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Superman/Batman #76 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
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Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Final Crisis: Revelations #5 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part five

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

As the Radiant fades, Renee and the Huntress decide to make their stand against Cain (Vandal Savage). While they fight Anti-Life posessed Gothamites, Crispus Allen finds that he is dead again, and faced with a “choice” of involvement with the Spectre. Taking a huge risk and willing to sacrifice all, Renee’s gambit pays off, with deep ramifications.

I have no complaints with the art on this issue–it fits perfectly with the story, with some very nice panels that particularly stand out–particularly Crispus and the Spear. I wouldn’t suggest picking this up for the art alone…but the art is definitely a bonus point to the issue’s story.

The story comes to a rather satisfactory conclusion. With forces like Cain and the Spectre at odds, and the introduction/development of the Radiant character, and stuff that’s apparently been built up since 52 with Renee as the new Question and Crispus as the Spectre’s host since Infinite Crisis, this has made for a great ride that moves these stories forward and really serves to cap stuff off, solidifying characters’ places in the DCU.

As a mini-series, it would seem pointless to jump in with a 5th/final issue–if you’ve already been following the series, don’t skip this issue. If you missed the series, this one is certainly worth getting as a collected volume! (This series FELT to me like it has more importance for its characters than the core Final Crisis series did for the DCU as a whole.)

Very much recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Final Crisis #7 [Review]

New Heaven, New Earth

Script: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Doug Mahnke & Walden Wong
Colors: Alex Sinclair w/Tony Avina & Pete Pantazis
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: JG Jones (sliver cover by Marco Rudy & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

So, this is it. This is the issue it’s all been building toward–the final chapter of this “final crisis” the characters are facing, this “event” capping off years of story…

Much like Marvel’s Secret Invasion final issue, this issue jumps ahead, and instead of us experiencing the story as it progresses, with the characters–instead we’re treated to a look-back from the present to a conclusion that’s already happened. We see characters rise against their Fifth-World gods and the intrusion of Mandrakk, and a multiverse’s army of Supermen, and…stuff happens.

The art in the issue isn’t all that bad. In fact, in and of itself it’s actually pretty good. Though there’s a whole bunch of inkers, the final result is a decent presentation. I went in with very low expectations, and what I got managed to stay a bit above my expectations–though I also found myself not really focusing terribly much on the art (didn’t expect to be impressed, so didn’t care to look for something to be impressed BY).

The story fits with the rest of the series in tone and feeling like it’s trying to come from somewhere above my reading level, and successfully makes me feel lost, whatever else it accomplishes there. While elements of this core series could be found in the tie-ins, on the whole, the entirety of the Final Crisis was told in 7 issues, this one mini-series. While that made it easier on the wallet, I feel like it did a large injustice to the scope of the story. Had it crossed into a large number of the DC books as Infinite Crisis did, this would have felt like a bigger deal. As it is, it felt like some apocalyptic (no pun intended) story with these characters with no real basis in ongoing continuity. That books are to make the “jump” to reflect what happened in Final Crisis later doesn’t really do much for me (but at least the story will be acknowledged).

I’m sure there’s “deep” stuff going on here with loads of potential for future exploration…but the feel just wasn’t there for me. I did not enjoy this issue, and the series as a whole has been bittersweet–I can’t see having skipped on it, but nor have I particularly enjoyed any of the issues. (The tie-in minis’ issues are another story).

Story: 5/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 6/10

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D #2 [Review]

Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy w/Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci & Derek Fridolfs
Color: David Baron
Letters: Ken Lopez
3-D by: Ray Zone
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Mahnke, Alamy & Baron (sliver by JH Williams)
Publisher: DC Comics

I’ll say it from the start: this issue was an expensive, confusing mess. I think it was supposed to be something with metatextual elements/commentary to the readers–a bit of “breaking the fourth wall” or whatever–but I’m not entirely sure. Despite being a long-time comics reader and following Superman for the entire time, I felt rather lost here.

This issue basically has various Supermen from different Earths in the multiverse fighting something/someone for whatever reason. For most of the issue, I wasn’t even sure which of the Supermen was supposed to be “my” Superman from the current/official DCU, as even that character seemed “off” somehow.

The art for the issue is–in itself–quite good. It is tainted, though, by the stupid 3-D stuff. The 3-D seems to be just some arbitrary gimmick…and if “3-D-ifying” parts of the issue is what caused the four or five months or whatever it’s been since the first issue, that is entirely inexcusable to me,and leaves me regret at having supported this by buying it. If it’s this “late” due to timing of plot elements, I do wish that had been made more apparent up-front.

If you’re enjoying and “getting” what’s going on in the main Final Crisis book, this issue’ll probably make sense to you. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like you’d be missing anything much by skipping this issue. The only reason to get this issue would be if it proves to in and of itself be totally essential to Final Crisis itself.

Story: 3/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 4.5/10

Final Crisis #6 [Review]

How to Murder the Earth

Script: Grant Morrison
Art: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Doug Mahnke, Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy, Jesus Merino
Colors: Alex Sinclair & Pete Pantazis
Lettering: Rob Clark Jr.
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: JG Jones (sliver cover by Pacheco, Merino & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

This sixth issue opens with a scene featuring Superman and Brainiac 5…presumably our Legion of 3 Worlds link. Brainiac has something he needs Superman to see, and Superman’s concerned because he’s been beyond reality and has to get home (no mention of Lois). We then cut back to a gathering of heroes doing what they do, and the Supergirl/”Black Mary” battle (we find out who’s pulling Mary’s strings). Heroes find themselves facing friends and loved ones now under Darkseid’s thumb; the Flashes hatch a plan, and Batman breaks one of his personal rules in order to face Darseid. Finally, Superman enters the battle on Earth, bringing with him anger not often displayed.

