This week begins the February batch of comics and with it some of the best titles, in my humble opinion. Green Arrow is a series that has me ravenous month to month, ready to devour the next issue at the conclusion of each brand new one. Detective Comics is nearing the end of writer John Layman’s run. Trillium remains one of the best titles Vertigo has in their lineup. Also out this week: Green Lantern and Red Lanternsshare a physical issue this month, Batman: Black & White ends its six issue run, and last but not least Ms. Marvel #1 comes out, written by the incomparable G. Willow Wilson and introducing a promising young lady into the realm of superheroics. It’s looking like it’s going to be an awesome week!
Detective Comics #28 unfolds the second chapter of the three part “Gothtopia” storyline. Batman has realized the horrific truth behind the shiny city which Gotham has been masqueraded. Somehow Scarecrow has engineered an airborne toxin that has the populous in a state of euphoria. With everyone so perfectly enthralled under his chemically enhanced euphoria Batman’s rational thoughts seem like insanity, prompting his allies to capture him and put him in the only place that can treat someone in his condition: Arkham Asylum. Working with Scarecrow are a ragtag group of Batman villains correlated only by their medical degrees: Harley Quinn (former psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quintzel), Professor Pyg (surgeon Dr. Lazlo Valentine), Mr. Freeze (medical scientist Dr. Victor Fries), and Merrymaker (fallen psychiatrist Dr. Byron Meredith). These rogues have Batman and delight at the various draconian means with which they can “attempt to cure him.” Luckily for Batman, Arkham Asylum’s security is something he’s made a hobby of and even more lucky, the one person who has the inherent traits to counter the toxin is also currently an inmate: Poison Ivy. Batman’s got these two points on his side, but Scarecrow has more than just the psycho version of the television show The Doctors on his side. John Layman is ending his run on this title with style in what is shaping up to be a very intriguing bookend arc. Unfortunately his longtime collaborator in art, Jason Fabok, has left the title to begin his work on the upcoming weekly series Batman Eternal. It would have been great if they could have hit the finish line together, but c’est la vie. Next month’s issue will mark the end of a really quality run of Detective Comics and herald one of the most exciting runs to date with the advent of writer/artist duo Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, whose run on Flash cemented it as one of the top titles. It’s an exciting time in Detective Comics and Layman is setting up a killer final issue of his run.
Green Arrow #28presents another killer issue in Jeff Lemire’s “Outsiders War” arc. Picking up with last issue’s unbelievable revelation that Robert Queen is still alive, Ollie wrestles with the implications. Not only is his father alive, but it was his dear old dad that stranded him on the island in the first place and who, as the oni-masked mercenary, had him mercilessly tortured and personally hunted Ollie upon his escape. Robert spins a yarn of his intentions and only having Oliver’s best interest in mind, but from all angles, not just the inhuman treatment he endured, Ollie has so many reasons to be angry at his father and Shado, which he makes no effort to hide. Elsewhere, Fyffe and Naomi meet John Diggle in
Father and Son.
Seattle and are drafted by him in Ollie’s absence to help stop Richard Dragon, the Fist Clan warrior who has his sights on ruling the Emerald City. Also of note is the return of Komodo, aka Simon Lacroix, to the main narrative. Komodo is the pretender to the chieftainship of the Arrow Clan, selected by the Outsiders to fill the role once the true holder of the Totem Arrow, Robert Queen, has been dethroned. This honor bestowed on him is not something that the Outsiders, namely Spear Clan chief Golgotha, let him forget. Komodo’s entry into the Outsiders inner circle is perhaps the most ominous and captivating development within the issue. As ever, Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino deliver a phenomenal issue of Green Arrow and an iconic statement in comic production. As both a writer and an artist, Jeff Lemire has a keen mind for visual storytelling and an apparent affinity for the character. Over the course of thirteen issues his writing of Oliver has been somber, honest, and thrilling, showing that while Lemire may not love Ollie (he probably does though), he respects him. No one who’s been on the title since the Reboot has given Oliver his due, playing him as a flippant buffoon with no idea what he is doing. Green Arrow took up the bow as a vigilante for a reason and Lemire understands that where others have not. Helping Lemire realize his vision of Green Arrow is artist Andrea Sorrentino, whose stark realist style adds drama and immediacy to the acts portrayed. What Sorrentino also adds is an artistic approach to multi-sensory depictions of Lemire’s scripts. Comics are a largely visual medium. Sound can be insinuated through awkwardly inserted effects that are often overlooked and ignored by readers and touch, taste, and smell can be described contextually by characters or the narrator. The lattermost three are not easily conveyed, but several times since November Sorrentino has employed an interesting technique of inserting the overwhelming sound effects that characters are hearing and using those as a visual filter for what the reader sees. In November’s Green Arrow #25 Sorrentino displayed characters reaction to a violent explosion seen in the lettering of the explosive sound effect BOOM! Sorrentino did it again last issue with the advent of the Shield Clan to the island. This issue he utilized this effect for two more sequences that immediately made readers aware of the cacophonous din the characters were experiencing in a way that was inescapable but also visually stimulating. With two graphic geniuses on this title how is it possible for comic book fans to NOT be reading it?! If you haven’t read it, rectify that error and pick up Green Arrow #17 and take the fast train to having your mind blown.
Sorrentino Word Art.
