Sunday, 29 April 2012

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #177

Because nothing lets you bond with a new hero like a little old-fashioned racism

Sunday round-up of this week's comics.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #8 - written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Moritat and Patrick Scherberger.

As Nighthawk and Cinnamon use their own particular talents to find out about the group of bad guys operating in New Orleans, Amadeus Arkham discovers the delights of the local opium dens, leaving Jonah Hex to take (and dish out) a beating in the illegal fight club we left him in last issue. Arkham gets arrested, Hex gets a bath and they all meet up when Hex has to blow up a boat-load of innocent people moored out in the harbour as an initiation into the August 7, the group they're all tying to bring down.

It's another splendid issue full of fighting, great dialogue and a story that doesn't hang around. Thoroughly recommended.

AQUAMAN #8 - written by Geoff Johns with art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

We get two stories for the price of one as we get a glimpse of Aquaman's first time in the public eye and a better look at his first team, The Others. While Mera's not very happy with Aquaman heading off with an old telepathic flame, she's left to interrogate the mysterious Dr Shin about his connection to Black Manta. Talking of the recently returned bad guy, he shows up at the end, hunting down yet another member of The Others.

Another good issue.

CROSSED: BADLANDS #4 - written by Jamie Delano with art by Leandro Rizzo.

A lucky outdoorsman meets up with an ex-military servicewoman and form an uneasy alliance. Down south, there's an encampments populated by half a dozen (and I'm being kind here) rednecks. Elsewhere, two gun loving twin sisters calmly escape from a city on fire.

The obvious difference between this and Ennis's original Crossed stories is the different story threads being set up right from the start. Delano gives us enough of an insight into each of the characters to differentiate them and leave us wondering whether the three groups will meet (I'm guessing the do) and if so who will come out alive, if any of them.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MEN #8 - written by Joe Harris with art by Ethan Van Sciver.

Ronnie Raymond, now missing his left hand, gets a - ahem - helping hand from Pozhar, the Russian Firestorm who repels an attack by numerous rogue Firestorms. Jason, meanwhile, is in Paris, waiting to spot another Firestorm fuelled terrorist attack but is sucker punched by a decoy. The new Firehawk gets introduced as the French Firestorm along with Hurricane, the British one, and together the three of them almost save the day.

Not a bad issue as we get some new characters or at least a new spin on an old one, and the story ramps up a notch. Jason's still the more interesting character for me as Ronnie starts to slide off the deep end but this is good over-all. Although I could do without Hurricane calling the French "frogs".

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #8 - written by Tony Bedard with art by Tyler Kirkham and Matt "Batt" Banning.

Arkillo returns to Korugar expecting to find the rest of the Sinestro Corps but instead only finds the Weaponer a prisoner of the Korugarans. The rest of the Rainbow League, let out of the Orrery by Invictus after promising to kill split up Larfleeze, split up to either recharge their rings or just hang around with Kyle. Fatality gets told by the Zamarons that someone let Invictus in from wherever he came from, while Arkillo learns that Sinestro has re-joined the Green Lantern Corps.

On the whole, this was a cracking issue - most of the Rainbow League got time in the spotlight although the whole Invictus plot seems almost thrown away now that they've got out of the Orrery.

JENNIFER BLOOD #12 - written by Al Ewing with art by Kewber Baal.

Jennifer Blood manages to successfully finish her assault on Mason Buwick and his weird, estranged family before getting back home and setting up her neighbour Jack to take the heat for her crimes. Thing is, while she's blowing up Jack's house, the two police detectives that have been on her trail for a while come calling thanks to some excellent deductive work and get caught in the blast.

Despite the cartoony artwork of Baal which I still can't get used to or enjoy that much, this wasn't a bad issue as various plot lines come to a head. Still don't see the relevance of the woman in lingerie sitting in blood cover, though.

Oh, wait, sex sells. Of course.

KIRBY: GENESIS #7 - written by Kurt Busiek with art by Jack Herbert and Alex Ross.

Kirby returns to New York to find a huge battle going on with the Galactic Rangers, Galaxy Green and the Norse gods attacking Lightning Lady's hive, not to mention the Primals hovering over everything, waiting for humanity to fall so they can start again. Darius Drumm turns out to be something older and more evil than previously expected and just as Kirby finds the transformed-into-a-super-villain love of his life, he gets stabbed from behind.

Honestly, I think there's just too much going on at once here. Few of the different characters have had any real time to shine and it's all just left as something of a mess. Next issue is the last one and I won't be too sad.

THE NINJETTES #3 - written by Al Ewing with art by Eman Casallos.

The original three girl assassin team turns on each other with the promise of picking up the bounties. Meanwhile the wanna be Ninjettes finally meet up and plan to get on the Circuit to start working as assassins.

Talking of things ending up as something of a mess, The Ninjettes contains a bunch of characters that are sketchy at the very least in terms of being defined as individuals. Seriously, I'm having trouble telling which of the teenage Ninjettes-to-be is which. The other three - Varla, Christie and Daisy - are barely any better and I'm not sure where this title's going once we finally get rid of the teenage ones when it catches up to the issue of Jennifer Blood where they get killed.

I don't often drop a title, but this one's getting close.

TEEN TITANS #8 - written by Scott Lobdell with art by Ig Guara and J.P. Mayer.

One by one the Titans are shown their darkest fears by the new Omen who inhabits some warehouse filled with liquid air. Along the way, it's revealed that Wonder Girl wears invisible armour and that Skitter harbours a secret that can endanger the entire planet. They all end up wearing Tron-like costumes of black and neon before being carted off to the villain's lair.

Being a set-up for the large cross-over called the Culling, it's a little staid. Sure, there's enough going on to keep the interest and it looks nice but it really is just waiting for the next act. As I shan't be following the story into other titles, I guess I'll wait and see what happens next issue.

VOODOO #8 - written by Josh Williamson with art by Sami Basri.

Having killed Black Jack last issue, Voodoo faces off against Jessica Fallon and the woman she was cloned from, Priscilla Kitaen. A double-bluff by Fallon almost works before Kitaen is forced to attack before the Black Razors are called in, making Voodoo run. Then Agent Lincoln, late of the cancelled Blackhawks, turns up and offers Pris a job.

I know I'm probably one of only four people who actually enjoy let alone read this title but I'm still turning spoilers on here: I can't believe Voodoo killed Fallon! I seriously did not see that coming and hope that next issue we discover she's got some sort of meta-healing power and gets back in the game. While Pris could well turn out to be an effective foil for the now obviously villainous Voodoo, Fallon works better, I think.

On the whole, this title deserves more and better press.

And what made me smile:

I normally pick out just one or two panels but this whole page of Arkham psychoanalysing a monstrous criminal in order to save his own neck was just perfect!


  1. Lovely batch of reviews - you even have me reconsidering dropping Aquaman after last issue.

    1. Thanks, Martin. Aquaman's not bad - at least this issue there were no "Aquaman's lame" jokes.


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