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Superman #683 – Review

By James Robinson, Renato Guedes, Jorge Correa Jr., Wilson Magalhaes, David Curiel

The Story: With Earth’s heroes hovering over the city of New Krypton, Superman finds himself torn between his allegiance to Earth and his own native people. Seeking out Alura, Superman tries to get the Kryptonians responsible for the murders of several humans. Unfortunately, Alura is unwilling to budge, seeing humans as the inferior race. This eventually sets off a huge battle between Kryptonians and Earth’s superhumans.

The Good? Solid pacing and story by James Robinson. We’ve been waiting for this conflict to boil over for a while and it’s nice to see it finally take place. Renato Guedes once again provides some incredible visuals that pack a lot of punch. The guy’s got a great sense of scope and knows how to make the world look huge and battles, epic.

The Not So Good? The back and forth banter between Superman and Alura is nothing but the same old semantics they’ve been doing for the past couple of chapters. Superman should know by now that it’s useless getting through to her and he should’ve used his resources (the JLA and JSA) to take action much sooner.

Jorge Correa Jr. shares the art chores with Renato Guedes this month and the result is very mixed. Compared to Guedes’ art, Correa looks like a pure amateur. In fact, I’d go as far to say that Correa’s art is some of the worst I’ve seen in a mainstream comic book in a long time. Really stiff characters and awkward storytelling really hurt this issue.

Conclusion: If you can get past the pages of horrible art, this issue’s another solid chapter in the story of New Krypton.

Grade: B-

- J. Montes

Green Lantern #36 – Review

By Geoff Johns (story), Ivan Reis (pencils), Oclair Albert (inks), Nei Ruffino (colors)

The Story: Hal Jordan discovers the secret of the Blue Lanterns and the fate of Ganthet. Riding on the emotion of hope this new lantern corps believes that the redemption of Sinestro is the key to surviving what’s to come in the future (the Blackest Night). Meanwhile on the planet of Ysmault, the Red Lanterns slowly chip away at Sinestro’s being as they attempt to show him the real meaning of fear and rage.

What’s Good? It’s only the second part of the “Rage of the Red Lanterns” and already the epic scale of this story is eclipsing what we saw in The Sinestro War. I love the unremitting nature Red Lanterns – they’re much more formidable and scarier opponents than the Sinestro Corps ever was. Seeing what they do to their captured victims is the perfect display of their convictions and sadistic nature.

The Blue Lanterns are every bit as cool as a concept  and the perfect compliment to the Green Lanterns in terms of playing a supporting role. There’s a shocking moment towards the end involving Hal Jordan’s future with the Blue Lanterns that will prove very interesting down the road.

What’s Not So Good? The Blue Lanterns being able to stop a supernova was a bit too much. It was cool to see, but wow, that’s maybe a bit too much power don’t you think?

Conclusion: I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been dying for a Green Lantern fix for months. This issue delivers in spades and leaves you dying for the next installment.

Grade: A

- J. Montes

Happy New Year from WCBR

No updates today. We’ll be back tomorrow as scheduled!

The Best (and Worst) of 2008!

Here it is folks! Our list is up! Check out what we thought were the best books and moments of 2008 (and the worst). No reviews today. We’ll be back tomorrow as scheduled. Until then, enjoy the article.

Read it all here!

Batman #683 (Last Rites) – Review

By Grant Morrison (writer), Lee Garbett (pencils), Trevor Scott (inks), Guy Major (colors)

The Story: We continue the trip through Batman’s mind as Lump works his through Bruce’s memories. The task is simple enough: steal Batman’s memories and replace them with false ones. With a successful invasion, Batman’s “will” will be transplanted into a series of clones, creating the perfect army for Darkseid. But as you can imagine, Batman fights back with his unstoppable will which leads us to his ultimate fate in Final Crisis.

The Good? As Lump tries to inject false memories into Bruce Wayne, we’re taken through a world where Batman doesn’t exist. If you ever wondered what Bruce’s life might be like had his parents lived, this issue will answer that question. Many tragedies would still happen, yet things like the symbiotic relationship between Batman and the Joker would never materialize. In fact, it’s suggested that without Batman, Joker would just be another murderer who was ultimately captured and killed via lethal injection. And the fate of Dick Grayson? Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. The art by Lee Garbett is actually quite good. And that cover by Alex Ross? Incredible.

