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  • atom | Male | Utah

"I have a lot of issues. . ."

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Longbox Junk - One-Shots (Part 3)

383 views • 31 weeks ago • (0) Comments

Welcome to Longbox Junk, where the comics are cheap and the reviews are free!

 
Let's cut the introduction short this time and take a look at another handful of one-shot comics from my collection.  If you're a regular reader of Longbox Junk, then you know that these are my all-time favorite kind of comic book.  One issue. . .one story.  Nowhere for a creative team to hide.
 
This time out I've got a half and half mix of superhero and science fiction comics. Let's do it!

ONE-SHOTS (Part 3)

 

STAR TREK:

OPERATION ASSIMILATION

Marvel (1997)

 
 
OPERATION ASSIMILATION
 
SCRIPT: Paul Jenkins
PENCILS: Steve Erwin
COVER: Hajime Sorayama
 
THE COVER:
 
For some reason, this cover seems to be trying a little TOO hard.  The main figure seems stiff and the "Collector's Item Issue" spatch on the left oversells the comic a bit and just dates this to the 90's more than anything.  That said, it's not a BAD cover.  It's nicely-drawn and I like the muted colors.  A Romulan Borg is also an intriguing promise, so let's get inside!
 
THE STORY:
 
Moliok, Proud Daughter of the Seat of Tarek, patrols a backwater sector of Romulan Space near the Neutral Zone. . .in command of an outdated ship and tasked with putting down petty rebellions against Romulan Rule, far from the action and excitement of those preparing for the inevitable confrontation with The Federation, thanks to her political misfortune.
 
Suddenly, Moliok's luck changes when an unidentified ship intruding in Romulan space offers her a break from the grinding routine of frontier patrol.  She moves in to confront the giant cube-shaped ship as it destroys a scientific outpost.  Moliok quickly discovers that her attacks are incapable of harming the unidentified intruder, which is capable of repairing itself.
 
Caught in a tractor beam, Moliok is commanded to surrender her ship.  She refuses and decides to ram the cube after setting the self-destruct, but before she can do so, strange cybernetic beings transport aboard her ship.  A brutal and desperate hand to hand battle breaks out, but Moliok is unable to defeat the invaders.
 
She is taken aboard the cube and subjected to agonizing surgery, forcing her to join the collective of the alien "Borg".  When we next see Moliok, she is serving as a Borg emissary as the cube continues to destroy Romulan outposts.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
This one-shot serves as a prequel to the late first season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone", which re-introduces the Romulans as a Federation foe to be reckoned with as outposts in the Neutral Zone are destroyed by an unknown enemy (revealed later to be the first off-screen appearance of The Borg).
 
The story itself is pretty straightforward and honestly a bit light.  It feels more like the first issue of an unfinished mini-series than a complete standalone story.  It's well-written and the character of Moliok is interesting, but it just feels like there should be more to it.
 
On the art side of things, it's not bad, but it's not particularly great either.  It's the kind of art that just tells the story and doesn't try to do anything other than that.  In other words, pretty average.
 
 
Overall, the most interesting thing about this story is seeing the Borg from another point of view that we didn't get from the T.V. show. . .which is one of the things I love about comic books!  And for that alone, I can recommend this story to any Star Trek fans (like me) out there who want just a LITTLE more background to the Borg arrival in Star Trek: The Next Generation.  If you're NOT a Star Trek fan, you'll probably just wonder where the rest of the story is.
 
So not a bad start.  Let's see what else we've got. 
 
NEXT!
 

FLASHPOINT:

GREEN ARROW INDUSTRIES

DC (2011)

 
 
GREEN ARROW INDUSTRIES
 
SCRIPT: Pornsak Pichetshote
PENCILS: Marco Castiello (Pgs. 1-5); Ig Guara (Pgs. 6-20)
COVER: Viktor Kalvachev
 
THE COVER:
 
The Flashpoint stories were all pretty much "Elseworlds" tales, and that's what this cover promises. . .a gun-toting Green Arrow with a fiendish grin who might or might not be a hero at all in the twisted world of Flashpoint.  It really makes me want to jump right in and see what's going on!  I also really like the green tone of the cover.  Very nicely-done.
 
