Comic Book Review: The Flash #9 – The Road to Flashpoint, Part One

Cover Art for The Flash #9

Story: Geoff Johns
Art: Francis Manapul
Colors: Brian Buccellatto

In a Nutshell

In this comic book issue, Barry Allen aka The Flash investigates the death of the Elongated Kid who mysteriously appears too old for his real age. At around the same time, a new character from the future arrives in the here and now. His name is Hot Pursuit and he’s basically a speedster cop on a bike. Barry Allen suspects that something or someone has disturbed the present timeline. When he finally gets to meet Hot Pursuit, not only was Barry’s gut feeling affirmed, but he also had the biggest surprise of his life.

What's Cool

  • This issue of The Flash is a classic Geoff Johns comic book. It has brilliant and smooth dialogues, plus the story pacing is sharp and clean.
  • Francis Manalpul’s drawings are stripped down to the basics without making the overall artwork look too cartoony.
  • Add the vibrant color work by Brian Buccellatto and you have graphics that seem to leap off the panels.
  • The Flash #9 is a perfect jumping on point for fans of the Scarlett Speedster as it is the first part of the Road to Flashpoint.

What's Crap

  • Comicbook fans who want to see The Flash catching bad guys will be disappointed. This issue is focused more on character development. Barry Allen dons his superhero costume only once and toward the end of the book… still without ever going toe to toe with criminals, superhuman or otherwise.
  • The new character, Hot Pursuit, is just not up to par with the other characters in The Flash series, especially in the previous story arc. I find this timecop on a bike to be unoriginal and a bit dull. And are those blinker lights on Hot Pursuit’s shoulders (red on the right and blue one on the left)?

The Bottom Line

Overall, fans of The Flash will love this comic book. Sure, there’s no action here, but the plotline for the Road to Flashpoint has definitely moved forward and you don’t want to miss it. Geoff Johns has begun developing the characters that will be involved in Flashpoint, the next big event in DC Universe.

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #19 – Aquawar, Part One

Cover Art for Brightest Day #19

Story: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Rob Hunter

In a Nutshell

In the opening pages of this DC comicbook, Boston Brand (aka Deadman) cries out for an explanation as to why Hawkman and Hawkgirl were vaporized by the White Lantern. But this is not the most interesting part of this comicbook. What really stopped me from putting down this book is the fact that it follows one focal point, that of Aquaman and the rest of the undersea-dwelling heroes and villains in DC Universe. You see, many issues in the series have multiple plots that dragged down many a reader’s interest. Well, not this issue. Plus, who doesn’t like opening salvos? Being the first chapter of the Aquawar arc, this issue is a must have.

What's Cool

  • It’s a story arc about Aquaman whom I miss ever since his own ongoing series has been canceled back in the end of 2007.
  • Awesome cover art with equally eye-melting rendition of Black Manta.
  • Artwork on each page is clean and crisp. Character expressions are simply incredible.
  • Plus, how often do you see a very important comic book character losing an arm in a dastardly attack?

What's Crap

  • Honestly, I really have no complaints about this issue, except that I feel the fight scenes could have used a few more panels.

The Bottom Line

If you’re still coming to grips with what happened in Brightest Day #18, then this latest issue on the celebrated yearlong maxi-series from DC Comics will blow you away. I hate to repeat myself but, yeah, this issue focuses on one of the most beloved characters in superhero comics genre who’s none other than Aquaman. The best part is there’s big action in this comic book. ‘Nuff said.

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #17 – Homecoming

Cover Art for Brightest Day #17

Writers: Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf
Inkers: Vicente Cifuentes, David Beaty

In a Nutshell

In this issue of Brightest Day, we find Firestorm (powered by the integrated identities of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch) in a dark vacuum. But it’s not just any darkness that surrounds them. It’s actually a hive of shadow demons – Anti-monitors personal army. The scene happens close to Planet Qward.

