Sunday, 6 May 2012

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #178

Good advice whatever world you're on

Sunday afternoon comic round up.

THE BOYS #66 - written by Garth Ennis with art by Russ Braun.

Months after Homelander's failed takeover, Butcher shows just how far he's willing to go as he visits an old friend while the rest of the Boys realise it's closing time. Butcher manages to manipulate them all again, though, once more at Hughie's expense before we see Annie finally walk out on him, leaving him with his hamster and nothing else.

It's another excellent, nasty episode as Butcher shows just what he's willing to do to fulfil his dream of no supes in the world and I worry about the safety of his team mates.

EARTH 2 #1 - written by James Robinson with art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott.

Parademons invade Earth 2 around the same time that they did on Earth 1 only this time there's no Justice League to stop them, there's just Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman with a little help from Robin and Supergirl. With Superman and Wonder Woman running distractions, Batman's able to infiltrate one of the demons' bases and effect a solution, stopping the invasion but at a terrible price. The three heroes fall and Robin and Supergirl are lost to Earth 1. But some young men with familiar names are around and one of them is about to become a new hero.

I've been looking forward to this for months with some trepidation as Robinson's work can sometimes leave me a little cold. Here, though, it works a treat and I can't wait for the next issue. The deaths of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman didn't come as any great shock as the story unfolded but they were handled deftly. The introductions to Al Pratt, Alan Scott and Jay Garrick were all done well and the last page promises a new origin of Garrick's speed.

Splendid stuff.

FURY MAX #1 - written by Garth Ennis with art by Goran Parlov.

Nick Fury reminisces about his time in Indochina, forced to babysit a young officer while dealing with an American senator on a fact finding mission. It's not long before he's out of the city and in a poorly located fort under French command in the hopes that he can convince his superiors to provide more arms for them.

It's all pretty much set-up in this issue; we meet Fury and his supporting cast who, while not caricatures like some of Ennis's supporting cast have been in the past, none of them seem to be anything new. There's the earnest French lieutenant, the ex-Nazi sergeant in the Foreign Legion, the tough as nails good looking broad and the young, slightly naive officer.

A little run of the mill at the moment but with great art by Goran Parlov.

GREEN ARROW #9 - written by Ann Nocenti with art by Harvey Tolibao.

Ollie and one of the Skylark triplets hunt down a polar bear, finding it already captured in a town near a gold mine that's producing noxious waste. The town's populated by people out of a badly written Western novel but Ollie wins them over before getting tricked by the Skylarks and led to their bad guy father again. Then the townspeople blow something up and Naomi arrives in a helicopter to take Ollie back.

This is bad. Really bad. The dialogue stinks and there is no pacing whatsoever; scenes jump around all over the place and the motivation of the bad guy isn't exactly clear but it's something to do with breeding new super-animals or something.

Long time readers of these Cocktail posts will know I endured Felicia D. Henderson's tun on Teen Titans, but as much as I like Ollie, I'm really tempted to drop this title. I'd rather have Henderson on this book than Ann Nocenti.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #9 - written by Dan Jurgens with art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan.

OMAC beats the crap out of several of the JLI members before Batman gets the idea to move the conflict away from civilians, dropping the team into a handy sewer. Once that happens, OMAC seems to regain some self control and apologises for being all fighty. Batman suggests the team head to Paris where another terrorist attack has taken place with similarities to the attack on the Hall of Justice. Once they get there, they run into the Firestorms from last week's Fury of Firestorm #8.

Another good solid superhero story from Dan Jurgens; the almost traditional good guys meet and beat each other up scenes are explained by some bad guys temporarily controlling OMAC, and there's a nice character moment between Godiva and Booster as she voices concerns about the other injured members of the team, not to mention the late Rocket Red. My only complaint is that with Fire, Ice and Vixen hospitalised, Godiva's the only woman on the team.

Good stuff.

KIRBY: GENESIS - SILVER STAR #5 - written by Jai Nitz with art by Johnny Desjardins.

