Archive for May, 2012

And best single issue of 2012 goes to…

With only three books on my pull list this week, two of which are annuals and one being a new series, I don’t expect this to take too long. A pity, writing these entries every week is something I look forward to.

The Ravagers spun out of the Culling mini-event, which linked two terrible books, Teen Titans and Legion Lost, with the not-exactly-terrible-but-not-exactly-good book Superboy. So, you take three books with a distinct absence of good, shake, separate, and come up with…dreck. I’m sorry. I’m sorry if you’ve already read this book and are just checking to see what I thought of it. I’m sorry for everyone, myself included, who went into the comic shop hoping that this book wouldn’t suck. Basic premise is this: The kids that survived the Culling and weren’t already on a super-team are being watched over by Caitlin Fairchild, and she’s not doing a great job of it. Current body count as of issue one: five. Not to mention that Beast Boy and Terra decided to hightail it out of dodge as soon as they could. Which leaves Caitlin with a former Ravager named Ridge, and the brother and sister duo of Thunder and Lightning at her disposal. Also, can I point something out? Lightning’s name is Alya. Um. You know, I can think of another girl with lightning powers. Has a Lass at the end of her name. She lives in the 31st century and goes by Ayla. Nice try, though. And yeah, I know her name was revealed in Teen Titans, so the blame lays firmly on Lobdell’s shoulders, but my point stands. Truth be told, I thought I was reading Lobdell’s writing here for a minute. Turns out this book was written by a gent named Howard Mackie, who is a 90s Marvel alum like Lobdell. Well, now I see why DC just had to have him. The art isn’t…well. I have a bias against Ian Churchill for the time he spent drawing Supergirl in her last solo series, but I liked him when he was drawing Titans? He’s just…the expressions he draws are great, but his bodies are lacking. Not to mention that he’s a ‘boobs front n’ center’ artist and on teenage girls, that kinda makes me nope all over the place. What was Brighteyes’ power again? Cleavage? The ability to give bedroom eyes for no reason? Nope nope nope. The dialogue was actually not terrible, if only because it read like real things kids who’d just spent weeks being tortured would say. But the pacing? Losing four characters in one go, then killing off two of said characters, before killing off another three at the end? Left a lot to be desired. My official say on this? Gonna pass. I’ve got no time to spend on books I don’t like. You had a chance, Ravagers, and you blew it.

SPOILER ALERT
I’m attached to few of the Batman villains. Penguin is creepy, Ra’s is even creepier, Joker is fairly dull, and Croc isn’t interesting. But Mister Freeze is one of those guys I can’t help but like. You always root for the villain who has experienced profound loss. Everyone knows that the most popular version of Freeze comes straight out of Batman: The Animated Series. A lovelorn scientist whose wife is cryogenically frozen to keep her alive, until a cure for her fatal heart disease can be found. An accident in his lab caused his genes to shift dramatically, so that he cannot stay alive in any temperature above zero. A tragic story for a tragic villain motivated by love. Not anymore! Now, Nora Fries is actually Nora Fields, the first person to ever be cryogenically frozen. She was never Freeze’s wife, just the woman he’d been obsessed with for years. Oh, and as a child, Victor killed his wheelchair-bound mother by pushing her into the same freezing water that had crippled and addled her in the first place. I actually had to double check to make sure that this issue was actually written by Scott Snyder because while some of it sounded like him, other things…not so much. Turns out the issue was co-written by James Tynion. If you’ve never heard of this guy before, fret not. He’s actually a former student of Snyder’s, and will be writing the upcoming Batman backups. Well. Seeing as this annual was his first ever professional writing gig, I’ll give him a pass. I mean, it’s not like he went and retconned a great Bat-villain’s origin or anything. Oh, wait.

Hello, friend. I’d like to talk to you about Animal Man. I never thought I’d be saying this, but the Animal Man annual is probably the single best comic I’ve read this year from DC. No, really. It’s a stand-alone story, that also ties into the main storyline regarding the Rot. Do you know how cool that is? To find an issue that you don’t have to buy to understand the rest of the story, but probably will anyway because it’s so goddamn good? This is the magic of Jeff Lemire, folks. He’s the kind of master of ‘out there’ writing that Grant Morrison only wishes he could be. Anyway, enough about the Wonder of Jeff. The annual itself is not an actual part of the ongoing story, but rather a story that Socks is telling Maxine, of the last time the Red and the Green worked together. It’s a good, solid story and, while it doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, it also serves as a bit of a warning, in its way. There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit of foreshadowing towards what could happen to Buddy’s family if he fails entirely in his efforts to protect them. A word of warning, though, don’t read this issue while eating anything. You, uh, may not be able to finish.

