Tag Archive: Justice League


Miss Fury Dynamite Comics

We tried on for size almost every new book that was released from comic book publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archaia/BOOM!, and Image.  We tried to sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics had to offer, too, and although we didn’t have enough time to review everything we did try to put out there for your consideration those titles we thought our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro bent.  Our pull list included issues from Afterlife with Archie to Django Unchained, from Liberator to Larfleezeand from Velvet to The X-Files.  This past month we have reviewed the year-long run of the best of these titles, as we narrowed our selections to 21 of the very best entries in genre entertainment outside of TV and movies, which we revealed here yesterday.  So here are the rest of our picks for the Best of 2013.

Kane Starkiller borg by Mike Mayhew

Best Borg Appearance — Kane Starkiller, The Star Wars.  Borgs showed up everywhere this year, from the lead characters on Almost Human, to Doctor Who, to countless comic book series including Justice League and RoboCop.  Our favorite appearance came from the young mind of George Lucas as he created the original script that would later be edited into the original Star Wars trilogy.  And through Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars monthly comic book event we learned one of his best ideas was merged into other roles and one of his best characters entirely cut.   That character was Jedi Kane Starkiller, who would reveal his cyborg chest implants that kept him alive, later to heroically give up this life-saving technology to save his friends.

MissFury001-Cov-Renaud

Best Comic Book Series — Miss Fury, Dynamite Comics.  A uniquely crafted tale, a compelling and seductive superhero, great action panel after panel, sourced in a long-shelved classic character of the Golden Age of comics.  Rob Williams and Jack Herbert’s Miss Fury is a carefully rendered update that rings true to the edgy spirit of the world’s first female superhero.  Beautiful panels set up an ever-changing time and place and pull readers along for the ride.  And stuck-out-of-time Marla Drake and her alter ego Miss Fury could not have looked better, whether carving out her place in the 1940s or as she was teleported into the future.  It’s a series no one should miss.

Clint Barton Hawkeye by Fraction

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Fraction, Hawkeye.  Last year revealed one of the best comic book series we ever read, focusing on that “other” superhero archer, the second tier Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye.  Matt Fraction gave us the most interesting set-up and look into the daily life of a superhero who isn’t Captain America or Iron Man.  This year he kept up the momentum in his Hawkeye monthly series, providing stories that challenged readers, each issue taking a different peek into Clint Barton, another costumed superhero called Hawkeye, and their trusty dog.

Continue reading

Green Lantern 20 banner

In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.

For the past nine years Geoff Johns has been writing DC Comics’ Green Lantern monthly series, including tales interweaving the stories of Earth’s five Green Lanterns: Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and the New 52 creation Simon Baz.  In the first DC Comics prestige format comic book in a long time, Johns says farewell to writing for Green Lantern this week in Green Lantern, Issue #20.  Although it’s not a good entry point for readers not familiar with the Green Lantern Corps, it is a must read for fans both of Geoff Johns’s writing and his many Green Lantern stories now available in various trade editions.  Johns is probably the single most important contributor to Lantern lore since O’Neil and Adams’ run in the 1970s and it’s his Hal Jordan, like it or not, that ended up in the big screen adaptation back in 2011.

Green Lantern 20 page 21

As last stories go, Johns manages to do something unprecedented with his last issue–the book seems like a memorial not only to Green Lantern Hal Jordan but oddly a memorial of sorts for Johns himself.  You might ask yourself:  Is Johns seriously ill?  Did I not get the memo?  The format begs these questions because a full nine pages are offered as mini-notes from friends and admirers of Johns congratulating him for his long run on the series.  It’s strangely self-indulgent, but if you can skip over these tombstone-like epitaph pages, the ads for the continuing Green Lantern (featuring Hal Jordan), Green Lantern Corps (featuring John Stewart), Green Lantern: New Guardians (featuring Kyle Rayner), and Red Lanterns (featuring Guy Gardner) monthly series, Johns’ sign-off note to fans and four pages documenting his past works in trade editions, there is still a complete story here, including panel art, splash pages and a fold out poster contributed by the likes of Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Cully Hamner, Aaron Kuder, Jerry Ordway, Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, and Marc Deering.  I think even diehard fans of Johns would probably rather see the nine pages of commentary replaced with all of the commentary on one page in a smaller font and more story and art.

