CASSIAN & K2S0 / DIVINITY / GENERATIONS – THE PHOENIX / NEW GODS / FIRST STRIKE [Reviews]: Out With the Old…
Greetings all around, geeks and geekettes. It’s a crazy week, yes it is, and we’re a lot of drama going on in and around this country, but right now, let’s look and see what kind of craziness we’ve got going on in the comics world, shall we? We’ve got one of Marvels’ favorites coming back in the fold, and a mash-up straight out of my childhood…back 25-years or so ago. But let’s start things off with a quick journey to a galaxy far, far away…
There were plenty of hardcore Star Wars fans out there that were not happy with Rogue One for whatever reason. I was not one of these people. So any reason for them to give us more stories based on these characters? I’m all for it.
Since the only way you can tell stories about these fallen souls is to go backwards, we are given the story of how Cassian brought K2SO over to the Rebel Alliance. On a scouting mission, Cassian goes to the planet of Wecacoe with two others named Kertas and Rismor. The interesting thing about those two is they are an alien race that communicate through scents they put into the air. While it made for many amusing moments in this book, I don’t think it would translate as well on screen since they rarely speak. But anyway, on with the story at hand, which has our team trying to sneak into an Imperial stronghold to nab some secrets from a decommissioned Imperial cruiser. Now as luck would have it that would be too easy, if something didn’t go wrong so when they enter the warehouse they somehow trip an alarm which brings Stormtroopers rushing in to investigate. As Cassian is careful to navigate around the guards, he is still discovered by a large Imperial droid named K2SO who tries to detain him. But thankfully for Cassian, Kertas and Rismor come to the rescue and hit the droids “kill switch.” Still needing a way to get out of their predicament they attempt to reprogram the droid to be on their side and appear to escort them out like prisoners. Let’s just say it doesn’t go according to plan.
The second half of this book is mainly action scenes as our Rebels try to flee from the Imperial force in the city. But if you enjoyed the comedic moments of K2SO in the movie, there are plenty more of them here as Cassian and the droid constantly trade comedic dialogue in the midst of peril and danger. I breezed through the pages quickly as Stormtroopers blast away and our heroes deal with the obstacles of trying to escape. In the end we get the resolution on how K2SO made it back to the Rebel home base, which was just a fun background tale to round out his character and the beginning of his partnership with Cassian. 3/5 Blasters.
Abram Adams goes full-on cosmonautical as He hyper-kilometres the space-time continuum into reconfigured stardust that portends to unleash a naked history slate rife with butterfly-effected affectations. Why would Divinity not engage with His own seemingly infinite powers, when He appears to be able to construct all manner of universal matters as He wills them? Will He push them unto the light, or pull them into the darkness? Or might He will all matters of gray into the fecal?
Matt Kindt (Ninjak, Unity), Text
Renato Guedes (Superman, Wolverine), Vision
Dave Lanphear (Might Avengers, Meridian), Fonts
A Valiant hall of heroes and a roguish gallery await to clash as the titans they are; within His burning, jewel-inflected, obsidian ether. Will alliances and adversarial relations of previous existence echo forth from the void, and into the very bones of His present dimension? Divinity’s Sandbox has been formed from over octillion grains of moonglow. Where will the final lines be drawn? Who will fight, and who will fall? The lunar tide always rolls in to wash the blood and bodies away… 4.5/5 Cosmonaugahyde Space Suits.
Alas dear congregation, it is I, your friendly neighborhood Cardinal! I know it’s been awhile since we’ve chatted, but sit down and let me wax poetic on Generations: The Phoenix. Actually, I won’t wax poetic goodness, but I will say this — when the Generations series was first teased, I got pretty excited, I mean, old and new coming together, but Marvel has been hit or miss for me lately (Love Secret Empire, Nick Spencer is KILLING it) and as much as I love Cullen Bunn (Seriously! How good is X-Men: Blue!!), I feel that the hype behind Generations has put a huge dampener on how I should feel about these books. It’s old and new coming together, but unless there is a nice pay off at the end, these all feel like ideas being jammed down my throat so I’ll “love the new versions.” Marvel, trust me, you don’t need to put New 1960s Jean Grey with her older/younger/yet still older counterpart. I love what Bunn did with her in Blue, same with Amadeus Cho in Generations: Hulk (but that’s another review).
