Sunday, 26 May 2013

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #228

Jonah Hex asks the important questions

Tiny numbers of comics over the last couple of weeks means a bumper haul this week.

ALL STAR WESTERN #20 - Jonah and Booster are on the trail of the Clem Hootkins gang in the hopes of recovering the gold they stole from the town Booster's become the sheriff of, as well as bringing them to justice. What they don't realise is the gang's already had a run in with a Satanic Mexican gang and have mostly come to a very sticky end. While Booster manages to get the gold, he also gets the devil worshippers on their tale.

Another cracking issue with Palmiotti and Gray pulling a bait and switch on us, setting up Hootkins and his friends as the bad guys last issue only to have them supplanted by even badder guys here. Splendidly done.

AQUAMAN #20 - Arthur recruits his old team, The Others, in his quest to find Atlantean weapons before they fall into the wrong hands. Pointing them in the direction of a Power Glove in Arizona, the Others head off to find it, getting involved with a Native American shaman, a skin walker and some ghosts. So a typical day, then.

Guest writer John Ostrander writes a done-in-one that ties in with the bigger story and at the same time fleshes out the characters of the Others a little, as well as offering a replacement for Kahina who died in her first appearance. Nicely done, all in all.

FURY OF FIRESTORM #20 - Major Force turns up and helps Firestorm take down Multiplex and his gang, freeing Ronnie's mother in the process. His actions aren't entirely altruistic, though, and he ends up capturing Firestorm and taking him back to General Eiling with the intention of having him work for the military. Thankfully Superman arrives and rescues him, offering him a try-out for the Justice League.

Everything's wrapped up neatly on the whole in this final issue; the bad guys are put away (except for one of them); Superman puts Eiling in his place; and the story ends with a link to Firestorm's current and future appearances in Justice League rather than just fading away. It's a shame Jurgens didn't get more time to do something with the characters but at least it ends well.

GREEN LANTERN #20 - Volthoom takes the Guardians back to Oa where he makes them feel once more, restoring the emotions they gave up so long ago. The various Lantern Corps united in an attempt to take him down before Sinestro, once more a Yellow Lantern, arrives to kick his arse. Before that happens, the dead Black Lantern Hal Jordan arrives along with a Corps of all the dead Volthoom has killed but what promises to be a huge fight is ineffectual and over in moments, with Volthoom triumphant. As Sinestro, now the embodiment of Parallax, the Fear Entity, takes on Volthoom, Jordan commands Nekron to attack the First Lantern and, just like that, Volthoom is killed. The Sinestro Corps escape their prisons and while the GLs and other Corps deal with them, Jordan - now a Green Lantern again - tries to stop Sinestro murdering the Guardians but is too late: he's already killed them. With the new Templar Guardians taking their place, Sinestro heads off, taking a secret with him and leaving the other Corps to the destinies.

The whole story is framed by a Lantern of the future being told the story by a mysterious Lantern who reads from the Book of Oa and it's through that that we get a glimpse of the possible futures of all our cast - Hal, Guy, John and Kyle have their endings along with one or two others and we get to see them all live happily ever after.

It's a big final issue for Geoff Johns who's bowing out after ten years or so of writing and guiding the Green Lantern books. While it's a big story, some of it still manages to feel rushed - Volthoom's dealt with in a couple of panels; Nekron's sent back to the land of the dead with just a shrug of Jordan's shoulders - but the main story, the conflict between Jordan and Sinestro, balances that out and strengthens the rest of the issue.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #20 - Following the end of the First Lantern, Guy and Kilowog find and release Salaak who was imprisoned by the Guardians ages ago. While John and Fatality finally get together, Salaak reveals to Guy the Guardians' involvement in the release of Xar, the alien warrior intent on killing Guy and his family. With the aid of Saint Walker, Guy manages to get back to Earth and rescue his family just in time.

It's a nice little coda for Guy, defeating the bad guy and getting to spend some time with his family, not to mention we finally get Salaak back.

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #20 - White Lantern Kyle Rayner's a little lost following the end of the First Lantern. Back on Earth, he doesn't really know what to do with himself as all his New Guardian pals are happy doing their own thing. Saint Walker spends some time with him, talking things through and Kyle ends up heading off to meet his long absent father.

Again, another wrapping up issue that sits as a nice end to this part of Kyle's story.

THE GREEN TEAM #1 - Prince Mohammed Qahtanii attends a low key (and slightly illegal) tech expo hosted by Commodore Murphy, the richest teenager in the world who's always on the look out for new things in his (mostly) thwarted attempt to become a superhero. When Mo inadvertently publicises the location of the expo, Commodore's enemies come calling, forcing him and his friends into a tricky situation.

Having taken a chance on The Movement, I thought I'd try the book that's billed as it's opposite half and, for a first issue, it's not bad. We meet some characters, there's a few hints to their motivations and some bad guys show up. I'll stick around for another couple at least, I think.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #20 - Despero continues his attack on the Watchtower, fighting new recruits Firestorm, Element Woman and the Atom. It's not going well for any of them until Martian Manhunter arrives on the scene and uses his psionic powers to take Despero down, telling the Atom to keep his involvement secret. She, it turns out, has her own secrets connected to the upcoming conflict between the Justice Leagues. Meanwhile, Superman and Batman have a conversation about Batman's failsafes and the latter's concerns about Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship.

Not a bad issue, on the whole, though there was a distinct hint of nostalgia about Despero attacking the League and finding only the new guys before being defeated by J'onn J'onzz (Justice League America #38 anyone?) not to mention the . . . er . . . mention of Happy Harbour.

TEEN TITANS #20 - while the Teen Titans deal with the aftermath of his attack on them, Trigon spends most of this issue explaining how Raven went from the young girl seen in Phantom Stranger #1 to the demonic princess who's been hanging around with him for, relatively speaking, years. Once that's done, he sends his three sons to bring her home.

Mostly an origin story of Raven, I have no idea why the cover shows an evil Red Robin standing over the defeated Titans. That seems to make no sense whatsoever.

And what made me smile:

Guy gets his happy ending with one punch!

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