Thursday, October 28, 2004

Quick Comic Reviews

JLA; Green Lantern: Rebirth; Outsiders

JLA #107
by Kurt Busiek, Ron Garney & Dan Green
Well now, this is much better. Busiek takes the reins of DC's premier super team title and, without resorting to any needless deaths or personality transplants, turns the title into a compelling read. Yes, it's the first part of an eight-part story, but it also tells a complete story within itself, with Flash and the Martian Manhunter facing down a crisis involving a rapidly evolving artificial intelligence. Other JLA'ers have just brief walk-on roles, but even then they feel right, not like the pod people who showed up for the previous six issues. (Can we just forget that those ever happened?) Even Garney's art is much improved, whether due to the addition of Green's inks, a script that is involving and interesting, or a combination of the two. It's not a work of genius by any means, but it's good, enjoyable super-hero fare. Count me in.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Outsiders #17
by Judd Winick & Carlos D'Anda
Gee, a character in a Judd Winick-scripted book turns out to have a sordid past. What are the odds? Granted, with the backgrounds of all the other characters pretty much well-established, Grace was the only choice on the roster, but it all seems rather convenient for the story, and coming in the same week as the revelations about Mia in Green Arrow could make one start to wonder. Despite having his photo slapped across the cover, television crusader John Walsh doesn't show up until the last panel, and the way in which he is worked into the story is awkward. (Nightwing is the one who makes the suggestion to go to America's Most Wanted? Besides the fact that such a move seems out-of-character, when does the guy have the time to even watch tv?) But the real disappointment in this issue is the art. I've never been a fan of D'Anda, but his art here is just ugly. The storytelling is okay, but the art shows inconsistancy from panel to panel, and the murky colors by Sno-Cone don't help. With such a serious and important topic being handled, it's a shame that this couldn't have been a better comic.
Rating: 2 (of 5)

Green Lantern: Rebirth #1
by Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver
Johns puts a lot of balls in the air in this first issue, setting the stage for the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. The decision to make Hal evil/crazy years ago was, in a word, dumb, and DC's stubborn refusal to admit that has just led to things getting worse with the character, until the point where Johns has a lot of work ahead to undo everything. Quite frankly, somebody should have just waived a magic wand and said that it was all a dream or something, but instead the return is going to be stretched out over a six issue mini. it remains to be seen if Johns will be able to catch all of the balls he's tossed up and have them land into something that makes sense (well, at least comic book sense...) Van Sciver turns in some of the strongest work of his career, while colorist Moose Bauman does a good job with one of the hardest titles in the biz (A GL title always runs the risk of being overwhelmed by green!)
Rating: 3 (of 5)

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