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Cleaning the Plate for 5/26/10 - Spoilers

The review where we say goodbye to Gail Simone's Wonder Woman and New Krypton and hello to a resurrected Thanos and a new group of Thunderbolts.


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Wonder Woman #44
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Gail Simone wraps up her stellar stint on Wonder Woman on not quite the highest note, but by no means a sour one either. The sister of Hippolyta has returned in anger which she wants to take out on Earth. Diana is forced to battle the cousin she never knew she had. A sad story as Diana’s new found Aunt has completely abused her own daughter in order for her to grow up to be practically be an animalistic warrior. The battle does not go the way Aunt Astarte had hoped as the compassion and reason of the Princess calms her cousin and makes her realize that perhaps she had been lead down the wrong road. The epiphany angers Astarte who then murders her own daughter. Eventually the tide turns and the invaders are defeated with the help of Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and the returning Amazons led by their Queen. The last two pages are pretty much a wrap of Gail’s run with the apes returning to their land and Diana happy with all the friends around her. Although this was a good issue, it was the only one that really felt a bit rushed. I think there was a lot of potential in Aunt Astarte which I hope the next writer will take huge advantage of. Gail’s run was a pretty solid A across the board but the final issue was just a little less than perfect. Still, I’m going to miss her on this book. I’d put her run up there with George Perez. My Score: B+


Superman: War of the Supermen #4
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DC once again gives us a huge war with casualties in the hundreds of thousands and a wrap up of the New Krypton story that really could be seen a mile away. I mean come on, was there any way DC could have kept that many Kryptonians in the universe for an extended period of time. Though there really wasn't any big surprises here, there were some terrific moments. Personally I think Krypto stole the book and was the real hero of the day. The final battle between Zod and Superman was... okay, but the final scene with Clark and Lois was extremely well written and a wonderful reminder that this marriage can and does work on many different levels. I’m happy that this story is over and in the future I don’t see it being heralded as one of the great Superman stories ever, but with a few minor exceptions it was a solid story that gave us another fun filled ride with General Zod. My Score: B-
The Entire Series: B


The Thanos Imperative #1
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I’ll say this: The day Abnett and Lanning leave Marvel will be a sad day for that company. Once again it looks as though they’ve got the beginnings of another riveting space opera with stakes as high as they can be. The release of the horrible weapon that was used at the end of the last event has caused a rip in space that is now bringing the ugly and the dangerous into our own universe. The main players of this epic are once again gathering together while the Guardians of the Galaxy continue to examine the captive Thanos. This one shot that opens the story has it all; perfect characterization, new and old enemies alike, and pitch perfect pacing. Great pencils, inks, and coloring put a beautiful and haunting cap on this issue. If there is one complaint that I have it’s that A&L seem to have taken a bit from the DC playbook by destroying millions of people to get their point across. In their defense, they don’t use it every few issues like the other company seems to be doing, but I hope it’s not a plot device that they visit too often either. I have to say that this one issue has me geeked into a fanboy frenzy – which is hard to do for someone my age. My Score: A-


Detective Comics #865
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Really nice art by Jeremy Haun is really the best thing about this issue. The story itself is rather mediocre and somewhat muddled and confusing in spots. David Hine desperately tries to show us just how twisted Dr. Arkham is, but in the process we’re given so much information about his mental collapse at the hands of both The Joker and Hugo Strange that it becomes unclear who the real villain has been all along. I guess there could be an argument made that it’s this kind of twist that actually makes the story and the character much more compelling but to me it just diminishes Jeremiah as any kind of real villain, let alone some one who is supposed to be such a great strategist like Black Mask. The only moment I actually liked was Arkham’s little moment with Zsasz; but even that seems muddied by all the manipulation and Machiavellian issues that now surround the bad doctor. The back up story, however, with Huntress and The Question facing off against Vandal Savage was much more enjoyable and emotionally satisfying. I would love to see Renee join the Birds of Prey. I think she’d be a great asset. It’s always unfortunate when the second story outshines the main piece. My Score: C-


Thunderbolts #144
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I haven’t read an issue of this book since Warren Ellis took over a few years ago. The line up did nothing for me and it was one of the few times that a writer leaving a book made me stop it cold turkey. Now with another new direction for this team and another new writer I thought I’d take a peak. Not bad, really. It’s great to see Fixer, Songbird, and Mach V back. I’m honestly shocked that they would let Moonstone anywhere near this team after what she had just done with the Dark Avengers, but hey, its comics so I shouldn’t be too surprised I guess. I’m unsure about The Ghost but willing to give him a try in this and Luke Cage as their leader is really what made me buy this to begin with. I think he’s the perfect leader for this new, new team of reforming villains. Juggernaut may make a good addition, since he’s been on the fence for the last decade anyway, but I’m still not sold on Man Thing at all. It just doesn’t seem to fit. The arrival of Baron Zemo at the end though has made me realize that I will indeed be picking up this book again. Still doesn’t feel like the Thunderbolts that I loved in the first one hundred issues or so, but it’s a lot better than what I was glancing through when Ellis had the title. My Score: B-


The Brave and The Bold #34
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Since Stracznynski took over this book there hasn’t been much to complain about for me. Unfortunately this beginning of this two part story which teams The Doom Patrol with The Legion of Super-heroes doesn’t have that usual emotional zip that most of this other stories have had. Not that every story has to be that way and there was some pretty witty banter that I really enjoyed, but the main plot felt rather contrived and for the first time since he took over, it really did feel like Straczynski was phoning this one in. Perhaps the second part will be worth it; I really hope so because I’d hate to think that J. Michael is already getting burned out on a title that he has really made his own. My Score: C
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