Saturday, 31 August 2019

Star Trek: Year Five #2 - IDW Publishing

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE No. 2, May 2019
Despite containing plenty of the argumentative action between Kirk, Spock and McCoy which made "The Original Series" so popular following its three season airing on NBC in the Late Sixties, as well as a healthy mix of spaceship combat which perhaps momentarily mimics some of tension experienced between the Enterprise and Reliant at the conclusion of Nicholas Meyer’s film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, the vast majority of this twenty-page periodical probably didn’t land well with its 8,834 readers in May 2019. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine many of the science fiction franchise’s fans even recognising Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly’s take on the Constitution-class vessel’s bridge crew as they (once again) face a real life Kobayashi Maru with the Tholians and uncharacteristically turn upon one another in their darkest moments.

Foremost of these disconcerting inconsistencies is Spock’s amazing lack of confidence in his captain’s ability to command. Straight from the comic’s start, when Kirk refuses to hand-over his adolescent Tholian charge to the spaceship he believes massacred its settlement, the Vulcan takes on an infuriatingly patronising political position which directly opposes that of his superior officer; “We should comply. This course of action is extremely likely to result in a diplomatic incident.” It’s almost as if the television episode “Obsession” never happened, within which the starship skipper ably proved his ability to put duty first over his emotions, or perhaps the pointy-eared scientist is finally starting to smart over his friend’s decision to potentially sacrifice him to the gigantic amoeba they faced in “The Immunity Syndrome”..? 

To make matters worse though, the rest of the Enterprise’s supporting cast are equally as misrepresented, with this book’s collaborative pair penning Bones immediately seeing Kirk’s 'humanitarian' actions as that of someone attempting to legitimise their promotion to Admiral, even though the man has already confided in the good doctor his doubts about accepting the rank, and Scotty believing that the best thing to do before the Tholian’s battleship catches up with his beloved vessel and destroys it is to hand over ‘command’ to Lieutenant Uhura and Ensign Chekov. Little wonder perhaps that upon returning to the Bridge, the ship’s captain brusquely shoots down the engineer’s bizarre “group effort” to fight the " extremely xenophobic, non-humanoid civilization" and immediately replaces it with another potentially less aggressive solution…
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly, and Artist: Stephen Thompson

Friday, 30 August 2019

Moon Knight #197 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 197, September 2018
Selling just 18,019 copies in July 2018, a fall of over five hundred readers in a single month, Max Bemis’ penmanship for Issue One Hundred And Ninety Seven of “Moon Knight” was probably never going to win over a new audience due to its focus firmly fixing upon the four chosen of the Bi-Annual Feast of the Societe Des Sadiques, rather than anything whatsoever to do with the titular character. True, the New York musician’s detailed histories of Liberation McAllister, Lyla DeCriscio, Sol Edmund and Tilt afford a modicum of entertainment with their short trips into the macabre world of snuff couture, mafia hits, serial killings, and piercing people to death.

But such utterly random journeys into the disconcertingly unpalatable past of a comic’s supporting cast can only capture, and then hopefully hold, the attention for just so long. And as a result, by the time Moon Knight does reveal himself to the disreputable diners in order “to throw my hat in the ring”, the twenty-page pedestrian-paced periodical has already almost run its course and there’s little room left for Marc Spector to do anything except beat up a couple of purple-hooded machine-gun toting minions.

Similarly as disappointing as the vast majority of the America author’s narrative is his bizarre so-called cliff-hanger of a conclusion, which was presumably written to subvert the expectations of the West Coast Avenger's faithful fans, just as much as it clearly does the Fist of Khonshu himself. This splash-page illustration of the masked vigilante being inexplicably hugged in greeting by the leader of the mass murderers’ cadre would probably ordinarily have garnered a giggle, yet as it is, the criminal’s cuddle frustratingly just brings about an abrupt halt to the only few exciting action-packed panels in this publication.

