Week 49 (Aug. 8, 2012)

  • Batman #12 takes a step back from the fast pace of the past eleven issues and focuses on a minor character introduced in issue #3.  Most prominently we saw her after Batman woke up in the sewers following his escape from the Owls’ Labyrinth.  One tough cookie, her name is Harper Row, and after Batman saves her and her brother’s life, she takes an interest in the Dark Knight that looks to be leading toward a larger destiny.  Writers, Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, are vague on that point, but have a wonderful track record regarding their treatment of the Batman character, so whatever it is I am sure it will be awesome.
  • Batman & Robin #12 caps off the “Terminus” arc grandly, albeit slightly anticlimatically.  Its a good issue, but pretty straightforward: Terminus attacks Gotham and the Bat family responds.  Though there wasn’t a lot to it, taken with the previous issues in the arc, it completed a very interesting story and a very intriguing plot.  The only thing that bothered me was how easily it folded up in the end, after all the buildup to how infallible Terminus’ master plan was supposes to be.  Also the final battle of Damian in his challenge to the Robins falls flat as Dick just throws in the towel preemptively.  Bad form, Grayson.

    Four Generations of Robins

  • Batgirl #12 brought together a great many story threads.  Batgirl and Batwoman meet for the first time in a Battle of the Bats.  James Gordon Jr shows up again after a couple of months hiatus.  We finally get some closure as to the identity and motivations behind Knightfall.  But most importantly things truly come to a head in a final page that is  truly appalling, considering that with the #0 issues next month, we have to wait till October to know how it all comes out.
  • Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2 was as good if not better than the first issue.  Adrian Veidt sets out on his journey as a mystery man and with his inaugural mission to stamp out the drug ring that caused the death of his girlfriend.  In so doing, we see how his physical and mental acumen combine in a symphony of action.  It isn’t just the beauty and precision of his movements that makes the issue so engrossing, but also the thought process behind it, which writer Len Wein delivers with equal precision.  Jae Lee’s art is also stunningly suited to Wein’s scripting and the tone of the piece.  To cap this issue off and lead us onto the next issue, Adrian decides to resurrect the investigation into the disappearance of the former Minuteman, Hooded Justice.  In doing so he runs afoul of another seminal character of the Watchmen series.

    Though this has nothing to with the plot, pretty awesome virgin cover art

  • Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E #12 concludes the “Son of Satan’s Ring” arc, which marked writer Matt Kindt’s inaugural storyline on the character.  Frank gets to the bottom of the plot against S.H.A.D.E by the mole in Leviathan.  After this, Kindt throws a curve ball into the plot that not only cuts to the heart of who Frankenstein is, but also ties the title into the Rotworld event going on in both Animal Man and Swamp Thing.  Frankenstein’s previous encounter with the rotlings posed some very fundamental questions as to the nature of his being.  This new plotline beginning in October can do no less.
  • Night Force #6 marks the penultimate chapter of the miniseries and brings to light most of the the pressing questions posed throughout the previous five issues.  The identity of  Senator Greene’s omni-pregnant wife, the history of the madwoman Kassandra, the link to the American Revolution, the history of the multigenerational, eugenic demon castes.  All of these are revealed in stunning detail.  Writer Marv Wolfman has taken his previous runs of this title and team and conceived of a new and fresh crisis for them to surmount that is both unique and incredibly dire.  Most intriguingly when you consider the cyclical manner in which the heroes (or at least one of them) causes the whole affair to begin in the past as a result of trying to stop if from happening in the first place.  As ever Tom Mandrake’s art creates a phantasmagoric atmosphere that epitomizes the tone that the story elicits.
  • Superboy #12 has our as of yet unnamed hero attempting to make a life for himself away from the Titans and free of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the shadowy organization that created him from Superman’s DNA.  In doing so he’s inadvertently fallen into the social circle of his Paris Hilton-ish land lady and her Jersey Shore-esque crew.  But behind all the partying and posturing, there is something dark going on in Dallas’ (the aforementioned heiress) life.  This comes to a head when she is accosted by thugs working for a mysterious woman named Kiva with the ability to distort reality.  True to form, Superboy leaps in to help his pseudo-friend and finds he is in over his head.  As he struggles to stop Kiva and her henchmen from hurting Dallas, Kiva discovers a secret about Superboy that is so disturbing it renders her into a catatonic state.  Of course we never find out what it is, but the mere sight of a strong figure like her falling before it makes for a killer cliffhanger.

What Horrors Lie In Superboy’s Past?

  • Ravagers #4 picks up with the Ravagers in captivity after being attacked by Brother Blood and his minions.  Sensing Blood and the plight of his former comrades Beast Boy drags Terra on a rescue mission to save them.  In the process Blood’s aim comes to light and with it the rationale behind the change in Beast Boy’ color from its original green pre-Reboot to the post-Reboot red.  What Blood seeks is to enter a place that he calls “The Red.”  And considering his powerset, Beast Boy’s change to red and being connected to the Red make so much sense.  It explains their past association, though that isn’t actually solidified.  All we are told is that Blood and Beast Boy shared a dream in which they were both in the Red.  That is why Blood seeks to open a portal to the Red.  Destiny beckons him there.  The Ravagers are freed and an epic battle ensues, causing one of the team to fall in the prevention of Brother Blood’s mad scheme.  In the process Caitlin Fairchild sees the full extent of what terrible savagery her Ravagers are capable of when their backs are against a wall and she is terrified by it. The team then goes to meet her contact, Niles Caulder, making me curious if the Doom Patrol will be resurrected in this New DCU and whether or not Beast Boy, who has no memories before N.O.W.H.E.R.E, will have been involved with them.  Next month’s zero issue is solicited as being an origin of Beast Boy and Terra, so I am dying to see what they do.
  • Grifter #12 was really good. Writer Rob Liefeld is bring it back from the brink.  His past two issues have been very lackluster and left me considering dropping the title.  There was no story at all and nothing but disjointed action sequences that had no bearing or gravitas to make me want to read more.  This one was good and returned to the heart of the character and what Cole Cash, aka Grifter, is at heart  . . . a grifter.  The grift he pulls in this issue is nothing short of epic.  I will continue to read it to see if Liefeld is one the way back up or merely struggling up for a gasp of air before sinking back down into subpar plotlines.
  • Deathstroke #12 was not the best.  It wasn’t horrible.  I can’t say much about it.  I liked seeing Zealot throughout Rob Liefeld’s tour thus far as writer and artist.  That was cool.  I am intrigued by his introduction of a female Czarnian after Deathstroke’s defeat of Lobo.  That was also something that worked in his favor.  His Deathstroke, however, felt a bit . . . off.  We’ll see where he goes from here.  This one is on the precipice of being dropped by me.

