The Pow List 4/3/2013

Its been a while since I've done an entry for my blog, but I figured I would do this every week to keep up with books I planned on getting each week. Also I'll be doing vlogs on a youtube channel I plan to set up beginning each week where I rank my top 5 picks from said week.

Here is my first installment of the Pow List for 4/3/13

Action Comics #19

The new beginning that we've all been waiting for...and it ends with this issue...Andy Diggle was to begin his run here, but it turns out he left the project a few weeks ago with only completing this single issue. However, from the previews we've gotten, it does seem to be something that's worth diving into. Also, the artwork is great coming from Tony S. Danial who's one of my favorite artists currently in DC. Even though Diggle is off the book, it doesn't mean we can't enjoy this book and wonder what could have been.

All New X-men # 10

I was never a big X-men fan, but when Marvel now relaunched their line-up and they gave a context of what the story for All-New would be like, I was reluctant but willing to give it a try. Man, am I glad I have. This is one of the biggest surprises coming out a Marvel now, and with Cyclopes and his team crossing over to pull students from Wolverine's school, you have to believe sparks will fly.

Green Arrow #19

Jeff Lemire has been firing on all cylinders since he came on board of this title and I am proud to say I love that I gave it a try. Ollie is on the run while also seeking out answers from crimes he didn't commit. While there's not a lot known about what will happen next in this issue, you'd be foolish for not getting on board now.

Thanos rising #1

Given that he is set to be in the next Avengers movie, its not surprising that we would see Marvel want to do a comic committed to telling us who Thanos is seeing as most people who don't read comics knows of him. This story is poised to tell us his origin and why he is considered the 'Mad Titan.' This is one to watch seeing as Marvel is saying this will set the stage for an upcoming event.

Swamp Thing #19

I was kind of sad when Snyder's run on Swamp Thing came to an end, so I feel as though I am going into this new run by newcomer by Charles Soule with a little bit of trepidation. However, its not enough to scare me away from what sounds like a great story set up from a rising writer who intends to try and create a story simple enough that its set to be more like a television show. With great art to back it up by Kano who has an impressive background to back it up, I have a feeling I can rest easy and see that this title maybe in safe hands.

Considerations:

Superior Spider-man # 7

Detective Comics #19 (issue number 900 to be technical)

Age Of Ultron #4

Indestructible Hulk #6

Animal Man #19

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Superman #14 Review

Now that we've gotten pass the pleasantries and introduction that came from Supergirl #14 and Superboy #14, Superman #14 picks up where Supergirl left off with Kara trying to explain her ordeal with the newly introduced H'el. Who does the issue stack up?

The Super

Trying to find a good thing in this book is really difficult for me to do. If I had to speak well on the writing it would be that Lobdell is trying to breathe a new character trait into Superman so that people can relate to him more. Also, Lobdell tries his best to characterize the Lois and Clark relationship which has seem to be lacking since the initial start of the New 52.

When it comes to the art its not too bad. There's a good amount of detail in the characters facial features that makes them feel more realistic with their expressions.

The Evil

There's a lot here to not like. Lobdell might be trying to find a way to bring more life in Clark Kent/ Superman but the way he has been going about it is all wrong. Our hero comes off as condescending and arrogant throughout this entire issue. When he punches H'el, he puts people in danger and then goes into an arrogant rant in which he says "I knew he would land there, so they weren't in danger!"

Furthermore, the fight Clark has with Lois feels very forced. He has practically no place to start a fight with Lois for moving in with her boyfriend, especially when in the last issue he had come to realization that he had moved on to something new and different with Wonder Woman. So why is Lois' relationship such a bother to him when they have never gone to the next level?!

Finally, there's H'el himself. Yes, H'el is the villain and it would seem he has an endgame in mind for what he wants to do but why? He seems to hate humanity for the fact that they are not kryptonian. He put no effort into trying to convince Clark that he wants what's best for krypton leading us to be dumbfounded on everything that this arc and crossover is supposed to be about.

While I did say I liked the art, let me also stress that the action backgrounds aren't as beautiful as the last issue. Colors are not shown be be very vibrant this time around, with some pages looking very bland and boring.

