Badly Recapped: Blossoms 666 #5

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CULLEN BUNN – story

LAURA BRAGA – art

JACK MORELLI – lettering

MATT HERMS – coloring

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: Cheryl and Jason use treachery and knives to better their odds at becoming the Anti-Christ.

 

This is it! The big conclusion to Archie Horror mini Blossoms 666! Except it isn’t. Wah-wah.

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If you didn’t think I’d be using Riverdale GIFs during this review, you know nothing Jon Snow.

 

We start this final (ahem) issue with Dilton in jail contemplating suicide, Archie and Veronica under a spell to make out, Julian Blossom consoling Betty who saw said make-out session, and Ethel taking Jughead to the altar of Abaddon in the woods. And that’s just page 1 folks.

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Ethel shows a shocked Jughead the Abaddon statue, then pulls out a knife, presumably to sacrifice our crown wearing compadre, but instead falls on the blade herself after Juggy refuses to sacrifice her.

Time to catch up with Cheryl and Jason, who are lounging around a pool pondering how to get rid of new rival to the horns, Julian. Cheryl gets pulled under water by a pool cleaner- the mechanical kind, not the sexy kind.

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Dance for me Pool Boy!

 

Where was I? Is it hot in here? Oh yeah, Cheryl’s getting attacked, and Jason actually jumps in and saves her, even though they are currently locked in a battle to become Anti-Christ. But since they’ve been siblings all their lives, and twins at that, they’ve formed a pact to get rid of new-to-the-scene bro Julian first. Still, Jason had a golden opportunity there to narrow the field, but I digress.

Meanwhile, Betty and Julian decide to go to the police station to question Dilton, only to find him hung in his cell. Alas, poor Dilton, we hardly knew ye. Betty runs outside and bumps into Jughead, who tells her Julian is trying to become the Anti-Christ, at the behest of the other two Blossoms. Yep, Jason called in his favor from earlier in the series. Betty slaps Julian upside the head, and now he doesn’t have his key pawn in the game.

Julian goes home and tells his bro and sis that was a dirty trick, having Jughead tell Betty the truth. And then Cheryl and Jason take turns stabbing him. Even though earlier, in this very issue, they kind of ruled out blatant murder. Which is why they had Jughead tell Betty, to one-up Julian that way. This part really doesn’t make sense, but they laugh it off saying mom and dad will be mad. Really?

We close up with some bizarre panels of Jughead and Betty at Pop’s, then the twins teasing each other about what they’ll make the other do if they win the title. Oh, and Julian’s corpse in the morgue sitting up. That’s it. And the obligatory The End Question Mark.

Overall Blossoms 666 has been a worthy addition to the Archie Horror titles. Cheryl Blossom is one of my favorite characters, and I liked the Anti-Christ angle of the book. This final issue however left me scratching my head at times and wishing there was a more definitive ending, while still leaving room for future volumes. Otherwise, Cullen Bunn did a good job with the scares and cast of characters, and Laura Braga’s art was top-notch. I hope this team comes back and we get true “winner” between the devilish duo of Riverdale.

 

6.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Tank Girl #5

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ALAN MARTIN w/ LOU MARTIN – story

ALAN MARTIN – writer

BRETT PARSON – artist & letterer

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: TG & co. spoof superheroes in a brawl against a brainwashed Barney.

 

It’s a new mini arc (titled Tank Girl Forever) in the ongoing Tank Girl series, and we’re thrown right into the battle. In this corner, Tank Girl, now almost a literal tank-girl, decked out in an Iron Man-inspired costume, complete with cannons, tank tread skates, and a cape that is always the size it needs to be for the job at hand. And in the other corner, a vampire Barney? She floats, conjures and throws trash out of midair, and is pissed at Tank Girl for some reason. In fact, both combatants have some sort of memory loss going, or so it seems.

