Alex Ross Spotlight: The Legacy of Neal Adams

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

If you’re a comic book geek and haven’t heard the name Neal Adams, you haven’t been paying attention in class.

Alex Ross credits Adams as one of his early influences, and it’s easy to see why. Adams is widely credited with revolutionizing comic book art. Specifically in the late ’60s and early ’70s when he worked with writer Denny O’Neil on characters like Batman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern.

As Ross tells it…

Weekly Comic Haul, May 23, 2018: Detective Comics, Star Wars, Delta 13

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m Rob, and these are the comics I spent my hard-earned money on this week…

Detective Comics #981
James Tynion IV’s run ends with this issue. As a longtime fan of characters like Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Jean Paul Valley, and Cassandra Cain, I’m so proud of what he was able to do on this book. There’s a reason he’s my favorite modern-day Batman writer. If you want to dive into this series, don’t skip on anything. Go all the way back to Rise of the Batmen.

Justice League: No Justice #3
So in last week’s issue, we learned that the heroes “from the main four teams” that aren’t in these makeshift groups are being held in stasis by Brainiac. That’s his fail-safe, apparently. And somehow the only hero of any merit left is Green Arrow. A bit convenient, wouldn’t you say? It does what it’s designed to do, which is explain why no other heroes are around to help. But still.

Star Wars #46
As you’ll see, this was a big Star Wars week for yours truly. I’m still ready for this Mon Cala story to be over. And for someone other than Salvador Larroca to be drawing it. But I’m obviously still forking money down for it. So in the end, they win.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #27
The opening scene in this book is downright touching. Expect to see it in Panels of Awesomeness soon. I don’t want to give away much. But it takes place shortly after The Last Jedi, and involves Leia and Chewie.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #16
This one is a few weeks old, but a buddy of mine has been on me to catch up on Vader. He wasn’t wrong. This one also takes place on Mon Cala, but it occurs shortly after Revenge of the Sith. It’s a little bit slow at certain points. But Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli know how to deliver the action. If you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s worth the read.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #1
This series is actually a reprint of the TMNT stuff Image published in the late ’90s. I’ve always been curious about it, mostly because of the big changes they made to the status quo (i.e. Donatello becoming part-robot). But I haven’t had the chance to read it until now. All I’ll say is, you can definitely tell this is a ’90s Image book. I’m not sure if I’ll keep picking it up. But this one certainly entertained me.

Delta 13 #1
I hadn’t even heard about this series. But Steve Niles’ name piqued my interest. After reading the first issue, it seems like there might be something good here. I was hoping for a bit more of a hook. But it’s officially on my radar.

Babyteeth #4
I ordered this issue from my local comics shop (Shout out to Rockhead’s Comics and Games in Kenosha). Realistically, I could have bought the trade. Or worse, pirated it online. But I wanted to read it issue by issue. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Weekly Comic Haul: May 16, 2018: Batman, Flavor, “Shattered Grid”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m Rob, and these are the comics I spent my hard-earned money on this week…

Flavor #1
I picked this one up for the sake of sheer curiosity. Flavor was advertised as The Hunger Games mixed with world-building akin to that of Hayao Miyazaki. Based purely on how it looks, I might throw Hell’s Kitchen in there as well. I mentioned this to Mrs. Primary Ignition, who doesn’t read a lot of comics. She promptly exclaimed, “That sounds amazing!” If it’s got her sold, it’s at least worth a look.

Batman #47
I’m not big on Batman using guns. It feels like a cheap trick to me. Or “cheap heat,” as they’d say in the wrestling world. “The Gift” introduced us to such a Batman. In an alternate timeline, of course.  But I’m nonetheless enjoying the story. It’s a tremendous spotlight for Booster Gold, who’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

Dead Hand #2
Kyle Higgins had a double-header this week. The next chapter of “Shattered Grid” (more on that in a moment), and this baby. Dead Hand #1 surprised many a reader with a twist on its final page, leading us into this sophomore issue. This noir spy thriller is packed with plenty of intrigue, which is based a little more in reality than one might think.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #27
Higgins’ second outing of the week. I’m not big on the way “Shattered Grid” is prominently framed like a multiverse story, as opposed to a time-travel one. But it’s nonetheless amazing to see all these Rangers from all these eras getting to meet one another. I can certainly appreciate the use of Lauren Shiba from Power Rangers Samurai. She was about as underutilized as any Ranger in the show’s 25-year history.

