The Punisher #218: Frank Castle with War Machine Armor, Oh Yeah

With The Punisher’s entry into Marvel Legacy the hook is Frank Castle now has War Machine armor. After seeing the preview covers, we get to see how The Punisher gets the armor. Now the responses to this have either been excitement or extreme unhappiness. It’s The Punisher and opinions about him are all over the map. Frank Castle is a polarizing figure at the best of times. Every writer has a different take on him with mixed to critically acclaimed results. There’s no ambiguity about Frank Castle, he is who he is and he believes what he believes. Now we all get to find out what direction this series goes in with a new creative team. Let’s see how this goes down as I dive into The Punisher #218.

Weirdly enough I had a feeling I’d want to say something on The Punisher as I saw him in the armor. The concept fascinates me.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Comics

I appreciate how Matthew Rosenberg started off the issue. It blurs the lines between a serious Frank Castle and a more humorous take on the character. Rosenberg is going for a Frank that conveys every aspect of The Punisher in one way or the other. He picks a bit of each column in the life of Frank Castle and goes from there. You get your over the top mega violence mixed in with Nick Fury explaining why Frank is the way he is to the reader. Balance with this character is not easy to find at all and this issue tries hard to find it and it succeeds. I admittedly have some Punisher blind spots but this I feel strikes a nice balance tone wise.

I also want to mention this as we go further into The Punisher #218, it is totally new reader friendly. Jump right on in and you will be fine.

There’s not much I don’t like here and because of the fact that it is fun. Rosenberg slows it down just enough to set up War Machine and then back to the business at hand. What’s cool is Rosenberg is making a point to say, this is Frank in the War Machine armor, but he’s not War Machine. The back matter that Rosenberg writes makes it clear that Frank is wearing the armor, but War Machine will always be James Rhodes. I will be curious what this story will end up leading to as Frank is now at another level wearing the War Machine armor. Whatever happens though, the stakes are higher than ever and Rosenberg is showing that it’s going to get crazier from here.

We’re going to get look at more of the story of Punisher #218 we get into the art as there are a lot of cool moments here.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Nick Fury and Frank Castle

Special note: I really would love to try this egg drop soup as I am a fan of a good egg drop soup.

There’s one piece in particular that I want to focus on for starters, the Nick Fury and Frank Castle chat. Guiu Vilanova captured Rosenberg’s words beautifully with the Fury and Castle chat. Every second of that conversation flowed well and felt as dynamic as any action scene. I particularly love the expressions on Fury’s face as it makes sense that he would be more expressive than Castle. Then as the camera so to speak was moving around making the place seem less static and adding energy to the chat. It also helps that Lee Loughridge’s coloring illuminated the piece, the shadows and light gave it such a cool atmosphere. An enlightening chat with excellent execution.

As for the rest of the stuff, this comic looks good without a doubt. As noted from the Fury and Castle chat, the action scenes give another of detail to the wonderful glory that is Frank Castle. Rosenberg’s script shows that in action, that is when The Punisher comes to life. Vilanova’s art captures the action here in brutal and gleeful detail. Especially in the expressions, the only time to really see Frank smile is when he’s in his element, which is when he’s in the midst of battle. It’s interesting to me how that’s handled. Now I also want to mention Cory Petit’s lettering as it really works for this script. The big and loud letters work to the explosive art and colors here. Beautiful work all around.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Box Smash

If you’re in the midst of binge watching The Punisher on Netflix, I highly recommend grabbing #218 as part of your adventure.

Now this is only the start of what Rosenberg and his team has in store for The Punisher. We know why Frank has the War Machine armor and what he’s going to be up to with it, now we see what happens from here. This issue was a lot of fun but I get the feeling the stakes are going to get higher from here. I like what I see and I can’t wait for what happens next. Good work all around from this new team. I am excited for what’s to come with this series.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads Extreme: Bloodpool #1: Surprise Youngblood Spinoff!

In yet another comic from my collection I have never read, welcome to the Youngblood spinoff Bloodpool #1. All I initially knew of this comic was it was where Pat Lee got his start as a penciler and as a colorist too. Yes, that Pat Lee of Dreamwave Productions fame and the entire history that comes with it. I had no idea until reading it that this was a spinoff of Youngblood. Heck, I had no idea who the writer even was! Talk about your blind readthrough. Yet as I read it I found myself pleasantly surprised and also not entirely shocked as to what I got myself into. You’ll see what I mean as you read this piece. Let’s dive into this deep cut of the 90’s with Bloodpool #1. This is either going to be a magical experience or just a weird one, your mileage may vary.

Note the “your mileage may vary” bit at the start. It’s Youngblood related so already Bloodpool fits that phrase.

Bloodpool #1 Youngblood Pat Lee Extreme Studios

Weirdly enough I grew up in the 90’s but my experience with Extreme Studios is minimal at best. At the time of the rise of these studios and the 90’s comic boom and then bust, I was almost out of comics. Bloodpool was a series that slipped past me entirely, along with most of the Extreme Studios output. Bloodpool came out in August of 1995 so it is knee deep in 90’s land with all it entails. It focuses around the Youngblood training program to set up the next members of the team, until it all ends suddenly. Simple version, an event called Extreme Sacrifice happened and changed the entire framework of the program. Now you have all these young heroes set loose on the world and that’s the general idea of the story.

Now as for characters and how the story is given to us, that’s a different case entirely. Jo Duffy had a tall order back then to make this work and in some cases, it kind of does.  Now before you all go crazy here, I’m not saying it is perfect by any means. Gosh, not even the best thing I’ve read but I can own up to being entertained by it at certain points. Main reason why I had fun with it, Bloodpool doesn’t take itself that seriously. Duffy made me laugh a couple times as much as the actual structure of the story was weird, at least it was amusing.  I give props to someone making a seemingly strange crossover story work as well at does here.

