Quick Hits: Reviews of Larfleeze Christmas Special & more…

Larfleeze Christmas Special

Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special: It’s important not to expect too much out of Christmas specials. A little light humor and some holiday cheer is all one can reasonably hope to get from the myriad of holiday stories that assault us year after year. Yet I was unreasonably excited for the Larfleeze Christmas Special, mostly because Larfleeze is one of my favorite characters to come out of the recent Green Lantern universe expansion. His neverending greed is both funny and sharply written, and that can take the character to really interesting places that mainstream superhero books do not often go. All of that, happily, is on display in this comic. This book’s also got a secret weapon: it’s actually a mixed-media production that includes tear-out pages, activities and even a recipe for “Larfleeze’s Orange Lantern Cookies,” all woven into the pages of story. I’ve never seen a comic book ape a cook book before, but I like it. There’s also a great two-page backup from Tiny Titans‘ Art Baltazar and Franco. This is a comic no Green Lantern fan should be without, and it’s by far the most surprisingly excellent release this week. A

Batman, Inc. #2: Grant Morrison’s first story in Batman, Inc. wraps up here, and the fact that this is only the second issue of the series should tell you something about its pacing. Indeed, this is an action-stuffed book, and Morrison squeezes into two issues what many writers would’ve stretched out over four or six. Still, perhaps a little more time to breathe might’ve done this story well, as plot threads started wrapping up before I’d even realized an end was near. Specifically, I feel Lord Death Man could’ve stuck around a bit longer, though I suspect we may see him again. Also, I’m just not too impressed with Yanick Paquette on pencils, especially given some of the stellar collaborators Morrison’s worked with recently. B+

Justice League: Generation Lost #16: Everything Brightest Day doesn’t seem to understand about pacing, Generation Lost nails. With a couple exception this bi-weekly series has been clipping along at an alluring pace for its whole run, always giving readers something to sink their teeth into that both builds on what’s come before and gives tantalizing hints of the future. This particular issue is an especially sharp example of writer Judd Winick’s work on the book, as he manages to advance not one but three plotlines in compelling ways. His character work has been notably excellent, and this series has gone a long way to making me love Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle. Given that, this issue has a lot in store for Jaime, and I’m more excited for #17 than maybe any previous issue of the series so far. A-

Secret Avengers #8: A marked improvement over the previous couple issues, Secret Avengers #8 realizes that it has a truly stunning cast and employs most of them in interesting ways. I can’t remember the last time War Machine did anything in this series, but here he is. Ditto Beast. Also, the concept of “Black Ops Avengers” is back and brought to the forefront, much to my liking. Not to my liking: this book’s colorist (who I can’t name, as Marvel has somehow left the credits out of this issue); there are some really awkward renderings in the middle of this book that make it look amateurish. Overall, I think this series needs to downplay the mysticism and continue to focus on the action and shadowy intrigue built into its premise, because that is a rich goldmine indeed. B

Superman/Batman #79: Superman/Batman is a book I buy only when I like the creative team. Given that I’m a fan of Chris Roberson (iZombie), who’s soon taking over the monthly Superman title, this issue was calling my name. Add to that concepts introduced by Grant Morrison in DC One Million and DC’s got an easy sale from me. Roberson does a great job carrying on Morrison’s work here as he puts the Superman and Batman of the 853rd century up against Epoch, the Lord of Time. I also have to mention Jesus Merino’s pencils because wow, that guy can draw! Overall this is an excellent book that any fans of One Million should check out. A

tags: batman inc., green lantern, justice league, secret avengers, superman/batman

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