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Spoiler Alert Comic Book Podcast: Oldtron Edition -ROM 1, TITANS 1, CAPTAIN KID 1, CIVIL WAR II 4, BATGIRL 1, CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS 3, HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN 1

Comic Book Podcast

Welcome to the Spoiler Alert Comic Book Podcast. We explore comics, life, love and usually end up offending 4 out of 10 groups that feel oppressed. I’m Rob Patey, often known as Optimous Douche from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS. My counterpart is Mark L. Miller, my comic life mate and editor of AIN’T IT COOL comics. Our third wheel on this podcast tricycle is Johnny Destructo of POPTARDSGO, and that wheel fell off this week.

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THE MINUTE BY LOOOONG MINUTE 

Bug goes to San Diego 2016
Bug finally gets to the Marvel panel – 29:00
ROM #1 (w – Chris Ryall & Christos Gage, a – David Messina) – 42:00
TITANS #1 (w – Dan Abnett, a – Brett Booth) – 54:00
CAPTAIN KID #1 (w – Mark Waid & Tom Peter, a – Wilfredo Torres) – 1:00:00
CIVIL WAR II #4 (w – Brian Michael Bendis, a – David Marquez) – 1:12:00
BATGIRL #1 (w – Hope Larson, a – Raphael Albuquerque) – 1:24:00
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #3 (w – Nick Spencer, a – Jesus Saiz) – 1:34:00

Email us your brain stuff about comics – we’ll read it.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1 REVIEW- Finally a League with PURPOSE!

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool)

Purpose: I’ve asked one thing from the JUSTICE LEAGUE since waaaaayyyyy back in the post FINAL CRISIS days, have a purpose for bringing together a LEAGUE. Back then the blunders were egregious, with the Holy Trinity picking heroes like baseball cards (and this is not hyperbole) to bring together a LEAGUE, because you know…there’s always been a JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Then came the New 52 and with it the promise of salvation. Not only were we getting a JUSTICE LEAGUE, but also a return of the Bwahahaha JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, a new JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK to handle magic threats, and finally oversight for all heroes in the form of STORMWATCH.

I’ve made my thoughts well known on these titles, but here’s a synopsis. Johns should not create with Lee. Before anyone throws goddamn sales numbers at me I will remind you that the 4th Batman movie was a box office success. People are sheep and marketing easily leads the masses, I know firsthand, I’m in marketing and my soul is one step above lawyers on Satan’s most wanted. When we peeked past the marketing though, the first two arcs of JUSTICE LEAGUE were wafer thin. I have my theories on why, and it basically equates to the fact that Johns is indie film and Lee is big budget and never the tween shall meet. Johns is not your splash page writer and Lee is not a cramped panel artist. Disagree if you like, but I haven’t heard a better theory yet. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL was less bwahahaha and more just plain awwww, hence why it’s no longer with us. STORMWATCH, don’t even get me started. It has been a mess since day one choking on its own hubris. These folks were supposed to be the ones who watch the WATCHMEN, but since they can’t get shit straight in their own house all we’ve gotten are a bunch of slap fights between Apollo & Midnighter and some kind of shadow council…or shadow puppetry…I’m not sure. I like JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, but part of that adoration lies in the detractors’ claims it doesn’t feel like it’s part of the universe. Fair enough, but at least it’s original.

JUSTICE LEAGUE redeemed itself with Throne of Atlantis, and I believe whole heartedly that JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA will rectify the missteps of the team books that have come before.

Not only does JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA have a purpose, but that purpose is steeped in actual continuity. Its purpose is also right in line with the marketing hype and a stark reflection of the current 99%ers feelings towards the 1% who pull our collective marionette strings. You want to know, “Who watches the WATCHMEN” or in this case the JUSTICE LEAGUE? Then you need look no further than JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

JLA _1_5While this is a straight-up introductory tale, Johns does a great job of keeping the book moving without it being a straight up Mickey Mouse roll call. He also builds off the history of the New 52, without making it required reading.  Basically, there’s a pervasive fear in the government and leading the rabblerousing is our own favorite Queen of conspiracy theories, Amanda Waller. Uncle Sam fears the JUSTICE LEAGUES allegiance to the planet at large, and the US of A wants a way to ensure countermeasures should the JUSTICE LEAGUE side with someone other than the Stars & Stripes.