Final Thoughts

H'el on Earth is turning into one of the crossovers that a person wonders why its happening to begin with. Not much is coming from it. Our villain doesn't come off as intelligent but just as a comic book villain who won't kill the hero when he has the absolute power to, while our hero just seems so out of character it makes us wonder why we read the title to begin with. Lobdell's Superman story continues to chug ahead, but if this is what Superman fans get when they buy the book, what's the point of reading and buying it?

1.5/5

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Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 review

In 2010, we saw a new graphic novel released for Superman set in a universe very much different from the regular DC Universe. This new world was set for DC writers to make the heroes they based the heroes they wrote about seemingly more relatable than the other DC books out there. J. Micheal Straczynki was the writer on the project then, and he returns for the sequel, Superman: Earth One vol. 2. Does this story surpass the original?

What Works

Some people will find it odd that this is a darker story than what they are use to when it comes to Superman stories, but what JMS does very well is take the concept of Superman and applies it to current reality. How do people respond to the sudden appearance of Superman? How does the government feel about him? How about the world? This is something most Superman stories seem to gloss over in a very big way, while JMS seems like he is willing to explore the idea of a superpowered being from another world living in on ours. The Government wants to create a way of stopping him because they aren't sure what his intentions are. It works and its a pleasure to see this explored in this novel.

Another aspect that works also has to be the 'normal' life of Clark Kent. JMS also dives into the world of sexual exploration for Clark. Its a pleasure to see him struggle with the idea of desire and restraint. We also get more back story on Clark's life that gives him more of a sympathetic feel as a hero. Clark has always struggled with being beyond people and JMS pulls at the heartstrings with one particular story on Clark's background that moves you in the best way.

Also, Shane Davis continues with the early 20's look of Clark Kent and other characters in this world making it a joy to look at each page, trying to see if there's anything you've missed while also reading each panel.

What doesn't work

The major problem I had with this tale is the idea behind the villain, Parasite. The story barely finds a way to humanize him. The minute he becomes the monster, he's instantly out to feed on people, and not once does he struggle with being what he is. Its great to see Superman have a physical threat, but there were chances that I felt JMS could have explored the idea of Parasite being an outsider the same as he had Clark with him struggling to be the monster that he is.

Also the Superman aspects of the tale are a little underdeveloped as well. Superman constantly ran in battle, then out of battle, to run back into it and then out of it again throughout the book. it would have been great for Clark to keep the battle going while also winning with that intellect JMS wrote about in the first volume instead of relying on his ship to help him out with this new menace.

Last but not least, Lois Lane is a bother in this issue as well. Lois investigates Clark as someone who is trying too hard to be average, but it would seem that her suspcioins come from practically no where. And when she gets the answers shes looking for, she drops the story for the sake of dropping it. But while all this is happening, she barely pays any attention to the things thats happening like the Parasite menace that destroying the city and France! Furthermore, if she's curious about the life Clark Kent lives, why doesn't she try to investigate him also outside of work and what he does on his downtime? Her curiosity of him came practically from no where but if she's curious about him, she should explore every aspect of the person, and not just his background from when he was a kid.

Conclusion

Superman Earth One: Vol. 2 is a nice departure from regular DC that's giving us different ideas and aspects that the New 52 hasn't and more than likely aren't going to explore when it comes to Superman. However, J. Micheal Straczynki still struggles with the villains the same as he has in Vol. 1 while also leaving out logical aspects of the story at large. Though vol. 3 is being set up by the way things end in this graphic novel, one can only hope the problems we see are fixed the third time around.

3.5/5

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Superman #13 "And they will join you in the sun" Review

It's been a long time since I've written a full review so I thought I would do one on this issue of Superman and continue doing some on a weekly basis from here.

