by Aaron Einhorn
Every week Aaron goes to The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio and spends far more money than his wife would prefer. He then comes back here and writes about the comics he reads that he thought were noteworthy. This isn’t everything he picks up, just the things that he feels merit discussion – either for being really good, or for having something really wrong with them.
Avengers: The Initiative 30
This issue shouldn’t have worked for me. The plot was kind of a mess, and it seems mostly irrelevant to the major plots of Dark Reign – which is weird since it is intrinsically tied into that storyline. But what made this issue work for me was some incredibly profound character moments. I really like Trauma, and seeing what he’s going through. He’s a neat character, and his motivations make sense to me. But what cinched this issue for me was getting Robbie Baldwin back. I hated seeing him transform into Penance, and just as they were starting to redeem Penance for me, they had Osborn chemically lobotomize him. But with Robbie finally regaining his memories this issue, and having his redemption moment with Justice (even if Justice doesn’t recognize him), it made the whole thing work for me. I like seeing why both Trauma and Penance agreed to stay behind to deal with the mess Osborn (and Nightmare) have created. Now I just want an honest-to-goodness New Warriors book back.
Green Lantern 48 and Blackest Night 5
While comics readers are suffering from understandable event fatigue, Blackest Night has reminded us all that – when done right – a major event can really mean something to readers, and can draw in the books of a universe in a cool and exciting way. Geoff Johns has been nothing less then brilliant as he has woven together what could have been a terrible idea (with the creation of the Rainbow Lantern Corps) and several unfortunate “events” from DC comics, and has made it an exciting story that readers actually care about. Each of the new Lantern Corps actually serve a function, and are interesting to learn about. Those characters who are risen by the Black Lanterns scare characters, and chill readers, and have made death in the comics mean something again. And the artwork in these books have been stunning. These two titles (which are so tightly woven together as to need to be read alongside one another) bring the disparate Corps together and have them facing Nekron – only for the readers and the Lanterns to realize that they had no clue what the true plan from the Black Lanterns ever was. Blackest Night 5 is the slightly more effective book of the two, but only because that issue is the payoff for the incredible writing that takes place in Green Lantern 48. Any Lantern fan who isn’t wowed by the two-page splash that opens the book, or who isn’t chilled by Nekron’s acts in the final pages (no spoilers here!) is dead inside, and needs to be fitted with his own Black power ring.
Detective Comics 859
Greg Rucka’s writing of both the Question and Batwoman is absolutely perfect. I almost find myself wishing that his run on Detective Comics was presented to us as a novel, just because I think it would read that well. Of course, if we did that, we’d lose the killer visuals from J.H. Williams III and Cully Hamner, and that would be a damn shame. The Batwoman feature continues to weave Kate Kane’s history in with the continuing plot from the Church of Crime, and reveals what the connection is between Batwoman and Alice, while in the Question portion, Renee recruits the Huntress to fight the mob. Neither story ties in to any events, but they’re both solid storytelling, and make for a great read.
I am so done here. The mystery behind the Red Hulk has now gone through so many twists and turns and plot holes and reversals that I swear they’re just making it up. I reject the Red Hulk’s power levels, I reject his “intelligence”, and I just don’t care. I can’t walk away from this comic (I’ve read every single issue of the Hulk since John Byrne took over the book in the eighties), but I really want to. I’m very glad that Fall of the Hulks begins this week, because once it’s over, we will hopefully be back to seeing Banner as the Hulk and we can put this all behind us.
Justice Society of America 33
It’s obvious that the status quo in the JSA had to give. The sensibilities of Wild Cat, Green Lantern, the Flash and Mr. Terrific was never going to stand along with the pro-active, gung-ho mindset that motivates Magog, Power Girl and Damage. But I hated watching it happen. The destruction of the team – and of the Brownstone – broke my heart. And I can’t say I agree with how some characters came down on different sides of the dividing line. Cyclone, Stargirl and Hourman seem to be a better fit with the classic JSA than with the team that will soon take the pages of JSA All Stars. Don’t mistake me – the story is written great, the art is superb, and I didn’t disagree with any of the writing – but this issue just hurt me to read.
Thor Finale 1
JMS brings his run on Thor to an amazingly strong finish here, as Bill fights for Asgard, Kelda challenges Doom, and Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three fight off a horde of Doombots, in a battle that returns Donald Blake to the status quo from Journey Into Mystery 83. While in many ways this issue is just a prelude to Thor 604 and Siege, it is the last time we’ll see JMS writing these characters, and this issue feels like a goodbye.
Meanwhile, in Gotham City Sirens 6, Harley, Catwoman and Ivy continue to deal with the Joker’s former sidekick, Incredible Hercule 138 continues the assault by Hercules and the New Avengers against New Olympus, Justice League of America 39 has Vibe, Zatara, Steel and the original Dr. Light all rising as Black Lanterns to settle old grudges, New Avengers 59 finds the team rescuing Luke Cage from Norman Osborn – with a Trojan Horse inside the indestructible man, Teen Titans 77 brings Deathstroke and Ravager together to face down Black Lantern versions of Wintergreen and the original Ravager, Ultimate Comics: Avengers 4 has Captain America finally brought down by the new Avengers, while the Red Skull gains possession of the Cosmic Cube, and World’s Finest 2 brings Guardian and the new Robin together to fight Mr. Freeze and the Parasite.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!