Top 10 Green Lantern Villains

Top 10 Green Lantern Villains

I’m quite a fan of the Green Lantern gallery of villains. There are many cool designs, and I dig the characters and motivations of many of them. There are plenty of great rogues to choose from, and I’m going to count down the ten best right now. Let’s begin!

  1. The Shark

A telepathic shark-man, Karshon the Shark is a threat both physically and mentally. Ever since he mutated from being a simple tiger shark, the Shark has been a dangerous foe of Hal Jordan.

He’s not made in an appearance in quite a while, being supplanted by King Shark as DC’s nominal shark-man villain. He was changed back into a tiger shark sometime back by the Green Lantern. I for one hope that the Shark makes a return sometime in the near future.

  1. Nekron

While I’ve gone on record in saying that I’m not a big fan of “archetypally evil” villains, I would be remiss to not mention the mastermind behind one of Green Lantern and DC’s coolest crossover stories, Blackest Night.

Nekron is the embodiment of death itself and the manufacturer of the Black Lantern Ring, a weapon which can raise the dead to attack the living. In the later stages, he was even able to use them to possess heroes who had encountered death before.

Nekron very nearly conquered Earth and the entire universe before Earth’s heroes and all seven Lantern Corps were able to send him out of this dimension. He is the Blackest Night itself, and this makes him a worthy foe of the Green Lanterns.

  1. Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern

The being known as Larfleeze is the bearer of the Orange Light of Avarice. This ring is unique in how it changes the personality of its bearer and allows him or her to summon those who have been slain by an Orange Lantern.

Larfleeze is a pitiable creature, as he was forced into taking on this burden and cannot escape it. He wants all things in the universe to be his.

He has been made into something of a comedic character at times, but I prefer the more serious and sad interpretation of the villain. He has helped the other Lantern Corps in their time of need which shows a spark of goodness in the greedy heart of the Orange Lantern. All of these qualities combined earn Larfleeze a noble place on this list.

  1. The Phantom Lantern

          A new addition to the Green Lantern rogues gallery, Frank Laminski is a really interesting foe brought to life in Sam Humphries’ Green Lanterns title. His ring can summon the seven colors of the spectrum, and he gets to choose the Ring as opposed to the Ring choosing him.

Laminski is a unique foe in that he desperately wanted to be a super hero and even had some failed ventures before being presented with the Ring by Volthoom, the First Lantern. He was yet another well-intended human being who stepped into a realm he did not fully understand.

Another pitiable character with potential for greatness, Frank Laminski has easily earned a place on this list despite his short existence in comic books.

  1. The Manhunters

          “No man escapes the Manhunters,” the motto of a violent and near-totalitarian brigade of law enforcement androids. This was the First Army of the Guardians of the Universe, but they proved to be flawed and led the beings of Oa to create the Green Lantern Corps.

These are dangerous machines who have gone rogue on many occasions, prompting the Guardians to send the Green Lantern Corps to round them up.

The Manhunters are a really cool concept because they helped add depth to the ancient order and conflicts into which the Green Lanterns of Earth have been recruited. Their visual design is simple and sleek, their motto is ominous and memorable, and they are more than worthy of being on this list.

  1. Star Sapphire

Love is a complex thing, and no relationship shows this better than that of Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Though they have fallen in and out of love on many occasions, they have clashed with Rings of Light just as often.

The gem which was previously used by Carol Ferris initially controlled her, and she was later given a Ring which she could better control. She has since been more of a heroic figure with her in control of the ring, helping Hal Jordan and the other Lanterns in the War of Light and the Blackest Night.

However, she was a great foe of the Green Lantern first, and that earns the Star Sapphire a place on this list.

  1. Black Hand

William Hand has the touch of death, literally. Whatever he touches with his right hand begins to wither and die. Thanks to Nekron and his Black Lantern Ring, he can now also raise the dead to serve him.

He has trouble getting along with the living, and so he finds solace with the dead. The Black Hand is an oddly sympathetic villain in his struggles to empathize with the living, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he is a great threat to all that is living.

These elements earn the Black Hand a spot in the 10 Greatest Green Lantern Villains list.

  1. Mongul

A conqueror from beyond the stars, Mongul has taken over many worlds and is responsible for countless deaths. From his throne on Warworld, Mongul extends his dominion over species after species.

He has strength to match even the lives of Superman, and he was even a member of the Sinestro Corps for a time before Thal Sinestro himself cast him out for mutiny.

Mongul is a being with an endless thirst for power, and he is the kind of classical evil rogue that I love. He is a worthy foe of the Green Lantern and a threat to anyone who stands in his path.

  1. Atrocitus, the Red Lantern

The being once known as Atros is one of the best characters to come out of mainstream super hero comics in the last decade. He is a being who will never let go of his grief. The Manhunters slew his family, and those who oppress others will ever pay the price for this crime.

Atrocitus is not an evil man; he only wants to punish those worth punishing and take in those whose grief matches his. He takes in the lost and destroys the oppressors.

However, his vengeance is thorough and brutal, and this is why the Green Lantern Corps has had to stand in his path on many occasions. He is among the most powerful beings in the universe, with a Power Ring of his own, the ability to spit napalm, and immense strength he can augment with his Red Ring.

