Weekly Comic Book Review for 9/30/09

Green Lantern #46

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen and Doug Mahnke
Colorist: Randy Mayor and Gabe Eltaeb

Story – Feared

This is what I am talking about. Even though I have probably been the biggest critic of Blackest Night it is not because I don’t want to like the event but that it is not up to the quality I expect from the event and of Johns. The story has been slow and pondering on the same position it has been since the first issue. But if this issue is an example of where the event is going it looks like the series will finally be moving forward for the first time instead of backwards.

So far the tie-ins to Blackest Night have been much better and more effective in telling a more compelling story than the main series itself and Green Lantern #46 was another example of this. I think the thing that is making these tie-ins to Blackest Night better than the main series is that the writers are free to focus on the story than trying to make the stars of the DCU stand out above others, specifically the Black Lanterns JLA. This issue is an example of this as he is able to focus not on only the Black Lanterns and the threat they present to the universe but also on other members of the various Lantern Corps than just Hal Jordan.

And as this issue also shows Hal is an interesting character when he is interacting with characters like Sinestro, Carol, and Indigo-1 who each have their own distinct personalities and not a similar like Barry has. Johns did a very good job balancing the dialogue between the four characters as each one plays of the other very well. The dialogue was what carried the first half of this issue and kept things moving at a great pace as we entered the main event of this issue.

What was interesting to see is how we already have four of the seven main characters of the Green, Violent, Yellow, and Indigo Lantern Corps members together very quickly. It was stated that one of the other Lantern Corps members is needed to mix their “light” with the Green Lantern “light” to destroy the Black Lanterns and it was fun seeing it being shown with Hal and Carol combining their powers. The next main Lantern Cops member that will probably join the group of Hal, Sinestro, Carol, and Indigo-1 will be Saint Walker. That is if Sinestro stays with the group. It will be interesting to see if Agent Orange and Attrocius will join the ranks since those are the two that will be hardest to convince that they must join forces to defeat the Black Lanterns.

The best thing about this issue was of course the last half of the issue that gave us the main event fight of Sinestro vs. Mongul. The fight was properly brutal and epic as it has been built up to be in Tomasi’s “Emerald Twilight” story arc that happened just before Blackest Night. Even though Mongul dominated most of the fight the fight really showed why Sinestro is a badass character. The way the fight ended was awesome and is another example of why Sinestro has become one of the best and most interesting characters in the DCU.

The only problem I had with this issue is how slow and little attention is being paid to John Stewarts sub-plot that has been running through Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Each issue of GL and GLC for the past few months have only given us a page or two showing us what John is doing and it is getting very boring. Personally with how little attention Johns, Tomasi, and other writers have paid to John this past year he has become the least interesting of the four Earth Green Lanterns as I haven’t found a reason to care what happens to the character.

Doug Mahnke’s artwork was again spectacular. He gives this issue the big event feel that Ivan Reis is giving the main series. The fight between Sinestro and Mongul was the highlight of the issue and Mahnke perfectly captured how epic the fight between two titans was. The only problem I had with the art is the inkers by committee this issue had. There were a few panels that had some inconsistent art.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.4/10 – Johns does a great job with all the dialogue in this issue and I hope we get more quality dialogue and storytelling like we got in this issue in the main series that Johns just has not provided.
Art: 8.7/10 – A few minor inconsistencies aside Mahnke’s artwork was phenomenal. Mahnke’s artwork did a nice job helping Johns dialogue by carrying the last half of the issue with the big fight we were given.
Overall: 9.1/10 – Green Lantern #46 was a great read. This is how Blackest Night should be written. We got some great dialogue and artwork that moved the overall story forward more than the main series has so far. Hopefully Johns carries this quality storytelling ability to the main series.

Teen Titans #75

Creative Team
Writer: Felicia D. Henderson (main story); Sean McKeever (back-up)
Artist: Joe Bennett (main story); Yildiray Cinar (back-up)
Inker: Jack Jadson (main story); Julio Ferreira (back-up)
Colorist: Rod Reis

Story – Wyld Thing

After a great arc by Bryan Q. Miller we get yet another writer change for Teen Titans. Even though McKeever was on this title for a while before Miller and now Felicia D. Henderson came onto this title, Teen Titans has had a problem with major inconsistencies with the stability of the team. And I think that was one of the best things about Miller’s story arc as it felt that we finally had a permanent Teen Titans team.

