To create the Ultraverse, Chris Ulm convinced seven comic book creators to meet him and Malibu’s editorial staff in Scottsdale, Arizona back in September 1992. Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse flew into print in June 1993, led by those seven: Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Gerard Jones, James Robinson and Len Strazewski.
Rating: ** 1/2*
I was a big fan of James Robinson‘s Starman in the 90s. So much so that I got a tattoo of the insignia on my shoulder. When I heard this idea of having the Blackest Night “resurrect” canceled titles I thought it was great, especially as it would be resurrecting this long-time favorite of mine. Unfortunately, like the material that writer James Robinson has been doing since his return to comic books full-time, this issue is sub-par compared to his old work.
For those of you not familiar with the old Starman series, the Golden Age Starman, Ted Knight, had finally retired thanks to the events of Zero Hour and his son, David Knight, decided to take up his father’s mantle as the new Starman and protector of Opal City. In the very first issue (really issue zero), David is killed by the son of the super-villain, The Mist. As a result, Ted’s younger son Jack takes over the role of Starman for the duration of the series which ended with issue 80 when Jack retires to live in San Francisco with his son. One of the supporting characters of the book was the former super-villain, The Shade, and he along with another supporting character, Hope O’ Dare, are the focus of this issue of Starman.
First off, I really wish writer and co-creator, James Robinson, would have used Jack Knight in this special issue. I think it would have been cool to see Jack battle it out with Black Lantern versions of his father and brother. Maybe Robinson feels that he’s done and said what needs to be said with that character and that having him return would not be a good idea. I can respect that, but as a fan I would have loved to have seen it.
Rating: *** 1/2*
Blackest Night comes to end for Superman this week - at least for now. Issue three of Blackest Night: Superman is a lot of fun - this whole series has been fun. As I mentioned in a previous issue, sometimes the most simple plots can be the most fun. All you need to know is that the Black Lanterns are resurrecting the dead in the DC Universe, and they are attacking the living. It’s Night of the Living Dead meets the world of superheroes - what more can you ask for?
Writer James Robinson did a very good job with this one. Behind the story of the Black Lanterns attacking Smallville and New Krypton is the story of a family - the Superman family. I like the dynamic between Martha Kent and her sons Superman and Superboy (and of course the family dog Krypto); on the flip side, we see the difficult family relationship between Supergirl and her mother as they tackle their father/husband who has been resurrected as a Black Lantern. Great drama.
Our story jumps back and forth between the events happening in Smallville to the events on New Krypton. Kara is sad and angry over this thing that she has to fight, this thing that looks and sounds like her father. Meanwhile, Superman and Superboy fight off the Black Lanterns of Earth 2 Superman and the Psycho Pirate. The Psycho Pirate has been able to take over Superboy and make him fight Superman, but Superboy is then able to regain control of his senses use his tactile telekinesis to fight off Earth 2 Superman. Conner wants to be more like Superman, but he hasn’t been using this power because Superman lacks his own. Superman tells Conner that he must use all of his powers and be himself, to not worry about being more like Superman.
has had its share of ups and downs over the years.
The Justice League has had its share of ups and downs over the years. Over the past ten years we’ve seen the resurrection of the JLA under the guidance of Grant Morrison with great success. That title went the way of the dodo a few years ago and was relaunched under the helm of writer Brad Meltzer. His year run on the title was okay, but not as good as I would hope it would have been. I haven’t collected the title since Meltzer left, but I decided to pick this issue up as I’ve been reading James Robinson’s Justice League: Cry for Justice. This series has also had its share of ups and downs, but I wanted to give Robinson a shot and see what he could do with the regular series. I’m glad I did.
The Justice League is falling apart. Batman, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter are dead. Superman is on New Krypton and Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash are off doing their own thing. The League consists now of mostly second-tier characters with Vixen at the helm. Our story begins with the character Blue Jay being chased by an unknown assailant. He’s looking to warn the Justice League of impending danger. Unfortunately he doesn’t make it and he’s killed.
Here is another series that started off great, but is slowly going downhill. The one saving grace is the artwork. Mauro Cascioli is doing some great work here. I particularly like his work on Congorilla. In this issue we have two back-to-back splash pages that show Congorilla and Starman fighting off some bad guys and it looks absolutely awesome! When I heard Conogrilla was going to be a part of this team, I thought I wouldn’t like the character, but so far I like him and think he would be good on the Justice League for a while. Now to the story.
