Archive for November, 2012

Hell is a place on Earth (called Gotham City)

Before I jump into this week’s comics, I’d like to have a moment of silence for James Jesse. On this day, five years ago, a terrible Crisis tie-in series killed him off. Some may call it an act of mercy, seeing as the rest of the series seemed hellbent on driving his friend Hartley Rathaway completely bugfuck insane. Comics have felt dry and devoid of any rubber chicken-related humor ever since.

So, who called it? I mean, of course Laurie was going to go back to her mom in the end. The series had to end like that. But she also killed a man with a high-heeled shoe to the throat and a hippie bus, so there’s that. All in all? The Silk Spectre Before Watchmen mini wasn’t bad. I’m saying this as someone who was never really a huge fan of the original Watchmen book in the first place, though, so your mileage may vary.

Well, at least the art was good. DC, I’m begging you. I’m throwing myself on the ground at your feet and fucking pleading with you, take Scott Lobdell off Teen Titans. Take him off it. Give the book to someone else, cancel it, I don’t care, just get Scott Lobdell away from my babies. Cassie deserves more than just being the center of a love…er, rectangle? Whether Diesel died or not was never really made clear. But anyway, she’s so much more than just a love interest, and Lobdell simply doesn’t understand that. Same goes for Kiran. I want to know how she ended up in that state, and who the meta offering to turn her human again is. But it’s likely that this plot, just like the one with Skitter, will be ignored until after the Death of the Family tie-in issues. Speaking of which, Lobdell has two books that tie into Death of the Family, Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws. My soul weeps.

Ha. Hahaha. Hahahaha Bruce you douchebag. We return this month to the world of Batman #666, where Damian was both Batman and a loving cat owner. Things I’m glad to see: wheelchair Babs, Alfred the cat, Damian’s shaved head. Things I’m not glad to see: that the entire Batman #666 future scenario is a dream that Bruce had, which is his main reason for sending Damian away and keeping him at an arm’s length. You lunatic, you had a dream. Dreams do not dictate the future unless you are Naltorian. So shut the hell up and let your League of Assassins-trained child be a superhero. He’s certainly a lot more qualified than you or the rest of your Robins ever were.

I was a little confused by this month’s Flash, so I ended up going back and reading it twice. Okay, so. What happened this issue? Well, uh. Flash ran around fighting Grodd. I’m not disappointed with this issue, not completely, as there was a great scene with the Rogues where Lisa temporarily relinquishes control of ‘her’ team so that they have a better chance of making it out alive, not to mention the nice bits with Patty and Turbine, and the relevance of that dang gorilla from issue #9 finally came to light…but where is Axel? Piper and David? I mean, we see Forrest getting kidnapped by Grodd’s army, but how are the rest of the Central City Police Force faring? I don’t know. As far as showcasing Grodd’s strengths and Barry’s weaknesses when fighting against someone connected to the Speed Force, this issue was fantastic. But still, it was basically a big fight scene with a bit of exposition attached, so that’s a bit of a turn off for me, personally.

Not a bad way to end a month! Also of note, the new Adventure Time and American Vampire came out this week, I highly recommend picking them up! See you next week when we start the countdown to the end of 2012 with Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Minutemen, and the Death of the Family tie-in issue of Detective Comics. Have a good Wednesday, folks!

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Don’t mess with the e(S)trogen!

Due to the uninspiring art and sleep-inducing storyline, I plan to drop Legion of Superheroes from my review list for a while. Welcome back to ladies week on the ToG Blog, comic fans! And when I say ladies week, I really mean it. Four books to go over today, three of which are female-lead.

Let’s get the testosterone out of the way first. Blue Beetle has gone from being one of my least-favorite books I still buy to being the teen-superhero book I recommend to people…after Supergirl, of course. It’s like Tony Bedard woke up one day and realized he’d never be Keith Giffen, and he’ll certainly never be the kind of writer who could get away with grim and gritty-atizing a fun character like Jaime. So he shrugged, watched a few episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold, and went from there. Not a bad fit. Anyway, Sky Witness? I’m sorry honey, but you and Khaji-Da are never, ever getting back together, and you really need to come to grips with that. I could write forever about that nut, but lucky for me, I don’t have to. I’ve got another nut to focus on. Khaji-Kai has had a taste of freedom for the first time in years, and it launched him off cuckoo plateau. Because yeah, sure, let’s blow up a planet. That’s cool. Though, I’ve got to hand it to him, uploading the different armor skins Jaime could use to Khaji-Da was pretty inspired. I mean, speed mode? Freaking adorable, I just wanna cuddle him. Still, ditching your new pal to fly off with a black market trader, even if it is on accident, is kind of a jerk move, Jaime. Especially because you might have killed him.

