The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 6/25/2008: Final Crisis, New Avengers, Superman, and more!

Written by: The CinCitizens

ImageWeek after week, every Wednesday, there is a sudden influx of content in the comic book world. It's CC2K's job to sift through the garbage to find the gold. Every week we'll be bringing you reviews on the widest range of books possible. This week: Hulk, Marvel 1985, Superman, Final Crisis, Trinity and more!

Superman #677 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – James Robinson
Pencils – Renato Guedes
Inks – Wilson Magalhaes
Colors – Hi-Fi
Letters – Ron Leigh
Cover – Alex Ross

Finally. FINALLY! DC has given their flagship Superman a much needed injection of quality. While Busiek's run on the title wasn't awful, it wasn't anything new and exciting either. The addition of acclaimed writer James Robinson on the title along with new penciller Renato Guedes looks to give a new direction to the Man of Steel, and as stated in previous interviews, close ties with Geoff Johns' Action Comics to form a cohesive storytelling unit for Superman. This issue, while it has a lot of the same standard fare of a typical Superman story (giant monsters, Big Blue Boy scoutness), Robinson presents them in a new way, through the eyes of Travis DuBarry, a member of an elite squad that because of Superman's heroics often gets relegated to cleanup duty.

Using Travis as the narrator sheds a different light on the public's take on Supes, and not all of it is positive. Robinson presents a very interesting story device with his narrator and I hope to see things stem out it. And of course, characterization is spot on. The opening pages of this issue is, quite simply, perfect. Set aside the fact that I'm biased due to the return of Krypto, DC's best and greatest character of all time, and you still have a scene that evokes the very essence of who Superman is. Simply by playing fetch with his dog and an average conversation with Hal Jordan, Robinson is able to portray in his opening pages who he thinks Superman is, and I wouldn't hesitate to think that the rest of his time on this book will play to those characteristics.

Bringing in Guedes on art was a solid move for the book, and he brings a level of detail to the work that in many ways is comparable to Gary Frank's Action Comics, yet another example of the publisher really trying to unify these two books. Everything from Guedes' expressions to his detailed cityscapes and backgrounds completely add to the experience of reading this book.

I can't express to you how excited I am that this book seems to be back on track. Let's be honest, Superman is (should be) DC's biggest title, and the fact that it's been lackluster for so long is a shame. If this first issue of their run is any indication, Robinson and Guedes, along with Johns and Frank, are going to give us one hell of an epic.

Plus, Krypto is back.

4.5 out of 5. CC2K's Comic of the Week!



ImageBatman: Gotham After Midnight #2 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Steve Niles
Artist – Kelley Jones
Colors – Michelle Madsen
Letters – Pat Brosseau

The first issue of Gotham After Midnight had fun drawing its’ own blurry line as to where the 60’s television shows’ tone ended and the ’89 movies’ feel began. That line has become a little clearer, and the book is more in line with the Burton films. Exaggerated, stylistically spooky criminals are running amok as they think they’ve caught and killed the Batman himself. RIP, right? Wrong. He’s simply creating a diversion and rethinking his tactics to take out as many thugs as he can, as quickly as he can. All in good fun, all action packed, and all part of the twelve part series’ second issue.

I’m not sure what gave me the Adam West feel about the first issue, because this issue makes that seem like a massive misfire. All of that silliness doesn’t even take the form of a subtle insert, and the book reads like a Burtonistic side story, or a sequel, maybe, to Batman Returns. The artwork is exaggerated, and it couldn’t be more fun. Seeing a Batman with massive ears and dark, angry eyes is to see him as an observer and not in a personal way as one is getting a mouthful of with the current regular series. It’s interesting to see Batman in the dark, and shadowy, unknown and almost as a mystical, supernatural figure. These are the hours between midnight and seven in Gotham City, it seems.

Supernatural is a good word to describe the book. Not just for the characters that Batman is chasing after, who are looking for a magic skull and carry axes and wear weird top hats, but for Batman himself, who is demonic and vampire-like in his demeanor. Not anywhere near the level he has been portrayed in the past, though. He is certainly still a man.