Back on Earth, Boston Brand is persuaded over by Dawn Granger aka Dove to visit his last surviving relative, his grandfather. That little visit allows Boston to feel what it’s like to have a family again. But as Boston and his grandfather went for one last adventure, the white ring on Boston’s hand begins recharging. For what purpose? Nobody knows. One thing’s for sure, there’s gonna be no rest for Deadman.

Meanwhile, in Zamaron (the home planet of the Star Sapphires), Carter and Shiera Hall get help from Star Sapphire (aka Carol Ferris) and other members of the violet lantern corps as they fight the Manhawks. Apparently, the love between Carter and Shiera has drawn the attention of the violet lanterns, which represent the emotional spectrum of love. But things have taken for the worse in this comic book as The Predator, the emotional entity of love, chose to merge with Shiera’s evil mother, Queen Khea. We can only ask what’s next for the Star Sapphires, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl?

What's Cool

  • Boston Brand taking his grandpa for one last wild ride. Grandpa Brand was a daredevil back in the day. Boston made a stunt ramp construct using his white ring.
  • Just like in previous Brightest Day issues, this one has eye-popping artwork.
    Character facial expressions and anatomical proportions are totally impressive.
  • Minimalist cover art is just super.

What's Crap

  • Well, I can’t really think of anything, except for the fact that the plot for most issues of the Brightest Day has been moving in a very slow pace. And bringing it up every time is like talking to a wall. I just hope that Geoff Johns has a very good ending for this series.

The Bottom Line

Reading Brightest Day #17 has left me hanging, but I can hardly describe this comic book as a filler issue. For the most part, this storyline has moved at a snail’s pace, but at the very least, this ish has the story moving forward. No, this is not a jumping on point if you are new to Brightest Day, but if you are a completist who’s been following this storyline, you definitely need to get this one.

Comic Book Review: Green Lantern #61 – Seeing Red

Cover Art for Green Lantern #61

Story: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen, and Mark Irwin
Colors: Randy Mayor

In a Nutshell

Green Lantern #61 lets comic book readers see the world in the eyes of Atrocitus. A strange world full of strange people, he says. A stark observation if I may add. But Atty has a bigger fish to…err…fish. You see, he needs to locate and capture The Butcher, the emotional element of rage, before somebody else collects it. Atrocitus’ archaic and messy tracking technique leads him to a penal facility where a man is about to get electrocuted for a crime he committed and the victim’s father is there to watch the convict fry.

What's Cool

  • Special appearance of The Spectre aka Crispus Allen.
  • The mano-a-mano scene between The Spectre and The Butcher, who has merged with an unwilling human host.
  • The look of The Butcher when it merged with a human host is just fiendishly awesome. Like a hardcore demon with all sorts of blades and knives hanging from its belt.
  • The words in this comic book issue are remarkable. Comic book fans can find quotable quotes without having nose bleeds.
  • Ink job is also incredible.
  • The story is focused on Atrocitus.

What's Crap

  • The scene where The Spectre said that Atrocitus cannot be judged has left a few unanswered questions.

The Bottom Line

The best part of this comic book issue is its smooth-flowing story. Using a prison as the backdrop for the hunt for The Butcher is right on the ball. Where else can we find rage at its worst other than in a correctional facility? Overall, Green Lantern #61 is a good read.

Comic Book Review: Flash #8 – Reverse-Flash Rebirth

Cover Art for The Flash #8

Story: Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins
Colors: Brian Buccellato
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover art: Scott Kolins with Michael Atiyeh

In a Nutshell

Flash #8 paints Central City yellow with the rebirth of Reverse Flash. This issue is basically about how Eobard Thawne became one of the most formidable foes of the scarlet speedster. But apart from the obvious animosity between these two characters, what makes their story more interesting is the fact that The Flash and Reverse-Flash are inseparable, one cannot exist without the other. Hence, after the Flash: Rebirth series, here comes the retelling of the story of Reverse-Flash.

What's Cool

  • Eobard Thawne is not an ordinary psychopath. He has the power to literally erase from history all the people and things he dislikes.
  • Just like the previous issues of The Flash, this comic book issue has a lot of energy within the pages. Readers can feel the emotions of the characters.
  • Excellent colors by Brian Buccellato.

