Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll beserving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments. We’re looking for reviewers! If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]! Join the team!
Yesterday I asked, Is Aquaman Cool?
Now, on to the reviews!
Review by RobF
In the aftermath of the Ulysses affair one expects a ¨cool down? issue and Superman 39 is it. ¨How does it feel to be human?is a question we could all easily answer (even though our results might be different) but for the Man of Steel it?s one he?s never had to ponder. Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr help him explore his ¨human? side in an introspective issue that marks the end of the John?s tenure as writer.
The story begins directly after Superman’s temporary loss of powers and his decision to reveal himself to Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy?s genuine reaction is authentic, a combination of amusement and skepticism, as he really never accepts this news until he gets some proof at the end. There is a comedic tone as well, with Clark genuinely not knowing how long it takes to reach the Daily Planet on foot because he usually flies. This is a humbled Clark Kent, accepting of the situation and open to the possibility of a new experience.
John Romita?s art, always a strong selling point, falters some here. His pencils seem a bit looser and blockier, which hinders the scenes that hinge on dialogue and facial work. This issue does not hold a candle to his action scenes from past issues.
Superman #39 is a triumphant return for the Man of Steel and an excellent way to close out his ¨New 52? stories before Convergence. Geoff Johns has once again put his stamp on a character and left it better than when he arrived and we were lucky to have witnessed it.
Princess Leia #2
By Rob Bonnette
This is the second issue of the limited series on Princess Leia, serving as a companion to the main Star Wars series from Marvel. It picks up where the first issue left off, with Leia flying off from the Rebel base on Yavin in search of any remaining former citizens of Alderaan. Flying her ship is a rebel pilot and former Alderaanian citizen named Evaan, and R2-D2. Leia is doing this against the wishes of the Rebel military leadership and until the shadow of a bounty placed on her head by the Empire. Evaan, a former subject of hers, is still speaking to her as if she’s a member of royalty despite Leia’s protestations and is trying to let go of the long held resentment she long harbored towards her. During a few minutes of bonding over an old Alderaanian dish Leia flashes back to her childhood and some words of wisdom from her adopted father Bail Organa. Their destination is Naboo, which Evaan smartly suggests is a bad idea largely because it’s the Emperor’s homeworld. From there hijinks ensue of course; a nice bit of foreshadowing occurs when Leia opts for a cover name of First Minister Solo. Leia and Evaan find some former Alderaanians serving as basically indentured servants, are helped and betrayed by some others before getting on their journey back home.
Things pick up in this issue from the first one as Leia gets to move from being around her usual compatriots to her own adventure. We arguably get more character development here than we ever got in any of the films. We get some sense of the feeling of loss of their home from Leia and all the other former Alderaanians we encounter in this issue. We get an idea of Leia’s motivations beyond just overthrowing the Empire and the relationship between she and Evaan is interesting as the Princess tries to get someone who is used to begrudgingly deferring to her as royalty to treat her more as an equal who just happens to be in a supervisory position over her. It’s good to see Leia have to get herself out of a jam without that guy with the lightsaber or the freighter pilot with the Wookie first mate by her side. And what goes on among the former Alderaanians who are struggling to survive among the dire aftermath of their home’s destruction and being on the wanted list of the Empire is an interesting study in how people under the gun can turn on one another. Along with the second Darth Vader issue it looks like these limited series are going to be good ones.