He is among the deadliest beings the Green Lanterns have ever faced, and he is quite worthy of being on this list.

  1. Sinestro

Of course, no foe of the Green Lantern Corps has challenged them as often and as greatly as Thal Sinestro, wielder of the Yellow Light of Fear. The trainer and friend of Hal Jordan, Sinestro found the methods used by the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps lacking.

Believing in a more totalitarian method of law enforcement, Sinestro has put together an army of Yellow Lanterns to enforce his brand of justice throughout the universe.

Like Atrocitus, Sinestro is not inherently malicious. He does want peace in the universe. However, this peace comes at the price of freedom. He believes that people can only be safe if they are too afraid to step out of line. This is where Sinestro runs afoul of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, who believe that liberty is just as important as safety.

He has killed many Green Lanterns, and he has clashed with Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns of Earth more times than anyone can count. He will never stop until his vision of the universe is brought to life. He is the greatest Green Lantern villain of all time.

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Top 10 Flash Villains

Top 10 Flash Villains

We’re going to get back into the lists by returning to the ever-flowing well of counting down the best members of the rogues galleries of the great heroes of Marvel and DC Comics. We’ve done Spider-Man and Batman; now it’s time to move onto the Fastest Man Alive. You probably already know the top three if you’ve been following my site for a while, and I do apologize for that. The other seven will still hopefully be a surprise for you.

We won’t be counting Justice Society villains or rogues of Jay Garrick. For this, we’ll be looking strictly at the foes of Barry Allen and Wally West. We’ll probably spotlight Justice Society rogues at a later date.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

  1. The Weather Wizard

Marco Mardon received a pretty cool visual redesign in the New 52, and I dig his role as the less talkative powerhouse of the Central City Rogues. The ability to create and alter weather patterns is pretty freaking cool all around. I also like the backstory he was given by Buccellato and Manapul in his reappearance in the New 52 DC Universe. There’s honestly not much more to say about Weather Wizard. He’s just plain cool, and he is a loyal member of the Rogues.

  1. Captain Boomerang

Digger Harkness hasn’t really tangled with the Flash in a while, now being a regular member of the Suicide Squad with Deadshot and that one lady with the red and black clothes. That’s kind of why he’s so low on this list. That being said, he is a really fun and nutty villain. He throws trick boomerangs to fight. A lot of them explode. He also wears a trench coat and a toboggan. What’s not to love?

Geoff Johns also gave him a pretty heavy backstory not too long before the New 52 that was pretty cool too. He had an abusive father whom he ends up decapitating with a boomerang. I like the weird balance of goofiness and heavy themes that make up Boomer’s tale. I also have an affection for down-on-their luck losers like him, and all of these elements combined land Harkness a place on this list.

  1. Golden Glider

Yeah, she used to be a pretty lame villain, but Buccellato and Manapul conspired to make her a really compelling character during the New 52 relaunch. I like that she is an ethereal being trapped in a comatose body, and that she had to wrest control of the Rogues away from her brother, Captain Cold, when he started screwing things up. I also like the relationship she has with Mirror Master. It’s genuinely pretty cute. She’s pretty strong too, with the ability to attack from that intangible form. She’s dangerous and motivated, and that’s what earns her a place on this list.

  1. Heatwave

          Buccellato and Manapul really did a good job redesigning the Flash Rogues, and Heatwave was no exception. Becoming something of a living human furnace, Mick Rory became a malformed and dangerous being that challenged Captain Cold for his leadership on a regular basis. True to his powers, he’s quite a rage-filled hothead who hates the Flash as much as any other member of the Central City Rogues. His powers are also just plain awesome too. He even became a sacrifice for the other Rogues when they were being chased down by the Royal Flush Gang during the events of Forever Evil. He survived and was later found by the Riddler, which makes me glad. Central City is just that much better with a regular Heatwave.

  1. Trickster

It’s easy to write off Axel Walker as something of a discount Joker, but he is so much more than that. Where the Clown Prince of Crime has become notorious for his macabre and horrific tortures sessions and murders, the Trickster is a far more whimsical and fun iteration of the goofy jokester villain template. Of course, there’s room for both, and the Joker is closer to my heart, that frightening, grinning bastard.

Axel is a really fun rogue to watch. He’s fairly inept and would not be as successful without the support of his fellow rogues. However, there’s something so endearing about the innocence of the Trickster, which makes it a little more saddening when the Rogues have to deal with heavier problems.

  1. Gorilla Grodd

He’s a talking, telepathic, genius gorilla. Do I really need to say anymore? He was also voiced by the late, great Powers Boothe (who just passed) in Bruce Timm’s Justice League cartoon, which is just awesome too.

I’m not really a fan of the New 52 iteration of Grodd. He’s not as intelligence or conniving, and the eating brains detail was actually kind of a bit much.

I prefer sadistic, evil genius Grodd over animalistic, beastly Grodd. His scheming mind balances out his strength to make him a full-package supervillain. I love that, and I hope we get to see a return-to-form Grodd very soon.

