Aquaman 3 (January 2012)

This issue opens with a flashback. The content is fine, but the art is goofy. It’s to indicate the flashback, but it doesn’t work. Otherwise, Johns is really impressing with Aquaman. He even manages to bring the joke aspect back, but matures it a little. Someone accuses Aquaman of being a glory hound looking for a good reputation. Johns handles it quietly, with Reis showing the full effect of the statement. Reis mixes the emotive quality of the story with the action. It’s impressive to see. Again, Johns writes a great relationship between Mera and Arthur. It’s a great married … Continue reading Aquaman 3 (January 2012)

Justice League 3 (January 2012)

You know who should be writing DC’s new Wonder Woman? Geoff Johns. You know who can’t write Aquaman, apparently, in Justice League? Yeah, Johns too. This issue opens with Wonder Woman, gives a really quick look at her arrival in the new DC Universe, immediately establishing a strong female character. It’s utterly fantastic. Shame the rest of the comic is crap. Why is Jim Lee doing Jack Kirby creations? Lee’s denizens of Apokolips look awful. Darkseid shows up for a second. My “Super Powers” action figure looked better. Just to elucidate, Lee’s art on the Wonder Woman scenes is pretty … Continue reading Justice League 3 (January 2012)

Green Lantern 3 (January 2012)

Once again, Sinestro is the best thing about Green Lantern. Johns really ought to consider redoing the book with Sinestro as the lead and Hal Jordan as his flunky. Maybe because of the movie (and Ryan Reynolds playing the role), it’s hard to take Hal seriously. Maybe it’s just because Johns makes Hal out to be a complete moron. Not sure if that development’s new DC Universe or whatever. Johns has been so successful at making Sinestro a force through the narrative, the focus on him works. Hal’s just a tool. He’s the comic relief. Regardless of Johns’s intention, he’s … Continue reading Green Lantern 3 (January 2012)

Aquaman 2 (December 2011)

Johns is nowhere near as funny this issue of Aquaman. I don’t mean more of the jokes fall flat, I mean he’s given up the gag. Instead, he presents Aquaman as an action hero. Well, he does add Mera to the equation and reveal the couple to be adorable in private. Though I enjoyed the issue less—and it’s clear Johns was more traditional and less inventive—it almost bodes well for the series and the approach itself. It’s not The Thin Man, but it’s about on par with “Hart to Hart.” Arthur and Mera make a fine team. Of course, having … Continue reading Aquaman 2 (December 2011)

Justice League 2 (December 2011)

Superman’s a dick. And so is Cyborg’s dad. Other than those two developments, I’m not entirely sure what new developments Justice League has to offer. Jim Lee and his funny new superhero outfits? Towards the end, when Darkseid’s minions break through to attack, it almost works. Johns and Lee almost get the issue to the point where it achieves some kind of visceral moment. But it’s only a two page spread… the rest of the comic is totally ineffective visually. Marvel Studios guy Kevin Feige describes the Marvel team-up style as heroes who “fight each other, then they fight together.” … Continue reading Justice League 2 (December 2011)

Green Lantern 2 (December 2011)

Yuck to Johns’s pacing. This issue features Sinestro showing off to Hal Jordan how much of a bad Lantern Jordan’s always been. It’s lots and lots of talking, which the occasional action sequence or something ring-related. For the most part, Mahnke and the inkers do a fine job. There’s sci-fi action, there are monsters, there’s superhero disaster stuff. The art never bests what the artists do in the first few pages, when they show how pissy Jordan gets over Sinestro having the ring. I think the issue takes place in about twenty-five minutes, which is about six times longer than … Continue reading Green Lantern 2 (December 2011)

Aquaman 1 (November 2011)

Ha, ha, Aquaman’s lame. He’s so lame bloggers make fun of him when he goes out for fish and chips. Geoff Johns’s take on Aquaman is to make him into an ironic superhero. Everyone mocks him, but the women still want him and the men still want to be him. Because his staff makes a Wolverine “snikt.” Johns is actually just rehabbing Aquaman for a movie. Seriously, I’d go see a movie with this Aquaman in it. He’s like Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man movies. A lot like him. Anyway, moving on. It’s not awful. Johns is being … Continue reading Aquaman 1 (November 2011)

Green Lantern 1 (November 2011)

I thought Sinestro had a big silly head. Doug Mahnke gives him a big forehead, but no big head. Not being a Green Lantern reader, this issue sort of confuses me. But what frustrates me is Geoff Johns. He can plot out the issue, get all the beats down, even write good dialogue half the time… but the other half is weak. It’s not bad dialogue, but it’s all declarative statements. Johns needs to work on letting his characters listen. I’m surprisingly impressed with the comic. Though the cover suggests Sinestro will play a big part, he takes a back … Continue reading Green Lantern 1 (November 2011)

