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Comicbook Reviews – 1/29/20

Rita's Redemption?

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Action1019

Action Comics #1019

METROPOLIS DOOM!  PART 3

One of the biggest battles in Superman history tears through Metropolis as the super-villain team-up of Lex Luthor, the Legion of Doom, and Leviathan come to change Superman’s city forever!  The Man of Steel deals with the public disclosure of his secret identity!

Why I’m Excited

With the Justice / Doom War reaching it’s climax, stakes have never been higher. Superman will have to dig deep in order to find the strength to overcome the combined might of Leviathan and the Legion of Doom.

What I Thought

While I’m ordinarily a fan of John Romita Jr’s style, his work in this issue feels a bit slapdash. His lines will be strong on one page and chaotic the next, which made for a rather jarring read. As for the story itself, the dialogue between Leviathan and Lex Luthor feels incredibly forced. Bendis’ usual quip riddled writing plays awkwardly against the idea of Lex Luthor’s calm, cool and collected demeanor.

The issue sets up the coming battle with a massively out of character retort and a last page reveal. In typical fashion, Bendis manages to stretch a story just past it’s breaking point without really delivering anything.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

 

2Star

 

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Detective Comics Annual #3

WHO DARES, WINS / THE WEEK

Of all the mayhem and madness that “City of Bane” visited upon Batman’s world, the death of Alfred Pennyworth had the greatest impact. A s Bruce struggles to pick up the pieces of his life, the absence of the man who had always helped him is felt with devastating consequences.  With new storm clouds brewing on the horizon, does Bruce Wayne have what it takes to honor his dearest friend’s memory?

Why I’m Excited

Excited is a bit of a stretch…braced for glorious pain is more like it. The death of Alfred has created a hole not only in Batman’s life, but in the very fabric of Batman storytelling.

What I Thought

Wow. Tomasi pulls no punches in this tale that memorializes Batman’s most stalwart ally. Flashing back to Alfred’s days as a spy, we are offered a glimpse of the man of he once was and the life experiences that made him indispensable to Bruce’s crusade.

What’s more tragic is the disarray that has befallen the Batcave and Wayne Manor. Trash litters every surface, dishes pile up in the sink and even the fridge is empty. The depression and despair permeates every single panel and even the moments where Bruce remembers the lessons Alfred taught him sting with loss.  While Bruce does manage to take the fist steps towards healing, in an attempt to honor Alfred’s memory, we know that the path ahead will be harder than he can possibly imagine.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

4Star

 

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The Flash #87

ROUGES’ REIGN, AFTERMATH: ICE AND LIGHTNING

Central City is in ruins!  The Rogues are on the run!  The Speed Force is in chaos—and the Flash’s powers make him too dangerous to remain free!  But who can bring him in?

Plus, a surprise character returns from Barry’s past with a grave warning about his future!

Why I’m Excited

The Speed Force isn’t just broken, it’s shattered. Changed forever in the wake of the Justice/Doom War and the other forces leaking through the crack in the source wall. This fundamentally alters Flash storytelling, add to that Flash being carted of to Arkham in order to protect people from his unstable powers and this is going to be a wild issue

What I Thought

There’s a certain amount of irony in describing an issue of The Flash as being too faced paced, and yet here we are. The first handful of pages are easily the best the issue has to offer, as Flash and the deposed King Cold have a heart to heart about the nature of their conflict and any similarities the two have with one another. Casting the villain as the Hero’s dark reflection is a well established trope in comics and while the use of cliche is a bit eye-roll inducing it is used to proper effect in this clash of perspectives.

Once at Arkham, the story surges forward indelicately, rushing through a temporary fix for the Speed Force issues currently plaguing DC’s speedsters, just in time for them to assist in a mass breakout. Its a fun issue, but once the story beats are hit in the opening the rest of the book is blatant filler.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

 

JusticeLeague39

Justice League #39

JUSTICE/DOOM WAR, FINALE

In the wake of the Justice/Doom War, the Justice League finds themselves stranded at the far end of the universe and facing a challenge they’ve never faced before.  But what will they find on their journey?  Has their battle with Perpetua had consequences reaching farther across the cosmos than they ever imagined?

What I’m Excited For

The Justice/Doom War has been an epic conflict that, in my estimations, probably should been a Crisis level event. With the universe primed to side with Doom, the Justice League is up against something that they’ve never been faced with…losing the faith of the people they are trying to protect. I honesty have no idea how this is going to shake out and I can’t wait for Scott Snyder to surprise me once again.

What I Thought

Wow…just…wow. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this, and I haven’t had to flip back and reread an ending this many times since the death of Sirius Black. While some people will call this ending unsatisfying, it is the definite end of the War between the forces of Justice and Doom.

With recent leaks and solicits hinting at what is coming for our heroes, it’s safe to say that will the battle for the hearts and minds of the galaxy has ended, the war for survival has just begun.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

 

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Avengers30

Avengers #30

STARBRAND REBORN, PART FOUR: “NATIVITY IN THE STARS”

In a Shi’ar space prison the size of a galaxy, the cosmic war for the Starbrand super weapon comes to its cataclysmic conclusion.  Who is the shocking new wielder of the Starbrand?  And will they survive long enough to control the epic planet-melting power at their disposal?  Not if Gladiator of the Shi’ar has anything to say about it.  But the space-ravaged Avengers will have a thing or two to say about it too. Including Brood Thor, Captain Corsair, the War Widow, the new-look She-Hulk and Blade… as you’ve never seen him before!

What I’m Excited For

I’ll be honest, I have very little interest in this current arc. Starbrand ranks right behind Moon Knight and Paste Pot Pete as far as characters I couldn’t care less about are concerned. Really just trying to stay on top of what all is going on with Iron Man at this point.

