dovka comic overview week :: 25-04-07
Blue Beetle #14
Cover by by Cully Hamner
The old phrase "a picture tells a thousand words" comes into play here for me. It's very "newspaper panel comic" one single panel that you get just by looking at it - like Gary Larson (The Far Side) style comics. The cover also sets the tone for the rest of the book and shoes classic characters in a budyd team-up. Guy chauvinistic, beer drinking man's man. Jaime stuck in Guys terriroty underage and the butt of the jokes.
Annoyingly Cully Hamner is off the books internal art but he still sticks around for covers which is fantastic. He has such a talent with subtleties and especially facial expressions and this shines through here; to let an audience know exactly what a character is saying or thinking without having them read any words is an absolute bonafied talent. Kevin Maguire (JLI) is the supreme master of this but Cully Hamner obviously is encroaching in on his mastery of the talent.
Plus I loved the fact the barman looks exactly like Kyle Rayners' Coffee shop owning friend Radu - I'm going to presume that's intential because it makes me happy.
Comics Spotlight of the Week::
JSA Classified #25
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Dennis Calero
Cover by Steve Uy
My secret is that I constantly love the stories in JSA Classified. I don't pick up every one, just when the character that is being spotlighted interests me. I think it has been consistently better than its sister title JLA Classified, where as they approach the ideas in different ways (JSA focus' on character spotlights where as JLA focuses on untold stories from the past) JSA Classified just seems so much more well rounded.
This issue focuses on Alan Scott, who everyone knows is the original Green Lantern and the still the best - as it says on the front cover and there is something I love about seeing the old Green Lantern logo on the book despite never seeing it when it was originally published. The story is about Alan having to break an agreement with an ex-villain of his (Johnny Mimic) and contact him to find out how the HERO dial was stolen from S.H.A.D.E. Y'see Johnny Mimic is able to perfectly recreate crime scenes by just going to their location.
The story all winds up in one issue which is something of an almost lost art - Fell, Jonah Hex, The Spirit all successfully run on a one issue basis and it works so well. The story ends up being a tale of Alan Scott getting a timely reminder of his place in the world "even the hoodlums looked up to Green Lantern. You were the super-man before there was a Superman" and that he and people like him need to set the standard not be dragged down to the lower levels. Johnny looses his mind a little bit and ends up forcing Alan to kill him and break the H.E.R.O. dial because he doesn't want Father Time and S.H.A.D.E. to have such a powerful device. Kind of ironic that Alan kills someone considering the story it seems like an accident and it still seems to work in context.
For a one issue spotlight it's great, the art work is stunningly good (even if they have forgotten Alan's eyepatch - although not that we really want it) and they story ties in nicely to current events and sets a nice reminder for the JSA's role in the world. Successfully incorporated things from the DCU like the H.E.R.O dial and Johnny Mimic who I believe appear a grand total times of once before and I like things like that. All together great issue and worth checking out.
Blue Beetle #14
Written by John Rogers
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
Cover by by Cully Hamner
I think if DC do one thing better than Marvel or even any of their rivals with a shared universe it is that they can do legacy characters very well. Most of the time they get over rather well and end up building a successful fanbase for themselves and sticking around adding to the universe. From recent times Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Connor Hawke, Tim Drake have been very successful in their own right - Connor Hawke's recent mini which was much better than Green Arrow has been for a while, Kyle Rayner is arguably as popular as Hal Jordan ever was and his maxi-series Ion also just finished and it looks like he will play a huge role in the Countdown weekly which is starting just over a week. Of course these legacy characters aren't even the first wave; before them we had Silver Age characters taking over from their Golden Age counterparts; Barry Allen taking over from Jay Garrick, Hal Jordan taking over from Alan Scott, Ray Plamer taking over from Al Pratt, etc - and that's not even scratching the surface. Now after Infinite Crisis we are having a brand new wave of legacy heroes. Ryan Choi taking over from Ray Palmer with the Atom, Arthur Curry Jr. taking over from Orin in Aquaman, Bart Allen taking over from Wally West in the Flash. Of course where we had Ted Kord taking over from Dan Garrett in the 60s now with Ted Kord's death we have Jaime Reyes taking up the mantle of Blue Beetle.