Justice League 1 (October 2011)

So what’s Geoff Johns’s big insight into relaunching the DC Universe? Make it a lot like Marvels. A super-lot. And there’s another difference. It’s not superheroes in the new DC Universe. It’s super-heroes. What other big changes? Jim Lee draws Superman like a teenager and everyone’s costume now has small, unbelievable (and nonfunctional) bulky little patches. Maybe Lee likes to draw egg shapes or something. I’m trying to think of what else is so special. Batman talks about Green Lantern like his fights with the Air Force are the Hulk fighting Ross… Oh, wait, there’s a “special” moment. When it … Continue reading Justice League 1 (October 2011)

Superman: New Krypton Special 1 (December 2008)

Someone has pointed out Johns casting Lois Lane’s dad as a jingoistic, sadistic supervillain really just is… you know, the Hulk, right? I mean, someone besides me. It’s so startlingly uncreative, one has to wonder. This New Krypton Special does raise a couple interesting ideas—one is the People of Kandor being, well, basically stupid jerks. It doesn’t make me want to read the series, however. Oh, another moronic move—a bad guy named “Agent Assassin?” I mean, that one’s worse than the Image stuff. There’s some great art. I love the way reading Frank’s pages feels like one’s reading a sequel … Continue reading Superman: New Krypton Special 1 (December 2008)

Superman: Secret Origin 6 (October 2010)

So after making everyone wait for months, DC put out this piece of crap? I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s garbage. Frank’s artwork is visibly hurried, with Superman looking different in every other panel and the Christopher Reeve likeness looking traced when he uses it here. Lois looks funny, more of the hurrying. As for Johns, it’s like he was trying to see how many endings he could do in one issue to give Frank the chance to do full page panels. It’s completely moronic conclusion to the last three issues too, but particularly to the last one, as … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 6 (October 2010)

Superman: Secret Origin 5 (May 2010)

Ok, so Johns finally did something completely unexpected. He made Superman the Hulk. General Sam Lane–I think that’s Lois’s father’s name anyway–is a psycho warmonger who tries to kill Superman. Funny how John Byrne is known for Superman and the Hulk and Johns is playing with both here. There’s some decent character scenes, not as much Christopher Reeve in the Frank art but some… A lot of the scenes play well. Superman posing for Jimmy seems really stupid. But Johns doesn’t have a good narrative structure here or in the series overall. This issue, like the last, is sequential, while … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 5 (May 2010)

Superman: Secret Origin 4 (March 2010)

Maybe I’ve surrendered. Johns doesn’t introduce anything new to the canon this issue, instead he just does a sequel to the previous issue. The Gary Frank Parasite is hideously wonderful too. But back to Johns. He does a decent job this issue. Sure, he’s set up a disastrously bad idea, but once he’s writing in that idea, instead of about it, he does fine. A limited series about Superman’s first week in Metropolis (this issue would be the second in that wish) would be good. I’m sure Johns will screw it up next issue, but as a brief reprieve, this … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 4 (March 2010)

Superman: Secret Origin 3 (January 2010)

DC never did a formal adaptation of the first Superman movie, so Johns gives it a shot here, with some modernizing and some adjustments for comic book continuity. The result, I suppose, depends on if you like the first Superman movie. Even with the silly Lex Luthor is a power mad bad guy (from Byrne)–it makes Smallville real famous too, which misses the point I think, it works. But then I love Superman: The Movie. Frank draws Clark to look like Christopher Reeve here, Johns has him bumble well like Reeve does in the movies… There’s really nothing new here. … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 3 (January 2010)

Superman: Secret Origin 2 (December 2009)

The second issue, featuring the return of the Superboy and the Legion (at least in an origin retelling) to continuity, works a lot better. There’s still some stupid stuff. Instead of coming up with something interesting to do with Lana, Johns just has her get mad at Clark and storm off. And then the Lex Luthor stuff. Johns seems determined to keep Luthor in the story, even though he doesn’t fit. But he shoves him into the story–the scene this issue between Lex and Clark makes almost no sense… though it does further alienate Clark so he’s overjoyed when the … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 2 (December 2009)

Superman: Secret Origin 1 (November 2009)

Geoff Johns’s point seems to be to do another Superman origin retelling, this time integrating parts of Superman (Johns used to work for director Richard Donner), the “Smallville” TV show (Johns occasionally writes episodes for the show) and some of the stuff John Byrne left out of his Man of Steel origin retelling back in the eighties. The result is about as jumbled as it sounds from that grocery list of intentions. Seeing Gary Frank essentially draw a young Christopher Reeve in a few panels is pretty neat and having Clark and Lana Lang have a budding romance is cute. … Continue reading Superman: Secret Origin 1 (November 2009)