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Welcome To The Planet: The Brilliance of Cave Carson and Green Arrow and The Return of The Ray

Cave Carson, Green Arrow and The Ray were truly brilliant.

I can’t recommend them highly enough.

There are still a plethora of books that deserve your attention and teams seems to be the theme this week with JL vs SS really exploding and expanding. Still side from the strong arming to read everything ‘versus’ this week the three books I singled out are the real must reads.

This is my look into the DC Universe this week!

City of Ghosts
Writers: Jon Rivera & Gerard Way
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover: Nick Filardi
Variant: Andrew MacLean

With everyone dead, Chloe examines the door her Grandfather supposedly sought refuge in and her unique genetics causes it to open.

Somehow psychotropic’s are unleashed and both Wild Dog & Cave are punished by visions of regret and suffering.

Tchloe manages to shut the door as the Mole II and its crew arrive to capture them. Mutants interrupt and savagely kill half the crew and Cave uses the opportunity to evade EBX.

They arrive at a small refuge called Sha-Muldroog and find the remains of the city and its populace in hiding there along with Chloe’s grandparents.

The citizens and in particular Mazra’s parents, the king and queen are saddened to learn she has passed away.

Meanwhile back at EBX they have tracked the Mole and Cave to the coordinates and swear to capture Cave and Chloe at all costs.

To Be Continued…

ART: 5/5
I love the style, the character, the personality exuding from the artwork.

I get this strange feeling when reading the book that it’s going to suddenly burst into life. DC Animation, please make it happen or at least give Cave a cameo in JLAction!

COVER: 3/5
Nice illustration and metaphorical theme however I’m not sure that the abstract style of the cover feels like it does the book justice. It’s as weird and wonderful as the story but perhaps I’m just too used to the mainstream books to embrace it.

This book goes from strength to strength, the only thing I would change is name tags. I got lost when suddenly two Mole teams came face to face and had to flip through the back issues to figure out who was who. If not for that mild confusion the book was practically perfect.
Emerald Outlaw: Part Four
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Cover: W. Scott Forbes
Variant: Neal Adams & Dave McCaig

While Ollie struggles with his life choices the Vice Squad break into a Detention Center and recruits anyone with a badge, killing all the inmates and any of the guards that don’t join their cause.

As Ollie, Dinah and Diggle race to aid Chief Westberg the Vice Squad manage to steal an armoured car and make an escape.

Intercepted by Team Arrow, both teams fight until Ollie is almost killed.

The rogue cop Ollie fought reveals himself and tells him that he can’t fight crime if he allows villains to live and continue to break the law, but as he is about to kill a flurry of arrows soars through the air.

The Vice Squad escape and Team Arrow are shocked by yet another archer, this time it’s Emiko Queen aka Red Arrow!

To Be Continued…

ART: 5/5
The character moments really shone this issue.

There was an equal balance with that and the action scenes, of which there was no shortage, but the character beats were the strongest and its rare for art to shine through with the sequences based in drama and ‘stillness’ but it is an exception to the rule here.

COVER: 5/5
Another stand off, with Ollie looking mean and determined. The perspective seems a little off, not artistically but the Vice Squad are clearly the secondary ‘threat’ I know the second archer is deliberately shadowy to hide the identity but they deserved a bit more of the cover ratio I think.

By the way, this is for Gail Simone… I think Ollie is trying to outdo Nightwing for rear of the year.

I’m not sold on the subplot with the Vice Squad. Their argument is a solid one but they are more of an irritation than a real nemesis for Team Arrow. With Malcolm Merlyn exposed I had hoped we’d explore more of his story and the plot that has made him an outlaw more than these goons.

The saving grace is Oliver Queen. His talk with Victoria Much and the scene where he breaks down with only Dinah to comfort him. Storytelling at its best, as these two scenes were so memorable, it reminds you there is more to Ollie than his millions and his superhero career. Benjamin Percy is doing a superb job of showing us a window into his life.
Chapter Five
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Jey Leister, Daniel Henriques, Sandu Florea & Oclair Albert
Cover: Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques & Alex Sinclair
Variants: Andy Kubert, Brad Anderson, Amanda Conner & Laura Martin

The Flash disarms all the weapons of mass destruction on Earth.