Bloodpool #1 Liefeld Cover Youngblood Image Extreme

Yes this is the Rob Liefeld alternate cover. This is part of the Youngblood Universe so he did create this as part of the larger franchise. So here you go, Liefeld cover.

The dialogue in this is probably the saving grace of Bloodpool. As once it gets into Youngblood minutia it gets bogged down fast.

There’s not even a focal point character to focus your attention on. That camera floats around every which way as this was Pat Lee’s first story so the storytelling gets messy at times. Part of me wishes I could find critical thoughts on this from way back when. If my 2017 mind is having trouble figuring it out, I can only imagine what people at the time thought. Outside of Rubble, I could barely figure out any names of the characters until I went on Wikipedia. Oh yes there are names but they sure don’t stick with you that’s for sure. It’s a weird script to say the least.

I felt like Duffy had to shove in a ton of plot points and still try and make a new team have some impact. There’s also the possibility that it was the 90’s and sometimes certain 90’s books have a way of trying to tell too much at once. Bloodpool doesn’t have any cohesive feel to it until they leave the base, then it makes a little more sense. Of course as I learned from the back matter, Jo Duffy was writing Glory at the time which means there are Glory plot points too. I respect a cohesive universe but I am impressed to a degree that Duffy was able to get that much into one issue. There’s a level of respect to be had for that.

Bloodpool #1 Pat Lee Rubble Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Even for the Youngblood Universe, Bloodpool is a little crazy. It’s kind of stupid, makes little sense, yet it’s fun in a weird way.

Now I know at least a few people reading this are salivating at what I’ll say about Pat Lee’s art here. There’s a level of nostalgia for me as one comic I liked at one point was Dark Minds. Pat Lee’s art had that anime aesthetic and it was my absolute jam at one point. Of course as this is early Pat Lee, it’s a different ball game. The characters that look best are Rubble, Shaft at times, and then the anatomy goes all over the place from there. No one is safe in the wonky anatomy adventures as male or female, the bodies are tilting this way and that at many points. I mean I know I’m being snarky to a point at an artist with his first gig, but it is Pat Lee so I don’t feel that bad.

Special note: If you’re not familiar with the history of Pat Lee and how he handled Dreamwave Productions, oh you’re in for one treat of a Google search.

Yes you all get to learn that I was once a big Pat Lee fan, which is part of why I wanted to read this in the first place. One compliment I will give, the coloring looked good so that’s a plus. Sheer curiosity though lead me to check out a comic I would not have looked twice at. Jo Duffy had some good dialogue but the story made little sense. Crazy part is that there’s four issues and a special out there for Bloodpool. Will I read more? Maybe if I find the rest of the series for cheap. Unless some lunatic wants to donate me issues of Bloodpool they have laying around.

Bloodpool #4 Pat Lee Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Note: yes I know this is from #4 but I kind of wanted to give you all an extra idea of some of the oddball anatomy here. It’s a weird ride my friends.

I will totally take donations of Bloodpool though if anyone really wants to get rid of some random mid 90’s comics.

I mean the story ends pretty well as the team is now out on their own and doing their thing. Not sure how this will go from here but if the comic had even a tiny bit more of a connection I’d likely be curious for more. It’s insane and makes little sense at points but it can be funny so maybe there could be more down the line for me. There’s even a trade paperback out there for it that’s out of print. I guess Extreme Studios/Image Comics had big plans for Bloodpool at one point, who knew right? I sure didn’t until I read this.

Now do I recommend you all go hunt Bloodpool down? Nah, but hey if you are morbidly curious you will find it for cheap in any back issue bin across the land. This is another adventure into my comic collection and weird comics that I somehow haven’t read. Thanks for reading and hopefully enjoying this strange adventure. Take care and remember, yes the 90’s had a lot of comics with blood in the title. So many comics with blood in the title. Have a good one.

If you are seriously curious about owning Bloodpool for yourself I am an affiliate of mycomicshop.com so you can find it here.

 

 

Cable #150: Marvel Legacy’s Nod to The 90’s with Newer Mutants

Take note of my title for Cable #150 here, the nod to the 90’s is not meant as an insult at all. As I was reading this one I was pondering how to explain my thoughts on this issue and 90’s aesthetic fits here. It’s a brand new creative team for Marvel Legacy and I haven’t read anything of the new Cable series yet. In this situation I am the perfect reader for this as I have no connection to this series. I like Ed Brisson’s writing and Jon Malin‘s art but outside of that I have no real expectations. I’ve been on a touch of an X-Men kick lately and I have plans for Mojo Worldwide later on here. Time to take an adventure into the world of Cable and see if this Marvel Legacy ride is rewarding for me. Let us venture onwards and begin this amazing journey.

I will admit this though with the character, I do have a fondness for Cable so I’ll own that at least.

Cable #150 Marvel Legacy

Now this is where I get to explain the title of this piece more. One thing I noticed with Ed Brisson’s writing is he’s channeling 90’s Cable hard, this is good. He’s using 90’s Cable influence and using it to his full advantage. I think it’s also in Jon Malin’s art as Malin’s style has a flair for 90’s action packed goodness. Malin has a dynamic, stylized, and overall fun art style that fits Cable like a glove. Considering how the issue goes down it makes sense that Malin is on this series. The title of the storyline is “The Newer Mutants” and part of this issue is Cable getting a team together. Now it involves a concept not used in a while, The Externals. Another 90’s concept, at least that I remember, and it fits well here.

Now as for the team I mentioned earlier, so far it’s Doop, Shatterstar, and Longshot, and I call those great choices for this team. It seems like there is more to come from the cover but I like how each character plays into this. If you are wondering how this reads for someone who’s out of the Cable loop, it’s better than you’d think. Ed Brisson got a blank slate to work with since the story takes place thirteen years ago. There is a good enough of an explanation here but I really wish I knew more as to why Cable is hopping about through time. Brisson mentions time anomalies but I’m not given much else to work with. It’s still fun but yeah, I wish I understood more of the actual story here.