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We leave the fight to get some quick exposition about how we got to this point from Stevie, who reminds the reader of the end of the last mini, when the gang stepped into a bizarre light and disappeared. They awoke to find themselves in others’ bodies, striving to put right what once went wrong… Wait, that’s not right.

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“Oh boy.”

Back to the battle, TG is getting her ass handed to her when- up in the air! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Jet Girl! Flying. Without a jet. Yep, she’s a superhero-type too now. TG blasts Barney with a cannon and the two “heroes” go to the bay where she landed. When they arrive, Barney levitates out of the water and sends a stream of Scandinavian sea herring at our armored heroine. But wait! A cyclone of water engulfs the villainess, and that can only mean one thing- Aquaman! I mean, Sub Girl!

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No respect.

We get a few more pages of fun fighting, and just when it looks like Barney is down for the count, a Light Phoenix (???) appears, knocking our heroines for a loop, and forcing Tank Girl to point her arm cannon at her own face. This is where chapter one ends, with the promise of finding out who this new character, named “Joanie,” is.

Tank Girl Forever’s first issue gives fans more of what they’ve come to expect from the last handful of series, and that’s a great thing. This opening shot may be a tad generic, just like the genre it’s spoofing, but Martin’s witty dialogue and Parson’s gorgeous art don’t disappoint. This fan truly wishes the current Tank Girl team could keep putting these books out “forever.”

8.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Gideon Falls #15

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JEFF LEMIRE – writer

ANDREA SORRENTINO – artist

DAVE STEWART – colors

STEVE WANDS – lettering & design

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: Father Fred faces his fate in a fraternal Gideon Falls. (Or maybe I just like alliteration too much.)

 

We’ve been following around a time jumping priest the last few issues (Fred’s predecessor?), but now we get back to our main protagonist, Father Fred, who finds himself in a different version (time?) of his Gideon Falls. If memory serves, he had switched places, literally, with the protagonist of this GF, Norton. Norton’s shrink, Dr Xu, is there to confront the father, who has some sort of timey-wimey amnesia, and runs off.

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Fred stumbles across a couple of winos who give him a bottle of booze, and uh-oh, our recovering alcoholic priest doesn’t pass it up. What follows are hallucinations (maybe) of the infamous Black Barn, two guys chasing Fred, and I assume a past meeting with a young woman named Rebecca. She tells the father “He knows,” and I’m led to believe that the two had some sort of romantic tryst, maybe even committing- gasp!- adultery. We even see images of Rebecca hanging, before turning into Smiling-Man.

Meanwhile Dr Xu heads back to Norton’s and takes one of his little surgical masks before heading back to the last place she saw Norton. She find’s the father’s collar there, tracks him down not far away, has a bit of confusing back and forth with him, and then asks what he knows about the Black Barn. The end.

This issue felt short, but maybe it was just the quick pacing that had me burning through the pages. There were the usual bits of WTF moments, scares, and added intrigue with the Rebecca mystery. As usual, Sorrentino’s art style matched Lemire’s tone, and we got another good issue of Gideon Falls.

 

8.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1

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MATT FRACTION – writer

STEVE LIEBER – artist

NATHAN FAIRBAIRN – colorist

CLAYTON COWLES – letterer

LIEBER & FAIRBAIRN – cover

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: A brief history of Olsen, before he gets shipped to Gotham.

 

We begin our journey with Superman’s pal with Superman’s pal’s ancestor on top of a waterfall, fighting for his land before Metropolis was Metropolis. He gets pushed off of said waterfall, and then the story starts. Again. Get used to this, as every few pages there is a new introduction to some form of “Jimmy Olsen, fill-in-the-blank.” It got a bit stale for me, I have to say.

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The next meaningful bit finds present-day Jimmy jumping out of a spaceship, turning into the beloved turtle alter-ego I’ve heard of but don’t get, and being rescued by Superman before crashing into Metropolis with the force of an atomic bomb. This bit, bizarre as it all sounds, was actually fun- the funnest part of the book at any rate.

