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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Friday, August 28, 2009

Action Comics Annual 12

My "New Krypton" reviews continue with Action Comics #875-878 [DC; $2.99] and Action Comics Annual #12 [$4.99]. Since these issues feature the new team of Nightwing and Flamebird and since revealing their identities is necessary to discussing the issues, I'm activating the...

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With Superman living on and occupied with the newly-created planet of New Krypton, Nightwing and Flamebird are starring in this title. Nightwing is Chris Kent, the birth son of General Zod and Ursa, but the spiritual son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Flamebird is Thara Ak-Var, New Krypton's fallen-out-of-favor security chief. There's a strong and possible romantic bond between them, which is made somewhat less creepy by Chris having rapidly aged to adulthood since he last appeared. The Kryptonian duo are on Earth hunting down a sextet of sleeper agents placed on our world by Zod as a preliminary move in his planned invasion.

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It took a while for me to warm up to Nightwing and Flamebird. The annual, which tells their origins, was a huge boost in that regard and I wish its information had been worked into the story earlier. That their costumes are two of the ugliest in recent memory was also a drawback in my embracing them quickly.

Rucka's scripts are good, not outstanding. The high points are the origin stories, a solid role for Lois Kent, a spiffy guest shot by the Asian Doctor Light, and truly scary villains. On the visual end, the five issues are drawn by four different artists and while their work is adequate, it's inconsistent.

Action Comics #875-878 and Action Comics Annual #12 are all decent comic books, which earns them three out of five Tonys each.

Tony Tony Tony

Coming soon: reviews of Supergirl and Superman.

******

TONY'S MAILBOX

Let's finish this week with a message from one of my Twitter friends...
When I found out you were following me, my reaction was, "Is this Tony freakin' Isabella following me?!" I love your work and I was wondering if you had any tips for a young writer. Anything that can help me become better? Dialogue, plots, etc.
My response:
Those are not questions I can answer quickly. Let me try to offer you a few basic tips.

Make sure your characters act and sound real. No matter how fantastic the setting of your story, if your characters can't connect to your readers, the readers won't be invested in what happens to them.

Having a good story is primary. Some writers try to get by with a killer scene or two...or with some unusual storytelling techniques. Neither means squat if the story isn't a good one and if it doesn't hold together.

Deliver a satisfying ending. Yeah, real life doesn't always end tidy and your stories may not always end tidy, but there has to be a payoff for the reader.
Here's hoping my Twitter friend and any hopeful writers in the TOT audience find the above useful.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. Have a happy and safe weekend.

I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 08/27/2009 | 08/28/2009 | 08/31/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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