  1. Mirror Master

One of the real strokes of genius of the legendary John Broome and Carmine Infantino, I think Sam Scudder is one of the most creative villains to have ever been designed. The fact that he can hop dimensions to baffle and challenge the Flash is really cool and shows true creative talent on behalf of his creators. He’s not an elemental villain like Weather Wizard and Heatwave. He’s not an ironic foe like Captain Cold. He’s not an “in a mirror, darkly” villain like Zoom and Reverse-Flash. He’s just someone who has a gun that allows him to jump worlds. That’s just awesome. His costume really good too, making him just an all-around great baddie.

I like that he’s become one of the more level-headed Rogues, balancing Snart’s ambition and Rory’s fury. As previously stated, I like that he has a relationship going with Golden Glider.

He’s been made to have confidence issues, which I think adds an interesting level of depth to the character. He’s a villain that represents the unabashed creativity at work in the superhero comics scene, and I love everything about him.

  1. Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne)

Though I did discount Thawne in Mirror Master’s entry, there is something to be said about the pure, unbound sadism that exists in the twisted mind of Professor Zoom. He is pure evil, and all of his hate is directed towards Barry Allen.

Like Grodd, I greatly prefer the pre-New 52 iteration of this villain. As opposed to being a deposed warlord, he’s a dejected scientist who became obsessed with his city’s greatest hero and idol, the Flash. He has dedicated his life to making the Flash miserable, but, of cruel ironies, Barry Allen is his ancestor, so he cannot kill him in our timeline yet. He can only torment him in actions such as the murder of Nora Allen, Barry’s mother, during the childhood of the hero.

He’s a cruel monster, and I love him.

  1. Captain Cold

You have to love Captain Cold. He’s an evil guy who has ice powers and dresses like an Inuit. He’s a petty thief with a moral code. He, unlike Grodd and Thawne, is not cruel. He’s just greedy. He wants money, and the Flash gets in his way. He’s pretty simple, but there has been a lot written to explain that simplicity that I actually think makes the character engaging.

None of this is to say that Leonard Snart is without ambition, and this ambition led to a fracturing in the Rogues not too long ago when he found a device that could fuse the powers of the Rogues’ weapons to their bodies, giving them genuine super powers. This resulted in Mirror Master being trapped temporarily in the Mirror Dimension and Heatwave being burned and malformed.

He has since lost his own powers and must rely on his ice gun once again. You just have to love Captain Cold though. I almost want to see him get a win over on the Flash sometimes. Almost.

  1. Reverse-Flash (Daniel West)

A rather new addition to the Flash mythos, Daniel West was a short-lived villain that left an impact on me nonetheless. He is one of the most sympathetic rogues ever designed. The brother of Iris West, the two had to deal with a hateful and abusive father which led Daniel down a bad path in his adult years. Learning of the Flash’s time-traveling powers, he attempted to attain and use those powers to go kill his father and fix he and his sister’s lives. The Flash stopped this from happening of course.

His costume is also quite incredible. I love the red and black, and I like the addition of metal shards he can fire with the static electricity produced by his speed. He looks just plain awesome.

He had a short stint on the Suicide Squad which ended with him possibly being killed while disposing of a bomb at sea. I hope he makes a return soon, because I think he was an excellent recreation of the Reverse-Flash by the aforementioned Buccellato and Manapul. Who doesn’t wish they could go back and fix that moment where their life took a turn for the worse?

Another Short Hiatus and a Bunch of Hot Take Reviews

Another Short Hiatus and a Bunch of Hot Take Reviews

I’m sorry I’ve been off the grid for over a week now. What you may have guessed is true; school is dominating my time. I am in the waning weeks of the semester. As a result, a lot of work is piling up constantly. And, if I’m being honest, I’m not wanting to do a lot of writing between my massive writing assignments.

I have 2 weeks of regular classes and 1-2 weeks of finals after that. As finals weeks approaches, I’ll have a lot more essays, but I won’t be in class as much. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start posting again then.

I haven’t forgotten my designs to write more Marvel editorials discussing my perception of the ins and outs of the company and its products.

There are a some comics that came out in the recent weeks that I want to give my opinions upon, and I may discuss them further beyond these on-the-fly review scores (especially Black Panther and the Crew, because it’s quite awesome and intelligently written).

All-New Wolverine #19: Quite good, a lot of fun. I hoped for a little more though: 6/10

Royals: I’m done caring that much about the Inhumans, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a pretty good book: 6/10

Iron Fist #2: The series justifies my faith in it with incredible artwork, and it really hits its stride in its second issue. It becomes one of those classic Bruce Lee Kung Fu films that Iron Fist was always meant to be: 9/10

Weapon X: Visually stunted at times due to Greg Land’s…methods, but Greg Pak puts together a good script and an intriguing tale. It’s worth a read: 8/10

X-Men Blue: A really fun book with the original team and the Master of Magnetism. They throw down with the Juggernaut in one of the best super-powered brawls I’ve seen in recent comics. Definitely read this: 9/10

X-Men Gold: Overshadowed by the controversy with the artist’s asshat moves, this is still a solid read worthy of your time. Get the reprints though, both for the obvious reason as well as the price tag on original prints: 8/10

Black Panther and the Crew: A fantastic book that starts off with an intriguing tale both relevant to our modern times and an enthralling read in its own right. I highly recommend this, and, like Sam Wilson: Captain America #20, I think it’s an important comic book: 10/10

And that’s it for now. I’m sorry about the absence, and I hope to get back into the swing of things in two weeks. Until then, keep reading comics!!