And that was this week in comics! I’m going to do a little bit of shameless self-promotion here now. Aside from the general reblogging of butts and Tom Hiddleston’s antics, I’ve been recently writing more rants on comics at my Tumblr, username touchofgrey37. A warning: while my blog couldn’t really be considered NC-17, it’s definitely a hard R at times. Aside from that, the usual disclaimers apply. Cursing, bad fanfiction, gay sex et-cet-era. Hope to see you drop on by. And be sure to come back next week for even more Animal Man, and the first of the Before Watchmen books!

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There is a distinct lack of ladies this week…

It’s the last week of the…hold on, no it isn’t. There are five Wednesdays this month. Hmm. Well, regardless, I’ve got four books this week, including the newest series starring that lovable jackass Bruce Wayne, Batman Incorporated!

I love Saint Walker. He’s my favorite thing to come out of Geoff Johns’ Rainbow Lanterns, and despite the fact that my Lantern Corps is probably more revenge-driven than the one he belongs to, I’m all for the idea of Blue Lanterns. This issue of New Guardians is all about the Reach, Blue Beetle villains, invading and attempting to conquer Odym, home and sanctuary of the Blue Lantern Corps. Now, the idea behind this invasion is pretty lame. Why would beings who consider Lanterns to be their biggest threat attempt to gain control of a planet full of Lanterns? Oh well, I guess we needed a plot hole to get things moving. In any case, this issue was a great showcase for Saint Walker, clearly the most badass of the Hope Brigade. I think I prefer it when this book focuses on one Corps at a time. There’s more of a chance for character growth when there aren’t a shit-ton of characters all trying for the spotlight.

Sunnova bitch, Morrison! Am I not allowed to grow attached to characters? I mean, obviously this is a feint, else you’d have not shown the Dead Heroes Club literally pages before, but come on! This is ridiculous. Batman Inc looks like it’s in the same vein as Batman and Robin so far, except that this book happens to have more Batmen in it. On the roster so far are the Hood, Batwing, El Gaucho, and the Knight, though Squire seems to be missing. In fact, a lot of potential Bat-ladies are missing. Spoiler, Blackbat, Batwoman, Batgirl…the Bat Family is one hell of a boy’s club, this first issue around. I’m torn. On one hand, Chris Burnham’s Damian is the third best I’ve ever seen, but on the other hand, the story here is awful. It uses the same elements that turned me off Batman Inc and Batman and Robin in the first place. Besides, the first page of the first issue hints that the final page might not actually be a feint, and that a main character is dead already, or at least seriously injured, which begs a question. How well is this book going to tie into the rest of the Bat-books? Is it going to be in a world of its own, sort of? What are you attempting to do here, Morrison?

Teen Titans has officially replaced Suicide Squad as my why-the-hell-am-I-reading-this book. I mean, fucking hell. This dialogue, this pacing…I know I complain about it literally every time I review a book by Scott Lobdell, but I can’t help it! I have no idea how this man has a career in comics when he’s such a terrible writer. I know fanfiction writers who are better with pacing and dialogue than he is. Not to mention he’s clearly never heard of the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’. I mean, come on. I can’t even. Though I do have to let everyone breathe a sigh of relief; if you’ve been following The Culling, it’s over. You don’t have to read Legion Lost anymore. It’s all gonna be okay. I can’t find it within myself to write an actual review of this issue, just know that the last page sets up the next arc, and the little ‘until next time’ blurb reads “Next issue: The Mystery of Mystery Island!” What? No. Come on. You’re not this stupid, Lobdell. There are other words for mystery, come on.