Continue reading

JLA 1 cover by Finch courtesy of DC Entertainment

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was way back in August that we first previewed the very first images of the new Justice League of America here at borg.com.  DC Comics has had a big month with big changes–first we reviewed Jeff Lemire beginning a new Green Arrow story in the monthly series, then we were introduced last week to Tatsu, a new recruit in a new Justice League whose superhero name is that of her sword, Katana.  And if you’re not keeping up we chatted a few days ago about DC Comics’ two trade editions available for the plain ol’ Justice League of the New 52.  And that’s not even getting into the cancelled Justice League International monthly title and the awesome Justice League Dark we’ve raved about here earlier.

Today DC Comics put the America back in the Justice League.  Sure, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg)–the League with all the egos–will continue as a monthly series, but the rest of the original JLA superheroes we all know and love are back in their own separate league.  They may not be the World’s Finest but writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch have launched a new story, “World’s Most Dangerous.”  And if Issue #1 is any indication I think we’re in for a better league with the new JLA.

Continue reading

Justice League Volume 2 cover

With DC Comics having wrapped it first year with the New 52, it is now releasing the second hardcover volume of its flagship title, Justice League.  If you don’t read the monthly series, now is the time to catch up on the full first year with Volumes 1 and 2 now on the shelves.  Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin reprinted Issues 1-6, and now Justice League, Vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey reprints Issues 7-12, both volumes including variant covers and cover sketch art by the popular artist Jim Lee.

Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin, now available in both hardcover and trade paperback, began the entire New 52, a new DC Universe unveiled first 5 years ago, a reality which may or may not have been manipulated from the universe we’ve known all along by the red-hooded Pandora, who has managed to flit in and out of nearly every DC Comics series since the reboot in September 2011.  In Volume 1 we met the new original seven members of the League–first a comical run-in of Batman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who then have their own run-in with Superman (run-in meaning lots of bruises and destruction of property).  Then Barry Allen’s Flash entered the picture as probably the most interesting character in the new League.  He formed a relationship with buddy Hal Jordan which provided many of the most entertaining scenes of the series so far.  Then we met Wonder Woman, who in this incarnation of the DCU is far more Valkyrie than Amazon, and this plays nicely off of Aquaman’s entrance, whose Atlantis origins are here very much influenced by the world of Thor.  This is all tied together by a new League entrant, the young Vic Stone, transformed by happenstance into a cyborg, now known as the League member Cyborg.  And they all must come together to protect the world from being devastated by none other than classic villain Darkseid.  We reviewed the monthly series at borg.com least year here.

Justice League Volume 2

Continue reading

First up, John Barrowman, who you may know as the suave Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, has signed on to play a yet-to-be-revealed character in the opening season of CW Network’s Fall TV series Arrow, centered on the classic DC Comics character, Green Arrow.  We previewed the pilot episode here last month, and it looks to be a great series, full of action and energy, with ample nods to Green Arrow’s established canon.

It seems impossible, but wouldn’t he make a perfect Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern?

I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

The show’s creators have only released that Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” (huh?) “as mysterious as he is wealthy” and that he is an “acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.”

  

And now the CW announced that they are adding another familiar DC Comics character to the series in a multiple-episode story arc:  Enter:  Helena Bertinelli, The Huntress.  Part of the classic DC series and trio Birds of Prey (along with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Dinah Lance/Black Canary), which had its own short-lived TV series, Australian actress Jessica De Gouw will play Helena Bertinelli, a “potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.”  Perhaps Barrowman will play her father?

Jessica De Gouw to be the new Huntress

Adding the Huntress opens the possibility of including Batman at some point, because of their long connection, but I’m also not getting my hopes up about that.  Because of the Birds of Prey connection, the Huntress is a natural fit for fleshing out Dinah Laurel Lance’s storyline, allowing her to operate separately from Oliver Queen if the writers want to go in that direction. And how about making her look like Cat Skaggs’s drawing of Huntress in her classic costume shown above?

