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7/15/09 -- Chappy's Blue Plate Specials -- le spoils!!

Written by chap22 on Wednesday, July 15 2009 and posted in Reviews
Before we begin this week's offerings, a quick mea culpa: I goofed. Before I left for the store this afternoon I made one last look at the results of this week's pick 'em...and misread the results. As such, I did not read you, my loving fans', second pick yet today, and read your third pick (that I THOUGHT was second) instead. So no Wednesday Comics here in the opening salvo of Blue Plates. Hopefully you'll forgive me...I'll try to find some way to make it up to you. Now, on with the show!




titans15.jpgTitans #15
This...was a comic book. Really there's not much else to say about it. Luis's art was passable for a less cheesecakey Benes clone. It depicted the story, didn't distract in any way, but didn't wow in any way either. Somewhat Image-posey, but not glaringly bad as far as storytelling. The story by Krul was likewise serviceable without really trying to be anything more or less. In the immortal words of George Costanza, think of this book as the C-student: not showing off, not falling behind.

Anyway, it's a Tempest spotlight/recap of his life and times. He comes back to Atlantis, talks to Mera about how Atlantis needs a ruler, talks to Letifos the shark-mer-woman about his finding Dolphin and Cerdian (his now-dead wife and kid for those of you scoring at home, or for those of you are by yourselves), and whines (hey, it IS a Titans book) about his lifelong "curse". He then fights his uncle Slizzath (if you remember this guy from the 90s Jimenez mini, great; if not, well, no biggie, b/c....) who uses Garth's powers to kill himself and gives some foreboding hints about Blackest Night. Trying to decide what to do with his life, Garth then visits Dick Grayson/Batman, they shoot the breeze, Garth makes a decision, and returns to Atlantis and claims the throne as his own.

I've always liked ol' gill-head, but this really means nothing to me. I really don't see this as ANY kind of permanent move, and I don't even like it as temporary one. It might be good for his character in terms of the fact it gives him an important role in the DCU so maybe writers will have to start using him more, but it's an ill-fitting role to me. And the fact that this comic never dares venture beyond the level of mediocre just doesn't help sell it. Final verdict: meh.



blackestnight1.jpgBlackest Night #1
Huzzah! My fears are assuaged for now, this book does not disappoint. A very strong opening for what may be DC's last hope for a while...Johns peppers his intro throughout with strong character bits for tons of people, as well as giving us all the history we need to know (whether we've been following GL and the DCU as a whole or not), and setting up our plot and most of the major players, as well as giving us some kickass action as well.

We open on the anniversary of Superman's death, a DC national day of mourning/remembrance, and see multiple scenes of heroes (and the Flash Rogues...hey, this IS a Geoff Johns book after all) paying respects to their fallen friends/comrades. In the midst of this, Barry and Hal meet at the new Hall of Justice morgue for a history lesson, the Atom has a favor request rebuked by his best friend, black rings swarm out of sector 666 to Oa and beyond, Scar turns on the Guardians, the dead rise, and heroes fall. Sure you knew all this was coming, but Johns and Reis prove that the secret is all in the execution. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that the closing scene's battle in St. Roch is brutal, and filled with the yucky over-the-top gruesomeness that Johns is famous/infamous for. 

But as good as this story is, the star of this show for me remains the aforementioned Reis, who is absolutely the best regular artist DC has going right now. This book is flat-out gorgeous, and the 2-page spread where Hal shows Barry all the dead heroes is phenomenal. As you've probably guessed, I LOVED this issue.



captainamerica601.jpgCaptain America #601
I could drone on about the details of this "fill-in" issue of Cap, and tell you all about Bru's story of Cap and Bucky solving a vampire mystery during the War. I could tell you how the reveals are pretty obvious, the characterization is somewhat light due to the book's one-and-done nature, or how much I dislike that it still seemed like Bucky stole the show in this book, even though this was one of those tales that's about when he was a kid sidekick, ... but I won't.

Instead, I'll just say this: it's Gene Colan drawing a moody, dark, Cap-fights-vampires-in-WWII story. You can't ask for better than that. I'm not usually an art-trumps-story guy (it's why I never got into early Image), but here I'm making an exception. Colan is still the man, and this book is worth the purchase solely to see him do what he's been doing for 6 decades now. I loved it.


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