Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review

The universe is in grave danger. The Green Lantern Corps are no more and the Sinestro Corps are now the guardians of the universe and they will use fear to control and keep power. This is the galactic state of affairs as DC’s Rebirth begins with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review 3This seven part series finds a withered and old Sinestro looking out on his new Empire. He has won, vanquishing all the Green Lanterns—or so he thinks. Little does Sinestro know that the ultimate Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, has a flicker of green light still left in him and will give his all to end Sinestro’s rule. Sinestro, to wield ultimate power, consumes the yellow power of the Parallax, and not only becomes young again, but more powerful than he’s ever been. It sets up the ultimate showdown. To the victor go the spoils, which in this case is the entire universe.

Sinestro’s Law is all that a comic series should be. The action is fantastic, the drama is captivating, and the artwork is terrific. Writer Robert Venditti does a superior job weaving action with tension, giving readers a spectacular series. The setting—outer space—helps immensely. We are transported to different worlds, seeing strange and unusual creatures. The visuals are never boring, but this is mostly due to the story being so compelling. Some longer comic series can wane as they head toward the conclusion (heck, some five part series can falter midway) but not Sinestro’s Law. This series is serious business from the first page to the dramatic yellow versus green conclusion.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review 4Artists Rafa Sandoval and Ethan Van Sciver perform wonders, giving comic book fans everything they could ask for in this cosmic cornucopia, and it is all led by Hal Jordan. How the two artists’ present Jordan is key—he’s just as fans remember him to be: a stoic, heroic, wise cracking badass. The fight scenes with Hal are sheer spectacle, as is all the Green Lantern Corps as they rally the troops for one last battle.

An interesting subplot in Sinestro’s Law has to do with the capture of Green Lantern Guy Gardner. He is beaten and tortured by Sinestro’s sinister agents. Here, Sinestro’s Law takes an unexpectedly dark turn, and it only adds to the series—not only showing the pure evil Sinestro employs, gaining strength from fear, but also the sheer will it takes to stand up to dread. Fear can come in many forms and is individual to each of us. As it plays out in Sinestro’s Law, standing up to that fear is the greatest triumph of all.

In short, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law issues #1-7 are a must read (along with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1). It strikes a phenomenal balance of tension with out-of-this-world action and stakes so high it had to be told in a seven part series.

Pick up Sinestor’s Law! Your inner comic geek will thank you for it.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 Review

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 Review

With Rebirth, DC Comics is taking their dual Green Lantern storylines in different directions. On one path, you have Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. This bi-weekly comic travels into the deep recesses of space, pitting the Green Lantern Corps versus the Sinestro Corps. On the other, the Green Lantern storyline is continued on Earth with two new rookie Lanterns.

The latter plotline begins in Green Lanterns Rebirth #1.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 Review 2Far off in space, a guardian is being chased by hideous creatures. The guardian carries a box filled with a mysterious ring of untold power. In a fit of desperation, he opens the box and a power is unleashed – an energy so powerful, it will be coveted by both good and evil. A turn of the page moves readers from this deep space setting to Dearborn, Michigan. There, Simon Biaz is dealing with the remains of fear and judgement spray painted on his sister’s house. Two and half pages later, we travel to Portland, Oregon. There, Jessica Cruz (our second rookie Lantern) is trying to revive her life when she’s called by ring and taken to Arizona where she runs into Biaz. There, the two Green Lanterns are tested by one of the galaxy’s finest – Hal Jordan.

The infusion of Hal Jordan and his work with the rookies gives Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 a solid push in the right direction. Jordan is the quintessential Green Lantern. He’s the most well-known Earthling to ever brandish the green ring. In Green Lanterns Rebirth #1, Jordan plays the role of mentor. And in doing so, not only does he bring the two Green Lanterns together, his appearance gives the comic a certain credibility.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 is written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries. Johns is a titan in the comic book industry. Coupled with the fact he’s now essentially heading the DC Cinematic Universe, Johns is a welcomed addition to this Rebirth comic.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 ReviewYet, even with Johns, the one drawback from the comic is the relationship between Biaz and Cruz. It’s too obviously combative. Sure, that leads to conflict which leads to interesting storylines, but it’s pretty predictable. There’s the overconfident Biaz thinking he is the only Green Lantern for Earth. Then, on the flip side, Cruz has self-esteem issues, and questions her worth as a Green Lantern. These characters fit too tightly in stereotypical boxes. Perhaps that will change as the storyline progresses. But for right now, it holds the story back.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 was illustrated by another team – Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes. The artwork is one of comic’s highlights. .

