Archive for February, 2013

Breaking News: The news is broken. Earth-shattering events to follow.

You ever have one of those days where you feel like you should be happy, but you know you won’t be before the day is out? If you haven’t been reading the New York Times, watching the Yahoo trends, or visiting basically every comics website out there, spoiler alert: Damian Wayne is set to die today. So you know what? Consider this my version of going on strike. Flash and Young Avengers, both awesome books, also came out today, but so what? DC has decided to kill yet another prepubescent child.

Still, the show must go on. The Grodd story finally ends this week in Flash, and hoo boy, what a finale! It’s the ape in a cape versus Flash in the Speed Force! Okay, I’m gonna be honest, the dialogue was a little cheesy during their fight. It’s like Barry did a sudden 180 spin and decided to take his cues from JLU Wally. The result is…more than a little embarrassing. Still, he saves the day, gets the girl (gets two girls, actually, but shh, don’t tell Patty), and, hey! What’s that there?

…really? Okay? Okay. I’m not going to pick. But it looks like Metron left his chair and tried to cosplay as the Black Flash using a reference image that was shot through a mirror. But it’s not a bad costume. It just looks like a mish-mash of other costumes that weren’t currently in use.

So, while issue two of Young Avengers did kind of turn into The Billy and Teddy Show featuring Loki, it’s still essentially the best thing I’ve ever read. Mrs. Altman has remade the universe! Which makes me wonder if she was pulled into their universe, or if Billy accidentally transported them into hers. According to Loki, she’s a parasite that…yup, remakes universes. For some reason. Well, that’s vague. Still, it’s the dialogue that really makes this issue for me, especially the diner scene. Also, hey, if you’ve got the $10 to $20 comic shops are charging for the Stephanie Hans variant cover (I didn’t, and my shop wanted $15), go nuts. Because damn honey, is it pretty. I mean, look at it:

Holy wow, am I right? Young Avengers get all the good variant covers.

 

Long-time readers might remember a similar style of reviewing I did for the quiver of manure that was Rise of Arsenal. I call it, rant’n reaction reviewing. It’s not fun to write, mainly because you, the reader, are essentially watching my mental state degrade. It’s fun to read, though, after a draw off your bottle of what have you. So without further stalling, I’m currently completely unaware whether or not I’m proud to present to you, Batman Incorporated issue eight.

I’ll give them this: I like Chris Burnham’s Damian better than I like Patrick Gleason’s Damian. Gleason draws Damian’s head a bit too round for my taste, whereas Burnham’s Damian is reminiscent of the version by Frank Quitely, except here, he doesn’t look like a little old man in a Robin suit. None can match Marcus To’s Damian, though. I’m distracting myself. Hey look, Tim’s actually useful! There’s something you don’t see every day. Certainly not today, in Teen Titans. Don’t read that, by the way, it’s really bad.
You know what I’ve been missing for a year or so? Dick and Damian working together. It’s like DC forgot that they were partners for uh, over two years. Oh no, I’m crying. “So far, I’d say you’ve been my favorite partner. We were the best, Richard. No matter what anyone thinks.” Why the fuck would you do that, Grant? I know we’re not really on a first-name basis, but I think I’ve been following your work long enough to not have to call you Mr. Morrison. God, kill the kid if you must, but don’t remind us of the thing that was retconned by letting it slip that it wasn’t retconned. Oh no, here comes that which could have been Ibn al Xu’ffasch. Oh god no, you’re doing it again, Grant. That thing, where you’re reminding us how good Dick and Damian were for each other, to the point where Damian thought of him as something more than a friend. More than a brother. Dick was his partner, the person he trusted to keep him alive. Why would you do this? “Touch him again, I’ll kill you!”

