Justice League #0 Review


While at the theater for the Shazam movie they ended up giving out free copies of Shazam’s first appearance in the New 52 so that was pretty cool. It’s been a long while since I’ve read a single issue as I typically read the trades. I remember how Shazam’s new portrayal was always pretty controversial. He’s definitely a lot meaner than in his original days but it works pretty well. At least if you just judge from this issue, he’s pretty solid although he loses some edge once he transforms.

The issue starts with Black Adam beating up the wizard and then dashing out of there. The Wizard feels pretty shaken at this point and then a kid named Billy Batson shows up and threatens to beat the wizard up. While this isn’t the “pure good” person that the wizard was hoping for, he learns that maybe such a person would never appear. He gives Billy his powers and the kid turns into the powerful Shazam. He manages to get Freddy to believe that this is his new identity and then he goes around beating people up. The issue ends with Shazam realizing that he can potentially make a lot of money in his new form.

You can definitely see where the film took some events from while not adapting this 1-1. Shazam is definitely attracted to money pretty easily here, but hopefully he’ll use it to help the neighborhood out. Naturally there isn’t a whole lot that you can cover in a single issue but this does a good job of setting up the characters and events. Personally I thought Billy was pretty solid here. He seems like the kind of guy who protects his neighborhood from the shadows even if he’s not all that nice about it. As Shazam he definitely seems a lot more normal so maybe that’s a subtle effect of the transformation.

The art is definitely solid. While parts of it have that New 52 glimmer, others are a bit more rugged to try and fit the tone of the issue. The end result is a very good looking comic that’s easy to read and looks pretty impressive. It’s definitely very solid. There aren’t any fights yet of course, but once those come it’ll probably look even better. I suppose the weakest part is probably the humans and even that looks pretty good for the most part I’d say.

The New 52 still feels so recent, but I suppose at this point it’s ancient history. I never really kept up with the Shazam series, assuming he ever actually got one. If he was just relegated to side issues and guest star roles then that would be pretty unfortunate. There’s definitely a lot you can do with the character. After all, he’s basically Superman 2.0 so that makes for a good read. Then there’s the fact that Billy doesn’t let anyone mess with him. Makes for a very unique experience I’d say.

Overall, Shazam is a pretty solid first comic. I’d definitely check out the follow up issues. Somehow I don’t think that’ll be happening anytime soon, but next time I’m at the library I’ll definitely stay sharp. If you have never read the new Shazam adventures then I’d recommend changing that. With Black Adam introduced out of the gate and solid artwork throughout, the series is poised to really deliver on the action front in the future.

Overall 7/10

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Teen Titans Volume 1 It’s Our Right to Fight Review

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It’s time to look at the start of the New 52 Teen Titans run. I always thought the comics looked like fun with the dynamic covers and the cool new costumes. I can imagine how it may be a little too flashy for some readers, but it helped capture what the New 52 was supposed to be all about. The only thing that I was a little wary about is the fact that one of the main characters is gay and I believe that it may become a bit more of a focus in the future, but hopefully it simply remains a background element that doesn’t come into play. This comic series doesn’t need any romance of any kind. Simply focus on the action and this title should stay solid.

Red Robin/Tim Drake finds out that teenage meta humans are being targeted and kidnapped by an organization known as NOWHERE. He has written many blog posts to warn fellow heroes about this, but decides that he’ll finally have to step in to save them. He dons the Red Robin costume and finds Wonder Girl first. The two of them fight off the agents and Red Robin decides that he’ll save everyone else in the same way. Unfortunately, the two of them do not get along very well and the other members like Kid Flash, Bunker, Skitter, Solstice, and Danny are all not used to being on a team. Red Robin has his work cut out for them as the team ends the graphic novel embarking on their first big mission. They need to save Superboy!

There’s a lot of action in this first graphic novel. Superboy gets to fight the whole group of Teen Titans as he works for NOWHERE in this continuity. I suppose that they built him or that there will be a plot twist about that at some point. As with other modern day trades there are some events that happen in other issues so you won’t fully see them here. After all, Superboy already had his own comic series at the time so the timing must have been interesting. (Granted, the same thing happened in Civil War as well) You can still understand everything that is happening with no extra effort though. The best part of this comic was certainly the battle with Superboy.

As it stands, Superboy completely outclasses the Teen Titans in a fight though. This isn’t exactly evenly matched after all. Superboy is the strongest member around and since he has telekinesis at his disposal, he can even stop Kid Flash. I’ll still take classic Super Strength and speed like Superman any day, but it is always handy to have an extra power. Superboy seems like a reasonable guy even if he isn’t thinking things through a whole lot. It’s obvious that NOWHERE is suspect and even if his mission is to serve them, he should think about what kind of reception he’ll get for failing his mission. That was a good hero move on his part though.

The art is really good and continues to show why DC is leading the industry in this area. It holds its own as well as any other comic on the shelf and that is especially true for the action scenes and character designs. It’s been a long time since Red Robin was such a starring member so it’s good to see that his new design is so sharp. I imagine that Kid Flash’s is the one that people would find too colorful, but it works well for the character.

Unfortunately, the writing is what I’d call the weak point of the comic. The dialogue between Red Robin and Wonder Girl in particular can be a little sad as both of them really try your patience. A line should always be cool sounding or at least it should push the plot along. Some of the conversations that they have are just filler and usually it is just Wonder Girl accusing Red Robin of being a creep. He doesn’t seem to deny it typically so that doesn’t bode well for him at all. Even the conversation leading up to Bunko’s big revelation is rather forced as well. Characters don’t need to be talking about flirting all of the time!

Anyway, as you’d expect I didn’t think too highly of Red Robin. It’s unfortunate since I do like the Robins quite a bit, but he had too many iffy moments. Red Robin tends to look good when he’s on his own taking down criminals and making deductions, but he’ll have to work on himself when he’s with the team. I’m sure that he’ll gradually get used to being a team player. As it is, he also makes a very questionable call at the end of the comic which I naturally disagree with. He lets other meta humans get hunted and injured just so he can have some more proof. Definitely a bad call.

Wonder Girl plays up the “tough girl” angle a little too much most of the time, but granted I can see why she is always annoyed at Red Robin. He constantly calls her Wonder Girl even though she doesn’t want to be called that. She is not as eager to fight as Wonder Woman, but still seems to get a thrill out of it so that’s always a good personality trait. She’s easily the strongest member of the team, but not quite as Superboy’s level yet. Her dialogue needs to get better for her to be more likable, but she’s still better than Red Robin, Bunko, and Skitter.

Skitter has very weak will power. She lets her animal form take control rather easily and comes across as a self-defeating person the entire time. She definitely needs to work on getting a little more confident. Her Skitter form has a cool design and seems to be decently strong so she should grow into a being a good character. She just needs more will power and confidence is a good way to increase that quality. Bunko was a fan of Red Robin from the start so he’s one of the only members who is really glad to be on the team. His telekinetic powers will surely be useful as the fights go on. That being said, his costume is a complete rip off from Iron Fist’s. DC didn’t even try to give him something original. Right now he is a rather bland character, but at least he is optimistic which is more than I can say for some of the others. Danny has no role as of yet and he’s a living street. That’s got to be one of the worst powers of all time. I hope it doesn’t hurt when people step on him. There’s really nothing to say about him at the moment though there may never be since it seems like he’ll never take human form. I suppose having enough written lines as an object could still give him a personality…maybe.

