Super Dog – Astro City #47

Astro City 47 CoverAstro City’s longevity is in part due to its creators’ willingness to take risks with its subject matter. In breathing new life into the superhero genre by looking at it from a series of strange, unusual or bizarre perspectives, its writer Kurt Busiek manages to make familiar concepts fresh and archetypal heroes touchingly human. The risk is not so much that Busiek will find himself re-treading old ground, but rather that he might end up looking a bit silly in the process. And nothing says ‘silly’ quite like an anthropomorphic superhero. In this 47th issue of the book’s Vertigo iteration, the focus is on G-Dog, a super-powered melding of human and corgi. So, do we get something akin to the sublime Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew or something closer to the decidedly less impressive Loony Toons/DC crossover specials? There’s only one way to find out…

Actually, we get neither. Busiek and guest artist Mike Norton present us with a tale whose protagonist is Andy, a small-time crook, who is shown doing some pretty morally dubious things, including confiscating someone’s dog in lieu of payment on a debt. That, of course, is how the whole dog-man hybrid thing starts.  It isn’t long before Andy is sneaking around in the house of an architect looking for stuff to steal and realizing that the owner of the house had some kind of connection to Honor Guard, Astro City’s version of the Justice League or Avengers. Stealing a nice-looking amulet on a whim, Andy goes back to his humdrum life, but Busiek and Norton make it clear that Andy is forming a bond with Hank, the aforementioned corgi, and that Hank is making Andy a better man as a consequence.

Astro City 47 1This reformation of Andy’s character undergoes a quantum shift when the amulet Andy had stolen and is now wearing touches Hank and, improbably, the pair undergo a startling canine-human hybridization. Andy is the senior partner in the relationship in that he gets to decide how to use his newfound abilities, while Hank is a disembodied head voicing ‘advice’ in the background, a canine Martin Stein to Andy’s Ronnie Raymond. Hank, however, is a far more powerful influence on Andy than Stein ever was to his Firestorm partner and the magical transformation hastens Andy’s change of character. While Andy initially wants to use his powers to enrich himself, he finds himself reluctant to do so, because the bond he’s already formed with Hank has intensified and he can’t face the corgi’s disappointment.

This is where the name G-Dog comes in. The ‘G’ stands for ‘good’, a call-back to a rather sweet page in which Andy housetrains Hank and plays with him at the park, using the phrases ‘good dog’ and ‘bad dog’ to reinforce his expectations of Hank’s behaviour. Now, it is Hank who is training Andy to fulfill his potential as a superhero. And he does. We see him take down the crime boss to which he owed money in a former life and we see him gaining the solemn approval of The Samaritan and his colleagues in Honor Guard after dispatching a huge monster whose lichen-based powers threaten to destroy much of the city.

Astro City 47 2It’s all rather heartwarming stuff, rich in pathos and the kind of gentle humour that is rarer than I’d like in comics these days. Just when you think we might drown in a sea of (admittedly well-written) sentimentality, though, Busiek reminds us just how good a comic book writer he is with a final page that threatens to upend everything we thought we knew about our characters and adds a shockingly sudden gravitas to the story. It’s one heck of a cliffhanger and provides a powerful incentive to buy the next issue.

Busiek has been writing comics since I was a kid in the 80s and it’s clear that, just like me, he loves them. I said earlier that this issue could easily have become quite silly, but Busiek adroitly sidesteps some of the more obvious clichés and instead gives us a story whose central relationship is, despite its fantastical nature, utterly believable and incredibly affecting. Norton’s art is clear and conveys both the warmth of that relationship and the dynamism of G-Dog’s heroism beautifully. The subject matter might be a little off-putting to some potential readers, but I found the issue an exceptionally satisfying read.