THE STORY:
 
Billionaire Oliver Queen has made a fortune through Green Arrow Industries by using paramilitary teams to take down supervillains and transform their high-tech weaponry into military equipment for sale to the highest bidder.
 
When Queen's top secret testing facility comes under attack and his best friend, Roy Harper, is killed (along with a group of visiting U.S. Generals), Oliver equips himself with some of his retro-fitted villain weaponry and sets off in pursuit of the leader of the attack.
 
During a brutal battle in the jungle outside of the island facility with a strange woman armed with a bow, Oliver learns that the attack is to draw attention to the secret facility.  Green Arrow's weapons have caused death and destruction throughout the world and their inhumane corporate testing methods must be stopped.
 
Suddenly, Oliver realizes that HE'S become the villain!  He promises to end dealing in weapons and to use the technology for other purposes, but the mysterious woman just laughs at Queen's new pledge of "responsibility" before revealing that she's his daughter from the supervillain now known as Vixen and that he's been paying child support since she was born but has never seen her face before now.
 
Chastised, Oliver tries to allow his daughter to escape, but his security forces arrive on the scene and gun her down. . .devastating him as he resolves to change his life over her dead body.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Hmmmm. . .interesting.  Like I said above, all the Flashpoint stories are basically "Elseworlds" tales.  This one gives us Oliver Queen as. . .well. . .pretty much a Tony Stark clone.  I'd have to say that this was an interesting little slice of the overall Flashpoint "universe", but it's very derivative and feels incomplete, like it was meant to be the first issue of a 3 issue mini.  It's not BAD, but to be perfectly honest, the cover is the best part of this comic.
 
As far as the art goes, this is another comic with art that just tells the story and doesn't really try anything harder than that.  There's a few places that the art manages to elevate itself to just above "Pretty Good", but there's not many.
 

Overall, as a small slice of the short-lived Flashpoint "Universe", this is an interesting look at a decidedly unheroic Oliver Queen being forced to face his part in the suffering of the world.  As a one shot "Elseworlds" story, it feels incomplete and has an abrupt ending.  Like the Star Trek story above, it feels more like the first issue in an unfinished mini.  
 
I don't think I can recommend this to anybody except Green Arrow or Flashpoint completionists.  It just sort of feels like a fragment of an unfinished story.  It's interesting, but ultimately forgettable. 
 
NEXT!
 

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA:

PEGASUS

Dynamite (2007)

 
 
PEGASUS
 
SCRIPT: Brandon Jerwa
PENCILS: Jonathan Lau
COVER: Photo
 
THE COVER:
 
A very nice photo cover of actress Michelle Forbes as Admiral Helena Cain, Commander of the only other remaining Battlestar, from Battlestar Galactica's second season.  If you're a big fan of the "re-imagined" BSG like I am, then this photo alone promises a chilling look at the dark places the fight for survival can take a story.  The "Pegasus" storyline was one of the best of the whole series and getting even a bit more of it is an exciting proposition that makes me want to jump right in!
 
THE STORY:
 
Set about a year before the events of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica SyFy mini-series, we begin our tale aboard the Battlestar Pegasus in spacedock undergoing maintenance and a refit of her Viper attack ships.  
 
Her commander, Admiral Cain, is given an emergency mission to travel to the Cylon/ Human armistice line to investigate the disappearance of the Battlestar Chronos. . .which vanished while responding to a distress signal believed to have been from a stealth ship lost on a previous secret mission across the border between Cylon and Human space.
 
Setting out with severely-depleted fighter forces, Admiral Cain is taken by surprise when Cylon ships attack as the Pegasus approaches the wreckage of the Chronos.  After being severely damaged, the Pegasus flees the battle and follows a distress signal coming from a Colonial supply depot.
 