With us diving into the number thirteen issues, we should note that this is the beginning of the second year for DC's 'New 52' initiative. If there was one person who really needs something awesome and new to happen for them, its Superman. He's the most recognized character in the world next to Mickey Mouse and yet, DC has yet to find their footing on any of their Superman titles. When news broke out that Scott Lobdell would be taking on the second year from the 'Superman' title, many embraced this idea with a level of excitement. And who could blame them? Lobdell does some decent things with established characters while also making sure that when it comes to action, its very great to see how the events carry out. But while this is the thing that Lobdell does well, its also where others are apprehensive at his form of writing. From plot points that seem underdeveloped, to overly cheesy dialogue, people can find a lot to be worrisome about Lobdell coming on board from comic projects. His Teen Titans run has been known to gain very poor reviews through out the internet, and his run on Red Hood and The Outlaws makes people think that at one moment it has a good arc going for it, before it falls apart and dives into a whole new story. With the idea of Lobdell coming onto Superman with a crossover event in the midst, how exactly does the first issue of Lobdell's run stack up?

The Super

What Lobdell does well in this issue is try to tell us what a day in the life of Clark Kent and Superman is like. Clark goes through everyday stuff when it comes his life: He has a roommate, Jimmy Olsen, who he feels intrudes on his space, his job is giving him trouble as they think he needs to follow only Superman which makes him question his career, and the girl he loves, Lois Lane, is involved with another man in which she in moving in with. Lobdell goes into detail that life for Clark Kent, is no different from ours while also displaying the differences between him and and his alter ego, Superman.

The thing that works in this book the most is the art. Rocafort does a good job at showing us great detail that goes into every character that's presented in each panel. Also, when it comes to the action that's displayed, we are treated to a great show of art in which Rocafort pulls us away from the action in order to show us the scale of Superman's powers. Its nice to see such a thing displayed. Even though its been done before, its something that's not shown too often.

The Villainous

Whereas Lobdell was able to detail the difference between the two lives that Clark Kent leads, this is also where there are problems. There are a lot of things going on in Clark's life at the moment that seem to echo Peter Parker's life. Morgan Edge showing up to berate Clark for not doing his job on his Superman beat, comes off as something that would happen in a Spider-man comic. Also, the problem with this issue, and with most of Lobdell's work for that matter, comes from the over written dialogue and also the fact that he feels the need to tell the story to us through thought bubbles and narrative boxes. In most cases, Lobdell tries to go into detail more with his dialogue by telling us what we had just witnessed in the illustration, and by doing so we are treated to dialogue that's very hard swallow. Most of the things that characters are saying don't feel very lifelike, but rather forced. Look no further than scene between Clark and Morgan Edge about the state of journalism today. While the message is nice, it comes off as something that came from Lobdell watching 'Jerry Macguire' too many times.

Furthermore, there's a lot that's going on in this issue. Not one single plot ties to one another from the beginning pages to the closing pages. A lot of plot threads how been brought together and it seems to be for the sake to fill the 29 page quota rather than because they all need to be tied together.

Final Thought

Lobdell begins H'el on Earth with a mediocre story that doesn't seem to feel very exciting. I can only hope he really shows us that he can actually write Superman in the next issue otherwise it will look as though people will be waiting for Scott Snyder's Superman book to get the Superman story they've been waiting for since the New 52 started.

3/5

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The New 52 year in review

Now that all the #12’s to all titles are out, I thought I would give my thoughts on the new 52. Its hard to review an entire branding on its own seeing as there are good books and there are bad books all over the DC spectrum, but I thought I would try to take on the task anyway. Let’s face it, there are things that work and other things that don’t work very well. I’m not just talking in terms of story either, but in terms of art work and in terms of editing that seems to throw us for a loop. So here it is. The good and the bad of the New 52.

What works:

Updates

One thing that has worked for the new 52 is the inclusion of updating superheroes. I know, many will say that writers have been updating heroes throughout the decades to make sure they fit into the context of the stories they have written. While this is true, its also not the full idea of an update. Superman was stuck in an endless loop of being an American icon that was since his debut in the late 1930’s. Because the world has gotten a lot darker and jaded since then, Superman’s golden and silver age ideas didn’t click with the current generations idea of a hero. Fast forwarding into the new 52, and in Action Comics, Superman is shown to be more lethal than he was pre-52. He was willing to show brute force to people he thought was doing bad while still on the side of the little guy. It actually got me to hear people say they loved Superman again because he was more darker than ever. While many will still complain about the update to Superman, it works for him in the Action Comics world in which he is a younger and less experienced hero.

