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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Re: Wow, I beat Daveym!! :)
Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 11:26:14 am EDT (Viewed 492 times)
Reply Subj: Wow, I beat Daveym!! :)
Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 02:27:08 pm EDT (Viewed 19 times)

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Love it still. The storyline is really amping up with the introduction of the Atom and the fact that Kendra and Al already know each other. Her story will be interesting. I'm thinking she is relatively new to earth. After the situation with Darkseid, aliens may not have been too welcomed on the earth and she was detained by the 'world army'? Maybe her and Al were a pseudo couple...nah! Al seems to have retained all his bluster, I like that about him. Short men and their Napolean Complexes: don't date them, but nice to have in a fight (though they usually start it). Wonder what his powers are besides growing. Here they have combined the Atom with the original character and...Nuklon? Darn! The name of the Al's nephew escapes me. He was the one with the growing/shrinking powers, right?

Jay is lovely. Just the right amount of heroism and naivete. I like the interaction between him and Kendra. I hope they turn into great pals.

Alan's dialogue makes me squirm. It's too hookey for my taste. But I did love the fact about the inability to create constructs right off the back. How often does one receive powers, yet instantly know how to use them. You? Me neither. (don't ask what my superpower is...).

And one more thing....please decide on the shape of Hawkwoman's (yeah I know that isn't her name and it bothers me) helmet. There are a lot of inconsistencies with the way it is drawn. I know what the aim is, but execution is lacking.

Till next month.

Eh, well, I've had a very busy weekend... \(beret\)

Straight away I have to say I didn't enjoy this issue as much as the previous three, the plotting of the story runs into some fundamental problems with this issue as I think it's far too soon to have a showdown with the villain of the piece when the cast of heroes is still so few and unfamiliar. So far all we have is Hawkgirl, The Green Lantern and The (just now named) Flash. This issue sees the introduction of The Atom but he's not at all associated with this nascent JSA so I can't quite count him. This book is a ground zero relaunch with everyone needing to be introduced and set up afresh, so James Robinson has an enourmous amount of work to do with this setting-the-stage and bringing on the main threat.
With only three issues in we have three of the heroes barely introduced and a vaguely defined evil very abruptly introduced in the form of The Grey and its avatar on earth - Grundy. These seem to be aspects of decay and the natural forces of Supernature abroad on the earth, for instance Alan is an Avatar of the Earth's lifeforce and self preservation, a protector and automatic archrival to Grundy.
Grundy is a heavily reworked version of the old Solomon Grundy character first appearing way back in the early 1940s, he was an undead brute ressurected from the remains of an ancient murder victim and effectively immortal and unkillable in the longterm sense of the word, for such a limited character as he was I found myself missing him while reading this updated version this issue... the new Grundy bizzarely has less of a personality or charm than the old version, which is a very worrying idea given his supposed importance to the book and threat to the World.
But I'm drifting here, let's look at the issue itself and break it down:

We open on a scene nearing the end of the Apokalips War in Papua New Guinea, we saw this event unfolding in the first issue and over in the opening issue of World's Finest which showed how Supergirl & Robin departed Earth 2. Here a squad of troopers arrive in the aftermath of the Atomic explosion we saw in World's Finest and find Al Pratt's body, incredibly he has survived the blast and is comatose in a crater resembling a huge hand print!
Flashing forward to today Al Pratt is en route to Washington, which as we saw last issue is under attack, as the Military's secret weapon he is charged with resolving the situation.
Elsewhere in Poland The Flash & Hawkgirl are caught in the middle of a countryside that has withing seconds turned into a dead wilderness, both are baffled by it and uncertain as to whether they might be responsible somehow - could the Flash's superspeed be doing it as a side effect for example? Hawkgirl with her enhanced senses deduces the threat is actually elsewhere but could the Flash carry her the necessary distance as they track the source? I liked this page in particular as the inexperience the two have and their newness to superheroics is very believable. Jay is just a simple and straight forward guy while Hawkgirl's character is not all that different, she just disguises it with a lot more bravado and cockiness is all.

