Well, I picked a poor week to stand up for Countdown. Before we get to all the good stuff that came out this week, I need to get the bad out of the way -- and the worst was Countdown #33.
I have so many problems with this issue I cannot even organize my thoughts. the artwork was atrocious. There was not a single character that maintained their shape from one panel to the next. Kyle Rayner's introduction was equally horrible. No explanation why he is there, no explanation how he got to the Palmerverse on his own, he's just there helping to NOT go after Dr. Choi when he's abducted. Think about it -- a Monitor needed The Atom's help to get to the Palmerverse, but a GL can just pop in and out. But at least we got that great confrontation between Wally and the Rogues. What's that? Wally believed their story and left them alone? What's that? Wally actually gave them a safe house to stay in? What's that? The morons are leaving the safe house? MAKE SOME SENSE!!!
UGH, this issue made me want to hit something really really hard! Um, like Thor does to Iron Man in Thor #3! If there is one downside to this story, it's that too many people are kicking Iron Man around like he's a Newbie. The upside? So many people are kicking Iron Man around! And while I enjoyed seeing Thor get in his licks, I also appreciated the brief length of the interaction. After all, Thor has a brand new series and his own exploits to explore, there's no need in spending any more than an issue on this butt-kicking.
But if you want to read a story with someone that can really kick some rear, read Green Lantern #23. You know, when I saw the cover to this issue in the solicitations, I thought Hal was wearing all those rings because he had been brainwashed. No, Hal is in fact wearing all those rings because he's using the Sinestro Corps' own weapons against them. This is one of the more badass moments we've seen in comics in a while -- probably since Captain America hijacked that fighter jet in Civil War #1. This is a John Wayne moment. And the rest of this issue is as tight as tight can be, providing some great action mixed with comic relief. At one point Hal and John start ripping on Guy for his yellow ring-wearing era, right in the middle of a scrum. Quality stuff.
Believe it or not, Alex Summers also showed a badass side in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1. This first issue was pretty good, or at least as good as I hoped for, as Christopher Yost jumps right into the fray from the first pages. He also does a nice job of slipping in character moments to immediately introduce these characters to new readers, without hitting you over the head with exposition. While this series is not for everyone, as it looks to be a self-contained tale with B-list characters, it seems that it is a series most X-Fans will appreciate, if only for the clear juxtaposition of Alex and Gabriel Summers.
Justice League of America: Wedding Special serves as Dwayne McDuffie's debut on the title, and while it wasn't the worse first issue I've read, I am not so optimistic. McDuffie, of course, gained acclaim for writing Justice League Unlimited cartoon episodes -- and unfortunately, this issue felt a little bit like one of them.
For no apparent reason, Lex Luthor has gathered together a new Injustice League, and he's invited every villain you can think of to join at their home base -- the old Legion of Doom base in the swamp. You know the place -- the building that looks like Darth Vader's head. By the end of this issue, after the Injustice League has attacked a few Justice League members, just about every hero you can think of is set to jump into action, because they were all present at Ollie's bachelor party. That's right, it's everyone against everyone. Yay.
It was only a few months ago that Alex Ross already did the Injustice League vs. Justice League thing, and I guarantee this will not turn out as good. McDuffie really should have began his first arc on new ground, or with some giant cosmic opponent, not the same old tired cartoony stuff. Still, I'll stick around a few issues hoping he improves.
Last but not least -- Black Adam: The Dark Age #2. I wondered where Peter Tomasi could possibly go to top all the glorious horror he gave us in the first issue. Well, in this issue we see Isis slowly decay before our eyes, we see Adam disembowel a Yheti and then use his intestines for rope, and we see Adam regain his powers -- but each time he uses the power, the chances of bringing Isis back slowly decrease. This was one of the best issues of the week, one of the best of the month, and I ask again, How Can Peter Tomasi Top This Next Issue?!?
This was possibly the best week that the comic industry has had all year. So much Good Stuff! ... and Countdown...