    That Was Unexpected

  • Warriors of Mars #4 has Gullivar Jones and John Carter descending into the the subterranean realm of the Thither People to rescue princess Dejah Thoris from their king.  In doing so, reunions of all sorts take place, between parted lovers, mothers and daughters, the dead and the living, etc.  It came off very touching when the rifts that divide are juxtaposed against the precious moments that defy them.  The issue seemingly comes to an end of the story, but then doesn’t.  Where a logical ending should exist, Gullivar finds himself still upon Barsoom, but a Barsoom that has oceans.  To those familiar with Edgar Rice Burroughs books, the film John Carter, or simply the comics based upon Burroughs’ stories, this fact will be monumentally shocking.
  • American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #3 marks another incredible turn in the series of series writer Scott Snyder has penned under the banner “American Vampire.”  This one, following the seminal vampire of all time, Dracula, reimagines and morphs the King of Vampires into the context of Snyder’s overarching mythology.  The most powerful of a seemingly weak race, the Carpathians, he has abilities no other vampire has ever wielded and in his past redrew the map of both the human and supernatural worlds.  He caused unfathomable havoc to humans, but as this issue reveals, he also decimated entire populations of other vampiric species, giving rise to a brotherhood of vampires, not unlike the human brotherhood, the Vassals of the Morningstar, whose members I might add, include Hobbs and Felicia Book, our protagonists.  This vampire order is comprised of lone individuals who represent the last of their species, wiped out by Dracula in centuries past.  They, like the Vassals, have a vested interest in making certain the King never arises from his deep slumber, as he cannot be killed permanently by stakes or any other means it would seem, only contained.  Out of five issues, this third issue represents the hump that completes the journey up toward understanding the dilemma and the playing field.  The last two are all down hill into the maelstrom and promise to be like nothing we’ve seen thus far in incredible world of vampires Snyder has not only redeemed from the likes of Myers, Harrison, and the CW, but also redefined.

    The Lasts

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

    Illustration Credits:

    Batman & Robin #12: Drawn by Patrick Gleason, Colored by John Kalisz, Inked by Mick Gray

    Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2: Art by Jae Lee, Colored by June Chung

    Superboy #12: Drawn by Robson Rocha & Eduardo Pansica, Colored by Tanya & Richard Horie, Inked by Greg Adams, Mariah Benes & Andy Owens.

    Deathstroke #12: Drawn by Rob Liefeld, Colored by Andy Troy, Inked by Adelso Corona

    American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #3:  Art byDustin Nguyen, Colored by John Kalisz

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Week 48 (Aug. 1, 2012)

The Lost week of Comics.  Right after reading them I misplaced the pile and have yet to find it.  If you are interested in the comics of August 1st, 2012, check back periodically and I will eventually get them up here.  Sorry for the inconvenience . . .

  • Action Comics #12 concludes the storyline involving Adam Blake and Lois’s niece, Susie.  Lois Lane has sustained catastrophic damage to most of her major organs and is moments away from her inevitable death, Blake is about to take Susie away with the rest of the Neo Sapiens born on Earth, and Superman has met his match with an opponent who is thousands of years ahead of the evolutionary curve.  But with the Man of Steel, you can never count him out.  All of the problems above are within his reach to solve, and while he and the reader may not know exactly how, writer Grant Morrison takes both on the path towards the impossible.  Also, Clark’s land lady, Mrs. Nyxly turns out to be far more than meets the eye, leading to a revelation that promises to open the way for Action Comics’ next major crisis.  For now though, the stage is cleared for next month’s #0 issues that will offer an origin for the Man of Steel, courtesy of Mr. Morrison.
  • Detective Comics #12 like Action Comics above, ends its arc with a conclusion to the “Mr. Toxic” arc, just in time for Septembers “Zero Month.”  Batman has discovered the connection between Dr. Hugh Marder and Mister Toxic, along with the clones of himself that rapidly decay into radioactive waste.  Now, with the lives of thousands at stake, Batman has to intercede and stop the mad scientist before his experiment causes a meltdown in the center of Gotham City.  And in the process, he may just save one more life than he expected.  This story marks the last regular issue of Detective that writer/artist Tony Daniel will be a part of in both roles.  His Detective Comics Annual is due out at the end of the month, and he will provide pencils for Septembers #0 issue, before handing the series over to a new creative team in October.  In the backup feature of this issue, James Tynion IV brings us a short story born of the INCREDIBLE events that ended this series first issue.  After having his face torn off by an unknown assailant and nailed to a wall, the Joker’s smiling slab of skin is in cold storage at Gotham Central under police lock and key.  Despite its seemingly harmless nature, anything belonging to the Joker can’t help but be sinister.  One thing that truly defines the Joker is his big smiling face, begging the question of how just how long he will allow it to remain away from where it belongs . . .We’ll find out in October.
  • Red Lanterns #12 opens in chaos.  Things for the Red Lanterns are looking incredibly dim.  The Central Power Battery of their corps that powers their rings is dying meaning those Red Lanterns still alive will have their rings fully depowered in a matter of hours or minutes.  Their rings are also the only thing keeping the napalm in their veins from killing them.  No power battery and its lights out for every last Lantern of Rage.  Across the Universe, those that haven’t already succumbed to dead rings are on the verge and imperiled by enemies surrounding them.  Bleez, Zilius Zox, and a third unnamed Red Lantern are prisoners on Zameron, homeworld of the Star Sapphires. Atrocitus himself is being savagely attacked by his failed first attempt at a Red Soldier, Abysmus.  The situation across the board is bleak.  However, as has been the case since his inception several months ago into the RL Corps, Jack Moore, aka Rankorr, proves to be the savior delivering the last impetus to the struggle for survival that sparks the restoration and renewal of the whole Corps.  And amid the rivers of blood that are spilled the connection between the fall of the Red Lanterns and the Guardians that we all have assumed is finally confirmed.  But damned if Atrocitus and his minions are going to go quietly into the night.  I am very much looking forward to seeing what October holds for the Red Lanterns.

