Sunday, 15 January 2012

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #162

That's what comics need: good, old-fashioned politeness.

It's Sunday. Round up of the week's comics, anyone?

DEMON KNIGHTS #5 - written by Paul Cornell with art by Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert.

Things go a little pear shaped this time round and the Horde begin to make their attack, Mordru and the Questing Queen attempt to convince the Knights to leave the village and the real traitor in their ranks in revealed.

It's another cracking issue as we learn a little more about our heroes with confirmation coming that Exoristas is an exiled Amazon from Paradise Island; Al Jabr proves himself to be a smart man, able to trick Mordru into revealing a little something that may come in handy; and the Horsewoman shows herself to be a formidable archer. And then there's Vandal Savage. Really, we should have seen it coming, but those last couple of pages work a treat.

Excellent stuff and highly recommended.

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #5 - written by Jeff Lemire with art by Alberto Ponticelli.

Am I right in thinking this is the first official crossover of the New 52? An odd choice if it is and while I was tempted to pick up last week's O.M.A.C. I figured I'd make do without. Frankenstein's enlisted by Father Time and Max Lord of Checkmate to bring down OMAC, unaware that he's merely being used by Time whose real goal is to copy the technology behind OMAC belonging to Brother Eye. When this becomes apparent, Frankenstein isn't happy at all.

Despite mostly being a fight between the two titular characters, this is still an enjoyable issue. There's the growing antagonism between Time and Frankie paralleled by what appears to be an attraction to Frank from Nina Mazursky.

Splendid stuff.

GREEN LANTERN #5 - written by Geoff Johns with art by Doug Mahnke, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy and Tom Nguyen.

While Green Lantern was ostensibly one of the titles that changed the least in the New 52 relaunch, what with it's story continuing from pre-Flashpoint days, it's actually managed to pull off a major shake-up without appearing to. Sinestro, once the arch-villain of Hal Jordan, is now the lead character to all intents and purposes. Sure, Jordan's still hanging round, moping after Carol Ferris, but it's the ex-bad guy who consistently steals the show.

Here he leads the Korugarians in a successful attack against his own Corps, disabling and capturing them while getting one over on Jordan, leaving him stranded on Earth with a ring but no battery. He also tells Jordan that the Guardians are the dangerous one, an observation that may well be borne out by the last page reveal where the little blue guys determine to replace the GL Corps.

Things are going to get ugly fairly soon, I think.

MISTER TERRIFIC #5 - written by Eric Wallace with art by Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher.

We all know by now that Mister Terrific is one of the six titles being cancelled at #8 in a couple of months and it's something of a shame that this didn't work out.

Here, Terrific leads his fellow captives in a revolt against the Kryl, the aliens that had kidnapped and imprisoned him. Finding a confused and deeply unhappy prisoner, Py'lothia, held in isolation, he listens to their origin story about being held as an aberration in the world they come from due to their androgynous nature. While it's a good thing that Terrific manages to convince Py'lothia to accept their nature without shame, it's also a little convenient that by doing so, Py'lothia provides the method of defence and attack against the Kryl. Back on Earth, there's corporate takeover machinations underway.

I'll certainly stick with this till cancellation and be sad to see it go. But, maybe, not too sad.

PUNISHER MAX #21 - written by Jason Aaron with art by Steve Dillon.

The Punisher walks straight into the Kingpin's trap, facing down half a dozen or so of his bodyguards, taking numerous bullet wounds before facing off against the big man himself. His struggle to survive is punctuated with flashbacks of his previous life, being with his family, his service in Vietnam, before it all comes to a slow, bloody conclusion.

There's one final twist for the Kingpin before Frank finishes his work and heads back home to await the final issue next month.

This has been a splendid series and from what we see here, along with the cover of the next (and last) issue, it seems the Punisher's story has come to the sad and logical conclusion that, really, we all knew it must at some point.

THE RAY #2 - written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Jamal Igle and Rich Perrotta.

And in almost direct contrast to the brutality of The Punisher, next up is The Ray which continues to prove itself as one of the cheeriest but not insubstantial titles I'm getting.

The Ray, despite the best of intentions, utterly screws up meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time, leading to Chanti breaking up with him. Later on, he has to deal with her being kidnapped by apparent aliens, almost certainly under the control of the bad guy that was introduced at the end of the last issue.

It's good, fun superheroics of the type I like.

RESURRECTION MAN - written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Fernando Blanco.

And talking of fun, here's Resurrection Man to spoil the party. Don't get me wrong - I like this series, but it's not a laugh a minute. Here we get to see a little of Mitch Shelley's secret origin (do they still call them that, these days?) as the director of a black ops detail, trying out a sort of super soldier serum that will allow soldiers to regrow limbs and heal a darn sight quicker. Along the way, we get a glimpse of the Body Doubles and how they're involved with him before things go belly up and Shelley is forced by what appears to be an alien to take the serum himself. All of this is by way of flashback while the last page shows him waking up en route to Arkham Asylum!

Another good issue in a series that really deserves your love.

THE STAND: THE NIGHT HAS COME #6 - written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Mike Perkins.

And here we are, finally wrapping up the adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.

While there are no surprises to anyone who's read the novel, this is a fine issue, pointing out that while the immediate threat of Randall Flagg has been dealt with, life goes on, bringing its own problems. The concerns from the end of the novel are mirrored here: survivors beginning to campaign for power; asking for the right to carry guns; the threat of all the old weapons still laying around.

It is, on the whole, not a happy ending, but then life rarely has neat conclusions where the bad guys lose and the good guys are justly rewarded, as evidenced by the inclusion of the original epilogue.

Even so, this has been a fine adaptation and is heartily recommended.

And what made me smile:

Oh Vandal Savage, you charmer!

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