Comic Book Review – The OMAC Project

The OMAC Project
Reprints The OMAC Project #1-6, Special, Wonder Woman #219
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Jesus Saiz

Continuing immediately from the conclusion of Countdown to Infinite Crisis, we find Max Lord, now the head of Checkmate, cleaning up his murder of Blue Beetle. It’s revealed that Lord has control over Brother Eye, a spy satellite built in secret by Batman after he learned about the Justice League’s mindwiping of villains. At some point, off-panel, Lord has turned Brother Eye into a catalyst for OMACs, nanobots that have infected hundreds of thousands of humans and turned them into sleeper agents. The over-arching plan is to use Checkmate and Brother Eye to “take back” power from the growing number of metahumans on Earth. Booster Gold is concerned about his old teammate, Blue Beetle’s disappearance. He works alongside Batman, Fire, and other heroes to get to the bottom of what happened.

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Comic Book Review – The Rann-Thanagar War

The Rann-Thanagar War
Reprints The Rann-Thanagar War #1-6, Special
Written by Dave Gibbons
Art by Ivan Reis

This probably the least related to the core Infinite Crisis than any of the four Countdown mini-series. It’s a continuation of storylines from the Green Lantern reboot that had just rolled out and an Adam Strange mini-series. As a result, it only has one strong connection that happens in the third act and sort of scuttles the main story, sidetracking into the Infinite Crisis event. This is also one of the least new reader friendly books in the Countdown with plot threads that go back into Geoff Johns’ JSA run involving Hawkman and even further back into Tim Truman’s Hawkworld series of the 1980s. DC Comics can be notoriously dense with its long histories, but here it becomes almost impenetrable.

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Comic Book Review – Villains United

Villains United
Reprints Villains United #1-6, Special
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Val Semekis

The march towards Infinite Crisis continues with more fallout from the events of Identity Crisis. Once it was revealed that a contingent of Justice League members was actively using their powers to mindwipe villains, this became a rallying point for those baddies seeking to amass power. The Society was formed, led by Lex Luthor, Talia al Ghul, The Calculator, Deathstroke, Doctor Psycho, and Black Adam. The group is splitting up to hit all corners of the planet in a recruitment drive. If you don’t submit to their campaign to pull off a massive attack on the superheroes, then you’re left for dead as a message to any future dissenters. Writer Gail Simone cleverly makes these mini-series not about the top tier villains in power, but in a small group who aren’t willing to go along with the ultimatum.

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Comic Book Review – The Flash by Mark Waid Volume 6

The Flash by Mark Waid Volume 6
Reprints The Flash #119 – 129, The Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends #1-2, The Flash Plus Nightwing, Showcase ‘96 #12, and DC Universe: Holiday Bash
Written by Mark Waid (with Brian Augustyn and Ron Marz)
Art by Paul Ryan, Eduardo Barreto, and Bart Sears

Wally West, as most readers know him today, was mostly formed by Mark Waid. As I’ve read through the Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans run, I’ve seen that pre-Crisis Wally West was a different animal, more ambivalent with a greater conservative leaning, written that way to contrast him off some of his liberal teammates. Recently, West became the character at the center of Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis, an event comic that took many liberties with his personality and irked some fans. I am still holding my judgments until I can sit down and give the book a good re-read. In online conversations, there have been lots of talk about how King was not true to whom Wally is, talking about him as if he is a historical figure or some concretely established part of the DC canon.

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Comic Book Review – Countdown to Infinite Crisis/Day of Vengeance

Countdown to Infinite Crisis
Written by Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Judd Winick
Art by Rags Morales, Ivan Reis, Jesus Saiz, Phil Jimenez, and Ed Benes

In the wake of Identity Crisis, the DC Universe had taken a darker turn, and it was decided that this would be the lead up to a massive line-wide event. Instead of repeating the format of 1985’s 12 issue Crisis on Infinite Earths, this event would have a one-shot prelude with four mini-series spinning out that which in turn would lead to the main title Infinite Crisis. It all starts here in Countdown, a single issue that frames those four mini-series: Day of Vengeance, Villains United, The Rann-Thanagar War, and The OMAC Project. The cover to the comic portends a bad turn of events, Batman holding a lifeless figure in his arms while other heroes look on in horror.

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TV Tryouts – Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol (DC Universe)
Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”
Written by Glen Winter
Directed by Jeremy Carver

There is so much television I hear I should watch and with 24/7 streaming services abounding it can quickly become overwhelming. To finally get a taste of all these great shows I will start doing TV Tryouts. Each month I will watch a couple of pilot episodes of series I have been hearing rave reviews about and see if that first episode can hook me to keep watching. Now, an argument you might make is that you have to view the first six or entire first season before a show “gets good.” To that, I say, “I just don’t have the time.” A television series should have strong enough writing that its characters, dialogue, and plot naturally compel me to keep watching. If it doesn’t then that’s ok, plenty of shows for everyone.

As much as I love DC Comics, I have had an awful time getting into the rapidly expanding television output from the company. I have tried to sit down and watch Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, but I can’t engage with the writing. It’s all so caught up in how clever it thinks it is, yet wants to be super serious for the fans. This is the equivalent of someone taking the campy Batman show from the 1960s and trying to inject a few serious subplots. You have to be incredibly talented to pull something like that off. When I saw the trailers for DC Universe’s Titans series, I knew immediately it was a hard pass for me. It did the opposite thing and went for a tone so ill-fitting for the Teen Titans. I had comfortably resigned myself to just realizing that none of this was for me, and that’s okay. However, then I started to hear some positive buzz around Doom Patrol, as a show that isn’t your typical DC series. I remained skeptical but was intrigued enough to sit down and watch at least the first episode.

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Comic Book Review – Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis
Reprints Identity Crisis #1-7
Written by Brad Meltzer
Art by Rags Morales

The recently concluded Heroes in Crisis mini-series, written by Tom King, has been the focus of massive negative attention online. The series is so fresh that I still am not sure what my take on the overall piece is and it’ll warrant a re-read soon. The intent of Heroes in Crisis was to talk about the PTSD superheroes would experience as part of their line of work. Thirteen years ago, novelist Brad Meltzer was tasked with composing a similar event comic centered around a dark revelation from the Justice League’s past, an opportunity to tell a very adult story in the DC Comics universe. There is an emphasis on the long-term emotional toll that comes with being a superhero, and Identity Crisis seems to have garnered even more considerable enmity in the decade-plus since it was released. This summer we’ll be looking at the series of events books that started with this one and redefined DC Comics for the mid-to-late 2000s.

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