A Walk Through Hell #1
I’ve been diving into the AfterShock Comics library in recent months. Babyteeth, Her Infernal Descent, Animosity, Black-Eyed Kids, etc. So I picked this one up for that reason above all else. I know very little about what to expect here, which is probably what they’re counting on. I know its about FBI agents investigating a mall shooting. That’s about it…

Justice League: No Justice #2
Someone needed to clarify this for me the other day: These four cooky teams aren’t staying together full time. They’re just here for this miniseries, and then the new Justice League book launches next month. That’s a little bit of a disappointment, as we’ve got some really interesting combinations here. Either way, No Justice has me picking up a Justice League book for the first time in a few years.

Gideon Falls #3
I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with Gideon Falls after issue #1. But I found myself drawn back to it as the weeks went by. I’m grateful for that, as the characters have only gotten more interesting. Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and the Gideon Falls team have given us something irresistibly haunting.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #72
This book has had its share of flaws. But it’s still one of the best TMNT runs ever. Dave Watcher’s art has a nice gritty texture to it. And Ronda Pattison’s colors are gorgeous as always. The Toad Baron character is a lot of fun too.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

A Green Arrow, Vol. 1 Review – Ollie’s Greatest Hits

Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver QueenTITLE: Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver Queen
AUTHOR: Benjamin Percy
PENCILLER: Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra. Cover by Ferreyra.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow: Rebirth #1Green Arrow #15.
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASED: January 4, 2017

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The Life and Death of Oliver Queen gives us a lot we’ve seen before. But it’s wrapped in a fresh package, and frankly some of this stuff was sorely missed. So it works out, and makes for a fun book.

A human trafficking case in Seattle brings Green Arrow and Black Canary together, in more ways than one. But what they end up fighting is something much larger, and closer to Queen Industries than Oliver could ever imagine. As such, new alliances will be forged, and older ones will be tested. Our heroes are about to meet the Ninth Circle.

To an extent, this book feels like “Ollie’s Greatest Hits.” Green Arrow and Black Canary are one of the classic couples in DC Comics lore, and they’re back together here. We’ve got him losing his fortune, which famously happened during the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run of the ’70s. Percy also plays up the more political, social justice elements of Green Arrow, which is another hallmark of the O’Neil era. And then you’ve got the return of John Diggle, a character that originated on the Arrow TV show.

green-arrow rebirth #1, title pageWhen you put it all in a list like that, this book looks vderivative and unoriginal. But for a longtime fan like yours truly, it feel like a homecoming. I enjoyed much of what was done with the New 52 Green Arrow book. But this feels like the return of the genuine article. Of course, that’s what they were going for.

This book establishes that Ollie and Dinah are acquainted with one another, but don’t know each other very well. Obviously that changes here as they become romantically involved. But here’s my question: From cover to cover, how much time is supposed to have passed here? When we get to the end of Life and Death, the implication is that Ollie cares about Dinah as much as anything in his life. But the two haven’t been together long enough to justify such a connection, have they? Obviously they like each other. But there’s nothing in this book that justifies such a deep-rooted love from either of them. It might have been more advisable to use the events of this book to plant the foundation for their relationship. That way readers feel like they’ve been in the loop from the start.

That being said, the chemistry is there between the two. They have that familiar volatile affection for one another. Dinah challenges Ollie, pointing out the inconsistencies in his approach as Green Arrow. Ollie accepts her challenges and returns in kind. But in the end their fondness for one another is undeniable. They’re fun to read.