Cable has a weird flow to it as even I missed in my initial read through the 13 years ago at the start of the comic.

Yes Cable #150 is fun, yet there are issues, a lot of issues as to how the story flows. Yet I do like Doop the Street Phoenix and Doop in a cool car is pretty nifty. Malin’s work with Doop’s expressions and also action scenes are top notch, I do like those a lot. Especially the final pages that really let Malin cut loose, say this for Brisson, he crafts a solid action comic. Jesus Aburtov’s coloring looks great though and really does let Malin’s artwork shine and it pops off the page well. It’s a story that’s fun and has a lot going for it but the construction is a little strange. Welcome to life with Cable #150 my friends, fun but a little messy.

Yeah I can say this easily with Cable #150, it’s messy but it is at least fun.

Not everyone is going to groove on Cable #150 but I think I’m willing to give this another issue to see how it goes. I can easily say I had fun and I like the ending so it has potential, I’m game for another issue. I would say, try it and see what you think. Your mileage may vary with this one. Give it a shot and see how it goes over with you. As for me, I’ll check back in with this next issue and see if the fun outweighs the messy. Hopefully things balance out for this series and we’ll see what happens in the months to come.

I’m adding another special note here, I am still wary as I think on this more. Yet I had fun so, we shall see what next month holds.

DC Read-A-Thon: Batman and The Outsiders #1: The Bat-Rebellion

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome to the DC Read-A-Thon of Batman and The Outsiders! With the announcement of the full roster of Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis’s Justice League of America, the team had a different feel to it. The team seemed all over the place, Vixen, Ryan Choi’s Atom, The Ray, Killer Frost, then you get Black Canary, Lobo, and Batman. Now here’s what caught my eye about the team further, they announced a trade of Batman and The Outsiders. Batman leading a team that seems like a mish-mash of DC everything gives this a nice Outsiders feel. It got me to thinking, I have all the issues so why not start reading it? Hence the beginning of the Batman and The Outsiders DC Read-A-Thon. Without further ado, here is Batman and The Outsiders #1!

Welcome to the Great Bat-Rebellion!

What makes this series so fascinating is how it is structured from the get go. It all begins as Batman is working himself to the bone to protect Gotham City. It’s where I like where Mike W. Barr takes this, it’s a good structure for Batman. He’s sending off Lucius Fox on a journey to Markovia but his mind is elsewhere in his battles within Gotham City. These battles are also fraying Batman as his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Happy for his friend but still can’t dwell on his friend leaving as he’s got his own war to fight. Even more clever is Barr puts in two days worth of storytelling condensed within a short burst of panels. That’s all it takes and then it is off to set up Batman and the Outsiders.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 48 Hours

Copyright: DC Comics

Many of you saw Markovia and those familiar with Markovia probably had a, “Oh wow it all began there?!” moment. Lucius Fox goes missing in that country and Batman decides to call to the Justice League of America to help him out. To keep it short and sweet, Batman doesn’t get the help of the Justice League. The Government tells the League to stay out of it and as you figure, Batman isn’t happy at all about this. Which leads to Batman tendering his resignation to the Justice League, which you can imagine was huge back then.  Batman decides then and there he’s going to save his friend Lucius without the help of the League. Leading to a great explanation of Batman in the midst of a few panels and sets the stage perfectly for what’s to come.

This page is Classic Batman.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Batman Reasons for Resigning

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we hang our hats fully in Markovia from here on for the rest of the issue. A big part of this issue is this is the set up for Brion becoming Geo-Force, who’s the half-brother of Tara a.k.a Terra from Teen Titans. My favorite part is how Tara and Brion became brother and sister, bless you back matter. Truncating the editorial somewhat, Mike W. Barr had a chat with Marv Wolfman about his new character Geo-Force having earth powers and Marv wondered if Barr had been reading his New Teen Titans. Marv had Terra with earth powers running around in those pages, but Marv figured he could come up with something. I couldn’t do justice to Barr’s hilarious rantings but the short version is, Marv said “they are brother and sister” and the rest is history. Now back to the issue.

Apologies for that quick digression in this Batman and The Outsiders Read-A-Thon, but it is a cool story.

This is honestly my first time ever seeing the origin of Geo-Force and that is the best bit of this for me. It’s sad to see Brion/Geo-Force and his brother Prince Gregor’s father die but then Dr. Jace comes into play. She’s cranky but oddly fun, I think of her as the prototype for Dr. Nemesis in the X-Men. She’s the one who gives Brion his Geo-Force powers to help save the country. Gregor has his doubts but knows that he couldn’t stop his brother anyway. Barr has a great way of handling a death, setting up an origin, and showing relationships of characters within two pages. That’s remarkable and it doesn’t feel rushed at all. It keeps up the strong flow of the story as soon many new and old characters come into play.

Geoforce Origin Batman and the Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Here’s the even better part about Batman’s Markovian adventure. Every member of The Outsiders is set in place by the end of the issue. No Batman gathering the troops or anything else, quick set up for Black Lightning and everyone else gets explained throughout the rest of the issue. Black Lightning got a cool moment dealing with one member of the invading force, but that went haywire and fast. The only other characters who get any major explanation is Halo, who Batman finds within Markovia, Geo-Force, and Metamorpho. Katana gets a quick appearance, does some damage, and off to the races. It’s cool to know where everyone stands though in a relatively quick fashion in the second half of the issue.

Old school and awesome, this is why I dig the Geo-Force origin.

