The Multiversity: Ultra Comics 1 (May 2015)

The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1

What’s Grant Morrison doing with Ultra Comics, a Multiversity tie-in issue? Well, he’s giving Doug Mahnke a lot of great stuff to draw. If you ignore all of Morrison’s breaking the fourth wall (but not really–it’s not like it’s a “Choose Your Own Adventure”), the comic just gives Mahnke a chance to realize this quick superhero story in the apocalypse.

What’s caused the apocalypse? A Cthulhu-like monster. It might not come across as a big Alan Moore knock if Ultra–he’s the protagonist of Ultra Comics–if Ultra didn’t look like Miracleman. The issue has a credit to Siegel and Shuster and there’s a Shazam reference; but what isn’t clear is if Morrison likes Miracleman or not.

There’s lame stuff about the reader interacting and generating the life of the comic (and protagonist) and Internet whining. But it’s thoughtless.

Except the Mahnke art makes it all worthwhile.

CREDITS

Ultra Comics Lives!; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Doug Mahnke; inkers, Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne and Jaime Mendoza; colorists, Gabe Eltaeb and David Baron; letterer, Steve Wands; editor, Rickey Purdin; publisher, DC Comics.

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Green Lantern 3 (January 2012)

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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 made Lantern better for making the expected lead a toadstool.

There’s very nice art from Mahnke and company. Occasionally, the differences in inkers–they’re close, but not exact–become clear. But it’s never disjointing.

The issue’s third act is just a great time. Johns manages a predictable, but deft cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Sinestro, Part Three; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Doug Mahnke; inkers, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin and Tom Nguyen; colorist, David Baron; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Darren Shan and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

Green Lantern 2 (December 2011)

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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 it takes to read the comic. And Sinestro is so much stronger, as a character, than Hal Jordan. Does Johns always write him this way?

He’s turned Sinestro into the Dr. Doom of the DC Universe; “evil” or whatever, but right about how to fix the world.

CREDITS

Sinestro, Part Two; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Doug Mahnke; inkers, Christian Alamy and Keith Champagne; colorist, David Baron; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Darren Shan and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 38 (April 2009)

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Some revelations this issue. Well, for me anyway. First, Superwoman works for Thunderbolt Ross (sorry, Sam Lane–again, who ever said Johns’s Superman: Secret Origin was better in terms of continuity revising than Byrne’s Man of Steel? Not me). Second, she’s not Kryptonian. Do these revelations have anything do with Supergirl? I mean, the book’s called Supergirl. Maybe. I’m sure they’ll play out in action scenes anyway.

Otherwise, there’s not much Supergirl here. Superwoman kicks her butt and Kara crawls home to Lana, one of those nice relationships I wanted to see more of but don’t get to because of the New Krypton stuff. Gates is good at those scenes. He’s also good at the stuff with Agent Liberty’s death and Lucy Lane (maybe the series should just be called, Superman’s Women) and the Metropolis detective.

Some very nice Igle art–and from Clark on the backup.

It’s nearly fine.

CREDITS

Who is Superwoman?, Part Two: Clashes; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Keith Champagne. Origins & Omens; artist, Matthew Clark. Writer, Sterling Gates; colorist, Nei Ruffino; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 37 (March 2009)

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This issue’s a little bit better. There’s a lot of down time with Supergirl (why she wears make-up, I’m not sure–it’s a big Gates is a guy writing a female character moment) hanging out with Superwoman. The development of Supergirl being her mother’s pawn is a little weak and Gates doesn’t spend any time trying to give Alura any depth.

It must be a DC editorial directive to have lame Superman villains.

There’s a lot of nice stuff in the issue, mostly because Igle gets how to balance the superhero comic. Supergirl hanging out at the sun, flying through the city with Superwoman, it all looks fantastic.

I’m sure some of the problem is I haven’t read the crossovers (it reminds so much of the nineties it’s a little scary); I don’t understand the existing character relationships.