The Ninth Circle are a group of villains using a weapon that’s truly timeless: Money. Our heroes come across them while taking down a human trafficking ring, and as Ollie painfully finds out, they have their claws deep into Queen Industries. They’re perfect villains for Green Arrow, exemplifying the kind of corruption the character has fought against for decades, and should absolutely be fighting today.

green-arrow-black-canary-otto-schmidtOllie’s relationship with his half-sister Emiko is of particular importance here. We learn who her mother is, and we get an apparent heel turn from her. I was concerned about her development as the book went on. But without spoiling things, I’ll say Percy leaves things in a satisfying place by the time we close the book.

Artistically, the star of this Life and Death is Otto Schmidt. Sadly, he’s only around for about half the book. But his style is a terrific fit for Green Arrow, and superhero comics in general. It’s expressive, it’s animated, the line work is beautiful, and it’s got a tremendous energy to it.  It’s also very conducive to action, the Canary Cry in particular (shown right). Schmidt, who serves as penciller, inker, and colorist on his issues, renders them simply, but colorfully. Like most of Schmidt’s work on this book, it’s very charming.

The second half of the book is drawn and colored by Juan Ferreyra, who is also the cover artist. His work has an almost airbrush-like texture to it that’s interesting, and he’s very good at drawing the disfigured members of the Ninth Circle. His colors are wonderfully rich, and at times intense. But with all due respect to Ferreyra, it’s just not quite as fun as what Schmidt gives us.

DC needs a good Green Arrow book right now. Just like they need a good Wonder Woman book, a good Flash book, a good Supergirl book, etc. With the emergence of the DC Extended Universe, as well as the “CWverse,” there’s so much potential for new fans to crossover into comics. I would argue that for a long time, DC failed to capitalize on that. With the DC Rebirth line, they’ve given themselves a valuable chance for a fresh start. And that’s what they have here with Green Arrow. While it’s not perfect, it’s something for fans old and new to latch on to.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Cesaro Gets Snake Bitten, An Arrow in the Heart of WWE, and Other Ponderings From Raw

Monday Night Raw, Randy Orton, Cesaro, August 10, 2015By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

Randy Orton def. Cesaro and Kevin Owens to earn a shot at the WWE Championship later in the evening. It seemed like this match was designed to let Cesaro shine. And shine he did…until the finish. This match was tricky from that perspective anyway, as somebody had to get pinned, and that can potentially effect their momentum. You’d think the guy to lose the fall would have been the heel, Kevin Owens. But instead they inexplicably had Orton pin Cesaro with an RKO. And it wasn’t one of those “From Out of Nowhere!!!” ones either. Cesaro, who had spent most of the match stealing the damn show, just kind of walked into it. Considering the WWE appears to finally be getting behind Cesaro a little bit, this was a head-scratcher. A really bizarre choice to end an otherwise really good triple threat match.

Sheamus attacks Randy Orton, nearly cashes in Money in the Bank during title match against Seth Rollins. And what did Cesaro take the pin for? An attempt to add some heat to the dead fish program between Orton and Sheamus. What a waste.

Wrestlemania XXX, Undertaker, Brock LesnarVideo package shows Steve Austin, Triple H, Paul Heyman, and others weighing in on Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. Again, a smart move to keep ‘Taker and Lesnar off TV until next week’s Raw. That’ll of course be the first time they’ve been in the same building since their brawl the night after Battleground.

The video package was okay. I wish they’d spent more time on guys like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, and guys that were actually part of “The Streak.” Not to mention Stone Cold Steve Austin, the biggest damn star of the last two decades. Why was he just chiming in? No offense, but I really don’t care what a Kofi Kingston, or even a Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns, thinks about ‘Taker and Brock. Give me the heavy hitters, the main eventers, the legends.

The more I think about it, the more I’m bothered by Undertaker’s line about Heyman and Lesnar repeatedly bringing up his defeat at Wrestlemania XXX. That didn’t need to be said. In all honesty, this story pretty much writes itself. Brock Lesnar took something from The Undertaker that he can never get back. And now it’s revenge time.

