Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green Lantern Corps #56

I really should have wrote about this series a few issues ago, but I didn't get around to it. What can I say, it's the new casual me. "Deadlines are for chumps" is my new golden rule. There are a million people doing what I'm doing, and a million people who have already told me that they do it better (or could do it better than me), so why stress about such things. If you need me, I'll be in the hammock located in the office downstairs.* Anyways, enough of my new years philosophy, let's talk about Green Lantern Corps #56.

The main story is that The Weaponer (not a terribly original name) from planet Qward has decided to take revenge on Sinestro. He made the yellow lantern rings for Sinestro, who in turned enslaved his people and ruined his life. In order to get revenge, he kidnaps current Green Lantern, and Sinestro's daughter, Soranik. That's not all! Soranik has been dating Kyle Rayner, so he leads a group of GL's to go rescue her. ALSO! The Weaponer has made a new weapon out of white lantern energy, which was left on Qward by Deadman way back in Brightest Day, that makes him nearly unbeatable. WHEW! It's a little steep in continuity, but it does make for an interesting read.

This particular issue sees a lot of action between the green and yellow lanterns. It takes me back to the days of the Sinestro Corps War storyline, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know there a bunch of different lantern groups floating around now, but it will always be about the green and yellow battling it out. The addition of The Weaponer keeps the tense battle fresh, making it a three-way bout. Who will end up on top once this over is anyone's guess, but I'd say chances are that everyone loses in the end.

It's also nice to see Kyle and John receive some of the spotlight in this series. They quickly became canon fodder once Hal came back to save the universe from every evil in existence. I always thought that was a shame, since they are rich characters that have many stories left to tell. This issue is a fine example of that, as we get to see Kyle and John take charge of a situation that highlights their qualities. It's very similar to how Emerald Warriors is allowing Guy Gardner to be awesome as well. Hal who? That's what I say! Just kidding, I still like Hal. Don't hate.

The art in this book was cool as well. The battle looks epic, as tons of lanterns battle it with giant constructs from their rings. You'll see a lot of different types of constructs created too. I always make a note to check for variety of ring creations when talking about a GL artist. It's a great area to use some artistic license and create a bunch of wild drawings. I was glad to see that here.

If you haven't been reading GL:Corps, or dropped it for one reason or another, then I would suggest picking it back up. This issue marks the fourth part of "The Weaponer" story, and I highly recommend it.

*- There isn't a hammock in the basement of Coast City. It's just a pile of cardboard boxes and oily rags that I call a hammock.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fear Itself

I'm getting tired of reading internet message boards where comic book fans are complaining about the upcoming release of Marvel's next event story, Fear Itself. The common complaint is that Marvel is trying to make comic book fans to spend more money by putting out event books with tie-in titles. They also claim that these event stories push people, new and old, away from comic books, intimidating them with their size and overall investment.

These arguments are nonsense for a couple of reasons. Marvel is not forcing you to buy every issue that ties into an event. I can't tell you how many interviews I've read where the editors have stated that you don't need to buy the tie in issues, you can just read the main story and get everything you need to enjoy it. In other words, you could have just purchased Civil War, and never read the X-Men tie-in's for it. You didn't need to, that was the beauty of the situation. If you cared enough to see how the X-Men reacted to that event, then you bought it. If you were me, then you didn't. It's really just that simple. To imply that Marvel, or DC for that matter, is strong arming you into purchasing the event book and all its tie-ins associated with the main book is ridiculous. In the end, you're the consumer. You have the power to say yes or no to a product. If you bought every issue because you felt like you had to, then the only person you should be mad at is yourself.

Say you don't want to read the event, but are concerned with missing possible storyline changes to your favorite titles. I understand how this could be a matter of contention, but I have a couple of easy fixes for this common complaint.

-The Internet! As it turns out, the internet is full of information, not just porn. It even has reviews and detailed analysis of major events. They give you all the information you need in a clear and concise format, and you don't even need to buy the issues! Brilliant!

-Talk to a friend! I'm sure one of your friends is buying the event, or has read something on the internet. Why not have a conversation with them and ask them what's going on. Hell, they may even let you borrow the issues they have already purchased! What an enjoyable, yet thrifty, solution to your belly-aching!