Winning and Losing – American Gods: Shadows #4

American Gods 4 coverWell, this is good. After two issues of slow burn and a third issue that was much more promising, it feels like this series is finally hitting its stride. Last issue, if you remember, ended with Shadow being invited to play checkers with a retired slaughterhouse worker who was really the Slavic god Czernobog. As issue endings go, it’s not exactly riproaring stuff, but if you’ve read enough fantasy – or folklore, to be fair – you won’t be at all surprised to find that wagers are made very early on in this game and that things turn out both well and badly for our main character. Nor is the game the only interesting thing to happen this issue. Throw in Colleen ‘A Distant Soil’ Doran into the mix for this issue’s back-up and you’ve got a pretty tasty proposition. Let’s taste and see what our creators have lined up for us…

 

Like, I would imagine, most people, I was first introduced to checkers as a kid. I used to play the game with my grandfather and, like, I would imagine, most grandfathers, he let me win with such a degree of regularity that I ended up failing to appreciate the game. Ah, well. At the start of this issue, Shadow is up against an opponent who is nowhere near as generous. In fact, with an obscene amount of relish, Czernobog proposes a wager. And things get tense. What has been, up to now, a somewhat flat, almost sedentary tale becomes suffused with a sense of danger that is rather compelling. Wednesday’s warning is the clincher here. If even he is worried about Czernobog’s wager (if Shadow loses, Czernobog gets to bash his brains out with his sledgehammer), then the reader should be, too. And this reader, at any rate, is.
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The creative team do a great job with this section. Czernobog, who had last issue been a forlorn, almost lugubrious, character, here becomes much more sinister and Hampton’s artwork successfully portrays the idea that, despite his declining status, this is still an extraordinarily powerful – and capricious – entity. Shadow comes across well here, though. He is cool but when, after losing the first game, he has to persuade Czernobog to play another, there seems to be an element of urgency underneath the unruffled exterior that only adds to the tension. It’s a very effective piece of storytelling.

 
After Shadow duly wins the second game by playing in a reckless, unpredictable manner (if this isn’t a recognised fantasy trope, it should be), everyone retires for a bland dinner which is followed by an enigmatic but rather affecting conversation between Shadow and Zorya, the third of the sister goddesses who, up to now, has been sleeping. Again, the creative team do a rather fine job here. Zorya is presented as a luminous, slivery character; her conversation is focused on the stars, a poetic, mythic explanation of her and her sisters’ function in Slavic mythology. It’s a beautiful, unhurried piece of writing and ends with Zorya giving Shadow the moon in the form of a coin. Awesome stuff.
This section of the issue ends with Wednesday bursting into Shadow’s room in the morning, grinning manically and announcing that the pair of them are going to rob a bank. Compared to the previous issues’ endings, this is almost a cliffhanger. But we’re not done yet. Oh, no…

 
American Gods 4 6Colleen Doran is exactly the kind of artist a Gaiman story about an 18th century Cornish immigrant’s life needs. In this issue’s ‘Coming To America’ story, she manages to combine a rich level of detail with clean lines that could have come out of an Edwardian book of fairy tales. Her heroine, Essie, is beautiful and capricious, tragic but scheming, and her men are, on the whole, coldly handsome as befits Gaiman’s incident-packed biography. For Essie is a girl for whom her youthfulness and femininity are both an asset and a curse. She is not above using both to get out of tricky situations; at the same time, though, she does find love when, eventually, she ends up in the new world, settles down and starts a family.

 
Gaiman offers no judgement here. Her life is what it is. At times, she is unjustly treated; at others, she turns situations to her advantage. Her ‘gods’ are the Cornish pixies (or ‘piskies’) for whom she leaves each night a saucer of creamy milk outside the kitchen door. The last two pages of the story deal with her finally coming face to face with a ‘pisky’ who she credits for both the good and bad fortune she’s experienced throughout her life. Finally at peace with what she’s experienced, she takes his hand and is found dead a few hours by her family.

 
As a way of ending this issue, this story is really rather beautiful. Perhaps even more powerfully than issue 3’s tale of Norse gods, it highlights that, in Gaiman’s world, gods can be immigrants, too. With Doran’s art, the tale assumes a stylised simplicity that belies its more profound implications. Essie’s ‘god’ has been forced, by her belief and observance of custom, to accompany her to a new world that, Essie aside, is not especially receptive to him. Despite the unpleasant things that happen to her, Essie maintains an equanimity that is almost noble. The question remains open, however, to what extent Essie’s superstition has affected her life. The function of ‘Jack’, the red-haired ‘pisky’ who shows up at the end of the story, would appear to be to add a supernatural gloss to a life of both tragedy and joy. The story’s final image – of the half-shelled peas – would seem to suggest that, while Essie has lived a long life, it is not a complete one, that she had more to do. But perhaps I’m misreading (always a possibility with writing like Gaiman’s). What does seem clear, though, is that America offers Essie a stability and security she never really knew in Cornwall. Whether it offers her accompanying ‘god’ the same remains to be seen.

