This is a week I have been looking forward to for awhile. Green Lantern: The New Guardians has been powering towards this year long finale and I am anxious to read it. Batman Incorporated was regrettably bumped back a month due to the shooting in Colorado, but finally hits stands. The Golden Glider, aka Lisa Snart, makes her first appearance in The Flash. And The Unwritten has been at the top of my pull list since it first came out over three years ago.
- Green Lantern: The New Guardians #12 completes not only a full years worth of storytelling, but also the very first story arc which I believe has been referred to as “The Ring Thief.” Self contained, this twelve month span of issues presents a beginning and an end wrapped up very neatly. If one wanted to stop here, writer Tony Bedard provides a perfect jumping off point for reader, but also a perfect jumping on point next month for a new stage of storytelling with a brand new team. Wrapping up the threat of Invictus against the Vega System and the Universe and the mysterious motives of the “Ring Thief”, Bedard presents two very complex figures. Both the fallen Angel of Vega and the fallen Guardian of Oa have good intentions that cross boundaries of morality and pervert their noble aims. Both are put down, but the result leaves a bittersweet taste in one’s mouth as to whether or not the Universe is better or worse for their defeat. This series started off shaky last September, but finished high on the leaderboard in my opinion. Can’t wait for next arc with the return of two of my favorite Lanterns: Carol Ferris and Atrocitus.
- The month delayed Batman Incorporated #3 finally came out this week, for those who couldn’t get a bootleg around the time of the original release date. Isssue #1 introduced the reentry of Leviathan as the central threat under the banner of Talia Al-Ghul. Issue #2 reintroduced the origin and journey of Talia to the foreground as the mastermind behind Leviathan and the reasons for the organization’s creation. This issue brings us back to Batman and Robin fighting Leviathan and how the enigmatic cabal is spreading like a cancer throughout the infrastructure of Gotham, and probably the whole country. Donning the seemingly retired persona of “Matches” Malone, Batman attempts to infiltrate the beast from its belly. Grant Morrison writes a tight script and artist Chris Burnham draws it exquisitely, with as style reminiscent of Frank Quitely, but with a flavor all its own.
- Flash #12 brings months of Flash issues to a head. Writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Brian Buccellato have been slowly introducing the Rogues in one off issues that reintroduce and in some cases reinvent the characters to the DCU. With Heatwave’s, appearance last month the final two make their’s in this twelfth installment. Captain Cold’s little sister, Lisa Snart, aka Golden Glider, comes into the picture, ousting her brother as leader of the Rogues and institutes a daring plan to bring the Gem Cities to their knees, with a lot of help from a final Rogue who has kept a low profile thus far. In the life of our protagonist, Flash confronts his fair-weather friend, Dr. Elias, about his betrayal and finds the good doctor to be an egotistical user who took advantage of the Flash to further his own research. Elias then becomes the lynch pin between the Rogues, the Flash, Captain Cold, and The Pied Piper. A lot of things happening and all setting up the Flash Annual due next week . . .
- Batman: The Dark Knight #12 was a pretty intense, thought provoking issue. Falling into the clutches of the Scarecrow, Batman is subjected to various regimes of fear toxin. Through his descent into the trauma of his childhood, we see that Bruce Wayne and Jonathan Crane are actually very similar in several respects. Also the the greatest fear of Batman’s is revealed and it is quite shocking, but appropriate. Gregg Hurwitz is writing a great Batbook that is both hard hitting and introspective. David Finch’s artwork continues to define the book and lend it a feel that is truly gothic.
- Fury of Firestorm #12 reaches the fever point for both Pozhar and Director Zither. With the international tension between Firestorms mounting, the truth behind the emergence of these superbeings unfolds. Pozhar, the Russian Firestorm, pioneered the technology with Professor Stein. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond gained their powers from Stein’s Matrix. The Firestorms of the other nations received their Firestorm Matrices from Zithertech, which makes all the difference. The fallout (perhaps literal as well as figurative) redefines the title in time for the new regime of Dan Jurgens as writer/artist. Ashra Khan hasn’t shown yet. Hope that doesn’t vanish with the previous creative team. I like Dan Jurgens’ work as a whole, but sometimes he can drop the ball. I feel like he could do this title great justice, considering the subject material.
- Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1 inaugurates another out-of-the-park hit from J. Michael Straczynski in the Before Watchmen line. With a plot whose flow is dictated by the principles of quantum physics, mainly that of what I believe is referred to as “Schrödinger’s cat”, stating that anything conceivable is possible until proven otherwise. In this, the young Jon Osterman receives a present from his parents, and looking back on it as the godlike Doctor Manhattan, he states that until he opened that box, its contents could literally have been anything. A kitten, a teddy bear, a baseball mitt and ball, etc. And in numerous realities it did contain those things. He goes over his entire life and the exact moments that are unchangeable that lead to his metamorphosis into his current state. However, when he witnesses a reality in which he does not find himself locked in the Intrinsic Fields vault, he then is confronted with the possibility that not everything is quantifiable and chaos does exist in a seemingly fixed set of rules. There is obviously much more to the story, but the way in which the plot is scientifically mapped and charted by the author and its protagonist is what truly makes is a fascinating read.