Fortunately, what this comic lacks in storyline, it unquestionably delivers in its artwork with Jacen Burrows eerily seeming to be able increasingly replicate the clean-lined drawing style which made the late Steve Dillon such a successful illustrator. Moon Knight in particular seems to benefit from this master class in pulse-pounding pencilling, with his all-too brief battle against the plot’s executive-level Madame and a pair of goons proving the high-point of the comic; “I won’t lie. I enjoy it. I look forward to it, sometimes. Hard to admit, but it’s true."
Writer: Max Bemis, Penciler: Jacen Burrows, and Inker: Guillermo Ortego

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #6 - Titan Comics

Only the two hundred and thirty first best-selling comic in April 2019, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, this twenty-two page periodical probably still proved a tremendous disappointment to those 5,691 long-suffering fans still purchasing the “Titans Comics” publication, what with its sedentary, dialogue-heavy narrative and perturbingly poor portrayal of the titular character. Indeed, it is arguably hard to imagine that Jody Houser’s interpretation of the Time Lord has anything in common with its television counterpart considering her incarnation of the Gallifreyan merrily departs medieval Netherlands despite knowing there’s still a horde of “bloodthirsty monsters feeding on [its] stricken villages!”

This utter apathy towards a group of “demons hunting the local townsfolk” is made all the more unbelievably bizarre considering that the Doctor falls prey to a Stilean's razor-sharp teeth herself and almost loses her left shoulder as a result; “Not exactly from around here. Like you lot. Only with less biting. Definitely going to leave a mark on the coat, though. I like this coat…” However, rather than defeating the dangerously hostile and hungry aliens, the “best-selling and critically-acclaimed comics writer” instead has the female time-traveller disconcertingly berate her companions for suggesting her attacker is actually evil, and instead has them run straight into a hunting pack of the frightening beasts without any plan of escape whatsoever.

Luckily, sheer circumstance alone, courtesy of Magda deciding to ring the settlement’s town bell, somehow saves the day. Yet despite this reprieve simply scattering the Stilean back into the shadows temporarily, the Thirteenth Doctor incredulously determines that her work combating “the demons of Hasburg” is done and drags her friends back to the TARDIS fatalistically stating that she has no idea whether the crew’s brave young saviour would be “all right” as “actual people get lost in the numbers and the names.”

This inconceivable desertion of Sixteenth Century Europe to its fate at the hands (or rather fangs) of a clearly savage and aggressive planetary invader is debatably made all the worse by Roberta Ingranata’s pencilling which, whilst being pulse-poundingly dynamic during the Time Lord’s frightful flight from the Stilean at the start of the comic, sadly brings little to party once the protagonists are safe and just endlessly talk to one another.
Writer: Jody Houser, Artist: Roberta Ingranata, and Colorist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Star Wars: Age Of Resistance - Captain Phasma #1 - Marvel Comics

Set before “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens” on the Iron Planet of Demir, this “second one-shot in the canon comic book anthology series Star Wars: Age of Resistance” almost certainly must have ‘landed well’ with its 27,398 readers in July 2019 on account of Tom Taylor’s narrative containing both plenty of Stormtrooper shenanigans and a battle scene which lasts for almost the entirety of the twenty-page periodical. But whilst “Fallen Guns” definitely provides this publication’s titular character plenty of ‘screen time’, it does disconcertingly seem to focus far more upon another “young soldier [who] wants what she has”, and resultantly doesn’t disappointingly bring anything particularly new to the table concerning the "tough veteran commander".

Indeed, apart from demonstrating the First Order Officer’s evident ability to lead her forces to glory, and her unnervingly intense determination to ‘get the job done’, even if it means hiding “behind a disposable shield of patriotic idiots” to do so, the vast majority of the award-winning writer’s storyline instead concentrates on KM-8713’s ambition to climb up through the ranks so as to be conferred an actual name. Unfortunately however, unlike the young woman’s unworthy inspiration, the dark-haired stormtrooper also has a heart, and is soon shown that caring for her comrades, especially those wounded in combat, will make her task an impossible one; “What are you doing? Leave him. That was an order… Not a suggestion.”

Of course, due to some arguably clever misdirection by the Australian author, it does appear for a while that perhaps the naïve Buckethead will achieve at least one of her aims despite leading whilst “looking over your shoulder”, when Captain Phasma promotes her to officer. Yet, whilst KM-8713 does a fine job in succeeding “where too many failed yesterday” by drawing the enemy out of the Demirian stronghold, her subsequent unwillingness to make a calculated sacrifice of her comrades to a squadron of Tie-Fighters quickly proves her ‘humanity’ to be a fatal weakness when up against the salvaged chromium armour-wearing Commander.