So we now have Green Arrow, Black Canary (who the creators seemed to indicate would get her fish-net clad supersuit in the first season in their Comic-Con panel interview), the villain and now the Huntress. CW’s Smallville had its own established set of DC characters, so what better place to experiment with a Justice League story than this new series?  If I was writing it, I know I would try to free up as many JLA characters as possible to share a vision of the JLA long overdue, and finally respond to the pleas of DC Comics fans around the world wanting something to match Joss Whedon’s hit 2012 movie, The Avengers.  Unlike Smallville, the pilot revealed that this new series will be a superhero show, not just another CW soap opera.  Moreover, we have established genre character actors in key roles lending some credibility to the series with former Star Trek Voyager Borg Queen Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and The Dresden File’s Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres on the CW Network Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

   

Review by C.J. Bunce

Spoilers!

Justice League is the biggest enigma of the main DC Comics New 52 storylines, now readying for its fourth issue to be published next week (Dec. 21).  On the one hand the story is a typical “Avengers Assemble” type story—Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are giving us a new origin story of the main characters in the DCU—Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman.  It is both incredibly simple—we have a major common foe, the superheroes are being confused by the public as somehow the cause of the problem, and the characters are meeting for the first time, even though they have heard of each other–and requires a good deal of coordination, as each character’s personality must come through with first meetings and first impressions laying the groundwork for months of new stories.

As with his work on Aquaman, reviewed here yesterday, Geoff Johns continues his universe building in a literal sense, and at the micro level his characters’ interactions are funny and entertaining.  What is not obvious to the casual reader is where all this plays into the individual issues of Batman (or the several related Batman titles), Superman (or the related Superman family titles), or Green Lantern (or the several Green Lantern titles), or Flash, Wonder Woman or Aquaman.  With a Green Lantern title focused on Sinestro…from where did Hal Jordan emerge in the new reboot cycle?  The reader is left to ask:  how do these stories tie together?

In Justice League issue #2, Batman and Green Lantern are fending off Superman in Metropolis, who believes a “Pandora’s Box” of sorts that Batman possesses links the two superheroes to the evil plaguing the world via flying, large-toothed aliens, who keep uttering the name Darkseid.  Green Lantern gets the great idea to invite an ally, Barry Gordon aka The Flash, to come and whip around and ultimately wear down Superman.  Barry is a cop, and Barry and Hal know each other’s secret identities.  They finally all calm down enough to discuss what is happening when the Pandora’s Box turns into more of a Trojan Horse, wreaking further havoc by letting into the world even more alien beasties.

In Justice League issue #3, Wonder Woman enters the fold, taken in by the Pentagon in Washington, DC, she wanders out into the street searching for harpies, and instead stumbles upon the wonders of…street vendor ice cream.  (Johns is a quirky fellow).  The same aliens that are attacking Superman and Batman and Company in Metropolis are now attacking DC.  We flash to Metropolis again and Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash are still under attack.  Then Wonder Woman enters the picture, sword slicing, speaking in a stilted manner like Xena, Warrior Princess (Don’t you think DC needs to license some rights to the other famous Amazon for this new DCU?).  It’s a strange transition.  Did Wonder Woman walk from DC to Metropolis?  How close are these cities?  Maybe I am having too many thoughts here.

They pursue the alien menace to seaside, to Aquaman, coming out of the water. “They were in the water, too,” he says, and we see a creature strikingly like the ones he is fighting in the Aquaman series.  This brings up the obvious question: Are these the same alien beings Aquaman and Mera are pursuing into the oceanic place called The Trench, as told in the Aquaman series?

I’ve no complaints with the story or art in Justice League issues #1-3–Justice League is simply a fun ride, as it has always been (although with the “of America” in the title).  As the cornerstone of the DCU going forward, I do wish there was some continuity explanation in these books, in a way that you don’t have to seek out explanations via interviews with writers and other reviews.  From that we learn the Justice League story is five years in the past, so presumably none of this inter-relates, at least yet.

