Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week 17: I Can See the Light, Just Not the Sun

Chris Batista (Pencils), Ruy Jose (Inks), Jack Jadson (inks), and David Baron (Colors) delivered the art this week, giving us a servicable performance. While spectacular art is too much to expect with the deadline for each issue, the lighting in the space sequence was driving me out of my mind. I simply could not stop thinking about it as I read.

I'm not a Teen Titans fan, so I'm unfamiliar with Starfire, but exactly how do her powers work? I read in a guest apperance once that she seemed to emanate light, and I know her energy blasts are solar based. I've seen some artists draw a glow around her as she flies, and others not bother. But, isn't her skin supposed to be glowing rather than simply "shiny"?

Also, there's a number of sequences where light seems to be coming from above, or in front of her, while her energized hands are too low or too far behind her to be casting that light. The shading seemed more intent on highlighting her feminine body than showing a consistant scene. I know its outer space, but seriously, where is the light source when she's facing Lobo and both of their faces are lit?

Art aside, this was a good week for me to fill in. The space story appealed to me while I'm on my "Cosmic DC" kick, and so much panel-time for Starfire gives me a chance to flex my Feminist Art Critique muscles a little bit.

The Lobo's origin backup, as I'm not particularly interested in the character, didn't catch me. It isn't new information for someone who's read enough DC space stories, or the main plot of this issue. Adam and Kory tell Buddy everything you need to know about Lobo in the actual plot.

More Notes:
Page 1: "Luthor's American Dream Team" would be a suitable name. The green and purple, and their facial expressions make them look as ominous as they're meant to be.

Page 2: Each of Luthor's Rent-A-Hero team gets a panel introducing them, and showing them in action. As I'm willing to bet more than one of these people will appear as guest-villains in upcoming books, its worth going over them once again here.

Erik Storn from Gary Indiana "whose claws seem capable of slicing through anything they touch." His character design, long claws and a shadowy purple facemask with white eyeslits, seems especially sinister.

Eliza Harmon from Manchester, Alabama with superspeed. I doubt that her hometown being the setting of the 90s Impulse comic is a coincidence.

Hannibal Bates of Gotham City, shapeshifter, seems unremarkable so far. The name Hannibal is loaded, though, between the crossing of the Alps and Silence of the Lambs. The last name of Bates is loaded from Psycho.

Gerome McKenna of Los Angeles, super-strength. (Seriously, where is the light coming from in the art? McKenna's biceps are lit from the point of impact where those two Kobra members are being slammed together, up and to the right, but his ear and the back side of his face are lit from a light source to the lower back left that is not illuminating any other part of his body!)

Jacob Colby of Oklahoma city "who can ride the winds." He's shown flying, but this could also be an elemental power. If you notice how the Kobra members behind him are moving (apparently lit by a different light source than he is), this seems quite likely.

Natasha Irons of Metropolis, whose light powers may be the reason for the art weirdness on this page.

Page 3: I'm unsettled by the amount of time Luthor spends commenting on Natasha's appearance. An entire panel. Jacob Colby also mentions her looks, more subtly, early on in the page.

Page 4: Nice to seee Mercy in action again.

Page 6: Lower right panel. I think an excessive amount of artistic effort was spent shading Kory's breasts. Time and thought that could have been spent on more important art details, like light sourcing.

Page 8: They've been in space since Day 7 of Week 16, that's five days, at most, if they left in the morning on Day 7 (Week 16) and this scene occurs in the evening of day 4 (Week 17).

Page 9-10: Grant Morrison's Animal Man Vertigo series is in continuity here. The concept of Existential Isolation Trauma (becoming "Void-Sick") is interesting. I wonder if Green Lanterns are susceptible.

Page 13: Gross.

Page 14: The smoke from Lobo's cigar can rise with no atmosphere.

Page 16: I'm really glad they cut out the dialogue for this sequence.

Page 18: I like Lobo's little hat.

Page 19: The 52 thing again, this time from Red Tornado's mouth. I wonder if any Australian readers are annoyed that "Mate" is shorthand for their accent. I also fully expect that Aboriginal Australian man to have a cell-phone next issue.

And that's all for this issue. Douglas Wolk will be back next week for some more plotcentric commentary.


At 9:51 PM, Blogger Michael Nicolai said...

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with the Main Man. He's like an unstoppable space-hooker with a heart of gold. In the right hands he's a great character; too often he's just not in the right hands.

