Alex Lynch Reviews: GREEN ARROW #24, FOREVER EVIL #2 & More
Once again I'm back with reviews of DC Comics' spotlight issues for this week. This week, we review Batman: Black and White #2, Green Arrow #24, Forever Evil #2 as well as the first chapter of Lights Out, Green Lantern #24!
Pick Of The Week - Forever Evil #2
Unfortunately, I have to be completely honest here, I am absolutely glad that Villain’s Month is over. Not because it was necessarily bad, but the excess weekly reading quite frankly tired me out and half of those books had odd creative teams that didn’t quite work. Now we’re back on track, and to start off this week, we bring you the second issue of Geoff John and David Finch’s Forever Evil. What have the Crime Syndicate been doing since the first issue? Where’s Nightwing? How is Lex Luthor planning to retaliate? All is revealed in this issue, but not only does Geoff Johns answer some burning questions we’ve had from the start, he also brings up new ones as well.
In this issue, Lex Luthor goes under the ground to find something he might be able to use to conduct an attack against Ultraman and the Crime Syndicate and during this scene Geoff Johns finally introduces a character that’s been missing from the New 52…but…not for long, but a second character, one that I said I’ve been missing and complained about in the first week of Villain’s Month, finally makes a proper New 52 debut. Lex and his new…friend…go off to co-ordinate an attack in a panel that makes me grin from ear-to-ear. David Finch’s pencils accompanied by Sonia Oback’s colors are fantastic. Speaking about the art in this issue, it’s not as inconsistent as it was in the first issue of Forever Evil, but still quite good. This other component of this issue is the Teen Titans thinking that since the people that modeled them, the Justice League, are possibly dead and gone, they need to retaliate against the Syndicate so Robin forms a plan of attack on Syndicate to rescue Dick Grayson. This plan…isn’t so bright and the consequences are quite unclear to us at this time, but I think it’s going to ripple the fabric of the Teen Titans book going forward.
This book has everything, once again, that you need. Brave, new and imaginative story-telling to shocking revelations left and right, Forever Evil has been an all-star event so far that remains absolutely fantastic. With DC handpicking some of the best artists to compliment Johns’ masterclass writing, this is how comic book events should be, and the New 52 is doing what it should correctly; taking fantastic storylines from the past DC universe and recreating them perfectly to fit within the new one. Overall, I’m pleased with the direction this event is going in and eagerly awaiting to see what Johns does with the story next.
Green Arrow #24
If you follow me on Twitter at all, you know I’m a VERY vocal supporter of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow book. Why? I tell everyone one reason as to why I love it; because it’s an amazingly quality book. Jeff Lemire is quickly becoming a household name and there’s good reason to it as well. When he relaunched Green Arrow back almost 10 issues ago, he reinvented Oliver’s overall world and characterization and that’s what is great about Lemire.
In this issue, Count Vertigo has had enough of everything. He’s taken pretty much taken the city hostage and created a one-mile radius shockwave of his powers. Green Arrow was incapacitated the last time he encountered Vertigo which left him without proper balance and aim. This prompts Shado and Naomi – one of Oliver’s friends – to launch an attack on Vertigo from a far radius, but some unexpected twists prompt Oliver to do what he can’t; take on Count Vertigo face-to-face, man-to-man.
What I loved about this week’s book by Lemire is that it is very good once again, but not necessarily his best. Lemire’s writing is really defines the meaning of “grounded” especially with his very human characterization. Fyff, Naomi, Shado and Oliver all have great chemistry together and the relationships of one another are clear as day. Once again, Andrea Sorrentino delivers on the artwork front with absolutely fantastic panels and pages and the guy never fails to reinvent how Vertigo’s mindblowing (literally) powers are portrayed on the pages so it’s never a dull moment within the pages of Green Arrow. However, with that being said, it’s unfair to give all the artwork credit to Sorrentino since he is joined by Marcelo Maiolo, whose coloring work really make each page stand out with the fantastic contrast of colors and strategic placement of light and darks.
There isn’t much I didn’t like about this issue, really. Green Arrow has always been a fantastic series, however I thought it was a little too convenient that they defeated Vertigo so quickly and easily as this is meant to be a “jumping-on” point so new readers could be quite confused as to why the villain is so easily taken down, but otherwise this book is a fantastic read and has it all; artwork, story and a shocking ending for those dedicated Green Arrow fans. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be reading Green Arrow right now, so head on over to your local comic shop to pick up your copy.
Green Lantern #24This is one of the few cases where Villain’s Month actually comes in handy. Now, I wasn’t a huge reader of Green Lantern but I picked up the series as soon as Geoff Johns rebooted it in the New 52 and stuck on it until the “First Lantern” event deal and then dropped it due to budgetary issues (and I wasn’t interested in that particular crossover anyway.) Now, Robert Venditti helms the Green Lantern title, but is the first issue of Lights Out at all comparable to Geoff Johns’ quality of storytelling?
