Week 11 (Nov. 16, 2011)

Enter November’s third week and some great titles too:

  • Justice League hits issue #3 and with it comes the advent of the Mighty Amazon, Wonder Woman.  This series is heating up and falling into its tread.  I will say that it has its virtues as well as its detractions.  Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee, there can’t be too much to complain about, right?  Unlike some of his other projects such as the seminal Aquaman that he is launching presently and the incomparable Green Lantern run that he’s taking into its eight year of excellence, the characterizations in this series falls flat more often than they should. He’s making Hal seem petty and whiny, his Batman leaves a lot to be desired, Superman is just AWFUL and the intro of Wonder Woman was shaky.  The backdrop story is strange, yet interesting.  And the barrage of parademons from portals around the world is something that will make any fan boy quiver with anticipation.  There is great promise in the series, I think that the creative team needs to realize it and focus.  If anything, I think that Johns who is a real trooper putting out three books along with his bureaucratic duties at DC needs to get another writer on board if only to tell him when his dialogue sounds just awkward.
  • Green Lantern Corps #3 was as good as ever.  Slowly things are starting to come together, and this series is falling into the successful paradigm of what the relaunch should be.  Granted the Green Lantern titles aren’t rebooting, but in the case of all three they are taking it up a notch or two and presenting edge of your seat storytelling that game change the GL line, and Green Lantern Corps is close to the front.  In this a new enemy is revealed and the source of their power, which strikes close to home for the Emerald Ringslingers, is brought to ‘light’, setting up a potential perennial enemy for the Corps to go up against that will have a place in their canon for years to come, alongside the Darkstars, Controllers, Red Lanterns, Sinestro Corps, etc.  The ripples of the storyline we are watching unfold before us will stretch on for decades.
  • I gave Scott Snyder some crap in my review of issue #1 of Batman and that was unfair, but in the spirit of fairness, I think he should have laid some bread crumbs earlier to the plot that he’s got going on in issues #2 and 3, because this issue blew the roof off. THIS is what Batman should be and what Snyder was doing in Detective Comics before this.  I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate to drive this point home. Snyder is a master of creating a mythology and integrating it as if it was always there before he came onboard.  He’s done it again with the Court of Owls.  He’s reaped fruits off it while retroactively planting the seed.  That is BOLD And takes skill.  And he has also continued in the glorious mission of populating the history of Gotham’s past that has been the labors of great writers of late including Grant Morrison, Kyle Higgins, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Justin Gray.  This book also was not “rebooted” but shook up the status quo and set about making a new one.

    They're In Our HOUSES!!!

  • Catwoman #3 was came full circle to the beginning of the the first issue and explained what the first sequence of the series portended and where Selina’s past behavior has gotten her.  It is by no means wrapping anything up, but has given her A LOT to think about as she readies herself for the incredible obstacles writer Judd Winick has in store for her.  And as Winick has been so good about doing throughout the series we are front row to the conflicted self analysis she goes through in her mind as the panels progress.  Great series so far, and as the last panel of this issue promises, IT AIN’T NEARLY OVER YET!!!
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #3 did a great many things in not so many pages.  It wasn’t the longest book, but it felt like it was with all Scott Lobdell accomplished in his narrative. Through the dereliction of a transcendental being’s duties we are given sordid peaks into the most cherished memories of the three protagonists which they offer up as collateral to go about their mission.  Through these glimpses of their past we see quick vignettes of who they are in moments that display both their greatest flaws, but also their innate strengths.  And you also get to see them temple raid, dodging traps and fighting unholy monsters of the nether realms for a very surprising item.  Maybe the series isn’t perfect, but this one is pretty damn close.