What I Thought

Overall, a resounding ‘meh’, stemming from my own lack of interest than anything to actually do with the writing. I’m not a fan of McGuinness’s art, so there was very little to interest me throughout the issue itself. This said, seeing Captain America stop mid battle to deliver a child while surrounded by warring cosmic beings was a great character moment.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

2Star

 

CaptainAmerica18

Captain America #18

THE LEGEND OF STEVE continues!

Cap vs Nick Fury! Cap vs The Dryad! The new Scourge vs everybody! And a heart-stopping climax that you’ll never forget!

What I’m Excited For

Since Coates is taking on the long lasting impact of Secret Empire, it’s to be expected that Cap’s life is a tangled mess. Hopefully we’ll see some of the recent plot lines wrapped up in a way that clears the board a bit because the story itself is edging on convolution.

What I Thought

Welp, we did get some kind of closure…even if all it did was spin up the next thing headed for Cap. Honestly the hallmark moment of this issue was Cap’s speech to the masses, calling on them to listen to their better angels and believe in the dream that he represents. Not going to lie, totally read it in Chris Evans’ voice.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

 

X-Force6

X-Force #6

INTELLIGENCE

DEADLY CHOICES CARRY DARK CONSEQUENCES! First, Domino and Forge have to pick up the pieces as the team faces a major setback! Then, Beast takes matters into his own hands when a piece of new technology threatens the safety of the nation.

What I’m Excited For

X-Force has been one of the more compelling books in the current stable of X-men publishing. The way it balances political intrigue and all out action has been curious, but given that it has the same timber of Percy’s work on Green Arrow, it isn’t unexpected. I never know quite what to expect, but I’m always happy with what I get.

What I Thought

Okay, someone stop Beast from doing things ever again. Seriously. It was interesting to see his calculating mind tricked by his own arrogance, as previous runs that have used him as the focal point have been tinged with either panic, regret or a mixture of the two.

He’s a man that means well, and tries to use his powers and brilliance to better the lives of those he holds dear. Problem is, he is so consumed with his singular perspective that he never seems to give much though to the down stream implications and oh boy, this latest issue sets up one of his most dangerous miscalculations yet.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

 

X-Men5

INTO THE VAULT

MUTANTS ARE THE FUTURE! The X-Men, the most powerful heroes on the planet, deal with an old nemesis’ surprising return…

What I’m Excited For

Mutant action, and the return of Laura Kinney as Wolverine. ‘Nuff said

What I Thought

This issue was a solid study on the burden that Scott Summers bears as the leader of the X-Men. While the plot itself is fairly straighforward, the use of characters is very intriguing, and I haven’t seen Darwin in a long time. Scott’s reactions to the events that unfold is truly the strongest part of the issue, as Cyclops has to constantly weigh the wellbeing of his friends against the needs of his people and growing nation.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

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GoGoPowerRangers28

Go Go Power Rangers #28

Before RITA REPULSA was the Power Ranger’s enemy she was imprisoned in a dumpster on the moon, serving time for her widespread reign of terror. Within the confines of her cell, Rita is forced to confront her sins, by experiencing the lives of those she has affected…

What I’m Excited For

Despite being one of the Ranger’s most recognizable foes, so little of her history is actually known. This will be a welcome addition to the expanding lore of Power Ranger fandom.

What I Thought

Wow. Seeing Rita’s “rehabilitation” explains why she came out of that space dumpster more of a twisted monster than ever. To be subjected to one lifetime as a new person, to live, love and grow as a normal individual and then loosing the sum total of those experiences in a flash, only to realize that the life you knew was a fictitious memory, intended to provide you with emotional stability. It seems like an obvious fact that such a loss would shatter even the strongest resolve, but then to realize that Rita is damned to serve a 26,000 year sentence where she is to live out the lives of every soul she destroyed in her cosmic rampage.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

4Star

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TMNT102

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #102

The Turtles are separated, each trying to find their own way forward. With their absence, Old Hob fills the power vacuum with the help of some very unusual new mutants!

Why I’m Excited

The Turtles are broken in a way not easy to describe, and I’m dying to see how the brothers and their new sister will reconcile in the wake of the war that claimed so many beloved lives and laid waste to their city.

What I Thought

I thought last issue was painful, but this one hurt in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Through the course of this title Donatello has gone from cynic to skeptic and now is one of the most stalwart members of the family. To see him finally break under the stress was a blow I was not prepared for.

I was thankful for the quick cuts back to the action in the city, as it offered a much needed pallet cleaners between moments of heavy emotional resonance.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

4Star

 

Transformers16

Riots rock Cybertron as the delicate balance of peace is fully disrupted. Amidst the anti-Autobot, anti-Decepticon, and anti-Rise actions, can Orion Pax, Chromia, and a Decepticon finally link the deaths of Brainstorm and Rubble to a larger conspiracy?

Why I’m Excited

Megatron’s moral drive is slowly crumbling and he is on a collision course with inevitability. I am far more interested in the rise of the Decepticons than I initially expected.

What I Thought

Is it weird that the most interesting thing in a book that regularly features giant robot battles is the political intrigue? To see cybertronian society crumbling makes the war that Transformers fans know seem less noble and more depressing. To see the drive to save lives and protect the innocent turn into a drive to conquer and enslave the weak is a truly gut wrenching experience, and somehow the abusrdity of moral decay plaguing a robot society makes it hauntingly relatable.

 

Also the cover made me think of the whole “Mrs. Nesbitt” thing from Toy Story…I feel better having said that.

Above Average Joe’s Rating

3Star

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