Green Lantern/Red Lanterns #28is a special flip issue combining Green Lantern and Red Lanterns into one book. In the Green Lantern portion writer Robert Venditti picks up where Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 left off with the deputizing of a slew of the Corps worst enemies into a loose alliance against a common enemy: the Durlans. Despite this swelling of manpower, Hal Jordan still has a lot on his plate after the blindsiding assault the Durlans and their Khund allies launched, the decimation of the Blue Lantern Corps, and the conscientious objectors within his ranks that refuse to use their rings owing to their draining of the Universal Reservoir of Light. There’s little else Hal can seemingly take, but unfortunately he gets a Red Lantern surprise in the form of a raged out, red ringed Supergirl spewing corrosive blood from her mouth. With Saint Walker, the sole Blue Lantern, out of commission there is only one person left that Hal can call on to extricate this Kryptonian Red, prompting the flipping of the issue. Red Lanterns picks up on Earth with Guy interceding on behalf of Skallox and Zilius Zox who are being assaulted by the Shadow Thief. Guy attempts to defuse the situation without resorting to violence in order to show his former lover, Tora Olafsdottir (Ice), that he has changed. Shadow Thief doesn’t make it easy, but with Ice’s help the situation is defused, albeit not in a way that Guy intended. With dashed hopes he returns to Ysmault to find Hal Jordan waiting with a contingent of Green Lanterns and tenuously restrained Supergirl. Guy and Hal’s reception is very icy, but with the wrath of Superman (whom at this point they only assume is related to this mystery Red) impending, cooperation is given. Elsewhere, Bleez and Rankorr have come face-to-face with the reinstated Atrocitus who has brought a new Red Lantern into the ranks. Atrocitus, true to his intrinsic nature, bears a massive grudge against Guy Gardner and those Red Lanterns that remained with Guy. A fight ensues, which Bleez and Rankorr are unprepared for, prompting Bleez to make a strategic retreat for reinforcements while Rankorr pulls rearguard. This issue by both creative teams of Green Lantern and Red Lanterns is enthralling to read and highlights the interconnectivity of the Lantern titles. It is revealed here that Hal never actually said that Guy could have Sector 2814, just that he could have A sector. Guy just presumptuously took 2814 without clearing it with anyone. That makes me feel a little bit better about the situation, but I do still harbor a bit of an annoyance at Charles Soule and the Green Lantern Group editors for the Ysmault in 2814 decision. It’s illogical and seems like a lazy plot-device. Whatever. The issue also came out before the actual sequence in Supergirl where the ring seeks her out, which happens later in the month in Supergirl #28, so her appearance is a little jarring considering the lack of explanation behind her transformation. Those points aside, the war with the Durlans is a very intricate, multifaceted concept, and the reemergence of Atrocitus as the head of a tangent Red Lantern group, creating a schism in the Red Lantern Corps is rife with possibilities. Venditti and Soule are the right men for their respective titles, even if they have their little hiccups.
Swamp Thing #28 opens a whole new chapter for our main character. The Parliament of Trees is no more. To save our world from a monster unleashed by the out of touch Lords of the Green, Alec Holland destroyed the Parliament from within, making himself the soul voice of the Green. He did this for the greater good, but this action could also appear to some as him basically making himself immortal, as his power will run in perpetuity from the Green giving him life without end. Regardless of motive, the die has been cast and good or bad he will reap the whirlwind. Before he brought the house of cards crashing down, he did pull three former avatars from the Parliament into the material world: the Wolf, Lady Weeds, and a third, very ancient Swamp Thing from pre-Roman times. All three reenter the world at the age in which they were inaugurated into the Green as Avatars. Though they are now mortal and are destined to live mortal lives, they meet the challenge with eventual gratitude. However, with his return to the mortal sphere Swamp Thing must find his former charge, the elusive Capucine, and make good on his promise to protect her. It is while undertaking this task that we are finally told the tale of Capucine’s origin in 12th century France. Her immortal youth, vigor, and martial prowess were the result of an alchemical experiment performed on her brother, herself, and another child by monks to forge them into immortal protectors of that Order. Through the march of time and the shift of governing powers she was released from her bond, but not the price that the magics used on her exact. That is why she seeks Holland’s help. Charles Soule has really taken this series by the horns and made it his own. It follows in the spirit of excellence that Scott Snyder began when he started the series in 2011, but the plot and world have completely shifted to fit Soule’s new paradigm. I respect this a great deal. Writers, even great ones, that try to live completely in the shadow of their predecessors rarely succeed. With the departure of Snyder I was afraid this series would languish from the transition. With the selection of Soule Swamp Thing will continue both in excellence and innovation. I look forward to seeing what comes down the road for Alec Holland.
Swamp Thing and the Avatars.
Batman: Black & White #6 concludes the six issue anthology series of innovative black and white stories following Batman’s exploits on the streets of Gotham. This time around Cliff Chiang, Olly Moss, Becky Cloonan, Adam Hughes, and Dave Johnson render six interesting tales pertaining to the Dark Knight. Cliff Chiang’s tale follows a young Dick Grayson in his initial days as ward to Bruce Wayne and the Boy Wonder, Robin. In both instances Dick feels he has something to prove and Chiang’s narrative brings the reader into the young headstrong perspective of almost every teenage boy. Olly Moss writes a story of a pretty, young socialite who spends a night with Bruce Wayne, only to wake up in the morning and find him gone. Meeting with friends who had similar experiences, this story fleshes out quite interestingly the cloaking element of Batman’s dual identity. In all cases, the women Bruce Wayne uses to perpetuate his playboy image are often in the background, but rarely are their thoughts and emotions given voice. He is always cordial and in no way mistreats or disrespects them, apart from keeping them in the dark and sometimes ditching them. All of the women in this story seem mildly vexed, but never offended, as Bruce later helped to propel their careers or social standings afterward. Becky Cloonan does a fantastic job rendering these lovely women and the lavish scenes they are treated to by Bruce. Adam Hughes writes and draws a very intimate story about Catwoman and the inextricable hold she has on Batman. With Selina in a hospital bed, never to walk again the doctors say, Batman is forced to take responsibility for her condition and realize just how important she is to him. It’s a very stark tale, beginning to end, that is good, but unsettling as well. Dave Johnson provides another stark yarn dealing with the Dark Knight in a tertiary fashion. Following the exploits of a cheap hood who tries to impress a woman with expensive appetites the reader sees how slowly through his own nemishness and greed he is brought low time and again by the Batman. Batman is the impartial executor of the law that can never be escaped. This story was entitled “The Man Who Beat the Bat” and it’s in those dark final panels that we see how a two-bit criminal can beat one of the most indomitable human beings on the planet. Overall, this series has been a must read for Batman fans presenting some deeply thought provoking stories by some of the greatest writers and artists in comics today, and set in black and white, capturing the intrinsic ominousness of the material. Six incredible issues that do the Dark Knight proud.
The Man Who Beat the Bat.
Trillium #6 marks the return of the title from hiatus. When last we saw William and Nika they had switched places following the temporal shift of the Atabithi/Incan temple that served as a conduit between their respective space/times. Now William is living in the 38th century as a human colonist fleeing the dreaded Caul virus and Nika is an Imperial officer in the 1920’s administering British authority in South America. Both have memories of their past lives before the rift, which leads them to believe themselves insane. Their perseverance despite this lends credence to the strength of their belief in their cause, but also the bond they share with each other. Writer/artist Jeff Lemire credits this as “the last love story,” and by Jiminy that looks to be what he is delivering. His storytelling is deft and subtle, and his artwork is without comparison, adding a very unique, enthralling ambiance to the reader’s immersion into the plot. Lemire is one of very few writers with the mind to conceive such a story, and the even rarer talent of bringing it off almost single-handed. There are only two more issues left and the suspense mounts with the ending of this issue.
