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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews (05.21.2011) - Power Girl #24 and Alpha Flight (v4) 0.1

Got a chance to read two superhero comic books today featuring one of my second favorite Kryptonian (next to Superman) and the return of Marvel Comics' premiere Canadian superteam. Both books we're really good so I decided to write a review for them. 

You know the drill:  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! 

Now that we got that out of the way, go and read all my reviews after the cut.

Power Girl #24
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Hendry Prasetya
Cover by Sami Basri and Sunny Gho
Colors by Jessica Kholinne
Pubslihed by DC Comics 

First thing I noticed is the fact that Sami Basri’s art is completely missing in this issue. After delivering 10 consecutive issues of solid artwork, I was very disappointed that Sami was out for this one. Hope he gets back soon.

Hendry Prasetya fills-in for the starter here, and his art does not stand out as well as the latter. But he does have some good sense of narrative in his illustrations and even tries to be faithful to Basri’s templates and artistic sensibilities. I love the way he handled PeeGee, Batman and everybody else, though his inconsistencies in drawing Peej face every panel is a little bit of a turn off. Kholinne's beautiful toned-down coloring compensates for the not so good stuff though and therefore made the overall art work.

When Batman cameos in your series,
you know you're in for superstardom.
I really like Winnick’s continued commitment to making the character a force to be reckoned with in the DCU -  not only as a superpowered Kryptonian – but also as a complete professional who stands for her beliefs and knows what she doing in the business side. Karen Starr becomes more of a powerful business mogul here, able to stand on her own in the tough corporate world as she continues to expand Starrware by venturing into other fields, aside from developing eco-friendly devices.

Bruce Wayne/Batman also makes a cameo here in a supporting role, giving Kara some helpful advice on how to handle her fast growing empire. Who knows more running a billion dollar company during the  day while “ridding the world of all evil” night in and night out, than Bruce Wayne himself? Exploring these unique character relationships are the ones that makes this series really good, and if this book continues to elevate Kara’s alter-ego by making everything revolve around her, then Power Girl could be no doubt become DC’s greatest heroines in the forefront.  No longer a second fiddle to Superman or to any hero for that matter.

But that’s not the only thing that is tackled in this issue. The “villain” – if I could call him that – in the name of Reyhan Mazin, an innocent American-Arab metahuman who gets the unfortunate taste of racial stereotyping is one interesting subplot that could possibly move this story to new heights. Winnick covers this topic very effectively (and cautiously, mind you) by making Mazin very easy to sympathize with subjects of “injustice and racism” playing in the background.

Still a very good solid issue here for “Power Girl” despite Basri’s absence. The title continues to deliver very engaging storylines while making Kara Zor-L a lot more interesting than ever. “Power Girl” is one of those books that I do follow every month since its inception, and I have no plans of leaving this series at all at this point. It’s that good.


Alpha Flight 0.1
Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Art by Ben Oliver and Dan Green
Colors by Frank Martin
Published by DC Comics

I have no idea what Alpha Flight is until I started reading volume 1 of The New Avengers a couple of weeks ago. They are Canada’s premiere super-team and Marvel is bringing them back with this special point-one issue.

With no idea about the character backgrounds at all, I was surprised on how Pak was able to make this a very easy and entertaining read for me despite my complete ignorance. New readers should be able to grasp the story pretty quick without having to read their Marvel wiki pages one by one, and that's always a plus for the writer. 

Canada's superhero team returns.
What I really like about this issue is how action packed it is right from the get-go. The team looks really good together against an adamantium-armored guy who’s trying to disrupt Canada’s elections. Alpha Flight works cohesively and strikes with complete badasserry, with Sasquatch’s first blow a memorable one for me. Paks’ dialog is very seamless and he handles each guy on the roster so well that nobody gets ignored.

Oliver’s art is a big eye-catcher as I am a sucker for realistic illustrations of superheroes with thin, clean lines. The colors just make it even better as it gives off that “canvas painting” effect on the inked pencils. Very well done. And for some reason, the overall artistic approach reminded me of this 1940s Superman Kellogs ad made by an unknown artist.

Only problem is that Pak wasn’t able to provide an explanation on how a former Alpha Flight member suddenly became a foe in this issue, but I guess that’s for the succeeding issues to answer.

Alpha Flight 0.1 succeeds in many areas and with lots of questions waiting to be answered by the last pages concerning the purple-pheromone villain Persuasion; it looks like Marvel’s Canadian team is poised for a good take off.  But since they are not as popular as the other teams from “the House that Stan and Jack Built”, I’m thinking of AF getting shelved right away – that is, if it doesn’t get that much attention and the much needed support from its fans. 


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