Sunday, 1 January 2012

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #160

If you have to make something with a grenade, I'd vote for a curry.

I wasn't expecting to get any comics this week what with the holidays but as my lovely wife braved the Christmas sales crowds and fought her way through to the comic shop for me, I figured I'd see in the New Year with a Cocktail . . .

ALL STAR WESTERN #4 - written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Phil Winslade and Moritat.

Just when it seemed Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham had parted ways, a fifty thousand dollar reward for finding a missing child throws them back together and sends them searching through the sewers of Gotham. There they find some sort of mining camp where whole hosts of children are being forced to work. Despite their best efforts, Arkham ends up being captured leaving Hex to decide between surrendering or watching him being killed.

It's another cracking issue with the main tale backed up by a new character, the Barbary Ghost, a Chinese girl looking for vengeance.

AQUAMAN #4 - written by Geoff Johns with art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Eber Ferreira.

Aquaman and Mera find the home of Scarfish and his kin, discovering a dying, inbred race that has captured the surface dwellers to deliver them as food to the giant mother fish. With Mera rescuing the civilians, Aquaman triggers a nearby volcanic vent which causes a landslide, burying the entire race beneath the rocks.

Plot wise, this issues very light on the surface: the heroes find the civilians and rescue them, defeating the bad guys in the process. Dig a bit deeper, though, and we get a scenario where one of the pre-eminent heroes of this new DCU has knowingly committed genocide and regrets it. As Mera points out, this is going to haunt him. Couple that with the discovery of an Atlantean ship from centuries ago stuck in the Trench and there's a mystery that'll have to be solved as well.

There's a last page teaser for things to come which revolves around "the question no one's ever asked: who sank Atlantis?" which should be fun.

CROSSED: BADLANDS - written by Garth Ennis with art by Jacen Burrows.

You can't keep a good franchise down, apparently, particularly when its creator returns to it.

This is a preview of the new ongoing Crossed: Badlands series which will feature rotating teams of creators with Ennis and Burrows up first. Having been thoroughly disappointed by the Crossed: Family Values series - mainly due to the art, if I'm honest - I have to admit to not being overjoyed at the thought of David Lapham returning to these pages from #10 but I'll stick it out, particularly as he's teamed with Burrows this time round.

As to this preview, it introduces the everyman characters that Ennis writes so well, along with the touch of nuttiness that we've come to expect: one of the characters claims to be Prince Harry.

I shall be along for the ride when the series starts in March.

DC COMICS PRESENTS: CAPTAIN ATOM - one-shot written by James Robinson and Greg Rucka with art by Cafu and Bit.

This one-shot collects the Captain Atom back-up stories from Action Comics from a couple of years ago, not long after Infinite Crisis and Countdown and all that palaver where Atom showed up as Monarch once more. It's a nice, crisp story which runs on at a pace that was perhaps dependent on its original short, episodic format. Despite being a "100-page spectacular" as the cover has it, the read was over in minutes.

While not exactly tasking, it's nicely done, the art is gorgeous and it's nice to see Captain Atom being allowed to apologise for what he got up to as Monarch. The only time it slips up is when the James Robinson written Justice League: Cry for Justice era team show up and claim that Atom is "a danger to the world... a fugitive from the U.S. military... and in dire need of justice!"

That dreadful scene aside, this is a nice little package.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MEN #4 - written by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver with art by Yildiray Cinar and Norm Rapmund.

Jason and Ronnie deal with the aftermath of the Hyena squad's attempt to capture them last issue which ended with Jason's not-quite girlfriend Tonya getting shot in the head. They split up and while Jason gets her to a hospital, Ronnie tracks down the group behind the attack. Meanwhile, a self-serving arms dealer sells the Firestorm protocols to Qurac before being attacked by the Russian Firestorm, Pozhar. With the arms dealer dealt with, Pozhar is informed of Jason and Ronnie's activation while they in turn are offered jobs by Z-Tech, the very group that's been attacking them.

It's taken a while for this series to gel for me but I really enjoyed this issue. The story moved on, other players were introduced, characters evolved. Good show, all in all.