Incidentally, Triple H had a nice line with: “You can’t outrun the reaper.”

WWE Raw, August 10, 2015, Ryback, Daniel BryanDaniel Bryan returns to Raw on Miz TV, Big Show and the returning Ryback crash the segment. It was awesome to see the fans show Bryan that much love. Whether his active wrestling career is over or not, he’s clearly earned a place in the collective heart of wrestling fans. And of course, WWE was likely counting on that, and hoping some of it would rub off on the returning Ryback.

For my money, WWE really needs to tap into those “Please retire!” chants fans are yelling at The Big Show. Hell, if they want Ryback to get over, put him in a title vs. retirement match with Show at a major pay per view. That’d draw some attention.

Brie Bella uses a Daniel Bryan spot during a six-woman tag team match. I wouldn’t have a problem with Brie using Bryan’s trademark kicks to the chest if she were playing a babyface role. But the Bellas and Alicia Fox are supposed to be heels, aren’t they? Discounting the notion that putting them in a match against another heel team is a strange booking decision. But having a heel using a spot that’s normally reserved for one of the company’s top babyfaces seemingly contradicts basic psychology. If you’re a heel, you want to be booed. So with that in mind, why use that spot at all?

Stephen Amell, Raw, August 10, 2015Arrow star Stephen Amell to team with Neville to face Stardust and King Barrett at Summerslam. This is obviously a textbook WWE publicity stunt. But Stephen Amell is obviously an action star, and he’s clearly in amazing shape. So I’m guessing he’ll show us a cool stunt or two.

A lot of fans have why Cody Rhodes has kept the Stardust gimmick as long as he has. I’m guessing this Stephen Amell angle is one of the reasons. Whether you like this or not, at least it gives Stardust, not to mention Neville and Barrett, something to do at Summerslam. These guys are all at the same place on the card, and they have about the same amount of momentum right now. So what harm can it do?

Prime Time Players to defend against The New Day, The Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores at Summerslam. What happened to The Ascension? They were in the mix, weren’t they? Did they just get cast aside? Eh…maybe it’s better that way. This match is all about The New Day anyway.

Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, WWE Raw, August 10, 2015Luke Harper def. Dean Ambrose. It really feels like they’re trying to recapture some of that Shield vs. Wyatt Family magic here. But it’s just not the same dynamic. All the players are at different places in their careers.

The announcers missed the boat on the fact that this was one of the biggest wins of Luke Harper’s career. Had he gotten a few of these kinds of victories, he might not have floundered as a singles star.

In a perfect world, this whole Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt feud would culminate in a Hell in a Cell match in October. What’s more, it would be the only cell match on that show. This is the only rivalry they have right now that would be worthy of the cage by October. So I say let’s go for it.

Image 2 from foxxfeed.com. All remaining images courtesy of WWE.com.

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A Green Arrow: The Midas Touch Review – A Writer’s Redemption

Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Midas TouchTITLE: Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Midas Touch

AUTHOR: J.T. Krul, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens
PENCILLERS: Dan Jurgens, Ignacio Calero
. Cover by Brett Booth.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow #1-6
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2012

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Few characters got a bigger overhaul via the New 52 than Green Arrow. And as much as I enjoyed the old version of the character, he needed it. Let’s take a look at just how much baggage our old buddy Oliver Queen had picked up in the years prior to the reboot…

– Became mayor of Star City, only to be removed a short time later.

– Married and divorced Black Canary.

– Killed a supervillain for murdering Roy Harper’s young daughter, and destroying much of Star City.
- Unmasked by a corrupt police chief after being arrested for said murder.


- Moved into a forest that suddenly grew in the middle of the city, and started living with a guy named Galahad who thought he was a knight.

Green Arrow #1, 2011In Oliver Queen’s case the reboot was certainly justified, and I’m a big fan of what DC has done with this character.