Debatably, the greatest asset of Issue One of “Captain Phasma” is therefore Leonard Kirk’s tremendous storyboards, which are absolutely cram-packed with beautiful, pulse-pounding pictures of First Order stormtroopers firing their E-11 blaster rifles like they’re going to go out of fashion. Similarly as chock-full of incredible explosions, mighty metallic walkers layering down a withering hail of suppressing fire and screaming starfighters, the former “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” illustrator’s drawings are a veritable treat for the eyes, and its clear why “Marvel Worldwide” took him on board as an exclusive signing.
The regular cover art of "STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE - CAPTAIN PHASMA" No. 1 by Phil Noto

Monday, 26 August 2019

Doctor Strange #390 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 390, July 2018
Heralding the return of Bronx librarian Zelma Stanton back into the titular character’s life, as well as a cameo by everybody’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, Donny Cates’ swansong as this title’s writer must have had its 28,793 strong audience feverishly looking forward to an emotional reunion between the Master of the Mystic Arts and his disillusioned apprentice. However, rather than provide its readership with any semblance of closure, or even entertainment for that matter, Issue Three Hundred and Ninety of “Doctor Strange” instead delivers a sedentary story within which absolutely nothing occurs apart from an appallingly dispensed double-splash interlude entitled “Peter Talks To A Spider”.

Indeed, apart from the fact that “Marvel Worldwide” had already announced that this was the series’ last instalment, prior to the Sorcerer Supreme being awarded a "fresh start" in June 2018 with (another) re-launch, there is arguably no obvious reason as to why this particular twenty-page periodical managed to increase its copy sales by an astonishing four thousand books... Unless of course, some perusing party of sadomasochistic bibliophiles bought this comic simply to watch artist Frazer Irving inexcusably pencil Peter Parker gurning like some face-pulling championship finalist when he discovers Stephen owns the ghost of a basset hound; “This charming dead dog makes a lot of sense, Strange.”

Similarly as disconcerting though, is the Texas-born author’s supposed reconciliation between the former preeminent surgeon and his estranged housekeeping friend, which disappointingly only lasts just a handful of lack-lustre panels set upon a park bench, and resolves little as a tearful Zelma simply walks off telling the magic user that “maybe I’ll see you in my dreams, Doctor Strange.” This demoralising conclusion was debatably never going to go in any different direction after Stan Lee’s co-creation had so badly betrayed her trust, but it’s hard to believe Cates would rather have penned a tale about Spider-Man wanting to talk to an arachnid than further explore the possibility of Stanton’s permanent return to the Sorcerer Supreme’s side.

Of course, none of these dissatisfactions compare to Chip Zdarsky’s infantile intermission as a surprise illustrator, and his incredibly amateurish scribbles depicting a yellow-sweater wearing Wallcrawler waxing lyrical with a ‘genuine’ eight-leg about his webbing, super-strength, spider-sense and mortality. As crudely-drawn as it is jarringly colourful, this centre-piece questionably destroys any semblance of atmosphere to an already overly-comical script, and lamentably encapsulates the Canadian simply trying far too hard to be visually funny.
The regular cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 390 by Mike Del Mundo

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Planet Of Daemons #4 - Amigo Comics

PLANET OF DAEMONS No. 4, August 2017
As showdowns with a daemon of war go, Amos Deathridge’s final battle against the forces of Count Eligos and the horrifying revelation as to the Seventeenth Century magistrate’s origin, arguably provides its audience with precisely the sort of cataclysmic conclusion one would expect to immediately have its readers clamouring for more. In fact, Kevin Gunstone’s narrative for Issue Four of “Planet Of Daemons” provides something akin to the perfect ending for this mini-series, as his penmanship not only addresses the myriad of mysteries surrounding “the real identity of the Succubus Queen, Heinous", as well as the cause of the puritan’s vague visions concerning “the life he left behind”. But also sets the jailer of the Prison-House of Angels up for a scintillating sequel courtesy of the grieving father both glimpsing his dead son’s soul as a trapped entity in the occult realm of evil, and the morally-strict church-goer’s cajoling of the boy’s misguided mother into eternal servitude at his side.

Foremost of these ‘hooks’ is debatably the disclosure that the grizzled amnesiac inadvertently killed his own treacherous spouse whilst riding down a group of hooded cultists who were desecrating young Zachary’s corpse for their own nefarious ends. Enraged at the sheer monstrousness of their actions, and the probable slaying of Ezra as the man desperately tried to rescue the dead lad’s “body from the flames”, it is all too easy to imagine the red mist blinding Amos as to the dangers of his headlong charge into the void in vengeful pursuit of a horned daemoness. Just how the man’s sanity is going to recover from such a torturous vision in the long-term is left teasingly unanswered at the end of this twenty-seven page periodical, especially when an unholy supernatural spirit of Trinity now administers to his needs.