Now since Waller has her hands full with other skullduggery in the DCU, she turns to the Old League liaison Steve Trevor to corral and manage this new group. This leads us to a part of the book that confused me, but still left me enthralled. We’ve always known Waller will manipulate people to get her way, but she takes it to new heights in this book and I can’t tell if her concerns were genuine or simply pushing Steve’s buttons.

The kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman that made a thousand Lois Lane fans spontaneously combust apparently wasn’t only viewed by readers. American satellites caught this precious moment as well and got the think tanks pontificating on the damage these two could cause. We’re not just talking the shockwaves from bumping uglies, but also what could happen if these two could and would actually procreate. Again, Waller is a manipulative little gal, so did she mention this to get Steve to sign-on or was it a genuine concern? Maybe a little of both, but it does push Steve over the edge to go recruit his addition to the team CATWOMAN.

JLA  PAGES 6-7Just in case the purpose was unclear, after we see vignettes of each character as Waller and Steve discuss their place on the team, the issue ends with a direct match on who in the JLA will take down who on the JUSTICE LEAGUE. Some are clear jumps – Baz against Hal, Martian Manhunter against Superman and Catwoman against Batman. The match-up of Vibe against Flash makes sense, but it makes even more sense if you read VIBE 1 this week. But there are a couple I match-ups I question like Hawkman against Aquaman and Katana against Wonder Woman. In one case they could escape each other by going to their natural habitats and in the other case I think simple sword wielding does not make equal class balancing in a fight.

Finch and Johns go together perfectly and even in the heavy talky scenes between Waller and Trevor, the panels were visually engaging.

So, what about GREEN ARROW who is so prominently displayed on the cover, well that dear reader is a mystery that comes with the price of admission. His fate lies squarely in plot that wild rive this first arc forward.

I’d like to walk away with a suggestion for DC. Your team books are finally starting to come together, but your work is far from done. With the creation of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, I know have even less of a reason to read STORMWATCH, which is shame because they are characters I once loved Pre-52. At some point you need to either shit-can STORMWATCH as a the failed experiment it was or actually commit to its place in the DC Universe. Most fans will deride what I’m about to say, but I think the only salvation lies in a cross-over amongst the LEAGUE books and STORMWATCH. “We’re the JUSTICE LEAGUE we’re in charge! Fuck you, were the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and we’re in charge bitches!! Fuck all y’all, we’re STORMWATCH and we’ve been in charge since Jesus was in diapers!!!” I know crossovers are a verboten phrase, but when well-planned and crafted they can once again be as epic as they were initially intended to be.

GREEN LANTERN #34 9-4-08

Green Lantern 34GREEN LANTERN #34
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Bromance, man-love, unrequited hairy nipple passion; there have been a slew of terms conjured up over the past few years to help an overarching homophobic society develop a level of comfort for the affection between two men. In the opening pages of this latest foray into the genesis of Earth’s original GREEN LANTERN (no, I don’t consider Alan Scott a Green Lantern) writer extraordinaire Geoff Johns boils down the relationship between Hal Jordan and Sinestro into one simple term that we don’t hear too often anymore: respect.

The friendship once shared by these two has become the stuff of legend over the past forty some odd years. Through a multitude of intergalactic battles and epic douchebaggery on the part of the great magenta one, it’s easy for us all to forget (especially younger readers) that these two were once fighting for the same side. While both acting in the purest sense of their mandated mission by the galactic guardians, it was never the “what” that drove a wedge between them, but rather the “how”.

One of the over arching challenges of doing a prequel is the fact that everyone knows how the story is going to end. The trick is to make the journey enticing by providing unknown nuggets in an entertaining and enlightening fashion. Lucas missed the mark with the last three (or I should say first three) “Star Wars” movies, for example. Johns avoids these trappings by delicately unfolding the Blackest Night prophecy and gently interspersing the feelings of these two emerald juggernauts towards one another and the galactic guardians. This delicate blend of the old and the new satiates even those overflowing with knowledge about all things Emerald, while also providing a damn nice entrance for those that could not tell an Abin Sur from an @$$hole TalkBacker.

What set this issue apart from the rest of the story arc is that Johns is truly starting to embark into new territory despite the fact we’ve all been here before. There is only so much you can do with Hal Jordan’s early years, the man is who he is and the circumstances that made him so are not to be trifled with. His Dad can only die one way if he is going to traverse the rest of his heroic destiny. Johns did an admirable job updating these events with modern sensibilities and his own spot-on interpretation of characterization, but aside from a few nuggets about “the prophecy” (oh the delectable prophecy), much of the material was old hat.

