Week 29 (March 21, 2012)

  • Batman #7 was INCREDIBLE!!!  Writer Scott Snyder is swiftly rising through the ranks of my favorite writers.  This first run of Batman

    Foreshadowing?

    will surely be what cements him as a supporting pillar in the future of comics as a viable entertainment medium.  Not only does this issue explain a burning question that goes back half a year to issue #2, it also explains and validates the events of the first issue, which if anybody remembers, I panned pretty bad.  (I have shamed myself greatly.)  I feel that the revelations of this book and the personal sentiments put forth by both Bruce and Dick show a pinpoint turn in the tone from that first issue.  So much of what Snyder tells us here genuinely game changes EVERYTHING you know about Batman throughout his entire published history.  Yet, these changes seem natural and almost like they have always been there,  just like the fabled Court he now finds himself assailed by.  If you only buy one comic this week, make it Batman #7.  You’ll be glad you did.

  • Justice League #7 was TERRIBLE!!!  You may ask yourself why I even bother.  I don’t know.  I’m feeling like I’m being blackmailed with Pandora, the resolution to the Darkseid’s daughter revelation, and the new SHAZAM back up feature.  So why was it so bad?  Okay . . . There was no real threat in this one.  The premise was ridiculous.  They did some good characterization of Steve Trevor . . . sort of.  They drove home that the world thinks the Justice League are awesome, but all Geoff Johns really accomplished was making them seem like a pack of fratboys and prima donnas.  I think the real problem with the genius of Geoff Johns working on this title, and a sign of perhaps he only weakness (again this is just a theory): he is sooo good at homing in on the innate qualities and tones of his subjects and attuning the books to those qualities that when it comes to ensemble books like this where those disparate characters are thrown together, he freaks out and just turns them into caricatures of themselves.  Green Lantern basically is eleven years old in this.  He has no semblance of ever having to make any competent decisions, which at his core he has always been able to do.  Flash, one of the smartest men alive, is just moronic in this series.  Batman is Batman. On this point I am neutral.  I didn’t mind Wonder Woman as much, but also didn’t care for her much either.  Just bush league comic writing.  And the aforementioned SHAZAM backup?  Even worse!  I love Gary Frank’s artwork.  He’s awesome.  However, on the writing side Johns’ introduction of Billy Batson, who is supposed to be a ‘Little Orphan Annie’-esque forsaken child with a heart of gold was disgusting.  He completely missed the mark on this one. The point of Billy and Captain Marvel is that both represent an idealism and unshakable belief that the world is good and that good can overcome evil with determination and virtue.  Johns has opted to make him into a two-faced, sniveling little brat.  I feel bad that I even had to think this, but when I read this version of Billy, I felt he should be moved from the orphanage to an animal shelter, so euthanasia would become an option.   Taking a step back from personalizing it on just Billy, I think perhaps this backup feature should be euthanized.  Just a thought.
  • Nightwing #7 was exceptional and didn’t let down after reading its brother book, Batman.  Since issue one, we’ve seen Saiko run rampage through Dick’s life, both personal and professional.  We’ve seen his connection to Dick’s past and the twisted web he has woven in Dick’s present.  The dominoes have been set and this issue drops a bomb, literally and metaphorically.   The full truth of Saiko’s psychosis is laid bare and the the truth of his hatred of Dick explained.  At that moment, my hair stood on end and I had to suppress a giddy squeal of dorkish delight.  Like Scott Snyder, Nightwing writer Kyle Higgins gets it.  He clearly understands the character and what makes a good Dick Grayson story, finishing this arc beautifully and sticking a 10 point landing.
  • Green Lantern Corps #7 was an interim issue.  I liked it much more than the past two issues.  It advanced the stories thus far and really focused in on John Stewart.  John did a very extreme thing and this issue really shows how he’s dealing with that.  He says he’s not ashamed of what he did and  that he would do it again, and yet he has failed to admit to it and lied about what actually happened.  He explains it away, but Tomasi does a wonderful job of making even that seem questionable.  John is a guy that has destroyed planets and taken countless lives, and his reaction to events like this are very poignant, because he isn’t an amoral person.  Far from it.  Definitely a well written, thought provoking issue.