I’m really planning on writing off the next few issues of Supergirl, so long as the H’El on Earth storyline is going on, mainly because I don’t plan on picking up Superboy, Superman, or Action Comics. They don’t interest me in the slightest. However, there are some things worth noting from this issue. Wee bit of a spoiler alert, but Siobhan is turning back into the Silver Banshee, whether she wants to or not. Then there’s Kara’s compassion towards Kon, whom she, er, didn’t exactly meet under the best terms the first time around. Finally, H’El has given Kara the ability to understand, and possibly speak, English. Way to go! That is literally all that I’m going to remember about this issue!

Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I can’t praise Batwoman highly enough. I’m not a fan of magic, and lord knows I’ve tried to be, but I am a fan of kickass woman with unshakable spirits and wisdom that puts most others to shame. Kate his never been better than now, because she’s trying to live up to Diana’s expectations. And Diana has never been more magnificent, doing nothing more than being exactly who Kate thinks she is, a Wonder Woman. Maggie Sawyer and Harvey Bullock are also given semi-center stage as part of the front line in combating Medusa, who has decided to just storm the heart of darkness, the city of Gotham herself. Damn, between the Joker and a barrage of man-made mythical monsters, the city is having a pretty bad week. Let’s not even start on the newly-made hydra downtown. I’m trying my best to be coherent, because my other option is to just smash on my keyboard frantically and hope words come out. It’s hard.

Wonder Woman is the book I pretty much force on people new to comics. Because unlike books like Batwoman, Supergirl, Animal Man, even the Flash, her comic is a fresh start. Completely. Her origin is revised, but her core personality is intact. And best of all? She isn’t boring. The last time I was able to say that about Wondy, I was about ten years old and reading the Perez books I found in the library. They were, at the time, thirteen years old. But enough about that. We get to hate Hera again for a little bit as Siracca and her mother’s final fates are revealed. Well, not ‘final’. Not really. As a demigoddess, Siracca isn’t really good at dying and staying dead, after all. Still, Diana proves that her godly ability is to make pretty much everyone love her and want to help her, so after a short, pointless fight interlude, Siracca agrees to help her locate Hermes. Too bad she sort of failed at it. But no matter, Diana is off again on the hunt for yet another sibling, Milan of New York. I wonder how long it’ll take before someone is directing her to her unnamed brother, the firstborn son of Zeus. You know, that naked guy in the arctic. Ooh, and on the closing pages, we get a better peek at Orion! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally pumped to see New Gods in the pages of DC again. Their story came to an unfortunate end for absolutely no reason back in 2007, and I’ve missed them dearly.

Well, that’d be this week in comics. The new issue of Glory is also out, you should totally grab a copy. Oh, right, and Death of the Family also continued in Catwoman today, I guess you should get that if you’re intent on following the whole story. In any case, it’s past midnight and I’ve yet to really eat today, so I think I’m going to go do just that. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, see you next week to everyone else.

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You know what goes well with Nightosphere? Joker toxin.

This is a very Bat-heavy week. Death of the Family is in full swing, running through Batman, Batgirl, and Suicide Squad today. May god have mercy on my soul.

One Bat-book that has nothing to do with DotF, however, is the Ame-Comi comic featuring Batgirl and Robin! Wow, this is completely different from the Wonder Woman issue, despite having the same writing team. For one thing, Robin? Completely annoying. I think they were trying for the quirky snark that Robins are known for, but fell short into the valley of irritation. Still, the villains! …no, they were pretty irritating as well. Harley talks to her hat, Ivy gets her kicks harassing kids on dates, and Catwoman just wants to start fights with everyone. The saving grace is Duela, who seems to have planned for everything, up to and including Batgirl’s escape from the death trap she set up. Hm, maybe she does take after her “father” after all…

Before all that nonsense, however, Marceline and the Scream Queens! Gosh, this comic is just so good. Marceline and the gang head off to her hometown, the Nightosphere, to play a special acoustic show! It goes well, but Marcy is still having her problems dealing with the self-doubt that gossip magazines have been instilling in her. She and Bubblegum get in a fight, and the princess decides to go back home. Now, I don’t know about you, but if those two don’t kiss it out in the final issue next month, I’m going to rip my face off.