As the final panels of this comic conclude, the narrator is revealed and he’s as menacing as one would hope. Times will be rocky for our Green Lanterns of Sector 2814. As set up in Green Lanterns Rebirth #1, they’ll have to work together in order to survive.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review

Times are tough for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro and his ever-evil band of Sinestro Corps have won. Sector Zero, the once home to the Guardians of the Universe and the central home of the Green Lantern Corps, is now controlled by Warworld – the yellow powered planet ruled by the diabolical Sinestro. For all intents and purposes, Sinestro has defeated the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps are now the universe’s police force.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review 2This is the state of things as we enter into Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1.

What a terrific and desperate beginning it is, too. This is exactly what a kickoff comic is all about. Our heroes are all but dead and buried. Evil reigns and there is no hope in sight – nothing but a small green flicker on the edges of the universe.

That spark is Hal Jordan. He has one final trick up his sleeve to reignite his Green Lantern powers, in a way that has never been tried before. But that’s the good thing about Hal – he’s one to break the rules. On the dead world he’s residing, he’ll need to summon all the imaginative might he can to escape Space Sector 563 and say the Green Lantern oath one more time.

Writer Robert Venditti does a terrific job with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1.  With great prowess, Venditti gives the reader enough background information with regards to how things ended up for the Green Lantern Corps. This is done through weaving in and out of our hero fighting to exit the dead world. We are told that all the Green Lanterns (Kilowog, John Stewart and Guy Gardener,) have all vanished. Even the Guardians Immortal are gone. For a first issue, the stakes are high – one mistake will plunge the universe into eternal yellow chaos.

This is storytelling at its peak. The audience is not only flung into the action, but tossed into the most critical moment in the universe. It’s exciting, thrilling and evokes a sensation that all truly great superhero stories can – it makes us believe in the impossible.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review 4Compounding Venditti’s superior storytelling is the artwork of Ethan Van Sciver. Van Sciver brings out Venditti’s larger-than-life script and makes it fresh and bold. The combination of both writer and artist lead us along a masterfully paced sequence of panels – leading up the crescendo of splash pages where we can feel Green Lantern’s light.

Dark times for our heroes are the most exciting times for the audience. We want the hero to win, to vanquish evil. But it can’t be easy. The hero must suffer – he or she must rise above their own weaknesses and become a better version of themselves. This is what is at stake with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1. Not only does Hal have to take on the now all powerful Sinestro Corps, he also must travel into the deep recesses of his very soul and do something that’s never been done. Something even the Guardians told him is impossible.

To find out what that is, you’ll have to pick up a copy of the comic. As you can tell from this review, I recommend you do.

Justice League Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review

Justice League Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review

The Justice League is DC Comics’ greatest assortment of superheroes. The team first united in The Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960. Team members at the time included Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Marian Manhunter, Batman and Superman (albeit the latter two with only a cameo). At that time, the superhero group was called The Justice League of America. Throughout its history, from a carousel of heroes consistently rearranging the lineup of the JLA to the Saturday morning super group called the Super Friends, the Justice League has always been one thing: a team. It is thanks to that squad of the World’s Finest that the Earth can be kept safe from intergalactic threats, which is what faces our planet’s guardians in Justice League Rebirth #1.

Justice League Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review 3Justice League Rebirth begins with a hideous creature hovering high over a city, laying waste to buildings and sending out miniatures of itself to attach to the heads of humans. The only thing standing in this interstellar monster’s way is the Justice League. Check that—the Justice League minus the Last Son of Krypton. At the end of the New 52 run, Superman died. Fortunately for the comic book world, there is another Superman waiting in the wings. As DC’s Rebirth is essentially combining the New 52 with the past DC storylines, this new Superman is the Superman of old; the one who died at the hands of Doomsday way back in 1992, and later returned from the grave. Worlds have collided with Rebirth and we, the fans, are benefiting most. When one Superman goes down, another one is there in his place. As Lois Lane puts it, “It wouldn’t be much of a Justice League without a Superman.”

Justice League Rebirth #1 (Comic) Review 4This incarnation of the Justice League consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, and the two rookie Green Lanterns. It isn’t until a pivotal moment in Justice League Rebirth #1 that the Man of Steel makes his dramatic entrance and joins the team. Writer Bryan Hitch does a good job balancing the precarious nature of such an arrival. While the Justice League needs someone like Superman, they are still reeling from his death (especially a distraught Wonder Woman) and skeptical of his emergence on Earth. But when the planet is in peril, it’s all hands on deck. Hitch ends the comic with the classic hero shot of all our champions banding together, but he also leaves just enough keen interest into this galactic threat and what waits on the horizon for the Justice League.