While he hasn’t mustered up the kind of excitement and played on the weirdness of Bruce Wayne that Grant Morrison has in just a few issues, Steve Niles has managed to dust off a style of Dark Knight that hasn’t been portrayed since the Michael Keaton days. A re-invention, while it comes to mind, is too strong of a statement to give the series, but its’ certainly fresh and exciting. The only hope, or possibly worry at this point, is that the A-list villains won’t be given a Niles treatment. Scarecrow has shown his face, but beyond that, there hasn’t been much of an indication as to who else will show up, and it will hopefully change because they could fit extremely well in this dark, musty corner of the Batman universe.

4.0 out of 5


ImageDaredevil #108 Review by Gary M. Kenny

Writer – Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Artist –Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Letters – Vc’s Chris Eliopoulos
Cover – Marko Djurdjevic

They put Matt Murdock right back where he deserves, in the middle of a great murder case. The run of “Cruel & Unusual” has been captivating, and if you aren’t reading it, go back to the comic store, get last months issue, and pick up this one to. Three kids have been murdered and decapitated. A criminal by the name of Ben Donovan confesses and has been placed on death row. The problem is that Ben Donovan is innocent and wants to be executed. Matt Murdock is his Lawyer and wants to find out what really happened.

Brubaker and Rucka have restored my faith in Daredevil comics. For a while, I really missed Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev but with Brubaker and Rucka’s amazing storylines and Lark and Gaudianos realistic artwork, I feel like nothing has really changed, the comic has just got better.

In the last issue, Ms. Dakota North was investigating the ties between Ben Donovan and the murder. She was then attacked by an unknown thug, physically giving her a message that she better stop with the investigation or else.  In the current issue, Ms. North reports the crime to the cops and accidentally finds out that her mysterious thug is actually a federal agent. She stalks him out and gets revenge, Louisville slugger style. It’s a great scene, wonderfully drawn by Lark and Gaudianos, probably my favorite scene in the comic. Matt Murdock however tries to convince Ben Donovan to plee not guilty towards the crime. All goes wrong when Donovan head butts Murdock and screams how he did kill the kids. This does not convince Murdock at all.  The reader is left to wonder how big will this story get?

I am hooked. Every week Daredevil goes on top of my pile. Keep it coming.

4.0 Out of 5.



ImageDarkness #4 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Phil Hester
Pencils – Michael Broussard
Inks – Ryan Winn
Colors – Matt Milla
Letters – Troy Peteri

The art in this book really screams Top Cow.  While that may be an odd thing to say, especially with Stephan Sejic painting every issue of Witchblade, this just feels like old school Silvestri.  The inking is a bit scratchy, but it helps a lot with the dark tone of the book.  There are some pretty cool looking individual panels, but for the most part, the layout is plain.  A lot is going on in each of the panels, but most of the characters are just sitting still.  This issue could really be cut into three parts.  And because of that, it feels a bit disjointed.  Even so, the writing on each part with the inner monologue make it interesting enough to continue. 

Jackie talking to himself is a great way to walk through the book with him.  What little interaction there is between the characters is really just to push the plot along.  It may sound boring, but again, Jackie breathes some much needed life into the book with his inner banter.  The best thing about this issue was the end.  The cliffhanger really has me begging for more.  It’s fun having things mixed up enough to question what will happen next, but in the end, we know things will get back to the status quo.  Really, this issue sets up nicely for the final showdown of sorts, but doesn’t do enough interesting things to really be worth it.

3.0 out of 5



ImageFinal Crisis #2 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Grant Morrison
Artist – JG Jones
Colors – Alex Sinclair
Letterw – Rob Leigh

Wow! Do I really have to write more? Besides having the best covers (JG Jones) that I’ve seen in recent years, DC is finally giving us a crisis worthy of calling itself “epic.” Morrison’s plot ideas for Final Crisis, especially this “backwards firing time traveling bullet” is making his inventive run on New X-Men seem like it was just third grade class summer reading. In this issue, Morrison teases us with the beatings of John Stewart, the blow up scene of the Daily Planet (a possible death of Lois Lane), and the capture and torture of Batman. And those are just some of the cliffhangers.

