Zero Month begins!

Welcome one and all, to the first week of Zero Month! I’ve decided to skip over issue #0 of Earth-2 for my own health. You see, the less I know about the Earth-2 trinity they better. Going to leave it at that. So! We’ve got a bit of controversy on the reading list today! I’m speaking, of course, of the third issue of Silk Spectre. I hear it’s gonna be…trippy. Let’s get started, shall we?

I’ve never done acid. I’ve never done acid, smoked pot, or popped pills. I’ve never even gotten so drunk I can’t stand. So I’ve got no personal experiences to compare to the opening pages of Silk Spectre #3 to. I have, however, woken up next to a loved one that had to be rushed to the hospital. I really feel for Laurie, which is an entirely new emotion for me. My reactions to her in the original Watchmen book usually involved exasperation, frustration. She wasn’t a character I liked, or could identify with. Here, I sort of can. She’s young. Idealistic. She does what she feels to be right, even if it may in fact make things worse. Bringing the Comedian into the picture was something I didn’t exactly see coming, but I still like it. We only got to see the Comedian in flashbacks in the original Watchman book, and what we saw, we didn’t really like most of the time. He was a violent jackass with about as much honor as Dollar Bill had personal dignity. Here, he’s…about the same. Still, he came running when Sally called. He went to find their daughter and bring her home. He may have destroyed Laurie’s world by doing it, but he did it with her best interests in mind. I’m not reading the Comedian’s Before Watchmen book, and I don’t like the way he’s being presented in Minutemen, but I like him here. We get to see that he clearly still cares about Sally, in some way or another, as he was willing to drop what he was doing to go find Laurie. And I like that.

Do you ever read something and wonder if you should be offended? That’s how I feel about Green Lantern #0. People of Middle Eastern descent, and of the Muslim/Islamic faiths, are still a touchy subject in America, and American comics. If they’re villainous, it’s racist. If they’re heroic, they’re some sort of exception to the norm, and their very existence will bring people with negative thoughts on them out of the woodwork. No matter what, they’re news. I still remember the stink some people at my LCS made when Nightrunner was made the Batman Inc representative of France. But enough about people who aren’t Simon Baz. This story, this origin, reminds me of the Power Girl mini-storyline from last year, We Can Be Heroes. In it, a metahuman Arab-American man named Rayhab Mazin was mistaken for a terrorist while saving a plane from crashing…from the inside. Our new GL was mistaken for a terrorist when the van he was stealing happened to contain a bomb, that blew up the factory where he used to work once he crashed it into the side. Feeling uncomfortable yet? It gets better. Simon is then taken to a Guantanamo-esque facility and, when the agents assigned to him are unable to get any damning evidence out of him, prepare to torture him for information. And then the ring finds him, and gets him out of there. End story. Actually, not end story. Hal and Sinestro make a one-page guest spot where they…aren’t dead? Yay? Ah, well. For a first appearance, it’s not incredibly, irredeemably awful. It makes the American government look like assholes but hey, what doesn’t these days? I’m the worst person to be talking about this, yeek. I’ll miss Sinestro, but I guess I’m going to keep reading Green Lantern anyway. I want to see what happens.

I don’t know much about Swamp Thing. I’ve only recently begun to read the Alan Moore run, and started to buy the New 52 issues, so I’m learning. But as it is? If I was picking up an issue of Swamp Thing for the first time, not knowing any of his history at all, this would work for me. We get a brief backstory on the Red, the Green, and the Rot. We’re introduced to Arcane. And then we meet Alec Holland, see the beginnings of his transformation. All in all, this issue does exactly what it’s supposed to do, exactly as DC promised. Scott Snyder and Kano hit it out of the park.

Animal Man is a great book. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best book in the reboot. Lemire and Pugh take the story of a common superhero and twist it so that he’s something more. Something greater. Superman can save the world all he wants, but Animal Man exists so that his daughter can someday save life itself. The origin issue, like Swamp Thing, delivers exactly what it’s supposed to. Buddy’s alien abduction origin is given new roots to the Red, we briefly meet the previous avatar, and we get to see some of the exploits of Animal Man prior to the birth of the new true avatar. It was a good issue. Simple, yet intensely complex in its simplicity. Interesting. And still one of the two books I look forward to the most every month.

That was this week in comics. Next week, we’ll be tackling Batman, Suicide Squad, Superboy, the final issue of the Shade, and the first issue of the new Team 7 series. Now if you’ll excuse me, the weather is horrible and I must journey home.

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