The last week of the month is always amazing. Featured this week are several issues I’ve been anticipating for sometime. So hopefully they live up to expectations.
- Justice League #10 was okay. That’s all I can say about it. It hasn’t reached a point where anything exceptional has happened. Its pretty for sure. Jim Lee has done a wonderful job rendering its artwork, but as of yet Geoff Johns hasn’t stepped up with a decent story. The Justice Leaguers are struggling with trust for one another, and a villain shows up to challenge them. In the Shazam backup feature, Billy Batson does seemingly get some depth, but the main event that impressed me was the introduction of Black Adam. Regardless of his depiction, Black Adam has always been a noble villain. I pray that Johns doesn’t find a way to ruin him like he has so many others in this lamentable series.
- Green Lantern: New Guardians #10 was outstanding, chronicling the last stand of the Blue Lanterns to save their world, Odym. In this issue they no longer fight alone. Joining them are Kyle Rayner of the Green Lanterns, Fatality of the Star Sapphires, and Arkillo of the now unnamed Yellow Lantern Corps. The valor in which the Blue Lanterns fight for their homeworld and their Battery, the very beacon of Hope, is what makes this issue so engrossing. Will Hope prevail over the unceasing hordes of the insectoid Reach, or will Odym fall to the Blue Beetles like countless worlds have before. Tony Bedard wants to tell you, so read this issue and the one preceding it.
- Aquaman #10 was very short, and like its author, Geoff John’s, above attempt in Justice League, rather insubstantial. It did hint at the character of the Operative and his circumstances, as well as confirm the accusation of the dark tie between Arthur and Black Manta, but other than those two things, taking up the combined length of five pages, nothing else happened. Unlike Justice League, however, there is a great deal of quality characterization in this title. This is one of the series he is doing right. I think if he would just give up the infantile attempt to do a JLA title he could reinvest the time and energy into doing this title better. I mean he’s a DC executive. Its not like he needs the money from doing a third series. I do like this series a great deal. I think that Johns has set a faraway goal to guide the series’ progress for years to come, just like he set up “Blackest Night” in Green Lantern five years before it even came on the radar. This is a series to read.
- Flash #10 was amazing as ever. Lamentably though, owing I’m sure to the oncoming Flash Annual that writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are doing next month, the art of this book is done by Marcus To. To does a good job of rendering the panels of content and his art matches the style of Manapul just enough so as not to be jarring. However, the dynamism of how the panels occupy the page is missing which is slightly disappointing. The story focuses on the character of Weather Wizard being drawn back to his roots in Central America as the scion of a major drug cartel and the Flash following to save his idealistic girlfriend, Patty Spivot, from that same Cartel. Storywise, it didn’t miss a beat from the past issues. It was very much a one shot issue that references and builds upon past material, legitimizing every choice and change Manapul and Buccellato make in this new Flash series. One of my favorites.
- Batman Inc. #2 was writer Grant Morrison at his best. After the Batman Inc: Leviathan Strikes one shot that linked the first series to this second half, we are made aware that the villainous Leviathan is none other than Talia Al-Ghul, and in this second issue of the new series we see Talia’s life from just before conception to the present moment. Morrison puts his own spin on the character, but also adheres brilliantly to her documented past, even paying homage to the first segment of the first issue in which she is ever depicted, Detective Comics #441 from 1971. Rooting his story deep in Batman’s past, Morrison is primed to forever define Batman’s future. Ra’s Al-Ghul is one of the most ominously wise and powerful of Batman’s enemies and Morrison has made his daughter, Talia, an extension of that. How the conflict between these two megalomaniacs and the resultant conflict with the Batman is something that I personally await with baited breath.
- Fury of Firestorm #10 is very much a revelation issue that resolves the aftermath of Firehawk and Jason Rusch combining to become Wrath, as well as further exposition on the character of Pozhar. The relationship that is growing between Pozhar and Ronnie Raymond is very interesting, as is what Pozhar speculates is happening to Ronnie after his torture which the former rescued him from. The origins of the rogue firestorms is linked to an enigmatic person named Ashra Khan by an Indian firestorm, Rakshasi. Overall, this series is building its own new world order in a frightening Cold War-like arms race for nuclear powered superheroes.
- Superman #10 was not as good. I suppose it wasn’t bad either, just disappointing. The character of Anguish is a character of blind rage that just falls flat. She comes from a tragic past, no one can deny that, but her presentation is bush league. Unlike the Red Lanterns that follow this archetype and are written provocatively, she is not someone you immediately want to make allowances for. Also Superman’s attempt to calm her by taking away the one thing she wants is idiotic no matter how you look at it. I feel like ironically Superman, is the weakest of the Superman titles. This issue does conclude the two issue arc, so hopefully something good will come up next on the docket. And if not, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort are inheriting the title from Dan Jurgens and Jesus Merino in September. Either way, #10 is skippable.