JG Jones really steps up in this issue, the minute I saw Batman’s face, as it was filled with agony when he was prodded by seven needles in the head, I cringed. That’s not even the half of it, for those that hate the Madhatter, well Christmas came early, Jones draws a vicious scene with the Hatter getting his teeth knocked in as he quivers inside a bloody rest room. The artwork feels animated. It flows like a movie, especially because of Jones’s choice of camera angles and shadows.

Now the thing that is going to bother many readers is the return of Barry Allen. However, hasn’t Barry Allen appeared multiple times in other comics since his death over twenty-three years ago? I say, let Morrison play. He would not just bring back a character for the sake of bringing back a character. Recently, a New York Daily News story about Final Crisis talked about the return of Barry Allen with writer Geoff Johns stating, "When the greatest evil comes back to the DC Universe, the greatest hero needed to return." I cannot believe how psyched I am, this is going to be one great comic epic. Pick it up.

5.0 out of 5!




ImageHulk #4 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Jeph Loeb
Pencils – Ed McGuinness
Inks – Dexter Vines
Colors – Jason Keith & Guru EFX
Letters – Albert Deschesne

After the useless King-Size Hulk, everyone’s favorite jolly green giant is back with the best issue of his regular series yet. That’s not to say, of course, that it’s perfect, but it is leaps and radioactive bounds better than it has been in its’ preceding issues. The Red Hulk and the Green Hulk (who I suppose is just Hulk, they should come up with a new name for the red one) have come face to face and are going toe to toe, a fight worthy enough to bring The Watcher around to give it a look. After pounding on his giant baby head, Red finally faces off with Green. It’s a battle of the two top Christmas colors ensues, and much fun is to be had. If ever there was a “popcorn comic” in the vein of a movie of the same kind, this is certainly it. Built with more of a brain and what seems like more interested writing than its’ current theatrical counter part, Hulk is finally beginning to flesh out. Instead of simply existing with the question of “who is the Red Hulk?” the book has decided to add mystery to the wonder, bringing another variable into play in Doc Samson and a goopy coat. Could the Red Hulk be Doc Samson? And when will Tony Stark inevitably fly in between the two dueling goliaths?

The exciting thing is, the questions the book’s beginning to raise haven’t been what they were in the past. Instead of wondering why I’m wasting 3 dollars on a book long delayed with nothing good happening, I’m beginning to care, with interest, about who the Red Hulk might be and how he’s going to affect the situation at hand. Although, that having been said, the situation at hand isn’t really clear. While World War Hulk is passed, it doesn’t seem as if anyone in this storyline is concerned about a massive Skrull invasion.

A book that was once a lazy and pointless read is finally beginning to turn into something. It’s still a toss-up as to whether or not it’s totally worth the money, but from this point on, it will most likely be something better to read. The fights and panels are no longer pointless fireworks, and the dialogue exchanges between the two Hulks are amusing and entertaining. A book with depth, this is not, and chances are with the demand for smash-and-crash style Hulk high, it will stay that way, but with better-than-average inking and its’ own fun style it could become something to consistently invest in. The only worry at this point would be the current arc becoming long and drawn out, like Captain America’s has become, with nothing fresh or new to come along with it. But, for now and with hopefully no distractions, Hulk will be one of the strongest ones there is. Kind of.

3.5 out of 5



Hulk #4 A Second Opinion Review by Gary M. Kenny & Kylei Leech
Writer – Jeph Loeb
Artist – Ed McGuinness
Inks – Dexter Vines
Colors – Jason Keith and Guru EFX
Letters – RS and Comicraft’s Albert Dechesne

“Is the bald guy a girl?” My girlfriend asks. “No, it’s a guy, his name is the Watcher, read the bubble it states his origin.” I reply. “But why does he wear a dress?” “No silly, that’s a robe, think Toga parties.”

