LIVEWIRE / FIREFLY / THE BLACK ORDER / BITTER ROOT / THE GREEN LANTERN [Fistful of Comics]: First Course Comics!
Happy Thanksgiving week, geeks and geekettes! We still do comics here at GodHatesGeeks, and we’ve got some great titles coming our way this week to ease into the holiday season. We’ve got our usual stash of great writers contributing this week, including a writer so nice we used him twice! Let’s get right to it before we move, later on, to this week’s main course…
Amanda McKee has had a rough year. The government declared war on her species, effectively making her the leader on the losing side of a genocidal crusade (Harbinger Wars II #1-4). She adopted an unlikely group of outcasts in an attempt to protect them from the conflict, but may have caused more harm than intended (Secret Weapons #1-4). Amanda’s actions all came to a head when she decided to use her extraordinary technopathic abilities to black out the United States, an act she felt was absolutely necessary in order for her to preserve her people. Characters are most interesting when their backs are against the wall and they’re forced to make difficult choices. Oftentimes we make the decisions that we think are best for us in the moment, but upon reflection, discover that we may have made the wrong call. In Amanda’s case, her choices have affected the lives of millions and now it’s time to atone for those decisions.
Breakout writer Vita Ayala is the scribe for this new series and they hit the ground running. Ayala understands the character of Livewire very deeply, and portrays her as a woman seeking redemption. It’s clear that Amanda is only now coming to terms with the fact that she may have overplayed her hand. This truth will be a difficult pill for her to swallow. Livewire #1 serves as a great jumping-on point for new readers while still serving as a continuation of the last few years of Valiant story lines involving Amanda — the dilemma that Amanda finds herself in is a challenging one, considering the fact that she is technically a war criminal now. Amanda’s actions were not villainous in nature, but sometimes even the best of intentions have undesirable consequences. She is faced with this fact when she has a confrontation with her former Secret Weapons squad. They aren’t necessarily thrilled about Amanda’s war and remind her how it has affected humanity. Time will only tell how Livewire will accept this mirror-like reflection of her controversial actions.
Livewire’s abilities are even more powerful in this new issue. Her gift for communicating with machines have seemingly grown stronger since she was a young psiot. She can now levitate machines at will (including a device that looks mysteriously similar to a Nintendo Switch, I see what you did there). With her near God-like technopathic skills, Amanda will prove to be a formidable foe to anyone who dares cross her.
Raul Allen and Patricia Martin do a fantastic job illustrating this premiere issue, having been familiar with illustrating Livewire due to their work on the Secret Weapon miniseries. Their detail and color choice is excellent and is evident with every panel. We all make mistakes. Life isn’t easy, and we all have to make hard choices. These decisions define who we are and our place in society. When we make mistakes, hopefully they aren’t too heinous that we can’t recover from them. Everyone should get a chance at a redemption arc. This is Amanda McKee’s opportunity, and we’re all in for the ride.
Welcome back Browncoats! Firefly is back and it’s actually pretty good. In this latest installment, Mal, Zoe, Wash and the gang gets stuck on the moon Bethlehem where they get hired by a religious group to protect them. They of course take the job to buy parts to get off the moon but, as always, things subsequently go to hell.
I’ve loved Greg Pak since his run on Hulk and World War Hulk and he does a fantastic job of making you actually hear the voices from the show come through the pages of the book. My only qualm with the book, to be perfectly honest, is the art: Dan McDaid’s art work is sporadic at best. The art continually bounces between a beautiful homage to pulp comic,s and the next panel it is reminiscent of Instagram artwork that you find after scrolling for about 30 minutes or so.
Pak’s story is compelling enough to bring you back for the second issue, and while I don’t think we will ever get more seasons, this might be the closest that we get to it, and that is a good thing. They should stop with these mini-series and just make this the official second season, and keep going with it from this point on with Pak in the driver’s seat, but with a more dynamic artist. But that’s just the thought of one humble Browncoat. 4/5 Shiny Bibles.
The Grandmaster flashes furious gamechange on the five Dreadlords of the Cull Obsidian, a fistful brood of supraviolence formerly in service to a recently-deposed-of-supertitan by the name of Thanos. Now, they prefer to moniker themselves as The Black Order, and their callsigns go like this: Proxima Midnight, Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive, Black Swan, and Ebony Maw. Marvel’s plan of rebranding the Stanleeverse by giving this Thanoseed quintet a title of their very own seems duly apropos after this past Spring’s cinematic fingersnappery…
Peel back the ichorous pages on a visual Golgotha of orgiastic bloodfeast as The Black Order reveal their darkened, bottomless hearts while they mincely meat-and-beat their hapless opponents into quivering strands of caseless sausage filling. Gaze upon this all, as a buffoonish emperor watches from afar, atop his gilded throne with his viewing tablet in hand; while his crane-beak-hooded army are pulverized into endless, projectile streams of buttpissdom. Find yourself reveling deep within the possible multiversal schemes of The Grandmaster man, and what he may ultimately have in store for the Thanos family plan… 3.75/5 Big Angry Bits.
From the creative duo behind Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist, David Walker, and Sandford Greene, comes Bitter Root, the highly anticipated allegorical supernatural tale from Image Comics that is set during the Harlem Renaissance. Our heroes are the Sangerye family: a once-legendary monster-hunting bloodline now reduced to a few members, using fighting techniques and magicks passed down generations. They engage in hand-to-hand combat with the Jinoo: possessed humans the Sangerye’s must alternately defeat, and save, whilst simultaneously dealing with the vicious racism of the time.
David Walker and Chuck Brown (Black Panther) have written a page turner in this dark and compelling story of family ties and horror both otherworldly and all too familiar. The visuals are lush, electric, and lurid, evoking an alternative universe of Jazz and speakeasies via the illustrative talents of Sanford Greene. Their combined vision of an “Ethnogothic” title with social resonance knocks it out the park on both style and dialogue and it is sure to be another winner for Image Comics. Buy this book! 5/5 Bibles.
While Sector 2814 has four Green Lanterns protecting it, the one that has been the stalwart for so many decades is everyone’s favorite fly boy, Hal Jordan and Grant Morrison has his hands all over him (in a consensual way obviously). The last time that Morrison handled a ring slinger was back in the nineties when Kyle Rayner was the ring bearer and Morrison seems to understand what makes the various Lanterns tick. Morrison also understands how to mess with our minds and keep us hooked, he is the master of the “what the hell” cliffhanger and let’s be honest, that last panel is just that — what the hell (but in a great way). He takes his time with the story and right when you think he’s gone off the rails, he always finds a way to wrap everything up.
Liam Sharp’s art is a mixture of Ethan Van Sciver (without the bigoted baggage) and 1940’s pulp which is absolutely stunning. The art — whether it is aliens, space, the Green Lantern Corps or Hal in his civvies — is all beautiful. I’m almost embarrassed with myself that I never knew about him before this issue. The only downside is that Morrison has an issue of starting off strong, and then fizzling out. Hopefully The Green Lanternis a break from that…but only time will tell. 4/5 Green Ringed Bibles.