Batman and the Outsiders Geoforce Origin Part Two

Copyright: DC Comics

The Halo origin is still early days, hard to judge as to where that will go but the Geo-Force origin is wonderful. Geo-Force is a classic old school style origin and it’s about as good as you can get. That’s when you get Metamorpho involved as he’s there to meet the good Dr. Jace to help him out, which gets messed up by the invasion force. Geo-Force gets taken out but hey, he’s a main member of the team you think he’s out for long? While Batman is taking care of Halo and she’s along for the ride until he gets knocked out himself by our unknown force. That’s when we finally see Lucius Fox, Black Lightning, and what’s left of Metamorpho after his battle, and now Batman meets Baron Bedlam. Which sets up the next issue.

Baron Bedlam Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Mike W. Barr is amazing in structuring the series so far, it’s smooth to read and the concept gets set up at hyper speed. It’s an absolute delight to read, characters work well, and it flows pretty nicely for the most part. The major establishing point was the why and how of Batman putting this team together, Barr nails this without any problem and that’s what makes this fun. It’s got its share of quirks but in a good way. It’s just weird enough and it works with a slight bit more of an edge while still being within the Comics Code Authority. Yes kids, Comics Code Authority, it existed and wow people found strange and wonderful ways to work around it. Batman and The Outsiders had a different feel to it and I dig that.

Made a point to sneak this in as I got a major kick out of these panels.

Bruce Wayne or Batman in Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Take a look at the art I post in this too, Jim Aparo’s art on Batman and The Outsiders is amazing. Aparo and Barr are the co-creators on this series and you can tell they are going for broke here storytelling wise. Aparo’s art is off the charts, it looks great. There’s emotion flowing through each of the characters in actions, movement, and excellent facial expressions. There’s so much life in this comic and that helps give it that different feel from a lot of team series. Aparo and Barr are both showing they want this series to feel different and it does feel different. I’ve also never appreciated the coloring of this period until I noticed what Adrienne Roy did here. Roy’s coloring is mood setting, especially in the post-resignation scene from the League. That scene showing why Batman had to leave fired on all cylinders.

It’s interesting to me when you have artists you never quite pay attention to until you start to really look at something. That was me and Jim Aparo here. I’ve always liked Barr’s stuff, Camelot 3000 and some of the Warlord stuff I’ve read, but this is next level appreciation here. The work with Halo, the set up for why Metamorpho was there, and just everything with this team build up was solid stuff. Wow this is going to be a fun read-a-thon.

Join me as I dive into Batman and The Outsiders further, I’ve never read this and this is a joy to read thus far. Till next issue, thanks for checking out my recap here. Bye for now!

 

Wes Reads DC: Deathstroke #1-2: Brutal Brilliance!

Deathstroke #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

After my glowing look at Deathstroke: Rebirth I was hesitant to do another piece on this series. After reading the first two issues of the ongoing, I had to say something. Consider this a slight bit of review but more, here is why I like this. Christopher Priest with the Rebirth issue brought back an extra sense of grit to the DC Universe. Deathstroke’s world isn’t a nice one and as Priest expands on it, the comic is that much better. I won’t be going on a spoiler spree here with this piece so you can read on with peace. A non-stop brutal and violent wonderland awaits you in exploring the life of Slade Wilson. As a comic series, Deathstroke doesn’t shy away from the darkness and that’s wonderful. Read on, join me in my adventure into Deathstroke #1-2.

By the time this is through, you will likely be snagging the first two issues at hyper speed.

Deathstroke #2 DC Rebirth Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

One aspect of DC that I appreciate is how when it does gritty, it does gritty. Deathstroke is a weird character for DC as they’ve never been sure how to portray him. DC was wanting to make him their next antihero and that never gelled as a concept for the most part. The Deathstroke that works is one that portrays Slade Wilson has a terrible person and that’s fine. These two issues continue exploring how dark Slade’s world really is. What I like about Priest’s portrayal of Slade is how he fleshes him out as a character. There’s an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, he’s not good, bad, he’s Deathstroke and hopefully you’re not the person he’s after.

Deathstroke doesn’t live in a pretty world, but it is a fascinating one.

Deathstroke #1 Assassin Splash

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we’re dealing with yet another tweak of Slade Wilson’s family but I hope this is the one that sticks. There’s a nice dynamic as to how Slade’s family works from the past with his wife, to his daughter from another woman. Priest deals with all this in a matter of fact way. Even the people in his supporting cast, especially Wintergreen say Slade is not a nice person. It is also shown though if you’re in a firefight, Slade Wilson is a good person to have at your side. He’s not the best friend, he’s not a great dad, not a great husband, but an amazing warrior.

Deathstroke: Terrible Person, Best Fighter Around, That’s Slade Wilson.

Deathstroke #2 Slade Wilson Battle

Copyright: DC Comics

I like how Priest is building Slade up at this point with his adversaries. For a new reader, the new Deathstroke series is a primer on Slade Wilson. If you want to know how he’d handle a non-powered to a super powered character, this is it.  So far this series is keeping Slade Wilson grounded for all the best reasons, making for great storytelling opportunities. Right now the story is someone is after Slade and it’s not clear who it is. There’s one big reveal at the end of issue two that sets up a lot of possibilities for who could be after him. We’re only at part three here and I know there’s more to come. The hits just keep on coming for Slade Wilson.

As the issues go on you learn more about Slade’s family life too and it gets messed up, fast. Every writer at some point or another has a take on Slade Wilson’s family. To be honest from all that I know, this is ten shades of awful, then again this is Slade. All of Slade’s family life takes place in the past and it makes you wonder how this will sort itself out. Priest’s way of jumping between the past and the present as a storytelling technique works wonders here. The layers to this series building within these issues and the Rebirth issue is phenomenal.

There is even more to say here for sure, Deathstroke is just that good.

Now take note as I talk about the story happening here, Deathstroke’s art team is incredible.  In my Deathstroke: Rebirth article I rave a lot about the art team and it all applies here too, such amazing work. In #2 the team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox, and Willie Schubert get another addition, Larry Hama on breakdowns. Hama is a perfect fit for Deathstroke’s world. Pagulayan’s pencil work and Paz’s inking were great, but Hama adds another element to Deathstroke. It’s noticeable how the storytelling got that much tighter with Hama’s breakdowns. Priest has a team here that has shown that they bring his vision to life with sheer ease. It’s exquisite.

