Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Not-so-New 52": Issue #4 Reviews (part one)

Wow! It's that time the way, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!  Part One of my #4 Reviews brings you my personal favorites....Deathstroke, Green Arrow, O.M.A.C., & Red Lanterns.  Thanks to my LCS (Dave's Clubhouse in Columbus, OH) starting a "$5 minimum purchase for Credit/Debit Cards" policy, we also have Grifter (which Guest-Stars Green Arrow).

Lots of great stories and action for the month of December, including Oliver Queen's woman troubles, Brother Eye not having enough "bars" in enough places, hell to pay for one prison warden, lots of mad aliens swimming in blood, & Daemonites.  Issue #3 was my "Litmus Test" for the titles, Issue #4 is the "expansion" into deeper plots and directions for the respective characters.  On to the reviews.....


Slade Wilson finds himself in a maximum-security prison, chained and chided by Warden Templeton....but he's NOT there on accident.  After disposing of his target, Deathstroke notices that his hands are shaking and that he's having trouble hitting his target.  Is Slade Wilson just tired, or is something else happening? 

After learning that Deathstroke's armor is derived from Nth Metal (crossover in the future with The Savage Hawkman? That would be awesome!!), we finally see the contents of the Briefcase that Deathstroke came in possession of in Issue #1....The  Helmet & knife of Ravager, Slade Wilson's son.  Long believed dead, Grant Wilson's blood is on his mask, and it's recent...meaning he may actually still be alive!  The clues lead Deathstroke to Atilla and the Blackhawks, and the issue leaves off with Cristoph (Deathstroke's "handler") losing an eye.

The creative team of Higgins & Bennett continue their mastery of the World's greatest Assassin.  This fast-paced, action-packed title is exciting and fun to of my favorites.


New creative team Keith Giffen & Dan Jurgens start their 3-Issue run with an introduction to Blood Rose, who apparently wants to punish Oliver Queen.  Her partner, the mysterious one from the end of issue #3....has little part in this issue, other than "experimenting" on some "muggers" set up to confront Green Arrow.

Meanwhile, Oliver Queen is "forced" into doing his job at Q-Core....working late hours, which brings him into a surprise altercation with the aforementioned Blood Rose.    Using a diversion, Queen escapes and Green Arrow appears to confront the femme fatale. A great fight ensues, and just as Green Arrow thinks he has the upper hand....he learns that Blood Rose was just playing with him.  Her powers go far beyond what she led him to believe.  

Giffen does well with this new arc, and Jurgens does great artwork...especially the pages of fighting between Blood Rose and GA. 

In GRIFTER, Cole Cash tracks down Daemonites working at Q-Core Headquarters, and isn't afraid to bring his "war" right through the front door....literally.  This; of course, brings the attentions of Green Arrow to his doorstep. A great fight ensues between Grifter & Green Arrow in the streets of Seattle,  though Grifter eventually escapes with the help of a mysterious female.  

I've never read an issue of Grifter, nor have I had any previous knowledge of him (never knew he existed until they announced his title in the "New 52").  My only knowledge of Daemonites is from Majestic (a title that I wish I'd never read...just horrible).  That said, it was an easy-to-read issue....and I got the gist of everything going on without having to investigate.

A great month for Green Arrow overall, with two great fight sequences drawn to perfection.


This is arguably my favorite title of the "New 52".  A totally re-made character based on Jack Kirby's creation, I really hope this title sticks around a long time.  It is the most enjoyable and entertaining read in it's first 4 issues since Kevin Smith's Green Arrow, Richard Starking's Elephantmen, Jeff Loeb's Superman/Batman, & Geoff John's Green Lantern.....that's great company for Dan DiDio & Keith Giffen to be in!! Plus, I've been taking bets on how long they can come up with issue titles that fit the acronym O.M.A.C.....+/- 8 anyone? 

"Offline Messaging, Annoying Circumstances" begins with Kevin Kho "blinked" back home from the prison fight from last issue, as Brother Eye points out Kevin's need for his watchful...eye....and protection.  Kevin notices his home has been searched, and begs Eye not let Jody (Kevin's girlfriend) be hurt by his new life or enemies.  After a horrible day both in his personal and professional life, Kevin decides to take the train against Eye's wishes. Without a signal in the underground subway station, Kevin is free from Eye & his enemies are free to try and take his life! Lord Mokarri's Bio-Gators hunt down Kevin, who tries escaping into the sewers before realizing his only option is to find a signal to Eye....then OMACTIVATE!! 

O.M.A.C. beats down the Bio-Gators as Eye explains the "what's what" of their relationship.  O.M.A.C. blinks away back to Kevin's apartment, and Kevin finally comes to understand his need for Brother Eye.  The Issue ends with Maxwell Lord & Checkmate contacting S.H.A.D.E. for help to stop Brother Eye's monster, so S.H.A.D.E. sends a monster of their own to help....Frankenstein!!


Peter Milligan & Ed Benes' rageful writing and art continue to impress me, making this arguably (along with O.M.A.C.) my favorite title of the "New 52".  Who knew rage could be so entertaining, or that great plots and arcs could develop from it....thank you Geoff Johns! The Milligan-Benes team has taken the rage and ran with it, doing an awesome job!!

After introducing Bleez to the Blood Ocean last issue, Atrocitus decides to introduce other Red Lanterns to the Blood Ocean as well....Skallox, Ratchet, & Zilius Zoxx.  Atrocitus realizes that in order to carry out his mission of rageful vengeance across the universe, he needs help...intelligent help.  He decides to take his mind off Bleez and her possible treachery by scouring the universe in search of rage's cry for vengeance.....Atrocitus makes his way to Earth and realizes the great amount of retribution needed on this small little planet is more than he can handle all on his own and begins to see the possibility of an earth-based Red Lantern. 

We are given some of the background behind the characters swimming the Blood Ocean, as their cognitive processes begin to return to them....and the issue ends with the cliffhanger: THE CORPSE OF KRONA IS GONE!

Part Two of the #4's coming soon!

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