By Rob Bonnette
This issue is the last of the Geoff Johns/John Romita Jr team-up on the main book, and is a day in the life of Superman as a regular person. At the close of the last issue Superman had just used his new power, the “Solar Flare”, to defeat Ulysses and as a result was rendered powerless for 24 hours. (The Solar Flare is a full release of all the Solar energy that Clark has stored up at one time, and it takes about 24 hours to fully recharge.) Having been through a lot with Ulysses, Clark felt the need to bond more with the one actual friend he has and revealed his identity to Jimmy Olsen. And that’s where we pick up here. Clark and Olsen are walking to work and chatting about the whole Superman thing when Clark feels a chill. It turns out that he normally judges the temperature by using his X-ray vision to see how dense the air molecules are and dresses accordingly to fit in; he never feels the actual temperature . Along the way the to and at The Daily Planet there are few more instances of Clark having regular human moments. The big moment comes when Clark, sans powers, confronts a criminal in costume as Superman. While we know it isn’t going to end badly for obvious reasons there is a moment of anxiousness as to just how it’s going to go. By issues’ end Clark’s powers have returned and we flash over to a shadowy figure stating that future is unwritten but that Clark and his friends will soon see it.
This is a nice issue, a sort-of epilogue/sort-of one-shot. For those who have lamented the (very overblown) loss of Superman’s boy scout persona in the New 52 continuity this is a throwback of sorts in that we got some explanation of why Clark does what he does whether it’s with super powers or not and that he doesn’t take on some super powered alien but just a regular run of the mill criminal that would be light work for even a non powered sidekick to handle. It’s also a good look at the one friendship he has that doesn’t revolve around work in some way or another, either at the Daily Planet or as Superman. The Clark/Olsen friendship isn’t fraught with the complications the ones he has with Bruce Wayne or Lois Lane, two headstrong individuals who continue to astound and confound Clark at every turn. It also doesn’t carry the awkwardness that his relationship carries with Diana has from being with someone as powerful as you but with greater official responsibilities and a difference in opinion on a big thing like how to dispatch your enemies. This issue really does harken back to the olden days of Superman comics. If you’re a fan of that this issue is for you, and even if you’re not this is still a nice issue either as a wrap up to the Ulysses arc or as a standalone. This is also apparently the last time we’ll see the much maligned Kryptonian armor suit for Superman as he’s up for a major costume change over the next couple of months. So that’s another bonus in itself.
Infinite Crisis #9
Review by Scott Brown
Previously… During the battle of Nil our team of heroes, gathered from multiple universes, combined their powers to defeat an alternate universe Braniac and stop him from taking over the multiverse and saving the Monitor in the process. But, one hero, Lex Luthor of Earth-19, the gaslight world, gathered tech Intel on the adventure for his own purposes.
This issues story starts with Diana discovering an Earth Engine hidden in Gotham of Earth 17. This prompts her to get the band back together.
We jump to Earth 19, where Luthor addresses a gathering of world leaders and uses nefarious means to trick them into a peace accord, uniting against a threat to their world.
This prompts a visit from Earth Prime’s Batman and Superman.
Meanwhile, Hal Jordan of Earth… Damn numbers! Who knows what Earth, it’s one ruled by magic or maybe Medieval England or David Copperfield or something. Point being a much different Hal than from our Earth, goes to Earth 44, a mechanized Earth to get assistance from our friend and teammate, K.A.L., a very cool Supermanbot. They are attacked by Deathstrokebot (EVERYONE is a robot on this Earth).
Back on Gas Light World (Earth 19ish), Luthor expresses his great displeasure and badly hurt feelings over accusations leveled at him by Bruce and Clarke. Then, in classic “big bad” rules of conduct, he tricks the two World’s Finest and suits up in his Earth 19, Lexcorp armor and challenges them to prepare for a steam punk throw down!
Dan Abnett does a great job of making the multiverse interesting with Diana’s post Apocolypse Gotham, the K.A.L. Matrix world and Luthor’s high tech 19th century world. I like the his interactions between the alternate universe Robin and our Batman and his version of Luthor is my favorite ever.
The art team of Fransisco, Duce, Sanchez, Abbott, Tan and Santos (which I think is the Phillies starting infield also) does an excellent job. Tan and Santos produced a cover that is poster worthy, the contrast between world’s is well done and steam punk battle Luthor makes me wish Earth 19 had its own series.
This book is based on the video game of the same name. Play for free at www.infinitecrisis.com
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