Sam continues on the wild rides that are The Woods and Giant Days from BOOM! Studios, while Jackson was less than impressed with the offerings from the big two. He found Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 from DC Comics lacking and Civil War II #1 a rehash of the first Civil War.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
The Woods #23
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
So at the end of the last issue Karen and the Hunters went in search of Calder and Sander who had foolishly gone after the Bay Point kids alone. Surprised that the two of them teamed up? After this issue you won’t be so shocked. This issue delves down into their relationship beginning a few months prior when Calder was about to jump off the edge – literally. It turns out the two of them have a bit of a history beyond just needing to prove themselves.
I will say this though – the unending flashbacks are a little bit annoying.
It’s like every issue flashes back and forth, and while it’s nice to see how that year we skipped played out, it’s gotten to be a bit excessive as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather we continue on linearly with the main story with fewer journeys back to the past. It’s okay to mention events that happened in a time period we didn’t see. We don’t have to then go back and see them.
Anyway, Calder and Sander find the other Bay Point kids in the ruins of another, former city of displaced people. They break in only to be captured quickly. Fortunately, someone comes to rescue them: Casey. Yeah, surprise! Casey comes to set them free. Apparently being a tyrannical taskmaster at the command of Taisho isn’t the greatest gig. Instead of running like they were told Calder knocks him out and decides to take his place in the meeting with Taisho. Meanwhile Sander goes to tell the Hunters that the Horde knows they are coming.
It’s a good set up for the next issue. I just hope there aren’t any more flashbacks…
Giant Days #15
Author: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
This issue is yet another example of why I love this series. Their self contained stories are always the best and this one is no exception. In this issue the girls are all getting involved in a film festival and by some crazy turn of events they end up going up against one another.
Esther is hitting on a boy making a film and she is serving as his leading lady when Susan gets the bright idea that she and Daisy should make a film themselves. Enlisting Ed’s help and using some camera equipment Daisy earns by hustling pool players in the local bars, they make their own movie. Except their movie is basically a spoof on Esther and her motivations for making her movie. And when both of them ends up going to the film finals… it could be a turn for disaster. After all, it’s kinda mean to spoof your own friend.
But it all works out! Esther thinks it’s great and her director boy wins an award of his own. And everything is good. No on-going angst or mystery (other than whether or not Susan is on Tinder). I loved it and I can’t wait for the next issue!
Green Lanterns Rebirth #1
Author: Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries
Artist: Ethan van Sciver and Ed Benes
Publisher: DC Comics
With the big universe restructuring done in last week’s DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the little details are being sorted out in the new wave of Rebirth titles out this week. The four books out this week, Batman Rebirth, Superman Rebirth, Green Arrow Rebirth and Green Lanterns Rebirth are stuck with strange numbering but are mostly there as something of #0 issues setting up the new status quo of the upcoming biweekly series. As such, the books are relentlessly plot focused and devoted to little but table-setting. Some have more to do than others.
Yeah, Batman Rebirth #1 has to take the time to introduce, or reintroduce, Batman’s relationship with Duke Thomas, and their new partnership and Superman Rebirth #1 has to establish Clark White’s role as the new Superman, something that was already mostly done in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, but the book that has the most work to do though is Green Lanterns Rebirth #1.
One of my biggest complaints about Green Lantern as a franchise in the New 52 has been its failure to follow through on its newest ideas. The book introduced Simon Baz, a Muslim Green Lantern wielding Sinestro’s ring, back in Green Lantern #0 in 2012 before promptly forgetting about him less than a year later when the first volume of Justice League of America was cancelled.
By comparison, Jessica Cruz, the new host of Power Ring, a malevolent ring from Earth 3, was introduced as an agoraphobic, shut-in, suffering heavily from what was implied to be a sexual assault. She became an incredibly minor character in Geoff Johns’ Justice League, making very brief appearances in the lead-up to “Darkseid War” before she became just another plot device in one of the most plot-device heavy storylines of the last few years.
Both Jessica and Simon were characters that had enormous potential, both dealing with internalized fear, anger and self-loathing in ways that cast them in stark difference from the other Green Lantern Corps members.
Green Lanterns Rebirth #1, as such, has a lot of work to do building up a pair of characters who’ve never gotten much time to shine and it just doesn’t stick the landing. Written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries and drawn by Ethan van Sciver and Ed Benes, it’s an issue that assumes you’ve kept up with both of these characters for years and gives them very little time to establish who they are with and without the ring.
The thing that made Simon Baz work so well in his first appearances was that he was constantly battling the Islamophobia in both the public and government that watches him. He was angry but what made him compelling was that he knew how he would be viewed if he ever unleashed everything he was capable of. That’s gone here.
Simon’s made little more than a ponce for the government, feeding information about the Green Lantern Corps to a government handler. The passion and tension are gone. Cruz fares little better. We finally see her actually getting to be a character outside of her role as the newest Green Lantern but she’s too quickly rushed into a plot that pairs her with Simon as the newest protectors of Earth.
I understand the desire to bait the hook with these Rebirth issues and to Johns and Humphries’ credit, they set a mostly compelling plot hook with the return of Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns, but it’s hard to care much when these little seen characters are reduced to little more than loose sketches. DC has tried to gain attention for having a woman and Muslim Green Lantern but by highlighting them, it needs to also establish who they are, not just who they fight.
Civil War II #1
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Fans couldn’t be blamed if they can’t manage much excitement for Civil War II #1, the first issue of Marvel’s supposedly game-changing new event series. Despite omnipresent press releases and hype, the series has already released the first two parts of the story, with a disastrous Free Comic Book Day preview and a not particularly compelling #0 two weeks ago. It leaves the first issue feeling like less of an exciting debut than just another part of a comic you’ve already written off or jumped on board of. That’s less the fault of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez and more of Marvel’s bizarre release schedule but it leaves readers with a debut issue that feels half empty and totally lacking that crystallizing moment that sets heroes against heroes.
Civil War II #1 opens immediately following the #0 issue and with the FCBD issue awkwardly lodged into the climax of the book. The meat of the book is devoted to a party following the Ultimates and the Avenger’s victory over an invading Celestial, thanks to an apocalyptic vision from the precognitive Inhuman, Ulysses. Carol Danvers and Tony Stark disagree over whether the heroes can continue to depend on the visions of an Inhuman neither entirely trusts and when Ulysses has another vision of an attacking Thanos, battle lines are drawn when Carol takes matters into her own hands.
Bendis has made much hay in interviews over how the central conflict of “Civil War II” is a timely one and that’s certainly a debatable statement, with the implications that Ulysses power is comparable to police profiling and preemptive military strikes. What’s less debatable is how the issue cribs so much from the original “Civil War” story.
Both are comics built on the backs of dead black heroes, with War Machine’s fall here swapped in for the death of Black Goliath in the original story. It feels distinctly regressive to read a comic where the plot is only motivated by the deaths of a black man and woman and it casts a pall over the entire book.
Civil War II #1 looks and feels like a prestige comic. Marquez is a frequent collaborator with Bendis and his profile work and action sequences look great. It’s the best thing going for a comic that feels beneath Bendis’ skills. His talent for dialogue and banter are here but it’s in service to a plot that feels like it’s from a decade ago.
This is an event that’s starting off entirely on the wrong foot and it’s hard to recommend readers wait for the series to potentially get better when there’s a $5.99 price point for the first issue. There’s better uses for your time, thoughts, and hard earned cash than this comic.