Next we’re treated to yet another intro, and we get some Daily Planet moments, complete with a heaping helping of Perry White. Who DOESN’T say “Great Caesar’s ghost.” In a comic seemingly built on nostalgia it really felt like a glaring omission.

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At any rate, this section does have the funniest moment in the book to me, when the owner of the Daily Planet asks Clark Kent to keep an eye on Jimmy, who costs the paper a ton in insurance money from his shenanigans. Clark replies that may be a job only Superman can do, with a wink to the reader, on the last panel of the right page. Then we turn the page, expecting another story opening, to instead find Clark still standing there with one eye closed, and the befuddled paper owner dismissing this hayseed. Funny stuff.

Cue another “Yada yada Jimmy Olsen” open and we find Jimmy checking into a dumpy hotel in Gotham, relocating to not only help the Planet’s insurance rates, but because dunh…dunh…DUNH…- he is believed to be murdered! So I guess we’ll see what that’s all about next issue. And when I say “we” I don’t mean me.

In this first issue Matt Fraction serves up a fractured storyline that gives readers an unnecessarily far back background into the title character. It reminded me of the tired joke used in movies where the interrogator tells his captor to start at the beginning, and they literally start at the beginning, reciting childhood memories. There were some genuinely funny moments, and I have no complaints about the art. I think I have to just chalk this one up as something I don’t get/it’s not for me.

6.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #1

Jesus, that’s a long title.

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JEFF LEMIRE – writer

MICHAEL WALSH – artist & cover

NATE PIEKOS of BLAMBOT – letterer

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: The Black Hammer gang switches places with the Justice League; hi jinx bound to ensue.

 

Our Dark Horse/DC crossover commences with a fairy tale-esque narrative introducing the Black Hammer characters and their current predicament, namely being stuck on a farm they can’t escape. As a fan of Black Hammer, something just feels off immediately. I don’t know if it’s Lemire’s flowery prose or the dialogue between these characters I’ve grown to love. I’ll just come out and say it- I think this was dumbed down for the DC crowd. Or at the very least, the bite was taken out of my beloved Black Hammer denizens. This isn’t the Mature title I’m used to, that’s for sure. Michael Walsh’s art is serviceable in so much as I can tell who’s who, but is nothing special.

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Back to the story, a weirdo in a bowler hat shows up, wanting to buy the Black Hammer farm. If I had to guess at this point, I’d say it’s Mister Mxyzptlk, but we don’t truly find out this issue.

 

Quick jump to Metropolis, which is under attack from Starro. Just as the Justice League are getting things under control, weirdo-bowler-hat-guy shows up, offering them a vacation for several jobs well done. And he’s got just the place. Back on the farm Madame Dragonfly realizes this dude is magical, just as Diana is coming to the same conclusion in Metropolis. Bada-bing, bada-boom, presto-chango, and our heroes switch locations. Not only that, it seems our JL has been on the farm for the ten years the Black Hammer guys were. Strange, huh? We end with Captain Weird shrak-ing into space and surrounded by the Green Lantern Corps, so that’s something.

 

In Lemire I trust, but this opening issue was pretty “meh” to me, and the art didn’t do anything to hide the lackluster feel of the normally edgy Black Hammer side of things. Hopefully the story picks up in the next issue and we can get past catering to the DC contingency.

 

7.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Criminal #6

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ED BRUBAKER – writer

SEAN PHILLIPS – artist

JACOB PHILLIPS – colors

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: Teeg Lawless finds love in all the wrong places.

 

Right off the bat I gotta say Criminal is a tough book to discuss. Not in a bad way, mind you. I’ve loved this iteration by Brubaker and Phillips, and if you’re fans of their past work, so will you. What makes it tough to discuss is there aren’t really arcs in the traditional sense of the word, as far as modern comics go. We go from one set of characters and story, to a completely different set and story, then introduce some new set and story, and now we kind of loop back. Like I said, tough to discuss, but by no means is that a strike against the work. So I’ll just get into this issue, titled “Song to the Siren.”

