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From the Hoss’ Mouth 02/28/07

Geoff Johns & Richard Donner breathe new life into old concepts with Action Comics, the star review this week.  Annihilation, Green Lantern, X-Men, Frontline, and Wolverine fill out the rest of the spots in what proved to be a pretty decent week overall. 

Full Review:

Action Comics #846
Written by Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Art by Adam Kubert

Now this is the very definition of a fun book.  I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been this excited about a Superman story.  Johns and Donner have managed to cherry pick a brand new Zod from the best ideas of the movies, Smallville, and the animated series and it’s really paid off.  Why is this story so exciting?  Well it’s simple really, the Phantom Zone criminals are all very real and finally relevant to the actual comic continuity.  It’s not just limited to Zod, Ursa, and Non though.  Fans of the Silver Age as well as the animated series can rejoice as Jax-Ur amongst a whole slew of others are all here too.

The editorial “sole survivor of Krypton rule” is now firmly out the window as Superman has to face every single criminal his father ever banished to the Phantom Zone and as you can surmise they’re not too happy with the son of Jor El.  With this many crazy Kryptonians around I suddenly realize that the reintroduction of gold kryptonite is going to come in handy very soon.  This whole issue isn’t just one big super fight though.  The mystery child from Krypton subplot is also dealt with and in a rather humorous way by Clark and Lois as they escort the missing child right to the Daily Planet, complete with disguise glasses, as they try to hide him in plain sight.  This part’s essentially a simple but fun “what if” playing up Clark and Lois as parents, an idea that’s been tossed around fandom for quite some time.  Between this plot and the Phantom Zone criminals striking out, the books a fantastic melding of action, clever dialogue, and great character development for the villains.  Normally I’d be a bit apprehensive to introduce another Zod into a continuity already bogged down by numerous incarnations of the Zod idea, but this one’s a winner.  Here Zod is as he should be and as most of the general public would imagine him to be as he’s essentially a fleshing out of the movie Zod.  No more pocket dimensions or Russian mutants, just straight forward Kryptonian badass.

Adam Kubert shines as usual on art and in my opinion has managed to out do his brother over on Batman.  Unfortunately I don’t feel I should speak too highly because as I understand it, both Kuberts are the reason their titles have been chronically late.  So although his work turns out great it comes at a cost and that cost is the 2-3 month delay between each issue. 

Verdict: A very quick, fun, and easy to get into Superman story that anyone could appreciate.   

Quick Reviews:

Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus: Essentially two throw away stories about Terrax and Stardust.  Although not factoring heavily into the main Annihilation series this book does a nice job of tying up loose ends.  It’s also possible that with the recently announced continuation of the Annihilation saga these two heralds may soon hit the spotlight once more.  The first story focuses on Terrax, Paibok, and the Delinquent as they break free of their parasitic enslavement.  The second and much more interesting story is for Stardust, an underused herald and as you’ll all see a very bad individual.  Terrax relishes power, Stardust relishes his servitude or as he sees it, his purpose.  Although it may not be the most important book in the Annihilation saga I recommend fans of the series grab this one if for no other reason than to send the message that events like this are well worth Marvel’s investment.

Verdict: Annihilation fans it’s not over yet!

Green Lantern #17: The first three pages alone are worth the $2.99 investment.  The rest of the book wraps up the Amon Sur story and leads into a not surprising yet still interesting development, namely the Sinestro Corps are recruiting.  Although little is known at this time, the idea of an evil corps running around and instilling fear is something that should be right up my alley.  My one complaint with this story is the sudden safety out they pull with John Stewart, I like John, but it just seems all too easy to throw him in here so Hal can get out of a jam. 

Verdict: Another Geoff Johns win for this week.

X-Men #196: This book deserves special attention this week because with this issue Ramos has really shown that with proper layouts he can draw one whale of a book.  Gone are his confusing panels and cluttered sequences, now all the action’s easy to follow along with.  Carey’s use of Cable has also caught my eye, I’m so glad that he’s dropped the messiah complex he’s developed and can just be a part of a team here.  It’s good to see him and Sam together again without Nate acting like the whole world rests on his shoulders.  Carey unfortunately still can’t get past his trash villains.  Pandemic is yet another god-like villain he’s developed, and despite his massive powers and telepathy he still couldn’t see the obviously telegraphed play between Cable and Sabretooth.  It’d be nice if Carey would see fit to use established and developed villains, so then his minimal character development of them wouldn’t matter.

Verdict: Though the future ramifications will obviously be minimal, this book is simple, fast paced fun.
The Loser(s) of the Week:

Frontline #11: Garbage, plain and simple.  Whiny Captain America gets berated by an infantile Sally Floyd who argues he’s out of touch with America.  Apparently you now need a MySpace page to be relevant, $#%& all that stuff you did when you saved the world all those times, if you can’t fill out a “which Sex in the City star are you” personality quiz you just don’t matter anymore.  Over to Tony, we find that in his infinite wisdom, Stark gambled a full scale war with Atlantis to make America safer.  I’m not exactly following why an Atlantean war was a risk worth taking just so Tony could be the big kid in the sandbox, but hey, I guess that’s why Stark’s the billionaire playboy and Cap’s stuck in prison.  On the bright side, between Atlantis, Attilan, Hulk, and after reading Black Panther we can throw Wakanda in there too; this new safe America Iron’s Man done so much to create doesn’t really seem so safe at all.   

Wolverine #51: Most. Boring. Wolverine/Sabretooth. Fight. Ever. Hell Wolverine can’t even stop snoozing through it. Yawn…





The Must Buys:
Action Comics

The Still Good:
G.I.Joe America’s Elite
The Walking Dead
Wonder Man
Iron Man
Blue Beetle
Batman Confidential
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus
Green Lantern

The Filler:
New Excalibur
Black Panther