 
This was an impressive issue on a couple of levels. The checkers game is appropriately tense; the meeting between Zorya and Shadow mysterious. The back-up, however, is simply beautiful and transforms the issue from being merely good to being excellent. Highly recommended.

Broken Chords – Astro City #46

Astro city 46 coverPierogies are, apparently, boiled dumplings with either sweet or savoury fillings, and Wikipedia helpfully tells me that they originated in central and eastern Europe. This is just one of the things I learned from reading Astro City #46, although by no means the most important. Or interesting. No. Perhaps the most significant thing to be gleaned from this issue is that, after 30+ years in the industry, Kurt Busiek remains a master storyteller and his ability to surprise, intrigue and delight remains highly impressive. In some respects, Astro City #46 is a less than ideal starting point for anyone wanting to read this title. It’s the second of a two-part story and, while not absolutely essential, it is highly recommended that you read the first part before attempting this one. That said, this comic is a lot of fun and is exceptionally thought-provoking, too. Allow me to explain…

 

Astro City has been around for a long while now. Debuting in 1995 on the now defunct Wildstorm imprint, Homage Comics, the series is an extended love letter to and exploration of the superhero genre. In fact, considering its initial on the nose riffing on already established superhero archetypes (The Samaritan is a Superman analogue; the First Family is a thinly disguised version of the Fantastic Four), it seemed that the banner under which it was printed was tailor-made for it and it is tempting to view that initial run of six issues as a straight homage to the comics Busiek grew up reading (and writing fan letters to!) as a teenager. But there was always something more going on in Astro City than simple affectionate pastiche. There was excavation and exploration, too – a generally sympathetic attempt to scratch beneath the surface of some of the more worn superhero themes and tropes, and breathe new life into them principally through a startling, almost Kirby-esque fecundity of ideas, and an exemplary skill with characterisation. Both of those are on display here.
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Issue 46 picks up where the previous issue left off. It is some unspecified time in the 1970s and famed chronicler of the counter-culture Tom O’Bedlam is hosting a special ‘coming out’ party for his lover, androgynous music-themed superhero Glamorax who, we found out last issue, changes his/her identity, persona and power-set in response to the changing rhythms of popular music. This in itself is a radical idea, and it’s one with which Busiek has considerable fun. It’s clear that the Bowie/Bolan-inspired Glamorax identity is going to give way to something much more visceral and angry and, indeed, he’s in the process of transforming into a punkier persona when the event is gatecrashed by knife-wielding cultists who want to stop the transformation.

 

A passing Jack-In-The-Box helps deal with the cultists but, even as their bodies dissipate, it’s clear that they’ve achieved what they set out to do and the entity formerly known as Glamorax is no longer to be seen. The story continues, though, with the narration of the Broken Man, a purple-skinned, green mullet-sporting chap in white tails and trousers with a NASA t-shirt underneath. This is a character who has been popping in and out of Astro City stories for a while now. His most remarkable characteristic is that, in the Astro City universe, he appears to be clinically insane, but in the Astro City comic he is a character who has a disconcerting habit of talking directly (and cogently) to the reader. (Think more Grant Morrison’s Ultra Comics than Deadpool.) This is, in fact, what the Broken Man does throughout this issue’s narration. Busiek’s writing here is really… heartfelt. There is an emerging critique of the corporatisation of culture, specifically music, in the Broken Man’s description of music executives’ talk of “market penetration” and “sales velocity” as something he “couldn’t make sense” of. But the tone is less satirical, and more a lament for lost potential, a suggestion that the commercialisation of music has led to a neutering of its power to shock, and both speak to and for the young people who should be its target audience.

 

The linking of music and superheroics is not exactly new (the Vertigo comic Greatest Hits is well worth a look if you like that sort of thing), but Busiek here manages to intertwine the two pop culture genres in a unique and interesting manner.
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I don’t want to spoil the issue’s ending, because it manages to be both clever and rather touching. Suffice it to say that, for all its superhero trappings, this issue is actually a commentary on the anaemic quality of much of popular culture and it’s one that ends on an optimistic, if somewhat uncertain, note. Add in a distinctly Lovecraftian monster, some clever metafictional touches (the page in which the Broken Man is staring out of a transparent comic panel is just phenomenal) and some very affecting characterisation and you have an extraordinarily enjoyable story.