I did leave a big piece out of my review above of issues #2 and #3.  It’s what I think of as the Will Robinson/Wesley Crusher character—the kid in a major sci-fi franchise that becomes the access point for kids to the adult real world in stories like Justice League—the excuse to explain the techno-babble of what is happening for the viewing audience despite the fact that everyone on-screen should be savvy enough to know what is happening.  Presumably this is a potential narrator, or at least a vantage point for kids, in future stories.  I usually found this role in stories irritating when I was a kid.  For whatever reason, as a storytelling device, writers still employ this.  That said, in the context of the traditionally kid focused comic book medium, it may at least be an appropriate place for it.

In Detroit there is a kid named Victor Stone.  He’s a football player.  A teenager.  His father is a doctor doing super-human research at S.T.A.R. Labs in Detroit.  In the study of the Pandora’s Box mentioned above, Victor is nearly killed in an explosion.  Panicking (or quick thinking?) Dr. Stone takes all of the nano-technology currently within his reach, even if untested, and applies it to his son, to create a new character to be fleshed out in future issues… this is the beginning, the origin story of the character seen in past DCU stories called Cyborg.

Of course, even with a Will Robinson/Wesley Crusher-role of the DCU, we like cyborgs at borg.com, so we’ll be watching his growth as a character closely.  This cyborg has cybernetic implants, including an eye piece similar to Seven of Nine’s in Star Trek Voyager.  DCU’s cyborg was created in 1980, so he’s a recent hero and a strange choice for a newly-founded Justice League team.  Geoff Johns has been quoted as saying of the new Cyborg, “He represents all of us in a lot of ways.  If we have a cellphone and we’re texting on it, we are a cyborg — that’s what a cyborg is, using technology as an extension of ourselves.”  I think that is a bit of a stretch, but I like the spirit of that philosophy.

Review by C.J. Bunce

The short-lived but fan favorite TV series Heroes launched a concept that really hadn’t been tried before in this way:  starting each episode not at the beginning of the story, but well into the story, and often at the best part–that point where the guy is hanging over the edge of the cliff, right where the cheerleader falls off the building, or right where the samurai gets the sword in his gut.  You feel a little bit of a slingshot at the back of your head at first, then you grab the rope, the boat pulls tight and before you know it you are skiing along with the characters at full throttle into the unknown.  Captain Atom #1 is a comic for readers who like wall to wall action, and it avoids any introductory phase–placing us right where the story gets good.  There are no gimmicks here that you might find in other books, just a good read that makes you hate having to wait a whole month for the next issue.

If you’re not a regular DC Comics reader, you may not think you know Captain Atom but you probably just haven’t put it all together yet.  He’s so familiar and you can’t quite place why you know him, even though he is not another current Justice League headliner (although he has served in the Justice League and led Justice League Europe in the past).  If you’re like me, you read his comic back in the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths 1980s, or you saw him in the more recent Superman/Batman.  But more likely you recognize him as Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, either the comic or the movie, because what comic reader hasn’t seen one of those?  Alan Moore originally designed his atomic man as Captain Atom, but DC decided not to let him use the newly absorbed Charlton Comics pantheon of characters in Watchmen at the last minute.   As stunning and surreal as Dr. Manhattan was portrayed in the Watchmen movie, he really comes to life in the new DC 52 Captain Atom #1.  And he’s not aloof like Dr. Manhattan–speaking to us through his thoughts we get to like this guy and feel for his circumstances quickly.  Dr. Manhattan is in the background in this shot from the Watchmen movie:

Like our heroes in the first issue of the new Justice League, superheroes are finding themselves as targets more than heroes.  Captain Atom finds himself defending himself against an attack, only to learn his powers are more expansive than he knew.  He begins to melt metal and it seems congeal and drip off the page.  Captain Atom surprises himself.  Like Han Solo said “sometimes I even amaze myself.”  Although I have liked most of what I have seen so far from the new DCU, this is the first ‘zine where the story doesn’t let up from the first panel through the last panel.