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited #2 kept the momentum going and the story evolving.  The inaugural issue last month set the hook for larger plot points in Batman Beyond as well as reintroducing those left unresolved from the pre-Reboot series.  This issue skirts all of those, introducing a new focal point for a two part arc, showing us that the larger points are going to be simmering for awhile, stringing us along for the ride.  I for one am sitting back and taking in the sights.  Writer Adam Beechen knows the TV series in and out and is reintroducing characters and premises from it along with fan favorite elements from the main Batman continuity going on currently.  The plot is rich as New York cheesecake, and as with last issue, supplemented by the wonderful artwork of 90’s Batman alum, Norm Breyfogle.  In the Justice League Beyond segment writer/artists Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs do the same as their opposite number in the first segment, bringing in all manner of cool material from the series as well as material from the larger DCU.  The issue begins on the island that in the coming months will play host to the series The War That Time Forgot, and references Mayor Luthor, as well as many others.  Following up on the reintroduction of one of my favorite villainous organizations, Kobra, this issue adds great mystique to the plot, while exploring one of the shocking developments from last issue.  The story from the dynamic duo of Nguyen and Fridolfs is equally only by their incredible art.  This is one of my favorite series, no question.  Basically my adolescence in a $4 comic book.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #7 finished off the China expedition, in what I thought was a slightly anti-climatic fashion, but in classic Legion style revolved on several other plots circulating throughout, not least of which is the Dominators counter move to the Legionnaires’ foiling of their invasion of the United Planets.  Take it from me, the implications proposed by the Dominators have incredible potential.  Also a familiar character turned new Legionnaire makes her first appearance as a member of the team.  Master scribe, Paul Levitz, writing, Francis Portela illustrating, there is nothing else that needs to be said.
  • DC Presents: Challengers of the Unknown #7 was a decent book.  In my opinion it seems a bit rushed.  They are blowing through the plot and not really giving any gravitas to what is happening and or explaining why we should be invested in the characters.  There is a lot of potential in what they are doing.  They begin the issue with the summoning of a rival deity to the reverend Rama Kushna, ancient edifices are opening up heralding prophesies revealing themselves.  There is so much they can do and they aren’t taking the time to do it.  The previous Deadman arc took five issues and really got down to the meat of the story of Deadman.  This series is trying to do in three issues what that series did in five.  I anticipate the next month’s conclusion, but expect to be left with unanswered questions.
  • Supergirl #7 is getting there.  This story topically worked, wrapping up this second arc featuring a threat linked to the last days of Krypton, an apocalyptic proving ground, and Kara rising to the challenge.  It was a good stepping stone, but to me at least, it didn’t suck the reader in.  I do feel that its moving in the direction of getting Kara in a position to start a human life on Earth like her cousin Clark has done.
  • Catwoman #7 was slightly lackluster as well.  She stole some things, but overall it was kind of feeling like deja vu.  Selina has a new fence that is calling her on her bad behavior, which is a good start in switching things up. Det. Alvarez is starting to get more aggressive in his hunting for Catwoman.  Judd Winick is progressing the story, but this one didn’t blow my skirts up.  I will say that  until I looked at the splash page, I didn’t know that the artist had changed.  Guillem March has left, at least for this issue, and is replaced by the very similar, luscious work of Adriana Melo.  I thought March’s pencils were very unique when I first saw them.  He’s got company, because Melo is equally as evocative with her lines.  This part was a delight to look at.  Also, to whomever called this series a “chauvanistic male fantasy” when it first came out, I would advise them to check out the manties on the dude on page two.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #7was a revelation.  I have been enjoying the series since it came out and writer Scott Lobdell has taken the psychopathic ex-Robin in a very interesting direction, entangling him in a web of supernatural/metaphysical intrigue.  Apropos, this issue deals with him confronting an old acquaintance/lover from his days training with the All-Caste, who reveals the history of the war between the All-Caste and the Untitled.  This part of the plot is entrancing, but even more so because of how Scott Lobdell portrays it’s effects on Jason Todd and how he chooses to respond to the revelations.  There is a reason Jason was brought back from the dead and Lobdell makes brilliant use of it.  Kenneth Rocafort once again provides gorgeous art that accentuates the plot and draws the reader from panel to panel completely independent of the writing which itself is stunning.