So, before I say anything else, I feel the need to admit that while I was reading the Flash today, about 7 pages in, I shrieked and crawled underneath the table I was sitting at. Everything I’ve said regarding David Singh and Hartley Rathaway is coming true. I am the Flash Prophet. Moving on.
I’m glad we got an amnesia issue out of the way early, because that plot gets old really fast. The last time we saw anything regarding Gorilla City was in Flash: Rebirth (not counting that one-shot Flashpoint issue, Grodd of War), and it looks like Manapul decided to go more with a mystical element, rather than a scientific angle this time around. Okay, that works, sort of. And he’s sticking with the “Barry is the one true Flash” thing, too. Hmm. Though what really irked me about this issue was the subtle reveal of Weather Wizard, also known as Mark Mardon. He’s now known as Marco Mardon, and his brother was now known as Claudio rather than Clyde. In case you’ve not been following the news, Mark is a Colombian drug lord now. Yeah. Len has powers, Mark is a Colombian drug lord, Barry is the one true Flash…there are little elements of this series that, when I go back and look at them, seriously piss me off. But for the most part, I still really like the book. Patty Spivot and the rest of the CCPD are delights, the cameos by pre-existing characters are fun, the art is amazing, and oh my Grodd that dialogue. See, this is the difference between a good book and a bad book, to me. If your characters are talking about something unbelievable and I believe it, you’ve got a good book. I expect great things to come out of Flash.

Well, that was this week in comics…sort of. From what I understand, over in the Marvel Universe, Northstar is proposing to his boyfriend, and Deadpool is hot again. I don’t know, I’m not up on those particular books. Still! Next week looks like it’s going to be very, very small, what with only the Animal Man Annual and the first issue of Ravagers on my pull list, so I’ll have to think up something special to do afterwards. Hope to see y’all back next week. This is ToG signing off!

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Ladies week is back!

So, it’s the second week of the month again…hold me? I mean, on one hand, I’m really looking forward to Supergirl and Batwoman, but on the other hand, there’s Justice League and the Red Hood Night of the Owls tie-in. I’m a mixed bag of feelings, here. Best just jump right in.

Three words: Registering Metabolic Arousal. Tony. Why. I mean, it’s funny, because he’s a teenager and she’s scantily dressed, but really? I’m equally amused and ashamed. Though on the other hand, Jaime is slowly morphing back into that adorably awkward dorky kid that I begrudgingly fell in love with in 2006, while still mourning the loss of Ted Kord. He’s nervous around Bleez not only because she can, and would, kill him in a second, but because he’s trying to remember the stuff his parents taught him about being polite to the ladies, and figure out just how it applies to space aliens. I liked the character interaction in this issue more than I liked the fight, because the fight is connected to the next issue of New Guardians and…yeah. Crossover fever is hitting hard these days, and I’m not pleased about it. Also, and I may not have mentioned this before, but I really like Marcio Takara’s art. He draws a beautiful Jaime, and unlike Ed ‘Tits n Ass’ Benes, he makes Bleez’s suit look more like semi-functional armor than a bondage suit, which is always nice. A moment of silence for Glomulus, who will most likely be back in New Guardians.

Sigh, and it was going so well. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Dominators just because…well, they’re the Dominators. Everything they’re about is in their name. They invade worlds to expand territory, DC’s answer to Skrulls. And while this new storyline is going to focus on Querl and Nura (two of my favorite Legionnaires), and Nura is obviously going to be more ass-kicky than usual, I can’t help but feel anxious. Paul Levitz’s writing has always been pretty questionable to me. His setups are elaborate, but often don’t pan out into anything. I’m still waiting to find out if Mekt was lying about being born with a twin. Francis Portella’s art is fantastic, especially when drawing Nura fighting. Thank you, man who knows how to illustrate a realistic fight scene…with genetically mutated aliens. In any case, this issue is setting up the next arc. Brainy and Dream Girl were kidnapped by Dominators for undisclosed reasons, and Starman quit the Legion to get back the woman he loves without dragging the rest of the team into an interplanetary incident. Let’s focus for a moment on how fucking stupid this idea is. Thom may be Omega-powerful, what with his powers being those of gravity itself, but he’s still healing. He’s still in a goddamn floating wheelchair, but no biggie. He’s just going to steal a spaceship, fly to the Dominator planet, and make everyone fall over or something. Thom, look at your choices. They are bad.

Look at Justice League. No, I’m serious. Just look at it. Don’t bother reading it, you’ll be happier.
Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. As always, the Barry/Hal interactions are adorably bromoerotic in nature, and Barry is…Barry, stop being so ridiculous. You better tell him what he wants to know, or he’s gonna be so upset with you. Also, can I point out that Bruce has the best way of asking Clark on lunch dates? These boys. These boys. Diana was, for once, less detrimental and more ornamental. She used her lasso, yes, but the main focus of this issue was on her former not-paramour, Steve Trevor. But honestly, don’t try and glean an actual plot from this issue, there isn’t one. It’s a team-up issue without everyone in the team being in the same place at the same time, with both halves of the team (minus Aquaman) coming to the same conclusion: A man named Graves is after them. The backup isn’t much better, because oh my god Billy stop. Stop existing. I would literally prefer this kid to not exist rather than read him like this. Not even Gary Frank’s great visuals can fix this disaster.