 

In some respects, this issue is an atypical one, but it does demonstrate why Busiek’s world is well worth visiting. His protagonist is mysterious, sympathetic and very well-realised. While some readers might find the brief cameos of The First Family, The Irregulars and Honor Guard a little overwhelming, there is nevertheless a clear sense of the richness and scope of Busiek’s world despite the story’s much narrower focus. Brent Anderson’s art is perhaps a little less fine than it was in, say his run on Marvel’s Ka-Zar back in the early 80s, but it does the job here very well indeed. His facial expressions in particular – so important in a character-heavy issue like this one – are excellent. The Broken Man’s distraught features when considering the dangers of alerting other heroes to the dangers of the Oubor are a great example.

 

It is impossible to deny the very personal nature of this title – and issue – and it’s difficult for this comic fan, who can remember picking up Busiek’s first ever Justice League story in Justice League of America 224*, to be all that objective about it. For inventiveness, great characterization and a warmth that clearly comes from the creators’ genuine love of the genre, it’s hard to beat a visit to Astro City and this issue, despite its somewhat overly talky – and inconclusive – ending, is a stylish and enjoyable vehicle to take you there.

 

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

 

*The original version of the review wrongly stated that this issue was Kurt Busiek’s first DC story. It wasn’t. That honour goes to Green Lantern #162. Thanks to Mr Busiek himself for the correction.