The Not So Good? The story plays out just as messy as it did last issue. By the end of the issue most of it makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it was all great. The scenes that cut back and forth through Batman’s life such as the broken back incident with Bane, the war, the death of Jason Todd — it’s all redundant. Sure, they’re key events of Batman’s life, but I’d have rather seen more of Bruce’s silly life as a doctor than a trip down memory lane.

Speaking of redundant, this is the second story (in a row) where we’re shown how even an unconscious Batman can defeat his enemies. We get the point! Now can we move on?

Conclusion: I wasn’t a big fan of the first part of “Last Rites” but this second (and final part) does a nice job of wrapping things up (as much as possible) while tieing Batman’s final adventure with the events unfolding in Final Crisis.

Grade: B-

- J. Montes

A Second Opinion

I agree with Jason that this issue is a definite step up in quality, but it’s still difficult to sift through. The idea of a world without Batman is interesting, but it’s more Bruce’s life without Batman. Which as you’d expect, is less interesting and less scarring (physically). Besides, any fan of The Animated Series already has an idea of what he’d be like without Batman so for me the book started off in the hole for originality.

The memories of his life as Batman are redundant as Jason said. So much so that I’d rather have those original panels placed into the comic. Not only would the different looks evoke the concept of a flashback better, but also add something to how Batman has changed Gotham for better and worse throughout the errors. To his credit though, Lee Garbett does a good job of emulating the various art styles of the memories.

Still, if you can work your way through the labyrinth of text and references, there are a few highlights. You really get to see Gotham without Batman from a good and bad point of view. Without Batman, certain character’s fates are dramatically altered for worse. On the other hand, without Batman to challenge him, the Joker is caught and killed pretty early on. It makes you wonder if the good he does really outweighs the bad that could be attributed to him. Also, the Alex Ross cover is worth the price alone. It perfectly illustrates the story Morrison is trying (to varying degrees of success) to tell. We need more comics that are cover to cover Ross’ work. I know he’s busy doing awesome covers, but Kingdom Come remains one of my favorite arcs ever largely due to his epic art style.

Ultimately, I’d say that if you were looking for a great book cover to cover, this isn’t for you. But if some decent dialogue, good art, an awesome cover or any combination of those is enough, go pick this up.

Grade: C

-Ben Berger

Merry Christmas From WCBR!

No reviews today, sorry for the inconvenience! We’ll be back tomorrow as scheduled. Until then, have yourself a fun and safe holiday.

- WCBR Staff

Mighty Avengers #20 – Review

By Brian Bendis (writer) , Lee Weeks, Jim Cheung, and Carlo Paglayan (artists), Jeffrey Huet (inks), Dean White and Jason Keith (colorists)

The Story: Serving as the Secret Invasion epilogue, Mighty Avengers #20 closes the book on the current Avengers team and follows Hank Pym as he deals with the loss of The Wasp. Readers are treated to a series of flashbacks and backstory as Hank gets caught up to speed on the events that have transpired since his capture. The story also follows his continuing journey leading up to Janet’s funeral.

What’s Good? The four big splash pages by Jim Cheung are hauntingly beautiful and poster worthy.

What’s Not So Good? With the exception of Hank lashing out at Tony Stark and the brief confrontation with Norman Osborn in the closing pages, everything in this issue is a rehash of crap we’ve seen before. Sure, I love Jimmy Cheung’s four splash pages, but they’re completely unnecessary in a book like this. Hell, they could have been compressed down to one splash page, but nope, we get four pinups over story.

The issue stumbles along trying to make us feel sorry for Ant Man. And it doesn’t work because A) Ant Man’s a jerk B) The Wasp hasn’t been a relevant character in decades and C) No corpse means she’ll be back any day now. At least with Captain America’s death it was noble and treated with the utmost respect (and we had a body to see). Here? It’s empty (pun intended).

Conclusion: Read it at your comic store and use your $2.99 on another book.

Grade: F

- J. Montes

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