I’m going to take a moment to express my excitement over Jill Thompson being the one to tackle this particular issue of The Shade. I’ve always loved Thompson’s Scary Godmother, and her work with the various Sandman characters (especially her Little Endless story books, and the entirety of Brief Lives, my favorite arc), so having her attached to the best mini DC has put out in some time? Yay! This issue deals with Albert Caldecott, another one of Shade’s grandchildren, and tells the story of how his lover summoned, and was then possessed by, a minor servant demon known as a homunculus. That’s literally the entire issue, so let’s ignore it and talk about expressions. Thompson’s expressions are what made me a fan, the first time I read Brief Lives. She’s on par with Amanda Connor and Kevin Maguire when it comes to body language, and could probably do a silent comic without having any trouble telling the story of what’s going on. If you’re only picking up one issue of The Shade, though why you would do that is beyond me, make it this one.

Personal opinion time: Supergirl has gotten better since Kara was given someone to interact with. Siobhan was just the ingredient this book needed to go from yeow to wow! The saga of the Banshee family continues with a bit of history behind the father/daughter reunion. So, my one question is this: If Tommy’s sacrifice ensured that the curse would end and Black Banshee could never harm his daughter again, what plot hole is allowing this fight to take place? Hopefully, that’ll be explained next issue. Another interesting thing is to watch Siobhan struggle with the monster inside that wants to be set free. The fact that she’s fighting it with everything she’s got, rather than submitting to the hunger, is really admirable.

Red Hood and the Outlaws is terrible. So why do I keep reading it? Like I’ve said every time I review a Lobdell-penned book, his dialogue is amateurish, his pacing it enough to make me flip a table, and don’t even get me started on his Jason-narratives. But…then there are moments. Like Jay and Tim bonding over breakfast, or Roy using his arrows to keep a powerless Kori from going into cold shock, or this issue, where the Talon Xiao Loong calmly asks that Jason end his life on his own terms. Scott Lobdell is like…a spec of gold dust in a pile of shit. He’s capable of writing something good, but these spurts of brilliance are few and far between.

Surprisingly, Batwoman isn’t a tie-in to the Night of the Owls event, and I couldn’t be happier. I suppose it’s because this book actually has a plot that isn’t in any way tied to Bruce Wayne and his drama. Several different storylines are running through this issue, so hold on tight. First off, we’ve got the main story, Batwoman and Sune vs Falchion. Badass ladies being badass, I approve. Then there’s the Kate/Sune side-angle which…I don’t want to use the term revenge-gay, but yeah. That seems to be the case, at least until we learn more about her personality. And then, there’s Bette. Coma Bette. Dying Bette. I…I don’t know what to say about this. I’ve never been a huge fan of Flamebird as a hero, but I really did like Bette as a character. She was a minor Titan in the old DCU, and had the potential to become a strong member of the Batfamily…instead, it looks like she’s being fridged. I don’t know. I think this is the first time I haven’t been completely satisfied with an issue of Batwoman. My head hurts.

Oh, Wonder Woman. With every issue, my love for this title grows. How did I ever find you boring?! This particular series is so steeped in mythology, I just can’t handle it. I mean, look at the scene between Diana and her handmaiden. At first, you’re reading it, and everything’s cool…then BOOM the handmaiden is actually Persephone! Who foolishly tried to commit suicide to leave the land of the dead! You think Diana is just going to be getting a normal wedding ring, or maybe a bondage collar of some kind to show that she’s really committed to marrying Hades…then BAM! Noose! Aughhh. I love this book. Love it. But I’m not sure about the guest artist. Tony Akins is nice, but goddamn, bring back Cliff Chiang. Tony, your Strife is hella scary. 

And that would be this week in comics. I’m obligated to inform you that Catwoman and Nightwing came out this week, and they…weren’t complete dreck. They both tied into Night of the Owls and, like Red Hood, their purpose was to humanify one of the Talons. Who knows, maybe this crossover is doing something good, after all.