Ms. Marvel #1was an unmitigated disappointment. It should be noted that I haven’t spent my money on a Marvel comic in years. I’m not a fan of what they had been doing with their brand across the board several years ago and I found the vast majority of their books to be unhinged from what made the characters good originally. Not a general rule, but true enough from my perspective to preclude me from buying their products. Ms. Marvel #1 offered several things that appealed to me, so I was eager to pick it up. I am a HUGE fan of writer G. Willow Wilson’s previous work, most notably her postmodern series Air, and the concept of Kamala Khan, an Islamic teenager taking over the Ms. Marvel persona from her promoted predecessor, Carol Danvers, was also a really intriguing touch. I, for one, am always a proponent for diversity in comic leads. I’ve been a huge fan of the Batman Inc. concept and especially original Batwing, David Zavimbe, and his trials and tribulations as the Batman of Post-Colonial Africa. Nightrunner, the Algerian teenager that became the Batman of Paris, remains in my top ten list of underutilized characters. And of course, Batwoman was a series that took on a lead with an alternate lifestyle and made an instant classic out of her heroic journey. Alas, Ms. Wilson wasn’t able to accomplish anything similar with Kamala. Or rather she didn’t by the end of the first issue. Basically, to sum up this issue, the reader is given a thorough look at the life of the modern American teen of Near Eastern descent and Islamic faith, through Kamala and her family. Her parents seem religiously liberal, but socially conservative. Her older siblings by contrast are more religiously conservative, leaving Kamala to wrestle between her familial culture and the ever pervasive counterculture of being a teenager. With difficulty she holds off the temptations of keggers and bacon double cheeseburgers, but allows herself her vices such as superhero fan-fictions. In essence this issue’s sole drive was selling the reader that Kamala is an angsty teen, that she is Pakistani by heritage, and she is a Muslim. If this were an indy comic or an artistic imprint like Air or Wilson’s seminal Cairo that would make for a very compelling story. It isn’t, though. It’s the first issue of Ms. Marvel, a superhero comic. In the last three pages Kamala becomes Ms. Marvel, but with no rationale. First of all she has a dream that Captain Marvel bestows the powers on her, which is kind of weird and deus ex machina, leaving the reader with no legitimate idea of how these powers are granted. Even by comic book standards of gamma waves, radioactive spiders, getting struck by lighting, and intergalactic power rings, having a dream and waking up with powers is farfetched. But even that underscores the second and more crucial detraction to the title. There is no REASON for her to be Ms. Marvel. Probably everyone has heard the adage “When the need is great, the hero shall appear.” That is an indispensable rule of thumb when it comes to superhero comics. Batman wouldn’t exist if Gotham City were a paradise. Without Superman, Metropolis would be a smoking crater from the ill-deeds of any number of his villains. No matter the superhero there is something, established in their first issue, that gives their move into super-heroics not just purpose, but necessity. Of the caveats to be played with in writing innovative, avant-garde modern superhero titles this is NOT one of them. At the end of this issue we have a decently rendered teenager with a colorful personality that gets superpowers. Great. Hope she has fun with them. Inherent in any competent origin issue you need two key elements: 1) development of character, 2) development of conflict. The first requirement was delivered in spades, a testament to Wilson’s talent for characterization. However, the second was barely attempted, given the bare minimum of effort in the form of a mysterious fog developing at a kegger Kamala attended earlier in the evening and left before. No reason or consequence comes of the fog, apart from kids beginning to get sleepy. Of these two elements, you ALWAYS err on the side of developing conflict over character. Conflict sets the hook and develops the suspense that draws readers back to the next issue. Characterization is something that continuously and organically happens as the title progresses. You don’t need to know EVERYTHING about a character before you introduce actual plot. Wilson could have cut 40% of Kamala’s story out of this issue, distilled the important things that are imperative to know in order to understand her, and given us something to juxtapose her youthful idealism against, i.e. a consumerist crime kingpin, or an evil businessperson with sinister aims. I’m spitballing here, but this most certainly was NOT a superhero comic, nor a befitting introduction of an altogether delightful young woman into the role of a venerable superheroine legacy. I’m disappointed because of my respect for G. Willow Wilson as a writer and I am disappointed as a reader. I might catch up with this series again when it releases as a graphic novel, but I am not going to gamble on its future with my hard earned, already stretched money. It looks to be several more years before Marvel gets me to buy any more of their comics. Better luck next time, folks.
The New Face of Marvel.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Detective Comics #28: Drawn by Aaron Lopresti, Colored by Blond, Inked by Art Thibert.
Green Arrow #28: Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Colored by Marcelo Maiolo.
Swamp Thing #28: Art by Javier Pina, Colored by Matthew Wilson.
Batman: Black & White #6: Art by Dave Johnson.
Ms. Marvel #1: Cover Art by Sarah Pichelli & Justin Ponsor.
This week rounds out the month with some classic series like Teen Titans and The Flash and adds a few Annuals to the mix. It also marks the end of the very intriguing Damian: Son of Batman series. Not the most perfect week of comics, but certainly a few gems to be read.
The Flash #27begins the last arc of writer Brian Buccellato’s run on this title. Beginning in the 19th century when the Gem Cities of Keystone and Central City were mining camps, we get a two page glimpse at a murder centuries. Cut to the present when Flash is running down (pun intended) a few of his lesser foes, only to discover a hidden chamber beneath the city streets containing several long dead bodies. They fit the M.O. of a killer put away on a life sentence, but according to forensics were killed AFTER said person, Hollis Holden, was sent to Iron Heights Prison. As Barry looks into the facts it slowly dawns on him that this could be the case that clears his father’s name of killing Barry’s mom. It’s a sad thing that Buccellato is leaving the Flash, because his collaboration with Francis Manapul on the title has truly invigorated this series and made it one of the “can’t miss” series of the current DC lineup. Though Manapul is absent in art, Patrick Zircher takes over art duties and his panels bring the Flash alive in a whole new way. I won’t say that I like the art better than Manapul’s, which is in it’s own category, but I definitely love his work and would seek it out in other titles once this title transitions. With this being Buccellato’s last hoorah on the Flash, it’s a distinct possibility that Barry might ACTUALLY solve his mother’s murder. The question comes down to how well that answer could be given under the current circumstances and the size of Buccellato’s ego. My opinion could swing favorably or unfavorably on this one. Two more issues to go . . .
