Image © DC Comics
John Stewart, Guy Gardner and company still don’t know where they are, but have a better idea of when, and it’s the very distant past, before the beginning of our universe. Like Hal Jordan, they’ve encountered Relic, but this is a much younger Relic still in his own universe before it was destroyed and replaced with ours. This Relic is smaller and less grumpy, interested in learning from the Lanterns about their energy powers. Other forces are not so benign.
I’m enjoying this series so far, but hoping it doesn’t get dragged into a rehash of the Relic material we’ve already read. The art by Saiz is great, and kudos to writer Cullen Bunn for getting the word “amongst” into print in a DC Comic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to change it to “among” at DC’s request in books I’ve lettered.
Image © Mike Mignola
The “Hell on Earth” story line has gone on quite a long time now, this is the tenth trade paperback. Some of the momentum has gone, but the “everyday life goes on, or tries to, during Hell” approach works well in general. This time we begin back at B.P.R.D. headquarters in Colorado, where an artifact from an archived case brings an old evil to life, and chaos to the staff and agents. But the moral of this one seems to be, sometimes research does pay off.
The second storyline follows Johann and his crew in Japan, where there’s a struggle for control of the city among several gigantic monsters much scarier than Godzilla ever was, and the humans stuck in the midst of it, agents and civilians, are pretty helpless.
Finally, and “everyman” story of people trying to go on with their lives amid the monsters in the American west. Even in the worst of times, a coffee shop has a role to play.
The writing, art, coloring and lettering are all top notch in this series, and even though I find the stories depressing at times, I still enjoy reading them.
Cover and interior illustrations © Frank Kelly Freas
Khalid is attending Genie school in the mysterious land of the Genies, and is very skilled in magic, but not so much in understanding the humans he will need to deal with when granting wishes. Khalid is admired by his classmate, the lovely Tamar, and envied by another classmate, Gamal, who covets the attention of Tamar, which Khalid doesn’t seem to notice. Khalid is sure he knows everything he needs to know about being a Genie, and their teacher Ishmael decides to give him a trial run in a magic lamp to see how things go. Unfortunately for Khalid, they can’t possibly go worse. When he emerges from the magic lamp in the hands of his new master, Haroun, he forgets to tell him a crucial rule: you can’t use one of your three wishes to get more wishes. When Haroun asks for unlimited wishes, Khalid finds he is bound to grant that wish, essentially making him a permanent slave to Haroun’s every greedy thought and desire.
When Khalid doesn’t return to class as expected, Tamar goes out to help him, but finds that challenging. Meanwhile, Gamar is also on hand to make Khalid’s life as difficult as possible. New allies like a very smart alley cat are some help, but Khalid is so mired in trouble, it seems he’ll never get out. Before long the ruling council of Genies is involved in this mess, and Gamal is upping his evil plans, and things go from bad to worse.
This is a fun book, and the art by Kelly Freas is a delightful bonus. Friesner’s writing is light and humorous, but her characters are appealing and her plot reasonably believable (at least while you’re reading). It is a bit hard to get one’s head into the Arabian Nights world the book takes place in, since the real world now occupying that space is so different, but once you do, the story carries you along on a nice magic carpet ride.
Image © DC Comics
Hal Jordan as a sort of wandering space policeman/detective was working for me, but this issue gets Relic involved, the central bad guy from a recent crossover event. Hal wants information from him, and doesn’t want Relic to know who he really is, as Relic is determined to destroy all Lanterns. Things are working out until one of Hal’s new sidekicks, Virgo, throws a massive spanner in the works. Some help he is…
Still kind of fun, but this issue is less appealing and mildly recommended.
Image © Sam Glanzman
This handsome 8.25 by 11 inch full color trade paperback is the first I’ve seen of Dover Publications’ new series of comics reprints. I have lots of Dover books on my shelves, they’re known for quality but inexpensive reprints in a vast number of categories, and I welcome their entry into comics. They’ve done a fine job of reproducing the art from the original Marvel graphic novels of 1987 and 1989, with new material added. 164 large pages for $19.95, a bargain, and a treasure.
There have been few comics written in this genre: autobiographical accounts from World War Two in graphic form. Yes, plenty of ex-G.I.’s wrote and drew war comics, and elements of those were often drawn from their experiences, but they were usually presented as fiction. This book is full of real stories from young Sam’s time as a sailor on board the destroyer U.S.S. Stevens in the South Pacific, where he began serving not long after Pearl Harbor, and saw lots of action through the end of the war. From his accounts, Sam was an average guy from upstate New York who was ill prepared for war, but gamely tackled everything asked of him, from scrubbing decks to manning ammunition stations in combat at sea. While it seems to be true that the sailor’s life is somewhat easier than that of a soldier in war, sudden death is just as common, as the destroyer dealt with submarines, kamikaze pilots, and crazed Japanese soldiers on remote islands. Glanzman is particularly good as showing how war affected the men aboard his and other ships, as well as giving insight into how war devastated the many islands they visited. Sam’s art style is along the lines of Joe Kubert, in that it’s a little loose and full of personality. His writing and art together make this memorable.
An excellent and important work, and highly recommended.