Claiming that event books drive away readers, new and old, is also a fallacy. I've never seen more people coming into our store for the first time, then when a major event was highly publicized. They want to know what's happening. Their interest is peaked and it's a good way for them to jump in and see if they like it. This is also the time when I see readers that may be strictly DC or Marvel check out what the other side is working on. It makes people curious, and excited for what may come.

Why the comic book fan on the internet has developed such a nauseating level of contempt for something that they are a fan of is beyond me. At the end of the day, comics are meant to be fun. Have fun with what you are reading and read what you like. If you don't like reading events, then don't read them. No one is forcing you to. Some people enjoy them, and will continue to buy them. To blame a company for putting out a product that some of its' fan base enjoys, is silly. It's like yelling at Coke for selling Cherry Coke, because you don't like it. It just doesn't make any sense.

That's my take on it anyways.

-Action Chad

Monday, January 3, 2011

Annihilation Conquest

Annihilation: Conquest

One of my earliest memories involving comics growing up was when the Phalanx attacked the X-Men. I apologize if that makes some of you feel old, but I can't alter when I was born. Just deal, it'll be alright. Anyways, I remember being transfixed by these cybernetic aliens that were taking over everyone on Earth. They had such a weird design, like they were made of moving strips of yellow and black metal. They absorbed people, and turned their bodies into techno organic material. What a creepy, yet cool enemy!

Now that we have that bit of Chadistory (made up word involving myself) in place, imagine my excitement when I found that the Phalanx were the villains in Annihilation: Conquest. If you can imagine me doing backflips on a pogo stick, while eating buffalo wings, and singing "Spacelord" by Monster Magnet, then you pretty much have it down. It really was a great combination. They had cool villains from the past and updated heroes of the present. This was going to be great.

In this story, the Phalanx have infiltrated the Kree homeworld of Hala. For those of you who may not know about the Kree, they have an interstellar empire. They have a substantial presence that is felt across galaxies. As far as alien races go, in the Marvel U, these guys are pretty much the tops. Well imagine that there homeworld, and empire, are crippled within hours due to the Phalanx absorbing its populace. It's intergalactic genocide! Luckily, the space heroes of the Marvel U are trying to stop them. It's an intense battle against impossible odds, with an entire race hanging in the balance. This is some fantastic stuff guys.

Like Annihilation, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Conquest provides some characters with some new looks. The most notable visual update is for the Phalanx. They no longer sport the yellow and black look that I adored so much as a youth. They now look more like skeletons wearing black jumpuits with neon accents. It's a radical departure, to put it lightly. The change makes more sense once you realize they're trying to emulate their leader, Ultron.

Yeah, Ultron, the Avengers villain. After a battle with the Mighty Avengers (Initiative era), Ultron's consciousness is blasted out into space where it meets up with the Phalanx. Ultron assumes control of the Phalanx and takes over the Kree home world. His reason for doing so is to track down the perfect organic being for him to transfer his consciousness into, which apparently is on Hala. He believes doing this will make him the perfect merge between man and machine. The being he's looking for turns out to be a staple of Marvel space comics, thought to be dead. I won't spoil it for you though. You should read it.

Ultron is really what makes this story so great to me. It's a classic Marvel villain taken out of his element and given a chance to really open up and be ruthless. He murders main characters with a twisted metal smile in this book, and you can't look away from the page. They also gave him a cape and some attitude. He's just a real sonofabitch, and it works so well. It's just more of the creative recycling that Abnett and Lanning have become known for with their space comics.

We also get introduced to a few new characters. There's Wraith, a shadowy fellow that has the ability to disable the Phalanx. A new Quasar that is the daughter of the original Captain Marvel. This is also the first time that the Guardians of the Galaxy really come together as a team. I know I talked about the Guardians before this, but I just really like that book and I jumped the gun. Sue me. While being able to put a fresh face on older characters, it was cool to see interesting new ones thrown into the fray as well.

There's so much I'm not telling you guys, but there needs to be some surprises left for you. There's just so much going on, and it's all solid gold. Epic space fantasy at its finest.

Sweeping changes of the status quo are the norm for these series thus far, and Conquest is no different. After an epic final confrontation, which naturally involves massive explosions, the stage is set for the next big space event. War of Kings is up next, and things will never be the same for two space empires.

-Action Chad