Welcome to the Kaboooom Comics Round-Up! It’s all things super this week as Marcus Hammond leads us through early stages Trinity War, with Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire’s Justice League #6 and Marvel’s first issue of Superior Carnage!
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6/Story by GEOFF JOHNS AND JEFF LEMIRE/Pencils by DOUG MAHNKE/Inks by CHRISTIAN ALAMY, KEITH CHAMPAGNE, DOUG MAHNKE, and TOM NGUYEN/Colors by GABE ELTAEB and NATHAN EYRING/Letters by ROB LEIGH/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MARCUS HAMMOND
Justice League of America #6 flawlessly transitions from the events of Justice League #22 as both Justice Leagues come to grips with Superman’s actions and everyone begins to question their roles within the DC Universe. The theme of power and responsibility echoes throughout the issue to create a well plotted, visually dynamic second chapter to the Trinity War.
Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire’s development of Superman after his actions in Kahndaq provide readers with deep character development that is a breath of fresh air for those frustrated with the status quo.
Superman’s emotional response towards his actions is exactly what has been missing from the character. The pain and anguish Superman feels as he screams, “STOP THIS RIGHT NOW! AND LOCK ME UP!” at the battling superheroes illustrates just how important control is to the superhero community.
With the death of Dr. Light at the hands of Superman the entire universe is altered and the combination of plot, art, and lettering transcend the written format so that the reader can feel the turmoil.
Johns and Lemire also expertly tie primary and secondary characters like Wonder Woman and Amanda Waller into the turmoil that Superman’s actions have inspired to show just how deep this conflict runs.
Waller’s political stance as she sees an opportunity to exploit Superman’s actions shows how truly driven she is to destroy the Justice League, while Wonder Woman’s search for the Justice League Dark juxtaposes the different motivations of the characters. While Waller is set on using manipulation and propaganda to forward her cause, Wonder Woman is set on proving that something bigger is in play.
The authors also begin to develop The Question’s role in the conflict as he becomes more involved in uncovering the truth behind Superman’s breakdown. With this, a distinct mystery and suspense element is introduced into an already emotional and action-packed storyline.
Doug Mahnke’s penciling is detailed and emotional. As the plot deals with a large portion of the DC Universe, Mahnke has the daunting task of creating visuals that portray the various attitudes and psychological states of each character.
In a full-page splash, Mahnke shows how even at his worst Superman has the strength to take out every single superhero. The shadowing and facial details that he creates amidst the chaotic, conflict-ending outburst add visual impact to Johns’ and Lemire’s plot.
The complexity of the plot developments and the poignant visuals make Justice League of America #6 a roller coaster ride that’s worth reading.
SUPERIOR CARNAGE #1/Story by KEVIN SHINICK/Art by STEPHEN SEGOVIA/Colors by JAY DAVID RAMOS/Letters by JOE CARAMAGNA/Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by MARCUS HAMMOND
Throughout a number of mini-series, Carnage has struggled to remain an interesting Marvel villain. Though the title of the this newest attempt flaunts a more dominant villain, Carnage’s story still falls flat.
The general story begins with Cletus Kasady, who had been lobotomized by Venom in Minimum Carnage, being transferred to a maximum security prison. The transfer goes smoothly until The Wizard attempts to take control of Cletus’s mind. Being lobotomized, however, the symbiote controls Kasady’s body instead.
Shinick attempts to develop suspense by instilling a normal human convict in the midst of a super-villain prison. The narrator monologues for what seems like an eternity about how awful is it to mix normal prisoners with super-villains, as the narrator stands little chance of surviving in such a harsh environment. This establishes a rather predictable outcome that Carnage will create chaos.
The story picks up as Shinick begins to develop The Wizard’s motivations for his attempted jailbreak of Carnage. The real interest—the Carnage symbiote being unleashed, completely unchecked by the mind of a human host—is lost in overdeveloped dialogue between The Wizard and Carnage-fodder security guards. This scene acts as introductory material to the story that could have been developed later in the series.
Thankfully, Stephen Segovia’s art helps bail the story out of some murky water. The secondary characters are well-detailed as are the backgrounds. However, where Segovia really shines is in his depiction of Carnage and the violent action that surrounds the story.
At one point, the violence of Carnage’s attack on the prisoners spills onto the actual frame as blood splatters leak into well camouflaged sound effects. There is also a visually captivating splash page that exposes Carnage’s horrific presence in a way that the plot fails to. This, by itself, is sorrowfully not enough to make this a “superior” story.
While this is a first issue and introductory dialogue is expected, the predictable and overdeveloped approach to the introductory aspects in the plot make this a rather forgettable opening issue to the mini-series.