Comics: Rogue’s Revenge #2

Heat Wave Unleashed

Heat Wave Unleashed

Admittedly I’m a bit behind on my reading as of late.  I’m behind on both DC and Marvel books as things such as work tend to get in the way.

On a related note, I really don’t know what to say about DC right now.  With all the hype of Final Crisis, the main arc hasn’t been able to hold my interest and so far hasn’t delivered like I was hoping for or what it was hyped up to be.  It doesn’t help matters either that the book is shipping late, and there is quite a bit of time between issues 3 and 4 right now for readers to follow closely enough.

Since I personally consider Final Crisis a ‘bust’ so far, I’m really banking on the upcoming Green Lantern maxi ‘Darkest Night’.  Perhaps that will be DC’s redemption.

With that being said, the best tie-in book so far has to be Rogue’s Revenge.  I commented on issue one a few weeks back and was so impressed with the tone and story direction that I was really looking forward to issue two.

And it totally lived up to my expectations.

Once again, this book delivered more insight and action into the [The Flashes] Rogue’s mythos and lore in one issue than many regular books do over the course of many arcs. 

Libra draws the battle line as he and the Secret Society he now leads mount an ultimatum to lure the Rogue’s into his fold.  Libra musters up a ‘replacement squad’ of Rogue’s who imitate our wary villains in both powers and looks to take out Captain Cold’s estranged father and taunt them into action.  What the replacements don’t figure into their initial plans is that Captain Cold and his allies have been pushed too far and really don’t care so much as to the fate of Cold’s father.  The original Rogue’s (with the help of Mirror Master) track down the ‘new’ Rogue’s and unleash a very brutal and lethal ass whooping unlike what the reader usually sees in monthly books.  Devoid of compassion, empathy, and emotion the original Rogue’s maim, destroy, and kill their would-be replacements before the ‘new’ Rogue’s even know whats going on.  Of course Libra seemed to know this would happen and this fits into his plans nicely.

Cold is able to confront his father, and in a great flashback scene and strong dialogue between the two, new readers who may not even know the history of Captain Cold are quickly brought up to speed on his background and motivations.  In a sudden twist of self-morals, Cold can’t end his fathers life, but turns to Heat Wave who does so both willfully and unsympathetically.  All this action is a way for the Rogue’s to mentor the ‘new’ Trickster (Alex Walker) in their ways, a sort of ‘trail-by-fire’ to see if he has the mettle to hang with the boys.  It’s a hard lesson for Trickster to swallow at first…but he does, and thus we are witness to the ‘hardening’ of the new Trickster.

Meanwhile Zoom continues his forceful tutelage on the futuristic young villain of Inertia (who Zoom helped escape from captivity at The Flash Museum) and forces him into the deceased Bart Allen’s Kid Flash costume for his own designs.  It appears that Zoom is working for Libra and that Inertia will play a big part in issue 3.

The Rogue’s want Inertia dead for his role in having them ‘accidently’ kill Bart Allen.  Inertia is now with Zoom.  Zoom is in league with Libra.  Libra has plans for the Rogue’s.  The Rogue’s who wanted to be left alone feel that they have been pushed back into action, and aren’t gonna hide any longer.  They are coming for Libra.  Wow!  Oh, and lets not forget Pied Piper…it seems Libra has plans for him as well.  How is this going to pan all out in one more issue?  I don’t know.  This is so good, I would like to see it pan out over the course of 4 issues instead of 3.  This is the best thing Final Crisis has going for it right now, and Geoff Johns really elevates the Rogue’s here into a force you can get really excited about and be fearful about at the same time.  Who needs hero’s when you have some bad ass villains going after each other?

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Comics: Rogue’s Revenge #1

Cold as Ice

Cold as Ice

I finally got my hands on a copy of Rogue’s Revenge #1.  I had an idea it was going to be pretty popular if it was anything like arc of Rogue’s War, especially since it would be a tie into both Final Crisis, and return of Barry Allen (The Flash who sacrificed himself during the original Crisis on Infinite Earths).

I was more excited to actually get the alternative Captain Cold cover (pictured) as opposed to the Barry Allen crisis like cover.  Isn’t it a beauty?  Very powerful image and it simplicity in color and art style makes this cover just iconic in my opinion.

I can very happily report that Rogue’s Revenge #1 by writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins was everything I was hoping for and perhaps a tad bit more.  Again, in my opinion, this one book so far (two more to go) does more for the excitement of Final Crisis arc than Final Crisis itself.

