January 19th, 2012

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FEEEEEED Me Your RAGE

Red Lanterns

I don't get why this is a series. Maybe they needed to pad out the 52 and didn't want to start with comics about Batman Inc., the heroes of Earth 2, Powergirl and Huntress teaming up, a reimagining of Dial H for Hero, a new G.I. Combat, or a Titans and Superboy spin-off.

Before the relaunch, the Green Lantern serieses had an overarcing plot about various other corps of lanterns, each centered around a different color and emotion. Red Lanterns were powered by their rage, and as anyone who is a longtime fan of and reader of the Hulk knows, any main character fueled by rage and anger needs something more to sustain a long term series. But Atrocitus, the main character and leader of the Red Lanterns lacks that depth, and it is explicitly stated that he is the only Red Lantern who is self-aware. I was despairing for this series--not because I wanted it to succeed, but because it could have been an interesting way to explore the broader DC Universe beyond Earth and the "civilized" societies normally shown. It was a faint hope, but it existed. Anyway, I was despairing for this series being another failing to seize its potential when in the third issue, the female Bleez has her sentience returned to her and after we learn about her backstory (beautiful but distant and casually cruel courtier given to a member of another Lantern Corps for torment out of revenge) the interesting thing happens.

Bleez has a different interpretation about how to go about exacting retribution against the universe for her suffering. Atrocitus is not an idiot, but his methods are rather simplistic: kill the offender. But Bleez? is willing to spare the lives of her enemies and let them suffer in pathetic fear, increasing their suffering. The third issue ends with Atrocitus realizing that he may have made a mistake giving Bleez her sentience back, as he now has more than an ally, he has a rival.

I love foils. I love having two characters with overlapping motivations who go about achieving their goals differently. And frankly, Atrocitus isn't all that interesting. Having someone else, almost anyone else for him to play off of increases the story potential trememdously, and pretty much had to happen somehow. So I'm intrigued, now, but I'm still not sure if Red Lanterns is something that needed to be a full series instead of a mini, but we'll see. It's not like it was cancelled to make room for other titles, at least.

Also, there's a strange subplot with two brothers on Earth dealing with the fallout of their father's death and their different temperaments. One or both will likely become a future Red Lantern. But for now, it just feels like padding. Still feels like a mini.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; really, the only rage I enjoy is the rage of Profion.
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I Wasn't An Internet Reviewer In A Previous Life

Resurrection Man

Back, back, in the Silver Age of comic books, there was a character called the Immortal Man, who was . . . immortal. Well, okay, he could be killed, but then he'd revive himself within, like, a day, with a new persona and personality. After COIE, he was reinvented as Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection Man, who would come back to life with a new superpower, usually based on how he had just been killed. So in this new series, Mitch's soul has cheated the afterlife for so long, that agents of heaven and hell are searching for him, hoping to take possession of the soul finally.

THAT IS A BRILLIANT CONCEPT!

And then . . . the next two issues have almost nothing to do with that concept. On the one hand, that's good, great! The "myth arc" of the series can lay fallow for a bit while things like character development and world building occur. On the other hand, we get the return of the Body Doubles, a vaguely lesbian assassin/mercenary team who exist essentially only for fanservice. And they should have been only a one issue antagonist, but they continued on after issue 2. Ugh.

I don't have a problem with fanservice. Done well, it's quite enjoyable. What I have a problem with is the overuse of fanservice and blatant fanservice. Especially in comics, where they overuse blatant fanservice.

So, yeah. Resurrection Man: absolutely amazing first issue . . . not so good second or third issue. Really a mixed reccomendation, if the heaven and hell stuff ramps up, definitely get this series. I think it really does have a chance to live up to its potential.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; oh, the retired supervillain doesn't interest me much, either. Whatever. It's not terrible, just not all that engaging to me.
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The Rebirth Of The Cool

Static Shock

It doesn't matter what I think! The series will be cancelled at issue 8!

Nanny nanny boo-boo!

. . .

Okay, okay, all right. I never read the original Static series from Milestone, it premiered in the 90s when I wasn't reading much, if any, superhero comics, particularly independant stuff. When the cartoon Static Shock premiered, I would catch an episode here and there, and while I found it enjoyable, it was generally aimed at a younger target audience than I was comfortable being a part of, so I didn't get too into it. I liked that Virgil was a geek and suitably heroic, but until the Milestone Universe got folded into the DCU a couple years ago, I had never read a comic with Static in it. And then the Terror Titans happened, and he was the best part of it, really. And he was folded into the regular Teen Titans series, and I was disappointed because the average lifespan of a Titan at the time who wasn't part of a previous franchise was half a year at best, and he deserved better than to be a shocking sacrificial lamb for cheap pathos in yet another failure of a Teen Titans story. Virgil Hawkins deversed far better, for you see, he was still the best part of it all.
What happens. What ALWAYS happens.

And then, in the relaunch, he was given his own title again! And it had art by Scott McDaniel, whose art I don't like. Ugh.

Aside from that, the first three issues weren't that bad. A teen hero being heroic and clever and having to find a balance between his superheroics and his teenage life? It was like the return of Spider-Man! (And incidentally, I think Static Shock is a better "black Spider-Man" comic than Ultimate Spider-Man). There were weird bits, like his sister having been doubled somehow and the family trying to deal with that (though I don't know where it came from, if it's new to this series or happened in the Milestone Universe before the merger, or what).

This series was also pretty much the sole Milestone book, with other heroes and villains appearing here instead of being incorporated into the wider DCU. So now that it's to be cancelled, I guess the Milestone Universe just doesn't exist anymore? And that's a shame.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I love that the narration points out how bad Virgil's impressions are, too.