Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Last God #2 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: As the horrifying forces of the Last God descend upon the city of Tyrgolad, our intrepid heroes-Queen Cyanthe, Eyvindr, and Veikko al Mun-must either defend or escape their crumbling stronghold and contend with dark legacy left behind in King Tyr's wake. But with every second, the undead army of the Last God adds more bodies to their numbers. None are safe.

In the past, we witness the tragic and violent beginnings of the first fellowship, as young Tyr and Cyanthe meet under terrible circumstances.

Beyond the edge of creation lies the Black Stair. And beyond it, amid the void, he waits. Mol Uhltep, the Last God. This is the tale of those who claimed to slay him, and the world they doomed with their lies.

All this and more in the second chapter of DC's dark fantasy epic The Last God.

The Last God #2 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson moves both timelines forward. In this issue, we see how the original fellowship begin to come together, and their first encounters with Mol Uhltep. In the present, the former heroes, or what remains of them, look to escape from King Tyr and the Last God in order to regroup and plan.

This issue was heavy on action, but there was some depth and backstory added. I liked seeing Cyanthe and Tyr before they became the well-known figures they are now. Seeing the origin of the original fellowship is interesting, as well. However, not much of the current timeline is of interest to me. The characters haven't really sucked me into caring about them yet, and I sometimes don't know who is who, or what group of people/elves they belong to. Because I'm having to work so hard to figure out who each person is, I'm finding it harder to care what happens.

I think the story of The Last God has potential. Phillip Kennedy Johnson has obviously thought his world out well. And as a fantasy fan, this should hit all the right beats for me, but it just isn't. Unfortunately, I'll probably refrain from reading any more of the monthly issues, although I may pick up the collected edition to read once the story is complete.

I would only recommend The Last God #2 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson to diehard dark fantasy fans. At this point, it doesn't really appeal to me.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Batman/Superman #4 by Joshua Williamson - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: Even from prison, the Batman Who Laughs is staying two steps ahead of the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel. His plan to infect heroes and turn them into the Dark Multiverse versions of themselves is starting to build steam, with Shazam and others already succumbing to his evil toxin. Batman and Superman are racing the clock to prevent the other three members of the Secret Six from being poisoned, but they realize they are too late when those three come looking for them instead-one of whom is a lot closer to Superman than expected and itching for a fight!

Batman/Superman #4 by Joshua Williamson picks up right on the heels of issue #3. Blue Beetle is now one of the infected, or the Sinister Six, and his armor is taking over the Fortress. Batman and Superman are on their own to try and stop The Batman Who Laughs from executing his plan, which is nearly complete. He merely needs Superman to turn back infected and he will be able to execute his plan: infect the entire world. However, our heroes have a plan to stop him at the expense of themselves. They appear to have a handle on things when everything goes sideways and an ally becomes an infected.

This was an exciting issue, as Williamson keeps the action flowing and the plot moving forward. There are lots of moving pieces of The Batman Who Laughs's plan, but they all seem to be lining up. By the time the issue ends, I'm not quite sure how Batman and Superman will be able to stop this villain, nor what exactly is going to happen with the Sinister Six characters after this series ends. After all, they are all heroes and some even star in their own books. I would expect a lot of fallout from what is going on with The Batman Who Laughs and his plot to turn Earth into a hellhole. Just how long term the affects may be remains to be seen. Character development is minimal, at least right now, but that doesn't seem to be the point of this story. However, some of the Six are confessing what sound like deep feelings of frustration and anger with Batman and Superman.

Batman/Superman has been a fun, bombastic series so far. It is heavy on the action, which I enjoy in this type of comic. Joshua Williamson is spinning an intriguing story, one in which I'm not certain how things will turn out. To that end, I would recommend Batman/Superman #4. Fans of Batman, Superman, and all things Dark Multiverse should be entertained.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Flash Forward #3 by Scott Lobdell - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: The rift between the Multiverse and Dark Multiverse is growing wider, and evil dark energy is threatening all the planets in its path! It’s up to Wally West to journey to these worlds and purge them of this darkness, but the greater darkness is that from within. The destruction has now found its way to Earth-43, where Roy Harper is the world’s premier vampire hunter, and Wally’s only hope of surviving...