In the world of the New 52, Oliver Queen is the owner of Queen Industries, which is a global leader in “energy, transportation, infrastructure — virtually every aspect of civilized life.” Most notable is Q-Core, the company’s technology division and seemingly this world’s equivalent of Apple. Instead of iPads and iPods, this world has Q-Pads and Q-Pods. Little do (most of) the folks at Queen Industries know that Oliver uses Q-Core technology in his career as Green Arrow, Seattle’s bow-wielding superhero. In this book we see GA take on a gang of murderous internet celebrities, and a duo consisting of a deadly female ninja and a human toxic waste dump. Not a bad way to make your re-debut!

Green Arrow, Dan Jurgens, The Midas touchI really dig the “What if Steve Jobs was Green Arrow?” approach here. The talk about Q-Pads and what not gives readers an immediate correlation between Oliver Queen and a real world figure. Thus, we get an idea of just how important Oliver is in this fictional world. It provides some nice tangible imagery that we don’t always have with say, Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises.

J.T. Krul didn’t do Green Arrow any favors in books like Rise and Fall and Into The Woods. But with this fresh start, he excels. He only writes the first half of the book, but with those issues he does a wonderful job of establishing who Oliver Queen is, both as a businessman and a superhero. Like the old Green Arrow, this version cares more about social justice than anything else. He’s not afraid to let you hear about it either, as we learn in issue #3. Krul also gave GA a compelling supporting cast right off the bat, with tech wizards Jax and Naomi (the latter of whom looks a lot like Rihanna to me) helping him out at Q-Core, his assistant Adrien helping him out on the business end, and the ever-frustrated CEO of Queen Industries, Emerson. The club of internet killers were also a nice choice for GA’s first opponents, as their modus operandi strongly lends itself to what’s obviously meant to be a modern day reinterpretation of the character.

Green Arrow #4, Dan JurgensKeith Giffen tends to be the guy DC calls when somebody suddenly leaves, or to clean up a mess, i.e. his work on The Outsiders and The Authority. So when I saw him attached to Green Arrow as a co-plotter, I panicked. But the transition is fairly smooth. Ignacio Calero jumps in as penciller for issue #6, which proves to be a bit rockier. But not so much that the book gets thrown off course. The villains we get for the second half, Blood Rose and Midas, aren’t as compelling as their predecessors. But they do okay.

I walked away from this book with renewed enthusiasm for Green Arrow, as well as J.T. Krul’s writing. It also gave me a new appreciation for Dan Jurgens’ art, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Midas Touch loses some momentum in its second half, and the creative shakeups hurt it a bit. But from a conceptual standpoint, I think it’s one of the most fun relaunches the New 52 has produced.

RATING: 7.5/10

Image 1 from 4thletter.net. Image 2 from dc.wikia.com. Image 3 from simplydcu.wordpress.com.

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A Green Arrow: Into the Woods Review – Robin Hood Meets…Galahad?!?

Green Arrow: Into the WoodsTITLE: Green Arrow: Into The Woods

AUTHOR: J.T. Krul
PENCILLER: Diogenes Neves, Vincente Cifuentes. Cover by Mauro Cascioli
COLLECTS: Green Arrow #1-6
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $22.99
RELEASE DATE: July 6, 2011

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I always understood the motivation behind DC Comics breaking up Green Arrow’s marriage to Black Canary and making him a forest-dwelling loner. It puts the character in touch with his Robin Hood-esque roots. But that doesn’t mean it was a good decision.

After murdering the villain Prometheus in Justice League: Cry For Justice, Green Arrow’s identity as Oliver Queen has been made public, his marriage to Black Canary is over, and a large portion of Star City lays in ruins. G.A. now lives in the forest that suddenly sprouted in the middle of the city at the beginning of Brightest Day. As Oliver continues to serve Star City as best he can, a mysterious woman calling herself The Queen has taken over Oliver’s company, Queen Industries. Her motivations are questionable, to say the least. But Green Arrow will soon discover this woman is linked to the father he barely knew.