Top 10 Batman Villains

Top 10 Batman Villains

I’m often and excitedly critical of the Dark Knight Detective. As I’ve said on many occasions, I have more than my fair share of issues with the character and his presentation in modern DC Comics. That being said, I can’t argue that he easily has one of the best rogues galleries in comics, only challenged by the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Flash. From psychos to geniuses to well-meaning but misguided environmentalists, Batman has to deal with an eclectic guide on his nightly searches for people to viciously beat. Plus, the Top 10 lists I did for Marvel and DC didn’t really allow me to cover as many villains as I’d like. I will likely do lists like this for other heroes and teams in the near future as well. With that being said, let’s count down my Top 10 Batman villains.

  1. Killer Croc

Waylon Jones is a pretty sympathetic character when you get down to it. He was born with a skin disorder, put in a freak show, and his problems were compounded by unnatural mutations that turned him into an anthropomorphic crocodile monster. His mental health has gradually deteriorated by the constant torment he has received during constantly during his life as well as his mutations which he has undergone throughout his life. Essentially, he was told all of his life he’s a monster, and he became a monster. I feel that it’s no irony that Waylon is an African American, and, if you spent your whole life being told you are a criminal, it makes it easier to become a criminal. Oooof, I’m on a roll this week.

Point being, Killer Croc is an animalistic villain with a great visual design and a sympathetic backstory, and I like him a lot.

 

  1. Black Mask

I have a soft spot in my heart for the classical mob boss archetype, and, consequently, I love Roman Sionis. Yeah, he is sort of the second iteration of the Penguin with a visual design that rips off the Red Skull, but, hey, he looks really nice in his white suit. That’s something, right? Yeah, I can’t defend this one too much. I just like the Black Mask a lot. He screams a lot, he’s incredibly violent, and he seems like he could be good friends with Tony Montana. He’s a Dick Tracey villain for a hero who was based heavily off of Dick Tracey.

  1. R’as al Ghul

Immortal leader of the League of Assassins, the Head of the Demon is a great antagonist to go toe-to-toe with the Caped Crusader. He has fighting prowess on par with the Bat, and he can get back up every time he’s killed. The fact that he and his order of ninjas trade in killing bad people while Batman just puts them in a place that is ill-equipped to hold them R’as them a pretty good yin to Bruce’s yang. It’s hard to argue with R’as’ logic every time Joker or Zsasz butcher an entire family.

  1. The Riddler

The poster boy for trying to overcompensate for an inferiority complex, The Riddler is really smart, but his inferiority complex prevents him from making an unbeatable challenge. This sort of predestines him to fail if you forget the fact that he is just about as smart as Batman. All it takes is one failed riddle, and the Riddler will win. That’s kind of scary if you think about it, and it means that, if anyone is going to kill the Batman, it will probably be the Riddler.

  1. Hush

Or it could be Hush. He’s really smart too, and he has insight into Bruce Wayne’s formative years. A childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, Doctor Thomas Elliot is a sociopathic surgeon with a grudge and a lot of resources at his disposal. Jeph Loeb’s original Hush storyline is a masterclass in comic book storytelling. Hush is a dangerously intelligent schemer who can play the long game and sees all pieces on the playing field. His costume design is really cool too, and I’m disappointed that he hasn’t shown up much since the start of the New 52. I’d like to see more of him in the future.

  1. The Joker

Yeah, I couldn’t make this list without name-checking the Clown Prince of Crime. He’s morbid, incredibly dangerous, and damn funny; what’s not to like? He is crazy beyond comprehension, but he’s also a schemer with plans that a normal human mind would struggle to decipher. His pseudo-romantic obsession with the Batman makes him quite fascinating, and his purple suit is timelessly stylish. He’s a villain that has stood the test of time, and he is a terrifying character study into the depths of the human psyche.

  1. Mr. Freeze

Victor Fries is a man driven by love and compassion. When his beloved Nora was almost taken away from him by a terminal disease, he froze her until the day he could save her life. His experiments made it so that he himself required low environmental temperatures to survive. Armed with a freeze gun and body armor, he is a genius with a grudge against the Batman for the many times he has been foiled by the Detective. He isn’t an evil man though. He just can’t bear to see his beloved go. Who can’t relate to that on some level?

Also, screw that New 52 retcon that made him into an obsessive stalker. My Victor Fries will always be a man who loves and was loved.

  1. Solomon Grundy

I went back and forth on whether or not to include Cyrus Gold aka Solomon Grundy on this list. He was originally a foe of the Justice Society, but, in recent years, he has gone toe-to-toe with the Batman quite often. I decided to include him as an excuse to talk about Solomon Grundy some more. He’s a rage-driven beast, but he doesn’t actually hold much malice in his heart. He is often a pawn, a puppet, in the schemes of others. Plus, f that time Batman brought him food on Thanksgiving doesn’t warm your heart, then I don’t know what would. He’s a mammoth beast with minimal intellect, but he is strong enough to throw down with Superman. What’s not to like?