Solstice has mysterious dark powers so it’s good that Raven’s not on the team yet. She seems fairly powerful, but we haven’t really gotten to see her fight yet. Energy Projection and flight is a good start though. She is the only one to realize that Red Robin is up to something iffy and she is also very optimistic. Solstice is definitely off to a solid start as one of the best members, maybe even the best. Kid Flash acts as you would expect him too. He has great speed and it naturally goes to his head. The concept of a backdraft following him into a burning house makes sense even if it feels like he just had some bad luck there. I could swear that the Flash has done the same thing many times with no ill side effects. Kid Flash will be integral to the plot as time travelling shenanigans are already starting and Kid Flash may not be what he seems. It’ll be sort of neat to see his true story, but it’s not interesting enough to warrant a full comic flashback so hopefully it just gets a few panels. His blue costume seems neat though.

The comic ends with a fairly great cliffhanger as the founder of NOWHERE shows up to fight the full team along with an injured Superboy. That should make for a solid fight even if this guy seems completely outclassed. His Grim Reaper design is another great one and the New 52 has done a good job creating original villains. His powers seem shadow based and those are usually difficult to fight against. I look forward to seeing what he has got in the next volume.

Overall, This was a solid comic. It ends up being just shy of the 8 due to the weak writing at times, but still makes for a fun read. It’s a good start to the Teen Titans adventures. The roster is also surprisingly strong as Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Superboy are all power hitters with Solstice and Bunker being decent in combat as well. It’ll be interesting to see which villains are pitted against this group as it will be tough to stop them. After enough issues, I naturally want to see the Justice League fight the Teen Titans. It should be a blowout, but just the concept of a crossover fight is always fun. On an ending note, I’d also like to point out that the group fight against Superboy is exactly how all team comics should begin.

Overall 7/10

Green Lantern Volume 6 The Life Equation Review

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Alright, we’re back with more Green Lantern comics! In this one, the New Gods step in so we take a little break from the main plot that’s been going on. It’s just how it goes with Tie ins, but as long as the event is really good this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think Green Lantern is a little underpowered here and it shouldn’t be so easy to develop a counter weapon to the Power Ring imo. This volume has a lot of action and is setting things up for the Darkseid War so it is a must read.

The New Gods hack into the Green Lantern database to find out more about the rings and they also want to take Kyle Rayner since he may be helpful for the Anti-Life Equation. The Green Lanterns decide to retaliate which leads to a full scale war with the New Gods. They will need some backup though and this quickly results in the Sinestro corps, Black Lantern Corps, Star Sapphires, Blue Lanterns, and all of the others to emerge. Can they get along long enough to deal with these guys though?

We really see just how strong Orion and the other New Gods are in this comic. It is good to see them look so powerful because they honestly should be. If they were lightweights it just wouldn’t make that much sense. There is still a lot of plot hax in how they are able to bust through the Green Lantern constructs so easily with their anti ring weapons though. It is consistently said to be the greatest weapon in the universe so there shouldn’t be any kind of counter to it.

At least it helps to strengthen my opinion that Hal is easily the best Green Lantern. He reminds the others that their constructs can always come out on top as long as their Will Power is on point and he never backs down. He does lose to Orion in their initial meetup, but it was hardly a fair fight. I’d like to say that he would have won in round 2, but then the Black Lantern had to wreck it. It was a bit of a low blow although Hal didn’t seem to mind, which was a little iffy. Hal’s done a great job of leading the GL Corps while the Guardians have stepped down and attacking the New Gods immediately was certainly the right move. Getting some backup was also wise since they would have been completely overwhelmed with sheer numbers otherwise.

It was a really awesome scene when Black Hand (Leader of the Black Lanterns) was able to animate the Source Wall and reawaken all of the people there. That included the big villains from the previous GL arcs and a lot of legendary monsters who were known as the strongest of the strongest. Even the New Gods really paled in comparison to these guys and they were soundly defeated. Naturally Black Hand couldn’t keep control of them for very long and he started to perish due to the Source Wall effect, but even for just being temporarily it was impressive and the best visual in the collection.

I focused on the New Gods part a lot, but the final 3 issues do go back to the main plot. Hal decides to take a little vacation to relax from the galaxy threatening situations of late, but soon realizes that it is hard to get away from it all. The Flash and Guy Gardner effectively remind him that his job as a Green Lantern is something that he can’t get away from. After having a talk with Star Sapphire as well, Hal makes a bold decision. He’s going to quit the Green Lantern corps. The universe is still very upset at the group for the Power Ring controversies so Hal decides to pose as the villain to clean the rep of the group.

He stages a betrayal with Kilowog and flees with one of the Power Batteries. Only Kilowog knows the truth so now he is on the hunt from every single star system and galactic group across the universe. For all we know, even the Justice League will be against him. It is going to be very hard for Hal to survive for long on his own, but he’s a survivor so he can take care of himself. I’ll admit that I’m not super thrilled about this decision. Hal was just coming into his own as a leader and we could have certainly had many great stories that could have come from that. Well, the idea of Hal being a loner as a while can be cool too.

As for the other characters, Sinestro had a good role in this collection. He aided the Green Lanterns when it counted even if he proved that he still can’t be trusted to stick with the mission in the end. His main goal is still to protect his own interests, but he did make a difference. He’s a fun rival to have for Hal. Kilowog’s also a pretty nice mentor and at least Hal can always count on him. Star Sapphire’s decision to part ways with Hal, but still leave him with some hope seems a little dicey, but hopefully that drama is essentially over now.

Orion was surprisingly likable in this issue. He knew that the All Father was being very unreasonable and corrupt. He didn’t mind mentioning this to the guy’s face either and it’s why rebellious characters can be good to have at times. He can also back up his tough talk and there’s no unnecessary romance with Wonder Woman to keep him down here. Mogo is cool as always and the rest of the Green Lanterns are fairly useful. The comic has a good cast and even the All Father may have learned his lesson. He claims that he will go back to his original mission of protecting people from Darkseid rather than becoming another villain so we’ll see if he is true to his word.

As always, the artwork for the Green Lantern collection is nothing short of excellent. All of the fights are really fun to look at. No other title does space fights quite as well as the Green Lantern series and that’s good since this series needs a lot of space action scenes. Adding in the New Gods also helped to connect this to the rest of the DCU and while that’s not necessary for a good GL comic as the previous graphic novels have shown, it is always fun to see. I’m definitely ready for the Justice League to show up as guest stars, that would be a blast! There is not a single panel where the artwork looks off.

Overall, Green Lantern continues its run of quality issues with this collection. The stakes may not have literally been as high as some of the older ones since the Galaxy was on the brink, but nonetheless they felt just as high. The war between the New Gods and Darkseid will surely have universal ramifications and the fact that both sides seem fairly corrupt is a sign that the Green Lanterns are going to have to work overtime to stop them all. As long as Hal is the leader of the Green Lantern corps, I’m sure that they are going to go far. Of course, with Hal no longer being the leader, the status quo is certainly going to be shaken up. I wonder how long the series can possibly go without Hal going back to his role. It’s an ambitious decision, but this series can pull it off. Hopefully by the time Hal joins up with the Corps again they will have beefed up their tranks a little. I want the Corps to be a universal threat like the good ole days. Right now they are really light on manpower so I’m thinking that some new recruits are in order. Maybe bringing in Supergirl and Cyborg for starters. Even better….another Hal Jordan from a different universe!

Overall 8/10

Green Lantern Volume 5 Test of Wills Review

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It’s time for one of the newer Green Lantern volumes. Hal’s had a rough time, but the last volume saw him taking over the Corps. He definitely didn’t really want this to happen, but now that it has, he might as well make the best of it! His decision to limit the use of the Power Rings really heats things up here and the villain groups aren’t afraid to use this to their advantage!

The main plot of this graphic novel involves a group of shapeshifters who infiltrate Mogo. They manage to knock Hal Jordan out and go on Galaxy TV to declare (While posing as Hal) that the Green Lanterns will hunt down anyone who uses the Lantern energy as it all comes from a supply at the end of the universe and if it runs out, everyone dies. (At least their emotions will) Technically, this story is true aside from the Green Lanterns all being extremists, but the universe quickly panics. The Lanterns must die now! Just about every planet turns against the Green Lanterns and this seems like it could be the status quo for quite a while. It’ll be hard to get people to forget this.