But it’s decent. Gates writes good dialogue for his real characters.

CREDITS

Who is Superwoman?, Part One: Puzzle Pieces; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Keith Champagne; colorist, Nei Ruffino; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 36 (February 2009)

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Ah, so it’s Supergirl’s mother who’s a psycho nut… Interesting choice.

There’s some very nice Igle art this issue. He’s got a lot to do here–battle scenes, talking heads scenes, a memorial service. He does fine work. Maybe a little fast on Supergirl’s father dying, but still… nice work.

As for the writing, Gates is constrained. He’s writing a big crossover event installment. He’s got to get the plot from point A to point B so the next guy can pick it up (I’m safe saying guy because I’m talking about Superman comics).

Turning Supergirl’s mother into a one dimensional villain isn’t outlandish, because the character was a one dimensional bitch last issue. Not much of a push.

I started reading Gates’s Supergirl because I’d heard good things. If I hadn’t, this issue might have made me give up–this New Krypton stuff reads like a bad nineties crossover.

CREDITS

New Krypton, Part Eight: Death in the House of El; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Keith Champagne; colorist, Tom Chu; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 35 (January 2009)

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Did anyone complain about Cat Grant being revised into a mean-spirited harpy? I mean, she’s the villain of this series. Well, maybe her and Supergirl’s parents. I’m not sure if Gates is going for it, but it’s very difficult to assume they’re benevolent.

Being a New Krypton crossover, Gates has some goofy stuff in a few parts of the issue (Lois’s evil dad and his sidekicks), but he manages it well. The issue focuses on the restoration of Kara’s memory–along with a cameo from The Terminator–and it gives him some good scenes between her and her parents. Assuming, of course, they’re not really evil.

The pacing isn’t great, however. Gates doesn’t get to spend all that much time with his protagonist and the supporting cast is barely present.

Nice work from Igle as well. He does a great job at humanizing Supergirl, giving her vulnerability.

It’s solid.

CREDITS

New Krypton, Part Five: The Secret Origin of Supergirl; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Keith Champagne; colorist, Nei Ruffino; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 34 (December 2008)

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So now Superman has another LL in his life? This issue is my first Supergirl in a while (I wasn’t going to read the Ian Churchill stuff, sorry).

Before I get to the writing, a moment on Igle. Igle manages to make the issue feel both iconic and human. He’s got these very cinematic talking heads sequences of Superman and Supergirl on a skyscraper, Lana Lang and Supergirl on the farm in Smallville–his Clark Kent even has some Christopher Reeve mannerisms. He’s also handles the action ably.

Gates does write first person female narration, which I question, but it’s mostly action oriented so it’s not a major pratfall. The issue’s full, he’s able to move between emphasized characters really well and he personalizes Supergirl’s dilemma.

It’s an impressive superhero book, great looking, inventive and thoughtful. Much better than I expected.

Though, I guess I don’t know what I expected.

CREDITS

Why the World Doesn’t Need Supergirl; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Keith Champagne; colorist, Nei Ruffino; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Nachie Castro and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

The Mighty 12 (March 2010)

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Someone thought this issue cut it as a close? I mean, really? For twelve issues–for thirty-six bucks–they thought this cut it? The wife’s back from the dead. No one notices? She and the husband go flying around, no one notices? What about all the other super-powered people in Alpha One’s basement? No mention of them.

Ed Brubaker, when talking about a Doctor Doom series he was writing, said something about how the scariest part of Doom and his master plan is, Doom is probably right. Well, Alpha One isn’t exactly wrong here. When Cole gets up and gives his lame speech (how they wasted a whole issue on this nonsense is beyond me, could they have padded more?), he’s talking out of his patoot. It’s embarrassing. Worst is the news media applauds his asinine statement.

But the art… the art almost makes it worthwhile.

But not.

CREDITS

And in the End; writers, Peter J. Tomasi and Keith Champagne; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

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