Sometimes legacy characters don't hit the mark, they fail to capture something unique that the original did. But when they work well they add the whole universe, making the DCU seem much more well rounded and whole. Where as passage of time is hard to get across in a comic legacy characters provide a nice way of moving the world along. For me Blue Beetle has managed to incorporate the legacy aspects of the character while not bogging down the title. So new readers can enjoy the story and older readers can appreciate how Jaime fits into the world. The title took a while to get going and to find it's feet but now it has explained where the Scarab that powers Jaime (and before him Dan Garrett) came from and now we know who the big baddies are in the Reach (who created the scarab and like to take over planets) the title has hit it's stride. It has strong supporting characters in Jaime's parents, friends and the Peacemaker and Jaime provides a unique voice in the DCU - he's someone who doesn't know much about the world he's incredibly normal.
In this issue Jaime meets Guy Gardner again - after each other fought each other in issue 1. We've since learnt why they both freaked out (a old rivalry between the Reach - who created the Scarabs and the Guardians - who created the Green Lantern rings). Jaime asks Guy for help against the Reach and they end up fighting the Ultra-Humanitie and someone Robot Attack Penguins - Tim Burton ain't got nothing on this. Guy is written in his usually cocky buffoon persona - but with the underlying moments that he always cares more than he shows. They fight the Ultra Humanite and Guy promises to help Jaime out with the Reach in future. The best bit of the issue though, is the final page. Guy talks to Jaime about his predecessor and Guy's friend Ted Kord. Saying how he never had powers and he was always outmatches in every situation but he never backed down (makes a nice reference to Starbreaker) and always won. Guy gives him a book on Strategy which Ted had originally given to him. And with this act finally fans of Ted Kord get the legacy aspects from this character they have been waiting for. Jaime is no longer a kid in a powersuit - he is becoming the Blue Beetle. I personally love it.
Roger's wonderful witty comedic writing mixed with Albuquerque's action packed sequences give this book such a good feeling supercharged with energy which makes reading it even more fun. Over it's last year the book has been a good read, nothing stunning but a solid fun read which is important for a new book. As it is now approaching it's second year it's tying itself into the wider picture of the DCU. Jaime is no longer just a new hero on the block he is now becoming the rightful bearer of the title of Blue Beetle and if John Rogers continues on in this fashion he's going to have a very good and long lasting character in his hands. Plus I cannot wait for the first Blue and Gold team-up.
the loss of kurt vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
November 11, 1922 - April 11, 2007
I'm sure both Liam and Ethan are especially saddened by the loss of this great author, who died from injuries after a fall at his home. Many are a fan of his works, and Kurt has rightly earned notoriety for his writing style and his quirky sense of humour. He will be missed..
there has not been a dovka in more than two weeks.
1. fon is a brilliant idea, right in line with my socialist tendencies, but the fonera router is a piece of trash. It won't connect to Googletalk, or check Gmail via POP. I also can't attach to my work VPN through it, and the private wifi signal won't ever give me an IP address. So now I just keep it plugged in, so on the off chance anyone ends up in the middle of nowhere near me, they can connect all they want.
2. DECT makes for a better home phone than 2.4ghz ever did.
3. I'm clearly a network nerd, which you should all know by now, since I just rewired my home network to fit in the unused portion of a bookshelf. Well, in the empty space under it, really. Although now I'm thinking it would be neat to get some short rack rails and actually fit it into the shelf.
4. Getting Amazon Secret Santa gifts in April is actually a pleasant experience, and Porco Rosso is excellent.
5. I bought a 32" LCD TV today. I'll let you know how that is when it arrives in 7-10 days.