May present a choking hazard

May present a choking hazard
Showing posts with label John Byrne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Byrne. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

JLA Classified #52 - The Truth Hurts

Written by Roger Stern/Penciled by John Byrne/ Inked by Mark Farmer

Part 1 and Part 2

Moving on to the third part of this 5 part mini-offering from Stern, it opens with Wally West hurtling through different dimensions after getting himself zapped by the big bad mofo cleaning some JLA house.
Back at JLA headquarters, Bats and the Atom prepare a big bad mofo thwarting, which ends up... unsuccessful.

After some taunting, B.B.M. manages to zap Ray in mid-shrink, which is no easy task.
While the thing trashes Supes and WW, Bats and Atom fall back to pow-wow with GL Johnny whom due to a bout of unconsciousness is being used by J'Onn to speak through, and a recently returned high octane Wally.
With their noggins put together, it's found that the B.B.M. is a Godling called Titus, that the league, of course, had a run in with earlier.

But what are they going to do about it?

Another nice piece of the mini-epic Stern and Byrne have put together here while the JLA headquarters turns into Drub Med. One might think the continuous beating of Superman and Wonder Woman would get old... but it doesn't.
The series has been a nice change for the fact that each of the characters has had almost the same amount of page time. Everyone is doing their thing, and each play an important piece. And from looking at next issues cover, I'd imagine there'll be more GA and Arthur and friends action in our future.
So that's it, it's just been good fun. The outlook is still bleak for our heroes, but there isn't the grimy "end of everything" feeling I get from Countdown, along with my one page of Palmer per issue. So I look forward to the next.
And I end with this, which is the reactions of some of the folks after Superman, J'Onn, and the Atom launch him through the airlock and over the meadow and through the woods.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

JLA Classified #51: First Contact

Written by Roger Stern/Penciled by John Byrne/Inked by Mark Farmer

Here’s a new one. A post not featuring any Atom, nor any Hawkman. Not even Red Tornado! I said I wanted to go with this JLA classified mini-series (the first part I covered can be seen here), and by God I’ll do it.
Now how, you may ask, is it that there’s no Atom in this issue, when the last one left off with Ray and the Batman tenderly holding each other in the corner whilst some behemoth raises the roof in celebration?
I answer: because it’s flashback time.

The story is narrated by the Martian Manhunter as he explains the first contact they had with the “enemy,” a decade ago.

The story opens on a student archaeological team sorting through ruins on a tiny island in the Aegean sea. Upon finding an altar, that may or may not have been used to worship Hera or Zeus, a great big lunk waltzes up to the team and begins to question them about the temple they’re currently rifling through, and who folks worship nowadays.
A few days later, houses of worship begin to mysteriously collapse.

Aquaman finds a vehicle of sorts on an islet in the Falklands, and Flash, Ollie, Hal, MM, and Canary go to check it out, whereupon they find footprints leading out of the thing. They take it back (much thanks to Arthur) for studying and are… a bit perplexed as to what they find. That’s basically the first half of the book.

The second half could be simply explained as: the pounding of the JLA. Once again this thing cuts through them like butter, crushing ribs, breaking arms, and surprising all.
Supes, who was in Paris attempting to figure out how the spire of the Great Cathedral gets torn off by a thunderstorm flies in and does his normal “those are my friends, now you have to deal with me,” bit.

This is what the “enemy” thinks of him.

The second solid entry by Stern and Byrne (Sternbyrne?). It's great to see old characters (particularly Arthur) hanging around, doing what they do.
As I mentioned previously, I'm a sucker for the JLA running into a seemingly unstoppable force.
I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Friday, February 1, 2008

JLA Classified #50

Written by Roger Stern/Penciled by John Byrne/Inked by Mark Farmer

Barren yet intriguing cover by Joshua Middleton.
This is the first story in a 5 part "epic."

I wanted to get into this small series because it features a lot of old faces (the first 2 parts anyway) from the JLA, getting absolutely thumped, and that was just appealing to me!

Also, in tune with our "Save the Martian" blog-a-thon we've got going and lack of Atom/J'Onzz BFFness, this is perfect.
It's got the Martian Manhunter.
It's got the Atom.
It's even got the Atom and the Martian Manhunter in the same room!

Aw, too bad by the time Ray gets there... JJ has been knocked out.

Potential spoilers ahead, maybe, but I'll try to sidestep them and wrap it up. For those looking for JLA vs. giant, unstoppable beast... it shouldn't matter anyway.

The story opens with J'Onn looking out at Earth, admiring how beautiful it is and commenting on how it's the only home he has now.
Head on over to the JLA basketball court (!) within the watchtower, where Wally and GL Johnny are shooting some hoops. (they both end up cheating).
It's just pleasant times and pleasant heroes, living the dream. Oh... that is until some gargantuan beast, hearing the faint whispers of the Martian Manhunter, bursts through some lunar surface, makes a bee-line for the JLA base and right through the wall just as our three heroes are doing a "what's up with that proximity alarm?"
Supes, WW, Batman, and the Atom are all preoccupied with their own individual catastrophies, and are forced to temporarily ignore the signal. Although Ray appears to be the only one who thinks it's slightly odd that a signal designed to go off only when the hull has been breached and there's no one around to countermand it, continues to "Meep."
Immediately after bashing the Flash to the ground, MM informs the beast that he has made a "grievous error!"
Monster then informs him, that he and the JLA... have tangled before!
There's a slight scuffle, but big 'n' orange easily drops the three.
Upon Stewart's dive into unconsciousness, his ring sends out the message to the other four that he and the other two have been drubbed, and that the end is nigh. Maybe that's not exactly what he said.
Well, our other heroes must get back! Whoops, Batman informs them that the transport tubes are down to 5% power.
Damn, if only there were someone small enough to...
Right, right.

The Atom heads on through to check out the damage, and it's pretty bad. He and a mangled GL transport J'Onzz over to sickbay, while Bats, Supes, and WW snail it in her see-through jet.

Ray decides to confront the thing and see what he's all about.
Although he actually just winds up standing on the thing, shrinking and unshrinking, dishing out the taunts, which surprisingly only serves to infuriate it. He ends up being the only one to come into any kind of contact with it and remain conscious. That punch by Supes is the last one any of them will get in.

The issue ends on 2 great shots: One of the giant orange rock beast, arms in the air celebrating the pounding of the world's greatest superheroes, while Batman and the Atom hide out in a corner. Or rather, a creek. No paddles.
The other is the Manhunter desperately trying to communicate his thoughts that he knows what this thing is and that the situation is... not so good. But alas, no one can hear him.

I do enjoy a good JLA getting drubbed story. Particularly when it ends with the Batman and Atom hiding from a big, scary monster.
Stern and Byrne have both worked on the Atom in one shape or form in the past, and I appreciate what they've done here with Ray. I enjoy that he's a part of this team, a pivotal part of the story, and someone that can be counted on.
I also don't mind him talking the talk to a big, giant rock monster every now and then.
With all of the action taking place in the watchtower, Byrne's work is for the most part uninvolved as far as backgrounds go, yet perfectly serviceable for what it needs to be. He and Stern help create what turns into a claustrophobic little piece, with no where to run for our heroes.

So who/what is this thing? Eh, can't say as of yet....