The shapeshifter problem isn’t over yet either. There lies a planet very much like Krypton in the universe and its citizens gain incredible amounts of super strength and speed when exposed to the sun. The shape shifters want to copy their forms and then bathe in this legendary sun liquid on a planet that will complete the transformation. These shapeshifters are really hard to detect because the transformation is just about 100% authentic. Hal needs to figure it out quickly though because having a lot of Evil Supermen in the universe would definitely not be a good idea.

Shapeshifting plots are always interesting because it’s very hard to stop those guys without plot hax or a lot of specific scenarios. Let’s just say that the heroes are not successful here and the shape shifter has her way for quite a while and even gains the Superman abilities, which was interesting to see. The Green Lanterns are powerful, but they are out of their league against someone like this. The group had a pretty good plan for dealing with the villain though and while I think they probably should have gotten owned, it didn’t feel to plot hax’d and their plan was a good one. I didn’t care for the villains aside from the one that got the cool super powers, but it’s always intriguing to see more alien species. I currently know of more Marvel kinds than DC ones so this helps to even the odds.

Another plot during this collection involved the Red Lanterns as the Green Lanterns find an enraged Supergirl while in space. Since when is she a Red Lantern? Well, in the comics it felt like that happened for a while, but to the characters it probably seemed random. Even worse is the fact that nobody knew who she was. Man, Hal Jordan’s seriously out of the loop right now and it just shows that he needs to get back on Earth. Too bad he’s effectively banned from going there since it’s Red Lantern territory now. Yeah…long story. It was great to see the Kryptonians get so much hype here though. Hal implies that Superman would completely wreck the Green Lantern core if something happened to Supergirl and he’s right. As it stands, I could easily see Superman decimating all of the Green and Red Lanterns teaming up. They’re simply not ready to fight him just yet.

The Red Lanterns got their own issue in this collection since it dealt with the Supergirl situation. It was interesting to see an issue from their series. I don’t think it’ll be nearly as good as Green Lantern since the cast isn’t quite as good and aside from Guy Gardner (Who’s not exactly the greatest main character) I can’t think of any real notable players. The fight against the Shadow Thief was neat, but Red Lantern abilities never look as good as Green ones. Seriously, those guys are always coughing. Atrocitus is coming closer to Guy’s faction though so it’ll be interesting when they fight again. That guy was always a big threat so having him return would definitely up the stakes.

Hal Jordan is still my favorite Green Lantern and he does a good job of keeping everyone in check in this volume. You can tell that he’s more experienced and in control than he was in the old comics. Let’s ignore the Justice League issues in the New 52 since he lost all of his development and the whole thing is one big plot hole anyway. Hal realizes that he needs to listen to other opinions now that he’s the leader and he does that ASAP. He’s no longer the space flirt that he used to be and he’s only worried about Carol, not even to get back together with her, but because Kyle died so right now things are rough for her. I’m expecting them to fight though since the Star Sapphires are antagonistic towards the Greens. (For good reasons, since the Green Lanterns want to control the universe’s levels of light) We even get to see some of Hal’s family like his brother and nephews. They’re neat and it’s always good to see that a hero has someone that he can talk too.

For a while Spider Man had Aunt May and Superman typically has Lois. With his family around, Hal can spitball ideas and also get a grounded perspective. I definitely haven’t heard of his bro or nephews before, but they seemed pretty decent even if they were pretty mean to Simon Baz. Poor Baz, he never quite hit it off in the comics, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him. He is the last Green Lantern on Earth after all. John Stewart was also around and he’ll be having his own subplot for future issues as he needs to find someone who was replaced by the Shapeshifter a while back. The whole thing is super embarrassing for Stewart and it’s why I say you should always be careful where romance is involved. Still, what’s done is done and hopefully he’s able to find her quickly since the universe is a big place.

There’s a fairly big cliffhanger at the end here as the New Gods are finally making a move. They want the Anti Life Equation and they seem pretty shady so for the Darkseid War I wouldn’t be surprised if both sides end up being villains. It’ll be fun seeing the Green Lanterns take these guys on and I’m assuming that it’ll tie into why Green Lantern headed for Earth in one of the Justice League volumes that I read. Is it time to call in the Calvary? The Justice League can certainly tip the scales of any fight after all.

As always, the art is very good for this graphic novel. The fights are very eye catching and I never tire of the beam wars. I’m hoping that Hal completely forgets about trying to conceal light since that would mean the fight scenes can’t be as grand. He’s already starting to move away from that idea, which is definitely a good start. It’s always very easy to read through the comics since the art is so exceptional. It was also neat to see Batman on a few of the covers even if he didn’t actually get to appear in the issues. Ah well, I suppose that will have to do for now.

Finally, I’ve also got to note that it was impressive as always to see Hal hold his own in a fist fight against an opponent who by all accounts is stronger and faster. Note that this is without the Power Ring. Hal’s always had the most will power out of any Green Lantern and he always looks very skilled in his comic series. It’s one of the reasons why the Green Lantern franchise is one of the best parts of DC. Hal makes for a consistent main character and the plots are always interesting. This current plot about how everyone is dealing with the concept of limited energy is a good one and the universe is so big that there are so many plots to keep up with. We thought that Earth was a big place, but when you compare that to a universe, it makes sense that there are so many things happening. The Lanterns just have to tackle one problem at a time. Next problem on the list? Saint Walker. His refusal to help the others out is coming dangerously close to forfeiting innocent lives and that’s where you’ve got to draw the line between a cautious fighter and a bad character.

Overall, This is another solid Green Lantern comic. There’s a lot of action and the plot is very interesting. There are really no big negatives to speak of here. Hal Jordan definitely shouldn’t get one shotted from any blunt weapon and I still consider him to be one of DC’s power houses so that was a moment of plot hax, but it was a rare one. For the most part, Hal takes care of business and beats up anyone who gets in his way. I’m also glad that he keeps on springing into action instead of staying at the base like a leader is supposed too. That kind of thing has hurt many good characters and I don’t want to see that happen to Hal. An active main character is a good one! I’ll be reading the next volume very soon so stay tuned!

Overall 8/10

Justice League Volume 6 Injustice League Review

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It’s been a while since I’ve read a New 52 Justice League adventure. I read a few volumes from the Morrison run, which was a lot of fun so now I can really compare it to the current versions of the League. It is still a little humorous to see the new Batman and Superman for various reasons, but they are still great characters as well, just a little different. I shall get into that shortly. I’m not so sure about the title to this volume, but I suppose that things have changed so maybe it’s a fair title…maybe. Either way, this volume’s a blast and the ending is sure to be exciting for DC fans everywhere. Especially after one of my latest reviews.

Lex Luthor helped to save the planet from the Crime syndicate back in Forever Evil. I knew someone who reeeeally loved that arc and I basically know everything about it since that was back when I was heavily following the blog events through various reviewing sites. It was a blast although I wanted the Justice League to appear more, but it did sound exciting. It makes sense that this would come back to bite the League though since the world wants Lex on the Justice League. None of the League members are for this, but then Batman gets a “brilliant” idea. He’ll have Lex join so then as Bruce Wayne, he can go to Lexcorp and dig up the villain’s evil secrets so that the heroes can arrest him once and for all. It doesn’t help that Lex Luthor walked up slowly to Wayne Manor and exclaimed that Bruce was actually Batman. So, Lex is on the team and things move very quickly. The evil Green Lantern’s Power Ring finds a girl who is afraid of the world and transforms her into a super villain. She is not evil, but she’s a prisoner in her own body now. Some bounty hunters are after Lex since they can now get rich quick and finally, a plague spreads across the country, which threatens to destroy the League once and for all.

