Holy shit. This mini, that reestablished Hal Jordon as a member of the Green Lantern corpse and did a fair bit of retconning to actually explain why an insane mass murderer wasn’t actually responsible for his actions (it was a yellow fear monster after all (yes, this shortened it does sound a bit silly)) is awful. It was even published as an Absolute Edition, and to be honest, it was an excruciating read and not one of Johns best effort and definitely not worth that kind of package. There should be a rule to never allow a writer to write a character he’s actually in love with, or whatever you want to call it. This reads like very bad fan fiction.
The amusing thing about the whole Frankencastle thingy was that as long as the comic was still called Punisher (issue 11 to 16), it was excellent. Sure, completely out of synch with the usual Punisher elements, but Remender managed to make what sounded like a ludicrous storyline (Punisher killed by Daken, then reanimated as a Frankenstein creature to help the Creatures of the Night against monster hunters) into a fun and engaging story.
But once the initial storyline was over (and the comic renamed as Frankencastle) and the comic went back to being part of the rest of the usual Marvel universe, the fun was over. Another clash between Daken and Castle, with Wolverine turning up and saving his son (just because). After all, if a character is famous enough it doesn’t matter whether he’s a sociopathic murderer, he gets a free pass (I know, this is somewhat ironic, since the same could be said about the Punisher). So, read the first storyline (Dead and Alive 11-16) and pass on the rest.
As much as I liked Immortal Iron Fist, I thought this follow-up series was ill-devised. Sure, some of the single entries were good, detailing the origins of the other immortal weapons beside Iron Fist, but that wasn’t what people wanted. They wanted more Iron Fist, not some origin stories and a pretty weak back-up Iron Fist story. If the idea was to kill the Iron Fist franchise stone cold, this succeeded well enough, but one hopes they didn’t do it intentionally.
This was part of or a prelude to Infinite Crisis (which I still haven’t read yet). It’s about the creation of a magic-based superhero team that tries to take down the Spectre, who has gone slightly insane (this does seem to happen far too often to him) and is trying to kill all the magic-users in the DC universe. It’s an excellent read. Interesting characters, a good team dynamic and excellent art too. The only stuff I tried by Willingham before (as far as I can remember) was his Fable series, from which I bounced rather heftily. Good to see that sometimes giving second chances works out.
This is Johns doing damage control over the stuff that happened in Identity Crisis. He creates a situation where the JLA has to consider doing a second mind-wipe, since Despero brought the memories of the villains back, which threatens the secret identities and especially the loved ones of the heroes. It’s not one of the better JLA stories, but considering that this is damage control, it’s succeeds most of the time (and it’s far better than Claremont/Byrne/O’Neill/Austen). It’s not a story that stands well on it’s own, though, since you need to read Identity Crisis to understand what’s going on here.
This second Deadpool mini is set up after the first one. Most of the cast from Nicieza’s mini is present, but the plot is similarly lame and overly convoluted at the same time. One bad guy is dying from a disease while in prison, another bad guy, the infamous Juggernaut, breaks hims out together with the doctor overseeing his case. Deadpool gets involved via another tagent and well, more stuff happens, but all of it mostly lame, on a general level.
But while the story really isn’t all that good, Waid, like Nicieza before him, captures the irreverent nature of Deadpool perfectly. It may not be art, but its damn fun seeing Deadpool doing his thing. Compared to later Deadpool stories this still had a more serious tone and wasn’t yet the humor-free-for-all that later Deadpool evolved into.
The first Deadpool mini-series suffers from the same problems that many of the later Deadpool stories have: a sucky story (in this one it’s a gimmick hunt for a testament from some guy whose nature is never explained or why he died and how). But like so often when it comes to a Deadpool comic, even a stupid story can’t stop this from being enjoyable. Nicieza writes Deadpool like he should be: insolent even when facing overwhelming forces. It’s not deep or sophisticated, but it’s a fun read.
This showed again that Ellis is one of the few writers who can write true science fiction in a superhero context, not just fake science fiction like Adam Strange/Green Lantern Corps/Nova/Guardians of the Galaxy. Of the three minis that make up the Galactus trilogy, the last two were the most interesting (the first one is a prologue that goes on far too long), with the second having the best art of all three. The Galactus trilogy also has the best version of Captain Marvel in the whole Marvel multiverse (Galactus arguably is also much better).
One of the few DC crossovers that sadly never got collected. The threat is magic based, which allows many of the magical powers of the DC universe to take center stage. Like so often the Spectre becomes a threat, this time due to an evil angel taking over. I heard it hasn’t been collected because Geoff Johns doesn’t like it much, but IMHO it’s one of the best DC crossover I’ve read to date: self-contained with a great story, excellent art that reminded me of Mike Mignola’s style and some of the magical players of the DC universe taking center stage. Hopefully this one gets collected one day.
The first two TPBs were pretty good, but once Nova came back to Earth, the whole series came to a grinding halt. Nova is a character who works best in space. Whether this was an edict from editorial or it came from DA&AL themselves, it was a serious misstep. The recruitment arc itself and the inclusion of Ego was brilliant, but it could have easily been set in space and would have worked much better. That said, even at its best Nova still feels like Marvel’s Green Lantern Corps substitute and never like something uniquely its own.