I felt it revealed much more about Libra, his mindset and his attitude, than the core series is right now and felt that Libra came across as a much more potent villian here than elsewhere.  (On a side note, I still feel that Libra is someone we know in the DC Universe who just hasn’t revealed his true identity yet.  Wouldn’t it be something is it was Ralph Dibney himself, or some other hero who turned traitor?  I’m expecting a surprise on his origins soon enough.).

Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave and the new Trickster (Trickster II, Alex Walker) are on the run from their part in the death of Bart Allen (Kid Flash).  The reformed Pied Piper is after them, as well as the hero’s and even the newly formed Secret Society of Villains (headed by Libra).

It just seems these four rogues have great chemsitry together, and Captain Cold’s authoritative roll as default leader of this band of cons on the run is great.  His moral compass is both strict, unforgiving yet compassionate at times makes Snart a very complex character and is way beyond one dimensional.  That is the strength of writer Johns here.  He takes these B and C list characters and reveals so much they truly take on their own unique humanistic identities and the reader can really begin to get in their heads and begin to understand their motivations.

Cold’s message to Libra, and Libra’s reaction just sets the stage for yet another Final Crisis subplot I’m actually very eager to get my hands on moreso than than what’s happening to Green Lantern, Batman, and Wonder Woman right now.

Let’s not forget Inertia who masterminded the death of Bart Allen, and the jarring way he is brought back into this book as well.  I won’t spoil the surprise right now, but the means behind bringing Inertia back and what he is thrust into the very last two pages just amps this alrady solid book up to an eleven!  There’s plenty of cameo’s from the Flash-verse as well, but they aren’t thrown in for cameo’s sake,…clearly each has a purpose and al the groundwork was laid out masterfully in this opening issue.

Get this book!.

Comics: Final Crisis #3

WW hiding in the shadows of this book...for good reason...it blows.

WW hiding in the shadows of this book...for good reason...it blows.

After a longer than usualy delay in reading my monthly books, I final got to tackle Final Crisis #3, and I can say so far I am still not impressed.

I can’t say I’m totally confused on whats going on in this 7 issue series, but there’s really nothing I am compelled to get excited about so far, perhaps because the book jumps around so much with no real flow.  It didn’t help there was a delay between issues #2 and #3 that helped me even forget further what ‘may’ be important.

I picked up the alternate cover with a very nice painting of Supergirl on the cover, and then realizes she wasn’t in this book at all.  Odd.  In issue #2 we saw that Batman was captured, yet nothing in #3 even mentions his whereabouts. 

There’s a few pages of Frankenstien and The Question that for me came out of left field and alludes to the Anti-Life equation.  Um,…Okay….

Then there is the ridiculous turn of Mary Marvel…yet again….in as so many months.  I liked her look and turn when she was first granted the corupted powers by Black Adam.  That was interesting until the female version of Eclipso came around and muddled up what I thought was an exciting chracter re-emergence in Mary.  By the end of Countdown, Mary seemed to be her old self again, rejecting the evil side and got yet another new outfit.  Now I don’t pick up every DC book, but what the heck happened in the last few weeks where Mary Marvel is now eveil again (I surmise by Granny Goodness) and wearing one of the most hideous costumes that DC has green lit in a while (I take that back…DC seems to be okay with numerous ridiculous costumes as of late).  Anyway, the whole Mary Marvel thing in my opinion is a colossal cluster.  Why are we dedicating Wonder Woman to this sub-plot?

It appears the only thing that really continues is that Hal Jordon has been taken custody by teh Alpha Lanterns which can only be a set up for the upcoming Green Lantern maxi-series.

The reforming and handling of the All Star Squadron seems baffling.  If there is a common threat to Earth and the Universe, why now do the heroes need an act of Congress (article X) to be imposed upon them?  I don’t get the logic or purpose there.  So all the other times the heroes got together before, why didn’t they enact article X?  They just come together here and pose in some splash page for who knows what.

The only redeeming plotline was Sumo being rescued at the airport by some of the Japanese teen heroes.  That was fun.

Also a brief explanation of Barry Allen’s possible return was building to an exciting moment for me, but just came short of delivering there as well.  Perhaps issue 4.

Finally, I thought Libra was supposed to be the main villian here and his sub-plot also seems to be over shadowed by all the other chaos within the book.  I suspect Libra is actually someone we already know, perhaps a goon of Darksied that will be revealed later on.