For her part Henderson did a nice job carrying what Miller started. This is Henderson’s first comic book writing job with having previously only written for TV shows Fringe, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and other shows. While she does not blow me away with her writing in this issue she definitely showed potential for growth as she transitions to being a comic book writer.

Henderson did some nice writing with the team chemistry as we see Aquagirl and Bombshell’s antagonistic relationship, Blue Beetle and Static showing themselves to be the stand outs of the team, and what looks like Miss Martian having a new crush. There were moments where the dialogue wasn’t very good but overall Henderson has a nice handle of each member of the team. The best writing Henderson provided was for Blue Beetle and Static as both continue to grow as their own characters with Blue Beetle especially standing out in this issue with the lecture he gave to Beast Boy at the end of the main story.

The problem Henderson faced in this issue was with re-visiting the Raven being controlled by her father or some demon. This storyline is old and has been told before and it feels like every time Raven appears this is the way a writer introduces the character to a title. Though the one part of this story I did like was Joe Bennett’s artwork as he was able to flex his muscle with some crazy things to draw.

Also I did not like how Beast Boy was written. If Henderson is trying to convince the reader that he is the new leader of this team she needs to portray him as a much more confident individual, which he showed a few times in the issue. Beast Boy came off as an immature school girl with how he acted anytime someone said something about Raven.

The Ravager back-up for this issue was probably the best we have gotten so far. McKeever showed why Ravager is a badass character. While I am not sure what this will do for the overall character.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.2/10 – While Henderson did not blow me away with the dialogue it definitely showed potential. The only problem I had with her writing was how she wrote Beast Boy.
Art: 7.6/10 – Bennett provided some solid artwork with the best being the dinosaur, tiger, gorilla, bull, hawk, and wolf hybrid monster.
Overall: 7.4/10 – Teen Titans #75 was another solid issue with the new creative showing some potential on this title. The only problem this story arc faces is it feeling “been there, done that” with Raven being possessed for the hundredth time.

Wolverine: Weapon X #5

Creative Team
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ron Garney
Colorist: Jason Keith

Story – The Adamantium Men Part 5 of 5

After the last issue giving us one of the most entertaining Wolverine issues we have gotten in a long time it was hard to see how Aaron and Garney would top what they did. And the truth is that this issue doesn’t reach that level which is a bit disappointing.

Even though this has been an action centered story arc this issue disappointed as it felt like the Aaron tried too hard to finish the story quickly. I would have much rather preferred it if we saw more action with Wolverine and Maverick fighting the rest of the Adamantium Men. The way Wolverine took them out with a helicopter felt to quick and not up to the standard set before it.

What I did like about this issue is that Aaron continued some strong characterization of Wolverine and giving us a strong supporting cast for the character that aren’t just the X-Men. Wolverine does come off the badass he should always be and the one person you do not want to piss off. While I didn’t like that the story was ended to quickly after thinking about it I did like how Wolverine took the methodical approach to take out the people after him instead of risking certain death in a fight that he probably would have lost.

Also this approach he took was made better because Aaron took Wolverine’s healing factor back to basics. His healing factor has become ridiculous over the years with how fast it is as he has become almost invincible. And I like that with his fight in the last issue Aaron showed Wolverine’s healing factor does have a limit again. Hopefully this limit is used more as Wolverine gets involved in bigger fights in this series.

The ending was very good as it set-up future plotlines with Maverick and Wolverine going against Norman Osborn. Aaron wrote a great Norman Osborn and it would be interesting to see Wolverine go up against him and the Dark Avengers which we might get in the Dark Reign: The List –Wolverine which is also written by Aaron.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 – Though Aaron does not reach the level he did with the story from the last issue his characterization of Wolverine was again very strong which made up for the lack of action.
Art: 8/10 – Garney’s wasn’t given much action to draw in this issue but it was still some solid artwork. His artwork is a great fit for this title.
Overall: 8/10 – Wolverine: Weapon X #5 was another solid read. This title feels like the old school Wolverine stories we used to get. Aaron and Garney have brought back the character to being the awesome and less convoluted character he once was. I definitely recommend any Wolverine fan and fans of action oriented titles to pick up Wolverine: Weapon X.