Justice League Rebirth #1 is illustrated by Daniel Henriques with Scott Hanna. While this reviewer isn’t a fan of their style, their work didn’t detract from the story. For me, their artwork isn’t a stand out, but there is enough in the storyline to keep the pages turning.
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What works best in this Rebirth comic is that the reader is dropped right into the action from the get-go. In other Rebirth one-shots like Superman (check out my review), there is a slow burn in effect. The story grows at a medium pace. In comparison, Justice League Rebirth #1 hits hard and fast right from the opening panels. And that’s the way things should be for our guardians. They are Earth’s mightiest heroes for a reason. Here, we get exactly what fans want from a Justice League comic: our saviours fending off a giant beetle-like alien, sending it, with its bags packed, back to where it came from.

For now.

Is Tyrese Gibson The Next Green Lantern?

Is Tyrese Gibson The Next Green Lantern?

The DC Cinematic Universe may have found their next Green Lantern.

Tyrese Gibson, star of Fast & Furious 8 sat down on Larry King Live to discuss a wide range of topics from his disgust of Donald Trump, to the lack of diversity in Hollywood, and the upcoming “Fast & Furious” sequel. One surprising topic was his potential role in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League film.

After a fan-made image of Gibson as Green Lantern went viral, the Fast & Furious 8 star may have an even greater shot at the role. Gibson says that a piece of fan-art (seen below) depicting him as Green Lantern started the craze.

Is Tyrese Gibson The Next Green Lantern?

“A fan did this image of me as the Green Lantern and I was like ‘Woah, that looks cool,’ and I posted it on my Instagram and it just went crazy.” Gibson said. He went on to admit that the photo “pissed the people off a little bit at Warner Brothers because they thought that I had convinced the world that I landed the role, which I didn’t.”

After seeing himself as Green Lantern, Gibson was inspired to campaign for the role in Justice League. Gibson met the film’s studio to discuss his potential as Green Lantern in Snyder’s Justice League, set for 2020.

Justice League: Mortal Could’ve Changed the Game

Justice League: Mortal Could’ve Changed the Game

Do you remember the cancelled Justice League movie that was supposed to come out in 2007 by George Miller? Yeah, the guy behind the Mad Max films. I’ll give you a second to digest what kind of action movie we could’ve got. Whenever you are finished fantasizing about that I have some good news for you. If you thought you’d never see anymore from this project, think again.

Australian Director Ryan Unicomb, producers Aaron Carter and Steven Caldwell, and writer Maria Lewis are planning a documentary based on George Miller’s abandoned super hero ensemble titled, ‘Justice League Mortal’ with the hopes to start filming this year. The movie was supposed to star Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as The Flash, Common as Green Lantern, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman and HughKeays-Byrne as Martian Manhunter.

But unfortunately Justice League: Mortal got shelved just days before the initial start date for filming. So no screenshots or plot synopsis has ever surfaced about the film. Making this documentary all the more exciting.

Miller’s Justice League: Mortal is hoping to feature never before seen artwork, interviews from the cast that were supposed to tackle the first ever team assembly movie. It also wants to divulge what was going through George Miller’s mind when handling the most iconic superheroes and how the blockbuster that could’ve changed the game got buried to development hell. It will also address the long lasting impact it had on the Australian Film Industry.

Some may have never heard of this project when it was in the works, because the movie was being made in secrecy. Actors would hint at it in interviews to lead people on that it could be happening but never quite confirmed its existence.

This was right before Marvel hit big with the original Iron Man in 2008(It’s surprising to take in how many movies they have already put out so far in just seven years). Oddly enough, DC Comics had a few movies in the early development phases that met the same fate, including Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman. All thanks to the Writers Guild Of America Strike back in 2007.

If it weren’t for that dreaded strike and Warner Bros. and DC Comics cancelling the project, DC Comics would’ve had the blueprint for the superhero genre. The blockbuster craze would’ve been drastically different than how it is now. That could have had a ripple effect on how Marvel approached their movies too. Can you imagine a world where Marvel wouldn’t be praised for the formula they had in place, but instead DC for being the first out of the gate?
justicelegfilminsert1It could’ve confused audiences also if they actually went forward with the cast at the time. Superman Returns just finished coming back from what it feels like a Kyrptonian’s lifetime expectancy since Christopher Reeve’s four films. Batman just began his journey in becoming the caped crusader, but neither of them were going to be involved in the Justice League: Mortal film apparently. This could have caused confusion with future films. Maybe Warner Bros, noticed that and canned the project? Maybe the documentary can shed some light on that.