As the two begin their inevitable journey to Washington The Green Lantern is also heading there via a flight over the Pacific Ocean, the Power ring carring him there. I have to admit Alan's characterisation and inner monologue is quite stiff and formal in my opinion given his experiences over the last day. In many ways he's a very old fashioned character unlike Jay or Kendra, he's the sort of archetypical American hero of the classic Cinema/television era, always in the right and always the strong man of the piece - like a Captain Kirk figure or a John Wayne character nothing seems to really affect him emotionally or mentally. As if he's beyond such emotion, He just IS the hero of the piece. This isn't necessarily a bad approach to a character I have to say but it does seem out of step with the three dimensional nature of those other heroes around him. They seem more relateable and human by contrast.
Back in Washington Grundy is on the rampage and killing civilians, the city is falling apart around him as decay takes hold and vines strangle the life out of it, this Grundy has a certain resemblance to Nekron of Blackest Night fame but is also highly evocactive of the Mummy Imhotep from the recently finished 'Mummy' Trilogy, except without the character or plausible motivation. Grundy rants the typical 'death & destruction' promises of such supervillains and here again is where the plot shows its shortcomings - opening arcs of new team books nearly always follow the same pattern of new team of strangers coming together to face down big superthreat/villain, what the best of them do though is give the villian of the piece a working background for doing what he's doing, and a plan to do it with. With this arc and Grundy neither of those are present. Geoff Johns Justice League opener suffered from the same problems to an extent but there at least we already knew who Darkseid was and he was established in DC lore. With Grundy and his rampage I just do not care enough.

As Hawkgirl and Flash arrive to do battle their uncertainty of what to do and how to combat Grundy is again put across nicely. Hawkgirl's characterisation is quite subtle, she projects herself as a proffesional but in reality she can struggle with problems just as much as Jay does. Hawkgirl tells Flash to set about resuing people while she takes on Grundy, she's the better fiighter so it makes sense, unfortunatly she is no match for this undead force. Fortunatly this is where The Green Lantern makes his big arrival.
As the connflict with Grundy begins in earnest there's a terrific few panels from artist Nicola Scott showing a lot happening in an instant - Grundy pinninng Green Lantern, Hawkgirl firing her crossbow in vain at him, The Flash saving people, a huge screen in the background with the newsreporter asking if this is a new age of Wonders they are witnessing... I like that one in particular as it reinforces the differences between this Earth and the main DC one. Earth 2 is coming out of a major War and as a result there is a desire for optimism, for new heroes.

The Green Lantern is having a tough time of it, his ring gives him superstrength but that isn't going to be enough to stop this threat, remembering what the apparition told him last issue he begins to wonder if he can indeed use the power for other feats, but nothing is happening, what is the missing ingredient...?
At this point The Atom makes his grand entrance, falling from an overhead plane he has grown to about 20 feet in height and lands in the middle of the fight and right on top of Grundy, Hawkgirl recognises him, and he her!? She tells him she's "not going back, ever." but that's of no interest to him and he snatches her out of the air, prisoner. Turning to the other heroes he orders them to stand down - you do not want to mess with me he says, fists crackling with power....To Be Continued

So all in all this felt like it was very by-the-numbers stuff, the last three issues were packed with information and incident but here it's straght forward superheroics with a very cliched and one-dimensional supervillain to beat on.
Nicola Scott's art continues it's high standard but is joined here by Eduardo Pansica, I hope this isn't an indicator of deadline pressures for Scott, she's far too deserving of credit for the success of this book to be at risk of forced into leaving. The coloring by Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina is similarly worthy of praise, I've been noticing the work of colorists at DC more and more, their contribution is adding a lot to many of the publishers books.
When we meet The Atom it is clear he is a dedicated soldier in the new World Army that came out of the Apokolips War. Earth it appears is a much more co-operative and smaller place after the carnage and grind of the war and there is a lingering fear Apokolips might yet return to finish up. It's a compelling situation for this book to be grounded in as not only does it emulate the original elements of their World War 2 origins it makes for a great deal of storytelling possibilities going forward. The Heroes are technically vigilante's as yet, an unknown quantity, The Atom though is the Military's mascot and secret weapon, here is a clash between rigid Authority and peoples social conscience in effect. The issue gives us the first real look at The Green Lantern's costume and in principle it's really quite good, it definitly needs a cape or cloak to go with it though, and as a uniform shade of deep green it could likely do with another color introduced to break up the monotony of it. Alan's characterisation really is too stiff on the whole to be fully convincing and I can agree with the critics who object to his response to his boyfriends death, on the one hand he may just be bottling it all up and not dealing with it on the surface, on the other though he comes across as artificial and perhaps superficial as a result. James Robinson made it very clear from day 1 that this is going to be the teams unequivocal leader and a replacement for Superman's prescence in the world, but that being the case it really was a mistake to introduce and immediatly kill off Sam as he did. The death of a loved one is a staple ingredient for motivating and creating superheroes, so it isn't the death of Sam that I object to so much as Alan's muted reaction to it and the lack of emotion.

So, issue #4, it felt like marking time and a mistake in the pacing of the opening arc. Not enough background into the why & How of The Grey and Alan's benefactor, and next issue is the Zero issue which flashes back to the Apokolips War. It's a shame the momentum of the series has hit such a sharp buffer, by the time we pick up the story with the heroes facing The Atom and Grundy it will have to switch it up to high gear and give us a twist or two to regain the series' energy. I do hope this isn't going to drive off the interest in this series...

Incidentally, the usual James Robinson Podcast courtesy of Comicvine is Here.

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