lois call an uneasy truce in the newsroom, and Lois becomes Superman’s full time adviser for How To Not Freak Out The Puny Humans.
I gotta say, I’m not digging the lame Bat-signal rip-off…
Dear sweet baby Jesbus,
Please let this dumbass signal fade into obscurity.

Lois, you do realize that you can just yell really loud to get his attention, right?
You know, ’cause…super-hearing?

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Then there’s his friend and neighbor, Lisa. She’s a struggling actress and (used to be) part-time hooker. Looks like they might finally be taking things to the next level. But there’s still the ongoing question of whether or not Clark can actually do the deed with Earth women.
I’ll admit it.
I’m more curious about that than anything else going on in this title.
Pathetic, I know.

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Anyway, I had fun reading this volume 3, and (for the first time) I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Review: Superman: For Tomorrow Absolute Edition

Absolute Superman: For TomorrowAbsolute Superman: For Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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Picked up this Absolute Edition on clearance (because size matters) and now I know why it’s on clearance.

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I’m with you Anne . Just didn’t flow. It had elements that could have worked. Superman, Lois vanishing, the phantom zone, a surprise villain (who I will be spoiling by the end of the review by the way), a sneaky secret agent, and guest appearances by the Justice League. But the book never came together for me. All that fluffing with no money shot. And I love Azzarello. His last run on Wonder Woman was the shit and I even liked his Joker and Luthor more than most probably did. But he lost me on this one.
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Review: Superman: Red Son

Superman: Red SonSuperman: Red Son by Mark Millar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Mark Millar’s got the alternate reality/universe/elseworlds thing down. Between Superman: Red Son, Ultimate X-Men, and Old Man Logan, he has penned some bomb-ass shit. He’s got some haters out there. He certainly isn’t the most sensitive dude. But boy can he write some fun stuff. Anybody that can get me to sit through a Superman book has some talent. Sorry, not a lot of love for the boy in blue.

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Well in Red Son he’s actually the boy in grey. In this twist of fate story, Kal El crashes in Russia instead of Kansas and is raised under Stalin’s communist regime. Cool idea. Some similarities remain. He grows up in a farming community, he initially is just interested in helping his people, and he ultimately falls into the service of his nation’s government. I read some complaints that Supes was not different or “evil” enough. I like that Millar just doesn’t do the communist = bad thing here. Superman is still basically a good guy that wants to do the right thing. Making him evil or “bad” might sorta imply that all people in Russia were malevolent Stalinists. And I’m pretty sure that was not the case. He does evolve in this universe a little differently than he did in traditional DC continuity. So does Lex. One thing remains the same though. Even though Luthor can balance the budget and cure cancer, he still hasn’t been able to improve on hair club for men. You’d think he would put 5 or 10 fuckin’ minutes into that one, right?!?

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A ton of cool references in this one and a bunch of familiar faces show up including Lois, Perry, Jimmy, and of course, Lex. There are some familiar, yet different, versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, and a couple of other surprise Leaguers that also make appearances. I really dug this “Anarchy in black” version of the caped crusader. Even the hat. Princess Diana was initially a little bit too much of a lovesick school girl for me, but managed to come around by the end. Overall I really enjoyed Millar’s take on these classic heroes.

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Dave Johnson does a terrific job on the artwork with this book. Known mostly for his covers (100 Bullets, The Punisher, and some Batman stuff), I really enjoyed seeing him put in some work on this book. His style has always appealed to me and I wish he would do more interior stuff. Sorta reminded me a little of Eduardo Risso.

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Anyone that enjoys alternate reality or “Elseworlds” stories like Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Dark Knight Returns, Old Man Logan, or Kingdom Come would probably get a kick outta this one. If you’re a Millar fan and you haven’t read this, your missing out.

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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 – Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, thanks to NetGalley for an ARC! It took forever for me to FINALLY get approved by one of the majors!

Luckily, I’d already read the first 2 volumes, so I wasn’t going in blind.

In this story, we find out that a certain Kryptonian isn’t the last survivor…there’s another, and he’s seeking out Kal.

The real basis for the story is still a combo of Clark growing as a human, and Superman being looked at with mistrust and suspicion by the militaries and governments of the world.

Lex Luthor, who appeared at the end of volume 2, appears again here, though in a somewhat different mindset than you might be used to. He also doesn’t appear alone…

Lois 100% steals an idea from Jim Gordon, and wisely, Superman points out how bad an idea it is in addition to being what she thinks is a good one.

However, when the second Kryptonian arrives, he disarms Kal with kindness, while convincing the global powers that perhaps Kal isn’t all he claims to be…this is some good villainous duplicity.

The art is strong, just as it was in the first two volumes, though a new artist has taken over, the style remains similar, and still very enjoyable.