You ask for a hamburger, I give you several paragraphs worth of Death of the Family spoilers

Starting with Batgirl, what do we know about the Joker? Well, aside from the obvious fixation he has on her father, the sanest man in Gotham, Jim Gordon, not much. Because it isn’t her he was fixated on…until he figured out she was Batgirl. Oh yes, it may have been her brother who lured her into Joker’s, ahem, disco of death (eternal apologies to Sam Scudder), but I have no doubt that Joker knows who is under the mask. Jim’s wife, Babs’ mother, was out of their lives for years. They moved on. Only when she began to reconcile with her daughter did the elder Barbara Gordon become a target. And she paid for it. The Joker cut off her ring finger, wedding ring and all, to present to his “dearest dominoed daredoll”. And I vomited in my mouth a little.

I don’t think you understand. I’m not even sure if I understand. But what I do know, is that Scott Snyder has officially become the best Batman writer in recent years. If you have read the latest issue of Batman, and your hatred of the Joker isn’t palpable at this point, then I’m worried about you. The man kidnaps Alfred and blinds him with ammonia. He somehow gets Jim Gordon with blood thinner and almost has him bleed out. He’s blown up the aqueduct while Nightwing stands on it, most likely injuring him greatly. Finally, instead of poisoning the reservoir, he just rounded up the people who would have gotten the poisoned water first and just killed them. Poisoned them? Drowned them? Who knows. But at least 30 visible people are dead, en mass, and it’s his fault. 

All because he loves Batman and wants him to be focused on him completely, instead of his ‘family’.

I’m not even looking at this with slash goggles on, he pretty much says it. The kids and Gordon and Alfred? They were dragging Bruce down, making him weak. Once he trimmed the fruit off the tree, then Bruce would have more time for him. Oh, and he knows all of their secret identities, so, uh. Called it.

I want to know, first off, where Harley is getting her clothes. Does she make them herself? Order them offline in her spare time? Because, seriously. Where is this girl getting a purple mourning dress, trimmed with fishnet and complete with hat at like a moment’s notice? Where?! This is the true mystery, here. I remember saying, the last time I really did an in-depth analysis of Joker and Harley’s relationship, that he was, essentially, just an abuser. That’s it. That’s their relationship. He doesn’t love her, but wants someone that he can control. So he baits her, keeps her coming back, and…well, I prefer the approach Batman: The Animated Series used to that side of their relationship. In the here and now, however, we get to watch tooth-to-knuckle as he belts her across the face, then slices her mouth, before going to threaten the other people who were in the Squad with her at the funeral. And while I’m quite upset that Deadshot is dead, I really didn’t need Joker wondering out loud about his circumcision status. Yeow.

That was this week in comics, folks. If your LCS hasn’t run out of them by the time you get there, I also highly recommend picking up the latest issue of Punk Rock Jesus. That series is always a delight. Hope to see you back next week.

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Rotworld’s the word!

Welcome to the ToG Blog, where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am done with Green Lantern. Finished. Completely. Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns, all of it. Congratulations, DC. You’ve officially put me off an entire franchise. I may not like Superman, but I’m still buying Supergirl. I may not like Batman as a character, but I’m still buying the main Batman title, Batwoman, and Batman Inc. It was a long, hard road, getting off the Lanterns. I really wanted to like Green Lantern Corps, but it was dull as hell. I really wanted to like New Guardians, but it was just…kind of stupid. And don’t even get me started on Red Lanterns. In fact, until it started being more of the Hal Jordan Show again, I very much enjoyed the main Green Lantern title. Guy Gardner, Saint Walker, and Thaal Sinestro are my three favorite Lanterns, of any Corps, and I was honestly hoping that their stories would not, ultimately, be terrible. Whoops. This is what I get for wanting things.

In other news, guess who has the Swamp Thing Annual and a new issue of Swamp Thing?! This lass right here.
Alright, so. The annual is basically a little done-in-one story about how Alec and Abby first met back when he was still a student. It’s cute, and with Becky Cloonan on the art, well-drawn, but it’s not really much to write home about. What’s interesting, though, is that it’s a story that Alec Holland forgot from his time as a human, partly because the Rot willed him to. The central focus of the story is a plant called the Flower that grows in a radiation-riddled land and secretes a substance that promotes memory loss. Alec went to this land to see if he could grow more plants there, but met Abby and the Flower, and was then almost killed by Anton Arcane. Luckily, he was saved by an ancient of the Parliament and, oddly enough, a young Jason Woodrue. The end of the issue was pretty much the same as the end of issue #13, with the Parliament telling Alec that Abby was dead, and that there was nothing he could do about it. Issue #14 starts from about there, with Alec and the rest of the Green survivors fighting an army of Rotlings lead by the Teen Titans. All in all, it’s a pretty awesome fight scene, as Alec is able to tap into the full power of the Green for the very first time, turning into…holy crap that is a giant Swamp Thing. No, I don’t think you’re getting this. Alec is several hundred times bigger than Ivy and Boston now. He’s able to crush dozens of Rotlings with his feet. Dang. Of course, once he makes up his mind to go and find Abby who, contrary to poplar belief (get it? Because poplar is a tree and the Parliament is…never mind.), is actually still alive, and most likely being held prisoner by her uncle. How do we know this? From a combination of Alec ‘feeling her presence’ and the other side of the story, where Abby travels to her former home to try and cut the Rot off at the source. Meanwhile, en route to Gotham City…William Arcane! Alive! Ish! And in control of the entire dead ocean. Game over, everybody.