KL : I think its weird how the Green Hulk sounds like a moron. It makes me want him to get his ass kicked.  And what happened at the end? Why does the guy from Adventures in Baby Sitting show up? He comes out of nowhere.

GK: Good point! Ok, do you like the artwork?

KL: The artwork is ok. However, on several pages all you see are their heads and half their bodies (green and red Hulk) and it kind of looks like Christmas. I feel like it’s a waste of space. There is one page where all you see are their faces four different times. Another page has Red Hulk’s teeth in one column and Green Hulk’s blurry eyeball in another, what’s that about? It gets better at the end when you can actually see scenery and not just their heads. They aren’t that attractive anyway. I don’t want to see five pages of their ugly faces.

GK: Did you like the story?

KL: Uh, it was just the Green Hulk getting his butt kicked the whole time. It’s boring, I mean it doesn’t even look like he’s putting up a fight. He’s all talk and no show. “The madder Hulk gets. The stronger Hulk gets.” And then he still gets his butt whooped.

GK: Out of a score of 1 through 5. What would you score this comic?

KL: Coming from someone who doesn’t read comics, I mean I just saw the Hulk movie, and that was good, but this, wasn’t that good. It left me kind of disappointed, because the Hulk’s not the badass I thought he was. It wasn’t that good, so I would give it a 1. However, I did like Thor at the end. So I will give it an extra .5, so my final score is a 1.5 out of 5.

GK: This weeks Hulk is all action no story. It comes with some very old school Marvel fight scenes and for those following the story it looks as if Doc Samson (I called it in issue 1) is the Red Hulk. Sorry if I ruined the surprise, but Loeb’s writing isn’t what it used to be. My girlfriend did a great job describing McGuinness’s art.   Only thing I can really add is that at the end there is a terrific mini-marvel story by Audrey Loeb. Which I will reward Hulk issue #4 with an extra point giving my final score:

2.5 out of 5.



ImageLost Boys: Reign of Frogs #2 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Hans Rodionoff
Pencis – Joel Gomez
Inks – Don Ho
Colors – Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letters – Steve Wands
Cover – Jonathan Wayshak & Randy Mayor

The release of Lost Boys: The Tribe inches closer and closer, so close, in fact, that setbacks seem impossible for fans that are anticipating it. Unfortunately, issue two settles in as a setback in that it’s not very good. What was once exciting and a new look at the underrated and oft-overlooked vampire hunters, the Frog Brothers, has become a book of boring self references and useless vampire killing.

The Frog Brothers have returned from Washington DC to be faced with none other than David, the vampire they smarted in the original Lost Boys film. When all was thought to be lost, they are rescued by their friend Sam Emerson, making his first appearance in the book since being subtly referenced in the opening issue. Be it a rights issue or a lack of effort, no one looks like their acting counterparts and it hurts the credibility of the book. Where as the first issue, or at least its’ cover, could help in differentiating one Frog from the next by specific hairstyles and colors, all three boys have the same color hair and same styles, making it impossible to tell the difference between them, other than “subtle” aspects. Unfortunately, goatee dusting isn’t enough to be able to tell which brother Alan is and which Edgar is. Not to mention the straight, boring hairstyles of all three boys. They seemed to put plenty of effort into David’s mulletted appearance, so there’s no excuse for the brothers’ Frog or for Sam to look so similar.

Getting over the unnecessary resurrection of David, his appearance is moderately entertaining. He speaks the same, is just as nasty and mean, and is depicted in a way to make it feel as if he were definitely the same character. The book feels too much like a retread, a fan fiction nod to the movie it has spun off of. While it might seem like a good idea to reference Grandpa’s double stuffed Oreos directly by name, it’s the subtle references that pan out well and don’t seem contrived. This issue has none of those, like the first issue did. Not to mention a massively bizarre turn it takes on its’ final panel, it isn’t very strong. The positive lies in the fact that it is still Lost Boys, and Lost Boys is just too entertaining to be horrible. The cheese, the action, and the adventure is all fun no matter what. It’s just too bad it doesn’t look, or feel, like Lost Boys, at this point. It still has two more issues left though, so all hope is not lost. Stay on board if you are a fan.