The Wild Storm #5

The Wild Storm 5 coverI am beginning to wonder if Warren Ellis is deliberately structuring this series on a three issue cycle in which we get two issues of conversation-heavy set-up and world-building followed by an issue of balls-to-the-wall full-blooded action. Last issue was impressive more for its art and dialogue than anything else. This issue is no less skilfully written but is less impressive and (say it quietly) just a little monochrome compared to the last couple of issues’ technicolour spectacle. That is not to say it’s poor. By no means. But it is a more cerebral talky instalment and, while this series continues to be one of the most intelligent and well-written comics currently on the market, there are nevertheless niggles here. Allow me to explain.
This issue is all about character interaction. There are four key conversations here and a promising fifth that gets interrupted by the story’s conclusion. The first one is between IO’s chief Miles Craven and Deathblow himself, Michael Cray who is still coming to terms with his brain tumour. With the promise of IO paying for his medical expenses as an enticement, Craven persuades Cray to go after and execute Angie ‘Engineer’ Spica. Although, at just two pages, this conversation is relatively short, it is nevertheless impressive for making Cray a fully three-dimensional and likeable character, despite his assignment pitting him against the one character in this series so far that we can say without too much quibbling is ‘good’. With Craven having just left him, Cray’s final two panels of dialogue (“Strange damn world. I love it. …I don’t want to die.”) are rather touching. I’ve waxed lyrical about Warren Ellis’ writing skills before, but this is worth noting as a powerful example of the dictum ‘less is more’.
The Wild Storm 5 2The second conversation is between Zealot and a ‘daemon’. I am assuming that this is an introduction to Ellis’ re-working of the Kherubim/Daemonite dynamic that formed the foundation of WildCATs’ initial run in the 90s before being so gloriously subverted by Alan Moore a few years later. Zealot has been charged with investigating Camp Hero in Montauk, the mothballed IO base that formed the setting for issue 3’s jaw-dropping action set-piece. I must confess that I’m slightly surprised that there’s that much of a base to investigate, but I’m willing to let that slide given how stylishly the Daemonite encounter is presented.
In the same vein as my regular praise for Ellis’ writing, this is as good a moment as any for my likewise regular acknowledgement that Jon Davis-Hunt’s artwork is glorious. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he may well be one of the top five artists currently working in comics. He reminds me of a slightly more refined Liam Sharp (and there’s no slight intended to the inestimable Mr Sharp); he has the same ability to work in meticulous detail while sacrificing none of the dynamism required of an action comic artist. In fact, if anything, his line work is somewhat clearer and, while his panel layouts may be more restrained, his faces are a little more expressive. Page 5 is a great example. Zealot’s exploration of the wrecked IO base becomes a perfectly paced exercise in suspense, largely due to Steve Bucellato’s subtle colours and Davis-Hunt’s framing and perspective. When the Daemonite emerges from the shadows at the bottom of the page (a moment rather given away by the impressive cover), it is beautifully, spine-tinglingly disturbing.
That conversation between the Daemonite and Zealot represents a further opening up of the WildStorm universe and provides some subtle hints as to the nature of the relationship between Daemonites and Kherubim. Satisfyingly, it would appear that Ellis is not content merely to replicate the rather simplistic dynamic between the two races that first appears back in the original Image run. In that sense, the conversation is a prime example of what Ellis is doing with this series, balancing respect and innovation pretty much perfectly.
The Wild Storm 5 3The centre piece of the issue is the next conversation between Adrianna ‘Void’ Tereshkova and Angie. It’s here that we see Adrianna’s origin and get a better feel for her character. I’m not going to spoil that conversation here other than to point out that we get an explanation of the Bleed that is typical high concept sci-fi from Ellis and that, again, Davis-Hunt’s artwork is clear and appealing.
The final major conversation is the second one between Miles Craven and Michael Cray, in which the latter says he’s not going to eliminate Angie because she’s a “bad target”, a conclusion at which he’s arrived because he’s been able to review the raw footage from the Razor CAT’s attack and interpret it himself. This leads to a moment when (finally) Craven’s mask of oily politeness slips and we see a ruthlessness that is belied by what we have previously seen of his more human relationship with his boyfriend. The issue ends with the promise of (hopefully) some action next month, but that ending is resolutely low-key, entirely in keeping with the ongoing tone of this series.
Some random observations to finish with: we get more Voodoo (yay!), even if it’s only one page (boo!); Michael Cray’s had one hell of a life; Davis-Hunt draws cars, leaves, alien demon-creatures and Angie Spica extraordinarily well; speaking of Angie, I still love her and would like to give her the hug she so obviously needs.
Whether you will enjoy this issue depends almost entirely on your attitude to slow-burning stories that prioritise character interaction, a slow incremental exploration of an expansive universe, and a multi-layered plot over gratuitous action sequences. We’re five issues in and we’re getting a clearer idea of who’s doing what and why they’re doing it; we’re also getting a much better feel for what makes the various characters tick and how they got their powers. All of which is fine. Up to a point.
I mentioned niggles at the start of this review. I shall spell them out here. At the end of last issue, we left Angie alone and somewhat emotionally bereft. This issue we see her steal (quite a bit of) money from a cash machine (do AMTs really issue $100 bills???); it would arguably have been nice to see her try to cope on her own, to see her, actually, involve herself in a bit of superheroics. Instead, Adrianna locates her pretty easily and we get a conversation that, although interesting in its own right, moves the focus away from her. Now, it may seem a bit counter-intuitive to suggest that the plot slow down at this point, but Angie’s currently our most sympathetic viewpoint character and I think there’d have been some mileage in showing her coming to terms with her suit and also taking at least some steps to finding out who she is becoming. The Adrianna conversation is just a little too neat.
The Wild Storm 5 4As good as the dialogue is here, it’s neither as witty nor as awe-inspiring as what we had last issue. The stuff about the Bleed is interesting, but we don’t get anything near as impressive as the slow build-up to the double page spread of the Skywatch satellite last issue. The action quotient is down to pretty much 0 here. I don’t mind that so much myself, but I wouldn’t want to see it become too regular a thing. Neither would I want to see a book this self-evidently good lose readers because of its slow burn. That said…
I still trust Ellis. He continues to write engaging, interesting characters and continues to give us a masterclass in how to introduce a world in a layered, reasonably organic way. While this issue is not an especially ideal jumping on point, it is nevertheless entertaining, well-written and well-paced. And, it should go without saying, exceptionally well-drawn. Its ending suggests that we’ll have some action next time. We shall see. For now, this is still recommended reading. It’s comic book storytelling of a very high calibre and I’m still very interested to see where it’s going.

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

Going Ape – Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #4

 

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Feel the rage!