The Red Lanterns #27 begins properly the new phase in the Red Lantern mission. After “Lights Out” Hal Jordan gave Guy Gardner and his Red Lanterns a sector of Space for their own, free of interference from the Green Lanterns. Guy took 2814, home most notably to the planet Earth. Writer Charles Soule says Ysmault, the Red Lantern homeworld, is in Sector 2814 and that is the rationale for its selection. I’m not buying it. This is one time when I have to question Soule’s logic, considering that Ysmault was used as the prison to house the survivors of the Manhunter massacre of every living thing in Sector 666, except the six Inversions imprisoned on there. They were imprisoned to keep them out of sight and out of mind so they couldn’t tell the rest of the Universe what the Guardians let happen. So . . . why would they put these dangerous criminals in a heavily populated sector like 2814 when they could use any of the THOUSANDS of deserted planets in 666 where nobody ever goes and where there are no Green Lanterns patrolling? I’m pretty sure they did even say Ysmault is in 666 somewhere in one issue or another. A very ill-conceived gambit to justify the annexing of 2814 by the Reds. With that taken into account, Guy intends to inspect Earth and show Skallox and Zilius Zox his homeworld, as they have never seen it before. I am fairly certain Skallox went to Earth in Red Lanterns #10 or the crossover issue of Stormwatch #10. Soule is appearing to not have done his homework. Rankorr and Bleez, who have been to Earth many times, are dispatched to find a newly minted Red Lantern and reign them in, only to come face-to-face with Atrocitus, who found new ring himself and initiate the new toad-like Red into the fold. On Earth Skallox and Zox are left to their own devices, invariably finding trouble. The main thing that Charles Soule accomplishes with this issue is the reintroduction of Tora Olafsdottir, aka Ice, into the New DCU, as well as recapping the former relationship that Guy and Tora once had. I like the series, but I do think that of the many things that Charles Soule is currently writing this is the weakest series and the one that probably has the least of his attention. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but it could be way better.
An Icy Reception.
Teen Titans #27appears to be Scott Lobdell’s attempt to make a liar out of me. Last issue, he and artist Tyler Kirkham went about detailing the secret origin of Kid Flash, aka Bar-Tor, as a “psychotic anarchist” who led a bloody rebellion in a tyrannically oppressive future. At least that was their aim. What they showed was a level headed kid that did everything within his power to protect and provide for his little sister, Shira, and make a better world. He is nothing more than what any person would be in that situation and far from the psychopath they’d depicted him as. This issue changes that. It also, to a small degree, changes the rationale behind his surrender to the galactic “Functionary” that oppressed the lower classes of its citizens. In issue #26 it appeared that the near death of Shira due to his actions snapped Bar out of his revolutionary fervor, making him give himself up to authorities. While I still believe that he loves his sister and that she is his primary reason for doing what he has done, Scott Lobdell shows that Kid Flash’s surrender was both strategic and deceptive. Though he was granted witness protection and a new identity in the past, the Functionary show when they try Bar in this issue that they never had any intention of letting him live. They only meant to break his rebellion by putting on a show trial with him ratting out those that believe in him and fought for him, killing their spirit, and then executing him afterward. Bar knew this and turned the tables. After admitting his utter guilt to the charges laid against him the ceiling is literally blown off of the courthouse and the prison guards arm the rebels and teleport them to the scene. Bar has the Functionary bigwigs in a snare that will ensure that all the government’s heads will roll in one swing of the sword. No one is going to survive Bar’s coup, not even the innocents present. In his demeanor and his actions, Kid Flash does take on the crazed temper he’d be cast in leading up to these last two issues. It’s madness, but the question is whether it is a good kind of madness. What is happening seems very much like the French Revolution with the prison guards turning against their masters and opening the prisons in an all out breakdown of the system. I am very curious to see how this predicament pans out and how the crazy Kid Flash from this issue reconciles with the very grounded, moral version that perhaps only I saw in the last issue. With a character like Kid Flash it’s hard to believe he would get kamikaze’d like, that regardless of whether the title is getting cancelled in April or not. Scott Lobdell hasn’t let me down so far and has written this series superbly throughout the two and a half year run. Artist Tyler Kirkham is hitting it out of the park in the realm of art, really making this title a jewel in his resume. I’m onboard this train till it’s last stop two months from now. What a ride . . .
The Face of Teenage Revolution.
Talon #15 is yet another comic by Marguerite Bennett that I went into with high hopes, only to have them dashed. The issue has NO story. Yes, there is something resembling a plot, but at the end of the issue the reader is left with two questions: 1) What did I just read? 2) Why should I care? The plot (or what passes for one) begins with an African American Talon taking down William Cobb to become the Court of Owl’s new assassin. It should be noted that this Talon is male, meaning that it is not Strix, who came into her second life in the 50’s. The pacing of the issue is also very jarring, following the reverse order paradigm of Christopher Nolan’s seminal film, Memento. Slowly we work our way back through this guys life, and while the imagery is very depressing and often tragic, the rationale of why we are even hearing about this guy is not answered. This is a one-off for Bennett, the title will transition to Tim Seeley’s hands for it’s final two issues, so again the possibility that this is setting something up is dubious. There was even the possibility in my head that in some way this gentleman was a relative of Casey Washington, but due to the time period and the circumstances described this is just a nameless Talon we may never hear from again. Every time I come across a title that Marguerite Bennett writes I get a twinge. Maybe she’s good at writing her own material, but so far everything of hers I have read is her writing a one-shot issue of someone else’s property like her Batman Annual #2 last year, the TERRIBLE Lobo issue she wrote during Villains Month this September, and her lackluster Batgirl #25 in November. She’s writing two one-shots next month and both have me worried. Joker’s Daughter features the title character whom I do not care for one iota, so that sounds like a giant waste of money. Lois Lane is a horse of a different color, because that has the potential to be amazing . . . assuming the writer has the talent to actually pull it off. Lois Lane is a character that can be incredible, but can also be absolutely terrible if the writer doesn’t know what they are doing. Bennett does not instill faith. Also the artist on Lois Lane, Emanuela Lupacchino, is an up and coming talent and I’ve enjoyed her past work a great deal, so that is another reason Bennett’s authorship is troubling. No one wants to be the weakest link that breaks the chain, especially when that chain is Lois Lane, one of the most beloved female characters in comics and someone that fans have been screaming to have her own solo book. Marguerite Bennett said this of her controversial Lobo issue this past September: “You can hate me by Page Two. But if I do not have your attention by Page Four, you don’t have to read something of mine ever again.”