The Green Lanterns seal the Earth from extraterrestrials.

Aquaman secured the shores and borders.

Wonder Woman was ‘guarding’ the world leaders.

Cyborg took control of the planets communications network.

Superman breaks into the White House and places Max Lord in control of the United States, then Superman kidnaps Amanda Waller from Belle Reve right out from under Batman’s protection and presents her to Max.

In Belle Reve, Batman and Deadshot  find Lobo, now regenerated and free of Max Lord’s control. Soon joined by Katana and Rick Flag they meet up with the Suicide Squad.

Cyborg has been able to isolate part of himself from the Eclipso/Max Lord influence and tells them all about Eclipso and offers to Boom Tube them close to the White House.

Meanwhile Waller and Lord have a heart to heart and Amanda realises the Heart of Darkness diamond has tricked Max into thinking he is in control.

The former Suicide Squad is now a newly deputised Justice League and they arrive to be met by the Eclipso infused heroes and launch into battle.

A terrified Max loses control and Eclipso takes over his body, only Batman and a rag tag band of villains stands between him and world domination.

To Be Continued…

ART: 3/5
The inking really weakens the issue. There are so many different styles at play here that Robson Rocha’s pencils struggle to shine through and they really deserve to because some of the pages are stunning. I may be being harsh here but the strongest pages of art are hampered by the ones that are really feint and rely heavily on digital colouring to lift things.

COVER: 5/5
This cover is fun I like the split of the two teams and threat of Eclipso’s influence. Get the feeling this would be ideal as one of those 3D covers?

I feel like the League are after me! Yikes!

This issue had a lot of work to do. Even with the tie in (Justice League #13) so much is glossed over that could really have enhanced the story, the impact of Eclipso and his manipulations of the manipulator. The League were reduced to cameos despite their evil actions at the very beginning of the book. Despite the fact their aid in Lord’s scheme would have usually bred distrust in them in the long term for example its literally played out in a handful of panels.

Then there is Max Lord, after grooming the story and his extensive back story over six issues he’s dumped just like that? Weak I think…

Finally we have ‘versus’ it isn’t really is it. Now we’re closing in on the end it really feels like this should have been Justice League/Suicide Squad: Rise of Eclipso rather than a versus, as there have only been little spats, not a real grudge match – unless in this final issue we really have some consequences.

It isn’t that the book hasn’t been enjoyable so far, its just that as we get to the end I’m feeling like I didn’t get what I was promised.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Stephan Byrne
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Marcelo Maiolo
Variant: Stephen Byrne

Ray is allergic to light, the side effects of exposure can harm those around him.

One night, Ray’s physical reaction to an innocent Polaroid camera flash almost killed his best friend , Caden. Ray’s mother has tried to keep him indoors for much of his life to protect him and the press dubbed him the Pennsylvania Night Boy.

After ten years of confinement, a teenage Ray finally rebels and escapes into town, much to his mother’s horror.  There he discovers his mother was right, as even the muted street lamps supercharge him with explosive energy.

Finding himself invisible Ray spends the next four years learning to control his powers and traveling the world. When he finds himself in Vanity City, Oregon. Ray discovers that Caden has grown up to be Cade Zapote, a mayoral candidate.

During a rally, Ray sneaks in invisibly and when a protestor, from the ‘Sons Of Liberty’ tries to assassinate Caden, Ray intervenes and saves the day ‘introducing’ himself to Caden who commends his rescuer as a ‘ray of hope.’

Finally able to control his power and with no need to hide he is ‘The Ray’ the night boy finally has a real life, friends and family but also a new career as a hero.

To Be Continued… in JLA: REBIRTH #1

ART: 5/5
Stephen Byrne’s turn in the JL/PR’s miniseries shows he can handle action.

The Ray shows he can handle drama.

Pages 9, 11, 16, 17 & 18 are just a few of the stand outs that really exploded with energy, apt for The Ray I suppose but aside from my groan inducing puns, the art was faultless.

