Mark Kleman is, among many other things, my co-writer on The Black List which will see publication later this year from Arcana Comics. When he asked me to write up a little something about the recently released Origin of Dex-Starr (a cat of whom I’m a huge admirer), I couldn’t refuse. Below is Mark’s review of Green Lantern #55 where the story appears. Listen to this dude, Mark. He knows what he’s talking about. Oh, and I would like to point out that I think Firestorm is awesome.
“I’m going to be honest–I am not the biggest fan of Brightest Day. The storyline does not live up to the clear direction and mega action of its predecessor, Blackest Night. Day’s main book has been concentrating on resurrected ancillary characters like Firestorm and Hawkman—who only deserve a supporting role in a Justice League comic at best and probably should have remained absent from comics all together.
That said, the Brightest Day events occurring in the pages of Green Lantern are outstanding. It has everything a true fanboy wants: heavy ring-slinger action, intrigue, and Lobo. That’s right, you’re favorite “bastich” bounty hunter from the 1990s is back and he has run afoul of Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps. A massive battle ensues on the streets of New York City between Lobo and an alliance of Hal Jordan, Sinestro, and Atrocitus. Using meat hooks on chains, flaming space-motorcycles, and giant yellow skeleton hands, Geoff Johns did a great job making this issue an action packed adventure—definitely worth picking up.
However, the best part about this issue is the inclusion of a 6-page short at the end of the comic that regales us with Dex-Starr’s origin. For those of you who don’t know, Dex-Starr is the Red Lantern Cat and fan sensation that first appeared in Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns. Seen here:
Given his blue fur, many assumed that he was an alien cat from a distant planet of ruthless felines. But to my supreme enjoyment, it was revealed that Dex-Starr was once Dexter, a normal house cat from Brooklyn. Until tragedy shaped him into an unstoppable engine of hatred and revenge, Dexter was a silly cat who loved playing with yarn and eating dried bits of processed meat. Despite the fact there are literally hundreds of Super-Villains on Earth, this little cat was chosen as the being that had the most rage in its heart out of all living things that existed in Earth’s sector of the galaxy. I don’t care who you are, that’s awesome. I found this brief story to be quite charming and funny. Now I can only hope that one day my cat is chosen by the Red Lantern Corps.”
DC and Marvel have recently relaunched their lines into all new, all different positive directions (Brightest Day and The Heroic Age respectively). What this means is that much of the continuity baggage that’s been lugged around since Identity Crisis and House of M is being momentarily shifted to the side to focus on slightly more reader accessible tales (more so in Marvel’s case than DC). So now is definitely the time to jump on board if you’re curious about superhero comics but feel uncomfortable about diving into part 365 of a never ending storyline.
1. Green Lantern #54 written by Geoff Johns with art from Doug Mahnke
Dex-Starr was once an ordinary space kitten. Then one day, he was summoned into the Red Lantern Corps due to the unusual amount of rage in his heart. Now he lives on Earth with a giant Red Lantern ogre and murders gang members in the underground subway systems of New York City. His powers include acidic blood, super strength, and flight. Notice how he wears his Red Lantern power ring on his tail. You should now be convinced to start buying Green Lantern.
2. Muppet Sherlock Holmes by Unknown
I couldn’t really find any information on this project. The wonderful BOOM Studios just announced it, but they’ve yet to discuss the launch date or the writer or artist on board. I couldn’t care less. Look at Fozzie’s mustache! Where’s that thing growing from? Out of his fur? I’ll be picking this up for sure, and the only mystery I care about is the Case of the Bizarre Facial Hair.
There’s been a lot of hooplah about the relaunch of the various Avengers titles, and the one that’s got me the most excited is Secret Avengers by the superstar dream team of Brubaker and Deodato. Brubaker is known for his classic, gritty books like Captain America and Criminal, and Deodato’s page layouts in Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts and Bendis’ Dark Avengers have been phenomenal. Pairing the two is a stroke of genius and any team lineup that includes War Machine, Beast, and my favorite Marvel character created this decade (Robert Kirkman’s Irredeemable Ant-Man) is an obvious must read.
4. Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965 written and drawn by Joe Kubert
Dong Xoai is the spiritual successor to Yossel, Joe Kubert’s ambitious reimagining of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto uprising. What links the two together is the art style. Kubert, an industry pro still working well into his 80’s, eschews colors and inks and draws these books in a sketchy, chaotic way aimed at reflecting the madness of war. Dong Xoai is his latest to be drawn in this style and focuses on American advisers during the early days of the Vietnam conflict before the fighting intensified into a full blown war.
5. Deadpool #23 written by Daniel Way with art from Paco Medina
Deadpool is the meta superhero for the 21st century. He’s the only character in the Marvel Universe who knows he exists in a comic book and will frequtnly break the fourth wall to address the reader. Recently, when he ran into Spider-Man, he ended the meeting by telling ol’ webhead that he’d see him later that month in Amazing Spider-Man #613. Daniel Way’s Deadpool is an absolute delight. It’s filled with ridiculous violence that tops any Warner Brothers cartoon and jokes that are actually funny. #23 is the start of a new arc and a perfect jumping on point about Deadpool piloting a robot in Las Vegas and fighting villains attempting to rob casinos. Check it out.