Well Ms. Bennett, you have until the last page of Lois Lane #1 to sell me that you can write anything. Then I am going to take you up on your previous offer.
Damian: Son of the Batman #4brings to a close Andy Kubert’s four issue miniseries dedicated to Damian Wayne, whom Kubert co-created with Grant Morrison. This series has been and continues to be a very Kubert-esque journey through the life of Batman. Joe Kubert, Andy’s father, had a very characteristic drawing style that influenced comic art for seventy years, but also a narrative style that is like no one else’s, past or present. Andy has definitely inherited his dad’s artistic style, but he also emotes the same incredible voice as a writer. Joe could have written this, but at the same time there is a darker edge that is all Andy. In a lot of ways that is something of which this comic is an allegory. Damian is taking over for his legendary father, Batman. In the first issue, even after the death of Batman (it’s actually Dick Grayson) he is reticent to take on the mantle of the Bat, but as events unfold he is thrust into becoming Batman, but a Batman on his terms. His father, who is still alive though quite old, chastises him for his wanton brutality which does get through to the young Wayne. But as this issue concludes and Damian actualizes himself as the new Dark Knight he takes on the role adhering closely to his father’s legacy and being Batman in the ways that matter, but also maintaining an element of his own identity while in the role. Now I don’t know if Joe and Andy had an idyllic relationship or a rocky one like Bruce and Damian in this series, but the parallels of Andy taking the reigns of continuing his father’s legendary name and legacy in the comics industry rings true to Damian’s struggle herein. As stated, Joe Kubert’s art can be found in elements of more than four generations of comic artists, but his writing style is far more rare and that is what Andy stands as a torchbearer to. Top to bottom, this was an incredible four issue miniseries and well worth reading for those that love and miss Damian Wayne.
Long Live the Batman!
Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 provides and extended format launch pad for the next major conflict in the Green Lantern family of books. The Durlans have been a problem over the past several months, but in this annual their threat begins to solidify. They have publicly discredited the Green Lantern Corps in front of the Universe, they have rallied the Corps’ enemies into simultaneous attacks on the Corps’ chapter houses throughout the 3600 sectors of Space, and they have drawn blood by blowing up the Corps’ command center on Mogo. Writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen give background into the Durlan threat by showing the horrific ruling council of the Durlan race called “the Ancients,” and gives voice to what the Ancients plan. What’s more, the annual primarily focuses on the Corps’ many iconic villains, i.e. Kanjar-Ro, Bolphunga the Unrelenting, Darkstar, etc., and gives short one to two page glimpses into each villain’s past with a moment that sums up their individual motivations. These are the worst of the worst who HATE the Corps, so what Venditti and Jensen do next is even more incredible. Faced with an alliance with the Durlans who none of them trust, this ragtag group of villains pull a 180 and align themselves with the Green Lanterns to take out the Durlan threat. It’s a tricky gambit and should make for one hell of an entertaining arc.
Earth 2 Annual #2 finally reveals the origin of the enigmatic Batman of Earth 2. Spoiler Alert, I am going to reveal the identity of Batman. I feel enough time has passed since the issue dropped that those that want to know already know, but if someone doesn’t, skip this review. This series started in Earth 2 #0 with the end days of the Apokalips Invasion of Earth 2 being thwarted by the Trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman) at the cost of their lives. So with Bruce Wayne dead, who is this new Batman and why is he doing what he is doing? The breadcrumbs and clues have been stacking up. Firstly, through his rhetoric and desire to free “dangerous” inmates of the Arkham cryostasis detention center we are shown that he could be considered a criminal and a monster. Secondly, while doing so he is revealed to have super-strength and a bulletproof hide. Thirdly, we are told that bioscans reveal him to be human. Finally, when he goes into the containment chambers and releases the inmates he opens the Joker’s tube only to shoot him in the head, revealing a VERY deep loyalty to Batman as a person, but not an adherence to his stringent codes against killing and using firearms. All of these paint a tantalizing riddle of who this person could be, opening the door for either a very interesting reinvention of a classic DC character or the introduction of a brand new one. The reveal was, I am sad to say, underwhelming. Batman is Dr. Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne, who faked his death and apparently became a junkie and a murderer out to take down mafiosi. Maybe in the long run this will be a decent development, but it just seemed really tired and unoriginal. Thomas Wayne as Batman was something novel that writer Brian Azzarello proposed in Flashpoint: Batman and wrote to perfection. In that title as well, Batman became something very dark and excessive in his crusade against crime, also adopting the use of firearms. However, Flashpoint Batman was the architect of the Batman persona following the death of 8 year old Bruce at the gunpoint of Joe Chill and the subsequent psychotic descent of his wife, Martha, into the persona of the Joker. In Earth 2 the use of Thomas as the new Batman just comes off as lazy from a writing standpoint. He uses guns, he’s got five o’clock shadow, he’s willing to kill, his costume is red and grey/black with sharper edges. There are too many similarities with not enough validating differences to make Thomas’ role in the book worthwhile. Now that may change, but the deadbeat dad concept, while tragic, falls flat for me. This is a shame as I have enjoyed the series, both under the helm of original writer James Robinson and the new authorship of Tom Taylor. Whether Thomas was Robinson’s idea or Taylor’s, the brunt of responsibility falls on Tom Taylor to make it work however possible.
A Father in the Shadows.