Just imagine there is probably some alternate universe that this movie did happen. The movie landscape could’ve been so much different. Just think about the impact it could’ve made. It could’ve been bad or it could’ve been glorious. The sad part is, we’ll never know what could’ve been. But what we will soon know is, what happened to DC Comics chance to set the foot print for an cohesive cinematic universe.

If everything pans out, and doesn’t fall to same fate as the original movie did, filming on Millers Justice League: Mortal documentary will start later this year.

Are you intrigued to see why this project fell in between the cracks of Apokolips? Let me know in the comments below.

Justice League: War (Movie) Review

Justice League: War (Movie) Review

The folks at DC animation have been on one hell of a winning streak lately. Their direct-to-Video adaptations of The Dark Knight Returns, The Flashpoint Paradox, and even Superman: Unchained have all been far stronger works than the live action DC flicks as of late and there’s a specific reason for that: the major creative players in the comic book world are supervising the animated films just like over at Marvel Studios. It would be nice if that were happening in the live action world, but sadly Warner Brothers have left that in the hands of Zack Snyder and… well… ugh. Thankfully, DC obsessives can take solace in the fact that some excellent animated films are being made directly for the fanboy market. This time director Jay Olivia (who previously knocked The Dark Knight Returns and The Flashpoint Paradox out of the park) has tackled Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League: Origin from the New 52. It’s part of a concerted effort for these DCU animated features to step into the New 52 era where continuity and crossover can be king. As a mini-franchise starter, it’s a pretty good time and filled with some of the stunning action scenes that have made Olivia indispensable to this DC production wing. Unfortunately it’s also a slight step down in quality from their last few features, so hopefully the company won’t abandon classic graphic novel adaptations in favor of this new universe. There are still many DC classics that deserve the DCU feature treatment that it would be a shame to stop now.

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The plot is a classic Silver Age alien romp wrapped around a Justice League origin story. Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman kick off the story in full force. So thankfully, not only does the flick skip their origin stories, but kicks off with an epic battle between the three heroes that is an absolute blast. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, has just come to America and gets a humorous intro using her lasso of truth on misogynist protesters and treating little girls to ice cream (it’s funnier than it sounds, I assure you). Meanwhile, Cyborg gets a tragic origin story surrounding a distant father, Shazam makes a cute debut and the Flash shows up to complete the team. Now, what brings all of these great heroes together, you ask? Why Darkseid of course, who else? Yep the ultimate figure of evil from the New Gods era is sending robotic bat alien monsters (it makes sense in context, I swear) to earth along with explosives as part of one his usual dastardly plot to take over the planet. Really, the hows and whys of how it all comes together don’t mean that much. The goal of director Jay Olivia and co. was simply to organize as much superhero smashy-smashy as possible and there’s no denying that the 79 minute flick is a nonstop epic thrill-ride that could never be replicated in live action without a budget roughly equivalent to the entire contents of the Federal Reserve.

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When Geoff Johns wrote this original comic, he built a simple story around as many team up set pieces as possible to allow Jim Lee’s artwork to shine. The film follows suit, with barebones plot and characterization there simply to facilitate as many super-powered beat-em-ups as Jay Olivia can imagine. There are some absolutely stunning ones here too. Olivia knows how to stage a fight cinematically and watching Wonder Woman, Superman, Shazam, and Flash take turns at gouging out Darkseid’s eyes offers an undeniable geekgasm. The plot itself whips by efficiently, setting up all the major players without wasting much time on exposition. Given that most of the dialogue is limited to quips and commands, the voice cast don’t get a chance to do much. But as usual, DC has assembled a stellar lineup of voice talent for future projects with notable standouts being Alan Tudyk’s winking Superman, Sean Astin’s charmingly childish Shazam, and Bruce Thomas’ creepy Desaad. As with the source material, there are some questionable moments and costume designs that will irritate old continuity purists, but overall this movie is a phantasmagoria of fanboy delights. The film might not offer much subtext or meaning, but it’s hard to care when you’re in the midst of being rocketed from one stunning set piece to the next. Justice League: War definitely isn’t the finest DCU animated feature to date, but it is certainly in the running for the title of “most entertaining.”

