Comics are Awesome III

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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andersonh1 wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:45 am
I put this here because I'm not sure it's old enough to categorize as "retro". I was thumbing through Thor by Jason Aaron volume 4 at the library, curious about Jane Foster as Thor since the current movie features that same storyline. I checked it out and have been reading it, and honestly the whole premise of the story bothers me, because Thor is the name of an individual and always has been. The idea that "Thor" is a title or a persona that can be conferred on multiple individuals as if the hammer is a Green Lantern ring or the equivalent just strikes me as stretching the whole thunder god concept too far. The idea that Thor could lose his name and have someone else become "Thor" just because he becomes unworthy to use the hammer just doesn't make sense. I can see the hammer granting power, possibly (though isn't Thor's power inherent?) but identity? I can't say I've been a fan of the idea or of the storyline as presented in the book.
Yeah, I'd have to agree. I'm not very familiar with Thor's comic book history, but, I don't understand the idea behind somebody else being able to pick up Mjolnir and call themselves Thor, when Thor himself is a separate entity from the hammer. It's not a title or identity that others can just assume. I mean, it even says on Mjolnir "Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor", not that they shall become Thor. And even the part about Mjolnir being his power feels somewhat untrue. I really liked the line in Thor: Ragnarok where Odin told Thor the power didn't come from Mjolnir, but was within him, because he's the God of Thunder. Mjolnir just helped to focus and control his power.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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Yeah, I love that scene. "Are you Thor, god of hammers?"

I'm down to just a couple of series that I'm reading every month, Fantastic Four and World's Finest. Transformers is iffy, these $6 dollar "best of" collections I'm skipping entirely since I already have pretty much everything in them. Last Bot Standing didn't do anything for me. I guess what I buy between now and the end of the year depends on the quality of the offering and how much it costs. Feels like IDW is trying to squeeze every last penny out of the franchise with these expensive issues, and while I can't blame them, nothing so far is worth the money.

Just one book this week:
Fantastic Four #45 (#690) - Dan Slott has one more issue and then we're on to a new writer apparently. Probably a new #1 too. I'm surprised he didn't stay ten more issues for the big 700. In any case, the Reckoning War is done, and Slott uses a newly powered-up Uatu the Watcher to reset pretty much everything and undo the damage he's done over the course of the storyline. Reed is cured and back to normal, everyone gets sent home, all of the other Watchers have lost their power and their knowledge because Uatu has it all, and in the really interesting development (potentially), the 9/10 of the Universe that had been cut off by the Watchers at the dawn of history is now opened up, meaning the Universe is ten times the size that it was. Galactus now intends to be an explorer and to go see what's out there. The only dangling plot thread is Johnny Storm, who is still burning out of control and who leaves to go with Skye to see if there's a cure on her planet.

I guess if I were to sum this story up, it boils down to the Watchers causing it all. They created the problem by giving their knowledge and tech to a race that couldn't handle it and had to shut them down at terrible cost. One of that race returns in the present day, and it's down to Watcher technology and the FF to stop a potential cataclysm. It all works fairly well, though I figured someone with god-like power would have to intervene, given how much was broken over the course of the story.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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Dark Crisis #3 - I'm reading this series off and on because Hal Jordan has a substantial role in the story, and I miss a good monthly Green Lantern book. Parts of this issue give us just that. So on Earth it's chaos as the villains all take advantage of the death of the Justice League, with both the Titans and the replacement league Jon Kent put together trying to fill the void and not doing all that well. The JSA step up to help (it's the 2000s lineup with a few old timers and a bunch of the kids and grandkids) and the Great Darkness possesses Deathstroke and his followers. There are a lot of moving parts to this story.

Hal takes the Corps to Ryut, and thankfully this series ignores all the deaths from the recent Thorne run. Arisia is present, Isamot is there, and so are Guy and Kyle, and a number of others. Hal heads into the black lantern with Kyle and Jo, figuring this would take them to Pariah. And it does. Pariah seems to essentially be doing what Parallax did in Zero Hour, trying to get back what he lost by remaking the universe. He's using the Great Darkness (or it's using him) to turn the "dead" Justice Leaguers into weapons to accomplish this. Hal ends up in the world created from John Stewart's essence, without a ring. The final page shows Black Adam, having abandoned the League, going to the Legion of Doom and Lex Luthor for help.

Not a bad issue, tons of characters, all well drawn, with the only real complaint being how little time is spent with any of them due to how much has to be crammed into the story. Given the cliffhanger, I'll be back next issue to see what happens next.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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So since Transformers is winding down, the only non-Transformers series I'm reading are Fantastic Four and World's Finest. All the mainstay series I'd normally read (Batman, Superman, etc.) are $5 per issue, or not being published at the moment (Aquaman, Green Lantern). I might check out the Flash since it seems to be a $4 book.