The short answer is “no”, but the long answer is “Yes”, does that make sense? Robert Venditti’s storytelling isn’t the greatest and Lights Out starts increasingly interesting, but I’m not sure that he has the capacity to keep an event like this stable. I didn’t have many issues with Green Lantern 24 other than the odd pacing and unbalanced characterization and comedy. In defense of the book, the event itself sounds absolutely awesome and Relic is a very interesting villain, but it seems like there is nothing told about him if you’re jumping onto Green Lantern unless you picked up the Relic Villain’s Month special.
For me, Venditti struggles to give the comedy he puts in Green Lantern any substance. While reading the book, I barely laughed or even smiled at some of the numerous silly jokes made within, even with Hal Jordan. However, Venditti does understand Hal Jordan and perfectly keeps the contrast of jokester and serious leader within the book. What I also liked about this book was the interactions between the Corps on Oa. Even though they were just standing around until Relic appeared, I really liked some of their conversation and I was intrigued, it reminded me of the late and great Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Overall, I feel like Venditti could work on defining who exactly these characters are personality wise.
There is quite a bit I don’t like about this book, to be honest, such as Billy Tan’s artwork which is only average looking at best, but it’s definitely not the worst I’ve seen. The colors are bright and green as they should be, but it actually feels like it lacks a variety of shades and feels very one-dimensional. As I had said before, Robert Venditti’s writing isn’t the best but in all honesty, it gets the job done and I’m actually looking forward to future additions in the event, especially after the climatic (maybe brave, even) ending in Green Lantern #24.
Batman Black and White #2
This week I’m not gonna go in-depth with the Batman: Black and White short stories as I did with the first issue, however, this one was almost as good as the first and kept me hooked from start to finish. For those who don’t know, Black and White is a small collection of Batman short stories by different artists and writers packed into a single 5$ issue that’s almost well-worth the cover price. If you’re a Batman fan or just a person who loves these anthology-type books, Black and White is the deal for you. So, this month’s issue contains stories and artwork by Dan DiDio, J.G Jones, Rafael Grampa, Jeff Lemire, Alex Nino and Michael Uslan.
The first story of the book is by Dan DiDio, it’s also beautifully drawn by J.G Jones, whose art is very photo-realistic. This was one hell of a way to kick off the book as well, because it’s a very intimate and personal story. Batman is going after Man-Bat who’s attacking another man, who is seemingly defending his children. Batman’s telling Langstrom to back off, but not all is what it seems. The comic sends a great message that super-villains aren’t the only threat, but the moral choice Batman sort-of made at the end was odd because I really can’t see him doing that, but the up-close and cinematic artwork was absolutely fantastic. This also may have just been me, but I loved that the narrative wasn’t from Batman. It made the perspective unique. The next story by Rafael Grampa features The Joker narrating about how a circle is always complete and what’s on the inside and outside. It’s an interesting story that he’s narrating about, but usually I’m not a fan of stories where the character’s narration isn’t in real-time per se, and don’t feature the character’s actual thoughts. Regardless, this story has The Joker, who is gruesomely and despicably drawn, trying to tell a group of bank robbers to quite robbing because it would be predictable. Instead, he leads them to a manor…Wayne Manor. It turns out to be quite the mistake because Batman was expecting them. How? Read to find out.
The next story, A Place In Between, is probably my favorite from the book. It features a story with artwork by Rafael Alberquerque where Batman awakens on a boat with a…skinny man who claims that Batman is dead and that he is not in Heaven nor Hell, but the place in between where he is judged. Basically, Batman is in his greatest f---, moments of his life, good and bad, are played back to him including the death of Jason Todd. Alberquerque’s artwork is absolutely stellar and the fact that there was no coloring didn’t even stand out. The last page as well is incredibly detailed and gorgeous as always from this man. The next story takes place in a Winter Setting which features Batman reminiscing about the winter time with his father when he was still a child while trying to save Commissioner Gordon from a snowy death. It’s written by Jeff Lemire, and as always, is fantastic and the story told is very well done. However, I can’t help myself but to dislike Alex Nino’s “sketch” style artwork that just seemed messy and all over the place. It brought me out of the story and was incredibly incoherent to me. Regardless, this, story-wise, was one of the top one-shots in Batman: Black and White so far due to Lemire’s expert writing. The final story is like a 1930s movie-style artwork featuring Batman taking on a villain called The Silent Knight, who in a way, is a mirror of Batman. I really liked this story and hope Michael Uslan does some more one-shots.
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