Green Arrow #3, Galahad, Diogenes Nieves, 2010This book was a disappointment for me. After reading some of J.T. Krul’s previous work, I was hoping he’d be able to really knock this one out of the park. He doesn’t. It’s not that putting Ollie in the forest was a bad move, per se. It was an interesting attempt at shaking up his status quo, and the fact that the forest seems to be the center of the white entity from Brightest Day adds a bit of intrigue. But the creators either don’t play the forest element up in a way that’s interesting enough, or they push the Robin Hood thing so far it becomes silly.

For instance, in this book Ollie gains a new sidekick/confidant in Galahad, a man who claims to be a knight from King Arthur’s Round Table. This character, in my opinion, was a ridiculous and feeble attempt to make Green Arrow more akin to Robin Hood by pairing him with someone with a medieval vibe. Apparently being a bow and arrow wielding, forest dwelling outlaw wasn’t enough. It’s one thing to be reminiscent of a classic character, it’s another thing to rip that character off. This book pushes Green Arrow a bit too close to the latter for my tastes. Personally, I’d rather have seen him find a civilian to bounce dialogue off of. Oddly, we almost get that in a reporter who Ollie gets information from. The reporter would have been a much better choice than some dude who thinks he’s a knight.

Green Arrow #2, 2010, Green LanternWhen I picked up this book, I was hoping to see Ollie really use the forest to his advantage in battle. I figured we’d see him eying targets from treetops, setting up clever traps, and really using the environment to his advantage. We really don’t see much of that. He and Hal Jordan have a battle scene with some of The Queen’s “Royal Guard,” and there’s a moment where he uses such a trap on an out of control Martian Manhunter. But that’s the best stuff we get in that regard, which obviously left me wanting more. I was hoping to see the forest really become a part of Green Arrow’s persona. Instead, it really just acts as a new setting that happens to act weirdly sometimes.

What I did enjoy about Into The Woods was the look at Oliver Queen’s parents. It was interesting to see how their influence made Ollie the character he is, and their relationship to The Queen does make for an interesting dynamic.

Though it’s all very well drawn by Diogenes Neves, everything else this book offered fell into “meh” territory. That’s a shame, as this book could have been much better. It likely isn’t a coincidence that the Green Arrow we’ll meet in September via the DCU reboot is essentially placed in the exact opposite circumstances as this version of the character. Instead of being a forest-dwelling outlaw with little use for technology, Green Arrow will be flying around the world apprehending criminals, using illegally gained intel to his advantage. In short, Ollie will be out of the woods very soon.

I can’t say I’m sad about that.

RATING: 5/10

Image 1 from craveonline.com. Image 2 from xmanscomicblog.blogspot.com. 

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A Green Arrow/Black Canary: Five Stages Review – The End of an Era

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five StagesTITLE: Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five Stages
AUTHORS: Andrew Kreisberg, J.T. Krul
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes, Diogenes Nieves. Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow/Black Canary #27-30
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I miss the Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly title. Or at least Andrew Kreisberg’s version of it. It was usually somewhere in the bottom half of my stack. But in retrospect, it should have been higher.

Sadly, this is the sixth and last volume of the series, collecting the final four of the 30-issue series (technically there were 32, but the last two only had Green Arrow’s name on them) starring the newlywed emerald archer and sexy siren. It picks up where Big Game left off, wrapping up the story line with Cupid, Green Arrow’s sadistic stalker. With the help of the shape-shifting villain Everyman, who now bears Arrow’s likeness, she’s wreaking havoc in Star City. Along the way, we learn her origin story, and what exactly caused her mind to snap.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five Stages, interiorIssue #30 takes us into the events of Blackest Night, as Ollie has become a Black Lantern. Now Black Canary, Speedy and Conner Hawke must find a way to stop the zombified archer before he rips their hearts out…literally!