While Alec is off looking for Abby, the remaining defenders of the Red have set off looking for him. I want to know how John bloody Constantine survived. Dumb luck? Or maybe Death just refused to put up with him. In any case he, Buddy, Black Orchid, and Beast Boy are the last living superheroes. I’d include Steel but, uh, he’s not alive. In any case, they get a big fight scene too, with an army headed by Felix Faust, no less! Who tells them that Buddy’s daughter is still alive, and a prisoner. Hm, well, to quote Constantine, “I’d say that was about the most obvious trap ever laid.” Maxine’s story is really quite sad. Her brother infects her mother, who infects her grandmother, and the trio become the new Hunters Three. Maxine and her cat need to run from them, but then, William Arcane! Damn, this kid gets around. I think I’m going to be afraid to get in and out of the shower at night, because you never know when there might suddenly be this creepy-ass kid in your bathroom. Also, that name. Brr. All in all, it’s a satisfying issue. Mainly because, hey, we ended on a Grodd note! Ow, okay. That pun was a little too horrible, even for me.

So, that was this week in comics? Y’know, i do believe it was. I’m going to be frank, I may have to start looking at other companies for books, as DC really doesn’t seem to be doing enough for me these days. Join us next week for, uh, Batman and the new Ame-Comi Girls on-shot starring Batgirl.

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Happy Vertigo-ween!

Happy Halloween! Due to a bit of unfortunate business where both of my local comic shops were shorted a handful of DC comics, including the Swamp Thing annual, there will not be a regular review this week.

Instead, I’d like to talk about the DC Halloween specials of past years, and what the reboot means for them.

I’m a big fan of done-in-one stories. As much as I love dozen-issue stories, and ongoings that turn little things from past arcs into A Big Deal later on down the line, self-contained comics have always been my favorite. This is probably why I’m such a big fan of webcomics like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and graphic novels such as Habibi. The strips, and book, are universes of their own, and I like it. The DC Halloween Specials were 80-pages of one-shot stories meant to terrify and entertain, and this year, DC did not have one.

However, Vertigo did.

This is something I find interesting. For the most part, when DC decided to do a company-wide reboot and shove things from formerly separate universes into the main one (such as Swamp Thing, the Gen 13 kids, Stormwatch, everyone in the JLD)…they left some people out. The American Vampire, Sweet Tooth, Fables, and other books went untouched. I mean, thank freaking god for that; I do not want to see Bigby Wolf and Skinner Sweet throw down anytime in this life span.

But with Vertigo’s Halloween-type one-shot Ghosts having featured two Sandman characters, the Dead Boy Detectives, that opens up an entirely new can of worms. Their story ended on a cliffhanger, which invited me to continue it in the next Vertigo one-shot. Huh. So they’re going to be doing these again? Okay, color me interested. The only real question is, when?

DC put all its eggs in the New 52 basket, and while their Vertigo stuff hasn’t exactly fallen by the wayside (American Vampire is still going strong, there’s a new Fables spin-off called Fairest, and their six-issue series Punk Rock Jesus is a masterpiece), it hasn’t been promoted nearly as well as it used to be. In fact, the DC and Vertigo pages are completely separate on the DC website. Unless I check Diamond, I don’t even know what Vertigo books are coming out on a weekly basis.

So, what does this all have to do with Halloween specials, you may ask? Quite a bit, actually!

You see, aside from the Batman and Green Lantern franchises, too much has changed in the main DCU for one-shot, noncanon spooky stories to have a coherent place within that line of comics. However, depending on how well the Vertigo one-shots do, it might be likely that we’ll start seeing those in their place for Halloween and possibly even Christmas until the 52verse has enough history to it to allow for frivolous, non-character building, noncanon stories again.

At least, one can only hope.

I’m Touch of Grey, and I really need to get out of this Supergirl costume. Have a good night, and stay safe. You never know what’s lurking in the dark out there…

Attention South Florida comic fans! This weekend is the Annual Tate’s Halloween tent sale! Visit http://www.tatescomics.com for more information, or like them on Facebook. 5 for a dollar comics under the tent, or fill a longbox for $35. More deals inside the store. Trust me, it’s always a blast out there! Hope to see you!

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