When everyone turns their back on Superman, he is tested beyond his abilities, and it will be from two very unlikely sources that he draws strength and support. One of them for sure was a welcome twist in the Superman mythos for sure, and the other was a fitting way to move an important subplot forward in a very agreeable way.

Without any spoilers, I’ll just say that there’s new twists on old favourites and parts of the Superman Origin/Story, and for the most part, I find they work very well. That being said, other than the one reversal of character, there’s not much majorly different here from the regular Superman, though I do enjoy this one.

Straczynski has written another solid volume to this series, but it’s not quite as WOW as the other two were…however, it’s stil a good Superman story that really emphasizes his young nature striving to embrace and learn even more from humanity. This Superman (and Clark) are both growing in leaps and bounds, and I do look forward to seeing where this will go from here.

Thanks again to NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy (digital).


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Review: Supergirl, Vol. 4: Out of the Past by Michael Alan Nelson & Scott Lobdell

Supergirl, Vol. 4: Out of the PastSupergirl, Vol. 4: Out of the Past by Michael Alan Nelson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

Pink Taco Buddy Read with my fellow Shallow Readers!
Criteria for this one? Anything with a female lead.

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The problem with this volume isn’t the actual Supergirl issues. They’re ok.
Not great, just ok.
Supergirl has Kryptonite poisoning from her run in with H’el, so she takes off into space to ‘die alone’…or something. She runs into a planet that can become any other planet, and it needs her memories to become Krypton…because that’s the purpose of the planet.
But.
Not all is as it seems!
Duh.
Cyborg Superman is the one behind luring Kara to this place, and he has nefarious plans, yadda, yadda, yadda. To be honest, it didn’t make much of an impression on me one way or another. There’s a BIG REVEAL at the end, but since it has to do with all that ‘Let’s revive even more fucking people from Krypton‘ bullshit, that I’m not a super-duper fan of, I didn’t care as much as maybe I should have.
Still, it seems like there may be forward movement in Kara’s maturity level, and I consider that a good thing.
Inch by precious inch…

It was the need to add in all the confusing time travel shit that really killed this one for me. You’re basically dumped into an entirely unexplained storyline with Kara, Superman, and Superboy that somehow involves going back in time to stop H’el from wreaking havoc.
Except didn’t they just finish stopping H’el?
M’kay.
H’el is somehow pinging around the timeline, including alternate timelines, trying to save Krypton.
Wait for it…
So that he can then DESTROY Krypton!
What the actual fuck is going on here?!
I don’t’ even know when or where this story is taking place in all of these titles. I just finished Superman: Psi War which is volume 4 of that one, and there was no mention of any timey-wimey stuff in there.
You know what would help?
If these ‘crossover’ events would kinda-sorta match up with the corresponding volumes. Like, say for example, if I were to read something in Supergirl volume 4 that had to do with an event happening with Superman, the missing information could then be (I’m just spit-balling here) found in Superman volume 4.
Are they trying to get people to purchase more comics than necessary to finish out stories like this?
Oh, DC, you wily beast!

Only recommended for Super-fans of Supergirl.

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Review: Superman, Vol. 4: Psi War by Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort (Illustrations), Aaron Kuder (Illustrations)

Superman, Vol. 4: Psi WarSuperman, Vol. 4: Psi War by Scott Lobdell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Warning: There may be spoilers in this review!
*snort*
As if anyone actually reads this title anymore…

I am so shocked that I didn’t hate this! Just, well, shocked!
Now, maybe I’m rating this higher than it deserves because it vastly exceeded my expectations for a Superman title lately, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt.

So what went right for me this time around?
Well, for starters, my biggest complaint with the recent direction of the Superman comics had been the way they were stressing the importance of his Kryptonian family, while Ma and Pa Kent were collecting worms six feet under.
This isn’t Detective Comics, you know?
Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent’s secret identity is Superman. Do you see the difference?
This time around, I saw more Clark than I have in a while.

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Another bonus for me was Kenneth Rocafort’s artwork. I absolutely love the way he draws Superman! My only complaint was that he didn’t draw every issue, but I’ll take what I can get.
I’d like all my comic book fangirl friends (the ones who keep telling me that I’m crazy for putting Supes on my Book Boyfriend list) to take a look at this please…
Yes, that means you, Kat!

*ahem*
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It’s also worth it to see Diana and Lois meet for the first time at Ms. Lane’s housewarming party.

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And even though I’ve been enjoying the whole Power Couple thing, I know that underneath it all, there’s only one woman for Clark. Unfortunately, poor Kent is stuck firmly in the friend zone.
Which makes Lois’ (and everyone else’s) reaction to Wonder Woman even better.