In our last issue, we saw Green Lantern’s pro-active Justice League taking shape. GL and Green Arrow met up with the Atom, Shazam, and Supergirl. In a weird scene, the issue opens up with GL questioning Supergirl on whether she’s here as a hero or a villain. He asks her this because of the recent events in the Superman books with New Krypton and some of the Kryptonians acting like bad guys. Instead of having Supergirl stand up to GL and say she’s a hero and her own person, she begins to cry! I know Kara is a teenager, but come on. It’s bad enough that female characters in comics have tough times being front and center of things, but to have her cry is just wrong and it makes her look weak.
Rating: *** 1/2*
The Blackest Night makes its way to Smallville in this first issue of Blackest Night: Superman as Black Lanterns resurrect the deceased Earth 2 Superman and Lois Lane. Our story begins with Pete Ross and some local Smallville townsfolk talking amongst themselves when they notice something flying in the sky. Being a Superman comic, someone is guaranteed to utter the famous “Is that a bird?” quote. Well it’s not a bird of course, but it’s instead the resurrected body of Kal-L, the Superman of Earth 2 as a Black Lantern. He arrives in Smallville and makes his way to the Kent farm where Superman, Superboy, and Krypto are sitting down for coffee with Martha Kent.
I love that Conner is back and Superman has a “brother” of sorts; I love the little family that DC is developing here. I would have Supergirl start to develop a yearning to become a part of this family and have her mother become jealous—this would cause a big rift between them, resulting in a throw down with Superman and Allura with Supergirl caught in between. Speaking of which, we see Zor-El become a Black Lantern on New Krypton later in the issue.
When the original concept of a Justice League book written by James Robinson first surfaced, I became very interested. After a long delay, the series finally began last month. It was originally supposed to be an on-going series, but it’s now a mini-series which lays the groundwork for when James Robinson takes over the current on-going Justice League book. To review this issue, I have to give a little background on the last one. Hal Jordan is tired. He’s tired of seeing his friends die at the hands of super-villains. He’s tired of reacting to their criminal acts and wants to act before they do. He wants to go on the offense and not stay on defense. He wants justice! The rest of the League think Hal is acting irrationally - all except Green Arrow.
Other heroes in the DC Universe share Hal’s desire for justice. Heroes like the alien Starman Mikaal Tomas who sees his lover Tony die at the hands of super-villains; Congorilla who sees his gorilla friends and the hero Freedom Beast die at the hands of hunters. Is there a connection?
We shift over to issue two where Green Lantern and Green Arrow are in Gotham City and they meet up with Jason Bard. For those who are not aware of Jason Bard, he’s a private investigator who worked with Batman. Bard hears that Green Lantern and Green Arrow are out looking for some super-villains. He tells them that Prometheus and a bunch of other villains are in town waiting for instruction from someone. Hal and Ollie leave Bard and go after the bad guys.
Have you ever wanted to see Geoff Johns work a cash register? If you’re in the Los Angeles area this weekend, you might get the chance. Earlier this year, Earth-2 Comics, the fantastic funnybook store on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA, took over Golden Apple’s satellite store in Northridge. You can read about the changeover at the Golden Apple website. Golden Apple still maintains their flagship store in Hollywood.
To celebrate Earth-2’s expansion, they’re throwing a grand opening party at their new store this Saturday, June 13 from 11am – 7pm. So what about Geoff Johns?
It’s been a busy week for me. Between the birth of my second son this past Monday, as well as Thanksgiving, I haven’t had much time to read or write about comics. Today after coming home from the pediatrician, I went and got the mail and in my mailbox was this month’s “Wizard” magazine. On the cover was a picture of the new “Justice League” comic, which will be written by James Robinson. I completely forgot about this book as the announcement for it came early this year.
James Robinson is responsible for writing one of my all-time favorite comic books: “Starman”. “Starman” only lasted 80 issues, but it was not canceled because it stunk. Robinson created a story that had a beginning, middle, and end that DC allowed him to tell - similar to Neil Gaiman’s run on “Sandman,” Robinson had carte blanche when it came to that book and it’s protagonist, Jack Knight.
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