For May 3rd, 2006




Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Phil Pimenez, George Pérez, Ivan Reis and Joe Bennett
Inks: Andy Lanning, George Pérez, Ivan Reis, Jerry Ordway, Sean Parsons and Art Thibert
Colors: Jeromy Cox and Guy Major, Tayna and Richard Horie
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$3.99 U.S. / $5.50 CAN

"I don’t wanna be a good boy scout"
This final issue is all about offering up a string a fan pleasing moments, and as an exercise in complete excess it makes for a pretty entertaining show. On the other hand if you were looking for any character development beyond the typical heroic chest beating bravado than you really should look elsewhere. I also found Superboy-Prime to be a rather one-note villain, as his rampages feel like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum, and his big plan is no less than the complete destruction of the universe which makes is all but impossible to buy into the illusion that he would ever succeed. Still as far as big, grandiose moments this issue certainly earns points for offering up the moments that readers came in expecting to see, as how can one not love the scene where the two Supermen arrive to do battle with Doomsday, or the last stand army that is made up of the Green Lantern Corps. The final leg of the battle also managed to turn in a pretty enjoyable three way slugfest between the two Supermen and Superboy-Prime, and given one of my biggest complaints about Superman is his inability to be hurt, I have to confess this issue’s battle made for a nice change of pace from the typical Superman fight. In the end though I found the most interesting elements of the issue from a character standpoint played out in the final pages, as the book looks in on a number of players, and leaves several of them in a very interesting place. It’s also nice to see the Joker get to make what amounts to be the final punch line of the project, as while the Joker’s attack on Alex lacked the sense of whimsy that I’ve come to expect from the character, it did make for a powerful reminder of why the Joker is one of the greatest DCU villains. Plus, the big double-page spread of the heroes of the DCU can’t help but leave one excited. As for the art, while I’m a little put off by the small army that it took to finish this project, I have to give everyone involved a big thumbs up for keeping a very uniform look, and the level of detail on the page is truly amazing. Given this issue is largely one extended action sequence, the art also managed to offer up several jawdroping visuals from the half-finished double-page spread to opens the issue, to the lovely Doomsday battle sequence. The group shot at the tail end of the issue was a poster worthy piece of art, and one imagines DC is already aware of this fact.

3 out of 5 Stars

J.S.A. #85

"...The Living Must Answer!"

Writer: Paul Levitz
Art: Rags Morales, Luke Ross and Dave Meikis
Colors: John Kalisz and Rob Schwager
Letters: Rod Leigh
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.00 CAN

"Smokin mad bud off in the Batcave"
I guess I should be offering up a thank you to Paul Levitz for making this book such any easy choice to drop as I recently decided I need to ease up on the number of books I buy each month, and normally this is a difficult task. However, Paul Levitz made his own bed by deciding to offer up a seeming never-ending arc where the JSA do battle with the Gentleman Ghost. I mean the Gentleman Ghost is a one gimmick villain who generally needs to team-up with another villain to carry a single issue, so the question I have for Paul Levitz is why in the world did he decide to stretch this story out into what is now a five issue arc? I mean there’s only so many times you can watch various JSA members act surprised when their attempt to land a flying tackle on the Gentleman Ghost fails when he becomes intangible, and the scene where they express their frustration after he pulls yet another vanishing act is a scene that wore out it’s welcome a couple issues back. In the end this comic is guilty first and foremost of being downright boring, and while there might be a small group of fans who will enjoy the small army of guest-stars that the Thunderbolt conjures up to help Jakeem, but to me the sequence was a listless affair. I mean I’m a big fan of the original Sandman, and his brief appearance in this issue should’ve made me sit up and take notice, but his appearance was so perfunctory in it’s presentation that it did nothing for me. We’re also treated to a dry origin tale that has no sense of flow as little bits have been randomly interspersed over the past three issues. As for the art, while I’m a big fan of Rags Morales work, and I look upon him as one of the strongest monthly artists DC has in it’s stable, his work on the JSA has felt awkward, as his characters are stiff, and the range of expressions on their faces is a bit limited. I’ve also noticed some perspective problems creeping into his work that I didn’t notice on his previous projects. In the other hand Luke Ross is turning in some of the best work I’ve ever seen from him on the flashback material, but he runs into the problem that the flashback material is largely devoid of any material that lends itself to striking visual imagery.