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Canon? Not canon? Who knows!

For reasons y’all have probably deduced, I’ve decided to drop Batman and Robin. And, because it did not hold my interest, I will not be reviewing Batgirl this month. So, let’s jump right in!

I’m dropping Suicide Squad. It’s stopped being my guilty pleasure, and moved into the territory of oh-god-why-am-I-still-reading-this. Frankly, I can only stand having two books like that on my pull list, and both slots belong to Scott Lobdell.

Somehow, while the other Batfamily books get worse and less interesting, the flagship Batman title just keeps getting better. The Court of Owls storyline, which has been building to this since the first issue, is coming to a head. The Talons have infiltrated the Batcave, but were soundly defeated by a combination of subzero temperatures and…bats. Scott Snyder is excellent with exposition, but that was kind of ridiculous. I’m going to make a prediction. Once this Night of the Owls storyline is wrapped up, Bruce is going to pull a Green Arrow and run for mayor of Gotham. It would be an interesting turn for the book to take, as I don’t think anyone in the Batfamily (aside from Babs, pre-Crisis) has ever really had big political aspirations. However, my hat really goes off to the Snyder/Albuquerque team for their secondary story, involving Alfred’s father, Jarvis Pennyworth. To take a minor character like Jarvis and bring him into prominence is something Snyder is very good at, and the distinctive art style of Rafael Albuquerque fits the narrative perfectly. This is a story I really, really would like to hear.

I have mixed feelings regarding the latest issue of Green Lantern. On one hand, the secret of the Indigo Tribe that has long been theorized was made canon. Indigos are forcefully reformed murderers, this is now fact. But, on the other hand…how the hell can DC justify calling this a reboot when so much shit was left in?! Blackest Night happened. The dead rose. And yet, a very big part of the Blackest Night were the people who came back to life. Osiris, Jade, and Professor Zoom have no place in the new 52, at all. Osiris was connected to the Black Marvel family, which doesn’t exist. Jade was Alan Scott’s daughter, and he’s still a young man…in another universe. And Eobard Thawne died in Flashpoint. That means, if Blackest Night happened, then Brightest Day happened. That’s sort of obvious, if you’d been reading the Hawk and Dove book, as well as Justice League Dark. But how is this stuff connecting? I’m going to have to give that more thought. Let’s move on to something about this issue I liked. I like Sinestro, and I really like his girlfriend/wife, Arin Sur. Being able to see bits of his life with her was nice, though bittersweet, as we finally saw how she died. What we didn’t see, however, was a very important piece of their life together, namely, their daughter Soranik Natu. Where is she? What’s she up to? Does she even exist in this universe? Which all comes back to the big question: In the New 52, what is still canon? I hope we find out soon, because this is driving me up the wall.

Because they’re both connected to the Culling event, I’m going to be reviewing Superboy and Legion Lost together. Ugh, I shouldn’t have had to say that.
Why does Dawnstar’s Culling suit need a boob window? No, seriously. She’s not so incredibly stacked that she’d be in pain without one. No one else has a boob window. Why is it there? Not to mention that her costume design seems to change with every cover and interior Ugh, damnit. I’m getting mad over useless things, this doesn’t bode well.
Harvest, you are the worst villain, but I’m going to go ahead and blame that on Scott Lobdell. This plot was done before, and recently, too. The Dark Side Club kidnapped teenaged metahumans to be used as part of Clock Kings’s army, with the ‘best’ being used as his Terror Titans. The only part of Superboy that will even probably matter in the coming months was the tiny bit of information revealed about Bart Allen. In the future, he…was not a good kid. And this makes me sad.
Legion Lost is so bad. It’s written horribly, the dialogue is ridiculous, and I’m sure it’s only still running because Lobdell needed the team for his Culling event. I think my main issue with this, uh, issue, is that Tom DeFalco has turned Bunker into one of ‘those’ guys. The parody gay. No, don’t do that. This is a bad thing you have done. Though, every issue has a silver lining, and mine is the little bit of shipping we get regarding Caitlin and Rose. Hooray, a queer Rose Wilson narrative at last! Rose, I’d like to introduce you to a young lady named Cassie. In another universe, everything she touched turned to lesbians. Be friends.

I’ve got the mother of all headaches, and the crushing disappointment only a Bart Allen fan could experience. I need a bit of downtime to absorb all of this new information. Hope to see y’all back next week!