At any rate, I'm sampling a few other series to see if anything seems appealing, and I picked up Thor #26 (#752) to try that book out. The art is good, and the story isn't bad, though it's part 4 of a 5 part crossover with the Hulk, so it's definitely middle chapter storytelling and is pretty much all action. Odin is dead and inhabiting Thor's hammer, and Thor has been hit with gamma radiation and has turned into a Hulk. At the end of the issue, the Hulk takes the hammer and becomes a Thor. Apparently since Odin possesses the hammer now, he can let anyone he likes pick it up and use it. Iron Man is involved, and since the story goes back and forth between two books, the plot summary at the beginning of the book is much appreciated, because at least I know why Thor is after the Hulk and how he became Hulked out himself. I liked it well enough, I might buy a few more issues and see how it goes.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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World Without a Justice League - Green Lantern #1 - It's hard to care a lot about these alternate reality scenarios, or rather illusory reality scenarios. I used to enjoy the old Elseworlds, in part because they were long enough to tell a complete story that was independent of continuity and interesting. But when it's a main continuity character experiencing an illusion, there are just no stakes. Here John Stewart is the ultra-powerful Emerald Knight, known here as "the Guardian", who has to come in and stop the "Radiant Dead" and the Bright Revenant who killed the Guardians. John preserved the central power battery by disguising it as his dead little sister. An enemy that takes out about 1,500 Green Lanterns is killed by John single-handedly. Kyle Rayner is a part of this scenario, and so is Jason Todd, as a Green Lantern. No Hal or Guy. Some of John's family is present. I'm not sure what this fantasy world tells us about John, maybe that he'd rather be with his family but will power up if needed and do more than the rest of the Corps combined.

The Hawkgirl backup annoys me because it makes it clear that this book was written by fans of the Justice League animated series, still trying to recreate a relationship between Hawkgirl and John Stewart that was never really all that much, if you actually watch that series and follow the plot. But the shippers love it. She's Indiana Jones, searching an old temple for an artifact, with loads of that internal monologue style writing that I honestly find annoying these days. She's out to end her reincarnation cycle through a drink of some sort that's found in the temple, and is apparently successful. The story ends with Pariah laughing at her.

So... none of this is worth an entire issue. Maybe a few panels in a the main series, but a whole book spent on meaningless illusions is a great example of the storytelling that is killing comics.

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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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Green Lantern Corps vol. 1 - Fearsome
Peter Tomasi, Fernando Parasrin, Scott Hanna

I can't bring myself to classify early New 52 books as "retro", even if they are over a decade old at this point. One of the local used bookstores had the first three volumes of New 52 GLC, and I got volume 1 to see what I thought. I may get the second since it apparently follows up on the Alpha Corps storyline from Rage of the Red Lanterns. The story involves a group of aliens who are stealing resources from other planets, leaving millions of dead in their wake. They steal an ocean from one planet, which is what finally alerts the GLC. Meanwhile John Stewart and Guy Gardner are trying to live civilian lives in their downtime, John as an architect and Guy as a high school football coach. Neither is very successful. It's good to see characters like Hannu and Isamot Kol again, in substantial roles. It's strange to see the Martian Manhunter as a member of Stormwatch, and for Gardner to not know who he is, in one of the few scenes that remind me that this is in the New 52 continuity when so much history and so many character relationships had been jettisoned.

For the downsides, I'm not a fan of Fernando Pasarin's art style. It's the main reason I haven't started reading Flash right now. Tomasi normally brings the goods when it comes to GLC storytelling, but while the opening chapters are interesting, with aliens who rob planets of resources and kill on a massive scale, and who can largely resist the energy of the power rings, the solution to the mystery of who these aliens are is disappointing. It was their planet that housed the personal power battery of each Green Lantern when it went into the "subspace pocket", and over time all those lanterns really affected the planet, so that when the Guardians decided to remove them, the planet and its inhabitants began to die. They are stealing resources to remake their world and survive. Yes, it's another eyeroll-inducing "the Guardians made a huge mistake that's coming back to bite them in the backside" plot. How many times do we need to go through some variation of this?

So art that I don't like and a story foundation that has been done to death make for a weak entry into the GLC series. The story has some good moments, and the book was worth the $7.50 that Mr. K's charged for it, but it's not a great beginning for the relaunched series.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:03 am
Yes, it's another eyeroll-inducing "the Guardians made a huge mistake that's coming back to bite them in the backside" plot. How many times do we need to go through some variation of this?
Yeah, they really overplayed the 'Guardians make huge mistakes'. But then, at this time they were starting to build up to the Third Army story arc. So they wanted to make the Guardians into villains that had lost touch with the universe they'd sworn to protect.

