Mild Mannered Reviews – Elsewhere in the DCU

My apologies to anyone that had been waiting on an installment of this feature, I had been fortunate enough to have a good holiday break, but had to jump back into the deep end for work once the holidays were over.

So without further ado, let us begin then…

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 4, 2017

Cover date: March 2017


Writer: : Cary Bates with Greg Weisman
Penciller: Will Conrad
Inker: Will Conrad

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Captain Atom’s powers are spiraling out of control. He is being held in a facility that is managing to control these outbursts of his.

He thinks back to how he got to this place, flash-backing to a few hours ago, as he attempted to save a cruise liner in trouble. His powers go haywire, and he tries to get back to the facility. Superman, Green Lantern and Cyborg show up, and lend a helping hand, but the energy spikes are too much for even them to handle.

We end with them reaching Kansas, but Captain Atom has a burst of energy, and it manages to destroy parts of a Kansas town. Back in the present time, Captain Atom has his final burst of energy as he disappears, and those scientists that are monitoring him come to the conclusion that he has finally died from his powers. On the last page we see Nathaniel Adam’s lying naked in the rubble of the Kansas town unconscious, no longer Captain Atom.

To be continued…

5Story – 5: It’s an interesting first chapter, in a six issue mini-series. This story obviously takes place pre Rebirth, as Superman is the New 52 version, still in his armor and not the t-shirt and jeans he would eventually sport.

Not much else to say at this point, only future issues will tell if Superman will continue to make appearances in this book.

Captain Atom was a good character, but I felt that the New 52 wasn’t so kind to him. Hopefully if he does return, Rebirth will be a better platform.
5Art – 5: Will Conrad’s art is always a joy to behold. He has done some nice work filling in on Cyborg. His eye for detail is evident in his backgrounds along with the details on the costumes of the heroes. His style reminds me of Bryan Hitch’s work a lot.

Now I loved the original metallic Chrome “skin” that Captain Atom had before the New 52 began. I wasn’t sure why they changed him so drastically for the New 52 relaunch. I had always speculated that it was to make him look more similar to Dr Manhattan from Watchmen, seeing as how Dr Manhattan was the stand in for Captain Atom in storyline. For anyone that doesn’t know, Alan Moore’s original pitch for Watchmen was using the Charlton characters that DC acquired, but then changed them into new characters when he wasn’t able to use them.

I hope Captain Atom gets a new look, hopefully they go back to the Pre-New 52 look.
5Cover Art – 5: I like this cover a lot. I love that he is burning away leaving showing his skeleton underneath.
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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #12 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #12

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 11, 2017

Cover date: February 2017

“Bottled Light” – Conclusion: “Orange Crush”

Writer: Robert Vendittit
Penciller: Ethan Van Sciver
Inker: Ethan Van Sciver

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

The Green Lantern Corps with the help of the Sinestro Corps finally manage to get the upper hand over Lar Fleez. With the help of Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, the Lanterns are able to defeat Lar Fleez, and restore the city back to its normal size and destination.

5Story – 5: A strong conclusion to an equally strong storyline, I always felt that Brainiac should be a character whose presence should be on the Green Lantern Corps radar. I was pleased with what Venditti managed to do with the character. Also leaving it open for a sequel to this storyline, as Lar Fleez now has a “ghost” of Brainiac within his orange ring constructs. I hope that that Brainiac can act as some sort of a virus, and attempt to take over the Orange ring of Avarice. Now that would be awesome.

Hal Jordan is back amongst the living, and Kyle Rayner has also returned. Will be interesting to have them and both Guy Gardiner and John Stewart back in the GLC. The four human Lanterns are good to have around when trouble hits.
5Art – 5: Ethan Van Sciver really put a great deal of effort into the art of this final chapter. The sheer amount of detail alone blows my mind. How does this guy do it? I really want to see more renditions of his robotic Brainiac. I hope this look for him returns in the Rebirth DCU.

I absolutely love the way each character has a look distinctive to the way they use their rings, the different types of energies released by their respected rings.

Sometimes the body language by Van Sciver for characters can look a little strange, but he is the closest artist in comics today that can be compared to as a modern day Brian Bolland. Very awesome work, thank you Ethan.
5Cover Art – 5: The regular cover by Van Sciver is amazing, all four Earth Green Lanterns all fighting to free the bottled city from Lar Freez. The variant by Kevin Nowlan is pretty neat too.
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Aquaman #15 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Aquaman #15

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 18, 2016

Cover date: March 2017

“The Deluge” – Finale

Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: Phillippe Briones
Inker: Phillippe Briones

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Aquaman has finally come face to face with N.E.M.O and their new leader in Black Manta. A massive battle erupts on the N.E.M.O ship headquarters. Aquaman beats Black Manta down with a vengeance, over all the chaos that he has caused him and Atlantis as a nation. In a final desperate attempt of hatred, Black Manta blows the entire ship, with everyone aboard. Aquaman seems to be the sole survivor.

Later Aquaman gives a full account of all that happens to President Obama at the White House, where Superman is also in attendance. He explains how the whole fiasco was to have Atlantis seem like it was going to war with the U.S.A. In a shocking turn of events, Aquaman surrenders to the U.S.A.

Later both Aquaman and Superman standing outside the White House, Superman expresses his admiration for Aquaman, and his role as king. Aquaman tells him, he couldn’t have come through this without Superman’s help. Superman gives him a replacement JL membership card (Aquaman used his earlier in the story arc, to use it to teleport the Shaggy Man into space). Just then Aquaman is summoned back inside to the White House, as President Obama calls a press conference and explains that a third party engineered the whole conflict between the two nations, and peace is restored.