I know other reviews of the book, like over at CBR gave this issue a 4.5 out of 5.  I just don’t see it.  I give this issue a lukewarm 2 out of 5 at best.

Comix: Final Crisis #2

Final Crisis #2So I eagerly picked up FC #2 yesterday trying to see if my slight dissapointment with the first issue could be alleviated.

Well, after devouring it from cover to cover all I can say is that I have mixed feelings, and not for the better.

Again, like issue number 1, the first few pages just seem like they came from left field.  We are introduced to a Japanese nightclub filled with numerous 20-something old powered patrons shown dancing and drinking and taking in the nightlife.  There is a brief altercation between a reknown popular superpowered sumo fighter and a mecha- suited guy looking to make a name for himself via a challenge.  So after 6 pages or so of this set up and build…..cut…new scene: DC heros mourning Martian Manhunter.

Um….okay?  What was that all about?  Why introduce all these Japanese characters in a nightclub scene?  It actually made me think about more questions such as: Why has DC never really focused on this segment before…that is supposedly established groups or even established metahuman cultures in other countries?  Yeah, there’s been some exposure to Soviet and even Chinese hero’s, but this just came across as way too casual.  See, when Superman flies by, even though he’s an established character, he still inspires awe and wonderment from the citizens of Metropolis or the world over….like ‘seeing’ a superhero is a ‘big deal’.  Apparently not so in Japan….it’s part of the ‘norm’?

Is it me or does Libra just not yet inspire grandeur of being a main player?  I still look at Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage as power players, and Libra just comes across as a costumed B-lister.  I don’t think Grant Morrison has done a well enough job yet in defining Libra’s motivations or powers.  After 2 issues (of the scheduled 7), I just don’t “get” Libra.

The rest of the DC Universe is investigating the murder of Martian Manhunter and Batman finds himself in a confrontation with an Alpha Lantern who seems to be shutting him down at every turn.  Hal Jordan also faces his ring being shut down by the Alpha Lanterns as he is to be arrested and investigated as well for his supposed ‘role’ in the Manhunters murder.  This upsets Superman.  But these sequence of events aren’t explored enough in detail to make logical sense.  I mean, how does an Alpha Lantern shut of Hal’s ring?  This is the same Hal whose ring as Parallex was virtually unstop-able…leading me to wonder why then if OA and the Lanterns have the ‘ability’ to shut off a ring at will…..then why the hell didn’t they do that eons ago when Hal was on a rampage?  And Batman being bested in his general approach to things and then captured via a Boom Tube by this rogue Alpha with ulterior motives…I dunno.

I have a suspicious feeling the way the Lantern Corps and OA are involved so far that Final Crisis is really no more than a pilot to get the next big DC arc of the ground…The Blackest Night…which would do the whole Final Crisis resolution a big disservice.

Comix: Final Crisis ….or is it?

Final Crisis 1 I suppose you can call this my inaugural post.  I spent the last few days wondering how I really wanted to breakout to the world and it just so happens there are a few major ‘events’ in spandex universes that are synonymous with summer.

Between the major two, Marvel and DC, we have the requisite universe spanning crossovers that are supposed to affect the majority of their respective titles and continuity for decades to come.  At least they always say that in Wizard, but you know how these go.  They’ll shake it up for a few months, maybe even a year or two, and then its back to the status quo.

Anyway for Marvel, their follow-up to last years Civil War and Initiative events, they have the Skrull Invasion.  A nice side mini-series that goes with it (but not mandatory reading) is the time traveling ‘Secret Invaders’ which brings back Captain America to life (dead in current era?) in a time-travelling yarn.  But I’ll leave all that for another post.

Today, I bring you Final Crisis #1, by DC.  It all started over two decades ago with the masterful ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ which was supposed to tighten the reigns on the DC multiverse into one cohesive universe where there would only be one Batman, one Superman, one Wonder Woman, and one history.  The reason being was at the time, those over at DC had a plethora of multiple main characters and parallel histories which often made the casual reader confused on which ‘history’ or ‘origin’ was the correct one.  When you have 50+ versions of Earth, each with its own brands of metahumans, including multiple Supermen and the like, you can see that eventually chaos reigns.

Anyway, the original Crisis, at least in my opinion, did a great job in condensing all the multiple histories and characters into one large DC universe.  Sure, there was some growing pains, some disgruntled readers and the like, but in the decade to come readers accepted this and all seemed right.