 

We open up with good ol’ Teeg Lawless, lovesick as a puppy. And who is this new broad he’s shacking up with, spending his money “like it had an expiration date”? She sure looks familiar, huh? We’ll get back to that later.

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We get a flashback showing how Teeg got to this point, namely by scoring large on a stick-up job with fellow criminal Chic Severin. The two go out to celebrate at a club and run into Jane, one of Chic’s old girlfriends. Teeg is immediately smitten, but by the end of the night Jane goes home with Chic.

 

The next morning, Chic recruits Teeg to go “teach someone a lesson.” Seems Janey stole 10 grand from him, and Chic wants his pound of flesh. They go to a cabin on a lake Jane is staying at, but she gets the drop on Chic and shoots him dead. Teeg has her dead to rights, but doesn’t pull the trigger. Instead the two of them start a whirlwind love affair, living the high life on what’s left of the robbery take.

 

The money finally runs out as Teeg is informed his “wife’s” credit card was declined at the hotel they’re staying in. He hastily packs up and sneaks to the bar where Jane went for a drink, hoping to skedaddle before hotel security catches them. Teeg sees Jane talking to a guy at the bar, and it’s here that it clicked for me- Jane was indeed the woman from the previous issue that was being traced by the PI- the guy she’s talking to here. Yeah, I’m a bit slow on the uptake.

 

We already know how THAT ended; this issue ends with Teeg trying to put together a big score to appease Jane’s insatiable desire to live on a permanent vacation. Oh, and he gets word his son was evicted because Teeg forgot to pay rent. What a scumbag.

 

Overall this was another near-flawless issue of Criminal. Brubaker writes crime noir like no one else, and Phillips’ art, while perhaps not for everyone, definitely fits the tone of the book. I love how this tied into last issue, and look forward to how this piece of the Criminal puzzle fits into future books.

 

9.5/10

 

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Badly Recapped: Wonder Twins #6

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MARK RUSSELL – writer

STEPHEN BYRNE – artist & cover artist

DAVE SHARPE – letterer

 

Synopsis in a Sentence: The Scrambler’s plans are foiled by Zan so world leaders can keep being jerks, man.

 

We start out this issue 30 days out from the Great Scramble. The Scrambler has already proven he can pull his consciousness-switching scheme having scrambled a million people already, although we only see one affected person in Lex’s prison (of course). I’d say take a shot every time I write “scramble” in this review, but I did so while reading this issue and nearly died.

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At any rate, shit is looking bad for our over-simplified world leaders as well as the Justice League, who can’t find the whereabouts of the nefarious villain. “But wait, didn’t the Wonder Twins bust some of his buddies recently?” wonders Superman, before sending the two teens off to chase the only lead on this earth-shattering crisis. Riiiight.

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Zan fails at interrogating Praying Mantis, but Jayna, disguised as a fly, picks up that the Scrambler was last seen talking to Filo Math, so she heads to her friend’s pad. Sure enough, there are Polly and the Scrambler, and rather than, I don’t know, act HEROIC, Jayna not only hears out their side of the argument, but doesn’t even report them to the Justice League. Because they’re making the world better. Or something.

Luckily Zan decided to risk de-molecularizing (if that’s a word) and found the villains, right before 300 laws ending poverty, incarceration, global warming, puppy kicking, etc were signed, to the relief of every (naturally) evil world leader. Man, I am tired of Mark Russell’s oversimplification of world issues at this point. Can I get a fun Wonder Twins comic please? Polly and Scrambler are arrested, but we’ve got 6 more issues to “look forward to.”

Stephen Byrne’s art is stupendous as always, and Russell can have witty moments when his self-righteousness doesn’t get in the way. The message is a good one, but I’m tired of getting hit over the head with it repeatedly. I hope the next arc gets back to what we saw in issue one- namely more of the Twins’ fish-out-of-water experiences, and less over-reaching social commentary.

 

6.0/10

 

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