    Rocafort's Red Hood vs. the All-Caste in "Red Hood and the Outlaws #3"

  • DC Presents: Deadman #3  was good.  Paul Jenkins renders the character well and the writing is snappy, however it seems like its writing itself into a corner.  Perhaps that is the reason for the strange changes to his title, i.e. him not being motivated by Rama Kushna to find his killer but rather find karmic harmony, or perhaps at the end they will give him his own series.  Who knows, but this issue kind of felt like an interim issue. Nothing super amazing happened and it didn’t seem to facilitate anything larger happening in plot, maybe it did and the next issue will reveal this, but all in all it was just ok.
  • Legion of Superheroes #3 was also an interim issue this month, really only focusing on the Legionaires on Panoptes fighting the aptly named Daxamite, Renegade.  Other Legionaires dispatched to Daxam also are given some insight as to how Renegade can operate outside of the protective atmosphere of his home world. It was a good issue, despite it really only being a slugfest interlaced with cryptic statements about the enigmatic villain.
  • Supergirl #3 was decent, although still portraying a headstrong, impulsive Supergirl, and not in a good way.  Hopefully at some point she will neutralize, as will her cousin, who at least in this series seems sane and grounded.  It was interesting as the antagonist of the series thus far has reared his head and promises from what we’ve seen to perhaps be Kara’s own personal Lex Luthor.  It was a good issue, but I miss the old series where Kara had established a life on Earth and a civilian identity.  I know at some point this series will get there, but I am impatient.
  • Nightwing #3 packed in all the poignance and nostalgia that its last three issues have and brought us closer to the explanation of what it was all about.  The tragic past of Dick Grayson is laid out beautifully by Kyle Higgins, and branches off from Gotham, giving the former Robin his own space again to establish his identity outside of the City and the shadow of the Bat.  Never really a Dick Grayson fan, this series has reinvigorated my interest in the character.
  • Wonder Woman has continued to be a surprise. Like Supergirl above, I am ill at ease about the drastic changes in the character that I have come to look on as “fact.”  Perhaps the greatest of which is that according to Brian Azzarello, she was not formed out of clay as she has always been, but rather is the daughter of  Zeus.  Perhaps its a good thing to be shaken out of complacency and perhaps it will facilitate something greater, but at this point I am still unsure. But regardless Azzarello writes a good story and Cliff Chiang draws it beautifully.
  • Birds of Prey is becoming something of a let down.  I am not getting invested in the characters as I hoped I would.  The only thing that makes it a “birds” team is the retention of Black Canary and the introduction of the character, Starling, who as of yet I don’t give a shit about.  Poison Ivy being on board was an interesting touch, but not really working either.  Katana would be cool, but for the fact that the rest of the team are a mess.  This could be the last issue I get. We’ll see how I feel in December. I may see the story arc to the end, but that is up in the air.
  • The second issue of the anthology book My Greatest Adventure was equally as good.  There is little to say about the series that hasn’t been already stated in the initial synopsis. Robotman is an existential story of deus ex machina and a robot man kicking ass.  Garbage Man continues on the path of a Swamp Thing-esque character composed of refuse trying to get justice and stop the corrupt company that created him.  Tanga is a weird space opera of a hot, ditzy yet profoundly sarcastic chick trying to figure out how to save a planet she’s marooned on.  All in all pretty good, if not avant-garde at times.

    "Captain Victory #1" Chen variant cover

  • Another tangent series of the stunning Kirby Genesis came out in the title of Captain Victory, and I have to proclaim it from the mountain tops.  I had no knowledge of him before Kirby Genesis and I have to say that what I have seen of him in that series made me think he was a premiere douchebag.  This first issue proved once again that I am impulsive and quick to judge.  Captain Victory is an INCREDIBLY complex character with a very excellent pantheon of supporting characters backing him up in his galactic mission.  This first issue was perfect in its conception, putting you in the middle of a struggle that has been going on for many, many years, cluing us into what exactly it is all about through context clues laced in clever dialogue, and utilizing well timed flashback sequences to reveal the startling secrets that link Victory to his dark enemies and what fuels the fires of his ardor.  This is a Kirby comic, in both look and feel.  This is the greatest praise anyone can give.
This month gave me some exceptional moments in favorite titles as well as a few surprises.  Definitely pick up Captain Victory if you get a chance.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Batman #3: Drawned by Greg Capullo, Colored by FCO, Inked by Jonathan Glapion

Red Hood and the Outlaws #3: Drawned by Kenneth Rocafort, Colored and Inked by Blond

Captain Victory #1: Variant Cover by Sean Chen

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