Some graphic novel gems, some real stinkers: books read

I wasn’t impressed with the first volume of Grant Morrison/Liam Sharp’s Green Lantern but GREEN LANTERN: The Day the Stars Fell is considerably less satisfying. This involves Hal Jordan, some Silver Age one-shot characters (seeing Strong Woman and Hyperman was the fun part of this) and a swarm of multiversal Green Lantern counterparts battling the anti-Hal Jordan of the anti-matter universe. This leaves us with so many character swarming around it was hard to figure what was going on; Sharp’s art didn’t make it any clearer. Outside of a one-shot included with this TPB, involving a Jordan family reunion, I could have skipped this and not suffered any great loss in my life.

QUINCREDIBLE: The Hero Within by Rodney Barnes and Selina Espiritu (who did the cover) was much better, though not so much better I’ll be back for more. Protagonist Quinton West is one of many New Orleans residents who gained superpowers during a meteor shower, in his case invulnerability. Now he’s caught up in helping a voodoo priestess stop a developer who wants to raze a black cemetery to reclaim and rebuild his family’s ancestral land.

I like the cast and setting it in black New Orleans adds some interest. That said the story just didn’t engage me enough. And I really wish Barnes had explained by the developer is black when he’s written like a descendant of white slaveowners — yes, there are lots of ways that could happen (free blacks owned slaves, for instance) but I still wanted an answer.

IMMORTAL HULK: Breaker of Worlds by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose has the Hulk and General Fortean in a final showdown as the general goes increasingly rogue (“Collateral damage.”) only to find he’s no match for the Hulk’s Joe Fixit personality. This was good except for the pretentious last issue — comics written from the perspective of a completely alien mentality rarely come off as more than a stunt.

The follow-up, We Believe in Bruce Banner, has Banner and his allies taking over Fortean’s Shadow Base with an eye to using it to take down villains untouchable by the law. As Roxxon’s minotaur leader, Dario Aggo, is one of the untouchables, he sees this as a threat. Most of the collection focuses on his counter-attack, which includes the return of Xemnu the alien Hulk (a pre-Fantastic Four character renamed the Titan when he showed up in the Bronze Age, as on this Gil Kane cover). This shifts direction sharply, but it works.

THE AVANT-GUARDS vol 1 by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes has protagonist Charlene attending a school for the performing arts only to discover it has a basketball team. She’s sworn off the sport but they need one more player to field a team and team leader Liv is both cute and persuasive … a bit too decompressed (this could have filled about two issues) but still charming.

I also read the first volume of Punk Mambo but I covered that one over at Atomic Junkshop. If you don’t want to get out the boat suffice to say it’s competent but underwhelming. Covr by Adam Gorham#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Comics, Reading

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