Likewise, thanks in part to some pathos-packed pencilling by Paul Moore, Gunstone also delivers a fitting resolution to the eternal troubles of Deathridge’s former friend Silas, whose death on Earth was both hauntingly harrowing and utterly unjust. Now seemingly destined to walk Gamaliel, a world of the Qliphoth, as a cloven-hooved monstrosity, the man finally succeeds in extracting a revenge of sorts against his persecutors by shooting Heinous through the head and ending his miserable existence during the destruction of Eligos’ fortress; “Finally… My torment here is at an end. In flames, I am free of this world.”
Writer: Kevin Gunstone, Art: Paul Moore, and Colour: Stefan Mrkonjic

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Watcher #1 - Zenescope Entertainment

THE WATCHER No. 1, August 2019
Described by “Zenescope Entertainment” as “Disturbia meets The Conjuring” in its pre-publication release, this supposed “horror thriller” comic penned by Victoria Rau (from a story by Ralph Tedesco) arguably contains far more snores than scares with a narrative that predominantly focuses upon the educational life of Erica as opposed to anything particularly petrifying. Sure, the reader is permitted a fleeting glance into the teenager’s “ongoing bouts with sleep paralysis”, and a grotesque splash-page nightmare scene of a demonic fiend pinning the comic’s young protagonist to her bed. But such insights into her haunting by an evil entity are frustratingly few, and instead this book’s biggest shock is just how much time is spent watching adolescents brazenly talk about boys, girls and sex.

Similarly as snooze-inducing is the “Peek-a-Boo” writer’s insistence on presenting several sedentary sequences featuring the suburban home-life of this tale’s Catholic Deacon and his family. A brief comprehension as to the domestic bliss (or otherwise) of the lead character is debatably a staple ingredient of any successful fright-fest. However, on this occasion these politely-spoken, dialogue-driven disclosures deliver little to advance the plot, and simply slow down an already pedestrian paced thirty-page periodical; especially when amidst the dining room discussions Rau subjects us to a bizarre interlude where the ordained minister spurns his wife’s bedroom advances due to it being “the Feast of Saint Leo after all.” 

Mercifully for those bibliophiles anticipating at least a smidgeon of the Pennsylvania-based publisher’s trademark gore though, a double-helping of gratuitous death does strike towards the very end of this comic, as “two of Erica’s high school friends are brutally murdered”. Yet despite its over-the-top theatrics, and a palpable sense of terror in Stacy Green’s final moments, it is rather hard not to shake the impression that the blood-drenched cliff-hanger has been bolted onto this mini-series’ opening instalment simply to inject it with some otherwise entirely-absent superfluous slaughter.

This particular ‘not for the squeamish’ segment also provides artist Julius Abrera with an excellent opportunity to draw something more dynamic than girls simply wandering around in college uniforms or lounging about a bedroom together eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. Eye-wateringly violent and prodigiously pencilled, the suddenness of poor Derek’s demise is only bested in the ‘gruesome stakes category’ by the bodily mutilation which follows…
Story: Ralph Tedesco, Writer: Victoria Rau, and Artwork: Julius Abrera

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Doctor Strange #389 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 389, June 2018
As far as cataclysmic culminations to a multi-title, limited series tie-in comic book go, Donny Cates’ script to Issue Three Hundred and Eighty Nine of “Doctor Strange” must surely have had the vast majority of its 24,877 readers wringing their hands in despair at a plot which literally depicts the Sorcerer Supreme summarising his battle against the combined forces of Mephisto, Shuma-Gorath, Dormammu and Nightmare whilst sipping a hot beverage in a New York teahouse with Clea. Indeed, incredulously “Marvel Comics’ new wunderkind” even goes so far as to have the Master of the Mystic Arts simply encapsulate the entire sense-shattering conclusion to his “Damnation” crossover event within the space of a couple of word bubbles rather than provide the titular character’s accommodating audience with any sort of visual exposition whatsoever; “Well, Johnny Blaze went to hell and became its new king…. It was quite the spectacle, really.”