2.5 out of 5.






ImageMarvel 1985 #2 Review by Gary M. Kenny
Writer – Mark Millar
Artist – Tommy Lee Edwards
Letters – John Workman

Originally, instead of artwork, Millar was going to have photographs of people dressed in super villain costumes, I guess it looked stupid so they had Edwards step in and draw. Though the idea is strong: a young boy living in the year 1985 sees real life superheroes and villains and nobody believes him, (think Harry Potter, now replace magic and witches with comic books) but the outcome is a tad bland.

In the second issue, our young hero Toby smells and experiences the awesomeness that is the Hulk. He witnesses a fight between the Green Goliath and the Juggernaut. Then Toby tells his dad his experience and no one believes him. Place filler pages, a good breaking and entering scene with the Sandman and Electro, and you have the comic.

I feel a little cheated. I want this comic to work. I love the covers and I really want something fun and gripping. I mean this is a Mark Millar comic; he is comics’ beer drinking fun guy, so why doesn’t this comic deliver? The art by Edwards is terrific some pages, especially in this issue with the look of disbelief on Toby as he sees the Hulk for the first time, but on the filler pages, its dribble. 1985 is a million dollar idea and it’s as if they are only investing twenty dollars into it. I will keep picking the rest of the series up because I believe in Mark Millar and I do think Tommy Lee Edwards is a terrific artist. I only hope I’m still not disappointed by issue six.

2.0 out of 5.




ImageNew Avengers #42 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils – Jim Cheung
Inks – John Dell
Colors – Justin Ponsor
Letters – Albert Deschesne
Cover: Aleksi Briclot

So I guess Brian Michael Bendis was telling the truth when he said he had been laying the groundwork for Secret Invasion since the beginning of the New Avengers.  We finally get some back story of what exactly is going on with Spider-Woman and how she fit into the whole Invasion.  To put it plainly, everything from Avengers Disassembled up until House of M makes sense now.  What’s great about it is that all the odd scenes that didn’t really make much sense, replayed here, all fit with the overall story.  The dialogue between the Skrulls makes sense for an alien race and the planning just helps make things more coherent.  And even if Bendis didn’t have this clearly in mind when he wrote those stories a few years ago, he totally makes it look like he did.  This is turning out to be one of the biggest and most thought out crossover events…ever.

On the art side of things, Jim Cheung knocks this one out of the park(I’m watching a lot of baseball recently).  The whole issue looks great, but there’s one splash page that is pretty breathtaking.  Considering most of this issue is talking heads, he does a great job of conveying the feelings that each of the characters are going through and an even better job of recreating older scenes almost exactly.  The art and words work together so fluidly that I didn’t see a single thing out of place throughout the whole issue.  And enough can’t be said about the eye catching covers that this book has had.  The lineup with the Skrull faces comes off really well and the Cosmic Code Authority is a great touch.

New Avengers
really is the place to learn more about Secret Invasion.  The groundwork put down in this book is paying off, and going back to revisit the older stories to put them in a more current context is a great touch.  I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens to them after Secret Invasion.

4.5 out of 5


ImageRunaways #30 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Joss Whedon
Pencils – Michael Ryan
Inks – Rick Ketcham, Victor Olazaba, Roland Paris, Craig Yeung
Colors – Christina Strain
Letters – VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover – Jo Chen

Hey, everyone! Remember when Whedon and Ryan's "Dead End Kids" arc started in  #25, last April? As in, April of 2007. Yeah, me either really. Honestly, I'm really not one to bitch and moan about delays. Yes, they suck, but what can you do. They sucked so badly on this title that Marvel is relaunching the series with yet another volume (it's third), and  a new #1 starting in August with writer Terry Moore and artist Humberto Ramos. As we saw with Astonishing X-Men delays on Whedon's books seem well worth it. Unfortunately, Runaways #30 doesn't reach that same level of quality that justify the wait.