This issue not only tugs at the heart strings, as we see a friendship and a romance (not with Sinestro) form that we know is ultimately doomed, but Johns in usual style delivers a blindsiding donkey punch of action to boot. You want inventive ring wielding? You got it, as Hal for the first time realizes the full potential of not only his ring, but also the man that wields it. Yes, Sinestro is still a condescending prick, but he’s a prick that hasn’t lost his…well, his humanity for lack of a better word. There is a genuine affection for Jordan as Sinesto views a piece of himself in the neophyte ring wielder. Also for the first time in his life Sinestro is plagued with doubt at his own abilities as he sees Jordan overcome that which no other Lantern has ever been able to surmount, the dread color yellow.

This is the first issue where the prophecy became secondary for me and I just wanted to see more of Hal and Sinestro. Ahh well, there will be an issue 35 in four short weeks, where I am most thankful that Guy Gardner is not in the picture yet, because if anyone would drop the term bromance it would be him.

GREEN LANTERN #30 4-30-08

Green Lantern 30GREEN LANTERN #30
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Amidst his duties of rebooting the entire DC Universe with FINAL CRISIS and LEGIONS OF THREE WORLDS, Johns continues to build on the breakneck momentum he started with the SINESTRO CORPS WAR with this latest foray into the history of Hal Jordan.

I was a little put off with this first part of this series. I couldn’t buy into the whole concept of once again serving up a “very special” series recounting the turbulent times of Hal Jordan’s youth prior to becoming a green galactic defender. I wondered if there wasn’t some better way to rewrite history to accommodate the Blackest Night prophecy.

After all in the grand scheme of things, while noteworthy, Hal is but a mere zygote in the infinite history of the Green Lantern Corps. Wouldn’t we be better off with a deluxe soft cover a la “GANTHET’S TALE” to unfold the Alpha of this prophecy as we approach the Omega in regular continuity?

I realized, though, that my problem wasn’t with the fact that this was Hal’s story, it was how the Blackest Night material came across. It didn’t feel like it belonged, almost like I was reading two stories. All of the events surrounding the Blackest Night prophecy felt inappropriately bookended around the events recounting the indelible scars of Hal’s youth. I realize now that Johns was telling things from a linear perspective.

This issue takes the same approach, but it feels more integrated this time around. Rightly so, since this issue focuses on the final fateful flight of Abin Sur before he crash landed on Earth and bequeathed the ring to Jordan (actually the ring does the bequeathing, but allow me some poetic license). It was easier as a reader to buy into the prophecy during this issue, since it was all unfolding on familiar ground.

Speaking of familiar ground, I made the mistake in my last review of comparing this origin tale to EMERALD DAWN. While both titles share certain keystones of the series like Abin Sur crash landing on earth and Sinestro still being one of the most complex villains ever to grace the panel pages, Johns makes one quintessential distinction between “Secret Origin” and its predecessor. EMERALD DAWN gave us the “what happened”, while Secret Origin tells us the “why”.

This is the first time I’ve seen someone delve into the psychology of Abin Sur. Why is he in a ship instead of using his ring to fly? What was his compelling reason to come to earth in the first place? At one point, Abin Sur chuckled at the thought of a human taking on the emerald mantle: “He never thought he would see the day”. With that simple line Johns took an epic moment for silver and modern age fans alike and made it his own with subtlety and unwavering reverence.

Aside from the landing and the deeper explanation about the prophecy, the book follows the rest of the GREEN LANTERN canon a little too faithfully. I was really hoping to see a deeper exploration into the relationship between Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris; after all the two are locked in a passionate embrace on the cover. Also, Carol still felt like a corporate piranha, trying to make a way for women in the workforce by being overly bitchy and bossy. This worked for her in the 80s, but feels a little clichéd n 2008. After Johns’ great characterization of the Jordan brothers last issue I was expecting a similar treatment for Carol, although I’m sure if the story continues to form, the persona of Carol will be fleshed out in next month’s issue.

The art was once again top notch. Reis moves between rendering space and terra firma with deftness and unparalleled detail. I don’t know whose idea it was to have Hal be a limp rag doll when he first gains control of the ring and is learning to fly, but it was refreshing to see this “Greatest American Hero” take on learning to use new powers.

Once again a solid title, delivered by a brilliant creative team. I can only hope that this book remains flawless as Johns’ attention is diverted elsewhere in coming months.