Such a shockingly abrupt and lack-lustre ending to this comic’s long-running “Bleeding Neon” storyline really proves monumentally disappointing, especially when mere moments before the book’s focus frustratingly shifts to the former preeminent surgeon dinning with his one-time disciple, he had “betrayed Dormammu, abandoned my friends in hell, and escaped Mephisto’s necrotic soul prison” so as to allow him “the chance to put things right on Earth.” Of course, it’s somewhat understandable that the majority of Strange’s subsequent shenanigans in Las Vegas would probably be covered within Cates’ separately published collaboration with Nick Spencer. But even so it is difficult to swallow that the Garland-born writer couldn’t have penned a pulse-pounding piece pitching Stephen against some villainous “unleashed horror” from the “recently-created Hotel Inferno” in the magic-user’s very own title rather than just present an idyllic depiction of domestic bliss in an idyllic coffee bar.

Disconcertingly, this all-too apparent reluctance to satisfactorily end the Sorcerer Supreme’s battle against Mephisto “in an immaterial sub-realm of Hell” also seeps into this twenty-page periodical’s storyboarding, with Niko Henrichon’s artwork appearing to increasingly suffer as the so-called script progresses. Initially packed full of ‘vim and vigour’ as Nightmare drives his demonic steed through a horde of nightmarish, bug-eyed monstrosities, the Canadian artist’s pencilling sadly closes with some lamentably lack-lustre drawings of a haggardly-sketched Doctor forlornly following the advice of his Faltine/Mhuruuk hybrid friend by phoning up his protégé Zelma…
Writer: Donny Cates, Artist: Niko Henrichon, and Letterer: VC's Cory Petit

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Death-Defying 'Devil #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

DEATH-DEFYING 'DEVIL No. 1, August 2019
Whereas Gail Simone’s plot to Issue One of “Death-Defying ‘Devil” might prove uncomfortably similar for those older readers who remember director Michael Winner's 1985 American action thriller film “Death Wish 3”. Its basic premise of the titular character protecting a bunch of ‘misfit’ tenants in a rundown apartment building from a sadistic racketeer undeniably taps into what arguably made the “precursor to the modern street-level heroes we have today” so successful during the Golden Age of comic books.

Indeed, the ‘down-to-earth’ nature of this twenty-two page periodical’s narrative, with its vicious razor boomerangs, cowardly axe-attacks, and gritty pugilism, make it abundantly clear just why the two-time GLAAD Media Award nominee herself has apparently “been fascinated by the Death Defying 'Devil since I first saw him on the cover of Jim Steranko’s History of Comics” and decided to pen such a brutally basic tale of easily recognisable good verses spine-chillingly outright evil; “Well, maybe we just got better things to do, little mamacita. Than risking our lives for dirty little scofflaws like you. Maybe don’t be so stubborn, little immigrant bitch.”

Somewhat sadly, that doesn’t mean that Simone’s storytelling isn’t necessarily without its faults though, as her lead antagonist seemingly takes down Jack Binder’s creation far too easily considering "Daredevil" was ‘slaughtering’ his numerous henchmen just mere moments before, and then inexplicably leaves the “hero” alive for no valid reason other than its not the hooded villain’s decision to kill him but rather “up to Mister Donovan.” This bizarre decree makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, particularly in view of the life-changing injuries the public domain vigilante has caused, except to contrivingly set-up a future revenge-fuelled re-match between the one-time “Lev Gleason Publications” property and his semi-mutilated attackers…

Such illogical quibbles are however, fairly easy to gloss over thanks in large to some action-packed pencilling by Walter Geovani. Crammed full of atmospheric attention to detail like his figures’ footfalls and skid-marks in the snow during this “Dynamite Entertainment” publication’s opening brutal confrontation, the Brazilian’s artwork genuinely helps create the bitingly cold weather and desperate nature of the fisticuffs, as well as later miraculously imbues a seriously sedentary sequence involving a sofa-laden crime-fighter with some semblance of dynamism, courtesy of the bandaged invalid’s ever-scanning right eye.
The regular cover art of "DEATH-DEFYING 'DEVIL" No. 1 by Riccardo Federici

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Justice League Dark Annual #1 - DC Comics

Although Ram V was absolutely correct in his pre-publication publicity that this comic contains “a story about Swamp Thing and The King of Petals and the greater events of The Justice League Dark storyline”, the “award winning author” was arguably doing his narrative to the thirty-eight page long “A Carious Bloom” something of a distinct disservice. For whilst “this one-of-a-kind story” unquestionably features plenty of Alec Holland’s horrific-looking alter-ego, as the anthropomorphic mound of vegetable matter ponders the fall of the Parliament of Trees and exchanges barbed comments with a somewhat disconcertingly all-knowing John Constantine, it is undoubtedly this book’s fascination with the emotionally draining fate of Doctor Oleander Sorrel which provides it with a hook few perusing bibliophiles could surely resist..?

