Sunday, January 27, 2013

EXTRA! EXTRA! (JAN 23-29, 2013)

Green Lantern Corps #16
(Tomasi, Pasarin)

Green Lantern Corps #0 back in September introduced Guy Gardner's family, a plot element that's continued throughout "Rise of the Third Army" as Guy's illustrious rank in the Corps is stripped and he's forced to go back to Earth, disgraced and powerless. Peter J. Tomasi has done a great job fleshing out Guy's downward spiral that comes to a head this month in Green Lantern Corps #16 as the Third Army goes after Guy. With guest stars B'dg and Simon Baz from the pages of Green Lantern, Tomasi is building up to next week's explosive finale of "Rise of the Third Army" that will lead into "Wrath of the First Lantern", an event that promises to change the cosmic landscape of the DCnU.

GRADE: 8/10

Red Hood and The Outlaws #16
(Lobdell, Green II, Faucher)

While definitely on the 'not terribly relevant' end of the spectrum for "Death of the Family" tie-ins, Red Hood and The Outlaws #16 does provide an interesting crossover between the title and the Teen Titans who join Arsenal and Starfire in searching for their respective Red-titled leaders. This issue is about setting up the future of Red Hood and The Outlaws by touching on Roy Harper's surprising past with Killer Croc, a look at the mysterious Dr. Hugo Strange, as well as an epilogue about Deathstroke pointing toward some re-envisioned classic Titans/Deathstroke action! Of all the titles he's writing for DC, Scott Lobdell's work on this series is the best: it's relatable and meaningful, it's not saturated with internal monologue, and the characters feel like real people instead of an idea of what people should sound like. Even though the Joker is hardly a focus of this chapter in "Death of the Family", the tie-in label is still valid because Joker's actions have caused a lot more consequences than even the Clown Prince of Crime could have anticipated.

GRADE: 8/10

Supergirl #16
(Johnson, Asrar)

While I was a big fan of Supergirl since it started, I've found myself liking it less and less every month, starting with the departure of series co-writer Michael Green II, then with the "H'el on Earth" tie-in issues that feel so forced I almost want to just stop reading the book until all this Kryptonian stuff is sorted out. Supergirl #16 continues the odd trend of reworking Kara's unique personality; instead of being the bold, independent thinker she'd been for 13 issues thus far, Kara's become a slack-jawed servant to the whims of H'el, a guy who couldn't look more evil and despicable if he tried. Homesickness can go a long way in influencing actions, but it's hard to balance Kara's total support of H'el's obviously insane machinations against her previous, well-adjusted self. I'm hoping we'll get the Kara we all know and love back after the conclusion of "H'el on Earth."

GRADE: 7/10

Uncanny X-Force #1
(Humphries, Garney, Miki)

With a title that requires this series to somewhat live up to the spectacle of it's predecessor, Sam Humphries and Ron Garney's Uncanny X-Force is about a new era for some of Marvel's leading ladies, as well as Puck, the mystical dwarf from Canada. But I digress because UXF (v2) is actually very fun and entertaining -- Storm and Psylocke are working together to find and stop classic X-Men villain Spiral from peddling her hive-mind hallucinogenics to club scene ravers. So far, there's not a lot to explain exactly why all these characters will eventually join forces (including Fantomex offshoot Cluster), but that's not the point of this first issue: it's to show how Betsy Braddock -- the only remaining member of the previous X-Force team unless you kind of count Cluster -- hasn't moved on from what happened with that team and how those lingering emotions are making her life unlivable. This volume of Uncanny X-Force has the potential to be one of the coolest 'Marvel NOW!' series going forward, but it's going to take a voice of it's own that's not drowned out by other female-centric books like the non-adjectived X-Men or even Fearless Defenders.

GRADE: 7.5/10

1 comment:

  1. There is H'el sequel crossover planned later this year according to a recent Lobdell interview between the Superman, Action, Superboy and Supergirl somewhere between the 20-24 issues. Lobdell says it will take around 18 months to truly and totally tell the overall story of the H'el on Earth event and its effect in the Super Family titles.

    I get the feeling another H'el crossover event even if H'el is out of the picture is going to seriously hurt the Supergirl series in sales