  1. Deadshot

          Floyd Lawton may not harass the Dark Knight too much these days, but, when he first hit the scene, it was in Gotham trying to beat Batman at his own game. He has gone to battle with the Caped Crusader on many occasions since, and it’s always been a rough bought for Gotham’s resident hero. Deadshot is the best marksman in the world, and he never wastes a bullet. He’s also reckless, probably has a death wish, and really only does it for the reputation he has. We’ve talked about Deadshot before on this site, so I won’t go on much more. I just love Deadshot, and he will always be one of my favorite DC rogues.

  1. Scarecrow

I absolutely love the Scarecrow. From his creepy, spindly form to his obsession with exploring the depths of fear in himself and others, Jonathan Crane is a force to be reckoned with in Gotham’s underworld. His fear toxin is potent and will make you face your worst nightmares. His costume is unnerving. His intelligence is among the greatest in Gotham. All this, and he has the ability to make Batman experience the worst moment in his life on repeat.

Honorable Mentions

The Dollmaker

Tony S. Daniels introduced Barton Mathis at the beginning of his New 52 run of Batman: Detective Comics. The rogue has not shown up since with the exception of a weak appearance in Arrow, and apparently in Gotham and Batman vs. Robin. This guy is freaking creepy. He takes body horror to the David Cronenburg/Lucio Fulci level. He performs reconstructive surgeries on people, making them into patchwork monstrosities to do his bidding. He was the one who infamously cut off the Joker’s face at the behest of the Clown Prince. He posed a dangerous threat to the Dark Knight, and I hope he shows up again someday.

Poison Ivy

Pamela Isley is an individual who can see the damage we are doing to our planet, and a serum gave her the ability to communicate with and control plants. She is not an entirely malicious person; she merely thinks that humanity has done more than its fair share of damage to Earth. Due to her connection with vegetation, she favors their welfare of people, and her pheromones give her the ability to control men. She is a brilliant femme fatale and one of the coolest villains in Gotham.

Two-Face

A man with two personalities, Harvey Dent’s decisions come down to the literal flip of a coin. He can be merciful or ruthless. He can be intelligent or impulsive. He can save your life or end it. He is also a respected crime lord in Gotham, and he has carved out a name for himself despite the odds. Like I said, I like crime lord characters, and Two-Face is one of the best in Gotham.

Green Arrow #19 Review

Green Arrow #19 Review

Needles and Arrows

Benjamin Percy (W), Eleonora Carlini, Mirka Andolfo (A), Arif Prianto, H-Fi (C)

Cover by Otto Schmidt

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $2.99

          You know, the world is a really controversial place right now. It seems like very little can be discussed without it turning into a ravenous argument. We all really need to chill out. That’s why, today, we are going to be talking about the least controversial comic book in the world, Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy.

I’m being facetious of course. Look, I’ve always kind of worn my liberal leanings on my sleeve. Green Arrow has historically been a very left-aligned character, and Benjamin Percy has had no qualms about stepping right into the middle of things. This comic, ironically like another archer-led book right now, Occupy Avengers, is dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline/Standing Rock Reservation dispute. I do get the other side of this argument, but I just don’t think a few more theoretical jobs is worth further encroaching on Native American territory and wrecking our environment even more. This comic definitely seems to agree with me there. That being said, if you want to duck out now to avoid political discussion, feel free to do so.

I like my comic books dealing with controversial issues. I think art should help us discuss and come to terms with the difficult things in life, even when the art centers around people in tights and capes. However, I do understand that comic books are meant to be a form of escapism for many people, so they don’t want to hear about these topics in their preferred medium of escape. I can totally get that.

The previous issue established the premise of this story. Roy Harper aka Arsenal has returned to Washington state to join up with a tribe of Native Americans to protest an oil pipeline being driven right through their homeland. The law enforcement pulled out of the area and were replaced with militaristic vigilantes who want to see the pipeline go through. Arsenal comes to the aid of the protestors much to the leader’s chagrin, the leader being Bird, a man with a past linked to Roy Harper’s childhood. We get a lot of scenes of Roy’s history with Ollie mixed in with the story of the present. At the end of the comic, Green Arrow comes to their aid as well. Roy is not pleased about that.

In the new issue, an open conflict has exploded between the protestors and the vigilantes, a group known as the Wild Dogs. Arsenal and Green Arrow are helping the protestors, and Bird gets wounded by buckshot. When things seem to be turning grim, Black Canary comes to the scene and bails out the feuding archers.

The story cuts to a brief flashback of Ollie and Roy fighting Count Vertigo for the first time. Even then, Ollie is giving Roy hell over every little thing. He is particularly frustrated with Roy’s trick arrow inventions that keep winding up in his quiver.

In the present, the protestors and our heroes are licking their wounds after the day’s showdown. Bird is angry over what is happening, and he is not happy about accepting the help of GA, Arsenal, and Black Canary. However, he still acquiesces to let them aid the fight against the Wild Dogs.

Black Canary talks to Roy and convinces him to go easier on Ollie. Meanwhile, Ollie is watching press coverage of the protest situation, and he figures out that his company is bankrolling the Wild Dogs.

Roy gets some alone time with Bird, and we figure out what their family feud is over. Bird blames Roy for killing their father, and it seems that he may indeed have been responsible due to a drinking binge.