After a brutal battle between Cylon forces waiting in ambush near the depot and Pegasus' outnumbered Viper pilots, Admiral Cain sends a ground team to investigate the distress signal.  The ground team discover a scene of carnage and are themselves attacked by Cylon troopers laying in wait.  After narrowly escaping the ambush, they discover the lone human survivor, Admiral Tong, commander of the destroyed Battlestar Chronos.
 
Back aboard the Pegasus, Admiral Cain attempts to gain information from Admiral Tong, but he suffers a mental breakdown and commits suicide in front of her.  Seeing the amount of death and suffering from this single encounter with the Cylons, Cain realizes that the threat waiting for mankind is far greater than anyone has imagined.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Okay. . .not bad.  This is a nice, solid little piece of hard military sci-fi action.  Like the Star Trek comic above, it ties into the T.V. show (The 3rd season episode "Hero", which expands on the failed stealth ship mission mentioned in this comic). Existing Battlestar Galactica fans will get more out of this because, also like the Star Trek comic above, if you aren't a BSG fan, you'll just end up wondering where the rest of this story is at.
 
That said, if you ARE part of the target audience, then this comic reads like a lost episode of the series!  We get to see Admiral Cain in action before she became the hard and empty shell of a person we are introduced to during the "Pegasus" storyline on the show.  Here, she's shown simply as a strong, confident commander and it really sort of drives home how far into the darkness she went after the Pegasus escaped the Cylon destruction of the Colonies.  But like I said above, if you aren't a BSG fan, all that won't mean much to you.
 
On the art side of things. . .I'm a fan of Jonathan Lau's dynamic art style from his work on Dynamite's Green Hornet and Bionic Man series.  Unfortunately, this is not his best work.  It's not BAD, and his signature style is definitely on display for the more action-packed scenes, but for some reason a lot of the non-action scenes look sketchy and rough.  That and he never manages to capture the likeness of Michelle Forbes (the actress who plays Cain on the show).
 
 
 
Compare the top and middle panels to the cover to see what I mean
 
Overall, this is a comic that was definitely written for a specific audience. For existing Battlestar Galactica fans, this is a great little prequel story that reads exactly like a missing episode of the series.  So being a big BSG fan myself, this comic is a winner!  Unfortunately, if you aren't a BSG fan, the connections will mean nothing and what you'll end up with is a fragment of a decent hard military sci-fi story that (in its favor) MIGHT be good enough to make you want to check out the source material. 
 
AND FINALLY. . .
 

GREEN LANTERN PLUS

DC (1996)

 

MAGNETIC PERSONALITIES
 
SCRIPT: Ron Marz
PENCILS: Scott Kolins
COVER: Scott Kolins
 
THE COVER:
 
Meh.  This one's just not doing much for me.  It seems a bit cluttered and messy.  I do like the brilliant colors of the main characters, but other than that, there's not much to write home about here, in my extremely humble opinion.  Let's hope what's inside is better.
 
THE STORY:
 
We begin our tale as an isolated magnetic research station at the North Pole is attacked by a mysterious figure.  We then switch scenes to New York City, where Kyle Rayner (AKA Green Lantern) finds himself needing to rush an art assignment to Japan after missing a deadline.  
 
In the meantime, at a Philadelphia park, we find Ray Terrill (AKA The Ray) in an argument with his girlfriend over his never being around when she needs him.  The argument is interrupted by a strange magnetic event and Ray once again leaves his girl to follow the magnetic trail to its source.
 
After destroying a small island with a tidal wave, the mysterious figure from the North Pole heads to Tokyo, where he proceeds to wreak havoc before confronting and easily defeating Japan's newest hero, Arashi.  Green Lantern saves Arashi and then joins in the battle after recognizing his foe, Doctor Polaris.
 
As the battle rages through Tokyo, The Ray arrives on the scene to help Green Lantern and there's the team-up!  Leaving The Ray to fight Polaris, Green Lantern saves Tokyo from another tidal wave.  After Green Lantern returns, the two heroes compare notes from their solo battles against Polaris and attack him together, forcing Polaris' multiple personalities to fight themselves.
 