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As a disc, Justice League: War is a stunner along the lines of DC Animations finest work. The HD transfer glows and pops off the screen in glorious detail while the HD sound mix rivals most Hollywood blockbusters for sheer aural audacity. Where things really get special though is in the special features section (I suppose that makes sense given the use of the world “special” and all). Jim Lee and Jay Olivia join forces to breakdown a few key action sequences in a nice 21-minute feature that delves into the differences between staging action for the page and screen. Next up, Olivia goes solo for a 25-minute look into his creation process comparing storyboards, animatics, and final animation in a nice informative piece for animation buffs. Next up comes the real gold of the disc for comic book nerds: a 40 minute documentary about legendary comic book artist Jim Lee. The perpetual Comic-Con favorite walks viewers through his entire career and his techniques as an artist. Filled with fascinating insights from Lee and his collaborators along with gorgeous showcases for some of his finest splash pages, this doc is a real treat. It might not quite be as epic as the Frank Miller documentary on the Dark Knight Returns disc, but it comes damn close.  Unfortunately, the worst feature on the disc is the preview for the next feature: Batman And Son. The story was the start of Grant Morrison’s Batman odyssey and a great one, but the early footage suggests this will be a very loose and kid-friendly adaptation in a worrisome way. I’ll reserve judgment until the final film arrives, given how good these animated flicks have been so far. But still, I can’t help but feel less excited about the project every time I glimpse new footage.

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Finally, things wrap up with a handful of classic DC Animation episodes from a few Justice League series and Batman: Brave And The Bold. The production values might be a bit more primitive than the current DCU features and the tone far more family friendly, but these episodes prove the DC has always been masterful at translating their comic characters into animation. It’s just a shame that the live action efforts haven’t been quite as consistent. So, overall it’s one hell of a Blu-ray package for a damn entertaining animated feature from DC. Justice League: War might not be quite as deep or challenging as the most recent films cranked out through the studio, but it is one of the most purely enjoyable and visually stunning efforts that they’ve made to date. That’ll do for now. After all, it is one hell of a wild ride and what more could you really ask from a superhero mash-up flick. Hopefully Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers are paying attention to these animated features, because there are plenty of lessons to be learned on how to translate comic pages into motion properly.

Necessary Evil: Villains Of DC Comics (Movie) Review

Necessary Evil: Villains Of DC Comics (Movie) Review

For any fan of DC Comics, it’s clear that the company has a deep love and affection for the bad guy. Their lineup of villains is deep and impressive, varying from thugs to gods and offering a stark contrast to their collection of super powered heroes. In September, the company even halted production on all of their regular titles for Villains month. One-off issues about everyone from the Riddler to Darkseid offered the bad boys (and girls) of DC a chance to shine without being filtered through the lens of the goody two-shoes guys n’ gals they fight. The month long celebration also launched Geoff Johns’ new all-villains alt universe series Forever Evil, and the company commissioned a documentary about their long history of villainy. Told through the deep, dulcet tones of legendary bad guy specialist Christopher Lee, Necessary Evil: Villains Of DC Comics is an intriguing little overview for fans, but also something that feels curiously insubstantial and out of place as a standalone release on Blu-ray.

The doc is essentially a guide to being bad in the DC universe, delving into the origins, back-stories, and main events surrounding DC villains on all media platforms the company exploits. It’s mostly a collection of talking head interviews, but those talking heads are all of the big boys at DC and a few famous fans. We’re talking a list that includes the likes of Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Paul Dini, Len Wein, Neal Adams, Scott Snyder, Dan Didio, Brian Azzarello, Tony S. Daniel, Peter J. Tomasi, Zack Snyder (shudder), and Guillermo Del Toro. With that many legendary faces for the comic book crowd, it’s clearly a geekgasm of sorts and certainly not one without interest.

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The writers, artists, and famous fans dive into what makes all of the major villains so fascinating. The Joker’s sense of anarchy and peculiar love/hate relationship with Batman. The Riddler’s fixture as a figure who challenges the great detective’s intellect. The way that Lex Luthor and Brainiac offer the ultimate foils to both the earthly and alien sides of Superman. Green Lantern’s time as the Spectre and the duality therein. The dark shadow the godly Darkseid casts over the entire universe. All of the essentials are there in broad strokes and discussed with healthy dollops of insight by those who created the characters, wrote the key stories, or have loved the material from afar. For someone who only occasionally peaks into the world of comics, it’s a wonderful introduction and overview of the universe told in a tight, fast, and visually expressive manner involving clips and artwork from decades of DC lore.

