Sunday, 12 October 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #25

Another Garth Ennis title leads the Cocktail posts this week as Crossed #1 picks up the story a year after where the preview #0 left off. The world's gone to hell, an infection has ravaged the world and most of the population has become evil, depraved sons of bitches, willing to perform any and all types of atrocity. It's certainly not a happy go lucky book with little sign of the black humour that Ennis usually peppers his stories with. This is grim, horrible stuff but it's done so well you can't help but continue reading it. Comparisons to The Walking Dead will be made - a small band of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world - but the titular Crossed, the infected, aren't zombies. There's obviously some intelligence left as they go about destroying the remaining dregs of humanity despite the survivors' best attempts to continue. It's a tough read but well worth it, and the art by Jacen Burrows is gloriously hideous.

Dark Tower: Treachery #2 continues adding to the Dark Tower stories of Stephen King and introduces something that was missing from the original books: a female gunslinger. Or, at least, a young woman who wants to be a gunslinger. Rejected due to tradition, though, young Aileen is unlikely to gain that hallowed title despite her obvious proficiency with a pistol.

The big DC event of the year, Final Crisis, continues with Final Crisis: Revelations #3 with the re-born Cain - lately known as the immortal caveman Vandal Savage - seeks out the Spectre who had been the one to mark him all those years before. The heroes struggle against the people of Gotham who have succumbed to the Anti-Life equation that Darkseid unleashed at the end of Final Crisis #3; Batwoman attacks and almost kills the Question before the Spectre and Radiant arrive and seek sanctuary in a church. Joined by a few survivors, they are soon surrounded by the possessed civilians who wait for the arrival of someone. That, with no surprise, turns out out to be Cain/Savage, who arrives clutching the Spear of Destiny and demands that the Spectre face him so that Cain may have his revenge. Convinced of his powers, the Spectre appears but is more than a little surprised when Cain manages to pierce him with the Spear. Theological debates between the Spectre and the Radiant aside, this is  easily one of the best Final Crisis tie-ins and I can't wait for the next issue.

Talking of "no surprise there," Speedy and Dodger finally get together in the pages of Green Arrow/Black Canary #13 even though Speedy fronts up about her HIV positive status. It's nice to see a genuine romance blossom without Judd Winick feeling the need to make a big deal out of it; both Speedy and Dodger act realistically and while I'm no fan of his drag-a-plot-out-till-it-snaps story telling, he's done well with this. Back at chez Arrow, though, things aren't going that well with the recently revived Connor Hawke who appears to have no memory of himself and at the same time has developed some sort of regenerative ability where wounds heal up in a matter of seconds. That can't bode well.

Love is in the air elsewhere this month, specifically the pages of Green Lantern Corps #29 which really begins to explore the idea of the Star Sapphire Corps. Newlyweds Miri and Kered are heading off on their honeymoon when their ship is attacked by Mongul who raids it looking for food and when challenged almost casually kills Kered before leaving. Guy Gardner and Ice, meanwhile, attempt to find out where their relationship is going but, despite maturing over recent years, Gardner still manages to be a bit of an arse when it comes to Ice. Back at the ship, a distraught Miri plans to kill herself to be with Kered but is found by a Star Sapphire ring and becomes one of, it not the first Sapphire Corps members. Saarek - the Lantern who can talk to the dead - continues his secret mission to find the corpse of the Anti-Monitor while the scarred Guardian who sent him on that mission later has Gardner, Arisia and Sodam Yat head to Zamaron on a diplomatic mission after expressing her dislike of the Zamarons obvious attempt to emulate the Corps. There's a lot going on in this title at the moment and much of it is heading towards the Blackest Night event next year which is shaping up to be really big.

As much as I like Geoff Johns's writing, his secret origin of Hal Jordan which comes to an end in Green Lantern #35 has seemed to drag a little. Still, there's a couple of good points raised in this issue about why the buildings on Oa are all yellow and why the Guardians don't like the Lanterns to fraternise but otherwise the resolution seems a little weak for the length of the story. Still, next is the Red Lantern storyline which ties into Final Crisis.

Ah, I still miss The All New Atom which finished a few months ago, but at least I've now got my Gail Simone fix with Secret Six #2. Charged by an anonymous contact, the team band together to break Tarantula out of Alcatraz prison and escort her across the country to Gotham, knowing full well that every meta-human mercenary will be on their tails. While the breakout starts off well enough, it all goes down the pan fairly quickly and they're left trying to find a way out with a bunch of guards heading towards them. Meanwhile, the mysterious Mr. Junior comes out of his box for once and hires as many mercenaries as he can to capture Tarantula and the Six, offering an enormous bounty. And framing all this is the long-awaited fight between Catman and Batman which has been brewing ever since Simone revitalised Catman in the pages of Villains United. It's peppered with wonderful dialogue with Catman trying to work out why he can smell Mexican food and at the same time Batman attempts to help him and the Six by warning them off the Tarantula gig. This is Simone doing what she does best and I really hope her run lasts longer than The All New Atom.

With The Stand: Captain Trips #2, the adaptation of one of Stephen King's best books continues apace and while I'm enjoying it, it still has the same problem as the first issue - condensing such a huge book means cutting a lot out and it still feels a little rushed. If it's going to be done, why not do it right? But hey, that's just a fan of the book bitching about it as opposed to any complaint about the book itself which still looks gorgeous.

Trinity #19 switches focus this week, with Tarot and Gangbuster stepping up to the main story rather than being the back-up. In the new and alternate world that's been created recently, they need to find a way to bring back the heroes that they now only vaguely remember. On the way they meet a very different Alfred Pennyworth who gives them a little something to pass on to "the head of the J.S.I." - a scroll from the reing of Khufu who (notwithstanding Jim Starlin's recent retcon) was a previous incarnation of Hawkman. The world, meanwhile, struggles to remember the heroes of the trinity with a young woman becoming obsessed with drawing Wonder Woman, convinced that she was real despite the condemnation of her abusive husband. It appears she's not alone as Firestorm briefly arrives - due to him investigating the Cosmic Egg at the time of the reality warping, he still knows things shouldn't be like this.

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