The Flash #22: The Button Part 4 Review

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Published By: DC Comics

Written By: Joshua Williamson

Art by Howard Porter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next chapter in the DC Universe Rebirth Saga has finally come to a close.  Did The Button meet expectations, or was it not quite fast enough to make the cut?

 

To do a brief recap of the third part of the event Bruce & Barry ended up in the Flashpoint timeline where Bruce got to have a short heart to heart with his father Thomas Wayne before they were attacked by the Amazonian and Atlantien forces, during the fight they world begins to vanish and Bruce and Barry are forced to head back into the speed force where they encounter Thawne before he dies with the mysterious button in hand.

 

Part four of the story picks up where part three left off with Batman & Flash following Thawne through the speedforce via the cosmic treadmill while a mysterious voice narrates.   Thawne boasts that after he gets the power of the being behind the time/space manipulations he will go back and mess-up Barry’s childhood even more laughing at all the sadistic things he has planned.  However once Thawne finally arrives at the edge and faces the mysterious entity his bravado quickly becomes fear as he begs for his life and is destroyed by the mysterious force.  The ripples cause Barry & Bruce to be flung off the Cosmic treadmill but Flash finally here’s the voice that has been calling him and says Jay Garrick’s name which allows Jay to temporarily break free from the Speedforce and help get Flash and Batman safely back to the Batcave .  Barry attempts to stabilize him the way he had before with Wally but he fails and Jay is pulled back into the Speedforce.  Barry says he must not have been the right person that he wasn’t Jay’s lightning rod.  The issue ends with the button floating in space and Superman’s shield shown front and center in one of the panels.

 

In terms of story The Button does move the overall narrative of Rebirth forward, however at the end of the day it does feel a bit more like a mean tease more so than anything else.  The book does concrete that we will eventually get teams like the JSA and Legion of Superheroes back and does do some things that will most likely have some long lasting effects on the characters, such as the Death of Eobard Thawne The Reverse Flash, and Bruce having a heart to heart with his father Thomas making him doubt his purpose for being Batman.  Otherwise the story just seems to be a set-up for this Fall’s Doomsday Clock storyline.  On the Brightside however Howard Porter’s art is just as great as ever and his Jay Garrick is a nice mix of the traditional and the John Wessley Shipp version we see on TV.

 

Overall The Button is an interesting story that is just one more piece in the gigantic puzzle that is Rebirth.

 

Final Score

Story: 7

Art: 8

Overall: 7.5

  

The Flash #21: The Button Part 2 Review

Publisher: DC Comicswcn02k72xoey

Written By: Joshua Williamson

Art  By: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi

Letters By: Steve Wands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest Rebirth Event continues with a murder mystery very personal to the scarlet speedster, but as we soon find out the case is big on questions and short on answers.

 

The second part of the Batman/Flash crossover “The Button” starts with an elder Johhny Thunder on top of the retirement home begging Thunderbolt to come back to him and help him find the Justice Society of America as he blames himself for their disappearance.  Meanwhile Barry Allen examining the site while also monolouging about how he is relieved Thawne is finally dead though disappointed someone else did it and that the criminal will never truly know justice.  He goes to ask Bruce what he remembers about the incident but Batman can give him little information on top of what he already knows, Barry says he is going to investigate more on his own and heads to the Justice League Watchtower.  While there he dusts off the Cosmic Treadmill and prepares to start it up as Batman walks in and tells Barry that he is going with him.  At first Flash states that Bruce is too injured to come along but he states that he’s been through worse so the two go together into the speedforce to travel back in time to The Flashpoint to see if they can discover who killed Thawne and who put the mysterious button in the Batcave in the firstplace.  While traveling through time they see flashes of the stolen years Wally had previously talked about showcasing events such as the formation of the JLA in the silver age, the first Crisis on Infinite Earths and Identity Crisis.  Suddenly a storm catches them and they get knocked out of the timestream into the Flashpoint Batcave where Bruce meets his father Thomas Wayne who is that timelines Batman.

