Tag Archives: time travel

A Justice League of America #6 Review – Batman Survives…?

Justice League of America #6, Bryan HitchTITLE: Justice League of America #6
AUTHOR/PENCILLER: Bryan Hitch
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: December 23, 2015

***Go all the way back to the beginning with our review of Justice League of America #1.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’m starting to get worried about this book. It’s been plagued by delays, to the point that they had to plug different creators into issue #5 and make it a filler issue. Needless to say that’s frustrating, especially when you consider Hitch has put together the best Justice League book on the stands.

With his true nature revealed, Rao goes one-on-one with Superman, and the Man of Steel has more than met his match. And things don’t look so good for Wonder Woman or Aquaman either. Meanwhile, Green Lantern and The Flash remain trapped in the past, searching for answers about what’s happening in their time.

So here’s my question: What does this have to do with Batman? The Dark Knight is the only Leaguer vertical on the cover, having apparently been the last man standing in a battle of sorts. But no such battle takes place in the issue, and Batman doesn’t even appear. So while the issue itself is more than fine, there’s a disconnect with the cover from the get-go.

IMG_1316The confrontation between Superman and Rao in this issue is brief, punctuated by the Man of Steel being sent flying across the arctic with a single punch. Hitch goes as far as to give us a two-page spread of his landing, which creates a massive crater. It’s arguable whether that much page space was merited for a moment like that. But it does create the epic/”wide screen” vibe Hitch is going for. And he gets a little more slack from me, considering this confrontation meant something. We’d been building up to it for four issues (we don’t count issue #5), and it adds to Rao’s credibility as a threat to the League. Interestingly, I remember Scott Snyder and Jim Lee doing a similar long-distance punch in Superman Unchained. But that fight wasn’t nearly as impressive as this one, as much of this series has been built around Rao. That wasn’t necessarily the case with…whatever the monster from that series was called.

Hitch remains very good at making it seem like all the Leaguers stand on equal footing, which is immensely refreshing in a company that overemphasizes Batman to death. Hell, intentional or not, they even did it with this cover! But regardless, Hitch is able to place the plot threats for Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and all the others on equal footing. That’s a sign of great writing.

Justice League of America #6, Wonder Woman, Bryan HitchThere’s something to be said about how religion is portrayed in this series. Obviously you have the Rao character performing miracles as his disciples seek to recruit new followers who are obviously being deceived. Then in this issue, Wonder Woman has some dialogue with the Oraculum on Olympus about being called a god that might make believers frown. These two lines in particular…

“I’ve never been comfortable with that. Being a god. Being somebody others would pray to. Would believe in.”

“Perhaps it is more important that you believe in yourself.”

I’m not sure if there are supposed to be real-world implications here or not. I’ve never been big on religious agendas, or agendas of any kind, in my comic books. But if it’s a good story, which doesn’t beat you over the head with whatever ideals the writer is conveying,  hat usually trumps any sort of distaste brought on by preachiness. What we’ve seen so far in JLA is good storytelling, so I’m once again inclined to be lenient with it.

While he’s got some stiff competition from Geoff Johns over in Justice League proper, Bryan Hitch has managed to put together the best JL book on the stands right now. It’s a book that truly feels worth of the League. In an interview earlier this year, Hitch called referred to his vision for this book as “an HBO series with an unlimited budget.” If you’re a DC fan and you’re not reading this book, you need to do some binge watching.

Image 1 from darkknightnews.com. Image 2 from author’s collection. 

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

Advertisements

A Back to the Future #1 Review – Like It Was Yesterday…

Back to the Future #1, 2015TITLE: Back to the Future #1
AUTHORS: Bob Gale, John Barber, Erik Burnham
PENCILLERS: Brent Schoonover, Dan Schoening
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: October 21, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This was the hidden gem of “Back to the Future Day,” right here. While other people were watching Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (God bless ’em) on Kimmel, and making stupid 2015 memes, comic book fans got a special treat: New Back to the Future content spearheaded by film writer Bob Gale.

Plus, it’s a chance for Dan Schoening to draw more ’80s stuff. Frankly, that was all it took to hook me in.

Under the banner of “Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines,” IDW’s first venture into the Back to the Future universe shows us how Marty McFly and Doc Brown met for the first time, and ultimately began to forge the partnership we see in the film. Also, we learn that a younger Emmett Brown was part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Readers get to see what the inventor of the Flux Capacitor was like as a young adult, and how he was recruited for the war.