We may as well start with the art in this title. It is nice and streamlined, which is always good. I would say that the art is terrific like usual, but I’m afraid that this isn’t the case this time. It’s mainly the facial expressions that can get a little dicey at times, mainly Shazam. There is the chance that this is intentional since Shazam looks disgracefully bad, but I can’t confirm that so it needs to be noted. Aside from this, the comic looks great for the action scenes and intense energy blasts throughout. This is still a definitive looking comic for sure.

I also need to give a quick shoutout to the epic ending of the graphic novel. Spoiler time…spoiler time. Are you still reading? Are ya? Well, Hal Jordan has returned! Since I just read the Green Lantern comic and reviewed it on the blog earlier, it’s great to see him coming back to the League. It was literally the final page of the comic so he hasn’t done anything yet, but this is certainly the muscle that the team needed. Furthermore, he’ll be very useful for the upcoming Darkseid War arc. It’s just such a powerful moment in the comic and I certainly missed him being on the team. Can you believe that he has basically missed the entire Justice League series at this point? It’s uncanny!

Jessica Cruz gets a big role here since she was taken over by Power Ring. (AKA Volthoom. It’s pretty cool to see him again after his destruction in the Green Lantern comics. I’m assuming that this is a different version from the other Earth since he was the Green Lantern’s power ring. How characters can change across universes right?) She becomes ready to fight right away and accepts her power so she’s certainly a good character. At first, she’s still scared of the world due to a traumatic backstory so she doesn’t start off on a high note, but gets there and that’s what counts. Her Green Lantern abilities will definitely be useful in future conflicts and having 2 Green Lanterns can never hurt right? It also means that we have yet another Green Lantern from Earth after Simon Baz was recently recruited. The Corps are getting stronger and stronger.

Cruz’s Power Ring was also wanted by several factions, which made for some good fights. Remember the Doom Patrol from the good ole days? Well, they’re back and in this continuity, they were all saved by a mad scientist. They feel indebted to him so they’ll obey his orders no matter what. At least their consciences are not totally gone as they want to save some civilians, but still hesitate in the end until the Justice League save them. They are also totally fine with fighting the Justice League so I certainly wouldn’t call them heroes right now. True heroes know when to question an order and furthermore, they know when to flat out disobey one. None of them are very powerful at the moment, although Mr. Negative seems to be the power hitter of the group. Lex Luthor and The Chief do have a verbal fight, which is always interesting to see. It’s basically just the Chief responding with “That’s not true” (Like a certain Presidential debate) while Lex accuses him of everything under the Moon. I’m inclined to think that Lex is telling the truth in this case and The Chief seems to have been tricked by someone, but it doesn’t change the fact that The Chief appears to basically be evil in this version.

Meanwhile, Lex’s role in this comic is really good and his fans will be thrilled. He has a battle of wits against Bruce Wayne and it isn’t even a close fight. Lex completely destroys Batman in the debates to the point where he makes Batman and Superman act very petty with rage. It’s a blast, but essentially it all starts when Lex piecies togiether Bruce Wayne’s secret identity as Batman. Bruce tries to deny it for a while, but Lex knows and nothing can undo that. He even breaks into Wayne Enterprises and while Alfred puts up a good fight, this is Lex that we’re talking about. Lex claims to want to be a hero at the moment so the team lets him in (For more petty reasons) and we’ll see how long he can keep this up.

One thing that you have to know about comics is that the status quo will always reset at some point. Lex will certainly be a villain again so we just have to wonder how long it will take. He has a shady plot already as he has hired Captain Cold to be his head of security and is taking a lot of blood samples. Why is he doing this? For all I know, it could be more heroic reasons and this is just some more misdirection to trick us all. He does seem to want to live up to the Justice League’s expectations though and tried very hard to save the day twice, but each time he was beaten to the punch. Batman ended up saving the day with Jessica Cruz before Lex and then the plague was stopped by Superman. Although, Lex is still the one who ultimately provided the cure. It reminds me of the Superman Adventure that I read recently where Lex really wanted to help a kid, but was beaten to the punch by Superman and thanks to a misunderstanding from his henchmen, he put the kid in danger. Things don’t go Lex’s way when he tries to be a hero so then it’s back to being a villain. I think he’ll last a while as a hero though and Lex is definitely an interesting character to read about. It’s amazing how different he is than during his New 52 days in the Superman comics where he was a trainwreck.

As for Batman…his fans will be a little sad. He gets pulverized by Lex so he basically gets a pouty and starts think of his own plan. He lets Lex join so that he can run through Lexcorp and find incriminating evidence of his past…that’s not cool. The thing is, Batman’s let this get personal, as has Superman. They spy on Lex, talk behind his back, and then they’re basically lying to his face. Batman even sheds some fake tears on stage as Bruce Wayne to try and one up Lex. It’s just very humorous the whole time as Batman and Superman don’t even try to hide the fact that they can’t stand the guy. It’s understandable of course, but definitely interesting to note. Batman and Superman still feel younger and more inexperienced than their Pre 52 selves even though they’re older now. It’s the new them though and as I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s made for a lot of good stories and this ongoing rivalry with Lex has proven to be a great subplot so far…even if I’m actually rooting for Lex at this point. (Sorry JLA!)

Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg have less of a problem with Lex, but it’s not personal for them yet. Wonder Woman’s been giving Lex the benefit of the doubt more than the others, but with the unspoken threat that she will destroy him if he tries anything..ruling by fear has always been effective. Flash is the one who tries to keep everyone in check, such as when Wonder Woman almost put the lasso around Lex’s neck. Flash gets everyone to calm down and we’ll see how the team dynamic goes now that “You Know Who” has returned. At the very least, he’ll probably yell and exclaim how awesome this is since he loves to make fun of Batman.

We can’t forget about Shazam either…*sigh*. Remember his portrayal in Young Justice? One of the only flaws in that show was that they treated Shazam like a joke and that’s what happens here too. He’s always getting flustered, acting like a kid who’s never been outside, and has no sense of intelligence within him. Shazam is always spouting off random nonsense about wanting to eat Hot Dogs and not getting with the program. Why did they have to retcon him so that he always has the mind of a very young kid? It was definitely a very poor choice if you ask me. At least make his kid form be a little likable, but this is just way too extreme. I wanted to like the character…but it’s impossible!

If you are hoping for a lot of action then you’re definitely in luck. The Justice League vs the Metal Men is a great fight and then the Plague arc also has a lot of action. Batman’s cool zombie form is definitely a blast and he’s even able to use energy bolts towards the end. Wonder Woman fans will also be happy since she ends up taking on most of the League on her own. This version of her has definitely been great and it’s good to see her holding her own like this. I still believe that Superman’s got the edge, magic or not, but WW is certainly one of the team’s heavy hitters. She also has a lot of hand to hand experience and her raw power was boosted in the New 52, making her more of a complete fighter.

There’s also some foreshadowing here for some big arcs coming up. Owlman’s certainly not through yet and we have to get ready for the Anti Monitor’s awakening. Lex has something up his sleeve and the new Bizarro clone should also be pretty interesting. We also can’t forget that someone wants Lex Luthor dead. I almost forgot about that part, but even though it is essentially Captain Cold’s subplot, it’s a good one. The first mercenary that the group sent was decently tough, but nothing special and the heroes were able to take him out rather quickly. The cool one was Bullet. I love this guy’s design and it’s slightly inspired from Robocop. He doesn’t seem to be super powerful, but he’s not afraid to mix it up with the League. I hope to see more of him soon and this bounty hunter plot is really getting interesting.

Overall, This is a great Justice League comic. Aside from Shazam, there’s really nothing to dislike. The characters are all written well and the plot is engaging and moving at a very quick pace. There are a lot of action scenes scattered within so you’re never running low on those and the plot would be able to still be interesting even without the battles. The art is solid although the faces need some work. If you’re hesitant about getting into Justice League, don’t be. This run can hold its own against any other Justice League series and it’s why their titles are still the best in all of comics. With a certain character finally returning as well, things are only going to look up for the series from here! Of course, the team is borderline overpowered now so it makes sense that the Darkseid War is next. Get ready for things to be shaken up!