 

Overall Williamson continues King’s narrative quite well the story while a bit fast paced is well executed and moves the event forward enough to keep readers interested.  The dialogue between Barry and Bruce shows how the two are more similar than they would like to admit but also how they contrast when dealing with issues.  The greater narrative or Rebirth is moved forward a bit as well as we see more hints at the return of The Justice Society and we see part of the ten years time taken from the DC Universe when Bruce & Barry are in the speedforce.  In terms of art Howard Porter’s art may not be quite as detailed as the art in the previous installment however it still fits the narrative well and helps give The Flash flair in his motions throughout.  Hi-Fi also does an excellent job on the colors complimenting Porter’s art quite well, although the costumes do look a bit overly shiny at times.  Once all is said and done however the second installment of “The Button” while not as suspenseful as the first is still an enjoyable read overall.

 

Final Score

Story: 8 out of 10

Art 7 out of 10

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

Action Comics #977 Review

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Publisher: DC Comics

Written By: Dan Jurgens

Art By: Ian Churchill, Hi-Fi

Letters By: Rob Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Comics #977 is one of the many Superman books to deal with the fallout of the recent Superman Reborn event and gives readers some more clarification on the new merged timeline for the hero.  We find Lois & Clark working back at the Daily Planet with Perry White being their son Jon’s Godfather.  The two only have vague memories of what happened when Mxy kidnapped Jon but both have a feeling that something stil isn’t quite right.  Meanwhile a mysterious figure is going around contacting a number of Superman’s foes in hopes of forming an alliance.  While this is going on Clark goes to the Fortress of Solitude and has the computer retell his origin story.  Everything seems to be in order until the very end where he hears a secondary voice and we see a small figure in one of the fortresses crystals.

 

In terms of story Jurgens remains on track with his current Action Comics run and it is still quite obvious he has a long term plan as to where he wants his stories to go within the greater scope of Rebirth.  Ian Churchill and Hi-Fi continue to do a solid job on art duty giving detail and color to the comic that helps make it visually pleasing and keeps the reader engaged in the story.  My only complaint is even if the reason is justified, seeing Superman’s origin for the umpteenth time is somewhat tedious.  That aside though Jurgens and co continue to bring us one of the most constantly enjoyable runs on action since Morrison back in 2011.

 

Final Score

Story: 7

Art: 8

Overall: 7.5

Why You Should Be Reading: DC Comics!

Welcome to the first instalment of Why You Should Be Reading, or WYSBR for short.  In this new segment every Tuesday we will be looking at a different publisher or series and give reasons as to why fans should take a look at them.  And today we start out with the Granddaddy of the superhero, DC Comics!

 

 

It is true over the years DC Comics, like any publisher has had its ups & downs, having extreme highs and lows in the 90’s and 00’s by the time the 2010’s rolled around DC Comics thought it was time for a change and in 2011 launched “The New 52” which rebooted the entire DC universe and while gave them strong sales initially was met with mixed reception and arguably did more harm than good to the publishers reputation in the long run.  In 2016 however DC Comics came back with a vengeance and here are the three reasons why!

 

 

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  1.  DC Universe Rebirth

What it is:  After the mixed results of The New 52 DC did something no one ever thought a larger publisher like them would do, they admitted to their mistake, and using elements set up in previous event series like Multiversity and Convergence they launched the Superman: Lois & Clark and Titans Hunt mini-series which lead into DC Universe Rebirth.  A one-shot that changed everything by finally finishing the connect the dots so to speak of the Pre-Flashpoint and New52 DC Universes.  This lead into a big line wide relaunch and revitalization of the DC Comics books.

 

Why You Should Care:  DC Universe Rebirth is an initiative that is all about reclaiming the legacy of the DC Universe that was lost after the Flashpoint while still moving the DC Universe forward with both well beloved classic characters and new fan favorites, it is about embracing everything from the golden age to modern age of comics and reconciling it into one epic two year long narrative spanning the entirety of the DC Universe!