    The Untitled Birth

  • Wonder Woman #7 is a continuing climb to greatness.  I really am enjoying the direction that Brian Azzarello is taking Diana.  He is reaffirming her Greek origins and the aspects of her that are excellent, while at the same time also holding on to some her lesser qualities, but having her address them rather than fall into them blindly.   On the part of the series’ mythological roots, nothing is more discordant in Greek mythology than the interactions and personal lives of the gods.  This series utilizes this facet expertly, making it a modern day soap opera of petulant, bored, and shortsighted  deities.  Diana knows this and uses it to her advantage to try and do good and help people.  However, as I stated before, she has often been portrayed as a very impulsive, sometimes quick tempered person.  In this she learns the fate of male Amazons and in her hastiness to adjudicate the issue, is shown how her rash behavior is counter-intuitive to her goals.  I like this, because it makes her character feel genuine, yet adds a culpability that many times she lacks.  This issue also features the return of series artist, Cliff Chiang.  I am happy too see his return as I love his work, but am saddened too, because Tony Akins’ art was beginning to grow on me.  It does look like Akins will be back later to do a few issues, which is welcome news.  On the whole, this series is a road map to a better, brighter Wonder Woman.
  • Blue Beetle #7 was a good first issue in the new arc which finds Jaime running away to New York to find a metahuman to advise him on his new life.  What he finds in the Big Apple is interesting, but I am reserving judgement until I read further in.   Series artist Ig Guara is replaced by Marcio Takara and his artwork is a little better in my humble opinion.  Its a good issue, but I am still geeked for the crossover with Green Lantern: New Guardians in the ninth issue, with the invasion of Odym by the Reach.
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #5 reached its penultimate chapter in this new DC iteration.  This series is hard to peg and I like that.  Things I thought were going to be hugely terrible are actually rather incredible and other things I thought benign are actually very apocalyptic.  However you decide to view it, this series is playing for keeps.  There is an end in sight.  Nick Spencer has taken everything that all the original series from the 60’s onward have been about and worked towards and zeroes in on a logical, inescapable conclusion.  Just reading this issue gave me goosebumps.  If you aren’t in the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents already I would suggest getting the first trade paperback and waiting for the second series to come out in graphic novel so you can experience the whole thing in one long, continuous stretch of epic storytelling.  I said that the story is coming to a seemingly finite ending, but there was a backup story in this issue, written by Michael Uslan, which seems very “situation normal”, making is seem almost that the series could go on.  Perhaps that’s indicative of how covert the things happening in the main series are, but it does leave me with hope that the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents might go on even after the wrap up of next issue.  Perchance to dream.
  • Silver Star #4 was outstanding, taking a very roundabout way of fleshing out the character of Silver Star.  I have praised its brother series in the “Kirby Genesis” line, Captain Victory, for really hammering in why its eponymous hero matters.  Sterling Gates has done a phenomenal job in that series doing that in a conversational, yet succinct way.  In this issue of Silver Star writer Jai Nitz does precisely that with his equally eponymous charge.  At the end of last issue, Morgan Miller aka Silver Star, who has been made to be indestructible, is hit with a folded-entropy weapon which for all intents and purposes removes him from reality.  The only person who can save him now is Tracy Coleman, his childhood friend who exists outside of space and time.  Emerging from her protective pocket dimensional sarcophagus, she emerges on a world where nearly everyone on the planet is a superhero, and seeking out Morgan comes to certain realizations about why a world full of Silver Star-like people, but no actual Silver Star is an imperfect world, contrary to appearances.  Just a damn good issue that doubles my love of the incredible Kirby creation.

    A World Without Silver Star

  • Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 was one that rife with possibilities and I enjoyed it.  I think that depending on what writer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds does in upcoming issues this could be a new Air, or Unwritten.  I am excited at the possibilities.  The cliffsnoted premise is that of the supernatural forces in New Orleans, werewolves, vampires, undead, etc, being ruled over by a mid-19th century Voodoo queen named Dominique Laveau.  In the modern era her descendant has the same name and, unbeknownst to her, a link to that destiny of her forebearer.  It had a chaotic first issue, but all the pieces of an incredible series are there.  I would suggest people read it, as it could be the first step towards a series that will innovate the Vertigo imprint.

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

Illustration Credits:

Batman  #7: Drawn by Greg Capullo, Colored by FCO, Inked by Jonathan Glapion

DC Universe Presents #7: Drawn by Jerry Ordway, Colored by Tony Avina, Inked by Ray McCarthy

Red Hood and the Outlaws #7: Art by Kenneth Rocafort, Colored by Blond

Silver Star #4: Art by Johnny Desjardins, Colored by Vinicius Andrade

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2 thoughts on “Week 29 (March 21, 2012)

  1. PJH says:

    Is the fact that Geoff Johns is doing so much affecting his ability to work depth into the characters of JLA? I’ve noticed that when writers have too much on their plate they tend to let some things slide in the titles they are not heavily invested in. It happened when Bendis was writing a ton for Marvel and he kind of fell apart. Hopefully, Johns is smart enough to take a step back when his writing starts to get lazy.

    • I want to agree with you, but for the fact that his other two titles are just awesome. I really am pissed at him for doing what he’s doing, because its not even that they are good concepts that he’s not doing well. The things he is doing in “Justice League” are HORRIBLE!!! Billy Batson is perhaps the most absurd casualty of whatever the hell agenda he’s running. Its just the opposite of good.

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