Overall 8/10

Green Lantern Volume 3 The End Review

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Time to head back to the world of comics with this review! The Green Lantern comics have been very good for as long as I can remember. As a result, I was not surprised in the slightest to see that this was an enjoyable read. The series is full of cosmic threats and likable characters, which have served the series well. It’s come at the expense of Hal Jordan being in the Justice League comics for quite a while though so it just goes to show that the grass can’t be all green for very long.

With a title like “The End” you can bet that some pretty big changes happen in this comic. In case you did not know, Hal Jordan and Sinestro were destroyed by Black Hand so they fell into DC’s version of Limbo/The Negative Zone. Luckily, they were able to charge their ring full of energy and quickly shot it out. The ring looked for a suitable replacement and found Simon Baz. Simon Baz was a smalltime crook who stole things to try and get money for his friend who was now in the hospital due to a past accident. One day, Baz stole the wrong van and ended up blowing up an abandoned area.

In a way, Baz just stopped a terrorist, but the cops don’t see it that way. Baz is arrested, but the GL ring breaks him out so the Justice League quickly arrive to investigate. They’re not about to let a new criminal into the mix. Baz has no time to explain so he heads off to save Jordan and Sinestro, but he has to watch himself since the Guardians can no longer be trusted and Volthoom, The First Lantern, is getting ready to make his big move at last. Forces are at work here and the green Lanterns may need some backup if they’re going to walk away from this!

The main plot with Baz is a fun way to start off the collection. The Justice League are around and it’s always a good idea to have guest stars when you’re introducing a new main character. It just makes sense, although the Justice League don’t look all that great here. They were certainly very aggressive and essentially picked a fight with Baz as soon as they saw him. The Flash not being able to tell which car Baz went into was a little iffy, but I’ll let it slide since the Power Rings can be really flashy after a while. Not to mention that it’s understandable for the league to be a little upset since they finally realized that they probably should have gone into space to check on Hal once in a while. For all they know…he’s gone for good. He actually did die so they did a poor job of looking after him.

It’s also nice to see the government appear for a second. They discuss the many Green Lanterns who have been recruited from Earth and it’s always interesting to see things from their perspective. I’m glad that they still trust John Stewart though, which shows that they are smart. In a lot of media, you’ll see the government instantly decide that they can’t trust their operatives once the person has super powers or they just want a dissection. No, it’s much smarter to use the asset and having a Green Lantern in the army is always smart. It was also cool to see that even the government didn’t have any info on Kyle Rayner. That’s just how mysterious the guy is!

Once the story gets into space, we see the stakes rise quite a bit. I can’t say that I’m surprised at how the Guardians have turned evil, but it’s an interesting twist. Their lack of emotions have really gone overboard this time and they even had a civil war with the old Guardians. Needless to say, I still don’t like any of the characters. They’ve clearly been committing evil acts behind the shadows for a very long time and you don’t even mind seeing Volthoom take them down. The little guys were practically asking for it.

As for Volthoom, he makes for a decent villain. As the First Lantern, it almost goes without saying that he’s immensely powerful. He can rewrite reality at will because he’s just That good and anything that the other Lanterns can do, he can do better. He can heal and has many other useful gifts at the ready as well. That being said, the only way to beat someone like this is with plot hax and that’s exactly what happens in his fights. The Lantern feeds off of emotions so he gets stronger with every passing moment, but he didn’t count on Hal Jordan being so tough. In his defense, Volthoom was up against two conceptual deities and assuming that Volthoom is one such entity at this point, then he probably shouldn’t be able to defeat 2. On that logic, then it wasn’t really plot hax, but the way that he lost was a little iffy. One hit and in one page…hmmmmmm. Ah well, he was actually still a rather interesting villain. This guy didn’t mess around and he always made sure to have a good time while crushing the other Lanterns.

As for Sinestro, he gets a fairly large role in this comic. Next to Hal Jordan, Sinestro is known as one of the strongest Lanterns and it’s safe to say that he can easily defeat most of the others. He is able to control the abstract entity of fear, Parallax, which lets him give Volthoom a pretty good fight. His new form is definitely pretty neat and we all certainly know how powerful you get when you’re in command of a whole army’s worth of energy. He was still a villain despite his intentions most of the time though and nearly destroyed Simon Baz just so he could escape the underworld. It worked, but while he helped the heroes, we definitely can’t call him one.

As expected, Hal Jordan came through in the clutch. He made the tough calls and then arrived as a Black Lantern. His skills really have no upper limit since his will power is nigh infinite and it was great to see him put on the Green Lantern ring near the end and do battle once more. It’s easy to see why Hal had to be written out of the Justice League comics a while back. While the writers would like you to believe that he is quite weak, Geoff Johns understands Hal’s true strength. He could easily hold his own against any JL member, including Superman and Wonder Woman. While I’m not saying that he would win, Hal Jordan is an S class fighter and someone who I would take over the whole Avengers team. He’s definitely one of the best DC characters when written well and this comic did a great job of adapting his character. Now that he’s finally back in action, it’ll be epic seeing him in the next volume.

We had a lot of characters quickly jump in at the end to help out against Volthoom including Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire, and quite a few others. The many different Lantern cores showed up and naturally Simon Baz and his handheld gun were also at the ready. It was nice to see everyone and since this was effectively seen as the end of an era (No more Geoff Johns) it certainly ended off with a bang. Many of the characters even got epilogues as we found out the end for everyone up til the point where someone is telling this story. It was a fun wrap up.

As this review wraps up, let’s quickly go back to Simon Baz. I didn’t really talk about him, but he’s a fairly likable character. Naturally, he needs to stop stealing cars, but I like to think that he’s put all that behind him at this point. He’ll be a hero and everything, but I wonder if he’ll stick around Earth or if he’s going to go for greater pastures. I have the next volume with me so I’ll probably find out one way or the other. He’s better than Guy Gardner, but I still prefer John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. Kyle didn’t get to do much here like Stewart, but he did get a little hype and would end up dying as a very wise sage who doesn’t back down from anything…or anyone!

As expected, the art is great in this comic. This is really how you draw an action adventure and the sci-fi battles would do any other comic proud. The Limbo world has dicey art to show us why that place isn’t cool. It’s basically black and white the whole time, but the real art is exceptional and that’s what counts. After reading a recent Justice League volume, I have to say that the art here wins out. The facial expressions are good along with the streamlined battles. You can’t get much more complete than that right!?

Overall, I highly recommend checking out this volume. Green Lantern continues to perform at a high levels and his comics have proven to be consistently good for quite a while. If I ever had to recommend a comic series for a new comic reader, Green Lantern would be right under Justice League as far as my recommendations are concerned. It’s a nice series that anyone can get into with its great battles and fun imagery. Hal Jordan also makes for a very complete main character. Whether you’ve read a comic before or not, this is a great way to get yourself started in the comic world!

Overall 8/10

Batman vs Superman The Greatest Battles Review

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With the Batman vs Superman film coming out, this collection definitely makes a lot of sense. Now I can read what various authors feel would happen in this famous fight. I feel like more issues could have been included since these two have fought many times, but maybe it’s for the best since there would almost inevitably be some terrible fights that would make you cringe through the years. I’d say that the selection is pretty good and both characters get some props depending on the issue. I’d say that Batman seems to be favored more of the time, but most of the fights are from his point of view, which really changes how you look at the fight. Well, let’s look at each fight.