    The Rage of Bleez

  • Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2 jumps right out of the first issue’s origin story directly into the fray.  The second Nite Owl, Dan Dreiberg, is chasing a felon through an alley at night, when the perp ducks into a doorway and our hero making chase.  Inside Nite Owl finds the man unconscious on the floor of what appears to be an S&M sex dungeon, with a naked woman (save for a domino mask and leather gloves) standing over the crook with a broad bloodied paddle in hand.  To Watchmen faithful she is recognizable as the “Twilight Lady”, a criminal that Nite Owl was romantically involved with for a time.  This issue shows their first meeting and sets up what we know to be inevitable sexually between the two.  What it also does is give rise to emotional responses from both Nite Owl and Rorschach, who himself was also chasing the perp just a little behind Nite Owl.  Rorschach, whose abusive mother turned tricks in their apartment during his childhood, reacts to the dominatrix madam, who at the time is standing over her bound and gagged client, with  violent anger spawned from years of resentment.  Nite Owl, who had spoken briefly with the Twilight Lady about her work and how she and other women like her find strength in the face of their own degradation, reacts positively in defense of her against Rorschach’s assualts, because her words remind him of his mother.  Though she was the well-to-do wife of an affluent banker and not a prostitute, she was brutalized by her husband and beaten savagely often.  Living this way for so long, she entrenched her spirit in a fortress of pure will to keep her integrity and her sanity intact.  She taught her son to do the same, saving him as well from a hostile world and planting the seed that would later become the Nite Owl in him.  Where Rorschach sees depravity and ugliness, Nite Owl sees nobility, strength, and a certain ironic purity.  The “in-your-face” scene of deviant sadomasochistic sex may put some people off, but I applaud Straczynski and Kubert’s depiction of it, as it fits the story narratively and also commits the world of Before Watchmen to gritty reality with kid gloves to lessen the experience.

    The Birth of the Nite

  • Earth 2 #4, like Red Lanterns above, opens in chaos and manifests itself in that same vein.  Single issues have been dedicated to the fall of the Trinity in issue #1, Jay Garrick becoming the Flash and meeting Hawk Girl in issue #2, and Alan Scott surviving a train crash and becoming the Green Lantern in issue #3.  Now all three of those threads come together along with a tertiary point of Al Pratt, first shown in issue #1 as a World Army Sergeant, becoming the Atom.  When Scott got the green ring, a symbol of the Earth’s collective force, a champion of the Gray rises up to challenge him.  This issue has that champion, Solomon Grundy, descending on Washington D.C. in an attempt to ferret out the “Jade Champion.”  He succeeds in not only that, but also bring on the Flash and Hawkgirl from their detour in Poland, and Al Pratt’s Atom persona from his secret government installation.  So with destruction and vengeance in mind, Grundy inadvertently brings together Earth’s new wave of superheroes for the first time, creating a new alliance . . . maybe, because things don’t exactly workout between the fours as most would like.
  • Worlds’ Finest #4 concludes the Hakkou arc, with a very straightforward, Godzilla-esque battle with the radioactive monster in Tokyo harbor.  I won’t elaborate on how the day is saved, but its a safe bet that it is.  Writer Paul Levitz also throws in a fun, yet unrelated tale of the Helena and Kara’s first months on Earth 1, this time in Rome.  George Perez and Kevin Maguire continue their dual duty on art, draws the present and past sequences respectively, both with masterful skill.
  • Animal Man #12 ushers in the storyline that we have been waiting for for exactly one year since the first mentions of “Red” and “Green” and “Black/Rot”:  the meeting and team up of Animal Man, champion of the Red, and Swamp Thing, champion and warrior king of the Green.  Written by both Animal Man writer, Jeff Lemire, and Swamp Thing writer, Scott Snyder, this issue is solicited as “Rotworld: Prologue Part 1” and that is precisely what this issue is.  After exchanging quick anecdotes of their respective journeys over 11 months of issues, Swamp Thing and Animal Man decide that they must venture into the heart of the Black to deal a “death punch” (pun intended) to the Rot and stop its overreaching assault on the two forces of life. The consequences of their failure to do so are heralded by both of Animal Man, Buddy Baker’s, children.  As his son, Cliff, states in a catatonic sleepwalking state, “Rotworld is coming . . .”  As his daughter, Maxine, sees in the black pool that serves as the gateway to the Black, the world will be enveloped in a wave of death and desolation that will sweep the world clean, killing all life, both plant and animal life (humans included in the latter part), leaving a world decayed.  Thus, down the darkened rabbit hole our two heroes doth plunge . . .
  • Swamp Thing #12 follows on the heels of Animal Man #12 presenting “Rot World: Prologue Part 2.”  Written once again by both Animal Man and Swamp Thing writers, Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, the set up for “Rot World” concludes. As of this issue’s end, Rot World has come.  In the heart of the Rot our two champions are met by Anton Arcane on his home turf and the evil doctor reveals the full depth of the Rot’s plot to dominate the other forces of life.  Unlike a James Bond villain, however, he reveals the full extent of his plan after events have past the point of no return.  Outside of the portal to the Black, Abby Arcane and Ellen Baker fight to prevent the rotlings from severing the lifeline binding Alec and Buddy to the outer world.  As the tides turn and the Rot gains supremecy, Abby can feel the swelling of power within the Black.  The only way to stem its growing power would be to strike at the heart of the Parliament of Rot, the location of which none in the Red or Green know.  Abby Arcane, being a child of the Rot, has a preternatural knowledge of its location and its weaknesses, meaning that to save her lover and the world, she must venture toward the wellspring of her own strengths and cripple it.  This prologue leaves a lot of questions in the air, but makes one thing certain.  The next several months of Swamp Thing and Animal Man will be “can’t miss” reads.