The book moves back and forth between the present day, and Cupid’s origin story, the latter beautifully pencilled by Renato Guedes. It’s a refreshing shift from shifting between Ollie and Dinah’s perspective for no apparent reason, as we saw in Big Game. It looks like Kreisberg was trying to add to Green Arrow’s rather dismal rogues gallery, even throwing in a tragic and disturbing twist for the Lieutenant Hilton character. Sadly, what with everything that’s happened in the aftermath of Justice League: Cry For Justice, it may be a long time before we see some of these characters again, if at all. That especially sucks in the case of Lieutenant Hilton, or “Hilt” as he comes to be called. I’d have enjoyed seeing where they were going with that character. His scenes toward the end of the book were really ominous.

The Blackest Night story is told from Ollie’s point of view, as his consciousness struggles to gain control of his body, which has been taken over by Nekron. He agonizes as he’s forced to reveal secrets to Dinah, and his son Conner, that he hoped would remain buried forever. It’s the best Blackest Night story they could have told for Green Arrow, and unlike most of the other Blackest Night one-shots I read, it has long-term ramifications.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #30, Blackest NightFive Stages does manage to include a bit of foreshadowing. The final Kreisberg-written scene takes place just before Ollie and Dinah are beamed up to the Watchtower for the first scene in Cry For Justice. One might even argue that the evil Everyman wearing Ollie’s likeness is a bit of a prelude. Sadly though, Five Stages serves as the end of an era for Ollie and Dinah. And although J.T. Krul’s work on the new Green Arrow is compelling, I can’t help but feel like this era ended much too soon. This book is good, but the series itself could have been so much better.

RATING: 7/10

Image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from comicattack.net.

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A Justice League of America: Team History Review – Will the Real JLA Please Stand Up?

Justice League of America: Team HistoryTITLE: Justice League of America: Team History
AUTHOR: James Robinson
PENCILLER: Mark Bagley
COLLECTS: Justice League of America #38-43
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Some of the creative decisions surrounding Justice League of America in the past year or so have really left me scratching my head. Certain characters have been in the League for a little while, then left, only to be replaced by other characters, who then leave, and are replaced again. The cast/team line up has been in a constant state of flux.

James Robinson’s would-be epic, Justice League: Cry For Justice, is partially to blame for that. First they were going to make that book into it’s own series, then they decided to just make it a miniseries, and that seems to have screwed things up. Robinson was put on the main Justice League book, and proceeded to give us an almost entirely different team.

Still, he and Mark Bagley put on a decent show with Team History.

Justice League #38 (2010)The book begins in the aftermath of Cry For Justice, with Vixen, Plastic Man, Dr. Light and Red Tornado contemplating whether the Justice League should even exist in its current incarnation. Soon, the events of Blackest Night kick in, and Zatanna must confront her zombified father. Meanwhile, Vixen and Gypsy face their old teammates from the Detroit Justice League, and Dr. Light deals with her villainous counterpart of the same name.

Then we jump post-Blackest Night, and everyone but Dr. Light and a bodyless Red Tornado remain on the team. So Robinson throws Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman (Dick Grayson), Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, Mon-El, The Guardian, and The Atom together. Plus, we get Congorilla and Starman, who were featured in Cry For Justice. They take on, among other threats, a trio of villains who gain access to the Justice League Watchtower.

For my money, the first part of this book overshadows the second. Robinson does a really nice job with the confrontation between the good Dr. Light, and the sadistic rapist Dr. Light. He taps into some of that Identity Crisis magic really well. The fight with the Detroit League is fun too. I was pleasantly surprised.

Justice League of America: Team History, group shotThe book gets convoluted during its second half. The assemblage of the team is done well enough, but the bad guys are introduced via a series of flashbacks that left me scratching my head. I knew who/what the threat was, I just wasn’t sure how they got to be a threat or why.

What frustrated me the most about this book, is that the new team seems to start imploding before their first adventure is even over. The events of The Fall of Green Arrow/The Rise of Arsenal start to take over, and there’s a big question mark left hanging over the entire team. Plus, based on events that have taken place since Justice League #43 was published, it’s looking like at least a couple of these heroes won’t be sticking around for the long haul.

