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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews (06.23.2011) - Wolverine #11 | Power Girl #25 | Superman #712

I'ma skip the daily news first and give some of my thoughts for comic books I read a couple of hours ago.

Wolverine continues his bloody battle against the Red Right Hand, and my beloved PeeGee teams up with the godddamn Batman against a weather-controlling metahuman, and finally, the Grounded storyline takes a one issue hiatus (mainly because DC decided to scrap the original storyline that features a Muslim superhero in LA), giving way for Kurt Busiek's "lost" Krypto tale, circa 2007 (a.k.a the events after Infinite Crisis).

All my reviews after the cut.

Wolverine #11
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Renato Guedes
Published by  Marvel Comics

Our favorite Weapon X continues his fight to the "death" against the mysterious Red Right Hand and their henchman of the week, while the rest of the cult looks on behind their monitors, hoping to see Wolverine die.

This scenario has been going on for like 2 issues already, but for some reason, Jason Aaron manages to make this an engaging, 30-plus page read by doing some good character development through flashbacks in between the fight scenes.

Just like the previous installments, Aaron weaves another flashback story from one of the cult's female members, showing Wolverine and this issue's guest star - Victor Creed a.k.a Sabretooth - inflicting a great amount of pain and suffering on this person's life and family eons ago. With this, Aaron was able clearly explain as to why these cult members have a big beef towards the clawed mutant, while making them easy to sympathize at the same time.

And not only Aaron created a nice story, he also sold it convincingly, making the Red Right Hand both a legitimate threat with every damn reason in the fucking world to put Wolverine through the worst hell possible, and a bunch poor people just trying to get some justice for all wrongs done to them by their common enemy - something that we humans could relate to.

I really love Renato Guedes' art on this issue, it is fluid and full of dynamic, finding a balance of violence & brutality in the action scenes and serenity & drama in the flashbacks. His art is near-perfect for this installment, and he doesn't waste the pages and panels given to him, maximizing every single scene by putting Aaron's story and words to their highest magnitude. I would love him to continue drawing this series. 

If there was one flaw I would point out just for the sake of pointing it out, that would be the fact that Aaron used another so-so opponent for the near-immortal Wolverine. It was easy to predict who was going to win that "fight", so Aaron has to pick up a more challenging foe next time, and finally shake things up in a massive scale as well, because having a villain-and -flashback story will eventually run its course.


Power Girl #25
Written by Judd Winnick
Art by Hendry Prasetya
Cover by Sami Basri
Published by DC Comics

Part 2 of the "We Are Heroes" arc continues as PeeGee and Batman (the original, goddammit) tries to prevent a weather catastrophe waiting to happen as the wrongfully convicted Reyhan Mazin still hasn't got what he wants: see his dying father at the hospital.

Its a textbook story of racism, prejudice and bigotry especially among immigrants especially the Qurabic ones, and Judd Winick takes that real-life concept and handles it well, staying as neutral as possible and not being judgmental or preachy as evidenced by his writing. A flashback showing a young Reyhan being taught by his dad about doing good and proving yourself in this unfair world is a simple but heartfelt scene from Winick that sets up the whole lighthearted course of this issue.

Seeing Peegee and Batman together saving the day is something I was pretty giddy about  because they have this certain chemistry that you don't usually see with other superhero team ups.They look good together both in their panels where they talk especially in the last pages, though some of their lines there are kind of corny and a little bit out of place, especially Batman - who is painfully relegated to being a tranquilizing guy in a black cape and cowl.

But still, Winick's laid-back storytelling is still as good as it gets, and he truly understands that the light-heartedness of this comic book is what makes it so appealing. People could just read PG knowing that they could grab a cup of coffee and have a fucking good time.

I still don't like Prasetya's drawings and I'm craving for Basri to come back (though I know that's not gonna happen anymore because of the DC Reboot), but he does some good adjustments, emphasizing his characters more by sacrificing a bit of background.

He also put in more emotion to his panels, and his one shining moment comes in the scene where Rayzan finally gets to see his father in his last moments. That's a pretty damn powerful page by Prasetya that evokes both triumph and tragedy. Nailed it. 

Reviewing this is actually depressing for me ,because I know the end of this wonderful series is going to come in 2 months time and PeeGee is gone once more after that. But  I am also excited for I know that Winick will definitely deliver a great ending story for Power Girl before she heads off to the sunset. Gotta make the most out of it.


Superman #712
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Rick Leonardi & Jon Sibal
Published by DC Comics

For those of you who were saying "what the fuck is this? Krypto?" upon getting this comic book in the stands, don't be surprised. It's not a typo nor a publishing error.

It was really intended to be like that. Why? Because Chris Roberson's supposed script for this issue concerns Superman meeting a Muslim superhero named Sharif in LA. Yes, and DC scrapped it in the last minute sparking another controversy. More on that from Comics Alliance.

So here we are with a lost Krypto story circa 2007  that deals with the events after Infinite Crisis in a time where Conner Kent (Superboy) died and Clark Kent (Superman) was no where to be found. And for an unpublished story that many thought would never surface - this Krypto-centric melodrama is downright wonderful in every facet. Damn right you heard me, its even better than all the Grounded storylines combined, and one of the best comic book issues I have read this whole month.

The story follows the loyal alien-dog Krypto wandering around aimlessly - looking at the sky, at birds and planes (see what Busiek did there?)  - hoping to see his master(s) somewhere. Busiek couples Krypto's moping around with the dog's good ol' memories of Superboy and Superman, flashing back and forth between the past and that then-present day. 

This formula creates a lot of powerful scenes where you just can't help but feel sorry for Krypto and give him a hug, because you know that his beloved masters are not coming back (at least at that point),while seeing the poor dog looking and waiting for them every place possible, including the far reaches of space (specifically the asteroid belt). The whole story somehow reminded me of "Hachiko" (the one starring Richard Gere), which had the same theme of ultimate loyalty, with a disheartening / tragic aura.

Leonardi and Sibal are instrumental in making this comic book a successful one. Their relaxed and calm illustrations truly reflected the overall tone and feel of the story, even with the rare use of thought-balloons.
All throughout of the comic, Krypto is just shown doing this thing but every panel tells its own painful story - especially the heartbreaking last panel and the scene where Krypto howls as loud as he can when he found Superboy's spilled blood in the Arctic. They are  remarkable, which speaks to the two artists' abilities.Those two panels would surely haunt me for a long time.

Bad stuff? Yes, it doesn't escape this issue. Leonardi may have been to relaxed on some pages - namely those with Superboy and Nightwing which looked like real ugly and sketchy - like it was drawn by a kindergarten. But because the good art totally outweighs the bad, those faults don't really have much of an effect overall.

So with all of that said, I think I can forgive DC for shelving the original story because at least we get a more than satisfying story of a lonely dog trying to come in terms with the death of one of his masters/friends, which we all could relate too.
It took four years, but its finally published in its full form, and I'm really glad that I have read it before the reboot happened. So kudos to Busiek, Leonardi and Sibal for a job well done for creating a one of a kind story that stood the test of time.

And finally, if there's another thing that this issue told us, its this:  even long lost stories could be published...eventually. So there's a chance  that we will also see the Sharif-Superman tale later. Who knows?


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