Tag Archives: Renato Guedes

A Green Lantern: Revenge of the Black Hand Review – The Line Between Hero and Villain…

Green Lantern, Vol. 2: Revenge of the Black HandTITLE: Green Lantern, Vol. 2: Revenge of the Black Hand
AUTHOR: Geoff Johns
PENCILLER: Doug Mahnke, Renato Guedes, Ethan Van Sciver.
COLLECTS: Green Lantern #712, Green Lantern Annual #1

FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $24.99

RELEASED: January 2, 2013

While the Blackest Night throwback is a high point in the latest Green Lantern volume, the real draw is one of the most heinous villains in all the universe attempting to to be a hero again. Or at least his version of a hero.

When Sinestro is abducted by the Indigo Tribe, Hal Jordan must travel to the tribe’s homeworld of Nok out to rescue him (remember, Sinestro’s a Green Lantern again). Once there, he not only learns about the origins of the Indigo Tribe, but about how they’re connected to the Guardians, as well as Abin Sur. He also finds Black Hand, his old nemesis, and the harbinger of the Blackest Night. Before it’s all said and done, Hal Jordan and Black Hand will collide, and the dead will rise again.

Green Lantern Vol. 2 Revenge of the Black Hand, image 1Geoff Johns continues to tease Sinestro’s redemption in Revenge. While he’s hardly an upstanding citizen at this point, Johns tugs at our heart strings through Sinestro’s relationship with his protege-turned-nemesis Hal Jordan. At one point, while under the influence of an indigo ring, he flat out tells Hal: “I’m sorry for all I’ve done to you.” We also flash back to the relationship he had with Arin Sur, Abin Sur’s sister. We see his heart break when she dies, and how much pain he’s still in over her. And perhaps most importantly, we see that Hal has hope for him. Is Sinestro about to side with the angels full time? Probably not. But that’s not necessarily the point. In expanding Sinestro’s backstory like this, Johns is turning him into a tragic figure. The type of villain to be hated and feared, but also pitied for all he’s lost. He’s allowing us to relate to the character on a more human level, and as such invest in and root for him. Thus, when he inevitably heels on us again, there’ll be a heart-wrenching, and all the more tragic aspect to it.

Green Lantern Annual #1, 2012, interiorWhenever I think of Black Hand, I can’t help but think of 2009′s Green Lantern #43, which was also done by Johns and Doug Mahnke. The issue revamped William Hand’s origin story, portraying him as a bizarre character fixated on corpses and the dead since early childhood. The most memorable part of the story was a full page shot of Black Hand laying in a puddle with some skeletons, as peaceful as if he were in his own bed, caressing one as if it were a loved one. Johns and Mahnke gave the character a creepy, almost perverse vibe that’s fascinating to read about. We get more of that here, as Black Hand resurrects his family and seats them around the dinner table, taking to them as if they were alive. There’s a great sci fi/horror feel to it all, which works great in a Green Lantern story.

While all this is happening, the Guardians are plotting against not only Hal Jordan and Sinestro, but the entire Green Lantern Corps. As far as this book is concerned, it’s a bit early to judge that particular plot line. What we see does look interesting, but I’m reserving my judgment until we’ve seen more.

Green Lantern #7, 2012, Sinestro punch outWhile this is likely the best book Johns has done in the last few years, it’s not flawless. The backstory of the Indigo Tribe and how they’re connected to Abin Sur, the Guardians going crazy, etc., all seems a little too convenient from a plot standpoint. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, the Hal Jordan we see in this book doesn’t quite match up with the one we see in Justice League. I’d be more forgiving on that front of Johns weren’t writing both. It seems like the guy we see hear is the real Hal Jordan, and the guy in that other book is being forced to act like a cocky douche to fit a traditional team book role.

On the plus side, I gained a new respect for Doug Mahnke as a result of Revenge. Three things in particular stood out to me here from an art standpoint. The first is the Black Hand content, the second is a two-page shot of Hal punching out Sinestro on a balcony (shown above), after he interrupted a quiet moment between Hal and Carol Ferris. The third is the lovely new character of Natromo, an elderly dwarfish character involved in the inception of the Indigo Tribe.

In terms of the Hal/Sinestro dynamic, we may have to be patient in terms of how that develops. Green Lantern #0 introduced us to Simon Baz, the newest Green Lantern of Earth, and his adventures with the ring. But thankfully, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere in the immediate future. That’s a very good thing.

RATING: 8.5/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicbooked.com. Image 3 from gamespot.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 Supergirl: Death and the Family Review – I Was A Teenage Supergirl

Supergirl: Death and the FamilyTITLE: Supergirl: Death and the Family
AUTHORS: Sterling Gates, Jake Black, Helen Slater
PENCILLERS:
Fernando Dagnino, Jamal Igle, Cliff Chiang. Cover by Renato Guedes.
COLLECTS:
Supergirl #48-50, Supergirl Annual #1
FORMAT:
Softcover
PUBLISHER:
DC Comics
PRICE:
$17.99
RELEASE DATE:
September 15, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The most notable thing about Supergirl: Death and the Family, is that it has Helen Slater’s name on it. Slater played the Girl of Steel in the 1984 Supergirl film. But don’t get too excited, folks. Her contribution here isn’t that notable.

The book is a little scattered in terms of it’s story. The Supergirl Annual portion kicks off with Kara trying to save two wayward Kryptonians who are stranded in a bank by the Science Police (who have been ordered to capture all Kryptonians in the wake of Codename Patriot). Kara has good intentions, but ultimately ends up making what seems to be a mistake. Then, we see the secret origin of the evil Superwoman, and her connection to Lois Lane.

Supergirl #48, Lana Lang, sicknessThe main plot thread revolves around Lana Lang’s mysteriously unidentifiable sickness, which Supergirl discovered in Friends and Fugitives. After a surprisingly well done story involving Silver Banshee and Inspector Henderson (Supergirl’s answer to Commissioner Gordon), we find out what is actually ailing our old friend Lana. And it’s…not what you’d expect. All I’m going to say is it involves insects.

Finally, we get a six-page story by Jake Black and Helen Slater, which focuses on the public’s perception of Supergirl. It features a talk show host chatting with Cat Grant, an “arts and entertainment” writer whose public distaste for Supergirl has been well documented. No offense to Slater, but my guess is Jake Black handled most of the actual writing. Black has worked on Smallville, and has a number of books for younger readers to his credit. Considering it’s only six pages long, it’s got a hefty message regarding the character. But it’s nothing overly memorable.

Supergirl #50, Helen SlaterThough Slater’s name may prompt fans to pick up the book, Sterling Gates is its real star. One thing he’s always done very well is definitively making Supergirl a teenager. Some writers tend to overlook that incredibly important element when they’re writing young hero characters (pick up any issue of Teen Titans from the past year or so and you’ll see what I mean). Kara is emotional and vulnerable, despite being able to bend steel with her bare hands. This comes off especially well in the Annual bank story. You may as well call Gates “Mr. Supergirl.”

As for the art, it’s consistently done well, but I feel prompted to praise Fernando Dagnino in particular, perhaps because he did the art on the bank story. But I can’t say anything bad about Jamal Igle or Cliff Chiang either.

In the end, though it lacks a distinct beginning-to-end plot, and the story with the most riding on it is actually kind of silly, in terms of characterization, I consider this to be good Supergirl material. In a sense, this book is like Helen Slater in Supergirl. Not incredibly memorable, and not going to win any awards. But it’s fun to look at.

No offense, Helen.

RATING: 6/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicboxcommentary.com.

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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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