Joshua Williamson's Flash Forward #3 continues Wally West's journey through the Multiverse in a quest to stop the Dark Multiverse from overtaking it. It is also a redemption journey for Wally, as he is trying to atone for the accidental deaths of some of his fellow heroes (see Heroes in Crisis).

This current issue sees Wally taken to Earth-43, where he quickly discovers that the Justice League have all been turned into vampires as a result of a decision Batman made in order to defeat Dracula (I'm guessing this is the Earth from the Batman story Red Rain). After a pretty cool battle with Superman, in which Wally discovers that he is getting faster, he comes across a hero who has yet to succumb to vampirism: Roy Harper aka Arsenal. Together, they are able to confront Batman and attempt to get rid of the Dark Multiverse matter simultaneously. However, all does not go as planned.

In my opinion, the missions Wally has been sent on have just been okay. The visits to alternate Earths are sort of cool, but haven't really sucked me in. What's gotten me is the redemption story Wally is living out. In this particular issue, he comes face to face with Roy Harper, one of his best friends and one of those heroes Wally accidentally killed. Having to deal with his grief and guilt while seeing his friend, albeit one from a parallel universe, is forcing Wally to move on and come to terms with his actions, while looking to the future. To me, this is the whole purpose of this series, as I still maintain that of all the changes made in DC's several recent reboots, no one has been messed with and suffered more than Wally West. Having a chance to get a measure of closure with Roy was a nice touch. The thing I'm looking forward to, though, is the tease from issue #2: Wally's twins, who technically never existed in this new reality. As far as I'm concerned, Wally's family needs to be restored (including his relationship with his wife, Linda) and he needs healing from the various forms of trauma he has suffered. If those issues are addressed, then this series will be a success and worth it. However, if they aren't, I'll be very disappointed.

I would recommend Flash Forward #3 by Joshua Williamson. It is (hopefully) another step in Wally's redemption. Grab and read it if you are a Wally West fan.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Event Leviathan #6 by Brian Michael Bendis - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: From the Eisner Award-winning team of superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis and groundbreaking artist Alex Maleev, the shocking conclusion to the biggest DC mystery of the year! Who is Leviathan? What do they want? How have they dismantled the most powerful secret agencies in the world? And what’s their next deadly move? The greatest detectives of the DC Universe descend on Leviathan, and all the answers are revealed! Don’t miss the shocking conclusion of this storyline!

Event Leviathan by Brian Michael Bendis wraps up with issue #6. First, a quick summary. Leviathan was unmasked, a connection to the heroes was discovered, Lois Lane published an expose, and a Leviathan is set up to be a major player in the greater DC Comics universe. I could get more detailed, but I'll withhold specific spoilers.

This issue was okay. It did, in fact reveal who Leviathan is, but didn't really bring any resolution to his storyline. But once again, I was left feeling like I had missed big chunks of the story. Apparently Batgirl has been playing a big role, but I don't read that book. Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane, was a Leviathan suspect, but the resolution to his story (while addressed) happened in the Lois Lane comic (I think?). Additionally, there were several other gaps in the story that seemed like they were filled by tie-in issues. Some of this might be due to how much of the issue was plotted; it was told in flashbacks. However, even the flashbacks were incomplete or referenced like the characters already knew some or all of the information.

Overall, I'm really unimpressed and disappointed with Event Leviathan by Brian Michael Bendis. I would not really recommend this issue or series. Furthermore, I would encourage DC to somehow communicate whether tie-in issues/series are necessary to have a complete story, because that is a huge failing of Event Leviathan as far as I'm concerned. I believe that a mini-series should have a self-contained story that has resolution, and any tie-ins should just add to the main series, not have major pieces of the story in them. Generally, I'm a Bendis fan, but this is one series that does not live up to my expectations of his writing.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Legion of Superheroes #1 by Brian Michael Bendis - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: Welcome to the 31st century! Inspired by the acts of and lessons learned from the greatest heroes of all time, the Legion of Super-Heroes have gathered together to stop a galaxy from repeating its past mistakes. The greatest lineup of heroes in comic book history returns with new, fresh, and reader-friendly stories!

Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis reteams with master artist Ryan Sook (Action Comics) for one of the most ambitious mainstream comic books ever created! Why have the Legion of Super-Heroes broken the cardinal rule of the United Planets and inducted Jon Kent, a.k.a. Superboy, into the Legion? What are they hiding? And what does it have to do with Aquaman’s long-lost trident?

