Actually, it’s only Flashpoint for now. For the next hour(s) it takes me to write this, because that’s absolutely all I can take of it. After that, I’m reading Walking Dead and X-Men: Legacy and calling it a day. Helloooo, four-day weekend.
Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1 – I read this book first, despite the fact that Emperor Aquaman came out before it. I’d seen a preview online of the first few pages and was taken in by the artwork, so I just had to grab this up, and I actually wound up loving it overall (first time I’ve enjoyed a Wonder Woman book in over a year). The story opens up with a great scene that just so perfectly captures naïve, happy, laughing Diana and makes me miss the Wonder Woman I know and love all that much more—ironic that she’s not actually the Wonder Woman I know and love. We’re quickly introduced to Aquaman by way of baby Kraken, and although I suspected some of what would happen (yes, Diana’s mother is killed, because apparently there’s some decree that Hippolyta must die every year), there are still some nice twists I didn’t see coming that add another layer to the story. Good job by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in keeping things fresh via these twists, rather than recycling the same old lazy narrative over and over. The artwork, which piqued my interest in the first half of the book, got a little weird toward the middle and started to fall flat toward the end. It’s an odd style to try to describe, as the backgrounds have almost a CGI feel to them, but I didn’t entirely despise it. At least, I didn’t let it detract from the story and from the better pencils. If you’ve picked up Emperor Aquaman and if you’re at all interested in the behind-the-scenes of the Flashpoint world, I encourage you to pick up this title.
Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 – So, it’s a good thing I read Wonder Woman and the Furies first, because this would more or less have spoiled everything otherwise. While the former title shows us the backstory of Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s encounter, this title skips ahead into the Flashpoint world as we know it. It’s a nasty one where Aquaman has a grudge to bear, and he shows it by drowning the heck out of Rome. Let me take a moment to say that this is where Ardian Syaf’s pencilwork absolutely excels; Michelangelo’s Pietà floating in the background, Aquaman swimming menacingly through the water, paying absolutely no attention to the dead bodies polluting it—that stuff is gold. Wussy, old school Aquaman? He ain’t here. This Aquaman is villainous, and he’s even got the butch, redundant buzzcut to prove it. Amazing. You absolutely should read this if you want to have any hope of understanding the war between the Atlantians and Amazons. It isn’t a masterpiece by any means, nor is the end “surprise” of the issue anything that you couldn’t already deduce, but this slightly above middle-of-the-road work is sufficient for a tie-in and the writing is decidedly better than some of the other stuff running. Let’s see what happens next issue.
Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 – Umm… I honestly don’t know what I just read. Maybe I’m zoning out because I read it so late last night and was on the verge of falling asleep, or maybe it’s just because the book was completely uninspired. Wow. Yeah, that was genuinely bad … then again, I saw “J.T. Krul” written on the cover and didn’t expect much, so I guess I wasn’t let down. I generally like the guy’s story ideas, but his execution is typically poor. There’s just too much that doesn’t fit or doesn’t feel natural, particularly some of the dialogue. It’s too forced. Too rushed. I wasn’t buying it, and that makes me sad, because this is DEADMAN and the FLYING GRAYSONS, for goodness’ sake. This should be AWESOME! But … it’s not. And aside from like, one page, it’s completely unessential reading. We waste half the book on nothing—absolute nothing, because the set up (happy Grayson family juxtaposed with cranky egotistical Boston Brand) could have been accomplished in four pages instead of the ten it took. Boring, and so very cookie-cutter. The only positive I can give this title at all is that the rendering on the artwork was rather lovely. Unfortunately, that alone is not worth my time. Passing on the rest of this.
Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1 – Now here’s one that really confuses me. This is written by the same team who did Wonder Woman and the Furies, so I expected something more than what I actually got from this issue. Maybe it’s the pressure of writing two three-issue tie-ins at the same time with a limited window in which to get them done and published, but … that’s really no excuse, is it? I was let down by Lois Lane and the Resistance. Especially when you look at the cover. Check that out. I’ll be among the first to tell you not to fall for what you see on a cover, but that totally sets you up for something different than what’s being offered here, at least so far. I also hated the interior art, and the entire thing overall just felt so … 1991. The story itself? Nothing to write home about. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are trapped in Europe when Aquaman’s big drowning wave hits, and Jimmy Olsen bites the bullet. Did I just spoil that? No, I promise you I didn’t, because his scene—which should have been emotional and tragic—just fell completely flat and took place in all of one panel where you don’t even see him. You just see water, and Lois Lane cries “JIMMY! OLSEN!” Disappointing. What feels like two minutes after that rush of flood and death, the big bad Amazons appear out of nowhere and “rescue” the select people they see fit to rescue. I put “rescue” in quotation marks because these Amazons are just so darn mean and tough and bad that it really isn’t a rescue so much as arguable enslavement. And in the context of the story, none of this makes any sense. Groan. As let down as I was by this issue, I’ll still probably check out the next one to see if it gets any better. I demand to see a badass Lois Lane leading a Resistance at some point in this mess. Let’s get on that.
The score is Likes: 2, Dislikes: 2. That’s a better result than I anticipated, though I suspect it would be heavily swayed toward the latter if I were to read more of these.
Okay—I’m out! Everyone be sure to fire up those grills and have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Go out and get some sun!
The Teen Titans, hmm? I’ve never read an issue of Teen Titans in my life, mainly because I’ve never had a real interest in any of the characters. A lesser form of the Justice League … a JLA in training … a group of kids. Something about that just doesn’t work for me, but then, I’ve never exactly given it a chance to. Why take Nightwing and Donna Troy when you could have Batman and Wonder Woman? Not that I don’t like Nightwing, sure, but the Teen Titans have always felt “not as good” to me—and, at the end of the day, that’s basically what it’s all about, right?
That being said, there were a few things that made me want to, at the very least, check out issue #88 of this title. For one thing, Nicola Scott’s doing the artwork now, and I have something of a fondness for her stuff—and happily, she knocks it out of the park. On the other hand, while I wasn’t exactly champing at the bit for J.T. Krul’s writing (Green Arrow isn’t impressing me), I took a look at the character cast—well, specifically, I took a look at the inclusion of Damian Wayne—and thought, okay, I’ll give. He’s bound to make this interesting. Let’s see what this book’s got.
I can’t say I’m hooked yet. Not in the sense that I’m desperately gasping for the next issue, like it’s a breath of air, the way I do for Birds of Prey, or X-Men Legacy, or the next Fables trade. But, I’m definitely along for at least a bit of a ride.
The issue opens with the narrator describing an outcast high school boy who has no friends, no real family, and therefore “perfect” for whatever horrible plan the villain of this arc has in store for him. Kind of a weak beginning, and a little too cliché for my taste. This plot gets built more later on, but first, and more importantly, the scene cuts to the Teen Titans—Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Raven, Beast Boy, Ravager, and the newly-returned Superboy—fighting a “vampiresque” attack out in the city. The interplay amongst the team members during this battle sets the tone of the book, along with some pretty solid expectations once the fight ends and the group heads back to Titans Tower, where Wonder Girl expresses to Conner that her worry over his wellbeing is a handicap on her leadership ability in the field. There are further hints of what’s ahead for the Titans, particularly in regard to Ravager and Raven, and a teaser image at the end of the issue just solidifies what the reader is already guessing will happen.
The best part of this issue, though, is where Robin comes to play. I don’t want to spoil what is a really fun scene and more or less what I hoped for when I decided to give this book a read. Damian Wayne is easily one of the most interesting and complex characters in recent history, and I think his part here alone is what will keep me involved going forward. Let’s see if Krul has the talent to continue to foster what Grant Morrison has done with the character. All things considered, this issue wasn’t a bad beginning for the new creative team. Here’s my send-off: a look at a gorgeous Nicola Scott rendition of the group and cover for #89.
Publisher: DC Comics
Written by J.T. Krul
Pencils by Nicola Scott
Inks by Doug Hazlewood
Colors by Jason Wright
Letters by Sal Cipriano