This my friends, summing up two issues of Deathstroke, Simply Put, Buy This.

I could go on even more about Deathstroke but it would be overkill. A genuine blast of a book that will keep you engaged for the entire time reading it and you will want more. One of the best in the DC Rebirth line that deserves all the attention it can get. Slade Wilson is a terrible person but as Deathstroke, a terrible person makes for a fascinating series. Buy this comic.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads: Doom Patrol #1: Young Animal Arrives!

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal DC Comics Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

Doom Patrol is the start of the Young Animal Imprint at DC Comics. Gerard Way unleashes his distinctive vision for Young Animal within the pages of Doom Patrol. Way’s writing on Doom Patrol gives you an idea of what to expect out of Young Animal. If this is what Young Animal has in store for us, this line of comics will be amazing. I’m part of the crowd with Doom Patrol, I like this comic. The tagline for Young Animal is “Comics for Dangerous Humans”, this fits in a good way here. In every review and opinion I’ve read, all across social media, everyone likes this comic. Here’s where this gets fun, why is it so loved? I’m going to give you my personal reasons why I like this comic as much as I do. To the land of the weird and wonderful with Doom Patrol #1!

Enter the Gyro, You never know what you will find.

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal Gyro

Copyright: DC Comics

 

As the comic explores about a thousand different concepts in one issue, this is surprisingly friendly to a new reader. Gerard Way sets up the concept as if you know next to nothing about the team you’ll be fine. Now if you know a little to a lot about Doom Patrol then it becomes that much richer for you. Way’s Doom Patrol can be appreciated on any level. My level of Doom Patrol knowledge is moderate but I am weak in my knowledge of Morrison’s run on the series which seems to be a heavy influence here. If you haven’t read any of Morrison’s Doom Patrol, you’ll still be fine. Ideas come at you in many ways here and this is a blast to read no matter what.

You can say that Doom Patrol is Weird but a Good Kind of Weird.

Note the heading, yes this is weird but I am so glad it exists. Casey Brinkle helps in being your guide to the madness around her. No matter what kind of weirdness and craziness comes at you, Way lets Casey be your guide to Doom Patrol. People start exploding, no problem, Casey centers the comic. Gyros being their own worlds, no problem, Casey gives you a way to process this in your mind. Sometimes there are comics out there that throw weird out there just to be weird, this is weird with purpose. Casey is the viewpoint for the new readers while the old readers wonder how she fits in. Casey Brinkle works on both levels and Way makes it seem effortless but the thought behind her shows.

From what I can tell, the Doom Patrol is forming around Casey and she’s become a magnet for weird in the process. In the meantime, while the Doom Patrol is coming back to the scene, there’s something behind the scenes perking up. A strange new food sensation is starting up that is going to factor in amazing and odd ways it seems. The people behind this new food sensation are a nightmare fuel corporate group, while still being slick and shiny. I got a NextWave vibe off of them as to how they acted mixed in with a lot of horrifying corporate focus group shows. Even better that this group is discussing the food in a run of the mill hotel, perfection.

Seriously, Absolute Perfection.

There’s so much to this one issue of Doom Patrol and yet it is still easy to piece it together. Robot Man appears and then has something bonkers happen from the start, which adds another element to the story. I am intrigued by Terry None, that intro was the most off the wall thing but Casey’s reaction to Terry made it priceless. Even more curious as what Robot Man was up to before certain events happened to him. Way even addresses Niles Caulder, the founder of the Doom Patrol, in a random one pager, and it all makes sense. There’s so much meat to this comic and so much going on that I can’t imagine what will happen next.

Where’s the Kaboom? Well right on the image below you can see the kaboom.

Doom Patrol #1 Birthday

Copyright: DC Comics

I haven’t even touched the art on this yet, which is amazing in itself!

Attempting a story such as this requires an art team up to making this vision work. Nick Derrington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Todd Klein are beyond up to the task. Derrington’s art on this is without a doubt phenomenal. The art here captures so much in the emotions of the characters and making this wonderland of madness seem tactile. Way’s story blends the weird and wonderful together swimmingly with Derrington being the one to bring and enhance the world of the Doom Patrol and Derrington does that with perfection.

The Expression on the Cat alone makes it all the more special.

Derrington’s art is only part of what makes Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol great, it’s also the coloring that makes the comic shine. Tamra Bonvillain’s coloring is a masterwork. Bonvillain’s coloring on the Robot Man scenes in the Gyro world are impressive. That painted look to those pages that Derrington drew gives it a unique style all on its own. That’s not to say that the rest of the coloring here isn’t impressive, it’s pure beauty that can’t help but make anyone smile. A bright palette for a strange and sparkly world.

You also can’t help but get a kick out of this page showing the brilliance of all involved with this.

Doom Patrol #1 DC Comics Young Animal Blast

Copyright: DC Comics

Todd Klein’s lettering on this is as amazing as anything else he’s ever done. He’s a legend in the comics industry and Klein makes this book sing through his letters. Unique stylings with an unleashed brilliance to match with Way’s off the wall storytelling. It’s quirky, fun, and engaging lettering, making the lettering as much a part of the art process as anything else. It’s delightful and some of the coolest stuff I have seen in awhile.

Young Animal is going to be a brilliant imprint.

Simply put, buy this comic. If you somehow have managed to miss this book then correct that mistake and read it. We could use more of this madness in comics. A great start for the Young Animal imprint and I’m excited for what’s to come for this series and with the imprint itself.