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #4 - written by Tony Bedard with art by Tyler Kirkham and Matt 'Batt' Banning.

Larfleeze's assault on the Guardians' citadel forces the representatives of the other Corps to band together and fight the enraged Guardians and, finally, results in a confrontation between Kyle and Ganthet. Once the team teleport out of the citadel and back to Larfleeze's pad, his enslaved Guardian Sayd reveals who actually stole all those rings in the first place. At the centre of the galaxy, an enormous structure called the Orrery has appeared and within it is the being responsible for the theft of the rings. To prevent it happening again, the New Guardians will have to go find out who lives in the Orrery.

The Guardians have really shown themselves to be getting worse over the last few years. Gone are the relatively benevolent little blue men from decades past, replaced by self-obsessed fanatics determined to keep emotionless order no matter the cost. It's no wonder Lanterns keep rebelling against them.

KIRBY: GENESIS - CAPTAIN VICTORY #2 - written by Sterling Gates with art by Wagner Reis.

Facing down a potentially mutinous member of his team, Tarin, Captain Victory attempts to assert his command over his ship. Trouble is, that's when the eye of Sauron Blackmass appears and attacks. Tarin's hesitation during the battle, brought about by his reluctance to question Victory's orders, results in the deaths of 42 crew members. Mutiny seems a bit closer by the end of the issue.

Honestly, it's not terrible, but it's not helped either by the misplaced or poorly written captions on the first couple of pages which really don't make sense in the order they're presented.

Still, it's not as bad as Kirby: Genesis - Silver Star.

THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #4 - written by Tony S. Daniel with art by Philip Tan.

Hawkman spends the entire issue beating up Morphicius before freezing him and ending whatever the threat was that he posed. Meanwhile, Dr Kane attempts to escape by helicopter before Hawkman catches up with him, turfs the pilot out and leaves Kane to, presumably, plunge to his death.

Hints are thrown around in this issue about the Nth metal being of Thanagarian origin and, though he doesn't hear it, Hawkman is referred to by one of the supporting cast of aliens as Katar Hol. This opens up a whole host of the same can of worms that did for Hawkman's origin before the reboot and I can't help but wonder why they're going down this road again. DC have said they don't want the Egyptian reincarnation angle in this version of Hawkman, so why the extraterrestrial angle?

Of all the New 52 titles that I've picked up, this one is closest to being ditched. A few more issues and we'll see what happens.

TEEN TITANS #4 - written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.

Wonder Girl and Superboy finally meet up though in the post-reboot DCU there's no love lost between them. Sure, they each remark that the other's attractive but that doesn't stop them beating seven kinds of snot out of each other. Meanwhile, the rest of the team get together in Red Robin's other penthouse, with Kid Flash and Solstice being delivered by Danny the Street. Seeing news footage of Wonder Girl and Superboy's very public fight (in the middle of Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations) the rest of them suit up and head off to join in.

Again, another slightly slow starter which has grown on me. There's some great interaction between the Titans, great dialogue and while I'm not a major fan of Booth's art, it's pretty enough to have no real complaints.

VOODOO #4 - written by Ron Marz with art by Sami Basri.

Voodoo manages to break into the FBI's headquarters, using information she gained from the mind of Jessica Fallon, and swipes intel on the superheroes that the agency has been gathering before just about managing to escape. Meanwhile the bad guy who's chasing Voodoo shows up again, a little closer to her.

Ron Marz's final issue as writer doesn't feel like it; it just reads like part of an ongoing storyline which is no surprise as that's what it was. Why Marz was booted off the title isn't entirely clear apart from the party line of editorial wanting to take the story in a different direction, but he's now gone. Hopefully new writer Josh Williamson will be building on what he's started and at least we have Sami Basri sticking with the title.

And what made me smile:

Move along, nothing to see here . . .


  1. In fairness, as Monarch Captain Atom *did* commit universal genocide, killing quadrillions of beings. I'm not sure that just apologizing cuts it, except at DC.

  2. Saying you're sorry means never having to face a multiversal war crimes tribunal.

    Worked for Hal Jordan.


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