The first fight is from when Poison Ivy brainwashed Superman. Superman’s will power was not enough to keep up with Poison Ivy’s tricks so Batman finds himself in a position where he must take the Man of Steel down once again. Catwoman is also around so Batman tells her to go take a hostage from the Daily Planet to snap Superman out of this while he distracts him. This fight is from Batman’s perspective and he gives Superman a lot of credit as the dark knight takes him down a few pegs. He has a Kryptonite ring, which helps out a lot in this fight. While Superman would win in the end, Batman fared pretty well considering that he had no real prep time and Superman’s superior strength and speed were only mildly useful. That’s how crafty Batman is, but I suppose that we should give Superman the win here. The bulk of the issue was the large fight scene and the art is really good. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this fight many times before and the art is the classic 2000’s look that is nice and detailed. The characters aren’t thin and streamlined like in the New 52 so you can really appreciate how tough they are. I love both styles and I still prefer New 52, but this is another great moment in DC’s character design history.

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The second issue isn’t really a fight as the two never go at it. Superman finds out that Batman is in his city and he sees that the Dark Knight is being a little excessive in his interrogation so Superman quickly puts a stop to that. Batman knows that he cannot get away, but he does pull a quick vanishing act and plants a bomb on himself so that Superman can’t make a move. It was a very good plan on Batman’s part and it definitely worked, no going to jail for him this time! The actual villain was Magpie, who’s psychotic and manages to create a lot of havok and destruction considering that she has no real super powers. She doesn’t last long against the two heroes. The art was a little on the retro side to the point where I almost thought that it was going to be about Batman and Superman Jr when I had flipped through the issue. It’s another fun style and this was another very good comic. The heroes didn’t really fight, but we can chalk it up as another Superman win since Batman had to use the bomb plot.

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Next up, is the comic with the best art, but the fight can’t really be counted…or can it? Two kids are debating whether Batman or Superman would win if both of them were fighting. These kids are the two magical imps who are always causing the heroes a lot of trouble so their imaginations are pretty vivid. We get references to many comics and both heroes get to have their laughs as they try to debunk the arguments of the other. It’s a lot of fun and as I mentioned, the art was actually very good. The real Batman and Superman even get to appear as they listened to the story. Batman admitted that Bat-Mite did a good job of explaining many of the ways that he would take Superman down. Superman gets a little worried at this so I’ve gotta give Batman the win here. A fairly fun comic, even if none of it was real in the end.

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After that is a very quick issue from the New 52. It’s so bite sized that you would almost think that the collection just grabbed a few pages from the issue. It’s the famous moment where the Justice League first met in the new universe. Batman is taken out instantly since the issue is actually the one after Batman has already been defeated. I think I know who gets the point here. It’s a great comic though and even has the Flash vs Superman fight that was cut out of the movie for some bizaare reason. It was probably one of the film’s biggest failings since it was an incredibly impressive moment for Superman since the Flash had just displayed an incredible feat of speed. The New 52 really did have a great beginning with the League forming there. Green Lantern also got to throw some hits in, but Superman’s win was never in doubt here. Technically, this issue has the best art, but since it’s so small, I’m not really counting it for anything other than the score.

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Superman would be mind controlled yet again as the Joker takes him over this time. He has managed to take over the Justice League so that they can finish off Batman once and for all. Batman clears out a section of Gotham City so that he can take the League out without hurting any civilians. He takes out the members very quickly, but Superman proves to be another story since the Man of Steel isn’t holding back this time. The fight is very close with both fighters getting their due credit as the match escalates. It’s effectively a draw, but since Superman has more stamina than Batman, I think we’ve got to give him the win here. Keep in mind that it is hinted that the fear toxin that Scarecrow hit Batman with is still in effect so the whole thing may have been a dream. Personally, I’m pretty sure that it’s all a dream since Batman mentioned that all of his nightmares end with the Joker’s laugh. An interesting ending to a very good comic. It’s neat to see how Batman would handle the Justice League and you always have to debate whether it is plot hax or just prep time.

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Finally, the collection wraps up with the famous Dark Knight Returns battle. I’ve never been a fan of the comic and even the fight is a little lackluster next to the others. This saga got 2 issues though so they could fit in as many pages as possible. The art is the worst from all of the stories in the collection as I’m not a fan of this style. It’s very cluttered and makes the encounter a little hard to read as you have to go through it slowly. Regardless, this is a decisive victory for Batman as he shows Superman what it’s like to be a man. He falls first, but could have destroyed Superman if he had wanted too. Superman was weakened before the match started, but we don’t hand out excuses here. Of course, it’s hard to root for anyone here since Batman is crazy and Superman seems to have lost his sense of justice as he grew older. Ah well, some issues are just like that.

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Wow, did I originally say that Batman was favored? When you really look at the comics, it doesn’t matter who was more likable, Superman had a tendency of winning their encounters. It’s possible that Batman’s wins were left out intentionally, but more likely, Superman just ends up taking the wins because he’s incredibly powerful. No amount of prep time can come close to compensating for the large gap in ability between the two. That being said, Batman and Superman are some of the best comic book characters out there. Superman is actually number one for me. So, regardless of who wins the fight, I am typically satisfied. I may call for plot hax either way, but I can make arguments for either side winning since I love the concept of Prep Time while I also believe that Superman’s might is essentially unrivaled.

Overall, This was a great batch of comics. Many different art styles collide and they were all great in different ways aside from the final saga. These were definitely some great battles between the two iconic heroes and hopefully a lot of people are able to read these stories before the film hits theaters. I highly recommend checking out the collection and while it feels incredibly short since the issues have so much action, they are quality stories that definitely deserve to be read. I look forward to reading more DC comics soon as I have reviews for Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern coming up in the very near future. Even a DC hero who is often overlooked, but is always the first one dialed when someone needs help!

Overall 8/10

Batman/Superman Volume 3 Second Chance Review

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I said that there wouldn’t be another DC comic review for a bit, but I completely forgot that I had checked this one out. The Batman/Superman series in the New 52 always looked intriguing, but not necessarily in a good way. I really didn’t like the art in the first volume and I always stayed away from the series. It struck me as a random/non canon event that just didn’t look very entertaining. Surprisingly, it seems to actually be treated as canon. This volume actually ended up being pretty good even if it could have been better.

The first few issues are main stand alone stories until the arc begins. One story takes place during the Doomed event as Superman has been infected with the Doomsday virus. Batman, Steel, and Wonder Woman head to the Fortress of Solitude to look for a cure when they find out that Superman’s villains have managed to modify the Phantom Zone and they can actually deal real damage now. Taking them down will be tricky for the three heroes!

Another story had Batman get sick as a microscopic hero died inside of his blood stream and was poisoning him. Superman decided to go along with the Atom inside of Batman to fight off the intruders. Unfortunately, one of the men got past them so a weakened Batman had to deal with him. This was probably the most action packed of the stories and my personal favorite of the adventures. We got a lot of Batman hype and Superman also did a good job during the fight.

Next was the big arc where a cosmic being decided to mess around with Batman and Superman. She decided to get rid of their memories and throw them back onto Earth to see how they reacted. Another cosmic being who rules the dark part of the DC universe captured her, but decided to let the whole situation play out since it was very amusing for him. Batman became a happier version of himself while Superman became the dictator that everyone expected him to be. Yup..another evil Superman story!

Still, it was handled much better than the average one would be. Superman certainly lost his qualms about actually injuring people and destroying them, but he actually felt like a realistic version of himself despite that. If Superman was not a hero, but did whatever he wanted, then this could look a little like how it should. With Catwoman as a bad influence on him, it makes sense that he would make quite a few mistakes and at least he started out by trying to help her fight off giant machines.

Meanwhile, it was probably a little tougher for Batman although his plot was more enjoyable on the whole. He decided that he did want to be a hero, but he’d do it his way. Since he was no longer burdened by the murder of his parents, Batman took on crime with a smile. He even teamed up with Lois Lane for the climax as she became the new Bat Girl. The only unfortunate part was that his Bruce Wayne side kicked in and he actually hung out with the mayor’s wife. That part was really unnecessary and definitely didn’t add anything to the adventure.

