Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Not-so-New 52": Issue #5 Reviews (part two)

In our second installment following the "New 52" titles I collect on a monthly basis, we find Aquaman in the desert, The Flash thawing out prison guards, the New Guardians exploring planets within a mysterious vessel, and The Savage Hawkman dealing with the undead!

Which was my favorite of the month?
I'll give you a hint.......

On to the reviews.....and nevermind the mop in the background! lol.


After dealing with the Trench in the last issue and saving several lives, Aquaman & Mera return to their lighthouse and try and relax.  Aquaman still has lingering thoughts about what went down, and if he took the right actions.  Suffering from insomnia, he receives a phone call from some Government-Military Types about a mysterious shrieking Atlantean artifact that looks a lot like the "A" on his belt buckle.

Aquaman arrives to investigate, but is interrupted by helmeted mercenaries who attack the facility and steal the artifact! Aquaman goes after them, and during his fight with them realizes they are Atlantean too!  The plane they are escaping/fighting in blows up and Aquaman is marooned in the desert.

Aquaman's greatest weakness.....not being around or in water, shows forth as he quickly begins to dehydrate and have hallucinations about his father.  With the thirst becoming greater, and injured as well, Aquaman finds the artifact and triggers it's ancient Atlantean message explaining how the vessel found it's way to the bottom of the Atlantic Trench, the mysterious lifeforms that attacked and presumably killed the crew.  He also learns of an impending civil war, and plans to sink Atlantis (in the distant past).  

He is ultimately rescued by the U.S. Military, and made fun of on the news and talk shows.  He returns home to find the Mera has went to town to buy dog food......

Impressive artwork by Ivan Reis, and good writing by Geoff Johns.....who is obviously setting up a greater story arc that should turn out great (if Johns' long writing history is any indication).  That said, I've decided to drop Aquaman from my monthly pull list in favor of collecting the Graphic Novel of our favorite Atlantean.


From the outset, let me say that writing is a secondary consideration when I read The Flash.....Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato bring their "A-Game" artistically each and every issue!  It is jaw-dropping, astounding, beautiful, flowing, & just plain awesome!!  The writing could be horrible and I'd still love this title just for the artwork!  That said, the writing is getting progressively better....and with the end of the first arc, we see that Manapul & "Booch" brought together the many threads of the individual issues, revealed some mysterious aspects that may play into future issues, tied up everything nicely with a good climax.....all-in-all, they've proven to me that they can write a decent comic book! If I could only collect one comic would be The Flash!!

Dr. Elias; who was kidnapped by Mob Rule last issue, has decided to help them with their predicament and test his Green Generator at the same time.  Meanwhile, Iris West escapes her confinement at Iron Heights prison only to find herself in the middle of a prison riot/escape....initiated by Captain Cold.  The Flash is busy trying to help the stranded citizens of the Gem Cities; who have been discombobulated by the mysterious E.M.P. blast in issue #2, get back home to their loved ones.

The Flash notices ice in the water, and quickly makes the connection to Iron Heights and Captain Cold.  While The Flash races to Iron Heights, Iris is busy defending herself against the likes of  Folded Man, Girder, & Tarpit  (our first glimpse of these Flash rogues in the "New 52").  The Flash thaws out the guards and puts the three rogues out of commission while saving Iris and giving her a lift home.  He then seeks to save Manuel and Dr. Elias, going through all of Mob Rule to get to them.

Dr. Elias and Manuel are trying to give Mob Rule a chance to live, but the Green Generator's containment seal  breaks and the only chance to save the Gem Cities from the explosion is for The Flash to intervene.  Creating a vortex of immense speed, Flash channels the blast upwards and saves the cities.  In the process; however, Manuel's unable to save Mob Rule and blames The Flash for it.  Patty is overjoyed to find that Barry didn't die, Manuel and the others are still....MOB RULE, and Dr. Elias Green Generator caused the EMP blast.  The Flash's vortex didn't send the blast into the atmosphere, but instead through time? Dr. Elias theorizes the Speed Force is damaging the fabric of Space-Time and must be destroyed.

Everyone should be reading The Flash!!  Race, run, or fly to your local comic book shop today and start collecting the title that we'll be talking about a decade from now as one of the best artistic treasures ever published!!!


