Geek Reads

Geek Reads

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Justice League #3- The New 52

Having gotten the first 3 issues first of the new JLA, as part of the new 52 launch last year, I knew I had to continue reading and discover for myself what new things lay behind this new Wonder Woman. Now this change comes in the wake of J.Michael Strazynski's own take of our beloved Amazon that ended in her 611th issue before joining the new 52. With my own knowledge of Diana Prince, from the early TV series, the animated Justice League series, past readings of Gail Simone and George Perez as well as previous animated incarnations of her and the League, I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the Wonder Woman I knew.

For starters, issue 3 opens with our Diana breaking out of the Pentagon office in pursuit of what she deems is a harpy after having seen on TV that a winged monster has begun terrorizing downtown Dc. This time our Diana dons silver wristbands and the gold that once adorned her now all red and ribbed bustier is equally silver. Along with that she carries a sword that could be mistaken for Frodo's Elvish sword, Sting, given to him by his Uncle Bilbo. But once more I digress. The love of more than one fandom does have cross-referencing advantages I must admit. J

Ok, moving ward, Diana quickly discovers & relates to Col Trevor that while this new world she’s in has wonderful things like ice cream and rock and roll, there is also Darkness here. As if on point, the Winged monster appears atop a building, sounds off a Ping sound and opens a portal, thereby ushering more mechanical Winged Demons. At this time the same terrifying scene is equally happening at Metropolis and most recently at Detroit. Back at Star Labs Dr. Silas Stone is unable to leave his injured son, Victor, and instead ushers him down to the Red Room and administers the grafting of a metal called Prometheum as well as the injection of  nanobyte tech into his son’s body, who at this point looks more like the nuclear burned kids from Resident Evil. Oops, sorry, I did it again. Cross fandom reference.

The Metropolis carnage now being kept at bay by the combined efforts of Supes, Flash and Gl has been made more effective by the arrival of Diana, aka. Wonder Woman to which Flash is wowed and Lantern calls dibs. And just when they think that they’ve scared the Darkseid-Chantng creatures away, our heroes could only stare at their false conclusion as a massive structure suddenly looms out of the sea before them. And in their presence finally comes another formidable hero we know as Aquaman. But with a Kingly demeanor to him, how well do we know the King of the Seas?

Like the previous two issues, this next one is not without action or quips. Flash couldn’t believe that Batman has no power and initially thought he was a Vampire.  Superman acknowledges Diana's strength to which she nonchalantly responds, I know. I don’t know about you but for me, I was getting some subtext stares between Supes and Wondy. Can we expect a “pairing” between the two inspite of the “couple” status insinuated between Batman and Diana in the animated series?

Anyway, all this banter plays well with the addition of anther would be JL Member. So what happens to a group of powerful indivduals when you bring a King into the mix? Well, we’re gonna find out next in Issue 4, aren’t we? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Justice League #2- The New 52

And so with the promise of a fray between Batman and Superman, I dive in and read on to Issue #2. By the cover alone, I was already rewarded with the promise of a great read. Plus seeing Bruce and Clark go at it like there’s no tomorrow with Hal by the sidelines trying to keep Superman at bay with green chains was just great.

The second issue opens with criminal lab guy, Barry Allen, trying to divert attention of his boss to a case that for him was more important but higher ups want him to unravel the identity of the Flash. Good luck there.

The battle continues in Metropolis with Batman trying every trick in the book, or in this case, his belt, in the hopes that it stops Superman. But to no avail as we all know the only thing that will take Superman down. But if case, you are a new reader and you don’t know, heck, I am not telling. But don’t fret either as our heroes don’t know it as well. Just your luck as you’re not the only one in the dark.

Now, it was only with the intervention of Flash did the battle stop for Batman to get a word in and convince our Man of Steel that he and Hal are not in league with the monsters that equally attacked different parts of Metropolis. They came to the city in the hopes of finding more about these things because they are “alien”. So since Superman is one, he’d know them too. Now this if viewed negatively, this may sound racist to some and would go along with the concept that every chinky-eyed Asian would know every chinky-eyed Asian that passes by and they’d shake hands and sing some common national anthem. But I digress so allow me to get back to the topic.

The intel session continues with Batman showing Supes the box that he had with him in an abandoned printing press plant. As it is, the caped Kryptonian doesn’t have a base of operations and all of this talk is operating on the level of trust that they can extract from one another. Hal for his part, carries on with his cocky I-Can-Do-This attitude and suggests to Flash that they ditch “Black and Blue” because Batman is a pain in the ass and Superman doesn’t know shit about the box they brought in. How’s that for cooperation? 

Hal and Barry Allen's bond and banter carries off well into the new 52 and I'm glad they retained that. Much of the superheroes on this timeline had to hide themselves from the law and are considered a threat by the law. Needless to say, most of them go to great lengths to keep their identities secret. Until, Hal slips. LOL! (again)

The intel continues with each hero finding things about what they can do and Flash is surprised that Superman can see into things to which he pointedly asks Batman what he can do. And you know Bruce will have a retort to that by saying that he can “Keep us all on point.” LOL! Nice one Bats!