The Legion of Superheroes has long been a fan favorite group, but they have been one of the groups most affected by all the various crises and reboots that DC has gone through over the years. In fact, they've basically been MIA since the New 52 some years ago. So apparently, the time felt right to bring them back and Brian Michael Bendis is the perfect writer to reintroduce this iconic group.

While the Legion has been teased in the pages of Superman and there was a recent two issue mini-series (Millennium), this issue is the first real appearance of the Legion at large, and it starts off with a bang. Ultra Boy is tracking down a dangerous artifact that is in the possession of some bad people. As he gets the artifact, he is joined by Wildfire, Karate Kid, and Star Boy, who discover that Ultra Boy has found Aquaman's trident.

Meanwhile, Jon Kent (Superboy) has been snatched from the timestream so he can officially join the Legion. Much of the rest of the issue is our introduction to life in the 30th century, and seeing many of the Legionnaires. Superboy is a fine stand in for the reader, as he is new to this whole scene as well, and we get a feel for just how things work while he does.

One of the joys of the Legion of Superheroes is the hope and positivity that comes with the many teenage heroes and heroines, which is a nice contrast to the darkness and pessimism so common in the stories that take place in our present. Another unique aspect is the many various Legionnaires; there appear to be hundreds. I always enjoyed this in previous incarnations of the book, and Bendis did a great job introducing many of them and at least showing us a large majority. Included in this group is Rose/Thorn, who was the focal point of the Legion of Superheroes: Millennium series that preceded this book. I'm curious as to what Bendis has planned for her.

I remember reading and enjoying the Legion when I was a kid. I loved Wildfire, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and the rest. The possibilities for different types of stories were endless because of the large roster, and the various power sets of the Legionnaires resulted in interesting team-ups. I'm looking forward to seeing how this book is moving forward.

I would highly recommend Legion of Superheroes #1 by Brian Michael Bendis. This is a fun and exciting story with roots in some classic heroes from DC's past. I'm generally a fan of Bendis's writing and I'm curious to see how he writes the Legion.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

The Dreaming #15 by Simon Spurrier - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: As the second year of the Sandman Universe begins, the sentient algorithm known as Wan is now the acknowledged lord of Dream’s realm, and unquestioned ruler of all his subjects. So it’s a huge problem that Wan is completely insane, and more than capable of wiping out all life in the Dreaming. The question becomes: What can Abel, the only one who knows Wan’s secret, do about it? And what must he do to poor Matthew the Raven to put his plan into action? A new chapter in the history of the Dreaming begins here-find out why the AV Club says “If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, you need to be reading The Dreaming!”

While recent issues have explored where Daniel is and why he left his realm, as well as Dora's quest to discover just who/what she is, The Dreaming #15 by Simon Spurrier turns it's focus squarely on Matthew the Raven and the changes that have been happening in the Dreaming since the Judge was defeated and the strange AI, now known as Wan, took over as its ruler.

It appears that Wan is keeping his word and has become a benevolent ruler, even beginning to take over the roles of many of his subjects, including Mervyn Pumpkinhead and Lucien. However, this doesn't have quite the effect he imagined it might. Matthew the Raven is on the hunt for something that seems to be decaying or dying, but he can't quite figure it out. Meanwhile, Abel is trying to fulfill both his role as the keeper of Secrets and his missing brother Cain's role as the keeper of Mysteries. What he discovers is something far deeper and more dangerous than anyone realizes.

There were several parts of this story that I found rather interesting. One occurred during Matthew's search; he visited the dreams of several people, some of whom have made appearances in past issues, and one who appears to be John Constantine. I'm really curious as to how this people will tie in to the greater story. The other part of the issue that was intriguing was a revealing conversation between Abel and Matthew that promises to upend the status quo of the Dreaming again once the consequences come to fruition. These two things alone are enough to keep me reading in order to find out how everything turns out.

Finally, it was nice to have a focus on Matthew the Raven. I enjoyed his character during the Sandman series, often finding him a stand-in for the reader with his range of emotion regarding his master/friend. His confusion and reactions to Wan as his master are a great contrast to his relationship with Morpheus and Daniel.

I enjoyed the change in focus in Simon Spurrier's The Dreaming #15. It made for a different type of story while still moving the greater narrative along. This issue makes for a decent starting point for new readers, as it's the beginning of a new story arc, but you will definitely want to search out the previous issues.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.