Category Archives: Reviews

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS 32

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

Last issue was mostly about Kyle Rayner, this one is mostly about the Guardians and Star Sapphire, as they investigate the apparent abduction by force of their Guardian brother. Anything that can take a Guardian by force, even these relatively inexperienced ones, has to be powerful. And to put a name to it, one only has to look at the cover above, Psions. The Psions were created by Marv Wolfman decades ago, and I used them a bit in my issues of THE OMEGA MEN, so I’m interested to see what writer Justin Jordan does with them. This issue is just a prelude to that. When Carol Ferris and the Guardians find and enter the gigantic Psion ship that’s holding their brother, you just know things aren’t going to go smoothly. The art by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy is quite good, and I particularly liked the coloring by Wil Quintana this time, great use of glow and lighting effects.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: HAWKMOON: THE SWORD OF DAWN by Michael Moorcock

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Image © Michael Moorcock.

This third of four books about the warrior Hawkmoon’s struggles with the empire of Granbretan is very much a segment of the larger story. It begins with a synopsis of what happened in the first two volumes, and ends with an unsatisfying “to be continued” non-ending. That aside, it was entertaining, though not as good as the first book of the quartet, “The Jewel in the Skull.” It remains to be seen how satisfying the final book will be when I read it.

Hawkmoon, Count Brass, and the entire city of Kamarg have escaped the domination of the evil Granbretan empire by slipping into an alternate version of their Earth which seems to have no human inhabitants. It’s quiet and rather boring to the warriors of Kamarg, and even to the regular folks there. When a new person shows up on the border of the city, Hawkmoon is quick to investigate, and soon a troubling alternate method of reaching them is revealed. Hawkmoon and his friend Huillam D’Averc decide they must return their own world to investigate, try to find the sorcerer who has pierced their hiding place, and retrieve his devices and knowledge. The process is made easier by the fact that nearly everyone in Granbretan’s capital city of Londra wear ornamental masks covering their entire heads, a handy plot device. The quest and pursuit of Hawkmoon and D’Averc of the sorcerer, and themselves by their arch-enemy Meliadus of Granbretan, make up the first half of this volume. The second half dumps them in a distant land they know nothing about where they must contend with desert predators, river monsters, and pirates before reaching a special sword that can help them on a larger quest engineered by a mysterious figure who keeps popping up in the series, the Warrior in Jet and Gold.

The story and characters are appealing, the action and adventure keep things moving, but overall this entire book feels like the middle section of a long movie, and had me wishing for some resolution that won’t arrive until the final book, “The Runestaff,” apparently.

Mildly recommended.

And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 32

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

As a kid I was not a regular reader of AQUAMAN. I saw him mostly in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, or occasional backup stories. That may be one reason why I’ve enjoyed this new version, which restarts the characters and continuity. Mera seems much more interesting in the new series than she ever was to me before, and the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and related fiefdoms, with their cliques and infighting, feels fresh.

What would comics do without scientists out of control? Here, one creates a new threat which is sort of an anti-Aquaman, with many of Arthur Curry’s powers and enough hate to fill an ocean. Meanwhile, Mera is confronting the terrorists who are trying to kill her in their own deep corner of the sea. They think she’s stepped into their trap. She has, but they won’t like it. Nice writing by Jeff Parker, fine art by Pelletier and Parsons.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: DARK HORSE PRESENTS 31

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Image © Dark Horse Comics and Mike Mignola.

The lead feature and highlight of this issue for me is a new serialized Hellboy story. I don’t quite get Mignola’s fascination with Mexico as a film noir/horror setting, but he makes it entertaining. Taking place in 1956, Hellboy is something of a wastrel, drinking and smoking his way into trouble without seeming to even notice it or care much. Blinded by love until it’s too late…or is it? Nice art by Mick McMahon, another interesting interpretation of the Mignola style.

“Alabaster: Boxcar Tales” by Kiernan and Lieber is up to 12 chapters, and I still don’t know what’s going on, really, but the visuals and dialogue keep me reading.

“Nexus: Into the Past” is on chapter 7, and it’s been a wild ride, which continues here, but the story finally gets more personal for Horatio Hellpop and his family on Ylum. I still feel this story is somewhat out of control, but I liked this chapter.

“Monstrous” by Horton and Cody is an interesting premise: a human soul trapped in a monstrous body, but in this case amid a society of monster overlords that he’s trying to infiltrate.

“Saint George: Dragonslayer” part 2 is trying to turn the heroic legend on its head, and doing an entertaining job of it so far. I like the irreverent art and script by Van Lente and Brown, though some of the faces are too manga for my taste.

Other stories here didn’t catch my interest.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: JUSTICE LEAGUE 31

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

I was nine years old when the first issue of the original JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA came out in 1960. For a few years it was my favorite comic. I’d already been reading about Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern, and there they were in one story, with even more heroes (and heroines) and the coolest villains ever. There are moments when the new series by writer Geoff Johns gets close to that for me, as in the extensive scene this issue where we see Lex Luthor having coffee in Bruce Wayne’s living room as Lex confidently explains how he KNOWS Bruce is Batman, and why they should work together. Chilling and thrilling, a merger that could really rock the worlds of both! It’s great comics with nary a punch exchanged. Other elements of the issue involve a very evil Green Lantern ring, and hijinks on the new Justice League satellite. The art by Mahnke and Champagne is excellent.

Recommended.