5Story – 5: A good conclusion to a compelling story, it was long in places, but it all tied together. The appearance of Superman was a surprise, but a really welcome one. As I discovered what was happening, I was just thinking to myself that it would be cool if Superman was there too, and then he was. I almost applauded, had I not been reading this with others around, I may have.

Superman was definitely a supporting character amongst many in the whole arc. From his first appearance in issue #6 to this issue, he was the one that gave Arthur the most support out of the Justice League as well as being one of the only people that seemed to believe in him. Handled with great excellence by Dan Arnett, he managed to capture the Man of Steels humility and faith in his friends and humanity. My hat goes off to you good sir.

Also that was a “boss” speech Aquaman gives to Obama, as he states he surrenders not because he and Atlantis are weak, but because they are strong. So strong, that they do not fear what others may perceive, but are willing to be seen as the losers to stop the conflict.

I like that the arc may have finally come to a close, but leaves it open for a follow up, many elements left that can be picked up on. Highly recommend this book if you’re not already reading it.
5Art – 5: I’ve loved Phillipe Briones art throughout this story. He has a really kinetic style that can deliver super charged action scenes and quite little subtle moments. Just check out the White House scene where Aquaman surrenders to the States. Superman has a raised eyebrow as he is shocked at Arthur’s decision to come off as the loser in the situation. Followed by a panel below it, where Superman is smirking at just how truly clever Aquaman can be.

Phillipe Briones Superman reminds me a little of John Byrne’s Superman in the face, from the facial expressions to the structure of his jaw.

The fight scene between Aquaman and Manta was really awesome. I can imagine if it were used as storyboards for live action it would really impactful.
5Cover Art – 5: I like the variant cover more, I love the painted style, but in saying that, the regular cover is quite cool too.
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Red Hood & The Outlaws #6KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Red Hood & The Outlaws #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 11, 2017

Cover date: March 2017

“Dark Trinity” – Part 6: “Darker Days”

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Art: Dexter Soy

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Redhood finds himself at gunpoint, with Black Mask having the upper hand. Artemis fighting Bizarro is not faring to well. Distracted by the battle between Artemis and Bizarro, Black Mask takes his eyes off Redhood, allowing him to kick Black Mask down.

Redhood reveals to Black Mask that he will soon lose control of himself as the techno organic virus drives those that use it go crazy. As that happens, Bizarro also regains control of himself. Black Mask begs for the cure, but Redhood refuses him and walks away.

The trio regroup, and Redhood offers to help Artemis find the Bow of Ra. Artemis reluctantly accepts, and the trio form an unofficial alliance.

Several days later, a mysterious figure pins photos and articles to a wall, piecing these together and finding a link to the to the Dark Trinity.

We end with Redhood looking over at Gotham City from the outskirts, as Batman pulls up in the Batmobile. The two talk, and end the night unmasking and having a couple of burgers.

5Story – 5: I know a lot of people hate Scott Lobdell’s writing, I’ve read everything from people calling him a hack to others saying he only has a job because of his friendship with some higher ups like Jim Lee. My personal feeling towards Lobdell’s writing is that he tries to think outside the box, and attempts a new take on familiar characters. Sometimes this works and sometimes it falls flat. Personally I wasn’t a fan of his Teen Titans run, but I have enjoyed his Redhood and the Outlaws work, (Aside from ideas about Starfire). Lobdell ideas did lead to some interesting story ideas, and Redhood and the Outlaws is one of those very things. I love the concept of this “Dark Trinity”. There is so much possibility, and I am excited to see what comes next.

This was a good introductory arc to this new Outlaws team. With this issue being the conclusion, I love that this group has been tried and tested, and now are ready for whatever comes there way next.

Hands down, I loved the final pages with interaction between Bruce and Jason. Jason explaining that he can’t do the “Law and Order Thing” that Bruce does, with Bruce replying that he breaks the law on a nightly basis, and that the world could use some more outlaws. There may be a few bat-fans that didn’t like this, but the way I saw it, Bruce knows that Jason was broken when he came back to life after the Lazarus pit, but the spark that he saw in him all those years ago when he recruited him is still there. The scene where Jason refuses to kill Black Mask, but says he won’t save him either, ties into this theory as well as being a nice call back to Batman Begins “I’m not going to kill you, but I don’t have to save you”…

I’m excited to see where the direction of this book goes next. If you haven’t been reading this book, please pick up the trade and give it a go, it’s a good read.

Finally, who could the mystery man be that’s collecting data on the Dark Trinity? My first guess was the Joker, judging from the gloves and suit jacket. The colors may be off, but my money is on the Clown Prince of Crime!
5Art – 5: Dexter Soy… What more can I say about this man’s art that I haven’t already? Absolutely gorgeous! It really fits the tone of the book.

There is a slight Anime look to the art, with the stark shading giving it a gritty look. I can really see this book as a CW TV Series. Soy knows how to work the shadows to be more impactful, and can work the subtle moments like the last page of Bruce and Jason having a couple of burgers with Gotham in the background.

Soy has a good grasp on Jason as Redhood for sure, but his Batman is quite impressive also. Again he has an Anime style, but it’s not too jarring that it doesn’t fit a character such as Batman. In fact, Soy’s style also fit Superman quite well too (from issue 2), so I do look forward to the day that the actual trinity show up in this book.

This entire book is a perfect marriage between a writer and an artist. I really want to see more from Soy, so I really hope that he remains on the title for a long time to come.
5Cover Art – 5: The main cover is a good call back to when Batman first meets Jason Todd, as he tries to steal the wheels off the Batmobile. This one is comedic, but it’s funny because of Bizarro. The variant is a much cooler cover though.
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