    Abby, Scion of the Black

  • Justice League International #12 convenes at the funeral of Gavril Ivanovich, the Russian superhero Rocket Red.  After the literal blowup at the United Nations and the ensuing battle with the terrorists responsible, bad blood remains between the survivors.  The younger brother of the terrorist Lightweaver, who cradled him in his arms as he died, receives his powers as a result and decides to attack the JLI as they attempt to honor their fallen comrade.  Both blaming each other for the death of their respective loved one, it becomes hard to cheer on or demonize either party.  When a resolution does finally come, the moral confusion of the battle gives way to general confusion about where to go now that the UN charter has been revoked, a member of their team have been killed, and most of the threads holding them together have been severed.  But with a common goal and some need for their help still existing, they decide to press on.  This twelfth issue is final regular issue, with an annual at the end of the month written by Geoff Johns and Dan Didio capping off the series.  I am very curious to see how that JLI Annual handles what here doesn’t seem to be an ending.
  • Batwing #12 concludes the “Lord Battle” arc with a little help from the aforementioned Justice League International . . . and Nightwing. Batwing’s mentor and friend, Matu Ba, while trying to bury his slain family members in their homeland of Tundi, is taken prisoner by the super-powered ruler of that nation, Lord Battle.  This reason, alongside the discovery of massive oil reserves in Tundi and the Penguin selling them a nuclear weapon, leads Batwing to plan an invasion of that country with super-powered help.  The defeat of Lord Battle and the connection he holds to the flourishing nation he rules is the best reason to read this issue.  Writer, Judd Winick, comes up with a very novel and complex twist that connect ruler with country.  I feel like this series is really growing and developing a unique identity.
  • Green Arrow #12 finds Ollie Queen in his civilian identity facing off against Chinese businessman/industrialist,
  • G.I. Combat #4 is a toss up.  The War That Time Forgot feature seemingly ends with no real point.  US G.I.’s dispatched to an island off of North Korea find living dinosaurs and shortly thereafter are attacked by them.  Most of the US forces are killed.  The rest are probably going to be killed.  So ends the story.  There is a bearded man at the end which might mean that they will pick up the story at a later date, but if not, oh well.  The Unknown Soldier secondary feature concludes the initial arc in an exciting, albeit anti-climatic manner.  After raiding a secret meeting of a terrorist organization that is akin to Al-Qaeada, the Unknown Soldier slaughters hundreds while taking one of the masterminds alive.  The groups plot is to sneak in sleeper agents who are teenagers of white european dissent into the US with lethal bioweapons in their systems.  They are in country and have cleared all customs and checkpoints because of their nonthreatening appearances.  It doesn’t seem like there is any way to stop them. They are nearly invisible and as the terrorist leader states, he himself will never talk.  Using the latest in technological breakthroughs, the Unknown Soldier’s bosses find a way to get the information they need and nab the kids.  A little cleanup later and writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray set the stage for next month’s Unknown Soldier zero issue origin story.

    The Dreams of the Unknown

  • Smallville Season 11 #4 caps off the season’s initial arc of Commander Hank Henshaw, aka Cyborg Superman.  When he awakens in his sensory deprived synthetic body the former astronaut goes berserk and attacks everyone present including Lex.  Superman is able to talk him down, but his life remains in tatters after the fact.  To add insult to injury, Superman also finds out why Lex intentionally exploded the shuttle carrying Henshaw, and the reasoning behind it leaves Superman’s personal life in tatters as well.  Across the country in the cornfields of Smallville Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and his wife Chloe Sullivan chase down the survivor of the mysterious “spacecraft” bearing the name Queen Enterprises on its hull.  The pilot is unmasked and her identity is quite shocking, as is the Crisis she heralds, which may or may not involve multiple Earths . . . Infinite Earths, perhaps.   

One month and a half later and I have finally finished this damned post. Not sure if anyone is going to read it or not, but in any event I hope it is up to the standards I have exhibited in past posts.  It was an excellent week of comics and deserved to be reported on much sooner than this.

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

Illustration Credits:

Red Lantern #12: Art by Miguel Sepulveda, Colored by Rain Beredo & Santi Arcas

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2: Drawn by Andy Kubert, Colored by Brad Anderson, Inked by Joe Kubert

Swamp Thing #12: Drawn by Marco Rudy, Colored by Val Staples, Inked by Andy Owens

G.I. Combat #4:  Art by Dan Panosian, Colored by Rob Swager

Week 47 (July 25, 2012)

  • Green Lantern #11 is seemingly the beginning of the end.  Black Hand has re-died and become a Black Lantern once again.  Hal and Sinestro have left Nok and inexorably are drawn to the evil he exudes.  After this issue there is one regular issue and the Green Lantern Annual before a new Green Lantern is chosen.  Whether this means Hal is going to die or not is equally up in the air.  Though it seems that way, considering that the cover of that annual features a design reminiscent of the famous “Death of Superman” issue from the 90’s, I have a feeling that its all a gambit and both Hal and Sinestro are going to dodge the bullet and simply play dead.  But then again, Geoff Johns is getting a pretty big head, and may feel that “what Johns giveth, he taketh away.”  Since he brought Hal back from the dead, he may feel that its within his right to kill him again.  We’ll see.

    Shadows of Green Lantern Future . . .

  • Taking a cue from Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, Flash #11 has the Scarlet Speedster killing off his civilian identity, Barry Allen, and creating a new life under a pseudonym in a rough part of town.  Taking a job at a bar frequented by the Rogues, he has a better scope of how and where his villains’ attacks will come.  As with its predecessors, this issue features the introduction of a new Rogue.  This month Heatwave makes his New DC debut and his newest iteration is pretty intense.  Whereas in the past he was a tough guy with flamethrowers, he is now a scarred monstrosity that generates flame at will from his body, just as the new Captain Cold can generate ice and freezing effects from his hands.  Once again Marcus To is providing art, which though good, is still no substitute for the art of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.
  • Aquaman #11 has the Atlantian king reuniting with the last of the surviving members of the “Others” whom he fought alongside in his past.  Black Manta had been tracking them all down and killing them for the artifacts of old Atlantis that they possessed which could give him power.  What power?  The power to find another artifact that even Aquaman didn’t know existed.  The importance of this lost artifact directly pertains to a question that many have asked for centuries.  This is an issue that will define the series and the character for sometime, me thinks.
  • Green Lantern: The New Guardians #11 may be the winner of the week.  This issue showcases the genocidal beginnings of Invictus’ evil plans, the confrontation of the New Guardians against Larfleeze, and the revelation of the true “Ring Thief” whose mischief ushered in this who plotline almost a full year ago.  The New Guardians have grown so much in the past year and as characters, blossomed into some of the best characters in the New DCU.  That is my opinion anyhow.  Through solicitations it is obvious that this first year is merely an opening salvo, and the ride of these seven warriors is almost up.  Some of them will endure to the next year, but several will not see the start of the next phase.  If this issue and next month’s is to be their swansong, then sing on Tony Bedard.  I’ve enjoyed what you’ve done with these lanterns and will continue to read the book for what you have in store next.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #11 was beautiful, but not a lot happened.  The Scarecrow continues his insane escapades, abducting children and dosing them with his fear toxin for as of yet an undisclosed reason.  There is a slight clue in a background story of Crane’s childhood, but again the exposition is rather vague.  What does strike the reader is David Finch’s incredible artwork.  Gotta love it.  Whatever you say about the plots, which when he ws writing weren’t that bad, his art is top notch.  I will say, however, that when he was writing he plots were framed a lot more interestingly.  That is my opinion and I humbly submit it as such.
  • Fury of Firestorm #11 brings the series close to the close of its first arc and its first year.  Jason Rusch and Firehawk go to Russia and learn some disturbing things about Pozhar, the Russian Firestorm.  In Pakistan, Ronnie sees the sinister nature of the master Firestorm for himself as Pozhar’s Cold War, Darwinian experimentations advance to the detriment of many around him.  Ashra Khan has yet to show, but somehow I am wondering if Pozhar isn’t Ashra.  It would certainly explain a great deal.  The Joe Harris/Ethan Van Sciver written series is ending after September’s #0 issue, with Dan Jurgens coming onboard both as artist and writer on issue #13 in October.
  • Teen Titans #11 brings us to an arc showcasing that explores the character of Wonder Girl, aka Cassandra Sandsmark.  Her powers come from mystic armor that she absconded with that has bonded itself to her person.  This issue show just how closely bonded.  Starting with a full page shot of her locked in  bathroom with spikes pushing their way out of her flesh, we see that there is something very draconian going on with it.  Cut to later when she herself goes over the edge when fighting an adversary that has invaded the group’s New York hideaway.  Also introduced is an enigmatic figure integrally tied to Wonder Girl’s past and the armor she wears.  Once again, writer Scott Lobdell and artist Brett Booth hit it out of the park and write a engrossing comic that pushes its characters to their limits of their potential.