One of the weaknesses for the comic was certainly the art. As mentioned earlier, I thought that the artwork for the Atom comic was actually pretty good for the most part although a lot of the faces would be out of proportion and even funny to look at sometimes. The story arc part mainly just had problems with trying to look too live action esque. Similar to the Kingdom Come event from way back when. It just doesn’t work so well for the action scenes and a more cartoony/colorful look just works better. It’s why I like the vibrant style of the New 52 comics so much.

I do find it funny how Batman and Superman are probably portrayed better here than in just about any other New 52 comic that I’ve seen. Superman Unchained is even better if we choose to count that, but otherwise, this was impressive. Even considering that Batman and Superman lost their memories, they were pretty good. Ignoring that one regrettable Batman scene, his new persona was decent and before that he looked perfect. He was able to take on a super villain while barely conscious and at less than half power. Superman looked as heroic as he should and this could have even felt like the Pre 52 hero that we’ve always loved.

The collection was a tad light on action, but we did get a Mongul fight, the Atom battles, and the arc had some battles against the mechs that were after Catwoman. That’s all right though since the writing was pretty good and the comic was interesting. Being interesting is one of the most important parts in a comic collection after all and this one certainly had my attention. Perhaps I’ll check some other Batman/Superman comics at some point. If this series is not currently ongoing, DC needs to add another one since the Batman and Superman team up stories are always a lot of fun. I can’t think of a single pair of superheroes who are more interesting and fun to read about.

As far as plot hax goes, this comic was pretty good. There’s only one part that is guilty of it and that’s the whole plot of the arc. I still say that Superman cannot be mind controlled no matter who is doing it! I have to say that the evil monster who rules everything looked pretty good and that was one time where the gritty art worked quite well. He felt extremely evil and ominous. I don’t recognize the character, but he could make for a great mastermind even if it does seem like he may end up being a little overpowered. I’ll be interested in seeing how his plot continues.

Overall, this comic was a success. It’s too bad that Krypto got poisoned by Superman, but luckily he still held his own as he took down the villains and it was handled as well as that could be handled. The mayor’s wife moments were not handled well though and while Catwoman looked a lot better than usual, I also wouldn’t have minded if she was not here. Although, I like how Superman saw through her attempt to frame Lois Lane immediately even if he didn’t have his memories back. That’s how these things should always go. Between the art and everything else, I’m slightly keeping this comic from the standard 7, but I still recommend it if you’re looking for a good Batman/Superman story. The writing is good and the characters are in character which is always a good thing. Steel and Wonder Woman make for nice guest stars as well and they get their moment to shine. Now, it’s going to be time for a Marvel comic review next!

Overall 6/10

Superman Krypton Returns Review

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It’s time to look at yet another Superman comic! I have to say that I feel a little bad for the casual comic enthusiast who may be trying to keep up with the Superman trades. DC certainly didn’t make it easy as you have the Superman Action Comic volumes, Superman volumes, and then the unnumbered Superman volumes like this one and Doomed. It makes it kind of tricky for fans to know when they all take place. This one only has 1 actual Superman issue along with a .3 in there somewhere, a few zero issues, and then issues from the other members of the Super family. I guess you could say that this is actually Superman volume 4.5. We temporarily get a break from the Psy War plot, which is certainly a good thing!

Superman was just minding his own business when he bumps into Supergirl and Superboy in space. For reasons unknown to them, they have been summoned to that area! After a little wondering, a cosmic being appears and his herald lets the heroes know that H’el has begun his latest assault on the universe. If he succeeds, everything dies! Each hero is given a task to complete to save the timestream. Superboy must go to the past and make sure that Supergirl gets onto the rocket. Supergirl must defeat the clones in one of the battles of Krypton’s past. Finally, Superman needs to make sure that Krypton actually blows up since H’el wants to stop that! It’s a race against time, but the heroes are ready!

Unlike the first arc where H’el showed up, this is a very small event. It’s so small that technically, the heroes aren’t even on screen together for almost the entire adventure. I thought that was a bit of a cop-out as some more team fights would have been a lot of fun. Each comic is a stand alone adventure for the heroes like in the classic DC/Marvel comics of old, but there are some cutaways so they aren’t completely isolated.

Before the plot began though, we got to see the 0 issues for Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, and H’el. It’s interesting because I’d already read Superman’s and Supergirl’s in the past thanks to their respective collections, but Superboy and H’el’s were new. Origin stories are always intriguing. The Superboy one definitely had some interesting plot points that would probably come into play in his series. The main villain certainly has a cool design at any rate. It’s also neat how Superman’s actually foreshadowed an event that happened in this collection as he witnessed Krypton explode in person. It’s impressive since the issue came out way before this arc began.

H’el’s is a little tragic for the character even if he seriously overreacted. It turns out that everything he has ever known was basically fake so his life was a lie. Now, he doesn’t want to save Krypton so much as he just wants to rule it and destroy everyone who gets in his way. Any sense of heroism is gone now and only the villain remains. He looks a lot weaker than he was in hte original event, which is a good thing since the fights won’t be so lopsided now. He didn’t really get to fight anyone though so it’s hard to say if his true ability was really lowered or not, but that’s just how it goes.

Supergirl’s adventure was likely the most straight forward. As she was under a red sun, she needed to use her hand to hand moves to defeat the clones. She does know some close combat skills thanks to an old friend of hers so she manages to hold her own. After that, she has a quick rematch with H’el as he tries to fight the heroes across time and space. The issue was good although I wish that she had maintained her super abilities since a high speed fight with H’el would have been cool.

Superboy’s issue was surprisingly the best one as it easily had the most action. He got to fight the actual essence of Krypton when it wanted to explode. It turns out in a neat twist that all planets have a hidden life form that makes sure that the planet will die when it is supposed too. It’s one of those random things that will likely never be mentioned again, but this also gave Superboy a good opponent to fight so I am certainly fine with that. The design for the villain was cool and Superboy even got to get along with Supergirl for a change. Their rivalry is certainly very intense on Earth so their’s no shot of getting along there.

Still, they put aside their differences when necessary. I like all three of the Super characters and I assume that they can patch things up eventually. As for the Superman story, not much happened there for a while, but eventually he got to meet up with H’el and have a fight. Granted, H’el was super weakened from fighting Superboy and Supergirl while also having most of his body melt thanks to Superman’s father, but Superman still took a decisive victory in this match. It was a decent climax and while H’el’s end in the first arc was probably better for him as a character, at least this one cemented him as a villain.

As expected, the art is solid. The weakest issue in that regard would likely be Superman 0, but they’re all quite good and live up to DC’s strong reputation for having well drawn comics. The fight scenes are good and the character models stand out as usual. The art would have likely been even more impressive if the collection had only had some more action. Alas, it was simply not to be!

As for the writing, it’s certainly a step up over the last two Superman volumes. This time, Superman actually acts like his typical heroic self for the most part. Even at the very end of the comic where his father tries to destroy H’el, Superman quickly stops him. Destroying the guy simply isn’t right and Superman took a stand. That being said, Superman’s father actually managing to get into space and go across the timelines was a little iffy. I think that the comic went a little too far trying to show how much of a genius he was in that scene. It’s also very intriguing that he would create H’el in the first place as it seems a little out of character to do such morally dubious acts.

If there’s just one issue that I had with this event, it’s that it just felt like filler. I feel like DC only half heartedly brought H’el back and just used him as a time waster. As I explained earlier, it doesn’t feel like much of an event because of how isolated all of the heroes were. Some plot elements also feel random like Superman’s father arriving and Superboy fighting the essence of Krypton. As a result, the collection was also decently light on the action angle. I think that a few more issues for the event would have helped it out a lot. As it stands, half of the collection was made up of origin issues.