Back to the Future, Brent SchoonoverBrent Schoonover’s style is a fine fit for the first story, “When Marty Met Emmett,” in which Marty is bullied into stealing something from Doc’s lab. Schoonover’s take on Doc is excellent, but it takes some time to get used to seeing a younger Marty. Schoonover is in an unenviable position, here. The issue has a Dan Schoening cover, and the second story is drawn by Schoening, but Schoonover’s work is sandwiched between them. At first it feels like a let-down, but he wins you over.

Via a time stamp (October 2, 1982), we know that Marty is about 14 in this story. What’s interesting is that when confronted by the bullies, he behaves a lot like his father originally would have. I suspect we see Gale’s influence here, as this somewhat infers that Marty’s relationship with Doc is what turns him into the character we meet in the movie, as opposed to the coward that George was.

Marty’s presence is missed in the second story, “Looking For a Few Good Scientists.” But it’s so damn cool to see Schoening draw Doc that you get over that quickly. If you’ve played Back to the Future: The Game, it’s actually quite easy to hear James Arnold Taylor’s voice coming from the figure of young Emmett Brown. Schoening’s rendering of Emmett is fun to look at, as it’s every bit as animated as Christopher Lloyd’s performance.

Back to the Future #1, Dan SchoeningIn truth, there’s not much to say about this story right now, as we have yet to get to the ins and outs of Doc’s involvement in the Manhattan Project. What I did enjoy, however, is how the seeds are planted early for the character’s reputation as a crackpot scientist. He initially isn’t put forth for the project because of his unorthodox nature. I can only assume that same unorthodox nature will lead to interesting results next issue.

This issue also contains a nice little afterward from Bob Gale about the initial creative process for a Back to the Future comic series, and what ground they did and didn’t want to cover. For die-hard fans, that’s definitely worth a read.

At this stage, 30 years after the original film’s release, it’s tough not to be happy with new Back to the Future content of any kind. But the fact that it’s coming from such talented creators, with backing from Bob Gale nonetheless, makes it that much sweeter. Thus far, this series has me locked in for the long haul.

Image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from planetcritico.com.

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

A Review of Superior Spider-Man: Necessary Evil – The Future is Back

The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 4: Necessary EvilTITLE: The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 4: Necessary Evil
AUTHOR: Dan Slott
PENCILLERS: Ryan Stegman, Giuseppe Camuncoli
COLLECTS: The Superior Spider-Man #17-21
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASED: January 15, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Necessary Evil doesn’t really pick up steam until we’re past the halfway point, when Otto Octavius (who remember, is in Peter Parker’s body), makes a major change to his status quo, and has an emotional yet confusing reunion with an old flame. But before those things happen, the timestream becomes a tangled web in its own right, as the present and the future become intertwined.

In the year 2099, Tyler Stone, head of the Alchemax corporation, is being erased from the fabric of history. Thus, Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, and Stone’s biological son, travels through time to find the source of the problem in the year 2013. Low and behold, he finds Peter Parker acting very strangely, and is at odds with his grandfather Tiberius Stone, who has been developing technology for use against the present-day Spider-Man. Thus, to keep his family’s lineage intact, not to mention the fabric of time, Miguel O’Hara must face off against the Superior Spider-Man!

The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 4, Spidey 2099While I have nothing against the 2099 universe, from a plot standpoint, the first three issues in this book represent the low point of The Superior Spider-Man thus far. The time portal at Horizon Labs leads nicely into the creation of Parker Labs, Otto/Peter’s own corporate empire. But the saga of Miguel, his father, and the potential unraveling of the 2099 status quo left me feeling bored.

That being said, the blue costume is still pretty damn cool, as is seeing it in battle against the Superior Spidey outfit. Ryan Stegman gives us an epic two-page spread in issue #17 (shown at left). He also draws the literal “unraveling” of Miguel and Tyler Stone very well. But what takes the cake as far as Stegman is concerned is the creepy memory sequence in issue #19, in which classic Steve Ditko and John Romita panels are used with Otto’s face in place of Peter/Spider-Man’s. It creates a creepy, eerie vibe that meshes wonderfully with the idea that Otto’s villainous impulses are starting to get the better of him. Thus, the art works very well, despite a story that’s somewhat bland overall.

014-200x300Thankfully, things get back in track in issue #20, when we get the highlight of the book: A scene between Black Cat and Superior Spidey. In the scope of the series as a whole, the scene has no long-term ramifications (at least not yet). But it’s got that great Spider-Man humor/action balance. Spidey encounters Black Cat on a rooftop, and when she comes at him with her “Hello Lover,” routine, he punches her in the goddamn face, and then webs her up for the cops. In the best possible way, it’s exactly what you’d expect from an Otto/Felicia Hardy encounter. What’s more, Giuseppe Camuncoli gives Cat just the right amount of sex appeal, and beautifully turns her from welcoming, to shocked, to enraged within the span of three pages. He’s also excellent with the furry pieces of her costume.