    What It Means To Wear The Armor

  • Superman #11 was . . .  something.  In the land of Clark Kent he goes on a double date with Lois and her boyfriend, Jonathan Carroll, with Lois’ little sister, Lucy, as his date. Sort of.  It advances innocent trouble and drama in his civilian life, but in his superhero life, things get a little weird when he goes to Russia after the contents of a submarine he saved breaks loose. Trying to get their own extraterrestrial superman like America’s, the Russians found . . . a Predator.  I am serious.  Writer/artist Dan Jurgens has Superman fighting a predator, complete with two pronged punching dagger, dreadlocks, metal mask with glowing eyes and crazy tribal things.  Seriously, read the issue and see what I am talking about.  Where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Glover failed, Supes . . . might also fail.

    That’s . . . That’s a Predator . . .

  • All-Star Western #11 brings the two Gotham cabals, the Court of Owls and the Religion of Crime, to direct confrontation.  It had to happen at some point. And as ever, caught in the middle is Jonah Hex, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, and now Tallulah Black.  The Court of Owls is pretty straightforward.  They are, as ever, affluent men and women living in opulence wearing owl masks.  They are like that in our time, they were like that in the 1880’s.  The Religion of Crime, however, is quite a different matter, because they do not hide their identities.  With that in mind, the five Lords of Crime are perhaps the best part of the issue as they themselves are very disparate characters embodying the various disciplines of villainy.  In the backup feature we are introduced to Dr. Terrence Thirteen.  The Thirteens have shown up in modern times, but to my knowledge this is the first incarnation that existed in the 19th century.  A man of science, he cuts a very similar figure to Sherlock Holmes looking pragmatically at the supernatural occurances of the Old West to not only solve crimes, but debunk superstition, the latter of which being his primary motive.  Once again an incredible issue from three masters: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Moritat.  Guest artist, Scott Kolins does a good job too on the backup.

    The Lords of Crime

  • National Comics: Eternity is a oneshot comic by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Cully Hammer that introduces readers to the character of Kid Eternity in this New DCU era.  This appears to be the first of several oneshots designated National Comics, the original name of DC back in the 1930’s.  In this incarnation, Kid Eternity is no longer killed in a U-Boat attack, but rather a gangland drive by shooting.  He does return to the power set of recalling the dead to the realm of the living in ghost form for the purpose of justice.  This issue is interesting to read as it is both a return to a classic character’s origin, but also a redux.
  • The New Deadwardians #5 takes us to the English countryside to see how the gentry live in this England plagued by the Restless hordes (zombies).  The basic setup of English culture and politics of the day are permeated by this issue.  Young women are apparently not allowed to take “the cure” (vampirism) until they are married, and only if their husband allows, which is a hot button issue in the Women’s Sufferage movement.  Also English fox hunts and pheasant shoots have been replaced by hunting the random Restless for sport.  And all the while the keynote issue of the series, the murder of a Youth (vampire) without the use of the three methods leads police inspector George Suttle further into this strange subculture.  I hate zombies, but I love this series.  Downton Abbey meets Walking Dead.
  • American Vampire #29 is just awesome.  Going into the second chapter of the “Black List” arc, Scott Snyder sends Agents Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet of the Vassals of the Morningstar against a secret coven of vampires that have nested in Hollywood during the infamous McCarthy trials of the early 50’s.  Full of action and intrigue there is little I can reveal about the plot that wouldn’t ruin it.  I will say that many assertions are made about the characters and what dark fates lie in store for each.  Also, Skinner’s survival after being shot by Pearl in WWII with a golden bullet is disclosed for the first time.

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

Illustration Credits:

Green Lantern #11: Drawn by Doug Mahnke, Colored by Tony Avina & Alex Sinclair, Inked by Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin & Doug Mahnke

Aquaman #11: Drawn by Ivan Reis, Colored by Rod Reis, Inked by Joe Prado, Jonathan Glapion & Andy Lanning

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #11: Drawn by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Nei Ruffino, Inked by BATT

Teen Titans #11: Drawn by Brett Booth, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse, Inked by Norm Rapmund

Superman #11: Drawn by Dan Jurgens, Colored by Hi-Fi & The Hories, Inked by Jesus Merino, Vincente Cifuntes & Rob Hunter

All-Star Western #11: Art by Moritat, Colored by Mike Atiyeh

Week 46 (July 18, 2012)

  • Justice League #11 continues in the realm of whelmedness.  A little bit more is revealed about the enigmatic villain, Graves, and the guilt of his attack on Steve Trevor hits Wonder Woman really hard.  I guess her reaction to the situation could be realistic, but honestly it felt really tedious to me, propogating a Wonder Woman archetype that I have hated for sometime, turning the Amazonian paragon into an unthinking, hothead with little sense when things turn sour.  Not even close to how she should be written.  Not feeling it.  I have nothing bad or possitive to say about the Shazam backup.  Black Adam makes the scene and Billy’s “off to see the Wizard . . .”

