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Friday, May 13, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews: Superman #711; Flashpoint # 1


Time for another comic book review and this time its two issues from DC Comics featuring their first ever "Flash-centric" event  that they have been hyping over the past few weeks, and the continuation of J Michael Straczynski's "Grounded" arc, now on its 9th season.

Before you click ok the jumpie link down there, let me note that the titles are rated by the number of stars I give them, with 5 stars being the highest. That means if a title gets a rare 5 stars, then that should be really m'effin good! 

Click on the jump for all of my reviews.



Superman #711
Story by J Michael Straczynski
Written by Chris Roberson 
Art by Eddy Barrows
Colors by J.P Meyer
Published by DC Comics


The Superman “Grounded” saga continues in this Part Nine of the Big Blue Boy Scout's “walk” all over America ., but this time, we get a little bit of a segway from the main plotline – as Big Blue tries to solve a big electrical problem  in Metropolis – in the form of suddenly crazy and erratic Livewire.


Though Robertson tries his best to offer some good ‘ol action scenes and make Superman look good by using a hostage-crisis as his plot device, the villain doesn’t offer that much challenge that Livewire just looked like a short “warm-up” for the indestructible hero. And much to my dismay, the fiasco ends because of an old-school “Benjamin Franklin” special from Jimmy, together with the return of a familiar blue-suit that many fans have loathed for so many years, and with Superman turning into  the “clich√©- master” once again. 

The only positive side of this is, we don’t get the guilt-tripping Superman that I’m totally pissed about since this arc started. At the very least, he actually gets to do something her: saving off people, flying… and not walking.


Can’t complain much on the art which is actually the best thing this series has to offer.  It is clean, very well done and Meyer’s colors go side by side beautifully with the Eddy Barrows ‘ cinematic style illustrations and lay-outs. Hopefully these two hang on longer to this series because they’re doing a very good job on giving me something to appreciate and look forward to every month.


But here’s what I’m guessing the whole gist is about: this side-story was mainly done in order to insert Robertson’s and DC’s answer to the whole Action Comics #900 fiasco. Remember that big “issue” over the “Superman renouncing his US Citizenship” short story by David Goyer? Well, Superman has something to sayin the last page that should clear up the air once and for all... or maybe not (click image on the right).




Rating:  








Flashpoint #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Andy Kubert
Published by DC Comics

And now we have the much-awaited Flash-centered event from the DC universe: Flashpoint.   

Geoff Johns is the one doing the penning for this one, so normally, I expected to get a very good issue to be honest (he's one of my favorite writers)... but to be brutally honest as well, Flashpoint # 1 didn't live up to expectations and all the hype courtesy of "the House that Kal-El Built".
Barry Allen (The Flash) wakes up to do his every duties as the hero of his city, but much to his surprise, he finds there is "something very much wrong" in his surroundings... and realizes that the present world is altered! His mom is alive, his wife Iris is ...no longer his wife, and  that nobody knows the Justice League, Superman or even The Flash! It seems that Barry is the only one who is aware of the weirdness of the situation and he prompts him to find the one person that could probably provide him answers: The Batman. 

As much as Johns' tried his best make me feel that what I'm reading is actually set in an alternate reality, it doesn't stick well to my senses and it was confusing from the get-go. Things just started to get a little bit clear when the issue went away from Barry Allen and focused on the second plot of the story in which Cyborg tells a red-eyed Batman that a superhero war between the forces Wonder Woman and Aquaman is about to destroy the world, and that he has to join and his "team" to stop the impending apocalypse.  A couple of new characters are seen as well in this part that clearly sends the message that you are looking at a totally different reality.
I applaud the idea of reinventing the characters from the current DC continuity, changing their looks a little bit, and giving them upgraded abilities to distinguish them from their main continuity counterparts. Like Cyborg for one, is depicted here as more technically advanced as shown by his ability to create holograms, while Batman has a different insignia on his chest and at the same time sports demon-like glowing eyeballs. Andy Kubert's art effects that a lot and his style justified the alternate reality spin that Johns' is trying to generate. The final full page-spread confrontation between Barry Allen and Batman is a very good example of that too. I went "fucking shit!?" after his "true identity" was unveiled on that one. 

Flashpoint's debut is not too bad, but not good either. Questions are left hanging and the I was left with very few answers at the finish, but hopefully the next 4 issues would aim to enlighten on what this event is all about, without forcing me to buy tons of other tie-ins which is usually a standard for major events/crossovers.

Rating: 


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