Angelina Brancale, a.k.a Stunner, awakens from a coma. Quick history lesson: Angelina is an obese woman who became a guinea pig for a virtual reality technology created by Doctor Octopus. As such, she was able to become the muscle-bound Stunner. Stunner and Otto eventually fell for each other. Eventually, to save Otto’s life, Angelina takes part in a ritual that places her in a coma. When she wakes up and learns that Otto was “killed” by Spider-Man, she uses Otto’s old virtual reality technology to become Stunner again. The ensuing battle places Otto/Peter’s current flame, Anna Maria Marconi, in harm’s way, and Otto is forced to confront Angelina with the truth. This results in a genuinely sad scene between the two. Surprisingly, Otto doesn’t come out of the situation looking like a heel. He’s simply a man following his heart. You don’t have to do any research on Stunner to get the gist of what her relationship to Otto is, and how impacted and heartbroken she is by his apparent death. From a certain standpoint, she’s a rather sympathetic character.

The Superior Spider-Man, Anna Maria MarconiSpeaking of sympathy, poor Anna Maria Marconi still has no idea of the heartbreak she’s (presumably) in for. In addition to the returns of Black Cat and Stunner, issue #20 also sees Otto/Peter take Anna Maria out on a picnic dinner above the city on a sheet of webbing, the life of which has now been elongated indefinitely until “I activate a dissolving agent. I always try to keep improving.” To yours truly, this scene cuts the premise of Peter Parker developing technology for Spider-Man a bit too close. It’s a really nice visual. But during a moment like this, an alarm should be going off in Anna’s head. “Hey, wait a minute. This dude might not just be Spider-Man’s tech guy…”

While the 2099 elements were, from my perspective, a flop, Dan Slott continues to give us good Spider-Man. Necessary Evil just doesn’t represent his best Spider-Man. And as far as The Superior Spider-Man is concerned, hopefully the best is yet to come.

RATING: 7/10

Image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from jthenr-comics-vault.tumblr.com. Image 3 from spidermanreviews.com.

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

A Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression Review – Chemistry and Comics

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, coverTITLE: Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression
AUTHOR: Scott Lobdell
PENCILLERS: Ilias Kyriazis, Michael Dialynas. Cover by Nick Runge.
COLLECTS: Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1-4
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

You’ll find very few people happier than me that the Ghostbusters are back in comic shops. I doubt you’ll ever see a writer re-capture the magic of what Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and the others brought to the screen all those years ago. But it’s still a lot of fun to watch the boys in grey suit up and kick some slime! (That’s right, I said it.)

After being defeated by the ghostly villain Koza’rai, the boys in gray each find themselves trapped in a different time period. Their only hope is Rachel Unglighter, a student of Egon’s, who travels back in time to reunite the team and save the world.

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1, VenkmanThis book is pretty accessible to Ghostbusters fans young and old. The story almost writes itself. And with Peter trapped in the old west, Ray trapped in the days of King Arthur, etc, the jokes do too. That’s unquestionably the hardest part of the Ghostbusters movies to replicate on to the page: that comedic camaraderie Murray, Aykroyd and the others put into it. How do you channel the genius of Bill Murray? You can’t. You simply have to do your best.

That’s the thing about the GB miniseries’ that have come out in recent years (to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film). In my opinion, they’re only as good as their Venkman. Did Aykroyd create the concept? Yes. Did he and Ramis write the films? Yes. But the Peter Venkman character (along with Sigourney Weaver’s character, Dana Barrett) was what injected some reality into them. He was the healthy cynic. In essence, he was the Han Solo of Ghostbusters (I think that means Egon was C-3P0). So as a writer, the closer you can come to generating something along the lines of Murray’s performance, the better your story is going to be.

I don’t think Scott Lobdell comes incredibly close in that regard, but he does a decent job. For my money, the best Ghostbusters graphic novel out there is Legion by Andrew Dabb.

From an artistic standpoint, Displaced Aggression is pretty “cartoonish,” but I can live with that. At the end of the book, Michael Dialynas pencils a short story about what Janine (the Ghostbusters’ secretary) was doing while the main story was taking place. His style looks a little more “comic bookish” to me. But then again, who am I to say what looks cartoonish or comic-bookish?

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, JanineThe real question is, if Janine can get in the book, why can’t Louis Tully?

In the end, this book was fun for me because I’m such a ghosthead. But I can recognize that it doesn’t recapture the magic of the films. And that’s okay. It’s doesn’t look like The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and the creators’ hearts are in the right place. For me, the latter is what matters most.

RATING: 5.5/10

Image 1 from bleedingcool.com. Image 2 from protoncharging.com.

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