Friday, December 11, 2009

Week of 9 December 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

Now this was more like it! There were Legion appearances in four comics this week.

Or maybe not. Two of them involved simple cameos of Legionnaires (two of them dead), and one was published by Marvel and only had not-the-Legion.

ACTION #884 (2/10)
"Captain Atom Chapter Six"
CUTE BOYS: Mon-El, looking hot in his new costume

NOTE: There are no Legion appearances in the main story. The only cute boy is Chris Kent, cured of his hyper-aging (and even he looks kinda dorky).

Mon-El joins the endless, pointless Captain Atom second feature. He and Atom fly to the Justice League satellite, Atom gives a capsule review of the last few years (which I suspect would make more sense if one had actually followed Captain Atom, but which just serves to confuse everyone), and then half the Justice League shows up calling Atom a fugitive from the military, a danger to the world, and in desperate need of justice.

Pay particular attention to the double-page spread on pages 2-3 of this story. The action proceeds counter-clockwise across the two-page spread; that is, down page 2, across to the bottom of page 3, and then up page 3. Notice the artful placement of the word balloons to lead the reader through this unconventional sequence of panels. I think this was very well done. If you didn't notice it while you were reading, that's a tribute to how well the layout worked.

BITS OF JUSTICE LEAGUE BUSINESS: This story seems to take place after the upcoming changes in the Justice League, which are supposed to follow the end of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE, which is only on issue 5 of 7.


ADVENTURE #5/508 (2/10)
"He Primed Me Part Two: Flame War"
ROLL CALL (EARTH-PRIME LEGION): Brainiac 5 (vision), Element Lad (zombie), Light Lass (vision), Lightning Lad (vision), Sun Boy (zombie), Ultra Boy (vision)
CUTE BOYS: I admit it, Prime looks kinda cute at the end of the story, shirtless and all like that

As usual, this issue came out with two covers. For once, you don't have to feel like you must have the 1-in-10 variant cover: the only Legionnaire on it is a blurry figure who might be the Black Lantern Earth-Prime Sun Boy.

The story of Superboy-Prime comes to...well, a conclusion, if not an actual end. Prime's fight with Black Lantern Alex Luthor and the Black Lanterns of all the heroes he's killed takes him to the DC Comics offices, where he complains to the editors that he's sick of being their punching-bag, and threatens to (in Prime's phrase) "feed them their own tongues." Then Alex & the Blacks take him back to his basement and spill his comics.

Prime puts on a black power ring and becomes a Black Lantern. The, unaccountably, he (and the ring) cycles through the emotional spectrum: green (willpower), indigo (compassion), orange (avarice), yellow (fear), red -- until he winds up as a rage-filled Red Lantern. But then he says he loved Laurie and explodes in violet (love) light, apparently reducing the Black Lanterns to oilspots. Then the ring shatters, bathing him in six of the seven colors ( blue for hope is nowhere to be seen). Prime is left shirtless and devastated, mourning how he was turned from a hero to a bad guy, and how hs hates himself.

The Laurie comes down the stairs, telling Prime that the DC editors sent her to tell him that they're going to leave him alone now, and everything is alright. On her hand is a Black Lantern ring with a faintly-blue glow, and the word "hope."


Okay, I get that Prime is filled with rage, but the rest of it doesn't make an sense. I mean, it doesn't even make comic book sense. The whole Earth-Prime-is-Our-Earth thing, with DC people in the comic producing the very comic that we're reading, thus altering their own reality, is one of those ideas that sounds pretty cool when you think of it at 3 am one morning after too many pizzas and shots of vodka, but quickly collapses under its own absurdity when sobriety returns. If those DC people could change the nature of their own reality, why didn't they edit this very story to negate the damage that Prime and the Black Lanterns did to their offices?

Adn what's this whole thing about Prime donning a black power ring and cycling through the emotional spectrum. Black power rings never did that before. If it's intended to show that Prime has all the emotions within him, not just rage, then that's all fine and good -- but isn't that true about other characters who've been turned into Black Lanterns?

And I guess I'm okay with the resurrected Laurie having a blue (hope) power ring, but khaving a black power ring that thinks it's blue? WTF does that mean? They've spent all this time establishing that black power rings are bad and blue ones are good, and then we get the ring good or bad? Are we supposed to think that Laurie is a good buy or a bad guy? Is the story over, or is she going to rip out Prime's heart and...what? Turn him into a Black Lantern? But he already was a Black Lantern, and it didn't stick.

No, I'm sorry, this whole Black Lanterns/Blackest Night thing is making less and less sense the longer it goes on. I have to believe that Geoff Johns thinks he knows what he's doing here, but he sure isn't making any effort to share that with the rest of the class. He has a good understanding of the Leigon, and I'm forever grateful to him for bringing them back, but...Blackest Night has been nothing but a narrative disaster up to now, and I sure don't see it getting any clearer.

The good news is that, for all the fire and lightning and such, most of Prime's comics seem to be undamaged at the end.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: When Prime turns yellow, we get to see what he fears: Superman, Flash (Bart?), Kid Flash (Bart?), and four Earth-Prime Legionnaires: Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Ultra Boy, and Light Lass.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 (2/10)
"The Son & the Stars Part Two"
ROLL CALL: Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Garv, Lyrl Dox, Rocky, Stealth (zombie), Strata, Tribulus, Vril Dox, Wildstar, Xylon
CUTE BOYS: Captain Comet, Lyrl (get a haircut, boy!)

A three-way battle between Starro's troops, the Black Lanterns, and the R.E.B.E.L.S. Lyrl invents the Stargate and brings Starro people & Black Lanterns to the planet, but Dox gets mad and sends them all back. Sinestro gives Dox an order, which Dox refuses, so the yellow power ring rejects him and dashes off in search of a replacement.

The last page of this issue ("R.E.B.E.L.S. Rolls Along in 2010!") shows Dox, the original Brainiac, and Brainiac 5.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Everybody except Tribulus gets a nametag in this issue.


(no title)
ROLL CALL: not-Brainiac-5, not-Ferro-Lad, not-Lightning-Lad, not-Phantom-Girl, not-Saturn-Girl, not-Star-Boy, not-Sun-Boy, not-Superboy, not-Timber-Wolf, not-Tyr, not-Ultra-Boy

The adventures of the Imperial Guard continue. Yawn.



Brainy Pirate said...

I take it we can now discount the theory that Lori is Nura? (Plus, looking back over the previews from ish 1, it seems Nura is being held captive somewhere.)

Tenzil Kem, Esq. said...

I took the last page of Adventure a different way. Black Lantern girlfriend comes down the stairs and gives her speech, which restores Superboy-Prime's hope (registering on the black ring), and then fade to black, implying horrible things are about to happen.

Either way, comics should never be set on "our world!"

Meerkatdon said...

Brainy Pirate, you're right. I was going to mention that we now know who Lori is, but all the Blackest Night foolishness drove it out of my head.

Didn't Luthor have a niece in the olden days? Natasha, aka "Nasty"? Wasn't she Supergirl's arch-enemy (or wannabee) for a while?

And Tenzil, good call. That's an entirely possible reading.

Yeah, setting comics in the real world is usually a bad idea. i liked it when Earth-Prime was an analog of our world, but not identical to it.