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No, I’m just going to say screw it and kvetch about the Teen Titans Annual

With month nine of the reboot upon us, DC has decided to replace the recently cancelled books (RIP Static Shock) with a new wave of titles. I’ll be briefly looking at two of them today. I’m…not getting my hopes up.

I’m going to talk about World’s Finest and Earth 2 together. After the negative things I said regarding Paul Levitz’s writing on the Huntress mini, why did I decide to pick up yet another Helena Wayne title he’s writing? Well, let’s look at who else is attached to this book. I loved Kevin Maguire’s work on Justice League back in the day and, more recently, his parts in My Greatest Adventure and Weird Worlds. George Perez…what can be said about George Perez? His art on New Teen Titans helped to revitalize the old concept of a team of sidekicks. He was half of the team that gave us Crisis on Infinite Earths. I hear his drawing hand is insured for $20,000. One time, he signed my copy of New Teen Titans #1 and said he liked my Flash shirt. It was awesome. George Perez is the man. And yet…look. The idea that Helena Wayne and Karen Starr from Earth-2 are trapped on Earth-1 is interesting…but why is it even being explored? The reboot was supposed to do what CoIE did decades ago, erase continuity as we know it, condense all the various Multiverse worlds into one central Earth, and make things simple for new readers. By reintroducing the concept of the Multiverse within the first year of the reboot, DC is shooting itself in the foot. I’m saying this because both World’s Finest and Earth-2 were, well, your mileage may vary.
World’s Finest kind of felt like a slap in the face. In it, we learned that Huntress had been Helena Bertinelli, and that Helena had been alive once…but Helena Wayne stole her identity after she died. No info on how she passed, no indication that she was in any way the Helena Bertinelli we’d been reading and watching for years. Just a line about her death, the burning of a passport, and she’s gone. I’m not easily distressed when it comes to comic books. As a hardcore Flash Rogues fan, I’ve come to live with the constant pain of a character being mistreated. But that was how Paul Levitz decided to write off one of my favorite female comic characters? Sorry. I can’t. I hadn’t been following Mister Terrific, so Karen’s entire existence within the reboot sort of slipped under my radar. Luckily, she seems to have retained her personality, to an extent. But that costume…I know people have had issues with the boob window in the past, but damnit. Her breast looks like it’s staring at you, with David Bowie makeup on. You’ve got Kevin Maguire and George Perez working on this title, DC, and this is the costume they come up with?! Stop drugging your water cooler.
Earth-2. Well. The first half of the book was…Parademons destroying the world. Killed off or boomed away most of the heroes. Noble self-sacrifices, cameos that foreshadow future hero appearances, okay. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible. Especially Batman’s scene, where he destroys the tower that’s keeping the Parademons in the air. But the second half? Well, Alan Scott comes off as a douchebag, and Jay Garrick comes off as a slacker. Let me backtrack a bit. This title is being written by James ‘Starman’ Robinson, and drawn by Nicola ‘Birds of Prey, Teen Titans, Secret Six I-am-an-art-goddess’ Scott. This is a fantastic team. [Please note, I am conveniently ignoring Robinson’s recent work with the Justice League (namely, Cry for Justice) for my own sanity.] So how, how, could he take two of the greatest heroes ever and make them…that?! I’m not even going to start on the trend of breaking up marriages in this verse. Lois Lane dead before the book even starts. Joan Garrick telling the man that, in another time, she’d been married to for over 50 years that he was ‘just a college boyfriend that I’ll explain away when my future husband asks who the guy in my old photos is’. What. What. No, stop. Go back. Erase. Rewrite. I’m going to sit over here, crossing my arms and judging you, James Robinson. The other book you’re writing right now is the best and most coherent you’ve been in years. Why couldn’t you just…stick with that goodness? I believe in you! Please, don’t ruin the JSA for me. Please. I’m begging you.

I sincerely have no idea what happened in this month’s Justice League International, mainly because I’ve never touched the Batwing, OMAC or Firestorm titles. I’m getting really tired of books crossing over randomly. The Bat-books I get. They’re all set in Gotham, all connected to Batman. Okay. No problem. But why the heck is a character from an unpopular, cancelled book like OMAC joining the JLI, even temporarily? I’m calling editorial mandate and, while I’m at it, dropping Justice League International down to in-store only status. Sorry, JLI, but you’re a bit more trouble than you’re worth.