I think that I mentioned in my review of issue #29 that I can barely remember what happened an issue previous. And since I'm pretty sure the last issue of this book came out back in February, the same thing applies here. Anything that comes back around full circle in this conclusion issue are is completely lost on me. Regardless, the points of characterization that relate to each character's overall persona and previous histories all play out incredibly well. For instance, a moment featuring Chase talking with Nico about seeing Gert still alive and well when he went through time was really moving. There are lots of moments like these, but none of them link together because the story in-between is so lost on me. In trade format, this arc is probably wonderful, but on an issue to issue basis, it just doesn't cut it when you factor in delays.

Michael Ryan's work, though, is at its worst, gorgeous. Although he did not create this characters, I think his presentation of them is truly the best in their history. This of course is amplified by the fine line work of the inkers (why are there so many?), and combined it makes for some of the finest interiors that Marvel is pumping out. Ramos' work coming up looks to be moving away from Ryan's work stylistically, at least judging from the solicits thus far. I personally am not a fan of the anime style that Runaways has been drawn in sporadically in guest artist issues, even though the character designs do generally derive from the style. Having this be the new definite presentation on the book is slightly troubling, but these characters are strong enough on their own merits that the book will still prove enjoyable.

In the end, issue #30 leaves you with a taste of "what could've been" rather than anything that resembles satisfying. Instead, we only get a head full of wishful thinking that this creative team would stay on this book, and be able to deliver it monthly. Alas, it is not to be.

3.0 out of 5.




Star Wars: Dark Times #12 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Mick Harrison
Artist(s) – Dave Ross and Douglas Wheatley
Colors – Dave McCaig
Letters – Michael Heisler
Cover – Douglas Wheatley

Take this for what it's worth, but Dark Times #12 marks my end with the Star Wars comics. I tried to stay on for "Vector", but after this issue, I just can't see myself pretending to give a shit for another six installments. And as for Dark Times itself, after beginning in October of 2006, and currently only being on issue #12, and announcing at the end of this issue that it's going on hiatus until 2009, there is nothing here that makes me want to keep spending money on a story that so far, hasn't delivered on any of its promises.

And while "Vector" has seen a vast improvement since it hit Dark Times, all it really did was give Darth Vader an excuse to have a lightsaber fight with someone. This issue's art duties are split in two, with regular series artist Wheatley relegated to the last half of the issue, and Dave Ross doing the first half. Both artists do their job well but in different styles. Stylistically, I prefer Wheatley and the smooth finishes he provides on every panel, as well as the consistency it provides with the rest of the series. The art team is the only real highlight of the book, and they aren't given much to draw that is of any interest to anyone.

Yeah, Vader fights. Woo. It doesn't mean anything, and as we all know the thing that makes a good saber fight is its emotional core. Example: A New Hope has probably the worst fight choreography of all time, yet the fight is exciting and emotional because of the characters involved. Here, they are just fighting for fightings sake. Stupid. Don't bother with this, or any of the titles in the Star Wars line, until they decide to actually do something worthwhile instead of just making up names with three vowels in a row. I'm a hardcore Star Wars fan in every respect, but these comics just don't get it. When a character dies in issue #12, we should be in tears, not trying to remember who the hell she was in the first place.

1.5 out of 5.




ImageTeen Titans #60 Review by Tom Lynch

Writer – Sean McKeever
Pencils – Eddy Barrows
Inks – Ruy Jose
Colors – Rod Reis
Letters – Travis Lanham

Well, there goes another arc of the Teen Titans…I guess.  The idea behind the latest story didn’t make much sense to me last issue, and it continues to confuse me now.  Why exactly does the Clock King need the Titans again?  And what does that have to do with the Dark Side Club?  I think they were trying to trade them for something, but why couldn’t Dark Side just do it himself?  And right there is the main problem with this issue.  Just confusing.  There are some cool character moments with Kid Devil and some cooler ones with Ravager, but in all, not much development.  And then on top of that, the conclusion to the big showdown made no freaking sense.  Why did he do that?  Absolutely no reason.  And the most interesting story thread left is getting split into it’s own miniseries.  What the hell?

