Schachat's Weekly Breakdowns
Schachat missed you.
April 12, 2005
about that whole lack of comic reviews during March, kids.
I saw my shadow and X-Force – Shatterstar,
and it seemed like a good idea to hide in my burrow for
back when the last issue of Green Lantern: Rebirth
came out, I predicted issue #5 would be a pretty standard
slugfest that couldn’t possibly live up to the promise
of the return of Hal Jordan.
out I was only half right.
Lantern: Rebirth #5 IS the big faceoff between
Hal and Sinestro we’ve always wanted to see, but,
man, is Hal Jordan ever BACK.
Geoff Johns reaches into the history of
the character and yanks out all the indecisiveness, guilt,
and fear that have plagued Hal Jordan, buffing him to a
fine polish and promising a hero even better than the one
introduced to us during the Silver Age. Much like Captain
America, Green Lantern became bogged down by the clashing
political awareness and simple-minded heroism which served
as his moral barometer. Unlike Cap, Johns was able to install
a reset button on Hal and make his return truly satisfying.
However, nearly all the two-fisted, green
energy-spewing joy of this issue is ruined by the last page.
To some it will make sense, but most people will probably
frown and toss the comic across the room. While Johns may
characterize Hal quite nicely, he still scores low with
certain others, and the excitement built up in this issue
quickly dissipates with the way Johns portrays his least
favorite DC hero.
evil shall escape my sight...
unless it's buried deep within myself.
Ethan Van Sciver’s art works well,
but none of it’s as gloriously detailed as what we
were treated to in the first issue. The rest of the production
team pulls it together and make Hal and Sinestro’s
cosmic fistfight one to remember, but, especially with the
botched deadline, you’d think a few panels would’ve
been rendered better. This issue earns my recommendation
and works on most levels, but it’s still hard to say
whether the next issue will be worth the pesos.
fans of the recently departed She-Hulk or those
who always meant to give it a try but never got around to
it, the team of Dan Slott and Paul Pelletier return to the
scene with GLA #1. No, it’s
not a new JLA book. The letters stand for “Great Lakes
Avengers”. And, yes, it’s about as hilarious
as any book with that title can be.
it also qualified as the "lost" Brian's Books
Spotlight Title last week -- except Derek had no time to
write a review.)
Starting us off with some irreverent humor,
the story opens with a public service announcement that
slaps fanboys in the face and continues to beat on us throughout
the rest of the issue via a talking squirrel. We move through
the story with Mr. Immortal (a man whose only power is that
nothing can actually kill him, but gosh does it smart) as
our guide. He summarizes a life story filled with the deaths
of loved ones, constantly turning to tragedy and making
the reader want to cry just before another public service
announcement by that talking squirrel makes you laugh out
team forms, is incompetent, and patrols the Great Lakes
area in its own modified “Quinn Jetta” Volkswagon
compact. But Mr. Immortal continues to feel that they don’t
even rank on the superhero totem pole—until they find
out that the Avengers have broken up and some of them are
even dead! And a supervillain is tearing up a local science
lab! This looks like a job for… well, actually, anyone
but these guys…
his smart and powerful storytelling with riotous humor,
Slott gives us a great start to a miniseries that also works
as a single issue. In fact, it almost works too well, since
we’re left with no inkling of what the next issue’s
about (except for the appearance of two new heroes). But
this is still a great issue and proves Slott is one of the
best writers Marvel has. Hell, after the fallout of DC’s
Countdown to Infinite Crisis, he may have cornered
the market on humorous superhero stories (Honestly DC, what
are you gonna do next? Toss Plastic Man into the sun and
resurrect him as a villain?)
Pelletier’s art was always a strange fit for She-Hulk,
but that was largely due to having to follow in Juan Bobillo’s
footsteps. With GLA, he not only owns the characters
from the start but seems far more at ease drawing a comedic
book. The superhero aspect is never lost for a moment, but
it looks like he’s learned to let himself go with
expressive faces, humorous action, and comedic timing. At
the same time, he keeps the story dead serious when it’s
meant to be.
that Hawkeye once led these guys...
in all, GLA works even better than most of the
recent Avengers books while lampooning the hell out of the
franchise. Life is good. Definitely recommended.
Walking Dead is always a good book, still without a
single lackluster issue in its run, but The
Walking Dead #17 is a languid example of one
of the low points in the story. How could it not be? We
saw the deaths of nearly five characters in the last three
issues, coupled with the revelation that ANYONE who dies
will return as a zombie, and smothered in the lingering
fear that someone in the survivors’ new “home”
is a homicidal maniac.
The last issue revealed that one of the
former inmates recently taken into the group was responsible
for the killings, but this outing quickly wraps up that
conflict while starting a new one: what do you do when one
of the few living humans left in the world turns out to
be a killer? In a situation where the top priority is keeping
everyone alive no matter what, how do you handle the breaking
of your most important law? And how do you handle the civil
war such punishment is sure to start?
While I can’t say this issue fails,
it certainly suffers in the latter half, which consists
of only one scene. Robert Kirkman slows down the pace so
we can feel the full impact of Rick’s decision to
exercise his authority, but Charlie Adlard’s art isn’t
quite up to the task. In various panels proportions are
off and the staging seems rather awkward, but it goes by
fast enough for readers to roll with it. However, the perspectives
of the massive splash pages are too funky to sit right.
Especially when the story slows down so we have to take
a good stinky look at them.
Worse yet, Tony Moore’s cover art
outdoes anything inside the book by leaps and bounds, leaving
longtime readers aching for him to return as the series
penciller. In the end, would I say it’s a bad issue?
No, but it’s filled with reminders that it’s
certainly not the best this team can do, and, while it’s
worth the cash, is not a good place for anyone to jump on
or expect to see the series really shine.
months of confusion and… more confusion, Superman/Batman
#18 brings the duo’s alternate reality-hopping
adventure to a close. Having raised half the Justice League
from the dead last issue, the team now faces a Ra’s
Al Ghul who controls the world and has Lightning Lord, Cosmic
King, and Saturn Queen to back him up.
The resurrected Leaguers fall in an anticlimactic
orgy of violence, but the great struggle here is for Batman
to reassert himself and shrug off the weakness of his alternate
life as Bruce Wayne— and it may very well take the
death of Superman to remind him of why he fights.
This whole arc has been a little wonky,
what with the usual mess that goes into any time travel
story and the added bonus of dredging up continuity from
all parts of the DCU. The conclusion manages to force less
Legion of Super Heroes continuity on us than it could, but
it’s still pretty confusing. And what happened to
the eco-terrorist aspect of Ra’s?
of scenes from Crisis on Infinite Earths and Whatever
Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? are sure to inspire
a collective head-scratching from newer fans, but older
fans still won’t reap more than a couple chuckles
from this journey through hypertime. I’d like to think
this story would have some lasting ramifications (Superman’s
murder of an alternate Wonder Woman, Batman’s memories
of a full and happy life as Bruce Wayne, etc.), but that
may just be me getting my hopes up.
has given us big action and big archetypes for quite a while
now, but its connection to the rest of the DCU is simultaneously
tenuous and mind-numbingly dense. This issue will be fun
for some readers, and Carlos Pacheco’s art is clean
while Laura Martin’s colors are glorious, but it’s
too complex for the casual reader and too loosely threaded
for the hardcores. Only very mildly recommended.