Lobo found religion? I wonder if it has anything to do with Cassie's new best friends. (If the upside down Superman emblem means ressurection, does that mean the right-side-up symbol means death?)

A series with cult subtext and threads leading to Apokalypse; smells like G. Gordon Godfrey to me.

At 3:42 AM, Blogger Martin said...

The right-side-up S-shield stands for Hope, I think.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

I like Buddy and Kori's conversation this Ragnell pointed out, mostly because it proves that Morrison's run on Animal Man is in continuity.

Overall though, this issue didn't do much for me. The series constant shift in focus is starting to wear a bit thin.

And IIRC, didn't Luthor's League have codenames when Nat and Steel fought? I could swear that Nat called the big guy Herakles or something.

And the church? I'm think that this may turn out the be the same 'church' that will appear in the upcoming Mystery in Space. Which may also be connected to the Cult of Conner.

And I liked the background for Lobo. I actually laughed at the last few lines.

And Michael? It wouldn't surprise me in the least. Remember that two of the first few crossovers after Crisis were Legends and Invasion and 52 has elements from both in it.

You know, we need to take some time to go through all the stuff on the 52 site. There's a LOT of hints out there.


At 8:56 AM, Blogger Jeff R. said...

From the 'hints in other books' department, there's a two-page spread of all of the members of the Teen Titans during the year of 52 in this weeks issue. Of particular note is "Osiris", a Black Adam Junior type.

And it's not impossible that "Power Boy" is Gerome McKenna after getting a decent haircut. It is the exact same pose, at least...

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Batiduende said...

Eliza Harmon from Manchester, Alabama with superspeed. I doubt that her hometown being the setting of the 90s Impulse comic is a coincidence.

For a small two streets and a donkey town, Manchester has managed to house a considerable amount of superheroes and supervillains. With Impulse, Max Mercury, Arrowette and everybody in Impulse's rogue gallery. It's amazing how the entire DCU is not completely flooded by fifth rate metahumans from Queerbeaver, Minnesota and the like.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Andy Bayer said...

I found a typo! Yes, ME! It says that Hannibal is able to morph into any from. It's supposed to be form.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

I imagine that Douglas would have written a treatse on space-time dilation for this week, which is something I really would have appreciated because I just don't understand how time passes slower in the depths of space than it does while on Earth. Isn't time constant? Or is it a factor of travel speed and not location? Like, if you're travelling fast enough, your personal time slows down. For example, for the one minute you spend going really freaking fast, one week passes for the non-speedies. Anyone?

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

I'm gonna go read this

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Batiduende said...

Well, I am no expert in physics or anything, but I read in Alan Moore's The Ballad of Halo Jones that time depends on gravity. If there is a lot of gravity, then times goes slower... or faster. If there is not much gravity then time goes faster... or slower. I DUNNO! But it is something like that.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Eric said...

There was that note about talking to Buddy's wife in Justice League #1 that everyone takes to mean that Animal Man will bite the dust.

But what if it just means that one-year in space, as represented in 52, means two years on Earth? That'd be the easiest way to explain why those characters won't appear in the OYL books during the year of 52.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger David C said...

The concept of Existential Isolation Trauma (becoming "Void-Sick") is interesting. I wonder if Green Lanterns are susceptible.

Sounds like *not* having that might be one of the prerequisites for being a Green Lantern, actually (a subcomponent of the "without fear" thing?)

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Rick Jones, really said...

If I'm remembering my college physics correctly, the time dilation factor comes about because of speed and, in a roundabout way, weight. According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the faster something goes, the heavier it becomes. As something approaches the speed of light, it becomes almost infinitely heavy. Thus, you'd need an infinite amount of fuel to keep going. But that's really beside the point.

As you go faster, your subjective time slows down. You might feel only a week go by, but, to people on Earth, a year would pass. It's something that's used to good effect in Haldeman's "The Forever War."

This time dilation effect has, actually, been demonstrated here on Earth using atomic clocks synchronized perfectly. The clock that moves faster actually goes more slowly.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Dr Obvious said...

Time Dilation for Dummies ->The faster your velocity, the slower your personal time. Space travelers will return to see their grandkids in wheelchairs.

Now I need to go read Animal Man.

At 6:28 AM, Blogger Shawn L. said...

"I found a typo! Yes, ME! It says that Hannibal is able to morph into any from. It's supposed to be form."

Oh, and here I thought he could transform into places. I mean there is a precident for this in Morrison's Doom Patrol. Danny the Street.


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