 
The issue starts with the kind of ‘Tales of the Green Lantern Corps’ story that used to appear as a back-up strip in the main comic back in the 80s. Except this one ends with neither a neat clever twist nor a moment of poignant heroism. The first three and a bit pages of this issue tell the story of an unnamed female Lantern, naïve and altruistic, who is recruited by the Guardians to take the Universal Ring to the Planet of the Apes Earth. On trying to return to her own space and time, she realises that she has essentially been shafted by the Guardians (why anyone ever thought they were suitable beings to run the universe’s police force, I really don’t know) and decides to do her best to save this Earth from its nuclear-powered self-destructive tendencies. Fairly obviously, she fails and you can’t help feeling sorry for her. In the few panels the writers and artist Barnaby Bagenda give her, she comes across as a noble character. In terms of her function in the story, however, it seems to be only to enable Sinestro to take her Green Lantern ring along with the device that enables it to function in this reality. This section ends with Sinestro becoming a Green Lantern once more (for some reason, the ring is at full charge), which, let’s face it, no one wants to see at this point.

 

 

Planet of the Apes-Green Lantern 004-013

Hal looking heroic; Guy looking, well, like a man who’s trying to pretend he hasn’t transported Gorilla Grodd to an Earth ruled by apes.

Then, the focus moves to Hal, Zira and her ape friends who are looking for Cornelius and the strange ring that he’s been analysing. Their search is interrupted by the appearance of Ursus’ army, who, demoralized and dishevelled, are fleeing from their battle with Cornelius and his mutant ring-slingers and, thanks to some rather nice Bagenda artwork, look thoroughly traumatized by their experience. Hal eventually meets up with Guy and the other Lanterns who have (just about) survived their encounter with the Reds last issue. Guy gives Hal one of the ring-enabling devices and Hal gratefully ‘lanterns up’. During this conversation, however, it turns out that Zira has disappeared, taking Nova and a couple of other apes with her, to continue the search for Cornelius.

 
They cross into the Forbidden Zone, encountering exactly the same kind of psychic ‘warnings’ that appear in the second film, and are finally confronted by a red mutant-lantern who attacks them before being warned off by Cornelius.

 
What follows is kind of touching, although also a bit confusing. When Cornelius first appears to Zira, he is on what appears to be a yellow construct gurney, presumably an indication of the severity of the injuries inflicted on him last issue. When he turns into a Star Sapphire (because he loves Zira and, you know, is pleased to see her), the gurney disappears never to be seen again. There are, however, signs that he is hurting, not least the thin cracks that are appearing on his costume(s) and his hands. I suspect that wearing the universal ring may well have some unpleasant side effects.

 

 

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Bagenda does dramatic rather well.

There’s a nice bit of conversation between Zira and Cornelius, who grants a universal ring to his beloved. Against her better judgement, she takes it and turns her attention to Ursus who is held captive (and presumably has been prisoner all this time) floating above them. It is at this point that the issue ends with the revelation that Grodd has taken control of the remnants of Ursus’ army and the Red Lanterns have allied themselves with him. I would imagine that we’re all extraordinarily shocked by that. No? Oh, well.

 
This was a decent enough issue, but, to use a phrase beloved of Weird Science‘s Jim Werner, it’s a lot of set-up. There are props and characters moving all over the stage. They’re dancing around each other for the most part and have yet to interact in any meaningful way. There are, as I see it, four key factions developing here. There’s Hal and the other GLs, of course. Their job is to try and stop Sinestro and (pretty literally) put the Universal Ring back in its box. Then there’s Cornelius, the current wielder of the Universal Ring, intent on bringing about a peaceful utopia through dishing out as many rings as possible to those he deems worthy. There are hints that this is not entirely his own idea. The Universal Ring, remember, does have a desire to reproduce itself. The third faction is Grodd and the Reds, bolstered by Ursus’ army. The Reds want the Universal Ring, too. What Grodd wants is unclear, but I’m guessing that bananas are not as high on the list as Guy seemed to think last issue. I would imagine escape, power and revenge are a bit more prominent. Then, finally, there’s Sinestro who kickstarted this whole thing and, four issues in, still hasn’t got what he wanted but doesn’t seem remotely bothered by that. Next issue is the second to last one, so I’d imagine these different factions will start to come together in interesting and hopefully entertaining ways then. We shall see.

Taken on its own, this issue is a little disappointing. While Bagenda’s art remains very enjoyable and the story is easy enough to follow, its focus is almost entirely on characters meeting other characters and alliances forming and/or changing as a result. That said, I am looking forward to where we’re heading, not least because I want to see what Sinestro’s really up to. This meeting of the Planet of the Apes universe and the Green Lantern one remains intriguing and entertaining enough. I’m fully expecting things to pick up next issue.