If the first page of this month’s Animal Man didn’t make you laugh, get out. Well, that’s unfair. If you’re familiar with Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man, and the first page of this month’s Animal Man didn’t make you laugh, then get out. Because really, if you’re not laughing at that little bit of continuity-sneaking, there’s nothing I can do to help your dead sense of humor. My hat goes off to Jeff Lemire for sneaking that old universe reference in, and also raising my hopes that we might see Buddy get to go against Mirror Master again. I’ll be raising my metaphorical hat again to Steve Pugh, who took over for Travel Foreman this issue. Either he’s a great mimic, or their styles are near-identical. Whatever the case, Pugh’s rendering of the Rot is pants-shittingly terrifying, way to go you. As for the actual progression of the story, Ellen Baker, what are you doing. I know you’re trying to be a good mom, but your daughter is the avatar of life itself. Just last issue, you watched her leave her body, jump into a fox, and turn the fox’s body into a new body in order to avoid death. The kid is destined for the capes and spandex life, but right now, she sort of needs to save the world. So why aren’t you letting her do it? Oh, for the love of…remember what I said, not even a paragraph ago, about comic crossovers becoming ridiculous? I already know I’m going to have to read Swamp Thing at some point, because that’s where this little Eldritch horror road trip is heading, but I only just dropped Justice League Dark! Don’t do this to me! I can’t handle magic books, they’re too illogical! But then again, John Constantine is a character that originated from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing series back in the day. So maybe, just maybe, his appearance has less to do with magic, and more to do with the face that he feels like paying the big green guy a surprise visit?

I usually save the best for last, but…look. I’m not looking forward to reading the Teen Titans Annual any more than I usually look forward to reading anything else Scott Lobdell pisses out. So I saved it for last not because I think it could possibly be good, but because I’m expecting it to be bad. I’m expecting it to be mind-numbingly terrible, and I want to sit down in a well-lit area with a nice glass of vodka and go through it.
Don’t you judge me, this is how I cope.
Okay, let’s take inventory, here. We already know that the Legion Lost crew is going to be here, as are the Teen Titans, and the kids that have been solicited as being part of the new Ravagers team. So. Let’s get down to brass tacks and oh are you fucking kidding me. For those of you not in the know, DC’s most popular show, now that Brave and the Bold is gone, is this little epic called Young Justice. As of last Saturday, the second season began. One of the main characters from season one was not in the first episode. And now we know what happened to her. Damnit, Lobdell! It took Renee Montoya, Livewire, and Harley Quinn years to cross over from screen to print in the main DCU. To be fair, a version of Artemis Crock already existed in the old DCU, as the villainess Tigress, wife/babymama to the villain Icicle. But as this is the DCnU, and those characters were more closely affiliated with the team Infinity Inc, which no longer exists (as it was made up of the children of various JSA members, and the JSA hasn’t even formed on Earth-2 yet), of course he’d write in the newer, better known version. Or maybe he just never even knew about the other Artemis, whatever. This is Lobdell we’re talking about, here. I don’t want to give him too much credit. Jumping into the story. As usual, the dialogue sounds like it was written by a fourteen year old (who still uses noob?). And to be completely honest, the idea that no one there tried to talk it out before jumping into battle is ridiculous. Well, that’s not true. Tim tried to be the voice of reason, at first, but then whoops! Reboot Lightning decided to attack. Ugh. The fact that it was Superboy and Tyroc that came the closest to making the communication breakthrough instead of, say, the main peacemakers from both teams (Tellus and Kiran), is kind of ridiculous. Oh. Hold on. Here come more combatants! And…is it going to happen?! The book is hopping on its motorcycle, wheeling around towards the tank and…yes! Teen Titans Annual has jumped the shark! Ladies and gentlemen, nine issues and an annual, and the Teen Titans have their first casualty, Artemis! Wow. That…didn’t last long at all. Also, if I may, I’d like to officially guess that Harvest is actually the Time Trapper in disguise. He seems to be from the future, he wears a tattered cloak, and he hates teenaged metahumans. My other guess is that he’s a dimensionally displaced Mumm-Ra, because damn is that resemblance uncanny.

I’ve spent entirely too much time bitching about Teen Titans today. So much for a generally positive review, eh? Hope to see you back next week. If not, shh, it’s okay. I understand. I wouldn’t want to put up with me, either.

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