Worlds’ Finest Annual #1provides a look into the lives of three very important young women from Earth 2. The title Worlds’ Finest follows Helena Wayne, known as Robin on Earth 2 and Huntress on Earth 1, and Kara Zor-El, known as Supergirl on Earth 2 and Power Girl/Karen Starr on Earth 1. This annual showcases their lives as emergent heroes on Earth 2, as well as a brief glimpse at a third young woman whom readers of the series Earth 2 will no doubt recognize: Fury. Helena Wayne is of course the daughter of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and his wife Selena Kyle (Catwoman), and the first and so far only bearer of the mantle of Robin on Earth 2. As on Earth 1, Kara is the cousin of Superman and in most ways is identical to her Earth 1 counterpart. Fury is the enigma, as she is the daughter of Wonder Woman and an unrevealed father, and fights for Apokalips. In this way, the annual focuses on the female scions of the three great superheroes: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Paul Levitz is just the writer to tackle this assignment considering his creation of Huntress in the 70’s and his incredible career writing thoughtful comics about uncertain youths flung head first into incredible circumstances. For proof of that assertion read any of his Legion of Super-Heroes books. The episodes depicted in this annual concerning Helena and Kara paint the two girls as novices making mistakes, but those early blunders juxtapose against the past two years worth of issues to show how they became the strong, confident women we have seen in the present. Fury is more cryptic in her portrayal by Levitz and no doubt that is because her origin and the revelation of her motivations are integrally keyed into the Earth 2 title. In any event, Levitz brings his A-game to these stories and spins into being three events that define the characters of these two dimensionally displaced heroines.
And thus concludes the first month of comics in 2014. Here’s hoping to many more awesome issues to fill out the coming eleven months.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Red Lanterns #27: Art by Alessandro Vitti, Colored by Gabe Eltaeb.
Teen Titans #27: Drawn by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Arif Prianto, Inked by Art Thibert & Dan Green.
Damian: Son of Batman #4: Art by Andy Kubert, Colored by Brad Anderson.
Earth 2 Annual #2: Drawn by Robson Rocha, Colored by Gabe Eltaeb, Inked by Scott Hanna.
This week was a Batweek. Even if the book wasn’t a Bat-title per se, Batman and his family of characters seemed to shine through. This week also heralds the return of one of the most interesting, innovative series being put out: The Unwritten. Altogether this week’s batch of comics (and make-up comic in the form of Superman/Wonder Woman #3) represent their respective titles well.
Batman #27 is one of the quintessential issues of this title in understanding the New 52 version of Batman. Though he has been written by several talented writers in the rebooted continuity, Scott Snyder has been given the helm of the titular Batman title and made it the seminal series within the Batbooks group, often deferred to by the other titles in regard to canon. This issue more than proves why so much faith is put in Snyder’s custodianship of the character. So far Snyder’s “Zero Year” plot has taken Bruce Wayne from twenty-five year old journeyman to the opening cases of his career as Gotham City’s fabled vigilante. Snyder’s Batman from the present had bucked tradition a little bit, but for the most part rode the company line. This younger Bruce Wayne is much different from most versions we’ve seen thus far. Snyder’s modern Batman as well as other versions have been terse and reserved with the character of Alfred, but “Year Zero” Batman is very cold with his manservant. What’s more, he has a downright dislike for James Gordon that transcends his nocturnal identity and is rooted in his civilian life as Bruce Wayne. In this issue Snyder gives both Gordon and Alfred their say, forcing Bruce to reevaluate each, but even more so, to reevaluate himself. Snyder interprets Bruce’s war on crime as more than a personal vendetta against criminality, but also against Gotham City itself and the citizens who populate it, and finds an apt mouthpiece for this theory in the person of Alfred Pennyworth who has known Bruce his entire life. It’s certainly a stark perspective, but one that fits the persona of Batman exceedingly well, further enriching the mystique of the character. Commissioner Gordon’s part in the story depicts a very hopeless landscape that an honest Gotham cop walks in Pre-Batman Gotham, rectifying the misconceptions Bruce had distilled over a decade and a half of resentment. Outside of the character driven plot points, this issue begins what appears to be the endgame of “Zero Year,” which began with the origin of the Joker and transitioned into Dr. Death’s killing spree with his horrific osteogenic serum. Always in the background has been Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler. Nygma had a line on the Red Hood gang, he was Bruce’s uncle’s right hand man at Wayne Enterprises, and he singlehandedly engineered the massive blackout that descended Gotham into anarchy around the advent of the tropical storm Rene. The Riddler appears to be making his move from the shadows to the forefront of the “Zero Year” plot. Encompassing some of the greatest storytelling in comics today, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman is a multifaceted, intelligent journey under the cowl that is destined to go down in the character’s history as one the THE enduring interpretations of the Dark Knight.
Batman & Two-Face #27is shaping up well, giving great depth to the character of Two-Face. Writer Peter Tomasi did a decent job illuminating inherent qualities of the binary badguy during Villains Month in his Two-Face one-shot, but in this arc of his Batman & Robin title he really mines the recesses of Harvey Dent’s past to show the moment when the former district attorney took the dive into madness. So far we’ve seen the return of Irish mobster Erin McKillen to Gotham and the very special relationship she has with the fallen Gotham DA. Once upon a time she put a letter opener through the heart of Harvey’s wife, Gilda, and then burned half his face off with acid. Now considering the complex and nascently sinister nature of “Handsome” Harvey, as well as the very intimate nature of their associations, I assumed Harvey in some way did something to deserve what happened to him, such as perhaps sleeping with Erin’s identical twin, Shannon, who’s death we are told Erin blames on Harvey. Nope. Shannon died in prison after Harvey put her and Erin away for being scum. He violated a few laws of ethics in doing so, but if we are going to look down on a lawyer for screwing psychopathic killers out of a few degrees of jurisprudence then reading a book about a man that dresses like a bat and brutalizes criminals without due process might not be the best choice. So did Shannon get killed on the inside by someone with a beef, thereby putting even a minute modicum of blame on Harvey? Nope. She drew straws with Erin as to who was going to commit suicide so the other could escape prison in the deceased’s bodybag. So if Erin REALLY wants to take out the person responsible for her sister’s untimely death she should put the gun to her own head before seeking out Harvey. This issue reveals more about Harvey’s past and the connection with the McKillen family and again, contrary to my expectations, Harvey comes out cleaner with every page read. He was the personal attorney for the McKillens before his conscience and a little push by Bruce Wayne got him in the DA’s office where he made things right and muzzled two mad dogs. This change of conscience coming when the sisters ordered a hit on Commission Gordon’s pre-teen CHILDREN!!! Two-Face is an angry guy throughout most comics. He is the guy that always rides the edge of straight-up loosing it and is second only to the Joker as someone you have to tip toe around when dealing with. This arc by Tomasi is making ME angry and totally justifies Harvey Dent’s anger in my eyes. Erin McKillen has so much innocent blood on her hands and so cavalierly is willing to murder children and innocent women like Gilda Dent and Commissioner Gordon’s wife that I DO NOT think this series would be any better if she survives the arc. If Peter Tomasi’s goal was to elicit solidarity and sympathy with Two-Face he has at least one definite success in myself.