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Ok, this volume isn’t without its problems, and I guess now is as good a time as any to discuss them.
First, it seems to be kind of long and meandering. I mean, it all ties up in the end, but it takes a while to get there.
As the title suggests, this is all about psionic battles, and everyone knows that Superman is nearly invincible to everything except magic and mental attacks.
Well, hey! The good news is, there are plenty of bad guys in Superman’s rogue gallery to choose from. The bad news is, they couldn’t seem to pick just one.
Hector Hammond, the H.I.V.E. Queen, Pysycho Pirate *smothers laughter*, and even Brainiac (kind of) shows up in this thing.
Brainiac doesn’t technically fight, but he was the one who got the ball rolling, so to speak.
At any rate, it made the story seems to drag on and on.
Superman beats the bad guy, only to find another one waiting in the wings. He fights that one, and by the time they’re done, the first villain has recovered enough to start causing problems again.
I did like how Lobdell used the narrator, though. Nice touch!
Turning Lois into this, however, was not a nice touch:

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No, she doesn’t stay that way. And, yes, I like that she isn’t being portrayed as the Damsel in Distress.
But come on! Turning her into a superhero so she could ‘save’ Superman didn’t sit right with me.
*sniff, sniff* Something smells like pandering…
Lois can be smart, tough, and capable without powers. Don’t go there, authors!
Think: Batman! Hawkeye! Iron Man! Huntress! Black Widow! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Punisher!
It can be done, so do it.

So, I disliked the villains somewhat, and felt like the plot could have been streamlined a bit.
However, I enjoyed Rocafort’s incredible art, and thought that Lobdell was actually bringing the characters back to where they need to be for fans to fall in love with them again.
Not perfection, but way better than my low expectations were anticipating!

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Review: Kingdom Come – by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Kingdom ComeKingdom Come by Mark Waid
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is just about as bad a book as DK2.

There is a Power Girl Boob joke at the end, almost as if Waid read this and realized it had not a single moment of levity.

This is dark and right wing reactionary garbage. It’s scary because it doesn’t seem far off. Everything new or different or changed is bad. Also everyone in the justice league except batman and flash just abandon everyone.

Throw in the weird religious blunt hammering over the head…just NOT my cup of tea.

I’ve now read 2 horrid books in a row…both from Warner Bros…hmmm…

Sam hit all the nails on his review. Mark Waid, what the fuck? You have obviously grown. Thank god. Just move to Marvel…look what happens.

This just feels like every other stupid dark reactionary DC book of the last 30 years…Alex Ross art just seems like an excuse for the writer to just take a turd on the pages, and hope no one reads it. Honestly, Ross’ art isn’t amazing anymore. It’s the same every time, and just seems tired. It also seems like this is Justice all over again.

I’m sure Alan Moore and Frank Miller would love it.

Please, do NOT read this. You’d be better served poking yourself in the brain with a rusty spoon.

The cover was green..but I won’t drag my beloved Green Theme Week into this…


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Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game Over by Greg Pak, Brett Booth (Illustrator), Jae Lee (Illustrator)

Batman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game OverBatman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game Over by Greg Pak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was weird.
The first two (or three?) issues are sideways.

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I found it sort of off-putting because it’s an awkward way to hold a hardcover comic book. I mean, it’s not like it’s all that difficult to turn something to the side, but it got on my nerves after a few issues.
Or maybe I’m just a big whiner-baby?
Anyway, the gist is that Toymaker accidentally invents the World’s Deadliest Virtual Reality game.
I enjoyed the banter between the boys, but the story itself was just ok.

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In a (sorta) continuation of the gamer story, Batgirl, Supergirl, Red Hood, Krypto, and John Steel show up and help our guys kick some alien butt.
Again, it was an ok story. There were a few memorable moments between Barbara and Steel that made me laugh, and I enjoyed seeing Jason Todd show up and kick a little ass.

Next up was a crossover with the World’s Finest aka Power Girl and Huntress. In the last volume I’d read, PG was having some problems controlling her powers, and this seems to be a continuation of that storyline.
They also throw in a character from Earth 2, Vol. 4: The Dark Age. You don’t strictly need to read those to understand what’s going on…but it wouldn’t hurt.

The art is distracting, because Jae Lee isn’t the artist for the whole volume. His art sort of pops up in the middle and slaps you around a bit, disappears, comes back for one more kick in the junk, and then leaves.
If you’ve seen Lee’s stuff, you know it doesn’t play well with others.
He should have either drawn the whole thing..or nothing. I know that sounds awful, but it gave the book a really odd feel. One minute you’re looking at normal characters, and the next you’re eyeballing stuff from fairyland.
And, again, I have mixed feeling on how well like his stuff for a superhero comic.

There are stunning moments like this one:
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And then stuff like this:
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The fuck is that?!
Is he smiling?
Is the yellow alien planning to hug them to death?
I mean, it looks like he’s found his Happy Place to me!
And then there’s that oddly placed plane, that makes it look like he just farted out a jet.
Nothing about that panel looks like it belongs in a comic book. Nothing.

I like the Batman/Superman stuff, so I hope they don’t give up on this title. I’d just like to see something more cohesive and maybe more…fun?

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