We get another flashback to the times of Green Arrow and Speedy. Ollie returns to his penthouse after an extended vacation in Las Vegas. He sees the place is filled with teens and twenty-somethings having a party. He goes into his bedroom to see Roy passed out with a girl. He throws out everyone except Roy and proceeds to chew him out, calling him a “A loser, a burden, a mistake.” Roy leaves of his own choice after that.

Back in the present, Ollie tells Dinah about his company’s involvement with the Wild Dogs. The two meet up with Arsenal and decide to fight this thing together.

We next get scenes of the pipeline being built interspersed with scenes of Roy taking heroin in the past. Then Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Arsenal reach the construction site with the intent of bringing it to a halt. The comic ends with this scene.

I’m glad we are finally getting an explanation as to what the history between Ollie and Roy is in the new status quo of the New 52/Rebirth. I always thought they had one of the most interesting relationships between any hero and sidekick. They’ve retconned it a bit so that Green Arrow and Speedy always had a struggling partnership, but I think that’s fitting given how it ended.

The bad blood between the two is really compelling. Ollie was just as much of a screw-up as Roy was, and you really feel for both of them. They’re both trying to do better now, and Black Canary plays a good mediator between them.

I dig the conflict quite a bit with the Wild Dogs. Again, I’m a bleeding-heart, so this stuff appeals to me. However, the villains are evil enough so that there is at least a genuine cause for the heroes to get involved.

I love the art in this too. Carlini and Andolfo make a beautiful and stylized comic with great action scenes, and the color makes it all pop even more.

The attempted parallels between the past and the present seems a little off. It’s contextualizing the strife between Ollie and Roy, but it also seems to be trying to compare the two situations in a different manner by pairing the scenes of Roy’s drug use with the construction of the pipeline. Maybe they are both destroying the environment’s that they’re in? If that’s the intent, then it’s a little trite.

Beyond that, the flashbacks do a good job of not railroading the story too much. That is mostly because they are relevant to what is happening in the present in terms of Ollie and Roy, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time or space.

On the whole, this was a damn good comic book. The character conflicts are compelling, the action is fun, and it’s just a generally good time. If you can get into a politically-charged super hero story like I can, then this is definitely for you.

Final Score: 8/10

Top 10 Comics I Want to See Return

Top 10 Comics I Want to See Return

You know, I almost feel ungrateful for even writing this list. If you knew me or just gleaned this from my writing, you would guess that this is a great time for comics for me. There is a rocking Thunderbolts title out now that’s headlined by my favorite super hero ever, the Winter Soldier. My second favorite hero, Luke Cage, is teamed up with his buddy Iron Fist in a phenomenal title of their own. The Ultimates, a comic I didn’t even know I wanted until it was announced, has blown me away issue after issue. Green Arrow has a good comic out right now, Nightwing is back and starring in his own book as well as in great Titans title with Wally West, Arsenal, Tempest, and Donna Troy. I’m pretty much in heaven right now.

But there is always that few, that list of comics you’re always waiting for to return. You’ve been waiting, hoping, praying, but they never seem to come back. I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t have that list. So, what they hey, I’m trying to make content and build a following here, so why don’t I publish that list for all to see. Here are my Top 10 Comics that I’d like to see make a return.

Mister Terrific List Entry

  1. Mister Terrific

I read that short-lived Mister Terrific series back at the beginning of the New 52. I don’t understand why it died so quickly. It was a great, fun, science-themed title. Michael Holt is an engaging character, and I think he is totally capable of carrying his own title. I felt that he did, but, when #8 rolled around, it got cancelled. I don’t understand why. I loved it. I guess the sales weren’t there. Admittedly, Mister Terrific isn’t exactly an A-lister. He’s probably barely hanging on as a B-Lister, but I adore him. He is a good yin to Batman’s broody yang. He’s a genius and an optimist. Apparently those two things can exist in the same person Bruce, so stop crying about your dead parents you twit.

Anyway, got off-track there. The point is, Mister Terrific was a really fun title, and I’d like to see it make a return. Next.

  1. The Fury of the Firestorm

Another fun sci-fi adventure, Dan Jurgens put together a really good Firestorm title the last time around. I haven’t read his story from the Legends of Tomorrow mini-series yet, but I hear it was pretty good even if it did split up my beloved duo of Jason Rasch and Ronnie Raymond in favor of the more classical Ronnie and Professor Stein. I love Firestorm too, as we’ve discussed before. He’s a cool concept for a super hero: two people, one body, and a myriad of super powers. That’s cool to me, and I’d like to see his return.

  1. The Red Lanterns

          Me and the Red Lanterns title from the beginning of the New 52 have a tumultuous history. I love Atrocitus, but the book stopped wanting to be about Atrocitus. Guy Gardner took over, who I love mind you, but it just wasn’t the same. Then Supergirl…became a Red Lantern for some weird reason instead of the hordes of more pissed off super heroes that exist on Earth like Hawkman, Mera, Batman, Red Hood, Arsenal, and Wonder Woman.

Anyway, I dug the hell out of this title for a long time, but the Shakespearean monologues and deteriorating art style lost me around the time the Third Army came around. I would like to see someone try it again. I love the Red Lanterns, and I love Atrocitus. Seeing Rancor, Bleez, Skallox, and Dex-Starr make a return would be really cool too. I love that it’s a Corps made up of broken individuals who have been given the ability to take vengeance against those who’ve wronged them at the cost of their own sanity. That’s pretty awesome, and Atrocitus makes for an imposing villain/anti-hero. You can sympathize with him. Who hasn’t had those moments where they think that they’d like to dish out harsh justice to every murderer, rapist, human trafficker, and every other general piece of crap in the world. Atrocitus kind of represents that, and I love him for it.