Batwoman #27is a series in major transition. A lot of the controversy comes from the authoritative stance DC editorial has exerted on the writing of their properties, which caused a huge rift with original Batwoman writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, forcing the duo to leave the title. Marc Andreyko was brought on board following their departure and the rationale behind this, for those with a conspiratorial mind, is probably twofold. I personally have never been impressed by his writing at all. His Manhunter series was okay, but nothing to write home about. His recent reintroduction of the short lived Stalker series from the 1970’s was criminally awful. He’s got a lot to prove. So far he’s written three issues of the series. The jury remains out. His “Zero Year” tie-in with the #25 issue was decent and confirmed what we already knew about Kate Kane’s desire to do good, but wasn’t very engaging or innovative. It also preempted the resolution to the cliffhanger ending of Williams and Blackman’s final issue, which is frustrating to Batwoman‘s readers in and of itself. Last issue Andreyko began a completely new arc with a villain called the Wolfspider, a brown costumed Spider-Man ripoff with a penchant for art thievery. The dialogue and interaction between characters was flatter than day old beer and didn’t draw me in at all. The action sequences were well-conceived, but perhaps only came off as such because of artist Jeremy Haun. This issue I will say was much more engaging to read and felt like an issue of the previous run. However, this is largely due to the fact that its story is predicated on Batwoman being drugged by Wolfspider and tripping for a large portion of the actual plot. With that said, all Andreyko had to do was create a collage of traumatic moments from Kate’s past and fill in some word bubbles that due to the nightmarish nature of the dream don’t have to be particularly well written. The brunt of those sequences were visual and THANKFULLY drawn by one of DC’s top tier artists: Francis Manapul. Manapul’s art and co-writing are responsible for the incredible Flash series and in Batwoman his art makes the issue flow in much the same way J.H. Williams III’s art did in the initial issues of the series.Upon awakening from her nightmare in the apartment of her fiancee, Det. Maggie Sawyer, she is greeted by a startling surprise. The final panel sets the stage for an interesting 28th issue. The lingering question outside of the plot is whether Andreyko is up to the task of writing the continuation? Were he taking over any other title from any other writer(s) then his capabilities as a writer wouldn’t be under as much scrutiny. But to his great misfortune he’s taking over Batwoman from two incredible creators and he may have flown too close to the sun.
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #27 reunites White Lantern Kyle Rayner with his former foe, Exeter, but this time as allies. Exeter’s role as the “Watcher” was two-fold, standing watch over the “Anomoly” at the edge of the Universe and safeguarding his home star system. With the defeat of Relic who emerged from the Anomoly, Exeter’s only task now is maintaining peace in his home sector. However, in his absence Exeter’s people have turned genocidal against their peaceful fungal neighbors. The rationale behind their unwarranted attacks and the culprit behind the elaborate ruse that precipitated them makes for an interesting plot situationally and philosophically. Following “Lights Out” and the complete paradigm shift of the books I was beginning to grow tired of the Green Lantern group of books, which truly is a sad commentary considering how insanely I followed them for years. I even contemplated dropping this particular series. However, what this issue of New Guardians as well as others through the Lantern books have done is reestablish the universal scope of the Green Lantern line. Back in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s that was what the Green Lantern books were all about. With the return of the Green Lantern title in 2005 under Geoff Johns the scope became refined to simply the different colored Lantern Corps. Perhaps one of the best runs in comic history, but a concept that eventually ran its course. The re-institution of a wide panoply of allies and adversaries by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Justin Jordan is a promising return to some of the greatness of the earlier series done by Len Wein and Steve Englehart. The artwork in this issue was also encouraging, because while regular series artist Brad Walker is a talented penciller, #27’s artist and chronic New Guardians relief artist Andrei Bressan provides gorgeous work that hits on several levels for me personally. I have reconsidered my hastiness in dropping these books and I would urge those that have dropped them or thought about it to also reconsider leaving the Corps.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #27 is an issue that has been in the making since the beginning of the series two and a half years ago. Original writer Scott Lobdell began Jason’s odyssey by having Talia al-Ghul arrange for him to be trained by Ducra, head of the All-Caste, to battle the Untitled. The All-Caste represents the forces of light and the Untitled the forces of darkness. Sadly, Lobdell who made this one of the best DC series right out of the starting gate left the title months before this issue, leaving it to emerging talent James Tynion IV. Tynion is a decent writer and whether or not the course of the title had been plotted by Lobdell prior to his departure or whether Tynion spun his own path to resolving the All-Caste/Untitled war is not known. However, the conclusion to these plotpoints was expertly drafted by Tynion and rendered spectacularly by artist Julius Gopez. The series as a whole has worked so well owing to its predication on the complexity of the character of Jason Todd, former Robin and one of the most controversial DC characters. Stripped of his petulant youth and brought back from the dead, Jason has become a very mysterious, haunted individual that gives Batman a run for his money. To defeat the Untitled and survive requires the purest of souls, making him an unlikely but not impossible choice for the task. Whether Lobdell planned out the past several issues that Tynion has written or whether Tynion rocked it out on his own, his run on the series concludes with next month’s 28th issue. Following that Red Hood and the Outlaws yet again enters uncharted territory under the helm of Will Pfeifer and artist Rafa Sandaval. Even if it tanks, the first 30 issues have been outstanding.