After Polaris falls victim to his inner battle, Green Lantern leaves him in the hands of The Ray as he finishes his own errand and recognizes the woman he was delivering his assignment to as Arashi, the Japanese superhero he rescued earlier.  We end the story knowing that Arashi also recognizes Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Hmmmm. . .okay.  What we have here is a pretty straightforward and extremely well-worn story path of "Heroes team up to fight a common enemy".  I'm actually surprised to find the "Heroes fight until they realize they're on the same side" team-up trope missing. . .so extra points there, I guess?  
 
What I'm trying to say is that this is a decent enough story, but one that's been told over and over and over and over and over and over and. . .well, you get the idea.  Most of the book is taken up with fight scenes, and at the end of the day nothing has changed for either hero.  It's a story you've read many times.
 
The only REAL interesting part of this was the Japanese hero, Arashi.  She's got a cool look and it seems like there was some potential there for her to be an interesting high-tech hero. . .unfortunately, when I searched for more stories with her in them, I discovered that this was her first, last, and only appearance.  DC sort of hit a foul ball there. Check her out. . .
 
 
As far as the art goes, I'd say it's probably the best part of this one-shot.  There's a lot of detail and interesting, cinematic angles that give things a great sense of motion.  The only thing I didn't like much art-wise was that the artist gives the youthful Kyle Rayner a grizzled look that makes him appear about forty years old.  Other than that, this comic has some great art and very nice colors.
 

Overall, this is a pretty by the numbers superhero team-up.  It's the sort of thing you read and forget about not long afterward.  It does have some very nice art, it's a sort of unusual team-up, and it's pretty fun, but it's basically comic book junk food.  If you're a big Green Lantern or Ray fan, then definitely keep your eye out for this one.  For anyone else. . .don't pay more than a buck if you REALLY want to check it out.
 
CONCLUSION
 
So there you have it.  Another handful of Longbox Junk one-shots.  Overall, I'd have to say that this bunch didn't fare as well as the last couple of batches I went through (Read HERE and HERE ).  There aren't any BAD ones, it's just that the only one that doesn't feel like an unfinished mini-series is the Green Lantern/Ray team-up.  The rest read like unfinished story fragments.
 
Granted, if you're a big Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica fan like myself, you'll get significantly more mileage out of those two one-shots. . .but not everybody is going to know where and how those stories connect with their television counterparts, so it's not fair for me to judge them any differently as one-shots needing to tell a complete story in a single issue.
 
Up Next. . .
 
I think I'm done with one-shots for now.
 
It's been a while since I dug into a mini-series.  But which one?
So many to choose from! I'll figure it out, though.
 
Be there or be square!

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Longbox Junk - Flashpoint

4796 views • May 3, '17 • (0) Comments

I MIGHT be in the minority of comic fans when I confess that I actually LIKED the New 52.  Okay, they really messed up Superman and they're STILL trying to fix him to this very day, but I was never much of a Superman fan to begin with.  And they really, REALLY wanted to sell Cyborg as a major player for some reason (and never really succeeded), but once again, not really a fan.  And then there was Huntress.  Okay. . .Huntress I can be about. And Azrael.  And Tim Drake. And Oracle.

Okay.  I guess it wasn't ALL good.  But for the most part, I liked the New 52.  Flashpoint is where it all started.  Let's take a little refresher course, since DC seems to bringing some Flashpoint back into Rebirth. . .

FLASHPOINT (DC)

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I might be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed DC's Flashpoint event.  Once they rebooted everything into the New 52 I thought that it was sort of a shame that they didn't continue a few of the titles as a sort of anthology title in a side universe remnant of the cataclysmic events that led to the formation of DC's "new" universe. . .but hey, I don't make the comic books.  I just read them.  Just saying I really liked the whole "Elseworlds" feel of the Flashpoint books and it feels like DC sort of wasted an opportunity.

FLASHPOINT: PROJECT SUPERMAN

ISSUE 1

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