2 out of 5 Stars


"The New Teen Titans - Part 2"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel
Inks: Kevin Conrad
Colors: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $3.50 CAN

My fondness for this book has been waning for quite some time, and while I’ve been a loyal follower of numerous Titans books since the first issue of Wolfman/Pérez New Teen Titans run, I had hoped the "One Year Later" cast change would renew my flagging interest. However, two issues into this new team and I have to say it’s only served to reinforce my belief that perhaps it’s time to set this book aside. I mean truth be told none of the new characters that have been added to the cast have really captured my attention, and the interplay between the characters has a been there-done that quality about it that leaves me less than enthused. Now the exchange between Kid-Devil and Robin as they discuss what Eddie say when he barged into Tim’s room was mildly amusing, and the conversation Eddie has with Rose about the fact that neither of them feels like they are part of the team is a solid character building moment. We also get a nice bit of action in this issue, as the Titans clash with the Brotherhood of Evil, and the attack on Kid-Devil lends a nice sense of gravity to the battle. I’ll also give the issue points for a final page that left me somewhat curious about the next issue. However, as I made my way through this issue I found myself growing increasingly frustrated by my inability to form any real connection with these characters, and the departure of Impulse and Beast Boy from the cast left a rather noticeable void in the book. The emotional scenes such as Wonder Girl’s emotional breakdown, and Cyborg’s response didn’t quite work for me either as the conversation leading up to it felt manufactured. As for the art Tony S. Daniel is a product of the 1990s, and as such his work is a bit overly dependant of the pinup shots, and the action posturing that had the character looking like they are posing for a photo. However, I have to give him full marks for delivering several lovely impact shots, as Goldilock’s attack on Robin was pretty impressive, as was Plasmus’ bearhug. The cover image was also a nice looking visual, that did a nice job introducing readers to the new Brotherhood line-up.

3 out of 5 Stars


"Kimono Dragons - Chapter Three"

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Pia Guerra
Inks: Jose Marzan, Jr.
Colors: Zylonol
Letters: Clem Robins
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.00 CAN

"We are Siamese if you please"
The book opens with a powerful reminder of the idea that Yorick’s group now has some pretty ruthless players on their trail, and the final page cliffhanger does an equally effective job of bringing the danger much closer to home. The issue also managed to play to it’s greatest strength as Yorick is given a pretty big role to play in the rescue mission, and while his super-secret plan reeks of a person who has watched far too many movies while having precious little in the way of actual experience in the field, I have to say the scene where Yorick confides to Agent 355 that everything is going according to plan is a perfect character moment. I also have to confess the scene where Agent 355 breaks down and starts to cry is one of the most surprising moments this book has offered up. In fact it basically shatters the well established illusion that she had managed to exorcised all emotion from her life, and the scene is also a masterful display that shows Brian K. Vaughan knows how far he can push these characters before they break. I mean the rescue mission is shocking in how ruthless Agent 355 is, and when we get that classic scenario where the hero is faced with a very young victim Brian K. Vaughan defies all storytelling conventions by actually having her pull the trigger. I also have to say the more time that Yorick and Agent 355 spend together the more convinced I become that they are a very good fit, and while Yorick’s heart seemingly belongs to Beth, one can’t deny that this issue in particular sets the stage for a very genuine emotional bond between Yorick and Agent 355. In fact the only quibble that I have with this issue is that the conversation between Dr. Mann and her mother does feel like it’s purposely dropping clues about the big picture, and it never felt like a real back and forth exchange. As for the art, Pia Guerra does another lovely job on this issue, from the steady build-up in the opening pages as the body of Yorick’s mother is discovered, to the emotional impact of the scene where Agent 355 pulls the trigger. Plus who can one not love the sense of impending doom that the final page presents.

4 out of 5 Stars