 

Recommended Reads:  So far the various Superman family titles and the Titans book seem to be the most actively connected, though the Batman books and Flash have a big role to play as well.  And on a personal note Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern books are pretty enjoyable as well!

 

 

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2. Young Animal

What it is:  A new imprint started by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame, this line is advertised as “Comics For Dangerous Humans”  and focuses on the weirder fringe of the DCU.

 

Why You Should Care:  So far young animal has revived fan favorite underdogs The Doom Patrol, as well as launching new series for Cave Carson, Shade: The Changing Girl and introduced a new character in Mother Panic.  It also has a New Gods mini-series starring Bug: The Forager planned for this summer!

 

Recommended reads:  Honestly you can’t go wrong with anything from this line, though Doom Patrol and Shade: The Changing Girl stick out the most due to their unique and psychedelic natures.

 

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3.  Hanna-Barbera Universe (a.k.a. Hanna-Barbera Beyond)

What it is:  HBU or HBB as it is also called is a new line that finally sees DC Comics take advantage of the large library of classic cartoon characters it has access to and reworks and reimagines them in new and interesting ways.  From a Mad Max Style Wacky Races, to a Ghost Buster-esque Scooby Doo and beyond, HBU takes these classic characters and uses them in intriguing new ways!

 

Why You Should Care:   Hanna-Barbera Beyond is not only revitalizing these characters but also helping make a new generation of readers aware of characters like The Impossibles, Frankenstein Jr. Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, Snagglepuss, Dastardly & Muttly, etc.  On top of preserving these classic and arguably for the most part underappreciated cartoon characters it also gives us fun new stories to read with them weather it is the team-up of all of HB’s action stars in Future Quest, a revitalized commentary heavy Flintstones,  or a even crazier version of Scooby-Doo!  The HBB line has something for everyone.  Oh and they are also doing crossovers between the HB and main DC lines later this month.  Space Ghost/Green Lantern Team-up anyone!?

 

Recommended Reads:  For the most part the HBU books are meant to be 6- 12 issue limited series though Scooby Apocalypse is lasting beyond that mark.  None the less though I cannot recommend Future Quest enough as it has been a genuinely amazing book, and Flintstones has been spot-on as well!  As for the upcoming second wave of titles, Snagglepuss looks promising.

 

And there you have it, three solid reasons to check out what DC Comics is up too!  Between these three lines/imprints there truly is a book for everyone!

 

Action Comics Issue #975 Review

Warning: This post contains spoilers!

Disclaimer: This review is solely my personal opinion.  Action Comics, Superman, Superboy Lois Lane, et al, are property of DC Comics/Warner Bros. Entertainment.

 

 

Publisher: DC Comics

Story by: Dan Jurgens, Paul DiniSTL036810-720x1061

Art & Colors by: Doug Manhnke, Ian Churchill, Jaime Mendoza, Wil Quintana, Mike Atiyeh

Lettering: Rob Leigh

  In June of 2016 DC Comics relaunched and revitalized its main line with their new “DC Universe Rebirth” initiative, a move meant to take characters back to their core and restore the legacy of the DC Universe while also continuing to build on what the Nu52, Multiversity and Convergence had brought by continually adding new aspects as well.  One of the biggest shake-ups of the initiative so far, aside from the possibility of Dr. Manhattan, the mysterious Oz & other Watchmen characters manipulating the history of the DCU is the return of the pre-Flashpoint Superman into the current continuity along with his wife Lois Lane and their son Jon White-Kent who has become the new Superboy.  And the current storyline in the Superman books “Superman Reborn” has promised to give readers some answers to not only the current history of our favorite Kryptonian, but the overarching story around his involvement in Rebirth in general.