Team History is a decent book on its own, but it left me frustrated at the lack of consistency in the Justice League’s roster. Heck, even the characters themselves seem to be getting frustrated. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have even complained about the Teen Titans, and saved my frustration for the League.

Seriously…will the real Justice League please stand up?

RATING: 6/10

Image 1 from craveonline.com. Image 2 from dreamwidth.org.

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A Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game Review

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big GameTITLE: Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game
AUTHOR: Andrew Kreisberg
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes. Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow/Black Canary #21-26
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s no accident that the Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly title jumped in quality once Andrew Kreisberg took over.

Many fanboys would likely recognize Kreisberg’s TV work before his comic work. He’s written episodes of Justice League, The Simpsons, Fringe, and recently Star Wars: The Clone Wars. So for DC to put him in Star City was a big cue.

This book is the second volume of his work on this title. Picking up where Green Arrow/Black Canary: Enemies List left off, we find the city in a state of chaos, as a new villain has caused everyone in the city (including our heroes) to temporarily go deaf. This story is inter-cut with scenes from Dinah Lance’s youth, as she finds out about her mother’s life as the original Black Canary, and the dangers of her supersonic “Canary Cry.”

Green Arrow/Black Canary #24, Cupid, Black CanaryLater, an old enemy of Green Arrow’s called Big Game, returns to wreak havoc in the city. This forces Black Canary to form an extremely reluctant partnership with Cupid, a villainness romantically obsessed with Green Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen’s tactics are slowly but surely growing darker and more vengeful, conveniently leading him down a path that will take him directly into the events of Justice League: Cry For Justice.

What was supposed to have made Green Arrow/Black Canary different from any other title DC puts out was the fact that Ollie and Dinah are married superheroes. That’s a twist you rarely see in the DC Universe. When Judd Winick wrote the book, that idea tended to fall flat. But Kreisberg seems to do his best to thrust it to the forefront, while reminding us that Ollie and Dinah can be two very different people.

He accomplished this by introducing the Cupid character, a delusional, deranged stalker character, who he portrays brilliantly. There’s a scene in the book where she ponders raping a man she’s dressed as Green Arrow, but then simply shoots him in the head. It’s fantastic character work, and a bit of a refreshing take on the classic stalker angle.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, flashbackThe looks back at Dinah’s youth are also a nice little character insight. Plus, in the previous volume Kreisberg took a page out of Batman’s book, and created Lucas Hilton, a detective character for Arrow and Canary to bounce dialogue off of. They have a nice little dynamic going.

The slightly awkward thing about Big Game is that the story framework is a bit awkward. As these issues were being published, DC was beginning to experiment with adding co-features to some of their titles, Green Arrow/Black Canary being one of them. This allowed them to bump issue prices up a dollar, in exchange for several more pages of content. Thus, Blue Beetle was added to Booster Gold, Captain Atom to Action Comics, etc.

In Ollie and Dinah’s case, about 60 percent of an issue’s story would be told from one character’s point of view, and the rest from another’s. For example, Green Arrow might take the lead for the majority of an issue, and Dinah would end it. For my money, this sometimes creates a needless shift in perspective that can distract or confuse readers. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it can be off-putting.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, SpeedyIn terms of art, Bill Sienkiewicz’s pencils get the job done, but after inking and coloring, some of his panels come back looking a little sloppy for my taste. Mike Norton’s look a lot more crisp and clean. Renato Guedes stops by mid-book to tell a story involving Speedy (who debuts a brand new costume in this book) for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, his art looks good.

In the long run, I think Green Arrow fans will look at Big Game as one of the stepping stones on the path that Ollie took heading into Justice League: Cry For Justice. It’s a bit awkward at times. But it’s a fun book to read, and Kreisburg’s characterizations of Ollie and Dinah are pretty spot-on. I hope to see him back in the DCU someday soon.

RATING: 7/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicobsessed.blogspot.com. Image 3 from dreamwidth.org.

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