Week 16 (Dec. 21, 2011)

This was a week that I anticipated for a long time.  There were quite a few must reads that came out, so I won’t keep you all in suspense:

  • Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes is something I have been waiting for for MONTHS!!!Batman Inc. is a series that had consistently delivered  month after month until it got postponed in late summer due to the impending reboot.  This issue finishes out

    Batgirl and friend get inducted into St. Hadrians.

    the last two issues of the first arc.  The first eight issues, along with the Batman Returns one shot, introduce the world wide cabal called “Leviathan.”  What this special, oversized issue does is reveal the enigmatic villain and what Leviathan has been working toward.  By the end we know what the second half of the series is going to be and that we can expect it mid year in 2012.  The two issues presented in this book include Batgirl (Stephanie Browne) in a British finishing school that is a front for a Leviathan assassin academy for girls (That said, don’t you all want to read it?), and the other the long awaited confrontation with the elusive Doctor Daedalus.  The one thing I will comment on about the first chapter in the Special is Grant Morrison’s choice of teachers.  Though obviously its not them, the teachers bear striking resemblances to Madonna (circa 90’s), Rihanna, Katy Perry, and

    The Teachers of St. Hadrians in "Batman Inc: Leviathan Strikes!"

    Lady Gaga.  Interesting.  The second chapter is the confrontation with Otto Netz that has been in the works since issue #3.   It is all encompassing and utilizes almost every aspect of the Batman Inc. institution Morrison has set up over the past year and a half.  The end is a shocker and I’ll leave off on talking about it for those who care to read it.  What I will say is that this title is very raw Morrison.  On his initial run on Batman between 2006-2008 his Batman was more straightforward.  When he transitioned to his Batman & Robin series he had a little more leeway to introduce the more bizarre plot points that make his writing so fascinating.   In Batman Inc., especially with the plots involving Doctor Daedalus, the story is downright psychedelic and pure Morrison.  I am greatly anticipating the continuation of the new chapter coming in 2012.  Those who haven’t read it, hear me now but believe me later, READ IT . . .

    What exactly DID Damian do?

  • Green Lantern Corps #4 goes off with a bang.  The nature of the green energy powered “Keepers” is revealed as well as their connection to the Corps.  This isn’t a civil affair either.  There is death, hostages, and torture.  One thing I will give Tomasi, he is an uninhibited writer.  There is some really harsh things in this issue and some of these acts are perpetrated by our protagonists.  The issue also features prominently the appearance of another DC character from outside the title.  I am really excited about where this is going.
  • Catwoman #4 was a little tragic this month.  Selina really loved Lola.  Her guilt is palpable in this issue, and really it was her fault.  As a result of her bad decisions someone she loves is dead.  She gets this lesson, but still seems to not get the hint that her actions have consequences.  The issue also introduces Det. Alvarez, a handsome GCPD officer who asks too many questions.  Its going to be interesting to see what Winick has in store for him and Selina.  Guillem March continues to draw the title in a very sensual manner.  The job she takes at issue’s end is as inadvisable as ever, but the consequences are certainly electrifying . . .
  • Justice League #4 boasts a lot of things: Aquaman, Cyborg, and DARKSEID!!!  If you’ve read my previous reviews, all the previous complaints stand.  Aquaman seems like a douche bag and makes a first impression that would not “make friends OR influence people.”   How IS THIS POSSIBLE?!  His Green Lantern series is legendary because he can write the character better than perhaps anyone alive, his Aquaman is one of the best series out right now, his Flash work was quintessential.  How is he writing such flat, abrasive versions of these characters?  Jim Lee’s art is great and the action is plotted exquisitely.  So here is where I am terrified . . . I love the New Gods.  I love Jack Kirby’s work.  Have I made that abundantly clear?  I am terrified of how badly Johns is going to write such an incredible character.  He’s got the talent.  The aforementioned series prove that.  The four issues of this new Justice League shows how badly he can do it too. And he only has the Great Darkseid in only two issues, which means he’s gonna have to do some cramming which bodes even worse for the proposed presentation.  Scared. Very scared.

    Great Darkseid from "Justice League #4" drawn by Jim Lee

  • DC Universe Presents: Deadman #4 was an interesting issue.  The entire piece takes place on a roller coast with Boston pow-wowing with the Son of Morning to discover what his trials have all been about.   The story is interesting and the Son of Morning especially so.  He is helpful, but he is still a transcendental being, and he has a price.  However, the clues he gives Boston as well as the insight on Rama Kushna seem to be on the level.  Its so hard to tell who to trust.  Next issue is the last in the Deadman arc and I am a-quiver with anticipation as to how it ends.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #4 gets to an interesting place.  The first encounter with the Untitled occurs and Starfire gets a very interesting visitor while she waits on the boys.  There is a lot of exposition on both the Untitled and the character called Crux, and there is a lot of action on both those fronts as well.  So far there has been mostly story issues and action issues in the other series of the Reboot, but this one does a great deal of both simultaneously.  I have to say that I am a fan.  Lobdell yet again hits a home run.  Looking forward to seeing the fate of Starfire after this issue.  THAT is the pertinent question . . .
  • Nightwing #4 took a break from what it had been doing to host the second half of the Barbara/Dick tête-à-tête that was begun in Batgirl #3.  This time Barbara is the interloper barging in and making a nuisance of herself in the life Dick’s made for himself.  The back and forth between them is very flirtatious, and not fair from his perspective as she has no intention of following up on it, and both know it.  As ever though it is entertaining to watch.  Perhaps down the road they could get back together, but right now her presence is a hindrance to what he is trying to work out with his childhood friend, Raya.   The issue does come through at the very end with a revelation that brings us back to the mystery of Haly’s Circus.

    Lightning Lass from "Legion of Super-heroes #4" drawn by Francis Portella

  • Legion of Superheroes #4 features the conclusion to the Dominator incursion into U.P. space near the planet Panoptes.  The manner in which writer Paul Levitz has the Legionnaires on Panoptes defuse the Daxamite renegade, who is aptly code named “Renegade”, is very excellent, because established Legionnaire, Element Lad, has the rookie, Chemical Kid, whose powers are similar to his own use them to take out the bad guy, or at least neutralize him.  A rampaging man with the power of Superman and none of his restraint, and Element Lad lets the new kid be the one to do the honors, instilling him with a great deal of confidence.  If he can do that, everything else should be a breeze, right?  The rest of the issue is clean up and patting each other on the back.  All in all, a really great first storyline from the master Legion writer.
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 was on par with its usual brand of excellence.  When NoMAN wakes up in his new body he interrogates the chief and he and the other agents at base get the full disclosure on the war with Subterraneans, how it began, what was hidden from all of them over the years, and we are told who the real mastermind is behind the calamity in the first issue.  What shocked me was how candid the issue was.  Whereas I thought the advertisement on the cover and the dramatic image accompanying it were just that, dramatics to get people to buy the issue.  Nope.  They straight up tell you what happens at the end on the front cover.  How’s THAT for full disclosure?  But taken into account that I thought they were bluffing, I was still surprised and I can’t wait to see the aftermath . . .

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

Illustration Credits:

Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes Special: Art by Cameron Stewart & Chris Burnham, Colored by Nathan Fairbairn

Justice League #4: Drawn by Jim Lee, Colored by Alex Sinclair & Gabe Eltaeb, Inked by Scott Williams

Legion of Super-Heroes #4: Art by Francis Portella, colored by Javier Mena & Santiago Arcas

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