    Wonder Woman Unleashed

  • Green Lantern Corps #11 was quality storytelling that, although mostly depicting planetwide slugfests between the Green Lanterns and Alpha Lanterns on Oa, also provides a great amount of ambiguity and character development.  Salaak, the Guardians’ lapdog Green Lantern and gatekeeper of Oa who thrives on rules and regulations, when presented with an order by the Alpha Lanterns under emergency regulations, sides with his brother Green Lanterns against the Alphas and Guardians, citing back regulations for why he refuses to acquiesce.  Even further he actually issues orders to other Green Lanterns to aid in the putting down of the Alpha Lantern forces.  An Alpha Lantern also begins to question what they are doing and what it will do to the Corps itself.  And as the back and forth motion of war hits Oa, the Green Lanterns who can be depowered by the Alphas strike back in a truly stunning and crippling way.
  • Batwoman #11 brings to a close the “To Drown the World” story arc in a truly epic fashion.  Batwoman comes face to face with Maro, who up until now I thought was a woman, and another piece of Medusa comes into focus.  The arc had seemed very schizophrenic with the segmenting of each charater’s journey that issue into a two to three page story.  I liked it, despite the seemingly slow pace of each of the segments to run its course.  It tantalized and promoted speculation, which are both good things for writers to generate among their readers.  Each of the other five segments, besides the main Batwoman one, had an individual dilemma they were working toward and almost all of them ended in an equally spectacular note.  This makes me pine for the next arc which is unfortunately several weeks away.
  • Nightwing #11 is a little different than the past issues of the series.  I am not completely onboard with the Paragon character or his anarchist group, but seeing Dick working hand in hand with Sonia Branch (nee Zucco), daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who killed John and Mary Grayson, is quite interesting and I relish more on that note.  Scott Snyder wrote her as wonderfully ambivalent in her morals and a real sly persona.  Anymore light that can be shone on her character is welcome in my book.  Shoot, I hope that they date.  THAT would be an interesting pairing.  And his interactions with Damian toward the end harkens back to his tenure as Batman and the awesome dynamic of their former Dynamic Duo.  I’ll keep reading this title past this arc, not for the main storyline, but the tertiary goodness.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #11 was a good characterization issue.  This issue, in the face of the overrunning of Starfire’s homeworld Tamaran, reestablishes her origin and her enslavement by Gordanians.  The story is slightly different, but still retains a lot of the same heartache and tragedy.  In this issue and its predecessor, Scott Lobdell really defines Koriand’r and gives her depth that was lacking in the first seven or eight issues.  Also, I have to say that I am intrigued by the interplay between Jason and his date, Isabel.  Jason has been characterized as a twisted, rebel-without-a-cause badass and the humanizing factor of him caring about and being vulnerable with a flight attendant he barely knows is kind of a curve ball.  Very interested to see where we go from this issue.

    A Princess’s Dilemma

  • Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #2 is a super sexy, groovy trip into the 1960’s following Laurie Juspeczyk, the future Silk Spectre, during her youth in San Francisco amid the psychedelic rise of the hippy movement.  Donning a yellow and black proto-Spectre costume, she begins to fight injustice not because he mother, the original Silk Spectre, is pushing her on, but because she wants to.  The ominous threat brewing in the background is the corporate interests of the country pushing drugs into the emerging youth culture to promote spending and consumerism, but at the expense of lives and innocence.  I like what writer Darwyn Cooke is continuing to do and as ever artist Amanda Conner delivers a sumptuous, sexy atmosphere to the words of Cooke, a seminal artist in his own right.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #11 was a pretty decent issue.  I’ve mentioned the “Levitz Paradigm” before, as coined by writer extraordinaire, Dennis O’Neil, about this books author, Paul Levitz, pertaining to the way in which he writes multiple progressing plots into each issue of his books.  This book defies this usual mode of storytelling and just give a straightforward plot of the rescue mission ex-Legionnaires and prospective members launch into Dominator Space to retrieve Dream Girl and Brainiac 5.  Last issue Dream Girl had a premonition of a traitor within the Legion that would reveal themselves in coming days.  The main point of conflict in this issue is the realization of that prophesy.  Levitz’s writing makes this issue work, but Fracis Portella’s art is what really makes it memorable.
  • Catwoman #11 continues to be edgy.  Catwoman’s schtick is getting to be a little tired, although this issue does make her a little more palatable again.  For the past several issues the plots have been getting stagnant, but this story with Dollhouse really has reawakened the eerie quality of some of her earlier versions, such as when she shot  Black Mask in the head in the 90’s after the horrific things he did to her younger sister.  With this storyline juxtaposed against the uneasy alliance Catwoman has made with Gotham City detective Alvarez and her relationship with the yet unrevealed traitor, Spark, the direction of the book has turned back into an interesting mode.
  • Wonder Woman #11 features the debut of Demeter and Artemis.  Also the next salvo in Hera’s war against her hubby Zeus’ baby mama, Zola.  Once again, backroom politics are engaged in to ensure the destruction of the young woman and her unborn child.  This has been, from issue #1, a really unique take on the character and the title.

    The Prophesy

  • Blue Beetle #11 featured the New 52 debut of the 80’s team-up “The Gold and the Blue.”  Booster Gold makes the scene, and whereas in the past Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle (then Ted Kord instead of Jaime Reyes) were best friends, this issue has him and Jaime engaged in a brutal brawl that only stops when Jaime’s grandmother steps in and calls Booster a bully.  Really bizarre issue.  Really bizarre.
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited #6 continues the Superman Beyond title to the culmination of Lex (from beyond the grave) and his daughter’s plot to kill Superman.  Drawing a ring of kryptonite laden meteors around the planet Earth in permanent orbit, the accumulated radiation raining down from literally all sides spells near certain doom for the Man of Steel.  After a month of absence the Justice League Beyond Unlimited title returns with the next chapter in the Kobra plot that results in the destruction of New Genesis.  Darkseid is no longer ruler of apocalypse and in his place sits his son, Orion.  The reasoning behind this reversal finds its explanation in the final episode of the tv series, “Justice League Unlimited.”  Once again, this anthology title has taken the DC animated canon and given new life to what have been abandoned story lines fallow with possibilities.  In Batman Beyond the prophesied “10,000 Clowns” six part story kicks off, and Terry finds himself torn in all directions with his duties as Batman pulling him in one direction and his guilt over his sins as a negligent boyfriend pulling him another.  Gotham is like Rome with the Vandals of Clown gangs at her gates, and the stakes are getting high.
  • The Unwritten #39 is a revelation is many ways.  Danny Armitage comes face to face with the cult leader of the religion surrounding Tommy Taylor, Lucas Filby.  Through Filby we are FINALLY told the back story behind the foulmouthed rabbit, Pauly Bruckner.  Both Filby and Bruckner have ties back to Pullman, the Cabal, and Wilson Taylor.  And in the process we don’t so much learn, but rather are shown the incredible nature of the Australian policewoman, Didge.   The Unwritten continues to deliver incredibly well framed stories that engage and enlighten simultaneously.