Overall, Krypton Returns is still a fun collection. It’s certainly a big step up from the last Superman volume that I read! The action scenes that we got here were much better than the Psy War’s and the writing has also improved. It’s always nice to see Supergirl and Superboy as well. Especially Superboy as I never see him anywhere else and he seems like a fairly good character in the New 52. I prefer this streamlined version to his Young Justice counterpart. H’el was not as impressive as last time, but that’s probably a good thing. Maybe he will return again someday and the cosmic being will have to call Superman to action. If so, I’ll be ready for that! I’m afraid that the Superman reviews will likely stop here for a while, but no worries. Soon I shall have a Marvel one up to counter this! If you’re a comic fan who likes some action, then I definitely recommend this trade paperback to you!

Overall 7/10

Superman Volume 3 Fury at World’s End Review

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It’s been a while since I reviewed a Superman comic and I believe that this is the first trade paperback of the Superman series that I’ve checked out. I read the first two volumes of Action Comics earlier though. It’s cool how Superman had two series at once for a while like how Batman has his Detective Comics alongside his main title. This volume is an immediate upgrade over the Action Comic titles when it comes to the fights as Superman finally gets to deal with some serious threats, but the portrayals and writing may not be as good.

Superman is starting to realize that the Daily Planet isn’t the paper that he thought it was. They don’t really print the news anymore and Superman blows up at the staff and is effectively fired. He’s also venting because he found out that Lois is now seeing someone. He decides to head home and thinks about what to do when Supergirl arrives along with a Kryptonian monster (Which Superman destroyed) and a mysterious figure known as H’el. H’el plans to eradicate the solar system in order to go back in time and save the Kryptonian race, but Superman can’t let that happen! Along with Superboy and the Justice League, Superman must convince Supergirl to leave H’el’s side or defeat her if necessary!

I definitely enjoyed the fact that this volume has a lot of nonstop action. Superman’s fights against H’el are quite good and even his generic action scenes like fighting the large monster was neat. The rest of the Justice League doesn’t get much action although they fight some minions and Wonder Woman deflects one of H’el’s shots. The stakes are definitely really high the whole time and it’s good to see the League come in to help since the solar system being in danger is certainly something that should capture their attention.

That being said, this volume did have a few weak points, which likely relate to The New 52 status. For starters, Superman is a little out of character. The whole first issue makes him look really bad as he’s very petty in his jealously about Lois moving on. Worse was how he blew up at everyone. He may have had a point, but completely went about it the wrong way. The old Superman would have tried to calmly talk with the managers about getting in some credible articles. Superman is also very rude and condescending to Superboy the entire time, but not in a campy/enjoyable way. He even threatens a scientist depending on how you read the line. To his defense, he didn’t realize it until he was flying away, but he just disregarded the thought as quickly as it came.

He even antagonized H’el a lot before they actually started fighting like turning his back while the character was still talking. Superman essentially showed a lot of characters no respect here. The bright side is that Superman is portrayed as the super genius like he is supposed to be. In an instant, Superman put together all the pieces of H’el’s plan and he may have done it even faster than Lex Luthor although both of their intelligence are roughly on the same level. It’s always good to see Superman be portrayed as more than the stereotypical powerhouse. Of course, Superman’s raw strength also looks good like it should.

It was cool to see Superboy here since his comics have always looked interesting. I like the new neon suit that he has and his version of the Teen Titans also looked cool. Superman isn’t impressed here, but those comics always sounded fun. I also think that Superboy looked fairly decent even if he was a hostage for a little while. (Probably Superman’s best scene though since he immediately rammed H’el to save the kid) He apparently started out evil as we get a quick origin story as well as a new one for Superman, but Superboy is certainly trying to be a hero now. His abilities seem to be far weaker than Superman’s or Supergirl’s, but he’s a clone so that makes sense. Hopefully he is able to destroy whatever code inside of him that gives Luthor the current edge over him.

Lex Luthor’s portrayal was a little on the odd side. The New 52 has always had a lot of continuity issues and I would count Lex as one of them. It’s not totally a plot hole, but his personality is insanely different from any of the other titles. Lex basically tells Superman what the Man of Steel already knows and explains what Superman’s thinking to the audience. The problem is that instead of sounding logical and calculated, he’s a little on the crazy side. He threatens to destroy Superboy for talking to him and the whole plot of Superman tricking him into building a prison was also odd.

Some parts of the New 52 still feel odd and not canon at times, but it’s something that probably won’t be leaving anytime soon. The bright side is that the Justice League as a whole looks good and H’el makes for a good villain. H’el is overpowered though so I’m going to have to take another shot at the comic. H’el is shown to be powerful enough to basically shut Superman down without any effort in their first encounter. Superman bounces back for the final showdown and puts up a decent fight, but he is still outmatched the entire time. Authors love bringing in new characters who are randomly stronger than Superman, but this is still pushing it. H’el is also a Kryptonian, but due to sun exposure while in the ship, he’s far stronger than Superman. It’s not terrible logic I suppose, but Superman’s been fighting for ages so he’s still been exposed to the Sun while also getting combat experience. H’el also has the ability to teleport objects and people, which definitely makes him overpowered since he could just teleport everyone to the sun while they’re in a room or something like that. He doesn’t because the plot demands it, but that’s why a villain should never be given that kind of ability unless the writer has a clear plan for his defeat.

In the end, there is an appeal to his emotional side by Supergirl and his X-Ray vision wasn’t working properly so he didn’t notice that she was holding something. Just his detailed vision should have been enough for that. As for Supergirl, she doesn’t look very good here. We get more insight into the whole thing in her comic series (Which I already read from this arc) but it still doesn’t excuse how gullible she looks. This takes place towards the beginning of her career, but common sense should have still been enough to guide her away from working for H’el. The guy acts openly evil from the start.

The art is solid as I’ve come to expect from DC. The fight scenes transition into each other very nicely and all of the characters look good. It’s been one of the best parts of the New 52 as all of the mainstream DC titles have looked great with the exception of the Batman series, where I have not cared for the art so much. Particularly the Eternal series, but the main ones don’t look great either. The vibrant colors here suit Superman.

I definitely seemed to grab a lot of negatives in this review, but they really all boil down to the writing angle. I don’t think that the writer really understands the characters too well and Superman snapping and blowing up at everyone just doesn’t feel right. The drama between him and Lois is even worse when you consider the fact that Superman had just gotten together with Wonder Woman an issue or two ago. Makes him look even more petty right? That’s still the only real negative here though as besides the portrayals, the rest of the comic was solid. We still had good art and a lot of solid fights with high stakes.

Overall, This is a solid comic to check out. I’m always happy to see another Kryptonian on board even if H’el ends up being just another guy for Superman to fight. He doesn’t really do anything for me on the personality front and his romance with Supergirl isn’t handled well, but at least he knows how to throw a punch. With the solar system in danger, the threat is certainly real. While some plots like the Lex Luthor one weren’t really needed, they weren’t terrible. The writing will never make you cringe, you’ll just shake your head in skepticism at times. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next two volumes handle these issues as I’ve already got them on the shelf. I expect Superman to look better in those even if the action scenes drop a little there. Seeing the Justice League have a cameo was certainly enjoyable and if they fought H’el, I like to think that they could have done a good stopping him. It should be noted that this comic does jump all over the place as DC doesn’t even try to make the comics transition into each other. If you want to really see what’s happening here, you’ll have to buy 2-3 other graphic novels. It’s odd as collections usually try to include everything, but there have been exceptions like Supergirl and New Avengers. It’s not a big deal though as you can still follow what’s happening and enjoy the fight scenes. Of course, if you want to check out a Superman comic that really hits it out of the park, check out Superman Unchained. That’s still the greatest comic book of all time!

Overall 7/10