The art jumped out at me for this issue–unfortunately, though, not a good thing. Rather than the fairly distinct JG Jones art alone, we have a number of other artists brought on to get this done, and so there is quite a bit of variance in the visuals throughout the issue–this looks like just another comic instead of a singular, special event/series. The art in and of itself isn’t all that bad–characters familiar to casual readers are familiar and recognizeable. The Tawky Tawny battle, though, was a bit hard to follow, and took me a bit beyond the battle itself before I even realized who won the fight. While I’m sure intended for dramatic effect, a key double-page shot toward the end looks almost comical (in a “ha, ha” sort of way) and seems almost out of place in this title given other events that have ocurred off-panel and been referred back to almost as an afterthought.

The story is far from wonderful, but it is serviceable, at least on the surface. We get a number of scene-jumps without much flow, just jumping from one scene to the next. One has to keep track visually of what and who is where as the Supergirl/Mary battle is cut with the Tawny battle, for example. The main Batman scene comes across like it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a certain speedster in a prior Crisis, and for this reader felt forced and overly predictable.

On the whole, due to one character’s fate apparently shown here, this issue is pretty important to DC continuity, at least for the moment. However, this is an issue I read more to seek a conclusion to Batman: RIP and in the hopes of staying somewhat current with the most major goings-on of the DCU than out of enjoyment. This is one of those comics that is probably going to wind up being pretty “essential” to the bigger picture in the DCU…though it lacks the feel I’d expect for something of its supposed enormity.

Recommended for its necessity in the DCU-to-come, but not for the story and art.

Story: 5/10
Art: 3/10
Whole: 4/10

Final Crisis: Secret Files [Review]

Balancing Act!

Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Tony Shasten
Colorist: Alex Bleyaert
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Frank Quitely (sliver cover by Jim Lee, Richard Friend & Randy Mayor)
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue introduces us to Libra. From his initial origin (with ties to the Ted Knight Starman) to how it is we have Libra in the Final Crisis story. The story shows us how the young man was impacted by events beyond his control as a child, and the home life he came from. We then see how he deals with it, and how he pulls himself up through the world to the point he was originally introduced at way back in the day, and the cost of actually achieving all that he seeks to do. We then find out how Darkseid came to have a “herald” or “prophet” Libra during the contemporary Final Crisis story.

I don’t recognize Shasten’s name, but the art here is quite good. It seems to fit the story well, and I have no real complaints. The story itself is fairly interesting, revealing the origin of Libra–not just as an obscure character from decades past, but as a character we see operating today.

As far as DC’s “Secret Files” specials go, this is certainly NOT what I expected. I should have been suspicious at the (relatively) small price point. Rather than character profiles and information about location and events that’ve unfolded in Final Crisis, this is simply another one-shot that fills us in on a character’s background and how they relate to Final Crisis. This should have been billed as a “Secret Origin issue, as the Secret Files title from DC has come to imply lengthy text/image pieces that go in-depth on bringing one up-to-speed on the current status of a number of characters related to the title.

As with other recent tie-ins, though…I enjoyed this a great deal more than I have the core series. When I saw Wein’s name on this, I was trying to place the name. I recognized the name, but didn’t think I’d seen it in awhile. This finally clicked for me when I saw a note in the credits that Libra was created by Wein. Given that, I find it quite cool that the character’s creator was brought on to reconcile past and present.

Simply as a one-shot that ties in to Final Crisis, this is a solid issue that–while it doesn’t move the Final Crisis story forward–goes a good way toward explaining a pretty major character related to that story.

I’ve had several times that by the time I’ve gotten to a comic store there’s been no choice BUT to get the “sliver cover” for a Final Crisis book. This was the first time that I found myself “stuck” with no choice but the full-cover image. Quitely’s art for the cover is not bad, and as I have yet to see the sliver image, I’m not gonna worry about it.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Final Crisis #5 [Review]

Into Oblivion

Script: Grant Morrison
Art: J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Rudy, Jesus Merino
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: J.G. Jones (sliver by Pacheco, Merino & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

Green Lantern Hal Jordan is tried for apparent deicide, though it turns out someone has corrupted an Alpha Lantern–something that is not supposed to be able to happen. Meanwhile, as the dark gods revel in their victory and the nearly-awoken Darkseid, certain heroes band together to strike back as the world falls apart around them.

There’s a lot going on in this issue, which makes it feel somewhat choppy as we jump from point to point to point to point. This is going on, that’s also going on, this other thing’s happening, someone’s doing this other thing over here.

The art felt rather choppy as well with multiple artists covering different parts of the story. I’m hard-pressed to think offhand of an example of multiple artists detracting from a story for me, but this might be a first.

The story leaves me scratching my head–both for trying to get to an understanding of what’s actually going on in the bigger picture sense as well as the execution. As a “contained” story limited to just this mini and some tie-in minis, I don’t feel any great sense of urgency or crisis…this reads simply like some alternate unverse where Darkseid wins, and not the main DC Universe I’m supposed to actually care about.

This may read much better in a single volume when all the pieces are on the board to be read at once, and we actually see how events play out in the main DCU whenever the let this affect other books. Until then, it is a huge disappointment for me and is far less enjoyable than Rogues’ Revenge, Revelations, and Legion of 3 Worlds have been.

Worth getting if you’re following the event for the event’s sake, and if you’re enjoying this title thus far. If you’ve not been getting it so far, you’re probably better off catching up through wikipedia and if you’re so inclined, snag collected volume.

Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6/10

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