Barrows does some great work with his part of the book though.  The art on the characters and in the fight scenes are great and really give some life to the book.  There are a couple wonky looking panels, but overall it’s a good looking book.  The camera angles that he plays with are fun and bring a lot to the storytelling.  Too bad he was stuck with such a confusing story.  One of the best parts was when Blue Beetle announces he won against his opponents and we didn’t have to sit through another pointless fight scene.

Looking back up at this, I obviously was pretty down on this issue.  It did have some neat moments, but the ending just left a bad taste in my mouth.  Hard to recommend this one.

2.0 out of 5



ImageThunderbolts #121 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Warren Ellis
Artist – Mike Deodato, Jr.
Colors – Rain Beredo
Letters – Albert Deschesne
Cover – Marko Djurdjevic

First and foremost, the cover for this issue is fantastic, other than the fact that it doesn’t really show off the Green Goblin’s true colors. His costume has always screamed insanity. With its’ bright green and bright purple tights, it has always seemed one of the more believable comic costumes, simply because it looks like something a psychopath could definitely wear. So while the maniacal mask is in tact and shown off, with Venom beneath his feet smiling and looking on from a defeated perspective, Norman Osborn doesn’t look as insane as he should amongst a fire full of defeated Thunderbolts.

This is, in a sense, what is wrong with the issue. It moves between ups and downs, at times showing what a nutcase the Thunderbolts leader is, but mostly making him seem tame. Killing a dozen security men and tearing apart Swordsman and many others in the area doesn’t seem tame, but somehow it manages to be a PG-13 version when it could realistically and more excitingly be portrayed much worse than that. It may be an impossibility to show, but it’s all that can be wondered about and expected when reading a book consisting mostly of villains.

The book does have its’ pluses, including a fight between Norman and Songbird that’s painstakingly and excitingly brutal. Taking no reservations with the fact that Songbird is a woman, Green Goblin takes slamming her head into the pavement a step further, verbally berating her as they go toe to toe. It would make chauvinists everywhere proud. Not to mention as the fight finishes and the “sane” Norman Osborn returns, all bets are off as he lies through his teeth about the Green Goblin even returning and becomes the lying, cheating, and shifty business executive he’s always been.

The problem with this story arc lies in that the characters aren’t too easily familiarized. I’ve been on board for a good number of issues and have no idea who “Robbie” is, and I’m sure I should. Other than the fact that he looks like Edward Norton, it’s not too easy to figure out who he is. The book has always seemed to be a way to bring D or C list characters to the forefront, but it hurts the A-listers in Norman Osborn who have no one to interact with. Maybe the addition of Bullseye will help, but even more exciting is the tie-in with Secret Invasion that is around the corner. Until then, this issue isn’t the Green Goblin feast it promised itself to be. Hopefully, he’ll show himself again in the future.

3.0 out of 5



ImageTrinity #4 Review by Joey Esposito
Writer – Kurt Busiek
Artist – Mark Bagley
Inks – Art Thibert
Colors – Pete Pantazis
Letters – Pat Brosseau
Cover – Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino

Back-up Feature:
Story – Kurt Busiek
Writer – Fabian Nicieza
Arist(s) – Mike Norton, Jerry Ordway, Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Colors – Allen Passalaqua
Letters – Pat Brosseau

Issue #4 of Trinity marks the second abysmal installment in a row of this weekly series. All the same problems of last week's issue have returned, including a back-up feature that makes no sense and that I could care less about. Aside from Gangbuster being present sans Gangbuster getup, there is nothing remotely interesting to me about the Tarot reading girl and her dreams featureing…Despero? I'm fairly certain that Busiek and Nicieza are setting up larger plot elements here, but do they have to make it so god damn boring?

The main feature suffers from the same problems as well, featuring superheroics of the most cliched nature and offering nothing of the epic, well themed storytelling that Busiek promised in the very first issue. Bagley's pencils are at least a constant, providing something fun to look at when the words on the page start doing nothing more than stabbing your eyeballs with mediocrity.

I want to keep my faith in DC and the storytellers, but if next week delivers another crap out installment, I'm dropping this book immediately.

1.0 out of 5.