Speaking of which, I have to wonder how many dropped story ideas they had from around this time... I recall several things they introduced that didn't really seem to go anywhere. Such as, it was established the Guardians were going to be introducing 10 new laws to the Book of Oa. I think they did maybe 4 or 5. So what did the writers have in mind for the rest of these laws that they never got around to? They also seemed to be setting up members of each Corps to ultimately replace the Guardians, until they introduced the Templar Guardians. And really... The Green Lantern titles have felt a bit aimless ever since.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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Sparky Prime wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 11:29 pm
andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:03 am
Yes, it's another eyeroll-inducing "the Guardians made a huge mistake that's coming back to bite them in the backside" plot. How many times do we need to go through some variation of this?
Yeah, they really overplayed the 'Guardians make huge mistakes'. But then, at this time they were starting to build up to the Third Army story arc. So they wanted to make the Guardians into villains that had lost touch with the universe they'd sworn to protect.

Speaking of which, I have to wonder how many dropped story ideas they had from around this time... I recall several things they introduced that didn't really seem to go anywhere. Such as, it was established the Guardians were going to be introducing 10 new laws to the Book of Oa. I think they did maybe 4 or 5. So what did the writers have in mind for the rest of these laws that they never got around to? They also seemed to be setting up members of each Corps to ultimately replace the Guardians, until they introduced the Templar Guardians. And really... The Green Lantern titles have felt a bit aimless ever since.
That's true, we never did get all 10 new laws. We got the first five but that may have been it. Seems to me like the book took a shift in direction once the other Corps entered the storyline, even if Johns was seeding the idea of multiple Corps early on in the series and had seemingly planned to go there. Cowgirl disappears about the same time after being built up as Hal's love interest, she just vanishes from the book, and so does General Stone. All the Air Force related plot elements are dropped with no explanation.

That first new law, allowing lethal force against the Sinestro Corps, was a major dramatic moment in the story though, I have to admit. Even if the idea of the new laws never reached a conclusion, it was very effective while it lasted, and really contributed to the idea that things were changing in a big way.

I just bought a copy of the 2nd Geoff Johns Green Lantern omnibus. I've been watching for a good price on all three, even though I have most of the series already either as monthlies or trade paperbacks, because I like the omnibus format. It picks up immediately after the Sinestro Corps war so I'm re-reading this particular part of the series right now. There is a definite sense of direction and purpose, even with all the new characters and elements being added regularly. That may be one thing that made the series so successful at the time, the idea that there would be a payoff down the road. We haven't had anything like that for a long time, I would agree with you. "Aimless" is a good way to describe it.

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andersonh1
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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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Sparky Prime wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 11:29 pm
Yeah, they really overplayed the 'Guardians make huge mistakes'. But then, at this time they were starting to build up to the Third Army story arc. So they wanted to make the Guardians into villains that had lost touch with the universe they'd sworn to protect.
That's a good bit of context, and it becomes very apparent in the next book. I decided to go back and get volume 2, "Alpha War", which not only builds off of John Stewart killing the other Lantern rather than let him crack under torture and give away key security information, but which also has the Guardians openly plotting to tear the Corps apart via manipulation. So yeah, keeping the idea that the Third Army storyline was building over in the main title is helpful.

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Re: Comics are Awesome III

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I was just re-reading Blackest Night for the first time in a long time. I like the way the omnibus presents it, alternating an issue of Blackest Night with an issue of Green Lantern so it's easy to read the entire story in the correct order. It occurred to me that the story would not work as presented without DC continuity, specifically the long history of relationships between the characters. Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are front and center of course, and they had been friends since early in the Silver Age, but it's not just them. The entire approach of the Black Lanterns is to provoke emotion and "harvest" it, and to do this characters are approached by a Black Lantern version of someone they knew, who will taunt them using some past event or relationship that triggers an emotion. Dead Aquaman taunting Mera about their son, for example, or Ray Palmer's dead wife taunting him. Many of the character interactions in this story reminded me of the recent Spider-Man No Way Home, where old characters encounter each other and a line of dialogue alludes to their past shared experiences or relationship.

This was an enormously successful event for DC, as I understand it. So it's ironic that just a year or two later, all of this would not have been possible, because Blackest Night was published in 2009 and 2010, and 2011 gave us the New 52 reboot, jettisoning so much of the character history that makes Blackest Night work so well. It's just interesting timing when I look at it that way. The basic story of Nekron and the Black Lanterns could still have been told in the New 52, but a lot of the depth that made it what it was would not have been present.

There are issues in the omnibus that I don't think I've ever read. I don't remember John Stewart landing on the surface of the resurrected Xanshi, for example, and walking around and encountering Driq. I don't think I read the GL issue where Sinestro went to free some of his corps from the Star Sapphires and got into a confrontation with Carol Ferris. I'm not sure how I missed them, but it's nice to finally read these chapters of the story. Sinestro has essentially become another regular cast member in the Green Lantern series at this point, and it's to Johns' credit that he's been developed enough that this is possible.

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