Apart from trust, lack on info is another element that keeps our heroes going and learning what they can from each other and the box that seems to elude any further discovery. Of course, they pretty soon learn that the box activates itself and “Pings” again and brings in more of those metallic creatures in that eerily chants, “For Darkseid”. Like the innate detective that he is Batman’s fears of having another box out there in the city is not far from the truth, as one was certainly being studied in Detroit within StarLabs by scientist Dr. Stone who currently was trying to have a decent and rational conversation with his son Victor when the box blew up and caught Victor in its wake. 

Here the issue ends with the image of a burning high school kid who earlier had simple wishes that his father come to his football game and share in his success.

Clearly that’s not going to happen as Victor will soon find out after this that his life is now not his own and that we will be meeting another super human in Issue #3 named, Wonder Woman. 

You know her right?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Justice League #1 - The New 52

When I first got wind of the Retcon that DC comics was going to do and it consisted of 52 titles, I had to admit that I shook my head both in disbelief and in bewilderment. Everything was doing well for me, for both as an outsider and a reader, so what was the change in the DC Universe for. But then again we’re not Geoff Johns or part of the DC management and no amount of internet protests would swing vote in my favour and also for those who felt the same way as I did.

But nonetheless, I was still excited and anxious of the surprises that the stories would have for me. I know my favorite, Green Lantern was not exactly a major casualty of the reset-storyline but more of re-numbering wherein the issue once more goes back to #1 and continues the flow of events following their most recent crisis of which I love, and that was War of the Green Lanterns.

So I only most recently decided to catch up with our favorite Justice League over the Holidays, having heard good things about it. Plus I also got curious after seeing the official picture of the newly re-formed and re-drawn Justice League. What stood out was obviously the absence of Superman’s Red Underwear and he was wearing an all-blue “tights” with more detail and a mechanical chiselled look. Like Green Lantern and Batman’s boots, the drawings were more contoured and had a modern look to them. No doubt this was part of the re-marketing of the DC Universe to the newer generation. And with that I forged on ahead.

Issue #1 of which I was able to get the variant cover instead by David Finch and not the Jim Lee original as my source ran out of stock, began with a narration that began 5 years ago when Superheroes were not called as such and they were viewed as a threat by the public and equally hunted down by the government, in spite of the heroes’ best intention to help and curtail crime. Such was the scene we witness at the beginning of the issue and set in Gotham City with our Batman in one of the building rooftops and in pursuit of a mysteriously cloaked figure. In the chase that ensued the figure turns out to be a humanoid of some kind that later was dispatched easily by an arriving Hal Jordan, aka. Green Lantern who like the populace viewed Batman’s existence as a myth and got the “surprise” that the Batman was real and flesh and blood.

They team up and chase the figure down the sewers which had already changed and developed mechanical wings and legs to which Hal quips and referenced the creature as a “Transformer.” See, what I mean? Definitely a ploy to bring new and younger audiences into the DC fold. What I liked was the antagonistic attitude between Hal and Bruce and the development of that dynamic playing out when Hal freaked out after finding out that Batman can’t fly, has no super strength and merely was a guy in a Bat costume. LOL! That reaction was priceless! 2 more “priceless” interactions for me between Hal and Bats were when Bruce casually slips off Hal’s ring and examines it and deduces that the ring doesn’t have any buttons and most probably works on concentration. Puzzled, Hal asks how was Batman able to do that to which our Caped Crusader smirks under his cowl and smartly replies, “You weren’t concentrating”. LOL! (Yes!)

And some things never change in spite of the resetting of the DC Universe, Hal is still as cocky, Batman is still thorough in his research. After the creature blows itself up and attaches a mechanical box to the wall, Bruce says that the box is indeed alien tech to which Hal references Superman and that all of this is somehow connected to that “Alien in Metropolis”. With that said the pair fly off to Metropolis in a bright green jet amidst Batman’s mild protest afterwards because of the lack of anonymity flying into the city. Hal effortlessly quips, “You can’t fly. So how else were we going to get there? Talk in a Deep Voice?” LOL! (again)

Now Hal’s cockiness doesn’t stop there as he safely encloses Batman into a green box while he goes into a Lexcorp building as his ring is a “magnet for extraterrestrials”. But the search finds him instead as Supes comes rushing out of the building in a haze of red and blue for he “doesn’t do easy”. In this last panel we see the new Superman minus the red underwear with the same semi high collar and with the cape sewn into the costume. Like Hal and Bats his boots are more chiselled with equally the same recessed detail drawn into it and with raised piping at the center of the boots and with equal red piping at the edge of his sleeves. This is obviously a new Superman greeting new and old readers and sets up the next event billed in Issue #2 as Batman Vs. Superman.

And with these dynamics to play on, add into the mix the development and history of Vic Stone as his journey to being Cyborg comes into play and the Justice League members slowly come to meet one hero after another and find that their goals are not at all disimilar and perhaps unlikely as it is in their line of work, working together may just be the breakthrough they need to find out the meaning of this new threat or slogan as the robot creatures cry out just before detonating oneself. What was the battle cry? It was....For Darkseid!

 So whatcha waiting for? Get Issue #2! Now!