Fast forward to 2004 when DC decides to give writer Brad Metzler the green light to launch ‘Identity Crisis’, a 7 issue series that would lay the foundation for bringing back the multiverse to DC after almost 20 years.  Brad’s tale (along with Rags Morales on art duties) crafted yet another wonderful tale in which former B-list and even C-list villains raise there way to the top and make a name for themselves.  You see they discover some of the secret identities of the super heroes and begin to target their families, resulting in the death of Robin’s (Tim Drake) dad, the murder of Sue Dibny (wife of Elongated Man), the stabbing and eventual death of Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), just to name a few.  In these 7 issues, the DC universe as we had been now been accustomed to began to change….and it was good.

These events then led to other events such as Countdown, The OMAC project, Villains United, and 2005’s ‘Infinite Crisis’ (7 issue series by Geoff Johns).  It’s here that some of the original heroes thought dead from the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” story, (Superboy Prime, Alex Luthor of Earth 3, Superman and Lois Lane from Earth 2) escape a pocket universe they have been living in and hatch a plan to restore the multiverse in which Lois Lane (Earth 2) will live once our Earth has been replaced by a more perfect Earth 2.  Superboy Prime reveals a disturbed side and begins to kill off even more heroes (Conner Kent, multiple Green Lanterns) and villains alike.  His psychotic nature leads him to the planet OA where he is captured by the Green Lantern Corps and imprisoned in a Sun-Eater.

While all this is happening, events begin to break down in the weekly published series 52 in which all the gloves come off.  It’s my opinion that 52 started pretty darn well and for the most part was a good weekly read, although some story elements seemed a little lack luster or used for filler material.  The best aspects that came out for myself was the emergence of an all powerful Black Adam and the World War III series.  After events of World War III, DC then begins its final push to by the new 52 week ‘Countdown to Final Crisis’ (May 2007) series which in fact now reveals that the multiverse is back in full swing with 52 varying versions of earth.  The Monitors are back and want to correct all the out of place ‘aberrations’ of both heroes and villains that have displaced over the years.  Of course Darkseid wants in on the action, some New Gods (Orion being one of them) end up dead by the hands of his father Darkseid, and Jimmy Olsen inherits some New God powers.  A Monitor visits the ‘Source Wall’ and learns of a looming ‘Great Disaster’ in which only our Atom (Ray Palmer) can stop, and oh, Superboy Prime has escaped and on the rampage once again to destroy all the sub-par earths in search of the perfect earth.  All the chaos once again brings us to ‘Final Crisis’ after other events suchs as Amazons Invade (Wonder Woman) and Death of the New Gods.  While Countdown had some entertaining moments, I found it to be sub-par as a lead into Final Crisis.  There were some silly moments, some confusing ones as well, and some loose ends that never were tied up…at least not yet. 

Suffice it to say, the saga of the multiverse is much, much more complex than I can espouse here is a simple post.  This post was supposed to to be about Final Crisis #1, so let me get into it…

Metron appears to give fire to the first boy of our Earth who defends his village against Vandal Savage, thus making the boy out to be the first superhero, if you will. 

Darkseid’s human avatar form Boss Dark Side reveals that he has given the anti-life equation to some recently abducted metahuman children.

The skies of earth turn red and OA send the Alpha Lanterns not only to investigate the death of Orion, but to put our Earth on lock down.

Meanwhile, Libra (I know…who?) calls together all the villians, both A-listers (Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Gorilla Grodd) to name a few, and some lower tier ones (Dr. Light, Mirror Master, Human Flame) and kills a captured and drugged Martian Manhunter in front of their eyes showing he means business.  To me the death of Martian Manhunter came across very weird, and I highly doubt he will remain ‘dead’ for any stretch of time.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even know how he was drugged, let alone captured.  supposedly this all happened during the events of Salvation Run.

The most mind-numbing portion of the story is the supposed trial of one of the Monitors for his role in the destruction of Earth 51.  It just seemed ill-thought out as it unfolded…the trial, that is.  Perhaps it will make more sense in upcoming issues, but so far other than Martian Manhunter being killed, and our Earth (with its red skies) on lockdown by the Alpha Lanterns of OA, I wasn’t to impressed with Final Crisis’s first offering.  Compared to the Skrull Invasion over at Marvel, I really think it fell short, with the only real meat so far provided by Libra and his newly resurrected Secret Society.