Week 30 (March 28, 2012)

  • Aquaman #7 was really short this week.  Apart from the first four pages, nothing really happened.  It did however reintroduce a classic Aquaman character and sow the seeds of mystery regarding the group referred to in the the title of this new arc “The Others.”  With old ties to Aquaman, two of them make the scene, raising the question of who they are and what they want now that they have come back into Arthur’s life.  Ivan Reis continues to render of the incredible scripts of Geoff Johns with consummate mastery.  Johns himself keeps the reader on their toes with incredible storylines that seemingly come out of left field with innovative, poignant storytelling.  This is Johns and Reis at their best.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #7  seems to finish the “Toxin” storyline, but for a serious loose end at its closing.  Its more probable that the first arc of this incredible Batman series will wrap with next month’s eighth issue, before May’s “Night of the Owls” mega event.  This issue has Batman’s “Final Battle” with Bane and a representation of Batman facing his greatest fear, which they posit as his fight with Bane, the guy who snapped his spine like a twig in the early 90’s.  As ever, Batman does rally, with a little help from his friends that is, and in the mean time we are also shown a glimpse at the mystery behind the White Rabbit.  I will reassert my opinion that David Finch is a Batman artist that will go down in the annals as one of the all-time greats, and as a writer (or cowriter) he will do just as well.  I have very much enjoyed this series and its predecessor.
  • Flash #7 picked up at the death defying moment on which it left off last month and didn’t disappoint for its duration.  Just a beautiful, lyric depiction of the Fastest Man Alive.  With the limitations and catastrophic consequences of his powers revealed, Flash now has a great deal of responsibility and culpability in the most minute of his actions.  This could, dare I say it, be the best Flash ever.  I may say it.  Geoff Johns may have a run for his money in what writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are doing with the Scarlet Speedster.  The art is seminal, the storyline and writing are quintessential.  Just capital ‘Q’ Quality in this title.  Also I have to say that I am pulling for Patty Spivot and Barry Allen.  I know Flash purists will disagree since Iris and Barry have made lives with one another for thirty some years, but I really like Patty and seeing her and Barry together is really cute and different.  This is one drastic change DC has undertaken that I can get on board with, because they are making it work and doing so in a thoughtful way.  Just watch, though.  Now that I’ve said that, they’ll pull the rug out from under the whole thing and hook him back up with Iris.  I hope not.  What can I say, I am a romantic and like to root for an underdog.  Plus she has glasses.

    Flash and Patty Spivot

  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #7 was exceptional.  A lot occurred and was accomplished within its pages.  The archangel Invictus’ back story is fully revealed, as well as his hatred of lanterns of all colors, and of course the dark history of Larfleeze and the Vega system.  I have to say that I have always liked Larfleeze, even when he is being a complete jerk, but this issue really made me hate him.  Perhaps there is a slight skew to what Invictus said.  Most likely not.  The New Guardians make a good showing in this issue and against all odds, the mission statement of the series reaches fruition: all the disparate Lanterns from the varied corps come together and actually have cemented a bond between themselves.  Its really a poignant scene to see them battered and beaten, side by side with each other watching the back of people they are supposed to hate.  The issue was amazing and left off at an interesting decision which is posed them.
  • Superman #7 inaugurated a new story arc and consequently a new creative team as well. Keith Giffen cowrites with Dan Jurgens, who provides art with the help of Jesus Merino on the finishes.  This is the Superman I have been waiting for.  It’s crisp and clean.  He’s not a jackass or a super-jerk.  Conversely, he’s not overly nemish either.  Giffen and Jurgens treat him with respect and reverence, like the Superman of old that I for one was raised on in the early 90’s.  So I am glad that that horrible experiment at the beginning of the Reboot is over and we have a valid rendition of an American icon.  Truly, treating him any other way is unpatriotic.  Also exciting is the entrance of one of my favorite villains from the W.I.L.Dcats series, Lord Helspont.  He was so amazing in the original stories, and seeing him folded seamlessly into the DCU is amazing, but especially seeing him come on the scene and Superman being the first DC character to face him is phenomenal.  Its kind of like wish fulfillment too.  Like seeing Captain Planet fighting Skeletor or Batman fighting Ernst Stavros Blofeld.  I loved this issue and I think that this new Superman arc is going to be the one that really launches the series into what is should be.
  • Teen Titans #7 was, as ever, a masterpiece, working toward the reconciliation of the groups classic roster, i.e. the inclusion of Superboy.   Scott Lobdell has danced around several complex characters’ origins and tantalized his readers with slow revelations and hints as to the nature of these people.  In this issue, that is perhaps the most compelling aspect.  And for those who are in the know I have three words: DANNY THE STREET!!!  If you know what that is, you clearly share my enthusiasm.  If not, well read the issue and you will get a glimpse at the awesome that those three words embody.  This issue also harkens to the prophesied “Culling” that has been mentioned frequently in both this series, and its brother title, Superboy.  This is an issue not to be missed in a series that is equally essential to one’s list.

