Comics Reviewed! Green Lantern, Buffy, Spider-Man and more!


Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 (DC Comics, $2.99)
By Devon Sanders

Guy Gardner, the Green Lantern everyone has an opinion on, returns to semi-solo glory in Green Lantern: Emerald Gladiators #1. Following the events of Blackest Night, Guy Gardner and fellow Lantern and former Guardian of The Universe, Ganthet have formed a pact the embodiment of The Red Lantern Corps rage, Atrocitus. A pact that will take them into worlds and dangers unknown, ultimately threatening the balance of an already unstable Green Lantern Corps. Writer Peter J. Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps) provides a more-than-proper set-up that should satisfy readers, new and old, to the adventures of Guy and The Corps while artist Fernando Pasarin (The Outsiders) provides gorgeous art that, at times, recalls the beautiful space themed artwork of legendary Star Wars artist, the late Al Williamson. Green Lantern: Emerald Gladiators #1 is a fun and natural extension of all things Guy and, more important to current bottom lines, the Green Lantern story.



Ex Machina #50 (Wildstorm, $4.99)
By Graig Kent

We've been gifted with six glorious years with Mitchell Hundred, mayor of New York and once the world's only "superhero" known as the great machine. His term has finally come to an end, but it's not time now to look back, but instead to the future. What does the future bring for this infamous -- if not yet legendary -- man? Ah, but that would be telling (and it's really best experienced first hand). If you've been following Ex Machina from the beginning, or even recently in trade, you know just how atypical this book is, pushing metaphorical buttons at every turn, and this final issue is no different. Well, maybe it is. Some of the past buttons have involved the World Trade Center, the Pope, and the "n" word (if we're going to get all PC about it). As much as those may perk your ears up, this issue presents the grandaddy of all buttons, a beautiful, shiny, jolly, candy-like button. After 50 issues and a couple of specials, we think we know Mitchell Hundred, we think we know what he's about, but this final issue is a complete re-think on the man. Is he an honest man? A public servant of the highest order? Or is he yet another megalomaniacal politician capable of any injustice to further his own agenda, a twisted perhaps even delusional one at that? Or can he be both? Hundred's last words may be "Fade to black", but the shades of gray have never been grayer than these last x pages. It's one thing to debate gay marriage in the pages, it's another thing to put the reader's affinity for the series' protagonist into question as its swan song. This project, from the very beginning, has been nothing short of brilliant. The true spirit of creative collaboration lives within its pages as Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris poured their very being into the book for 50 issues, creating a singularly unique and brilliant work that easily stands next to any of the great works of the medium. A great final issue should leave you both satisfied and wanting more, and this accomplishes both, with a few intense shocks, and even a few touches sure to infuriate as well. Hold it up to any great series finale (whether it's movies, tv, comics or novels) and there's little doubt that it really doesn't get much better than this.



Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: Riley (Dark Horse, $3.50)
By Adam Prosser

I like the Buffy ‘Season Eight’ comics. Really I do. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one, actually. Despite this comic’s consistent popularity, it’s regularly been met with shrugs by most of the comics-reviewing interweb, and even a lot of Buffy fans (an overlap that I hereby dub ‘The Whedonsphere’). And, honestly, I can see why. The show, as relentlessly entertaining as it was, was always on a very gentle decline in quality as creator Joss Whedon started devoting more of his time to other projects. There’s also the unfortunate fact that, while there are always more stories to tell, the real meat of Buffy’s arc essentially ended once she graduated from, and exploded, her high school. Just as the seasons since then seemed to be keeping a good thing alive out of habit rather than necessity, the comics seem to be keeping that habit alive. It’s still Buffy, it’s still a worthwhile read, but for the most part it feels sort of like how most Marvel comics felt immediately after Kirby left: unobjectionable, not essential. This spinoff one-shot illustrates the point by filling in the backstory of how Buffy’s ex Riley Finn came to be working with her latest Big Bad, Twilight (I still can’t believe that name wasn’t an intentional joke). There’s a bit of spy stuff, some character stuff between Riley and his wife Sam, and then it ends. It’s entertaining, but it lacks oomph. OK, I’ll admit it: one of the big reasons I’m reading the Buffy comic is that I’m hoping the big finale will redeem most of what’s come before, something that several seasons of Buffy have pulled off in the past. But there’s usually a little more fun to be had along the way than this comic manages to deliver.



Morning Glories #1 (Image, $3.99)
By Adam Prosser

Writing a first issue of an all-new comic series is a lot trickier than it might look. You have to make us care about the characters, immerse us in the world of the story, and start the larger plot in motion. In this era of decompressed storytelling, one of these three tends to get short shrift. But with Morning Glories #1, writer Nick Spenser and artist Joe Eisma show that they know how to write a first issue, at least. Granted, this is a double-sized, 44-page issue, giving them a little more breathing room. And also granted, the concept here is pretty simple to grasp: mysterious and unpleasant things are going on at the experimental Morning Glory academy, pitting a group of students against the faculty, and now a new group of students are about to be inducted into the weirdness. (I don’t read a lot of manga, but that certainly seems like the kind of basic story the Japanese have told many times over.) But it’s all in the execution, and Spenser is quite deft at that, managing to introduce six protagonists while elevating them—well, most of them—above cliché right off the bat. Perhaps more crucially, he knows what details to give us so that we don’t get disoriented, and which to leave out so that we’re left wanting to delve into the mystery. Eisma’s art style is a little flat at times, but he’s a whiz at storytelling—his characters are emotive, and the opening pages feature one of the clearest and most engaging action sequences I’ve seen in a comic in a while. All in all, if a first issue’s job is to make you want to buy issue #2, then Morning Glories succeeds with flying colors.



Amazing Spider-Man #640 (Marvel, $3.99)
By Jeb D.

There are two great Spider-Man artists involved in this latest "major turning point" issue of Amazing Spider-Man. One of them is Marcos Martin, who contributes a single page of illustration to a pointlessly silly Stan Lee Spidey vignette at the back of the book. The other is Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, who contributes a few fairly ugly panels… and a script far uglier.

What's been going on the past few issues with this title (for anyone clever enough to have been ignoring it), is that bits and bobs of previous Spidey comics are being edited and slapped together, along with some new linking material, to explain… or make sense of… or undo.. or something to the mess the Spider-Man books have found themselves in since "Brand New Day". So in addition to more of MJ's view of "One More Day," we get more drama with Aunt May's assassination (well, almost), menace from The Kingpin, plus MJ facing down a bad guy, and a little bit of Spider-Man action, some of it actually NOT clipped from previous comics, and drawn specially for this issue by Paolo Rivera (who may not be in Quesada or Martin's class as a Spider-Man artist, but who does manage to avoid embarrassing himself, which in this context is not nothing). It answers questions I thought we were all tired of asking, and the last panel actually manages to suggest that the worst is yet to come.

What's most annoying about this is how unnecessary it all is. In the wake of Brand New Day, writers like Dan Slott and Mark Waid simply took Spider-Man's new direction and ran with it, coming up with some memorable storylines and new characters (who ever expected to meet JJJ's dad?). I think most people would have been happy to accept that Marvel decided to undo the Peter-MJ wedding, and leave Brand New Day in the past. But for some perverse reason, Quesada and company seem to have felt the need to pick at the scab, and go over past mistakes, with an eye toward convincing us that the whole thing wasn't a giant balls-up. But it was. And it's not getting any better.

This week's Talking Points:

Wonder Woman's new costume? Really not that bad.

No one seems to care about Brightest Day the way they cared about Blackest Night.

Vertigo comics don't have much going for them now that Ex Machina is over.



Source: JoBlo.com



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