Okay, so I have vented enough on Generations, so let me break down The Phoenix. I love how Bunn starts this issue and love Silva’s artwork in this issue. X-Men: Blue Jean Grey and having this fear of losing her self to this power that is coming for her (Bendis started that and Bunn is continuing that) and this insecure Jean Grey teaming up with a badass “Seventies” Phoenix taking one Terrax AND Galactus and there is this great build up to an ending that I’m guessing is leading to something else, but it isn’t clear so the ending has this “why does this even matter” because, after all is said and done, the Watcher shows up and basically just yanks younger Jean Grey out of the situation. It was nice to see the old jean Grey back and too see that the Phoenix was meant to be a figure of good but still, at the end, it feels like a misfire. B.B. Silva’s artwork is clean and crisp and dynamic, and, coupled with Bunn’s writing, saves this issue, but I would just wait for this to be eventually bundled in a trade paper back. 3/5 Phoenix Bibles.
In honor of Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday, DC’s brought back many of his creations this year and it was only a matter of time until they got around to the New Gods, his biggest contribution to the DC Universe. It begins in this issue with two Orion stories, one each by Shane Davis and Walt Simonson. Considering this is supposed to be a celebration of Jack Kirby, however, it does feel strange that both of these stories are more reminiscent of Simonson’s Orion run than Kirby’s New Gods, not that that’s a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
The first story, written and penciled by Davis, has Orion teaming up with Lightray and Forager to save Forager’s people from Kalibak, who’s enslaved them on a New Genesis, and culminates with an intensely violent fight between Orion and Kalibak. As fun and action packed as it is, it really doesn’t bring anything new to the New Gods and just feels like another good issue of Orion. The backup story “Teeth of the See” by Simonson is just a fun, quick adventure of a young Orion. As great as it was seeing even just a short story from the original Orion team, Simonson writing and penciling with John Workman letters, it really felt like something that would’ve fit right in as a backup in Simonson’s Orion giving this issue the overall feel of that run. Once again, that isn’t a bad thing by any stretch but it does feel a little disappointing that this issue feels neither as Kirbyesque, nor as new and refreshing as I’d liked from the return of the New Gods. 3.75/5 Bibles.
Confession time, fellow readers: I am 31 years old. I grew up in the apex of the GI Joe and Transformers craze (before there was ever a need for a real backstory for these robots in disguise; nor of having any inkling that knowing was half the battle); and I have to admit, these characters were, and ARE, much more fun and exciting when you’re playing with them or watching them than when you’re reading them.
“Bad geek!” “You’re hater!” “Maybe you just had a preconceived opinion of what you were…blah blah blah…” Nope. As a comic, I wasn’t into these two universes coming together (although it was also more than one universe…yeah, I think they try to throw M.A.S.K. in there as well…I honestly can’t remember). Here, the story is about Starscream hosting some gala or some such thing on Cybertron, and members of the G.I. Joes are on hand to offer security, when there’s an unexpected attack, and some ninjas pop out of a Transformer, and…there’s double crosses and subterfuge and all that brilliant dramatic stuff.
Maybe I’m too old to enjoy this, but I felt the pacing here (truth to God, the moment I thought to myself “This story needs to go somewhere”, the exact next panel was an explosion. I guess that makes me a prescient reader, or the title a simple read? Either way, I was impressed that the story knew the EXACT moment to have an inciting event). Having not read a single issue of either the Transformers or G.I. Joe titles, I was also surprised at how little I felt lost: the story moved at exactly the right pace I’d expected it to go, and it filled in enough exposition for me to know exactly who was who, what their job was, and what was going on. If you love Transformers, love G.I. Joe, but would rather read them than watch them or play with them (if you’re a child, that is), then this is for you. 3/5 Hidden Ninjas.