  Issue #975 of Action comics is the second part of the four part “Superman Reborn” storyline and begins with Superman flying Lois to Metropolis to Clark’s old apartment now inhabited by an evil doppelganger Clark Kent that they believed to have kidnapped their son Jon who disappeared in a mysterious blue light in part one.  Once they get to the apartment they look around and have no luck finding Jon, but the fake Clark confronts them and attacks Superman, angry and accusing the real Clark of letting him down.  This leads to a very interesting fight scene where the doppelganger transforms into various Superman villains ranging from Lex Luthor to Bizzaro, to Brainiac & Doomsday repeatedly telling Superman to guess his true identity until Clark realizing the only person capable of doing this is his long time 5th dimensional nemesis, Mxyzptlk!  The imp tells Clark that he kidnapped the boy because he felt that he had been forgotten by Clark and as punishment was going to erase all memories of Jon from his life and disappears.   Clark tells Lois they have to go after him and try to find Jon, with Lois simply replying “Jon who?”

  In the second story we see Jon Kent in Mxyzptlk’s dimension talking to the imp about all the stories his dad had told him about the “Purple Hatted Man”.  In return Mxyzptlk tells Jon about how he was apprehended by the mysterious Oz and imprisoned for quite some  time.  At first his imprisonment didn’t bother him because he knew that Superman would know something was up and come looking for them, over time however Mxy grew frustrated and came to the conclusion that Superman didn’t really care about him anymore, this in turn made him even more determined to break out of his prison and get revenge on the man of steel.  He explains how after he escaped he had to put a spell on himself to make himself believe that he was Clark Kent so Oz wouldn’t be able to find him, though eventually the memories bleed through the cracks and he remembered his true self.  The story ends with Mxy tricking Jon and asking him if he would like to play a game of cards.

  In terms of storytelling both Dan Jurgens and Paul Dini do fantastic jobs on their respective stories, Jurgens part moves the overall plot of the event forward by finally revealing the identity of the fake Clark Kent and Dini’s story gives us some much needed backstory explaining the true Mxyzptlk’s long absence from the DCU and the reasons he has decided to harass Superman and his family once again.  Both stories work well with one another to move the overall narrative forward and the dialogue for the characters is spot on, you can feel Superman’s distress at the inability to find his son and Lois’s frustration towards Mxyzptlk.  The second story gives us some sympathy for the devil so to speak as we can see why Mxy has taken this action as he feels that someone, who was in his own warped mind considered a friend had abandoned him, we also get a good feel of both Jon’s fascination at finally meeting the purple hatted man his father had told him stories about growing up, and his anger at Mxy tricking him and forcing him to stay with him and play games.   These stories are both well crafted tells that capture the true spirit of the mischievous and cunning, yet also childish and impulsive nature of our impish antagonist.

  As for the art, it too is well done as a whole, though I will admit some of the facial expressions Mahnke gives the characters seem off to me.  This doesn’t negatively effect the story as a whole, but it does make some panels in the first story feel a bit awkward, especially in regards to Lois who has a fair number of awkward or somewhat odd facial expressions.  Wil Quintana however does a solid job on the coloring in the first feature.   The second story’s art by Ian Churchill however is spot on, with spectacular panel arrangement and truly amazing art and near perfect facial expressions from Mxy in each panel, and Mike Atiyeh’s coloring really makes the whole thing feel fun and lively as a story starring a 5th dimensional imp and the son of Superman should.

  Overall while both stories were fairly straightforward and simplistic they were well executed in both writing and art, and gave us a satisfying pay off to the duplicate Clark Kent mystery which has been building up in Action for quite some time now, it also does a good job of getting you excited for the next part of the “Superman Reborn” storyline by leaving on just enough of a suspenseful tone to leave you wanting more.  I for one would definitely recommend giving this issue, and the “Superman Reborn” storyline as a whole a read!

FINAL SCORE

Writing: 9 out of 10

Art: 8 out of 10

Overall: 8.5 Out of 10.