Silver Star brings some un-brainwashed North Korean heroes back to his lair and work out why the other, real bad guys have kidnapped Star's girlfriend Norma. A hitherto unheard of organisation is to blame and somehow a big battle is arranged on the Golden Gate Bridge. Star and the Koreans kill lots of bad guys before they realise Norma's been turned into a living bomb. Star manages to stop her exploding and the bad guys get away.

I really thought (hoped) this was the last issue but for some darn reason there's a couple more to come. If it's more than two, this is getting dropped as once again, dreadful dialogue and horrible plotting just made this a mess.

Once the series is done, it's going on ebay.

STORMWATCH #9 - written by Peter Milligan with art by Miguel Sepulveda.

As one half of the team deal with an ancient Stormwatch member who's woken up angry in Rome, Midnighter and Apollo deal with the arrival of one of the Red Lanterns. Capturing both of them seems to be a misstep as the Red Ring attempts to bind with the ancient guy forcing a simple but drastic solution on Midnighter.

This issue was nowhere near as bad as I feared it would be, never having been a fan of Milligan's writing. I'm not sure much actually happened or whether it was simply a long winded way of revealing a couple of dark secrets about the Shadow Lords, Stormwatch's mysterious leaders, or a long winded advertisement for Red Lanterns, the other series written by Milligan.

All in all, not bad.

SWAMP THING #9 - written by Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy.

The transformed Abby takes on Swamp Thing while the soldiers of the Rot egg her on. Thankfully, Alec has something up his sleeve which allows her to wake up and slough off her transformed state. While Sethe attacks Swamp Thing, Abby uses her Rot-given powers to turn the tables. Just when they think they've one, however, there's a last page reveal of an old enemy about to return.

Another gorgeous looking issue, this one suffers a little from being a big fight scene. It's done well, don't get me wrong, it just seemed a little out of place, as though it were padded out just to get to that last page.

Still, even at its weakest, this is still a good read.

WORLDS' FINEST #1 - written by Paul Levitz with art by George Perez, Scott Koblish and Kevin Maguire.

Refugees from Earth 2, Robin and Supergirl have made lives of their own on the Main Earth. Robin has become the Huntress while Supergirl has concentrated on her civilian identity, amassing a fortune and the technology to hopefully find a way for them to return to Earth 2. Unfortunately while in Japan, her latest R&D lab is attacked and damaged by someone calling himself the Irradiated Man. Thankfully, Supergirl's decided to get back into the costumed biz as Power Girl and the pair suit up and face off against him.

Like Earth 2, I was really looking forward to this, mainly for the return of Power Girl to the DCU and it doesn't disappoint. There's a little bit of a set-up feel in this issue but that's understandable as it lays out who PG and the Huntress are and where they've come from with just enough to carry the plot onwards. The use of Perez for the modern day story and Maguire for the flashbacks is a nice touch and I'd be hard pushed to say which of them I prefer.

Some fans are annoyed that Huntress cast off the Helena Bertinelli identity in the first page while others bemoan the closing of PG's boob window. Me? I'm just happy to have them back and starring in an ongoing title and one which is, above all, fun. My only slight criticism is the villain they face - the Irradiated Man? Really?

And what made me smile:

Well done, Mr Levitz - just the mix of action and humour we insist on seeing with Power Girl around!


  1. So glad to finally see this weeks Cocktail. Been waiting to see your opinion of E2 and WF.

    I really liked E2, even more than I thought I was going to. I had tempered my anticipation a little over the last few months with some of the preview art, but they delivered a great story that shows you can still tell an epic tale in one issue.

    WF was a fun read. Not too heavy, which it could have been due to the characters past (in the DCnU.)

    The art on both books was fantastic.

    Really looking forward to next month.

    1. Have to agree, Dave - Earth 2 was a pleasant surprise. I disliked Robinson's Justice League but here he's doing great and Nicola Scott's artwork was just spot on.

      Having not read much Levitz work, Worlds' Finest was a nice surprise as well. Good to see both PG and Huntress acting like themselves instead of going all grim and horrible.


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