Though the week was bigger, here are the six best stories that came out that week:
- Green Lantern #4 resolves the incredible ending of the previous issue. We are shown how Hal escapes the Yellow Battery and more importantly we are given a fuller picture of what Sinestro’s return to his homeworld, Korugar, really means. We were given a small hint with the reception he got from the mysterious Korugaran woman, Arsona, in issue #3. In this issue, however, we find out who Arsona is and what lies in their past. This is a “Sinestro” issue. This issue is, if memory serves, the first time Geoff Johns has dealt with the fallen Lantern’s history on Korugar in depth. He’s told us what Sinestro did, but not what it meant. This issue was incredibly telling for the character. Sinestro could be one of the greatest DC characters of all time. Being able to see him again in the limelight (Is that a pun? I can’t tell.) is a true treat. The end of the issue is almost as incredible as the last issues, but certainly equally as tantalizing.
- Batman & Robin #4 picks up with Bruce and Damian held captive and culminates to their escape. The aftermath is really where the issue thrives. Very few times will I say that action bits were the boring part, but I’m going to in this instance. The tension between Damian and Bruce comes to a head in the aftermath and where Tomasi makes it really work is that the reader can understand Bruce’s perspective and respect it, but at the same time Damian isn’t portrayed as an out-and-out psychopath, and we can sympathize with him as well. He has some really genuine moments of humanity that shine through the petulance and sociopathic behavior. Its truly a tragedy to see the gulf growing between Bruce and Damian, but that strife is clearly where Tomasi intends to insert the villain who can offer Damian the devil’s deal he so desperately desires. The question remains as to whether he’ll take it.
- Batwoman #4 is the penultimate issue in the opening “Hydrology” arc. This issue does many things in concert with one another, and stylistically is a genuine work of art. We see the consequences of Kate pushing her cousin Betty to the breaking point. We see Kate utilize her understanding of the underworld to reach a breakthrough in her case. We see the lengths and dirty tricks Agent Chase is willing to go to to accomplish her mission. The story is delightful, but as ever the art style is what truly engages a person. The opening scene juxtaposed beautifully colored panels of Bette Kane kicking ass in her Flamebird costume with black and white ink washes of Maggie and Kate making love. There is something about the unknowing of Kate amid her cousin going rogue that seems like it will be important down the road. It makes me hungry for the last issue. I can hardly wait.
- Batgirl #4 caps off the Mirror story arc. By the end I really didn’t care much about the villain or his plot. The thing that kept the title interesting was Barbara Gordon herself. This series has been driven in my opinion by the bits with her not in costume, or the introspective moments where she is in costume, but contemplating how far she’s come. The ending of this issue has an interesting twist that already has me asking several fundamental questions about the continuity. This title so far is the only Batbook that deviates from the continuity, as evinced by Barbara not being in a wheelchair.
- Superboy #4 is a turning point. Superboy squares off against those closest to him and allies himself with those that hold his leash. Revelations come out about Dr. Caitlin Fairchild, aka “Red.” He is given temporary leave to see the world. In his journey through the outside world he is given a chance to glance humanity close up and really figure out who he is. He is angry and resentful, but there is also signs of budding humanity and morality that sprout up from his interactions. Writer Scott Lobdell is truly taking a raw character and refining him in noticeable, relevant ways, making him more and more of a relatable figure. The course is set for a clash with the Teen Titans and I am curious what he will be like after this confrontation.
- The Shade #3 takes the titular character, aka Richard Swift, to Australia. Something James Robinson does well is the creation of really engaging tertiary characters. In this issue he introduces an Aborigine stage magician named Diablo Blacksmith, whose appearance is very short, but memorable nonetheless. The issue is kind of vague in what the Shade is working toward, but definitely interesting. Shade goes up against some D-List Australian villains and a Aboriginal god called the “Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja.” One of the things that this issue did well was show the moral ambiguity of the subject. Pretty much everyone he comes into contact with questions his intentions. It is important to remember that the Shade was a villain and never admitted to being anything else.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Batwoman #4: Art by J.H. Williams III, Colored by Dave Stewart
Superboy #4: Drawned by R.B. Silva, Colored by Richard & Tanya Horie, Inked by Rob Lean