Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review Shots For 3.30.11

This is the official warning to any and all who read these reviews. Progressively Aggressive holds a severe DC bias. I don't DISlike Marvel by any means... but I don't read the books, and I'm not a fan of the overall Universe. Plus, let's be honest, I've spent thousands of dollars over a number of years on DC books. I'm not made of money... come on, there's a recession going on, for God's sakes.

Detective Comics #875
Scott Snyder & Fracesco Francavilla

It's always refreshing to tell when a new writer coming into a long-standing book has been a long-time reader. That is most definitely the case with Scott Snyder and Detective Comics. In this issue, we see the longer version of the Jim Gordon / James Gordon Jr. confrontation that Snyder teased us with in his debut issue. Snyder understands the "mystery" genre, and the opening monologue from Bullock at GCPD reads like pitch-perfect old-school noir. Snyder writes Gordon like the old, weathered cop that he is. In the latest issue we find Gordon tailing a case from decades ago, and into intercuts a flashback when his "damaged" son James was just a child. The creepy factor is dialed up to 10, and we never really get any clear answer as to whether or not James is a psychotic killer or just... damaged.

Francavilla literally draws and colors everything in this issue, and it looks amazing. His color selection is either blacks and blues or firey auburns and oranges, both used to amp up the tension of the scenes. It's going to be a shame to see him go to Marvel for American Panther, because his Tim Sale style is matches up insanely well to this type of story.

Action Comics #899
Paul Cornell & Jesus Merino

I think Paul Cornell gets the DC Universe. The general rule of thumb for these characters, which writers like Grant Morrison, Joe Casey and Mark Waid stapled down in the nineties, is that you write the most off-the wall, unexplainable, and unintelligible material you possibly can for these characters to face, but you treat it with such nod/wink cool and confidence that people eat it up.

In the penultimate issue to Cornell's Lex Luthor epic, Luthor faces off against Braniac for control of the black spheres and becomes... well, something different. It's unclear as to what exactly has happened to Luthor, and I don't want to spoil anything, but we finally get to see what was on the other side of the "door" the rings created. The face-off between Luthor and Braniac is both hilarious and dead-on, as two super-geniuses shout out the fantastically over-the-top maneuvers and equipment that could never exist in real life - which is kind of the point.

The issue sees fill-in artist Jesus Merino, most likely because Pete Woods will be doing 50 pages of interior work in the 900's issue next month, and he fills in nicely. Merino's style is very old school, with precision lines that don't overuse cross hatching and lighting effects like Woods' work does. With that, merino works better on books like JSA or Superman, where the style matches the subtext. Here, Woods' overly computer-enhanced work fits the space age material Cornell is writing, and I would've loved to see what he did with Luthor on the final page.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #8
Peter J. Tomasi & Fernando Pasarin

We get to see the third side of the initial conflict this week, with Guy Gardner facing off with Hal Jordan in "War of the Green Lanterns". The issue serves as set-up, which is a bit concerning since the last "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps" issues served the same function. But I assume not all readers are following all 3 books, so a set-up was needed in each.

We're starting to get a full picture with this issue. The 4 earth-bound Lanterns, as well as Kilowog and Ganthet, have been affected by Parralax way back in "Rebirth", so they're less influenced by its control. The issue itself is one big fight between Hal and Guy, before they reach the same conclusion that Jon and Kyle did in GL Corps. It's not an uninteresting issue, but it's certainly retreading on familiar ground. We get a verbal argument followed by a construct-based brawl, and while the fight itself is fairly cool (takes place across an entire planet) some of it is admittedly hokey... Guy shoots construct hockey pucks at Hal while wearing a construct hockey-jersey. Why not just shoot him with the thing?

My major complaint with Pasarin's work is that it's too clean. There's no scratches, the line work is too pristine. I love Pasarin's work in this issue, but I still recognize his faults. The fight takes place on a snowy planet, so clean pencils would work exceptionally well there. But Pasarin can pack a lot into a page; a splash containing an entire fleet of the Corps bearing down on Guy, Kilowog and Arisia is amazing. A reviewer at Comic Book Resources compared it to George Perez, and I'd be hard pressed to disagree.

That's it for this week! If you have thoughts, comments, hate-filled bullshit that essentially just disgagrees with me (but in an overly-rude, completely unnecessary fashion), leave a comment or email us at

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