Wonder Woman #27is a book that I find myself torn over. Brian Azzarello is a fantastic writer. Cliff Chiang, who drew this issue, as well as Dave Akins and Goran Sudzuka are top notch talents. The plot is interesting and it is innovative. And yet I find myself laboring to reconcile its rendition of the Might Amazon with those that came before it and the legacy of what Wonder Woman should embody. It makes her the daughter of Zeus, thrusting her further into the world of ancient Greek mythology, but at the cost of her connection and immersion in the DCU. It give license for her awesome power, but cuts off her mortality and the struggle to achieve her strength and prowess that could empower her readership. *Ahem* —That same fact is why Batman will ALWAYS be superior to Superman– *Ahem* Not to mention Azzarello’s questionable choice of turning the Amazons into craven, infanticidal rapists. And anyone who messes with Jack Kirby gains a large helping of Algerian ire. His version of classic Kirby character Orion is downright awful, not to mention High Father and the New Gods. Hang your head in shame, Mr. Azzarello. Ya done bad. In this issue very little is accomplished by Azzarello, but to be fair a decent amount is set up. Wonder Woman turns a former foe into an ally by picking a fight with Artemis, a fight she throws to butter up her half-sister, the Moon. Dio takes Zola to the south of France and turns a bunch of horny teenagers into pigs. And Cassandra seeks out a weak god to open the gates of Olympus for her. In that last development, Azzarello continues to show how strange his interpretation of Greek myth is by having Cassandra lead out on a leash her Minotaur who is basically a dude in a ox-masked gimp costume. Always classy, Azzarello. Perhaps the saving grace of this issue, falls once again on something I appreciated last week in my return to Superman/Wonder Woman #2. In Wonder Woman Apollo has been mercilessly torturing his eldest brother, the First Born, in order to break him and stop him from seeking that which he always sought: the thrown of Olympus. Though the First Born has always sought it, even when Zeus was sitting upon it, Apollo sees it as his right and would do horrific things to his brother to keep it. All fine and good. But the braggart took too much pleasure in it and “pride cometh before the fall,” as the saying goes. The First Born breaks out of his bonds and looks to beat the tar out of his baby brother. Good on ya, my friend! So pompous and overconfident is Azzarello’s Apollo that he can never get the crap kicked out of him enough times to still that wagging tongue of his. The First Born is not like Superman who has restraint. This time I think Apollo may have stepped in it, but good. If Azzarello lingers on what the First Born does to Apollo and puts the Sun where he won’t shine (figuratively and metaphorically) I will sway my opinion of this series in a more favorable light. Until then I pray this run reaches its conclusion and Wonder Woman trades hands to a more traditionalist writer.
Instant Karma’s Gonna Getcha.
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #1is the beginning of the end for the Unwritten series, but also a really conversational, well paced reintroduction to what the series is essentially about. When last we saw Tom Taylor he was magically drawn into the world of Fable by the strongest magi of that world to defeat the megalomaniacal boogeyman, Mr. Dark. All attempts to stop him, even by Tom and his youthful, allegorical iteration, Tommy, are thwarted by Dark leaving Tom with one last ditch option: blow the trumpet that made all things to unmake everything. System reboot. Start over from scratch. Normally that kind of “if I can’t win, no one can” tactic is used by the more villainous irk, so the utilization of it by Tom was an interesting choice by series creators Mike Carey and Peter Gross, leaving the realm of possibilities wide open for their next arc. Right off the bat Carey and Gross show the importance of words and their perception vs their reality. As ever the course of the story is steeped in literary allusion and the scientific “mythology” of evolution, which serves as an allegory for the evolution of stories from simple concepts to increasingly complex plots. It’s always a safe bet that Mike Carey and Peter Gross will entertain, educate, and enchant with their collaborations. As the title denotes, this is the duo’s swansong on this series. The Unwritten is in its “end of times” and the stories we see from here on out will determine the fate of Tom, his companions, and every incredible Carey/Gross creation since its first issue almost five years ago.
Superman/Wonder Woman #3 remains one of the best DC comics being published and only on its third issue. After the conflict with her family, Superman and Wonder Woman part ways again on awkward terms. Supes feeling awkward about his loss of control after being overloaded with power from Apollo’s ill-conceived assault on him with concentrated sunbeams and Wonder Woman struggling to understand Christmas and what to get Superman considering his love of the holiday. These concerns are put aside with the advent of General Zod to Earth from the Phantom Zone. Zod tears it up and is initially met by the (at that time unannounced) Justice League of America headed by Steve Trevor. When Superman and Wonder Woman arrive there is a great amount of tension considering that Trevor is Diana’s ex, but more so because Superman demands custody of Zod considering his status as a Kryptonian. Though they aren’t nations, this is very much like an international standoff of Cold War proportions. The JLA was formed to counter the unchecked might of the Justice League and Superman taking charge of an even more volatile member of his race could be construed by a weary mind as the beginnings of an invasion. However, Steve Trevor is equally verse in politics as he is in modern warfare, so he lets it go for the time being. The issue ends with Wonder Woman unveiling her gift for the Man of Steel which is incredibly thoughtful and something that money could never buy. Yet again, writer Charles Soule has a bombshell to drop by issue’s end. Overall, this third installment of Superman/Wonder Woman is nothing short of enthralling, providing entertaining plots as well as intimate insight into what it’s like to be Superman and Wonder Woman. The lattermost point is more true in this title than Wonder Woman’s own book by Brian Azzarello in which the Amazing Amazon is just an incidental character in a bizarre modern retelling of Greek mythology. If you are a Wonder Woman fan Superman/Wonder Woman is the title you want to get. However, Charles Soule doesn’t stop there. He also mines the character of those around the Super-Couple as well. In this issue Batman talks Superman down from the Moon (literally) when the latter is hiding because of his power overload. Through the discourse Batman gives a lot of information about the intrinsic natures of both Superman and Wonder Woman, the dangers of each, the world’s possible perception of their relationship, and his own impressions of his teammates. He tells us all this about them, but in doing so Batman also tells us a lot about himself. There is not enough that can be said about how incredible this series is. From a writer’s perspective Charles Soule has the concept of the title orchestrated like a symphony. In the realm of art Tony Daniel is producing some of his best work to date. This is a comic for anyone who likes DC characters, but may not like DC Comics at the present time.
What Are Friends For?
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Batman #27: Drawn by Greg Capullo, Colored FCO Plascencia, Inked by Danny Miki.
Batman & Two-Face #27: Drawn by Patrick Gleason, Colored John Kalisz, Inked by Mick Gray.
Batwoman #27: Art & Colored by Francis Manapul.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #27: Drawn by Julius Gopez & Noel Rodriguez, Colored Nei Ruffino, Inked by Sandu Florea, Walden Wong & Dan Green.
Wonder Woman #27: Art by Cliff Chiang, Colored by Matthew Wilson.
Superman/Wonder Woman #3: Drawn by Tony Daniel, Colored Tomeu Morey, Inked by Batt.