Pull of the Week:
Green Lantern #46 – DC – $2.99
As Blackest Night continues, as does the rest of the saga of Hal Jordan and the other Lantern Corps. This issue picks up immediately following the Indigo Lantern teleporting Hal away from the Flash in Blackest Night #3, Hal finds himself in the middle of the Star Sapphires battle with the Sinestro Corps as well as the Black Lanterns.
In the process of the attack from the Black Lanterns, the Star Sapphires must also worry about the threat of the Predator being released. Sharing the secret of how to destroy the Black Lanterns with Star Sapphire, Indigo-1 quickly transports away Hal, Sinestro and Star Sapphire as they try to gather bearers of the various lights. But to unite the various Corps, the split within the Sinestro Corps must be mended and only have one leader. Hal, Sinestro and Star Sapphire quickly realize that the Indigo Lantern has transported them to face off against Mongul, the Yellow Lantern who has tried usurping Sinestro’s power.
Green Lantern #46 is a great addition to the “Blackest Night” story. In many ways, it has a touch of the epic galactic storytelling that made War of Kings such a good story as well. The encounters of this book don’t just affect those on planet earth. This story is one that feels like it has the potential behind it to change everything. But even as this monstrously large storyline takes place, Geoff Johns makes sure to include some quality character building on top of the story. There are tons of callbacks to Sinestro’s past, especially focusing on Abin Sur, the Green Lantern who passed his ring on to Hal Jordan and had always spoke openly of the prophecies surrounding the Blackest Night.
Doug Mahnke’s artwork is fantastic throughout, only overshadowed by Ivan Reis’s work in Blackest Night. The action sequences through are phenomenal and his take on the Black Lanterns and their powers are superb. The artwork of the series can’t be discussed without mentioning Randy Mayor’s colors which really bring all the colors of the spectrum to life, giving off the different emotions associated with them in an impressive way.
The negative to the issue comes for those who aren’t purchasing all the “Blackest Night” tie-in issues. While it’s likely that those reading Blackest Night are also Green Lantern readers, the past two Green Lantern issues have been pretty integral in the understanding of the “Blackest Night” story. While it is possible to follow along without them, the biggest plot points have occurred in either Blackest Night itself or Green Lantern. If you have only been reading Blackest Night, picking up this issue will help make the story as a whole a lot more enjoyable and make it make a lot more sense in the process.
Spider-Man: Clone Saga #1 – Marvel – $3.99
When people look back to the days when Marvel was on the brink of collapse and the comic book industry itself was looked at as failing, immediately the nineties come to mind. Tacky dialogue, convoluted stories, over dramatic artwork and unnecessary chrome variant covers.
And right in the heart of the nineties was the “Clone Saga”. Supposed to be a short story arc following the events of Harry Osborn’s death and the seeming resurrection of Peter’s parents, Peter Parker’s clone, calling himself Ben Reilly, returned as it was thought that Aunt May was going to die. The story itself dragged on much longer than it should have for various reasons and was regarded as many as the death of Spider-Man as it brought Marvel’s golden boy so far away from the quality stories that used to surround him. Now, years later, some of the original writers attempt to reconcile the story as they feel it should have gone.
Spider-Man: Clone Saga #1 screams of the nineties in both its artwork and its dialogue. Compared to the style of current Spider-Man scribes like Bendis, Slott and Kelly, the dialogue feels archaic in nature. Everything said is over explained and loses any feel of reality. And I’m not referring to the fact that a guy is swinging around the city in spandex. No one actually talks like the people do in this issue.
To claim that this six issue miniseries is a reimagining of the “classic” story is heartwrenchingly true for all the wrong reasons as it still feels just as agonizing to read now as it did then. Unlike Clairmont’s X-Men Forever which has taken the series in a completely off the wall direction, this story just feels like the same things that it was hated for in the past, except it has been crunched down in to fewer issues. The addition of references to pop culture that didn’t exist during the original Clone Saga like Mini-Coopers and American Idol also quickly pull the reader out of the story.
The artwork leaves tons to be desired between the overdone muscles of the characters and the strange style of coloring that screams nineties. Even Mary Jane, possibly the most gorgeous leading lady in comics, somehow looks unattractive in this issue. Much like Ben Reilly who in current continuity has been literally reduced to dust, this story should have stayed buried. If you lived through the original “Clone Saga”, don’t torture yourself by going through it again.
Die Hard: Year One #1 – Boom! Studios – $3.99
When one hears “Die Hard” the first thing that comes to mind is usually John McClane and terrorists of some kind… This is not that Die Hard. Instead, Die Hard: Year One goes back to the country’s bicentennial and the story of John McClane’s first partner and the conspiracy that surrounds him plotting to have his wife killed. There are no classic action sequences.
No “Yipee-ki-yay”. No troubled marriage. Nothing about the book feels like Die Hard at all. Though narrated by McClane, nothing at all about this resembles what is most loved about the Die Hard franchise. There is no sharp wit from the main character, nor is there any character building to engage a reader unfamiliar with the franchise. If someone has no previous knowledge of the series, there is nothing to pull them in to this read or make them care about one of the most beloved movie action stars ever, John McClane.
Stephen Thompson’s artwork is very dry and bland throughout the issue. The characters appear very static and boring, even during the short chase scene between McClane and a pickpocket. The writing itself follows the same bland standards. The traditional humor associated with the franchise isn’t present at all during the entire issue, nor is any level of real excitement. Writer Howard Chaykin, who had previously worked as the cover artist on Pull List favorite G.I. Joe: Cobra shows that he may have been a much stronger asset to the book as an artist than he did here as a writer.
Overall, Die Hard: Year One is a letdown but I am willing to give it another month to see if it picks up to what one would expect from the franchise. After all Die Hard has given us, it was just surprising to see a story that just fell so far from the style of any of the films. With some luck the series will still have a chance to redeem itself moving forward but only time will tell if it can live up to the lofty expectations set by the summer blockbuster film series.