 

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #3: A Fall Before the Storm

Extreme Justice #3 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Extreme Justice #3, yes my friends we are at #3 of the DC Extreme Adventure. Extreme Justice #3 is the conclusion to the first story of this series. At points, this has been a frustrating arc but a fun one. Outside of #0 which gives little to nothing to go on for the series, the rest of the arc got much better over time. Now we near the end of this first adventure.  Hopefully, this issue will continue the upward trend I’ve seen within Extreme Justice thus far. As #2 ended, our heroes were fighting the Beta Team. The battle is the epitome of it’s always darkest before the dawn, the dawn, in this case, being Captain Atom. Captain Atom is back and he’s raring to do some damage to the enemy. Let the battle continue on as we see how this story arc ends in Extreme Justice #3!

The Battle Rages On as Extreme Justice #3 Begins with an Angry Captain Atom!

 

Extreme Justice #3: Captain Atom Returns!

Copyright: DC Comics

That image is the perfect opening shot for this article. Yes, I am playing with the format but for an opening shot that cool, worth it. As this page sets up a comic that goes at full speed without stopping for a minute. Even in the quiet moments, there’s always some kind of action going on. If ever you could say one comic is nothing but high octane action, this is it. Dan Vado went for writing a big splashy finish to the first storyline and it accomplished that. It gave Marc Campos, Ken Branch, and Lee Loughridge a lot to work with. Campos goes with pure dynamic layouts in the fight scenes giving added energy to even the quietest moments in between. Branch adds a strong line to make the fight scenes that much stronger with a bold line. Add in Loughridge’s popping coloring and you have a party.

One of my favorite panels, a cool punch will always win me over. Stylized and Awesome.

Extreme Justice #3 Amazing-Man Punch!

Copyright: DC Comics

Vado veered towards giving the art team a chance to show off, which in theory isn’t a bad idea. You get the powerhouse return of Captain Atom and he’s not slowing down for anyone. It also let the team have some fun moments too so that’s cool. There are many creative and exciting pages with everything but the kitchen sink thrown at the team. With all of this happening it doesn’t give much time for the final part of the story to breathe. I like a good high-intensity finale but this was a little much. In my case, I now get to figure out how to make this digestible for you and for me. Let’s get this part of the party started.

In the land of revelations, I was wrong about The Beta Team. They weren’t robots, they were grown soldiers to help out General/Mister Synge in his campaign. Synge’s campaign is for Freedom, think every nutty conspiracy you’ve ever seen or heard, that’s Synge’s campaign. A little over simplified but the comic only gives a loose depiction of it anyway. This all comes at you at rapid-fire and Vado doesn’t really explore everything. Hence why I feel the story is rushed, also makes my frustrations over #0 that much more pronounced as that issue could have been used to better effect.

Cool art is one thing but give me some genuine payoff to a storyline, please.

With every revelation, the Beta Team eventually betraying Mister Synge and his conversation with Captain Atom has little effect. It’s weird that all these big climatic reveals and eventual death of Mister Synge, and I felt nothing. There are cool character moments with Amazing-Man and the rest of the cast which redeems the issue. If it wasn’t for Vado’s handling of the team and the fun art, this would have been tougher to read, to say the least.

After all that though there’s a spark of life at the end of the tunnel. In a weird sense it feels as though Vado set up this action packed but overall meaningless arc for one reason. The reason being, Firestorm. That’s right the Firestorm story with Ronnie Raymond finally kicks into high gear. The situation has become grim with Ronnie and his leukemia. Nothing is working to help treat it and Ronnie is feeling hopeless.  That’s until the big payoff kicks into gear and our next story begins. Firestorm has arrived into the Extreme Justice Universe! Bless you Dan Vado, bless you.

All it took was for me to see the final page and I am already excited for what’s to come.

Firestorm Returns: Extreme Justice #3

Copyright: DC Comics

That’s story arc one in the books for Extreme Justice and the DC Extreme reading journey. I’m already working on how to set up the next issue as you read this. Until next time, thanks for reading and always remember, stay Extreme!

If you’re just starting the Extreme Justice Journey, feel free to catch up with the links below.

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

Extreme Justice #2 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Back to the DC Extreme Universe with Extreme Justice #2! After the events of Extreme Justice #1, life is tense for our new team. First of all, Captain Atom is out of the picture. For a team to be successful it needs some kind of leader. Any other team would have called it a day after that. Of course, this team is made of sterner stuff and they have a job to do. The mystery of Mount Thunder intensifies in #2. Our Beta Team pals are only the beginning of the craziness lying within this hostile new headquarters. Our story is starting to heat up now. What will Extreme Justice do now without Captain Atom? Will the team survive his loss? Let the mystery be revealed as I venture forth into Extreme Justice #2.

I feel my desire for Crystal Pepsi rising as I return to Extreme Justice once more.

In adventures of Extreme Justice, this issue is the toughest to get a handle on. General Synge has one big evil villain moment but that’s about it for him in this issue. In all honesty, I was this close to combining this one with #3 and calling it a day. As per anything in this crazy universe of ours, something within this issue struck me. One special aspect that I’d been clamoring for since #0, character development. What’s frustrating for me as a reader of Extreme Justice so far is characters, namely Maxima and Amazing-Man, getting little to no development. Oh sure Maxima and Amazing-Man have things to do but even Booster Gold was lost in the shuffle too. Extreme Justice is the Blue Beetle and Captain Atom show at this stage of the game. Dan Vado knocking Captain Atom out of commission gives the team the development they need.

Extreme Justice #2 Aftermath

Copyright: DC Comics

A lesson for Extreme Justice: Character Development is Beautiful.

In any good team book, the key is to make every member of the group feel necessary. While Vado has each of the characters showing off a skill or two, they never seem to gel as a team. By the end of this issue, Extreme Justice begins to become a true team comic. Character development, it’s a magical thing. Even the bad guys get a moment of character development. The Beta Team robots that General Synge controls start to show personality. Synapse is the head robot over the robots in Beta Team called Kill-Units, but they don’t really want to kill. A nice twist on the formula of robot killers of the period, of course, Synapse is a jerk and zaps a Kill-Unit showing doubt in the mission. Heroes and Villains getting character development, I love it.

