Monday, September 9, 2013

Forever Evil #1

Massive crossover in the New 52. I guess some things never change.

Title: Forever Evil
Issue: 1
Date: November 2013
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend
Colorist: Sonia Oback
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Kate Stewart, Brian Cunningham
Cover: David Finch, Richard Friend, Sonia Oback

It's major crossover time at DC. Actually, considering that this is a direct follow-up to Trinity War, it seems like it's pretty much always major crossover time at DC.

But this one is particularly major. The Crime Syndicate arrives on Earth, having apparently killed off the Justice League. I didn't actually read Trinity War, so I'm not really sure what the deal is, and I'm not really sure I'd have any idea what the deal is if I had read Trinity War, so let's just humor them for the moment.

The Crime Syndicate are essentially alternate-Earth evil twins of the Justice League with variants on their powers and weaknesses.

Anyway, they arrive on Earth, bust a bunch of villains out of prison and recruit a bunch more, and beat up Nightwing because he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is all setting up a massive conflict between these off-world villains, and Earth's regular villains, although for the moment everyone is all pals because, hey, we're all evil. Forever evil.

The art is pretty, and it's gimmicky with a gigantic center fold-out crowd scene. Apparently there is a 3d cover variant for those collectors who want to party like it's 1994.

But the main problem with this issue is that not a whole lot happens. The best action takes place either before (what really happened to the Justice League), or is yet to come (okay, now that the Crime Syndicate is here and has assembled this big group of villains, what are they actually going to do?). The introduction of the new villains takes longer than it needs to, and the Nightwing subplot didn't actually seem particularly intense or interesting.

This story does have some potential, and DC has a huge slate of crossovers planned (at least one issue of all 52 titles, plus this series itself), but that is also a ton of investment in time/$ for a story that so far feels phoned in.

Rating: 5/10

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero

Title: Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Date: 2013
Writer Travis Beacham
Penciler: Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, Pericles Junior, Chris Batista, Geoff Shaw
Inker: Mark McKenna, Steven Bird, Pericles Junior, Matt Banning
Colorist: Guy Major, Tom Chu, Dom Regan
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Cover: Alex Ross
Editor: Greg Tumbarello, Bob Shreck, Guillermo del Toro

This is a prequel to the film Pacific Rim. It does a great job of expanding on the backgrounds of the characters, particularly focusing on Marshal Stacker Pentecost.

We get to meet Pentecost's sister, a RAF fighter pilot on training in the US on K-Day, the date of the first kaiju attack on San Francisco. And we get to meet her wingmate, Tamsin Sevier, who goes on to become Pentecost's jaeger co-pilot.

The book covers Tendo Choi's experiences in San Francisco on K-Day, and introduces the woman who developed the two-pilot drift system and went on to become co-pilot of the first jaeger to see combat.

For fans of the film, this is a treasure trove of background, and it's got some great character development and a lot of tragedy and triumph. It is deeply sad in places, and the right kind of fun in others.

I also loved the diversity of the cast of characters. Many writers would have felt like they had gender diversity covered with one female pilot (Pentecost's sister, Luna). It was awesome to see Tamsin introduced as well, and then given a powerful role in the story.

There were a couple of inconsistencies with the story presented in the film, most notably the fact that nuclear weapons were used on kaiju in the early years, which appears to be a contradiction with the background as presented in the film. This may have been an issue of final editing to the film.

I do feel like you need to have seen the film to get the most out of this, but for fans of Pacific Rim, this is a great collection of backstory that adds dimension to several key characters.

Rating: 8/10