Wednesday, 14 September 2011

52 New Beginnings - Green Lantern/Superman/Young Justice

Green Lantern
reviewed by Matt Puddy

So what happens when you give a man branded as a traitor a weapon of mass destruction against his will. Ironically, also making him a traitor to his own followers too.

Geoff Johns has taken the helm for this “new” beginning which continues on from the events of The War of the Green Lanterns. Picking up from the Aftermath issues - Hal has been cast out and Sinestro is once again a member of the Green Lanterns - this could all look a little topsy turvy to new readers.

What I’ve really liked about this is that it hasn’t tried to immediately jump into something big. Or to try and face off against some overwhelming enemy, but what it has done is take time to look at what is going on and the emotion that is being felt. On one hand you have someone who has lost everything with no real chance at redemption but fighting for it and on the other someone who has had everything forced upon them and fighting against it. The balancing of it all works so well too.

Mahnke’s artwork divides me though. There are some great frames full of detail where time has been carefully taken with the constructs created by Sinestro’s ring, but when it comes to faces the details starts to wane. I can see that this is deliberate but I have seen better examples of his work.

The story progresses well and provides very strong emotional hooks for the reader. You feel the plight and need behind all of the characters so it works well. I really want to see where this goes, especially after seeing the last pages but then again as a fan who wouldn’t?

A new beginning worth following and also a good place to work both forward from to see where it goes but also backwards to see where it is from too.

Legion Lost
reviewed by Robert Barton-Ancliffe

Being largely unfamiliar with the Legion of Super-Heroes should be no deterrent to picking up this book. Fabien Nicieza and Pete Woods reinvent an existing status quo with style, using the classic "lost in time" premise as a team of seven from the eponymous Legion follow a villain back to the present day to prevent the release of a deadly virus that has ravaged their future. I had a lot of fun with this debut issue, as villain and team are introduced with a sense of immediacy and flair that capture the interest in fine style.

Introducing a team book must be a daunting task as several distinct personalities and power sets must vie for attention with other major considerations as establishing story and pace. Nicieza has ensured that each member of the team has a chance to shine, using intense action to both allow the team to show off their powers and also to establish the interesting and dysfunctional interpersonal dynamics within the team.

This does mean that the introduction can be a little wordy in places, but the exposition never feels spoon fed and the script is wisely backs off where necessary to give Pete Wood’s fabulous artwork sufficient breathing space. In fact, as much as I love the script, it is Wood’s artwork that is the true hook of this debut issue as the pencils are detailed and dynamic, lending a breathless quality to the action scenes, while demonstrating a real care over the different personalities of the team.

I'm very happy to say that Legion Lost hits the ground running and sets up an intriguing story. I’ll be interested to see how the Legion fare in a new, more hostile DCU, and can honestly say that if you are looking to pick up a team book from the new 52, then this would be an excellent place to start.

Red Lanterns
reviewed by Matt Puddy

Now I have been waiting for months for this title to come out. As a fan of the Green Lantern titles and also having followed both Blackest Night and Brightest Day, I have been introduced to the whole spectrum of Lantern Corps. It was only a matter of time before one of the other Corps gained their own title.

This is a completely new title penned by Peter Milligan and also an interesting new step as it attempts expand on not just the main character but the entire cast found within the Red Lanterns including the loveable Dex-Starr.

The story so far isn’t really developing around a normal ideal of good and bad which also makes it different. Throughout Green Lantern lore, the Red Lanterns - fuelled by their rage - are seen as a destructive and volatile force. This would normally make them associated with an “evil” stereotype and therefore shouldn’t be the sympathised with, however the issue develops by delving into the personality of Atrocitus.

It’s really well written and opens up giving the reader the back story that many will have missed. Once perspective has been gained it starts to tease with images and ideas that will no doubt later come into play. A very good foundation being laid in front of you.

Ed Benes has provided the artwork which is strong and detailed but only really in the foreground. Backgrounds aren’t really attended to but this gives it a clean and open feel to it. There’s a whole lot of red, but then again that was expected.

My initial excitement and expectation of the title has been rewarded and not let me down in the slightest. I fully appreciate that this is a completely new beginning and needs to have time to build and grow and that excited me even more. I am really looking forward to where this goes.

reviewed by Robert Barton-Ancliffe

The character of Superboy has been reinvented more than almost any other superhero in DC’s oeuvre and once again the creators have used this opportunity to go back to the drawing board. As the title of "Superboy" is not immediately associated with any one person however - a la Superman and Clark Kent - writer Scott Lobdell has missed a great opportunity to bring us a completely fresh take on the Boy of Steel. What we get however is a character very similar to the most recent incarnation in a rather plodding origin story which is all too similar to Scott Snyder and Lowell Francis’s Flashpoint spin-off ‘Project Superman’.

In an issue largely devoid of action, we are instead guided by the observations of Superboy himself as he undergoes a series of tests to assess his powers at the underground lair of the (clearly evil) organisation N.O.W.H.E.R.E. While this approach does throw up intriguing points such as the identity of Superboy’s human DNA donor and the secrets yielded by his Krytonian physiology, there is very little sense of the personality behind the hero. The artwork too is functional, but largely devoid of a distinct personality, as R.B. Silva’s pencils are nicely proportioned and detailed, but fail to provide any sense of immediacy or movement in those rare opportunities afforded by the script.

While there are one or two intriguing hints of the sinister intentions behind the creation of Superboy, these are too few to hook the reader in a debut issue that is largely devoid of pace, personality or excitement. The final revelation may pay off in the upcoming Teen Titans, but this may also have telegraphed a key source of dramatic tension in that series.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend Superboy with the conviction with which I advocated last week’s Action Comics. Fans of the character might find enough of interest in this reinvention, but there is nothing on show here that sets Superboy apart from the crowd.

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