Extreme Justice: Giving me a dose of wonderful robot fights, so many robot fights.

Extreme Justice #2 Blue Beetle vs. Robots

Copyright: DC Comics

As we dive into the rest of the issue, our team gels together personality wise and now they can become a fighting force. Of course, even as they get over the hump of Amazing-Man doubts and more issues, they are dealing with a tough foe. One thing about Captain Atom, he’s tough as nails to kill if anything he’s nigh impossible to kill. Since he is also the official leader of the team as you know and I know, Captain Atom returns at the end. How does he return? The mystery will have to be revealed at a later date as that’s how Extreme Justice #2 ends.

This is a shorter recap of Extreme Justice than I’d like but that’s because there’s not a lot of big moments here. Marc Campos and Ken Branch were given many chances to show off at least. In between the short but needed character development Vado put in, this was a heavy action issue. I get the feeling Vado knew this could have been a slow issue so he piled on the action and it worked. The simple bits work in a comic at points, just enough character and a ridiculous amount of robot fighting. I am but a simple man and Extreme Justice plays to it in this issue.

As always thank you all for your support in my Extreme Justice adventures. Until next time, make sure to tune to this GWL Station and as I return with Extreme Justice #3!

 

If this is your first DC Extreme Justice adventure, never fear! Look below to catch up with the rest of the adventure!

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

Extreme Justice #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome back to the ongoing mission to read the entire series of Extreme Justice. Here we are at #1 of the somewhat remembered Justice League series. Extreme Justice had a rocky start with #0 notably making me wonder about this comic in the first place. Moments of cool are one thing, but there has to be a reason to care about a series. The cast is likable enough. Captain Atom is a good team leader. You even have a version of the classic Blue and Gold/Blue Beetle and Booster Gold duo here too. With Maxima and Amazing Man having trouble finding their place in Extreme Justice at this stage. So what will happen from here? Only one way to find out. Time to see what is in store for our Extreme Team as we head into Extreme Justice #1.

Time to get our Extreme 90’s Caps on!

Last issue in Extreme Justice Mount Thunder was introduced into the series. This from what I’m seeing will be the headquarters of our series. As this issue starts to give more background into how big the place is. There’s more details on the villain of the piece, Mister or should I say, General Synch revealed too. Synch is in charge of Mount Thunder and isn’t happy that our team is there. Turns out Mount Thunder is a massive complex; one place in particular called The Neighborhood is revealed in this issue. Synch is now trying to get the team out of there, one way or another. Which gives us a fun few pages as we start off the issue the first team gets more than they bargained for. Let’s just say, Captain Atom knows how to avoid a useless fight.

Sometimes in comics avoiding the ridiculous fight is a good thing.

This is the issue where Captain Atom gets some strong development as the leader of the team. Vado establishes why Captain Atom is the leader of Extreme Justice. One of Atom’s old friend’s is in charge of the group sent into Mount Thunder, a man by the name of Crater. Crater doesn’t want to really have this fight but he’s just following orders. Of course another person tries to go after Atom as Crater talks to his friend and Maxima comes into play and is awesome. Vado gives Maxima something to do this issue, bless you comic, bless you. Atom gets Crater to realize that if Maxima is there, there’s likely more where that came from. Crater gets his team out of there and Captain Atom shows why he is the best leader for Extreme Justice.

From here on, I am going to be spoiling bits of a 20+ year old comic so here’s your warning.

Captain Atom and Maxima Extreme Justice DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Even better with how Captain Atom handles the battle at their doorstep, he explains the reason behind Extreme Justice. That conversation should have happened with #0 but better now rather than later. Ted Kord as Blue Beetle is the speaker for the audience, he’s saying what we’re thinking about this team. A needed discussion that explains why Extreme Justice is even a thing. While #0 had many exciting moments, this is where I started to feel that Extreme Justice could start to truly connect with me. Dan Vado adding a few pages to illuminate the concept, that’s all it took.

So much makes sense now about Extreme Justice within the span of a few pages. Thank you Ted Kord.

Captain Atom and Blue Beetle Extreme Justice #1

Copyright: DC Comic

As a first time reader of Extreme Justice, I knew little to nothing about this. 90’s art was the only major thing I knew of this series. Never even knew who was on the team until I read #0. Now knowing why the team exists, this makes sense now. Take note of this, these pages I post here are why Ted Kord is one of the best DC characters no matter who writes him. Hence in the first recap why I said Dan Vado writes a good Ted Kord and he succeeds triumphantly with his characterization of him.

Take note, Dan Vado writes a good Captain Atom too.

Captain Atom and Ted Kord Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Firestorm/Ronnie Raymond’s story picks up a little more steam as he goes back to the Justice League Headquarters. Only he sees that the place is now gone and I was desperately wishing for an editorial note to tell me what happened. I was happy to see Oberon and Skeets though, Oberon being a classic of this period of Justice League and Skeets being Booster Gold’s Robot Pal. This was during the odd Booster Gold full armor period and editorial notes would be so nice to have right now. I digress a little though as this sets up Ronnie Raymond’s purpose in this series, to find a cure for his Leukemia with Skeets helping him to find the Extreme Justice team. Take note, I have no idea how the story ends so this will be fun for all of us.

The rest of the issue is Mount Thunder exploration time! Now we’re dealing with the rest of the people who are inside Mount Thunder with our oddball Justice League team. Early on I mentioned the Neighborhood and even the title page notes it, the place looks like Leave it to Beaver. Of course the massive battle that finishes off our comic is far from the peace this Neighborhood gives off. There’s only so much to dive into with the battle, it’s bonkers, it’s fun, and that’s the battle. Amazing-Man gets a few cool moments with his power and Maxima gets a little more to do. By the end though there is a classic what in the world moment in comics, Captain Atom is gone. Imagining the reactions of fans of this period sounds priceless right now.