 

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

Illustration Credits:

Justice League #11:  Drawn by Jim, Colored by Alex Sinclair, Inked by Scott Williams

Red Hood and the Outlaws #9: Art by Kenneth Rocafort, Colored by Blond

Wonder Woman #10: Art by Cliff Chiang, Colored by Matthew Wilson

Batman Beyond Unlimited #6: Drawn by Dustin Nguyen, Colored by Randy Major, Inked by Derek Fridolfs

Week 50 (Aug. 15, 2012)

This week was pretty epic in the breadth of stories that were told.  Green Lantern stands on the precipice of what promises to be a hallmark turning point in the title, just as Emerald Twilight was back in the 90’s and Rebirth was in 2005.  Batwoman starts on its next chapter that promises both excellent, dynamic art, and revelation toward the threat that has been looming for this past year. Several others reach their respective arc conclusions in anticipation of next months’ Zero issues.  I don’t know if I have been this excited about a round of comics in awhile.

  • Green Lantern #12 was an incredible issue.  It wasn’t so much the issue itself, but rather what the issue promised.  After last month’s installment, Hal and Sinestro are now face to face with Black Hand in his family’s old mortuary where he has regained his necromantic powers, bringing forth an army of the departed to fight for him.  That is the premise.  The real hook is what Black Hand reads in the Book of the Black.  There is a prophesy that, as with all prophesies in the different books of light, is destined to come to fruition.  This prophesy will literally change everything . . .  With it all leading up to the apocalyptic finale in Green Lantern Annual #1, the stakes are pretty high.

    The Greatest WHAT!?!

  • Green Lantern Corps #12 concludes the “Alpha Lantern War” arc and like Green Lantern #12 counts down to the Green Lantern Annual in two weeks.  For years now the Alpha Lanterns have been an ominous presence in the Green Lantern books and the looming question is, what happens when they are put into the position where their goals are at cross purposes to that of the Corps they supposedly serve?  That has been “The Alpha War.”   With this last issue before the Green Lantern Annual and the final chapter before the advent of the “Third Army”,  the story is cataclysmic.  Plus it reveals another clue to the aftermath of that Annual.  In this month’s Red Lantern #12 I thought I had it all figured out.  This issue threw a wrench in that and now I am reevaluating my hypothesis.  No matter how you look at it, the Green Lantern family of books is stellar across the board, both literally and figuratively.
  • Batwoman #12 inaugurates a brand new story arc and returns cowriter J.H. Williams III to artist duty as well as writing, bringing back the florid, nonlinear panels and layouts that make this book so incredible. Following the assault of Falchion’s lair, Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, renews her mission to locate the kidnapped children of Gotham, as well as their supernatural abductors, the organization called Medusa.  The mystic and mythic nature of Medusa is revealed and as a result, Batwoman decides that she must enlist the help of Wonder Woman to assault this foe that lies outside of her own ken.  Half the issue is dedicated to Wonder Woman’s independent battles with the snake worshiping foes that Batwoman has already come up against.  Williams and Blackman’s writing of the Amazonian Princess  is really good.  I’d say that if J.H. Williams had taken on the reinvention of Wonder Woman in her title at the Reboot a year ago, he would have done a better job than Brian Azzarello, whose work I do enjoy.  This series, these writers and artist, are phenomenal.  This is one of the must reads of the DC line.
  • Nightwing #12 was decent.  The majority of the issue was dedicated to the resolution of the “Paragon” plotline. From the look of epiphany on Dick Grayson’s face at the end of the last issue I was expecting more from this issue’s conclusion.  The villain and the slain Strayhan brothers were just bystanders in an entirely unrelated earlier battle sequence involving Nightwing which begs two questions: How the HELL did Dick figure that out? and Why should I care?  What it did do well was introduce the coming of Lady Shiva to Gotham as well as further hint at a possible romance between Dick and Sonia Branch, the daughter of the man who killed Dick’s parents.
  • Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 was awesome. Truly a testament to the original Alan Moore character. Rorschach is a truly dark, twisted visage of vigilantism and brutal justice with his ear set to the pulse of New York’s seedy underbelly.  Brian Azzarello writes him just so, with all the grit, grim, and menace he has lent to Batman1oo Bullets, and his Before Watchmen: The Comedian series, to name only a few.  In the realm of art, Lee Bermejo’s work elicits stark realism  in the lines, depths, and coloring of his panels that, regardless of the outlandishness of the subject matter, draws you into it, as though it were actually happening right before your eyes.  All of the Before Watchmen titles have been fantastic, and this is no exception.  If I could make one bit of criticism, however, I would say that the Rorschach in J. Michael Straczynski’s Nite Owl series is more authentic sounding than this one.  Azzarello has him speaking more eloquently and with more complex thought processes. Straczynski gives him the more clipped sentence structure that Moore originally endowed him with more that twenty-five years ago.  Rorschach isn’t stupid, but due to his traumatic upbringing he is a little stunted, both emotionally and cognitively.  He is quite brilliant, but his mind processes things in an abnormal manner.  Azzarello writes him well, but I would be lying if I said he wrote him the best.

    The Beauty and Macabre of Lee Bermejo’s Artwork

  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #12 was just fun.  The Outlaws continue to orbit Starfire, aka Princess Koriand’r’s, homeworld, Tamaran, recently occupied by the invading race, the Blight.  Torn between her loyalty to her people as their princess and her sense of betrayal at their allowance of her former enslavement to the Blight, she answers the call with a little help from her friends, both past and present.  Jason’s whirlwind romance with flight attendant, Isabel, continues to intrigue.  The bond between Roy and Starfire is strengthening, reevaluating Starfire’s flippant nature and “loose” morals from our first view of her in issue #1.  Starfire’s elder sister, Komand’r, makes her first appearance and its quite different from her former incarnations.  Finally, there is mention of something called “The Thirteen” by a member of the Blight and a human which raises major questions about the next phase in storytelling coming up.  Timothy Green II takes over artist duties from Kenneth Rocafort, which saddens me considering the former’s incredible ability. Green does a good job mimicking it, but its still not the same.