But this isn’t just about him, as other heroes have seen updates that work to their benefit as well. Looking at Wonder Woman pre-52, I tend to see that I hated the final story DC had set-up for her. What works for Diana now is that they tweaked her origin but also made sure she is still the same Amazon we knew and loved. With a great cast of characters and with DC relying more on mythology rather than super heroics unlike the rest of the 52, has seen a benefit of being a center piece in the new world.

More than anything, updates have been good for high profile characters of the new 52. Flash, Aquaman and others have benefitted from this and, as a result, we’ve been able to see characters in a brand new light compared to the world we knew before this renumbering. And speaking of…

Renumbering

The renumbering was something that would also benefit new and casual readers. Simply put, its hard coming into comics and seeing big numbers for an issue in the corner. The renumbering helps ensure us that while the stories may refer to things in the past, we aren’t missing out on much because we’re brought up to speed in an instant. With this renumbering, we’re also seeing a steady date for comic releases. Too many times in the past would re become invested in a story only for the story to become delayed for not just for weeks but a month before either the story is decided to conclude in some kind of annual or it’s just forgotten about. With the renumbering, we haven’t had to worry about that (yet).

The Dark

Also, the emergence of the Dark realm of the DC universe is a treat. Much like Marvel, DC dives into the sci-fi element more than not, but I’ve been amazed at how deep the story is for the fantasy parts of the new 52. I, vampire, Demon Knights, Justice League Dark, and other titles are true displays at how well thought out the renumbering has been in terms of bringing new life to the fantasy elements in DC.

What doesn’t work

There are positives to this whole thing but are a lot of negatives too so lets get to the problems we have with the DC Universe…

Superman

While there are some things that I said above helped Superman, there are other things that haven’t and it happens to be his stories. Make no mistake about it, Superman is the poster child for DC, yet here we are a whole year into his adventures and yet, while people like who he is in Action Comics, the story surrounding him aren’t very good. Action Comics is very average and it has to do with the way Grant Morrison is telling the story. Int eh previous arc, we saw some good ideas for a story come up while towards the end, we got copouts to some things that had been coming Clark way. But that’s also not the problem with how Morrison has handled Action Comics, as we have jumped through time and to other Earths instead of dealing with the actual development of Clark time as Superman. With Morrison leaving A.C. in a few issues, one has to wonder what will happen to the character and title once he’s gone. Will we get better stories? I certainly hope so, because the writing has to get better for this title sooner or later. But we aren’t nearly done with more of the Superman problems.

‘Superman’ the comic has been a big problem since the renumbering as we are now on our third writing team since this whole has happened. The biggest problem with this title is that it doesn’t seem like any writer coming on board has any idea of what they are actually doing. The stories seem to wrap too easily with terrible dialogue thrown in go along side the bad art that’s inside. In closing, this renumbering was a chance to put Superman on the map for DC after years of being left in the dark. If the publisher fails to make him a must read right now, then when will he be a must read?

Continuity

Continuity has been a problem that’s been plaguing this entire renumbering to begin with. DC thought it was best to make this entire universe easier to understand by taking away the idea of heroes from the past and say all heroes showed up 5 years ago. Aside from Batman and Green Lantern, the slate was clean. The problem with this idea is that what happened and what didn’t? By doing a 5 year timeline, fans have scratched their heads as to why and how certain events have even taken place in the small timeframe. Especially for Batman who has had 4 sidekicks in the 5 year time span. It was mentioned that Jason Todd was only Robin for 2 years before his death and that he was the longest running robin in the entire Bat family, but if two years is the longest, what about Tim Drake? In Teen Titans #1, it was said that he was a Robin, yet Lobdell told us he was never a Robin. But how is it that he is trained to fight the way he does if he was never a Robin? And if he was trained, the how long did it take?

This has been one of the biggest problems with the entire new 52. If the editors can’t get their own stories right with what happens first and second or at all, how are we going to enjoy them if they are going to retcon things in the middle of a story arc?