- Superman #12 brings a close to the first year of the title and also Dan Jurgens’ role as writer/artist. I love Jurgens and his work, but this issue and the story arc it concludes was not good. We see that the predator monster, who unmasked does actually look dissimilar and more like a reptile than the movie predator, was actually just an unwitting victim, ripped from his home dimension and who is just trying to get back to where he belongs. While fighting his Russian captors to escape captivity, some of them are killed, and because of this Superman tries to bar his exit from Earth, because “this creature needs to pay for his crimes.” WHAT?! Knowing full well that the creature doesn’t want to stay here and was forcefully removed to Earth, are we really supposed to believe that Superman would take that line, especially considering his track record of wanton destruction? No!!! Mister Jurgens, this doesn’t make sense. Better luck on Fury of Firestorm in two months. Starting in September with issue #0, Superman will fall under the skillful pen of Scott Lobdell. I for one, can’t wait.
- Justice League Dark #12 continues the “Books of Magic” storyline’s descent deeper into the twisted realm of deception. Felix Faust and Dr. Mist turn out to be merely pawns in a faceless enemy’s highly sophisticated plot. While we do not know who this man is, we know he is powerful, we know that he has an old tie to John Constantine, and while Constantine is master of the House of Mystery, this other gentleman is become lord of the House of Secrets. Also, we get to see the true secret about the rift between former lovers Zatanna and Constantine, and oh man is it a doozy.
- Teen Titans #12 reveals further details about the connection between Cassie Sandsmark and the source of her power, the Silent Armor. The Armor is an evil device, linked to an Armageddon force that thus far Cassie has been able to suppress. However, the enigmatic young man from her past, Diesel, introduced last issue, holds the key to unlocking both her destructive potential and the secret of the armor. In two months we will see how this all plays out. In the backup story by Fabian Nicieza, Teryx, with the help of Kid Flash, hunts down Steg in an attempt to stop his dino-supremacist actions. There isn’t really an ending to this segment making me wonder if it will be a future plot line or a recurring backup.
- Voodoo #12 marks the end of that series’ main run. There will be a #0 issue next month, but as of the end of this issue, both Voodoo and Priscilla are going to be relegated to the pages of other series, such as Grifter and possibly Superman. When I read the first issue of this series a year ago, I had so many theories and questions as to the destiny of the anti-heroic title character, but this issue didn’t get anywhere close to resolving either. I hope that Grifter utilizes the character better, and both develops her and answers those questions.
- All-Star Western #12 wraps up the storyline of the reorganized Religion of Crime . . . for now. Jonah Hex and Tallulah Black (along with Dr. Amadeus Arkham) escape from the group’s steampunk deathtrap and take it to the self-appointed Lords of Crime with bare fists and .44 caliber bullets. The results of their labors seem definite, but as is an accepted truth about Gotham City, no evil ever dies. In the meantime, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray introduce us to the next conflict in the series’ future . . . Dr. Jekyll and his strange associate. In the backup feature, Palmiotti and Gray conclude their “Dr. Thirteen” arc in classic Sherlock Holmes style, with science masqueraded as superstition.
- Kirby Genesis: Dragonsbane #3 brings the group of mythic heroes closer to the Conspiracy of Dragons imprisoning the Persian princess, Tahmina. In the process, they pick up another comrade-in-arms, the She-Demon. Though she seems generic, it is hinted that she comes from a Romanian inspired mythland. With the last of their fellowship together, the heroes end the issue by setting foot into the Persian mythland and on the verge rescuing Tahmina. Next issue will conclude the series and I have to admit I am intrigued.
- The Unwritten #40 marks the return of Tom Taylor to the main narrative. As has been foreshadowed in previous issues, Tom is coming to Australia on a world tour of revelation that we can assume is in response to the eponymous “Wound” this arc details following Pullman’s attack on the Leviathan several months ago. It also marks the meeting of Tom with the characters who we have come to see as central these past three months: Daniel Armitage, Det. Didge Patterson, and most importantly, Reverend Lucas Filby of the Church of Tommy cult. When meeting each of these three, Tommy is made aware of something important to his journey forwarding. In fact, Didge’s revelation, born of her disintegration by Pullman’s wooden hand, leads Tom and the title toward the next major arc.
Thus concludes a phenomenal week in comics. See you next week.
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #12: Drawn by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Nei Ruffino & Wes Hartman, Inked by BATT
Batman Inc #3: Art by Chris Burnham, Colored by Nathan Fairbairn
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #11: Drawn by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Nei Ruffino, Inked by BATT
Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1: Art by Adam Hughes, Colored by Laura Martin
All-Star Western #12: Art by Moritat, Colored by Mike Atiyeh
The Unwritten #40: Art by Peter Gross, Colored by Chris Chuckry