Sunday, 22 April 2012

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #176

Speak for yourself, man.

Sunday afternoon = comics time round these parts.

BLUE BEETLE #8 - written by Tony Bedard with art by Marcio Takara.

Beetle gets to meet Stopwatch after discovering his hideout above an orphanage and things don't exactly go as planned with Beetle ending up looking like the bad guy once more. Back in El Paso, Brenda gets a hint that her aunt was not all she seemed. And then, right at the end, Beetle's surprised by Kyle Rayner and a couple of his Rainbow Corps.

Man, I can't seem to get a handle on this series. I either enjoy it (as I did with this issue) or it saddens me (like it did in issue #6) and it doesn't seem to very consistent. Still, next issue's Green Lantern story will hopefully be fun.

CAPTAIN ATOM #8 - written by J.T. Krul with art by Freddie Williams II.

Cap gets taken into the timestream by his sort of future self where he meets a whole bunch of other future selves (including one which put me in mind of Spawn) and together they throw him into the future to stop the destruction of the Earth in 20 years' time which he caught a glimpse of a couple of issues back. There he finds a world that literally worships him except for Dr Megala who (finally!) has gone mad and bad. And then there's one more surprise in store.

Nice to see Cap doing something other than moping around bemoaning his powers and there's nothing like discovering you're a messiah in the future to really throw you out of your comfort zone. I'm really warming to this series.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #8 - written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna.

The Alpha-Lanterns get together, revealing that each Lantern's ring is being monitored by them. Guy and John (and a whole host of other GLs) bury the Sinestro Corps Power Battery on Oa . . . eventually. Guy gets promoted by the Guardians to a brand new role created just for him, as long as he promises to behave a little more, and then the Alphas come back for John, arresting him for murder.

Despite finding the new Alpha Lantern's oath a little corny, this was a fun, enjoyable issue and a respite from John's brooding over the last couple. Of course, now that he's being called to task for his killing of a fellow Lantern, things might get a bit grim and gritty again.

Still, good fun.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #8 - written by Geoff Johns with art by Carlos D'Anda, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

As the League romp around defeating various villains (mostly off- or in one-panel) Green Arrow shows up at his irritating best, trying desperately to worm his way on to the team. There are some nice character pieces as GA flirts with Wonder Woman, Green Lantern reveals the pair of them aren't the best of friends, but most of all Aquaman's distinct dislike for GA following something that happened years before. There's also a bunch of hints and flashbacks about things: Cyborg accidentally Boom Tubing them to Apokolips once every thousand or so trips; Amazo being up and running; Steve Trevor offering GA a post on another team; and Martian Manhunter having fought the League and ending with an ominous assessment of them.

Most of the team get some screen time, although Superman and Wonder Woman seem to do little apart from be earnest or stabby, while Batman is the straight man to Green Lantern. It's almost as though Johns thinks They're the big guns, let the little guys shine.

Either way, still enjoyable.

Shazam! - written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank.

Billy Batson joins his new home and is introduced to his new siblings, among them Mary Marvel and Freddy Freeman, who look a lot like the kids from Flashpoint. He gets a lesson in being nice from Mary and there's hints of Talky Tawny appearing. Hell, even Hoppy got a name check. Sorta. Something tells me, though, that the adoptive parents aren't what they appear.

On the whole, I'm willing to see where this goes.

THE SHADOW #1 - written by Garth Ennis with art by Aaron Campbell.

The Shadow strikes against Japanese spies trying to find a particular, as yet unidentified, item in the cargo hold of a ship. Contacted by the American secret service the next day, Lamont Cranston gives his report and determines to seek out this item, whatever it is. Later we get to see Margo Lane realising once more what an utter git Cranston is.

As a first issue, this balances nicely the need to introduce the character of the Shadow as well as bringing in enough of a plot to interest readers and bring them back. As a fan of Garth Ennis's writing more than the Shadow, I enjoyed this but I do have a niggling worry that he'll do this first six issue arc and then jump ship, leaving it to someone else.

STITCHED #4 - written by Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer with art by Mike Wolfer.

The soldiers learn a little more about the Stitched and then manage to see them in action as they're used to ransack a farm, killing a lame child and mortally wounding his grandfather. Having dispatched the Stitched, they hold up at the farm, before heading through a canyon which looks all set to be a trap.

Another tight issue with enough going on to make you wonder how many (if any) of the soldiers are going to make it through to the end of this story. Ennis/Wolfer takes the opportunity to slip in a Lee Enfield .303 rifle like a love note to a previous series but you can forgive them that.

And what made me smile:

There were several instances from Justice League that made me chuckle, but I did like this one.

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