    Hark the Harvester

  • Justice League Dark #7 was intriguing.  Not up to its usual standard, but that could be its linking to a ridiculous plot line spawned from a ridiculous series.  Still though, this issue did illustrate a great deal of characterization of the “Justice League Darkers” as well as the nature and weaknesses of their abilities.  Zatanna and Rac Shade the Changing Man, among the forefront of members affected by the vampiric uprising.  Peter Milligan pulls off the issue with great skill despite the lack of decent material given him.  Series artist Mikel Janin is absent this issue and replaced by Daniel Sampere, who does a good job filling in for the absent maestro, but I did still miss Janin’s lovely art.
  • And we come to I, Vampire #7. Yet again, a travesty of a comic.  Horribly written and not fun to look at.  I will amend that last bit slightly, because though the artwork was tedious for most of the issue, but for a two page spread on pages six and seven that were done in a woodblock fashion to depict a flashback to ancient lore.  This was perhaps the only good thing.  I give credit to artist Andrea Sorrentino for that, if nothing else.  Joshua Hale Fialkov’s writing is atrocious.  I said before that the language used was horribly inappropriate and I repeat that objection.  Submitted here are a couple of examples of the centuries old vampire queen, Mary’s dialogue: “Hey! C’mon guys, we had a whole, like . . . plan here.” and “You guys’re all souped up and magicky and crazy.  What the hell is going on . . . ?”  Okaaaaaaay . . . So a vampire who’s been alive for over two hundred years and attained a level of empiricism over hordes of vampires is talking like a Valley Girl?  I’ll throw your own words back at you, Mr. Fialkov.  “What the HELL is going on . . . ?”  I think that is all that one needs say or ask about this terrible title.
  • Legion: Secret Origin #6 concludes the miniseries, rounding out the representation of what writer Paul Levitz wants to achieve in the current series he is writing on the team.  It had a slightly anti-climatic follow through.  On the other hand the revelation of the enigmatic villain’s identity at the end may portend his appearance in the future of the main Legion of Super-Heroes title.
  • Fury of Firestorm #7 is as incredible as ever.  This issue goes further into the sordid politics of the Firestorm Arms Race.   After facing Pozhar last issue Jason goes his way and Ronnie his.  Admittedly, Jason gets the better deal.  The secrets of the Firestorm Matrices represent the standing or folding of nations and the ability to wield these godlike beings drives nations to extreme measures.  The politics between the Firestorms themselves, is also an interesting diplomatic quagmire.  Ronnie really feels the brunt of these two aspects of the book, falling into the clutches of a small nation’s clutches and being exposed to unspeakable things.  This issue is drawn by series cowriter Ethan Van Sciver, and welcomes new writer, Joe Harris.   Both really bring their A-Game and write a wonderful issue.
  • Voodoo #7 continues the plot through a twisted hall of mirrors.  I love it, but I am uncertain what it is leading up to.  Perhaps that is what tantalizes the reader onward.  The introduction of the real Priscilla Kitaen and the truth behind the origin of Voodoo are both very well done and fall at the heart of my uncertainty.  Josh Williamson has taken this title from veteran writer, Ron Marz, and truly made it his own.  Sami Basri continues to make the series sensuous with his lush artwork.  A good series that defines the scope of the rebooted DCU.
  • All-Star Western #7 finds Jonah Hex and Doctor Arkham

    Nighthawk and Cinnamon

    arriving in New Orleans and meeting up with the vigilante couple Nighthawk and Cinnamon.  Coming to the Big Easy, the foursome four find themselves confronted by terror attacks leveled against the immigrant population by a group of power elite calling themselves the August 7.  The art by Moritat is killer as usual.  In the backup feature, Nighthawk and Cinnamon appear once again, and we are given the back story of the former.  I have to say that I am becoming a huge Nighthawk fan.  He is a very interesting, complex character and one that I am hoping will pop up often after this arc has wrapped.  I also hope that next issue will treat us to the back story of his beautiful partner, Cinnamon.