- Teen Titans #10 is a sort of denouement to the Culling storyline. After Superboy #10, Cassie and Kon-El meet up with the other Titans on the flips-side of the mysterious island . . . and the rest of the issue deals with their reactions to the nightmarish rollercoaster ride they were all subjected to. Superboy makes peace with his teenaged contemporaries and the remaining Titans come to terms with each other and the things they all have done up to the present. Love blossoms between two of the Titans, and future plans are made. If you like the series thus far, this issue is a nice little vacation that really fleshes out the characters. Great job on the part of both Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth.
- Batman: The Dark Knight#10 begins a new chapter in the series. David Finch continues to provide art while Gregg Hurwitz, who wrote Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, comes on as writer. The Scarecrow appears to be the new villain, terrorizing and kidnapping children for seemingly no reason. Also new is a Ukrainian piano prodigy named Natalya who is Bruce’s newest love interest. Finch keeps the artwork stark and foreboding, while Hurwitz really brings an intelligence and subtlety to the plot.
- Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 holds its metaphorical head high with its three brother/sister series in this line of prequel books. J. Michael Straczynski follows in suit with Darwyn Cooke and Brian Azzarello, writing a stark, ominous tale of the origin of one of Watchmen’s greatest characters. Raised in a household of oppression and domestic abuse, Daniel Dreiberg sets out to become like his idol, the mystery man Nite Owl. Straczynski writes a series that very much has the overtones of the character himself. Andy Kubert provides art with ink assists by his dad, the legendary Joe Kubert, and result present a very pulpy, retro feel to the book. The count is now four for four. Ozymandias is next week’s installment and here’s hoping that it is half as good as the four we’ve seen so far.
- Justice League Dark #10 is a little iffy. Writer Jeff Lemire presents an interesting conflict, revolving around John Constantine being the unwitting villain, leading the world unto its ultimate destruction, should his current path continue unchallenged. With three new characters in the title and a new status quo, this issue does do some world building, but its too soon to tell whether its going to live up to the incredible first arc of this series or fall flat. Time will tell.
- Voodoo #10 also is iffy. I dunno if this is just how its always been meant to go, but the series isn’t so much working for me right now. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I am less than excited about what this issue presents. Priscilla leads the Black Razors in pursuit of Voodoo to one of the moons of Jupiter and an abandoned Daemonite colony. It sounds more exciting than it actually is. I’ll wait until next issue or so to pass judgement, but its close to being dropped by me.
- All-Star Western #10 was good as ever and continues to get better and better. Jonah Hex rescues Tallulah Black from her fall at the Wayne Casino, and in doing so finds himself unwittingly placed betweeen the Religion of Crime and the Court of Owls in their battle for the heart of Gotham. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti keep the plot fresh and ever evolving, and Moritat’s art is some of the best put out by DC. This month’s backup feature is a one shot starring Bat Lash, with art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. I was vaguely aware of the character before this, but Wow, he is an asshole . . . It was fun to read though.
- Space Man #7 is just pure confusion. I think I will review this after issue #9.
- The New Deadwardians #4 takes a step back and primarily offers characterization. We see get some background on the maid Louisa, Sapphire from the brothel last issue, and a look into the why and how of George’s taking the cure during the Memorial War. There is something really genuine about this title that makes it much better than most zombie fiction out there. Although, I should voice that I have a bias against the brain sucking undead. I like this series a great deal and it bums me out that it is only an 8 issue miniseries.
- Kirby Genesis: Silver Star #6 was a literal acid trip! Well, not literally, but I feel like drugs may have helped in the understanding of it, because it was pretty convoluted, involving time paradoxes up the wazoo and mindbending concepts that I am still debating the validity of. Either way, Silver Star attempts to find a cure for his lover, Norma’s, terrible affliction. In the process mysterious villains hire a professional to break into his base in Oblivion, Montana to alter the orrey of worlds he has made, prompting the messed up paradoxes mentioned above. I can’t wait until next issue, because while I think I liked this issue, I’m not sure I understood it. Oh yeah, did I mention that the main fight in this issue is with himself?
- American Vampire #28 starts a brand new four part arc called “The Black List.” Taking place during the infamous McCarthy Hearings of that period. With Pearl’s husband, Henry, barely clinging to life she is forced back into the game to hunt down the vampiric covens of California to end the attempts on both their lives. To make this happen both Calvin Poole and Skinner Sweet are backing her play, meaning that all three American vampires are united in one cause for the first time. Scott Snyder is a genius and I am on board for the entire duration of this series.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #10: Art by Tomas Giorello, Colored by Nathan Eyring & Hi-Fi
Batman Incorporated #2: Art by Chris Burnham, Colored by Nathan Fairbairn
Fury of Firestorm #10: Drawn by Yidray Cinar, Colored by Hi-Fi, Inked by Ethan Van Sciver
Teen Titans #10: Drawn by Brett Booth, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse & Blond, Inked by Norm Rapmund
All-Star Western #10: Art by Moritat, Colored by Gabriel Bautista
American Vampire #28: Art by Rafael Albuquerque, Colored by Dave McCaig