The makeshift team led by Green Lantern Kyle Raynor finds it's way to the galactic core and awesomely large space vessel known as the Orrery. Realizing that all the space ships that came to investigate are without lifeforms, the team splits up to find their way into the Orrery and assess the situation. Meanwhile on the planet Ysmault, Bleez has returned to report the stolen red ring to Atrocitus....who is frustrated by her lack of  intelligence (due to the raging napalm blood coursing through her), so he dunks her into the Blood Ocean so she may regain her cognitive abilities (see: Red Lanterns #3 for the full story)

Saint Walker and Arkillo find their way into one of the giant globes of the Orrery, and find a planet inside! The inhabitants believe they are on Tamaran, and that the two strangers are from the Archangel? A couple globes away, Munk & Fatality discover the same thing....they are attacked and realize that the inhabitants think they are on LarFleeze's home planet of Okarra? Kyle & Glomulus find likewise, but the inhabitants of this planet fear them, since Glomulus wears the insignia of the "Beast"? They discover that the "Beast" is none other than LarFleeze, and that they have awakened Invictus, the Archangel.....who lives within the center of the Orrery (it's Sun), and whom all the inhabitants of all the planets seemingly worship?

Tony Bedard & Tyler Kirkham continue their creative adventures with the "Rainbow Corps", introducing a grave threat in Invictus & an opportunity for our New Guardians to gel as a team.  I love the fact that it seems that LarFleeze is the conductor of affairs for this group (why wouldn't the agent of avarice want his own team? And have them unknowingly carry out his agenda as well...), and I fully expect Bleez to make a reappearance soon as the intelligent rage that may be what's needed to complete this team.


New co-writer James Bonny has had an immediately positive effect on this title, as he writes the dialogue in this issue....which is very impressive. Artist Philip Tan; on the other hand, seems to be struggling with faces.  He draws the "undead" well, and his version of Hawkman is awesome! That said, he seems to have trouble being consistent when drawing Carter Hall & Mr. Digby.  

Announcements have been made as well, starting with issue #9, Rob Liefeld will plot with Tony Daniel leaving as writer and Joe Bennett (who is the current artist on Deathstroke) taking over for Tan.  The title has lost half it's readership since issue #1, and this move is an act of desperation to try and improve sales and avoid cancellation. It's a shame, The Savage Hawkman has been very enjoyable so far and underlying story arcs are beginning to unfold.....hopefully it can be saved.

Carter Hall is having a nightmare, but he's wide awake! Seeing the "undead" all around him, the Nth Metal begins to react to his anxiety at these hallucinations.  Or is the Nth Metal trying to show him something? Wondering whether or not the symbiotic alien metal is poisoning him (like Mercury does) and driving him insane, he returns home and receives a phone call from Professor Ziegler

Meanwhile, Mr. Digby is having lunch at his rare book store, and is interrupted by a shadowy figure.  Carter meets Professor Ziegler at his research lab and goes to work to decipher an ancient text from a book.  Carter's "Hawkeye" reveals the text to him, the Nth Metal's powers show Carter a secret history of undead apparitions able to phase between planes of existence & the warlocks that vanquished them within the Mortis Orb.  Ziegler reveals the name of the book's owner...Jim Craddock.  

Carter does his research, learns that Craddock is long dead, and that the real owner of the ancient book is Darius Digby.  Hawkman pays him a visit to find out more......but is interrupted by the Apparitions, who can hurt Hawkman, but whom Hawkman cannot hurt? Comforted by the fact that he is not going insane, Hawkman concedes death may be at his door.....but is introduced to The Gentleman Ghost instead!

I loved this issue because of the cliffhanger ending!  How can Hawkman defeat the Appartitions that he cannot touch? Is the Gentleman Ghost here to help Hawkman, or are the Appartitions release into our plane of existence his doing? Where and what is the Mortis Orb?  Great stuff!  Also, I've come to the revelation that to own a rare book store is a very bad thing.....Mr. Digby (owner of Digby's Rare Book Emporium, from this issue) and Bernie (owner of Bernie's Rare Books, from the movie The Ninth Gate) being two very conclusive examples.

Check back in a couple weeks for #6 reviews & my thoughts on the first 6 months of the "New 52"....

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