Broad themes of how “heroes are only as strong as their villains” or how villains represent primal fears of their heroes and society at large are also touched upon. It’s all interesting, relevant, and entertaining material. Here’s the problem though; there’s really nothing here that any serious comic book fan isn’t entirely aware of and hasn’t considered on their own. That’s an issue because the market for this doc is entirely the comic book fans that will learn little from the hundred minute celebration of comic book evil. The film is certainly slickly made and entertaining, but ultimately you can’t help but wonder what the point of putting this thing out was beyond self-promotion. The doc was clearly tied directly to villains month and Forever Evil, operating as an advertisement for both blockbuster DC events. The film is also filled with clips from DCU animated features and DC videogames like Injustice and Arkham Asylum/City/Origins. So beyond being a celebration of DC, it’s also a big ad for DC that you have to plop down $20 to experience. If it weren’t for the fact that so much A-list talent was involved and contributing interesting insights, Necessary Evil might even feel like an insulting bit of DC shilling.

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Thankfully, the doc is just interesting enough to avoid that ugly labeling. However, why it was released as a solo documentary is somewhat of a mystery. The DCU animated films have been coming with documentaries like this delving into comic book lore and methodology for years now. Those special features are just as strong and well produced as Necessary Evil and in the case of the excellent Frank Miller doc included on the recent Dark Knight Returns Blu-ray, even better. Necessary Evil should have been a special feature and feels like one (it would have been an ideal doc on a Killing Joke DCU Animation disc for example… hint, hint, DC). Why it got a solo release is a mystery. Perhaps it was just considered to be a necessary part of the Villains Month media onslaught. Perhaps the DC brass produced it as a special feature and then felt it was good enough to deserve a solo release instead. Who knows? Regardless, it’s an interesting little doc for fanboys that’s well worth a look, just not something that demands a Blu-ray purchase. Sure, the transfer is nice, but seeing every pore on Dan Didio’s face is not really worth the $20 investment. Definitely seek it out, but wait till it’s on a streaming service or packaged with another disc. Even if DC had included some episodes from their various animated series highlighting villains, this might have been worthy of investment. Instead, it’s merely a weird curiosity piece given a major release for reasons best known to the folks in the fabled DC offices. Ah well, at least Justice League: War is still on the way and chances are the Necessary Evil sales will be low enough that the thousands of unsold copies end up being packaged with the highly anticipated animated feature.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #6 Review

Green Lantern: New Guardians #6 Review

When the New 52 was released, the Green Lantern family of titles seemed to be largely unaffected by the sweeping changes that occurred across the rest of DC’s newly launched titles.  As the months drag on, I find myself wishing that it had been more affected, because the titles don’t feel like they’re making use of the opportunites the New 52 could have provided, and the stories being told are relatively generic and uninspired.  It’s hard to even decide which of the three Green Lantern books is the most uninspired and uninteresting.  This book has a lot of potential, which makes the fact that it is such a tepid read all the more disappointing.  Kyle Rayner used to be a much more interesting and enjoyable character to read about, but sadly ever since Hal Jordan returned to the Green Lantern uniform in Green Lantern Rebirth, despite his having a fairly consistent role in the books, he hasn’t had the same level of development that he used to have in the past.  This book was a new chance for the character to delve into new and interesting territory, having him interact with various members of the other Lantern Corps, and yet it feels like that potential is still untapped and unfulfilled.

Part of what seems to hold back the Green Lantern books, not just now but over the past few years, is that writers keep trying to present these big new threats to the entire universe, instead of telling smaller, more focused stories on the various members of the Green Lantern Corps like the Green Lantern Corps was doing a few years ago.  The Green Lantern Corps is an interstellar police force, and there’s so much potential in the stories that could be told using them in that role, but instead writers keep trying to foist new bad guys on readers, and they all get the same kind of hype, that they’re this giant new threat, with some mysterious connection to the Guardians, or a history with them.  There’s been so many of them pumped out over the past few years, and yet none of them have any staying power, or have received much characterization to help ground the characters in the GL status quo and make them enduring threats to the Corps.

The  villain of this arc is the mysterious Archangel Invictus, as he tries to fight off the various Corps members who have travelled to the homeworlds of his followers.  In the middle of the fight, there are hints dropped that Invictus has a history with Larfleeze, and a decidedly negative one at that.

Tony Bedard is better than what he’s writing in this arc, and he has a pedigree which definitely bears this out.  But for whatever reason he isn’t gelling all that well on this book, and I can’t quite figure out why that is.  There are definitely brief flashes of true talent in the characterization of some of the characters on this team, particularly his characterization of Saint Walker and Atrocitus, but the storyline itself is lacking a bit.  The story feels like it’s suffering from attention-deficit disorder, as it flits from here to there, without truly exploring any particular direction.  With the first six issues of this title now in the can, it just feels like despite there being so much going on, not much has actually been accomplished because of how the story has leapt from element to element, without taking the time to really flesh out and explore each story element that is introduced.