It can’t be easy drawing the visual expression of seemingly unlimited power as pure energy.  Freddie Williams II is at the top of his game here.  JT Krul has taken what he did with the edgy Soulfire and Fathom series coupled with his hero work on Green Arrow and has paced out a story with non-stop action, a smart hero, and intelligent writing.  We are pulled through the story via Captain Atom’s own thoughts and watch him try to control what is probably uncontrollable.   Williams renderings of Captain Atom as distinct from the rest of the art, and coupled with Jose Villarrubia’s creative use of color–red and blues are used to stunning effect–this book made me want to track down some 3D glasses to see if this could be viewed in actual 3D (I looked and couldn’t find the pair that came with the Chuck Season 2 DVD set).

For new readers you get enough back story to see what is going on.  Krul slips in background information just when you want it and sets up the action for coming issues.  Williams’s style seems inspired by the eye-popping visuals of Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin and Alex Nino–and this makes sense as a character who absorbs energy has got to ooze energy across the page.

I also like characters who are seemingly stronger and more powerful than the often one-note Superman.  Like Captain Marvel, Captain Atom is a character that makes you glad to know there is someone else out there who can carry the weight of the DCU world.  Like Firestorm, an old favorite hero with similar powers, this guy is not just a human in a supersuit.

Eagerly waiting for Issue #2!

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s finally here after all the chatter over the summer.  The new DC 52.  The first issue out, Justice League, definitely is a jolt in the fabric of the DC universe, much in the same way as Crisis on Infinite Earths, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis (we can all be glad they didn’t title this re-launch with another “crisis” metaphor).  It’s a jolt that will keep the readers that picked up 150 copies at my local store and everyone else across the globe to come back next week to try on the other new titles that will be trickling in this month.

Happily Jim Lee’s art is familiar and reliably well done.  It’s not like his work on Hush, but it has a lot going for it.  Alex Sinclair’s use of color is the next big item to stand out.  We don’t get enough of the story to be able to make a pronouncement yet on Geoff Johns’ story.  A lot is going on here.

Somehow I had not figured this would be an origin or first meeting story.  We start five years before the present-whatever the present is.  There are hints, like a reference to “transformers” that would seem to place the new origin of superheroes in our own recent time, as opposed to an origin in the middle of the last century with past continuity.  Without spoiling it with the details, we are first introduced to Batman who quickly encounters Green Lantern.  There is no indication whether this is Bruce Wayne or Hal Jordan, but it seems pretty likely.  We see a pre-superhero character that will likely become the Cyborg character on the cover of Issue #1, who looks like he may be the “kid” team member.  Despite the presence on the cover of Aquaman, Flash, and Wonder Woman, they do not make an appearance in Issue #1.  Superman makes only a brief appearance, our first panel look at the new Superman suit.  To most readers the new Superman suit will not come off as changed much.  No red bloomers on the outside of his outfit this time.  The new suit looks good because it does not incorporate a lot of obvious change.

A two-page Jim Lee mini-sketch book follows the main story.  It includes an awesome Aquaman suit that was rejected, a version that would fit right in with Aspen Comics/Michael Turner’s Fathom series.  And  Wonder Woman with a leg belt holding a knife like Lara Croft.  Also rejected.

The story ends with a lead-in to Issue #2, a battle between Batman and Superman.  No time is wasted in this first issue, starting with a team up straight out of the Brave and the Bold.  As much as I like a pairing of Green Lantern with Green Arrow, a pairing with Batman and Green Lantern at the foundation of the new Justice League would be my second choice.  The funny bit in this issue is a reference to who has what superhero powers–Green Lantern’s reaction to Batman’s response is funny.

There is no discussion of a League yet–we are clearly early in the story.  And something that I have not seen discussed anywhere–the drop of “of America” from the decades-old team.  No doubt our global economy/marketplace/communications was the impetus behind losing the rest of the team label.   I do find myself asking whether Metropolis, Coast City and Gotham fall in the same state or not.

Earth’s first villain in the DCU is a strange alien, “changeling” type of menace.  But with one whisper we learn who will be the first major villain for the League to encounter: Darkseid.

So the first issue of the new DCU looks good, appears to be a good start, includes some uncertainty, and reveals some changes.  All in all a lot going on in only 24 pages!