The most horrible things happen to characters in classic sitcom settings.

Amazing-Man and Maxima Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Nearing the end of this article, you all are wanting me to comment on the art. Marc Campos is an artist of that period, but better than a lot of the Extreme artists of the time. Not saying the work is perfect but there are some great designs in the book, especially with the Beta Team near the end of the issue. The Neighborhood has a nice, classic feel to it that I personally enjoy. Yet poor Maxima, her body gets contorted in so many strange ways. Even the guys have issues but Maxima is where the issues are glaring. Ken Branch helps on the inking here, giving it a stronger look and Campos does improve with his panel work here too. Everything is much improved here. Want to know my favorite part of the art team? Lee Loughridge’s coloring is sensational. Great work with light and shadows and a lot of classic pop and sizzle within the action of the comic.

In this crazy life of ours at times seeing cool robot designs makes the universe brighter.

Extreme Justice #1 Marc Campos Robots

Time to close the book on Extreme Justice #1 and prepare myself for #2 in the meantime. Thank you all for reading my DC Extreme adventure, I appreciate the response so far. Trying to not go for the obvious snark and humor with this series is tough but fun. It’s nice to dive into a series that’s never been looked at with a semi-serious tone before but that’s what I’m attempting here. Stick with me on this ride as trust me, it’s only going to get more entertaining from here. Till next time, stay Extreme!

Same Extreme Time, Same Extreme Blog, Stay tuned to the geekwholanded.com for more Extreme Justice!

If you missed part of the DC Extreme, here’s what has been covered so far below!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #0

 

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

Extreme Justice #0 Cover

Extreme Justice is the oddest duck of the Justice League franchise. Starting in 1995, Captain Atom led a new Justice League made up of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold,  Amazing Man, and Maxima. In my research online on Extreme Justice they’re dedicated to being a more proactive team than the other Justice League teams at the time. Now if you’re wondering why the team is called Extreme Justice, it’s partially for the premise but also for the art style. Now many people with this comic take the route of snark with the 90’s art style. Growing up in this period of extreme 90’s art I find I have an odd appreciation for the art of the period. I’ve never read this before and it’s been in my curiosity pile for years. Since I’ve never read this, this should be a lot of fun. Surprises me that this somehow slipped by me back in the day. Prepare yourselves for a trip to a different time as we journey to the realm of the mid 90’s with Extreme Justice #0.

Welcome to DC Extreme with Extreme Justice #0!

Extreme Justice #0 Splash Page

Copyright: DC Comics, Writer: Dan Vado, Pencils: Marc Campos, Inker: Ken Branch, Colored by: Lee Loughridge, Letterer: Kevin Cunningham

Here’s the deal with Extreme Justice #0, you get no explanation as to how the team comes together. If you’re also wondering why this is #0, it came out during the Zero Hour event, which is a story for another day. Dan Vado doesn’t fill you in on anything involving how the team came together in the first place which threw me off initially. Now you understand why I did some research in understanding this team more. Extreme Justice came out of the Judgement Day crossover that happened in the Justice League titles. You don’t get to know why Captain Atom brought them together or what happened in Judgement day at all. You are thrown right into this and off to the races.

The lack of any explanation for the team makes the issue jarring at first. There’s a nuclear missile strike about to launch from the Rocky Mountains targeting Russia. As this is building you get a massive splash page introducing our heroes to the world. No explanation about the Extreme Justice team but I can’t deny that the splash page is wicked. The gritted teeth poses are on overdrive here outside of whatever pose Maxima is doing. The flying things that Blue Beetle and Amazing Man have are cool too and that can’t be denied.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for cool flying devices.

A lot of Dan Vado’s writing is actually not too bad here, it’s a little spastic and all over the place but readable. There’s fun banter with Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle being who he is and Vado has a good grasp on his character. Amazing-Man is someone I’m not as familiar with but his power to absorb energy is handy in a battle and used to good effect. Booster Gold gets a small moment, Maxima gets a moment, and then Captain Atom is power personified. Marc Campos goes mental with his art on Captain Atom, Vado wanted the audience to know he was powerful and Campos does that well art wise. The opening fight shows the power level of the team, outside of Blue Beetle who is the intelligence and fun of the team. It shows that Vado enjoys writing Ted Kord.

Dan Vado writes a strong Ted Kord and is one of the best parts of Extreme Justice thus far.

Extreme Justice #0 Captain Atom

Copyright: DC Comics

There’s a couple stories brewing already here, one with a mysterious figure and one with Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm) dealing with Leukemia. I know the Ronnie Raymond story sorts itself out down the way but I will be interested to see what this builds into. The same way with this mysterious figure that’s hanging out in the background. Marc Campos does good work in the Raymond bit as Campos dials it down and I like it. The headquarters of Mount Thunder that’s being built up is a fun idea and the story that’s happening in the next issue has my attention. The character of Mister Synge that was introduced as my attention and sounds like an entertaining villain.

Now for the rest of the art here, Ken Branch is a good inker for Marc Campos as the strong lines here helped the art immensely. It’s got some issues with spastic layouts here and there but Vado did craft a good story and Lee Loughridge’s coloring was nice, weird at points within Mount Thunder but nice. The art in the 90’s books is something people like to rip into but this has issues but it’s overall decent, not perfect but decent. Always remember, the 90’s were a strange and fascinating time for comic books.

If you have any feedback you’d like to give me as I go through Extreme Justice please do fire me a line! Either on my @GeekWhoLanded twitter or leave a comment below. Still working through the kinks how I will cover Extreme Justice as this goes forward. I’m planning on covering the entire series from start to finish. In any case thanks for reading and till next time, stay Extreme.

Same DC Extreme Time, Same DC Extreme Channel.