 

  1. Heroes for Hire

I wouldn’t have even included this if Luke Cage and Danny Rand weren’t splitting up into their own separate titles. This would probably be higher on the list if that Defenders title hadn’t been announced, even though Marvel won’t settle on a release date for it. I’ve been checking Previews every month. There’s still nothing.

Anyway, this one shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I love Luke, Danny, Misty, Colleen, and the others. I even have a line-up for it. I’d like to see this comic go back to the 1990’s template where it’s a fairly sizeable team. It would have Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Ant-Man (who was on the 90’s team and hasn’t been seen since Nick Spencer’s Astonishing Ant-Man ended), White Tiger, the new(ish) Power Man, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, and Shang-Chi. That would be a really cool lineup. Make it happen Marvel.

  1. Hawk and Dove

I love buddy cop super hero books. Power Man and Iron Fist, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, Green Lantern and the Flash, Hawk and Dove; they’re all great to me. I love this duo. I even loved the kind mediocre early-New 52 Rob Liefeld reboot they got. War and peace, anger and compassion, violence and pacifism, I dig the duality of the duo. They play off of each other well, and they have a place in modern DC Comics. With the current political atmosphere, you really could do some interesting stuff with this setup. I’d like to see it happen.

  1. The New Warriors

To me, the New Warriors are the better Teen Titans. They’re more about fighting the power and taking back justice for the people. That’s why they need to make a return. Again, the current political atmosphere calls for some young heroes to pick up the torch and continue the fight. They would be a good anger-driven analogue to the current Champions title. Where that book is about optimism and making the world a better place, this comic could be about showing the frustration of today’s youth. I say that as someone in their early-20’s. Why yes, I do have a lineup in mind for this comic too. It would be marrying the classic New Warriors with Christopher Yost’s spectacularly underrated recent New Warriors team: Justice, Speedball, Scarlet Spider (Kaine, not Reilly dammit), Hummingbird, Water Snake, Rage, Sungirl, Night Thrasher (I guess Donyell since Duane is still dead), and maybe Silhouette too.

Shazam List Entry

  1. The Power of Shazam

Shazam needs his own title. Shazam needs his own title. Shazam should have had his own title by now. What are you doing DC comics, give Shazam his own title. I don’t give a flying crap that you wouldn’t be able to call it Captain Marvel. I actually like the name Shazam more. He’s eternally young, he’s more powerful than Superman, and his current costume is actually one of my favorites in comic book history. Give Billy Batson his own freaking title, and give it to Dan Abnett because the man is a genius. Shazam.

  1. Agent Venom

Eddie who?

In all seriousness, yes, I know a lot of people prefer the classic Eddie Brock Venom. Yes, he was the original. I like him too. But Agent Venom goes beyond being my favorite Venom; he’s one of my favorite superheroes, period. What Rick Remender, Cullen Bunn, and Jeff Parker did for this character was poetry. It was heartfelt. It was beautiful. I felt for Flash Thompson more than I did for almost any other character to ever wear tights. Cullen Bunn is still really active at Marvel, and I’d like to see the comic given back to him. I actually liked his work even more than Rick Remender’s already spectacular tenure on the title. I’d also like to see Venom teamed up with Mania again. She was a really cool sidekick who didn’t get to flourish because the comic ended too soon.

  1. The Savage Hawkman

This comic seems to have been maligned for some reason. I will admit, after Tony S. Daniel left as writer, the series never really recovered, even when Green Arrow and Deathstroke were brought in for the Hawkman: Wanted story. I loved the series though. I love the new look and new powers of Hawkman. I think he could easily carry his own comic again, especially if Andreyko wrote it. I wasn’t big on the ending of the aptly named The Death of Hawkman story, but I’d call the overall story great. DC could easily bring the Winged Warrior back and give him his own title or a buddy cop book with Adam Strange. So they should. Now. Chop chop. Get on it DC.

  1. The Justice Society of America

I cannot stress enough how much I long for the return of the Justice Society. I’m talking about the proper Justice Society, not that Earth 2 Society crap. I want them back. DC keeps teasing at their return, but they won’t pull the trigger for some reason. I don’t think this comic ever had trouble selling, especially in recent years while Geoff Johns was writing the book.

The Justice Society is an institution in DC Comics. It was their first super hero team. It was the first super hero team ever. They have an air of prestige and legacy that no other team has ever attained or likely ever will. I won’t even give a lineup for it. As long as Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Kent Nelson, Ted Grant, Micheal Holt, and, if they don’t get their own comics, Shazam and Hawkman, are on the team, then I’m alright.

 

Also, the Fantastic Four needs to come back. I didn’t put them on the list because it’s a given, and I shouldn’t have to be asking for this. They should just already be there. Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four was a flop, and it didn’t need the lack of a currently-running Fantastic Four title to do that. So bring them back Marvel. Speaking of legacies and firsts, the FF were your first Marvel Age title, and they were your first super hero team. They were the first family of heroes. So bring them back Marvel.