What's Crap

  • Cheesy – or should I say loser – moments when Eobard Thawne fell in love with a girl named Rose. Unfortunately, these scenes were essential in the story. It was the part that tipped Eobard Thawne’s pot, the straw that broke the camel’s back if you will.
  • The body proportions in some of the drawings can be a bit disquieting, if you like realistic artwork., but the rich colors can well make up for this little concern.

The Bottom Line

The Flash #8 is a self-contained issue, a one-shot material. Meaning, this is a perfect jumping on point for comic book fans who want to catch up with the latest series of The Flash. This also paves the road to Flashpoint, the much-awaited story arc about the fastest man alive.

Brightest Day #14: Acrobats

“I just hope there’s more to life than a good cheeseburger.” — Boston Brand/Deadman

This Brightest Day chapter focuses on one character—Deadman. Not only will comic book readers know what happens to Boston Brand’s quest to find someone who will replace him as the bearer of the White Lantern ring, but more interestingly we get to see the origins of the ghost in the red acrobatic suit.

Brightest Day #14

Thinking that Batman is the worthy guardian of the Earth–and hence the perfect bearer of the White Lantern ring–Deadman goes to Gotham City. But things turned bad, when he finds himself right in the middle of a heist masterminded by Mr. Freeze. While Batman will definitely be in the pages of this issue, I believe the cover art is a bit misleading. Still, fans will definitely find themselves thunderstruck after reading this ish.

Again, Geoff Johns delivers a great story. Now that Brightest Day is halfway through to its conclusion and the main characters have been fully developed and set, I’m sure that readers can expect more energetic installments from Johns. It is also worth mentioning that right from the start, the art by Ivan Reis perfectly captures the strength of Johns’ writing. For this issue in particular, Reis did an amazing job in Deadman’s movements and facial expressions.

DC Comics Launches The New 52: Complete Checklist for Week 2

Last week, comics fans got their taste of the first batch of titles under The New 52 from DC Comics. The event relaunched many of the old and favorite titles from the DC stable, starting off fifty-two books at Issue #1. It’s definitely a new beginning for many comics collectors. For those new to comics, this is the perfect time to begin collecting DC comicbooks or to simply jump in on any of the major titles from DC Universe. Here are The New 52 issues for this week, all thirteen of them.

Cover Art for The New 52: Batman and Robin #1
Batman and Robin #1
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Cover Art for The New 52: Batwoman #1
Batwoman #1
Writers: J.H. Williams III and
W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Art for The New 52: Deathstroke #1
Deathstroke #1
Script: Kyle Higgins
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Art Thibert
Cover Art for The New 52: Demon Knights #1
Demon Knights #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Diogenes Neves
Inker: Oclair Albert
Cover Art for The New 52: Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Cover Art for The New 52: Green Lantern #1
Green Lantern #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy
with Tom Nguyen
Cover Art for The New 52: Grifter #1
Grifter #1
Story by Nathan Edmondson
Pencils by Cafu
Inks by Jason Gorder
Cover Art for The New 52: Legion Lost #1
Legion Lost #1
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencil Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Cover Art for The New 52: Mister Terrific #1
Mister Terrific #1
Writer: Eric Wallace
Penciller: Gianluca Gugliotta
Inker: Wayne Fauchert
Cover Art for The New 52: Red Lanterns #1
Red Lanterns #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Rob Hunter
Cover Art for The New 52: Resurrection Man #1
Resurrection Man #1
Writers: Dan Abnett and
Andy Lanning
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Cover Art for The New 52: Suicide Squad #1
Suicide Squad #1
Writer: Adam Glass
Artists: Federico Dallocchio,
Ransom Getty and
Scott Hanna
Cover Art for The New 52: Superboy #1
Superboy #1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: R.B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean

DC Comics Launches The New 52: Complete Pull List for Week 1

This week, DC Comics relaunches fifty-two titles. Dubbed as The New 52, it’s the biggest event for DC Universe this year and in recent memory. Many old favorites and new titles will be starting off at issue #1. Take note, this event isn’t just another renumbering of old DC titles. In its entirety, The New 52 event re-imagines many of the classic DC comics stories to make them more attuned to this time and age. It’s definitely a new dawn for many comics collectors. And for new comicbook readers, it’s the perfect jumping on point for major DC titles. Here are the issues launched during the first week of The New 52.