COVER: 5/5
Changing the ‘leaping theme’ of the tie in covers so far is a wise move this makes Ray look very mysterious and equally powerful. Easily the strongest of the JLA: Rebirth covers so far.

Everything that Vixen got wrong in my eyes the issue got right.

I never read The Ray aside from cameos in other books but I’m keen to see more of him. He’s damaged, socially broken but where he could have sunk to a life of crime or worse, his optimism, his love of movie heroes and friendship pulled him back from the brink.

His journey of never fitting in to finally finding himself and a place in the world were truly touching. I hear The Ray is also getting an animated miniseries soon and I look forward to seeing more of the character.

Welcome To Eclipso
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Scott Eaton
Cover: Scott Eaton, Wayne Faucher & Gabe Eltaeb
Variant: Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn

Steve Trevor is at The Picket when Superman breaks into the White House with Max Lord.

As the events of JL vs SS take effect Steve finds he can’t call for assistance and that the staff in The Picket are also now minions of Eclipso. He locks the staff inside the base and tries to make his way through the city avoiding the minions. By luck Steve finds a torch and discovers its light can hurt the minions.

Steve gets home hoping his visiting niece and nephew are safe and Eclipso reaches out to Steve mentally and tells him that he revels in not controlling everyone otherwise there is no one to torment.

Steve fights the vision off and greets his family but the sun suddenly eclipses and even with all his might Steve and his family are turned into minions too.

To Be Continued in Justice League vs Suicide Squad #6

ART: 5/5
Considering this issue was filled with anything but superheroes you’d think it would be filled with unremarkable art and story. Happily that isn’t the case and Steve’s strength of character really shone through as we saw the effects of JL vs SS from a civilians eye view. This was a clever and unique way to frame the story and the art never relented in strength. Scott Eaton really kicked butt this issue!

COVER: 5/5
This is the most ‘screen time’ the League get this issue but I’ll be damned if they didn’t go to town on making them as vile and evil as possible. If they League can be taken down what chance does a mere mortal have? On top of that, Diana versus Steve? You’re killing me with the wow factor here.

It is interesting that Steve Trevor was chosen as the focus here.

It proved to be a wise decision as the issue was perhaps the strongest in the whole JL vs SS story.

They still chose to paper over the JL’s actions but they showed the strength of the human spirit and also gave a clue as to how Eclipso can be overcome and as a trade that is worth it. I’ve really liked Steve Trevor’s portrayal in wonder Woman as handled by Greg Rucka and I’m glad Tim Seeley sees the same in him. This tie-in really adds more to issue 5 of JL vs SS the human element always does in stories (when writers remember the regular joes) with heroes raising the bar in bigger and louder battles sometimes a fresh perspective can add s much more.
Writer: Art Balthazar
Artist: Art Balthazar & Franco
Cover: Art Balthazar

Brimstone is rampaging through Metropolis and only Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, Lois Lane and Wonder Woman are able to fight him as Superman is visiting his new half brother, Prym-El on New Krypton.

Brainiac and General Zod are uncharacteristically friendly and while Clark is busy with the new baby growing faster than normal, the two villains teleport Jor-El into the Fortress and into a coma.

Aquaman aids the capture of Brimstone and while the world is distracted Lex Luthor, from his own Kryptonite fortress reveals that his mysterious ally is really one of Superman’s deadliest foes!

To Be Continued…

ART: 5/5
Supergirl, Brimstone, Lois, Jimmy, Darkseid, Zod, Brainiac, Aquaman… so much to love, I can’t pick a favourite scene! Actually I can. Brimstone on a time out was gold. I also want a pet Parademon, Dear DC make some Super Powers merchandise!

COVER: 5/5
Homage to the Supergirl show? Homage to the Legends miniseries? I don’t care, Brimstone has always been an eye catcher and to see Supergirl and Martian Manhunter take centre stage is a great thing. Bring on the action and fun!

How everything fits together in the long-term mystery has me really perplexed but it is a fun rollercoaster ride in the meantime with even the silliest moments really appealing to me. Maybe I’m a man-child but I really don’t want this series to end!


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