Crossovers

For many this can be a positive, but for others it’s a negative. One of the problems pre-52 was how much we had crossovers, with DC using certain characters to get us to read other books. They did this so much that it could become hard to keep up with certain stories, especially if you’re on a tight budget. When the new 52 kicked off, the stories were self contained, keeping us more grounded to the characters that were in each title. That changed not even a half year into the new 52. Once we were getting settled into this new 52 world, we were told we had to jump from one book to another because characters were making appearances in other comics. Sometimes the stories were so significant to what was mentioned, we had to check out those aforementioned titles to keep us up with the books we were reading. I, Vampire, Justice League Dark, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and every Batman book that was connected to the Night of Owls story felt like they were forcing us to read every title that had some kind of association with their stories. If anything, Dc has to get better with this and allow readers, especially their new audience, to catch their breaths instead of trying to get more money out of people.

Art

Last but not least, the jarring art work that occurs mid-comic. I get it, DC wants to get their books out on a timely fashion but sometimes it comes at the expense of the art. There have been times where I’ll read a comic and we’ll just end up having 2 or 3 artist on one regular issue and at times it can take you completely out of the book because the previous artwork has already set the tone for the story. This isn’t so bad when it’s a backup tale, but when its not, it can be really jarring and its something I hope DC figures out the problem to.

Overall, if I had to give the new 52 a grade…it would be a B-

There’s a lot of good books but there’s a few that should be improved if they intend to keep their comics significant in the mind of readers, especially with Marvel Now! Coming this Fall.

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Batman's Best movie moments

Let's face it: It's Batman week. This Friday is the release of the most anticipated movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises, and to celebrate, I'm going to mention some great moments from a lot of the Batman movies.I'm not going to rank them, because there are tons of great moments in the movies, but if you were wondering, I do have at least one mention from the Schumacher movies.

Also, spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen any of the Batman movies. Then again if you haven't seen any yet, you're pretty much dead to me...

"My anger outweighs my guilt..." / "The Will to Act"

Ever wanted to know how training was for Bruce? Well, this line brings us to that answer. This scene tells us all we need to know about Bruce's motivations. He's angry his father didn't do anything about not acting out against Joe Chill before they were murdered. Bruce channels his anger to fight crime. Its enough to make you wonder that if Thomas Wayne had at least acted the moment Chill approached them, could one or both of Bruce's parents still be alive?

"You killed my parents!"

Most hardcore Batman enthusiasts will say they hate the idea of Joker being the one to murder Bruce's parents. While I will also agree with them, I have to also say its a big moment for Bruce/ Batman to have a showdown with the Joker and confront the man who murdered them all those years ago. While I don't like the results of the confrontation, Tim Burton does a great job at bringing Joker and Batman face to face about who created who.

"....Because, now, I choose to be."

Yes, I know, everyone hates this movie (but to a much lesser extent than Batman and Robin). But if there was one redeeming quality in this film it had to be this scene. Throughout this movie, Bruce struggles with being Bruce and Batman (a struggle that isn't too well developed but just go with me here). Riddler forces Bruce to choose between his two identities in order to see which one he favors most: His life as a billionaire playboy or his costumed alter-ego. What ensues is that well, Bruce doesn't choose one as he's willing to embrace both lives.

"A kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it..."

I'm not going to lie: I thought Batman Returns was a better movie than Tim Burton's original movie. It had more emotion added to it with a few of the characters that were presented to it...plus Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman...so yeah..there's that. But this scene was something special with Both Selina and Bruce discovered who each other were in a moment where Selina seemed to be losing her damn mind while showing their feelings for one another...

"How about a Magic Trick?"

While the scene doesn't involve Bruce/ Batman, its just plain awesome to watch! The best part about the scene happened in the moment you first see the movie. The entire theater laughed when they saw the sight only afterwards they realized how twisted the trick actually truly was and then you notice everyone's smiles go away as they realize what they had just witnessed. And while I'm on the topic of Heath Ledger...

"The Old Good Cop, Bad Cop Routine"

Very possibly the best scene in Nolan's sequel, Heath Ledger and Christian Bale play off of each other perfectly. This was possibly the scene that solidified Ledger's Oscar award. Its a chilling scene but one that's a comic book fans dream.

"Its what I do that defines me..."

At the climax of Batman Begins, Bruce has to stop R'as from destroying the city, but stops to save Rachel and a young child from getting killed. In the middle of all the horror that's going on in the city, he pauses to basically tell her who he is and continue saving the city.