    Princess Blackfire

  • Legion of Super-Heroes #12, like its predecessor last month is a straight shot story that completes the Dominators arc.  The Dominators, an evil Darwinian empire of sharp-toothed, beady eyed, grinning aliens has kidnapped Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl to integrate twelfth level intelligence and precognition into the gene pool of the next caste of Dominators.   Due to political maneuvering, the United Planets Council refuse to intervene to rescue the Legionnaires for fear of causing a state of war between UP Space and the Dominator Space.  To side step this, the Legion dispatches (unofficially) former legionnaires and legionnaire cadets to extract their comrades.  That all culminates in the last major conflict with the Dominators before this issue concludes.  I enjoyed the way Paul Levitz framed the conflict with super politics and and nightmarish perversions of genetics.   Those two things are what truly make the Dominion terrifying; their use of politics and military might to shield them from censure and their forced evolutionary advances.  Levitz wrote them exquisitely.
  • Catwoman #12 ends the arc of Dollhouse, and after September’s #0 issue, Judd Winick’s run on the title.  In this final issue dealing with the taxidermist serial killer of prostitutes and street youths a connection is made to the character Dollmaker from Detective Comics #2-4.  I knew that there was something familiar about what was happening in this arc!  The MO of Dollmaker and Dollhouse aren’t exactly the same, in fact there is a uniqueness about both, but still it was interesting to see how these characters can bounce around between titles, cementing the concept of a new universe and continuity being developed.  Outside of the Dollhouse arc, the other complications in Selina’s life, the GCPD detective that she’s uneasily allied herself with, her accomplice who is actually selling her out to corrupt policemen, her new fence that doesn’t trust her, and the Penguin, all make appearances in one form or another, advancing this plotline into the next chapter of Catwoman that will be written by Green Arrow scribe, Ann Nocenti.  I’m looking forward to that, with a nostalgic look back at the first awesome year of Catwoman issues.
  • Wonder Woman #12 also enters into the category of lost interest in the main plot and more interest in the tertiary aspects of it.  This new Wonder Woman origin of her being the daughter of Zeus is taking too much explanation.  It’d be great if it were simple and more time could be spent acclimating her to the larger DCU, but that is not the case.  She is still mired in the cluster-cuss of political intrigue and family drama with the Greek gods.  Its interesting, don’t get me wrong, but when you have a character like Wonder Woman, who routinely shows up in Justice League, and other titles as well, such as this week’s Batwoman #12, its really tedious to see her tied down (no pun intended) in her own title.  We have yet to see her breakout into a real world conflict.  I hope that the birth of Zola’s baby and the sequence of events that could hasten Zeus’ return bear fruit very soon, because I really want some conclusion to this so we can all move on.  The one thing in this issue that really got my heart beating and my eyes watering was the last page.  With absolutely no bearing on this title and its strange neo-Greek mythological mode, I am aching to know what is going on with it.

    The Literal Rise Of The NEW GODS!

  • Supergirl #12 continued the acclimation of Supergirl to Earth.  Starting with her in her cousin’s Fortress of Solitude, she attempts to trust him and believe the unbelievable, that Krypton is gone and she and Kal-El are the last surviving Kryptonians, but continues to fall short.  Its annoying on the surface, but underneath it resonates, begging the question of how we would feel in her predicament.  Also she burns with the same angst that human teens do, which while tedious outside those years, is inevitable and quite real when in them.  The final key to unlocking her past lies with a piece of her ship that sank to the ocean floor.  What she finds there is quite interesting.
  • The Shade #11 brings to a close the overall conflict of the miniseries.  The family infighting that has lead to the Egyptian “gods” being released upon London comes to its conclusion.  Half the issue is spent getting there in large full page or, in a few cases, two page spreads of the titanic battles between the gods, the Shade, and London’s superhero protectors.  The other half is dedicated to a transcendental explanation of who and what the gods actually are.  An interesting issue from James Robinson that begs for the twelfth and final issue to put a great run of books to sleep with one last validation of their brilliance.
  • Blue Beetle #12 had Blue Beetle facing his former mistakes from back when he first got the scarab  in the form of Blood Beetle.  Trying to save his friend Paco’s life, he accidentally infected him with a mocked up scarab that turned him into a blood thirsty Reach operative like himself.  The battle between them isn’t the interesting part.  The interesting part is how through interacting with his own suit, Jaime is slowly getting his scarab to understand complex emotion and humanity.  As any sci-fi film will attest, getting an analytical machine to feel is not something that usually can be done.
  • Spinning out of the backup feature in Teen Titans #11, DC Presents: Kid Flash #12 is, as its title reveals, about Bart Allen, aka Kid Flash, responding to three dinosaur/human hybrid teenagers that escaped from the Mystery Island the Titans previously found themselves upon after their exodus from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.  Dac, a pterodactyl girl, Teryx, seemingly an archaeopteryx, and Steg, a stegosaurus,  come to the Big Apple and have converse ideas about what to do.  As complex as the Titans themselves, these kids, regardless of their species, act like teenagers with the same angst, fear, and misguided ideals as most of us did back in the day.  They present very complex archetypes, matching teen cliques and the species from which they are descended.  Writer Fabian Nicieza spins a really interesting yarn in this one shot DC Universe Presents issue.
  • Saucer Country #6 appeared to be Paul Cornell cluing his readers in on the actual mythology behind Flying Saucers and Little Green Men.  No doubt that some of it was made up by him, but a lot of it is historical fact of sightings that people saw (regardless of whether the sightings were legitimate or misconstrued) and how those events were reported.  Paul Cornell stated that one of the things that fascinated him in his younger days was the whole ET/UFO subculture of the American southwest and other pocket communities throughout the world.  It really shows through in this issue.  Divorced from the main plot almost entirely, its just a really interesting little informational seminar on the topic the comic explores that clues in the readers, doing so in a very palatable, entertaining way.

That is the third week of August.  Exceptional issues that marked many endings and the promise of just as many new beginnings.

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

Illustration Credits:

Green Lantern #12:  Art by Renato Guedes & Calafiore, Colored by Alex Sinclair

Batwoman #12:  Art by J.H. Williams III, Colored by Dave Stewart

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1: Art by Lee Bermejo, Colored by Barbara Ciardo

Red Hood and the Outlaws #12: Art by Timothy Green II, Colored by Blond

Wonder Woman #12: Art by Cliff Chiang, Colored by Matthew Wilson