The great superhero art from Cinar continues and this issue of Firestorm is a little better overall.
Mostly it’s because Van Sciver and Simone have decided what famous plots to rip off. Here, it’s a little WarGames and a lot of Hulk. The giant Firestorm monster and the little Betty stand-in. Maybe they’ll get around to making a romantic triangle, but hopefully not. This issue, though improved, shows the pacing on Firestorm is going to be awful.
There’s a lot of exposition too. With the whole “Professor Stein is the smartest man alive” thing. If I were a new reader, it wouldn’t mean anything to me because Simone’s writing it as a big wink to familiar readers (Stein was the original Firestorm).
Unfortunately, Simone ignores most of the character drama this issue. I wonder if she’s just going forget about it and instead do more bad conspiracy thriller scenes.
It’s weird to read a comic book targeted at kids. It’s also weird to read a Lego comic book, even if the Legos in question have personalities and so on. Lego never struck me as something able to be turned into a brand.
LEGO Ninjago has far more interesting villains than good guys. Writer Greg Farshtey opens with the bad guys, who are bickering amongst themselves, and even uses one of them to introduce the four good guys.
I can’t remember being a kid and reading comic books, so I’m not sure how I responded to cliffhangers and so on. Farshtey sets up an unresolved plot point, which never even comes back as a cliffhanger. One of the good guys has a kidnapped sister. We only ever see her in a flashback, being kidnapped.
Farshtey sets up the book in chapters. Some chapters are more tied together than others. Sometimes Farshtey is didactic with the plotting, sometimes not. The final story, about the bad guys coming to a resolution, confused me. I can’t imagine a kid getting it.
Besides one horrific slip of tense, Farshtey’s writing is all fine. It’s a kids comic… but it’s better written than a lot of “adult” comics just for the benefit of Farshtey being straightforward.
Pablo Henrique’s artwork is fine. Sometimes Lego-influenced scenery is more interesting than the action though.
I had no expectations for Ninjago. It was fine enough for a kids comic, though a kid might not have the same response.
What is the deal with Merino’s Clark Kent… and, to a lesser degree, his Superman?
Clark looks like an eighties beach bum with the bouffant hairdo and then Superman looks like he’s fourteen. I know the new DC Universe is younger and hipper… but Superman should at least be old enough for a cigarette. And bouffant hair hasn’t made a comeback….
Other than those art details, I can’t come up with an actual complaint about Perez and Merino’s Superman.
Sure, it’s retro. It reads like an idealized version of a seventies or eighties issue, but Perez’s writing is surprisingly strong. His Lois has a real voice and so does Superman’s narration. Perez’s Superman is unsure of himself, juxtaposed against the completely assured Lois.
It’s too bad Perez isn’t sticking with the book; it’s some of the better modern Superman ongoing series (i.e. All-Star doesn’t count).
In the front matter, Cunningham seems to dare the reader to put Forbidden Zone in continuity. A few pages later, Cunningham has an inexplicable gaff. For a bit, I hoped I could just attribute it to playing with the reader. But as the issue ended, I could not.
It’s a slight blight on the otherwise well-crafted series. I wish Kirk had worked harder though. He’s even lazier than usual in this issue, with every one of his human faces bad (instead of just most of them).
Cunningham’s big twist this issue, literally bringing every plot point together, is sort of predictable. But it makes sense in the context of the narrative and characters and it shows Cunningham’s quality.
He knows how to put together a narrative. It’s just Planet of the Apes, he can’t work wonders, but he does create a well-told, well-written four issue limited series.
You’ve got to love a cliffhanger where the lead-up is so visually incomprehensible, it’s unclear what’s happening. I think the bad guys teleported a plane to crash into a bridge. Not sure why a plane crashing into a bridge is the most effective use of energy, but maybe Manapul saw it in a movie and liked it.
The Flash is astoundingly uncreative. That statement made, it’s passable this time, just because of what Manapul and Buccellato… is plagiarize too strong a word?
See, it turns out the DC Universe is bound together by an energy field called “The Speed Force.” And if Barry Allan taps into it, he will become a Jedi like his father. I guess it’s not plagiarism as much as laziness.
It’s not particularly terrible, just exceedingly lousy.
And some of Manapul’s pages are inappropriately–and amusingly–arty. He works way too hard on bad material.
Kirk appears just to have concentrated his attention on drawing good ape faces, not human. The issue is full of these exquisite ape faces and these terrible human ones. While one can appreciate the former, it’s too bad about the latter.
Cunningham continues to impress with his plotting. The most compelling part of Forbidden Zone is seeing how Cunningham weaves it. He brings three of the plots together, with the final one basically staying on its own.
Forbidden Zone is a war comic, something like a Civil War comic, and it’s a lot better than it should be.
The issue is a fine example of a good third of four. Most limited series have problems with the third issue… not Cunningham. He uses the issue’s place in the series–and the action ramping up for the finale–to stoke the tension.
Cunningham’s Forbidden Zone continues to pleasantly surprise and engage.