Tyler Kirkman’s artwork is an interesting fit for this book, and not necessarily one that makes sense or fits all that well.  His artistic style has a major ‘90s sensibility to it, which both works for and against his work on this title and these characters.  The action-oriented beats work so well because of how well he handles action over quieter moments.  But where the artwork falls apart a bit is in some of the character aesthetics which feel intensely ‘90s-esque, with the long hair and stubble that Kyle is sporting, to some other minor visual quirks that have been present throughout.

What I really want to stress about this book is that it is almost frustratingly NOT a bad book.  It’s just not a good book either.  It’s a boring book, which makes me feel very indifferent, and prevents it from being at the top of my to-read list.  It could be so much more than it is right now, but it just hasn’t been able to do so.  The characters deserve more than this, and to be frank Tony Bedard is better than this.

Justice League #5 Review

Justice League #5 Review

What’s most surprising about this new Justice League series is how unlike Geoff Johns it is, and how it’s more like something I would expect of Brian Michael Bendis.The first arc is incredibly drawn-out, as it is seemingly taking forever for the Justice League to actually assemble together.It’s not something I’m used to from Johns, who typically is able to maximize his use of page-count in the comics he writes, to make each issue feel packed with story progression, characterization, etc, and instead this arc feels drawn-out.

The lack of good pacing would be more forgiveable if the characterization in the book was high-qualiyt, but that’s definitely not the case here, ESPECIALLY in this issue.In his endeavour to make the Justice League hipper, edgier and more current, Johns has managed to make the Justice League founders into cynical versions of their prior selves, and it’s hard to imagine the characters as presented in this series ever becoming a strong Justice League, with strong interpersonal relationships.

The book opens with Superman and Flash trying to avoid Darkseid’s omega beams, and it’s probably the best written sequence in the entire book, as the two of them try to deal with Darkseid’s first strike attack.From there, however, the book gets worse with every page, with the cake being taken by Green Lantern’s conversation with Batman.It’s probably the worst characterization of Batman that I have EVER seen, and doesn’t jibe with any of his incarnations, either pre or post New 52.Batman really doesn’t have that much reason to trust Green Lantern to the extent he does here, actually unmasking in front of him and taking off his cape before running off to try and save Superman.There’s just absolutely no reason for him to do this, as the cape and cowl would be protective, when confronting a mysterious new enemy, plus Batman would NEVER charge in without a plan of attack in the least, especially against an absolute unknown.Green Lantern doesn’t come off much better, because this is a Hal Jordan who lacks confidence, and instead just cracks wise.It’s as if the worst aspects of the movie Green Lantern have filtered into this version of the character, and it definitely doesn’t suit the character well.Plus I find it hard to believe that Hal Jordan wouldn’t know who Bruce Wayne is.

After going to the trouble of introducing Darkseid last issue, he doesn’t even talk this issue, just having a bit of a fight with a few lone members of the Justice League one-on-one,and then heading off towards an unknown location.

The artwork in the series continues to be of high quality, as expected, but it’s just like going to a summer movie.The effects look great, and overall the visual style and panache of the book can’t be matched, but there isn’t a strong storytelling sense in the visuals, and the actual story that is being portrayed in the artwork is not memorable or even enjoyable, marred by lackluster, logic-devoid characterization.

With one issue left in the storyline, it feels like there’s far too much that still needs to be accomplished in one issue. It’ll be interesting to see how Geoff Johns attempts to wrap this all up next issue, although I can’t say I have high expectations after how lackluster the first five issues of the series have been thus far.

Green Lantern #1 Review

Green Lantern #1 Review

Of all the new titles to be released as part of DC’s New 52, I was most hesitant about this title, and by extension the rest of the Green Lantern-family books, because it seemed from solicitation copy that not much will have changed, despite the rest of the DCU being reshaped as part of the relaunch.  Having now read this issue, I can’t imagine what DC is thinking, because this issue isn’t new-reader friendly in the least.  If you haven’t been reading Green Lantern over the past few years, this issue starts in the middle of the story, and doesn’t do a good job of explaining why the characters are where they are.  Sinestro is a Green Lantern again, a big change to the status quo, but if you’re a brand-new fan, that doesn’t mean anything.  to you, and removes some of the tension from the issue which makes it interesting if you ARE a pre-existing fan.  If your only prior exposure to Green Lantern was the recent film, this issue is extremely difficult to decipher, with talk of Sinestro Corps, Star Sapphire, Krona, etc.