Daddy Issues: An Observation

Daddy Issues: An Observation

I’m going to go ahead and let you know how this article is going to end. In short, it doesn’t really have one. Where my usual op-eds have a point to drive to or a proposed solution to whatever problem we’re discussing, this one is just pointing out a comic book storytelling trend. I’m not even sure if it’s a real “problem” either. It’s just something I’ve noticed.

A vast majority of super heroes have major father issues. That is not an opinion but a statement of fact. It’s not a part of their character that points towards them having daddy issues (though that is admittedly a truth as well), it’s literally written into their backstories.

I feel that Spider-Man is actually a good character to start this discussion with. The death of Uncle Ben is the catalyst by which Peter Parker became Spider-Man, and his “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra is the compass by which Peter makes many of decisions. Now you may be thinking “daddy issues, but Ben wasn’t his dad.” Yeah, but Uncle Ben was his father figure. For all intents and purposes, Ben was his dad. No, I don’t think all that stuff with Peter’s parents being spies or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or whatever has any bearing on this. Furthermore, the eternally youthful Peter Parker has seemed to try to fill that void with a number of male authority figures, not the least of which have be Curt Connors, Tony Stark, and Steve Rogers. Even Captain Stacy, Robbie Robertson, and Ben Urich have arguably taken up that space at moments too.

Superman is special, because he gathered two daddies to have issues with. Jor-El and Johnathan Kent have both given Kal-El reasons to wring his hands and contemplate what kind of man he should be. This is especially true in newer comics where Jonathan Kent is dead.

Batman manages to have a similar situation with Alfred Pennyworth and Thomas Wayne. Yeah, Bruce lost both of his parents, but, whenever he singles his parents out, it usually turns out to be Thomas over Martha. Thomas is who he is trying to live up to while Alfred is the father he often ignores. This of course does not count Zack Snyder’s infamous “Marthaaaaaa” incident.

The Flash is admittedly unique because he manages to have mommy and daddy issues. Barry lost his mother to a random killer/Professor Zoom, and his father was blamed for the incident.

Thor Odinson may indeed be the king of daddy issues because All-Father King Odin Anthony Hopkins bounces between being the voice of reason and a complete freaking madman. Thor has to live up to his legacy while often having to go toe to toe with him.

Tony Stark has had to live up to the legacy of Howard Stark. Rick Remender added a drunken father backstory to the childhood of Steve Rogers. Hal Jordan’s dad was also a stunt pilot. The Robins and Terry McGuinness are a legacy of daddy issues, all of which grow to hate/emulate big daddy Batman. Clint Barton had a drunken and abusive father. Luke Cage disappointed his dad by getting into the gang world. Danny Rand’s father was obsessed with K’un L’un and ignored little baby Iron Fist. Oliver Queen has a philanthropist father to live up to. Roy Harper was abandoned by Green Arrow in his hour of need. T’Challa had a celebrated king father in T’Chaka. Guy Gardner had a celebrated police officer father that was abruptly replaced with an abusive and drunken father in the most recent issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. Arthur Curry and Black Manta gave each other father issues by killing each other’s dads. Bucky Barnes has some arguable daddy issues while trying to live up to Captain America. Sam Wilson has debatably the same thing going on with Steve as well as his own pastor father. Bruce Banner had a drunken and abusive father that he beat to death. Logan had an angry adopted father, a malicious biological father, a begrudged father in Charles Xavier, weird daddy/brother problems with Sabretooth, and then there’s whatever you call the story with Romulus. Johnny Blaze literally sold his soul to save his father. Matt Murdock has always taken the lessons given by Battlin’ Jack Murdock to heart. Star-Lord has his jackass emperor father, J’Son. Flash Thompson’s father was a mean drunk. Eddie Brock’s dad thinks he’s a bum. Helmut Zemo’s father was an actual Nazi war criminal. Slade Wilson has three kids that hate him as well as a super-powered megalomaniacal father of his own. Obsidian and his father, Alan Scott, never saw eye-to-eye. Vision was created by Ultron, meanwhile Ultron hates his creator, Hank Pym. Genis-Vel and Noh-Varr are offspring of the legendary hero, Captain Mar-Vell. Daken is the son of Wolverine. Scott and Alex Summers both thought their dad was dead when he was in reality the space pirate known as Corsair.

Hell, women aren’t exempted from this. I could go on for days about the myriad of psychological implications of the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker, and daddy issues are a part of them. Carol Danvers has always tried to live up to the legacy of Captain Mar-Vell too. Jessica Drew had a pretty warped father who may have also been Hydra. Katherine Kane had a strict military father. Barbara Gordon is constantly being pressed in different directions by Batman and Commissioner Gordon. Needless to say, Laura Kinney will always have daddy issues from Wolverine too. Raven’s dad is an actual Demon. Gamora and Nebula were raised by Thanos. 

Again, I’m not sure if there’s a point to all of this. It’s merely a pattern I’ve noticed. I will say there is a potential for storytelling ruts and repetition in the pervasiveness of this trend. It does say something about the mentality attributed to the super hero ideology as well as some assumptions about the audience that consumes these comic books.

Anyway, until next time, keep reading comics!