"A Dark Knight"

it takes a big man to take the fall for someone else, but its what Bruce does for Harvey the same as Harvey had done for Bruce earlier in the movie. Batman takes the blame for the horrible things Harvey had done since he lost his mind thanks to the antics of the Joker throughout Nolan's sequel. What ensues is the idea that Batman is hunted and its also what pushes us into the events of The Dark Knight Rises. The best thing about the scene is that we, as the audience, really couldn't imagine where else the story could go as we'd never seen a Superhero movie end in such a dark way much like how Empire Strikes Back left us wondering if the Luke and his rebellion would get back at the evil Empire...

"Why Do We Fall?"

This is the scene that tugs at my hearts strings every time I watch Batman Begins. If anything, it demonstrates the very relationship of Bruce and Alfred and shows us that they are more than master and butler, but as a surrogate father and son. Also, the idea of Bruce thinking he failed his parents dream is one that's tear worthy, as he not just watches the house above him burn, and also in thinking that their idea of saving Gotham is going to be washed away with R'as al Ghul's plan.

If you have any moments from any movies, animated or otherwise, add them!

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Does The Dark Knight Rises have a chance to against the Avengers?

I've seen this discussed just about everywhere on the internet. No matter where you go, if some site is promoting the Dark Knight Rises, a fanboy comes in to interject that it has no chances of beating the outstanding records Marvel's The Avengers have set, and rightfully so. Keep in mind that The Avengers practically came out at a time where we were just about desperate for a big blockbuster to kick off the summer, and Marvel chose the first spot they could get to dominate the summer movie season, also considering you have five movies that sets up this very event, and you have box office gold. Given this very reason that we've never seen a character mash up on the silver screen before, The Avengers was poised to make the bank within no time at all. But if we get into a point of dissecting movies because of some form of insecurity to see which movie is better, are we really enjoying the film?

Let's be clear: movies are hard to pull off, especially ones like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. As much as movie studios wants us to believe they aren't competing, we know that they are. And while making money happens to be the thing they want to do whether their movie is good or bad, we should be content with enjoying the films the way Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon intended them to be seen. Directing is another form of storytelling and taking people along a ride you'd love to share with others. Some people will hate the ride, others will without a doubt love it, but when comparing it to other rides you are just about sure to get the full enjoyment the creators of it had wished when they began making it.

Let's look pass the fact that these are also two different kinds of movie types with different kinds of stories to tell. The Dark Knight Rises is the wrap up of a trilogy. showing how Bruce Wayne has changed his world since becoming the Batman starting in 2005's Batman Begins and continuing to 2008's The Dark Knight. These movies were chosen to not just be a movie to just be about the comic book fans, but to people who love action movies and thrillers as well. They are character driven to the point where Nolan tries to take away the unnatural in response to trying to find the natural in a world in need of heroes. It works for his form of storytelling.

The Avengers, as stated above, is a culmination of five movies over four years and coming together as one. It's not directly tied to the previous narratives very much, and that's what works for the fun of Joss Whedon's super hero mash-up. It's full of laughs, action, yet light on narrative but it works and comes together in a great fashion.

People love to compare apples to oranges. For the sake of doing so they like to compare the sweetness to the juiciness and the bitterness to the sourness without taking into context that the two things have different things going for themselves. It doesn't make one better than the other, it just means one is a different flavor than you might be use to. With being a little open minded, a person could see that regardless of their taste, they could enjoy both movies without trying to destroy one or the other.

These movies are meant to be enjoyed regardless of you taste in the Superhero genre. Nolan and Whedon are good at being the masters of their craft and are gifted in telling a story the only way they know how with the characters they are given. It doesn't matter what movie does better at the box office, it only matters if the story that's told is sufficient enough for us to say we enjoyed it or not while not trying to compare them and destroy them at once.

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Comical Rundown for July 6th, 2012

Comical Rundown for July 4, 2012

There were some good things to be released in this week in the world of comics. We saw the birth of a new Green Lantern, the next chapter of Avengers vs. X-men, and we saw Spider-man do battle against his uncle. Here are the top five comics for the week with a few honorable mentions! Here’s the first ever Comic Rundown!