Cover Art for The New 52: Justice League #1
Justice League #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Cover Art for The New 52: Action Comics #1
Action Comics #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Rick Bryant
Cover Art for The New 52: Animal Man #1
Animal Man #1
Story by Jeff Lemire
Pencils and Cover: Travel Foreman
Inks: Travel Foreman and Dan Green
Cover Art for The New 52: Batgirl #1
Batgirl #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Cover Art for The New 52: Batwing #1
Batwing #1
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Ben Oliver
Colors: Brian Reber
Cover Art for The New 52: Detective Comics #1
Detective Comics #1
Written and Drawn by Tony Daniel
Inks by Ryan Winn
Cover Art for The New 52: Green Arrow #1
Green Arrow #1
Writer: J.T. Krul
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: George Perez
Cover Art for The New 52: Hawk and Dove #1
Hawk and Dove #1
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Cover Art for The New 52: Justice League International #1
Justice League International #1
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencil Art: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Cover Art for The New 52: Men of War #1
Men of War #1
Writer: Ivan Brandon
Artist: Tom Derenick
Back-up Story by Jonathan Vankin
Back-up Story Art by: Phil Winslade
Cover Art for The New 52: O.M.A.C. #1
O.M.A.C. #1
Story and Art by Keith Giffen and Dan Didio
Inks by Scott Koblish
Colors by Hi-Fi
Cover Art for The New 52: Static Shock #1
Static Shock #1
Story by Scott McDaniel and
John Rozum
Pencils by Scott McDaniel
Inks by Jonathan Glapion and
Le Beau Underwood
Cover Art for The New 52: Stormwatch #1
Stormwatch #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Cover Art for The New 52: Swamp Thing #1
Swamp Thing #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Yanick Paquette

5 Must-Read Comics for the Week (February 10, 2011)

I have a pretty straightforward must-read comics list for this week. First on my checklist is Wolverine #1000. I have to admit, I wasn’t aware that Wolvie has already reached this record number of issues or perhaps I have read all about this issue on Previews but I somehow forgot about the story behind the big number. At any rate, I hope that this issue will not be the start of odd comic book numbering system not only from Marvel Comics, but from all the other publishers as well.

Green Lantern Emerald Warriors and Justice League Generation Lost have very exciting stories this week. And Geoff Johns is at his best in The Flash. Rounding up my recommended titles this week is Victorian Undead II, Holmes vs. Dracula #4.

Here are the 5 comic book titles that make up my list this week:

1. Wolverine #1000
2. Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #7
3. Justice League Generation Lost #19
4. Flash #9
5. Victorian Undead II, Holmes vs. Dracula #4

If you have any comments, please let me know and they will be deeply appreciated.

Weekly Comic Book Review (Nov. 17): Batman: The Return #1, Batman Incorporated #1, The Flash #6

Every week, I will be sharing with you the comic books that really blew my mind. My reviews, however, are not official and they are solely based on my personal opinion and tastes.

My comics pull list for this week has Batman written all over it. There are three major Dark Knight titles, plus one Batman appearance in the Brightest Day maxi-series. I also included Flash #6 which is the last chapter in The Dastardly Death of the Rogues story arc. Brightest Day #14, another comics series by Geoff Johns, also proved to be a real treat. All in all, I have 6 issues as my top picks. Here they are:

1. Batman Incorporated #1: Mr. Unknown is Dead

2. Batman: The Return #1—Planet Gotham

3. The Flash #6: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues, Part Six

4. Brightest Day #14: Acrobats

5. Batman #704: Eye of the Beholder

6. Green Lantern #59: Lorek Tarr Lok

I hope you enjoyed these issues as much as I did. Please let me know what you think about this week’s top picks. Thanks.