Indeed, rather than simply being a tale concerning the super-heroic exploits of a monstrously transformed swamp monster, an edgy "supernatural advisor", a member of the Bureau of Amplified Animals and an Amazonian Princess, this “Justice League Dark” Annual instead provides its audience with a completely compelling, yet equally chilling, literary journey involving an agonised parent’s worst nightmare. Certainly, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed with emotion for Natasha at the loss of her young son to cancer, or the grim fate of the woman’s distraught husband when “his walking grief” wants to spend time at her sisters and seemingly never returns to therapeutically mourn their dead child with him; “I poured myself into work after that. Hours spent planting strains into the ground. I did not eat. I did not sleep.”

Just as enthralling as this comic’s tearful plot is Guillem March’s beautiful storyboards, which go a long way to help pace out the despair-laden drama across such a sizeable, well-populated periodical. Frantically panelled one moment to depict the quick-fire banter between Swamp Thing and the Hall of Justice’s most recent addition, as well as infer the panic of Oleander’s beating heart as he races through his home looking for his upset wife, the professional illustrator from Spain also occasionally slows things down to a much more settling, sedentary pace courtesy of a lavishly-sketched flashback sequence showing a grim-faced, bespectacled Sorrel experimenting upon his blessed flowers all on his lonesome, or a fantastically-colourful and well-detailed drawing of the short-lived King of Petals, eerily stalking full of bloom through the undergrowth of his former life’s garden.
Story: James Tynion IV & Ram V, Art: Guillem March, and Colors: Arif Prianto

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Green Lantern Annual #1 - DC Comics

THE GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL No. 1, September 2019
Featuring a demoralising dialogue-driven narrative which focuses far more upon internal family squabbles and worsening “sex lives” than it does depicting even a semi-followable super-hero story-line, Grant Morrison’s “The Wireless Ones” is hardly the “you must not miss” publication “DC Comics” advertised it as being in July 2019. Indeed, considering that this thirty-seven page periodical’s premise is bemusingly based upon an agitated extra-terrestrial taking advantage of Uncle Hip spiking his relatives’ punch in order to film some juicy gossip for a “web project”, it’s arguably hard to imagine a less compelling reason to pick up such a tediously weighty tome and read it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that this “Green Lantern" Annual is not without its merits, as the apparent return of both the radio-wave based species, the Kwyzz, and Howard Jordan Junior’s garishly costumed alter-ego Airwave certainly inject its unimaginative plot with some much needed pizazz and plenty of frantically-paced action. However, even two such welcome guest appearances from the Burbank-based publisher’s zany past doesn’t help this comic make any more actual sense as its titular character is somehow prevented from talking to his ring by the blue fuzzy “radio police”, and the mere presence of the Justice Leaguer’s young “sidekick” seemingly allows the villainous Zzyptzz to transform into a veritable monster of terrifying transmissions; “You defeat my enemiezz -- Now I are free. Today we reclaim the world which izz ourzzz!”

In fact, the vast majority of this ‘reborn tradition’ struggles to provide any literary logic whatsoever, with the Scottish author penning Hal making a miraculous recovery from his painful debilitating inflictions just in time to thwart an alien invasion, courtesy of being visited by the ‘ghost’ of a microwaved Helen, and Airwave’s ability to cancel his opponent’s frequencies being fuelled by the argumentative nature of his persistently squabbling elders. To make matters worse though, at the adventure's conclusion the one-time reanimated member of the Black Lantern Corps demonstrates an ability to readily reconnect Jordan with his power-ring, and ensure an emerald-energised satellite system sends their fizzing foe into space on a repeated feedback-loop. Luckily, this solution allows the freshly-arrived diminutive Radio Lantern of the Unseen Sector to make a timely arrest, but additionally begs the question as to why Junior didn’t terminate the interference crippling "Uncle Hal" at the start of the long-winded battle and simply save this book’s audience such a soul-destroying, strength-sapping slog…
Writer: Grant Morrison, Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Finishes: Trevor Scott