5. Earth 2 #3 Written by James Robinson

I was apprehensive when it came to DC bringing the idea of Earth 2 into the New 52, but James Robinson has done a fine job at introducing this alternate Earth to new readers with fresh takes on the heroes of the golden age. Alan Scott gains his Green Lantern abilities here, and while the dialogue used is a little cheesy, it still serves as a fresh take on the mythology of Alan Scott’s Green Lantern.

The best thing to come out of this issue, however, isn’t about Alan Scott, but with Jay Garrick still struggling to get a grip on his new powers he gained from last issue, with Hawkgirl trying to help him gain control of his abilities and see what he’s made of. It’s a fun couple of pages that makes this a good issue to pick up.

Favorite Moment: When Hawkgirl asks Jay what his name is and he literally tells her what his real name is. He isn’t very good at this hero thing just yet!

4. Avengers vs. X-Men Round 7: Writer Matt Fraction

I think we all can agree on one thing: The first act of Avengers vs. X-Men wasn’t very fun to read. The story, or lack thereof, made it very hard to care for anything that was happening. All of that was fixed with the previous issue by Jonathan Hickman and his exploration of character. This time it was Matt Fraction’s turn to take over the narrative, and while it didn’t pack the punch that the previous issue had, it still is a good follow up to this year’s biggest comic book event.

The Phoenix Five are front and center, taking the fight to The Avengers and pushing them to a point of desperation. What works is that some Avengers think they may not walk away from this fight as they think the X-Men have gotten to a point of killing. Though they are wrong in their thoughts, it’s nice to see the dear they have for the situation at hand.

What drives the issue home, however, is the characterization of Cyclopes. He was the breakout star of the previous issue and it continues here. Scott Summers wants to literally save the world with these new powers he’s gained, but he wants to do so at the cost of nothing. He’s maintaining his humanity while the others – Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, and Namor – are close to seeing themselves above Scott’s ideas.

The only problem I have with this issue in the chosen dialogue for the Phoenix Five. Last issue they spoke like they were higher beings, but now they speak like they are normal people. This has to be due to having multiple writers doing different dialogue types for their characters. I hope it stays consistent for the later issues of this summer’s big blockbuster event.

Favorite Moment: When Namor and Cyclops argue about what kind of leader and ruler Scott is.

3. Action Comics #11 written by Grant Morrison.

I haven’t been a strong supporter of Action Comics since the launch of the New 52. More times than not, it’s a miss rather than a hit. This issue, however, sees Morrison working his way into our hearts with telling us how hard it can be for Superman to be Clark Kent. The struggle of two identities is a bit much as he tells Batman that he’s barely got time to be himself as he’s Superman most of the time. He then gains a new identity that virtually see’s him being Superman all the time.

The problem here is the art. The art in Action Comics has been one of the most hated things and it hasn’t let up here. Character designs are very inconsistent with characters not matching up with their later appearances in the comic book.

Favorite Moment: When Superman goes to see Batman about his identity crisis. It’s a lovable scene that’s funny due to the irony of Superman going to the poster boy of identity problems.

2: Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 (of 6) Written by Len Wien

This happens to be the best Before Watchmen character story to be explored so far. Alex Viedt’s origin of what drives him is a very compelling tale as we see what makes him into crime fighting to begin with. We see what he has good reasons for why he makes the choices he does in the eventual Watchmen story as he really believes in uniting the world like how Alexander the Great tried to do once.

The only problem, and its very minor, happens to be the way the story is told. Its told through a narrative of Alex telling us just about everything. His narration isn’t needed for the entire book and it could have been dropped at the beginning. But it’s a minor complaint to an otherwise great story.

Favorite Moment: When Alex coldly tells his bullies to back off before he hurts them. Chilling!

1. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #12 Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Bendis continues to show us what makes Miles Morales a worthy successor to the Spider-Man legacy, and he does so by showing us how innocent and alike Miles is compared to Peter Parker. Miles is willing to do what’s right no matter what the price is and no matter who gets in his way, even if its family that gets in his way. I won’t give too much away, but this issue cements Miles as the new Spider-Man.

Favorite Moment: The fight between Spider-Man and the Prowler.

Honorable Mentions: Animal Man #11; Amazing Spider-Man #689

Passable: Batwing #11

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