Even as a regular reader of the Green Lantern books over the past few years, this issue didn’t quite work for me on many levels.  The portrayal of Hal on Earth didn’t quite ring true, and in fact I fount it quite awkward.  Prior to the relaunch, I would have expected him to talk to John Stewart, Kyle or Guy, or maybe Barry, Ollie or Batman, but as the new status quo is up in the air as to the relationships between these characters, it’s avoided instead, and it feels like an awkward exclusion.  The ongoing mystery of just what’s up with the Guardians continues, but I think it lacks a good hook to keep the reader consistently interested and entertained.

The script by Johns felt a bit too relaxed, as the issue doesn’t actually have a lot of real content, just moves slowly and establishes where Hal is right now, and then hammers the point home.  Sinestro doesn’t quite feel like himself here, almost as if Johns is restraining himself with these characters, and not delving into their rich histories, which just feels awkward as a result.

The artwork by Mahnke didn’t quite work for me, as although his characters are well formed, it’s his portrayal of faces that really fails to hit the mark.  The characters appear gaunt, and have weird looks in their eyes, which definitely is distracting.

This isn’t a  bad issue, per se, as it moves some of the plotlines along nicely, albeit slowly, but what it IS is a bad issue #1.  This is a horrible jumping-on point, as the way in which the story is constructed easily alienates readers trying out this title for the first time.  It’s strange to see the majority of the other relaunch titles go back to basics, and the beginning, whereas this title attempts to pretend like nothing happened, and that the relaunch hasn’t affected the storyline or characters in this book, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Justice League #1 Review

Justice League #1 Review

After months of speculation and all kinds of hype, it’s finally here: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1.  This issue kicks of the newly relaunched DCU as the first of The New 52 initiative that spins out of Flashpoint #5.

It makes sense that finally the Justice League gets to act as the flagship book of the DC Universe, it’s rarely gotten to act in such a capacity, and it’s supposedly a great entry point for new readers, to expand the universe around the book.  However, it doesn’t really act all that well as an entry point at all, thanks to some odd decisions.  First of all, the team isn’t assembled in this issue, in fact the majority of the issue features just Batman and  Green Lantern, with one page of Superman.  Instead of seeing heroes unite in a bright, exciting way, it looks like Johns is headed in the opposite direction, sadly.  The series is set 5 years ago, which establishes guidelines for the timeline and continuity of this book and the characters in the DCU. Given what DC is saying still happened in terms of continuity given that short timeframe, that’s a heck of a compression.  The issue opens with the Gotham City Police Department tracking Batman and an unidentified assailant that Batman himself is tracking, and sets the tone for this world and this issue with there being gunfire, etc, showing that Batman isn’t liked and is a target for police.  It makes me wonder about Jim Gordon in this timeline, given the hostility shown here by the GCPD, and definitely starts this new universe out with a lot less hope and optimism than is usually shown in the DCU.  The issue shows the first meeting between Batman and Green Lantern, and I can’t get over how horrible the dialogue is here.  It’s quite rough, and it’s easy to see the influence of the movie version of the character in Hal’s glib dialogue. Their interaction is poorly handled, from Green Lantern’s silly response to finding out Batmsn’s real, to their brief mention of the Green Lantern Corps, aliens, etc.  The end of the issue leads the pair, channeling a Brave and the Bold episode, to Metropolis, and into conflict with a certain Kryptonian.

I can’t get over how big of a mistake this feels, to start off a new universe by telling a flashback tale about the formation of a team, and then not even showing the team in the first issue.  This issue had to be a lot of things, to get the New 52 on the right track from the get-go, and I feel that it failed at this completely.  We don’t get to see the team, we see instead a very rough team-up between Hal and Batman, that just feels manufactured and uncomfortable.  The DCU used to be a much more optimistic place, and this feels like Johns is just trying to needlessly dirt it up, in an effort of sorts to attain a sense of realism that no one really wanted in the first place.

The artwork in  this issue is handled by Jim Lee, and he does draw some pretty pictures, although the overall quality of the artwork isn’t quite up to his high standards.  The new Green Lantern costume redesign really doesn’t look good for the character either, given how the costume is created, and how clunky the costume actually looks. The constructs look great, but just as much credit for that should go to Williams and Sinclair on inks and colours, respectively.

This issue needed to be packed, full of excitement, showing how the greatest superhero team in the DCU came together to protect the planet, but instead the reader got a half-baked Brave and the Bold episode.  If this was supposed to be the big thing that would entice new readers to become comic book fans, and DC fans in particular, it has failed in that quest.  It’s not what it needed to be, and was even a tad joyless, as we go through the motions once again, on the way to assembling a Justice League.