  • Green Hornet #23 introduces a new, one shot story while showcasing the overarching plot of the dismissed mayoral adviser set on overthrowing Century City.  The story was entertaining, but not an overall must read.  Still the series has been very good throughout.
  • Warriors of Mars #2 furthers the story of Union naval officer, Gullivar Jones, transported to Mars with the aid of a magic carpet. This sounds ridiculous, but writer Robert Place Napton works wonders and plays down the laughable concept, making it no more strange than the transport of any man to Barsoom (Mars).  This issue seems to end the journey Gullivar from his literary history, though I admit I have never read the Edwin Arnold novel, so I have no idea how that story concluded.  The stage however is set for Lt. Jones to make his appearance in “modern” Barsoom and come face to face with his confederate counterpart, John Carter.  The potential for this series is unbounded and I feel that it is an excellent addition to the “Warlord of Mars” line of books.
  • Also written by Robert Place Napton Warlords of Mars: Dejah Thoris #11 transitions in both story arc and writer.  Though I am the biggest fan of Arvid Nelson, Napton has proven his proficiency with Barsoomian storytelling, so I have high hopes for the series from here on out.  The “Boora Witch” story arc starts out in this issue quite well and reads almost like a folktale or scare story one would read in the old pulp magazines.  This last bit truly interests me as the “Warlord of Mars” novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs started out in pulp magazines.  The mixture of the horror genre and the sci-fi genre I think is achieved well here and well worth looking into by readers of either.
  • Spaceman #5  further develops the futuristic post disaster world of its setting.  Its been a strange, disjointed journey, and I still have no idea what its all about, but the relationship between the Spaceman Orson and his young charge, Tara, is gaining depth.  I think that there are some major undercurrents running through this series and I hope that since we have jumped the halfway mark in this miniseries more clarification will be on the way.  If I had a grasp on what I was reading, I think I would appreciate it all the more.
  • The New Deadwardians #1 begins a series that boasts a lot of promise.  I am a sucker for masterpiece theater and New Deadwardians has a genuine feeling of the early 20th century in it. At least from what I have seen in in films and read in books.  The concept of Zombies isn’t my favorite horror genre, but neither were vampires before American Vampire.  The premise of the book is that sometime around the turn of the century there was zombie outbreak and the “Restless”, as they are called, become legion and rage across England.  To protect themselves, the upper class of England have erected large fences around zones of London, and taken what has been called “the cure.”  The cure is heavily intimated to be vampirism.  Amid this backdrop a murder mystery ensues and the main character, a police chief of the Scotland Yard looks into the first murder in a long time.  I have great expectations for the series and look forward to seeing how writer Dan Abnett fleshes it out.
  • American Vampire #25 concluded the “Death Race” story and went out with two bangs.  Travis Kidd’s history is laid out and his hatred of Skinner Sweet made clear.  Also the way in which the great Skinner Sweet seemingly came back from the dead (or undead, as it were) is also hinted at.  This arc was perhaps one of my favorites.  Over the past twenty-five issues and five special issues, there has been several amazing plot points left unsolved that I can only speculate as to their resurgence and resolution.  Good issue, by creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.

    Skinner Sweet Teaches A Valuable Moral

  • The Unwritten #35.5 ends the five months of .5 issues and does so with a very interesting special story.  It follows the life of Daniel Armitage, a lost Literature student who is picked up by the Cabal and given a job in the “Grid.”   We’ve been told about what the Grid does and what it is, but through Armitage we are shown its nature.  Though the story is self contained, beginning just before the first issue of the series and terminating after the events of this month’s 35th issue, the ramifications of Daniel’s story could be important in the coming issues.  The guest art of Gabriel Hernandez Walta is quite good. At first I was uncertain about it, but within there are several panels that are quite lovely and well rendered, expressing a great deal of subtext in the soulful lines Walta lays down.   Thoroughly an enjoyable issue of a phenomenal series.

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

Illustration Credits:

Aquaman  #7: Drawn by Ivan Reis, Colored by Rod Reis, Inked by Joe Prado

The Flash #7: Art by Francis Manapul, Colored by Brian Buccellato

Teen Titans #7: Drawn by Brett Booth, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse, Inked by Norm Rapmund

All-Star Western #7: Art by Moritat, Colored by Gabriel Bautista

American Vampire #25: Art by Rafael Albuquerque, Colored by Dave McCaig

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