I…I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t do this again. I’ve done this twice now, I can’t do it again. They only kill the ones I love. They only kill the ones I love. My introduction to Robin was in Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman movies, but my introduction to comics Robin was Jason Todd. Jason was my Robin. And the comics I was reading, the ones I could get my hands on, didn’t go up as far as Death in the Family. So flash forward, from 1995 to 1997, my first time in a comics shop. There’s a Robin comic, but that’s not Jason. That isn’t Jason at all. So I go up to the guy behind the counter. He’s a pretty young guy, maybe in his early 20s. And I say to him, who is this? Where’s Jason? And I’m so lucky, I’m so damn lucky that the person I talked to that day wasn’t a dick, else I wouldn’t be here now. He explained that the Joker had killed him, and gave me this copy of Death in the Family that had seen many better days before it. The first time I went into a comics shop was the day I learned that superheroes could die, especially if they were just kids. Like me.
Then, in 2004, they did it again. I’d liked Stephanie Brown since I first decided to get over my anti-Tim Drake sentiments and start reading the Robin comics in 1998, when Young Justice started. I liked Tim there, maybe I’d like him in his own series? Y’know what? I did. But I liked Steph better. She was plucky. She never gave up. Being a hero meant a lot to her, and she made it work. And then she got to be Robin. She got to be Robin for such a short time…and then they killed her. They killed her. And now Damian? No. I can’t do this. I can’t.

Call me stupid, call me weak. Say I’m overreacting. But just like with Lian Harper, and Adam Grant, and Cerdian, and Arthur Jr, and Josh Mardon, and Robbie Long, and all the other children unfortunate enough to be born to parents who live in the DCU…I can’t do this anymore. I can’t watch kids die. They’re not realI know that. They’re not alive. But they’re given life on the page, given life in the hearts of the people who read about them. They have thoughts and feelings and personalities. That’s what comics are. Imaginary people that we, the fans, take home every week. Fall in love with. Share with the people we care about, to let them into our world. I cared about Damian Wayne. He was a little shit, but he was my little shit. In the end, he was just a kid, a very well-trained kid, who wanted his parents to stop fighting. Goodbye, Damian. I will remember you smiling, and fighting, and being a pain in the ass to everyone, until you wormed your way into their hearts. You were a good kid, Damian Wayne, don’t let anyone ever tell you different.

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And with that…I need to go cheer myself up. If anyone wants me, I’ll be watching Captain America with the boyfriend. Next week, we’ll have Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and me pregaming for my birthday on Thursday. See you there!

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In which my Wednesday is full to bursting with Amazonian might

I’m not going to lie, folks, this is my favorite week of the month. Yes, it’s a little sad that the majority of female-lead books came out today (Catwoman, Sword of Sorcery, and Birds of Prey came out too but shh, I didn’t tell you), but…no. Come on, DC. You have nine books with female leads out of your fifty-two, and one of them is a team book. Six of them should not be coming out today.

In any case, Supergirl! Once again, I really can’t say anything about this book, though I’m fairly sure that H’el on Earth is almost at an end, so we should be back to normal next month. Wonder Woman makes an appearance here to fight with Kara, and ignoring the weird storyline it ties into, it’s actually a really cool sequence. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure Diana shows up in all of the DC books I bought today. So at least DC is finally starting to utilize her?

 Something that has annoyed me about the Superman/Wonder Woman romance that DC has been shoving down our throats is, it’s only really talked about in Justice League. Now, I no longer buy Justice League, but from the big fuss with the Young Romance Valentine’s special and all the online stuff they’re doing, I assume that it’s supposedly going strong? Meanwhile, over in Diana’s own series (which, by the way, is a dollar less than Justice League and actually worth the money), nothing. Superman and Steve Trevor haven’t been mentioned once, with the book focusing more on Diana’s quest to retrieve Zola’s baby from the gods that stole it. And you know what? I like that better. Yes, I love it when a series focuses on a romance within the story, but not when it’s the defining trait of any particular character. It’s why I love the Kate/Maggie relationship in Batwoman so much, Maggie is a cop first, and Kate’s girlfriend second. In any case, this month’s issue of Wonder Woman brings our motley crew (thank you Lennox) to the bar that Zola and Hera had absconded to, to have a drink with War. And then it’s off to Demeter’s realm for the god and demigoddess, to take on Hermes and try to solve their situation once and for all. I haven’t mentioned it much, but I’m actually fairly invested in where this alternate ‘first-born of Zeus’ plotline is going. I assume that he’s being set up to be the series’ next villain, but you never know.

Oh gosh, there were so many good parts in Batwoman this week. I feel like an excited kid on her birthday, and the present I just unwrapped was a trip to Islands of Adventure. We finally, after seventeen issues, reach the conclusion of the missing kids storyline! This is a big deal for me. I’ve been rooting for the safe return of those kids since day one. Medusa is vanquished, Ceto is free to live her life in obscurity, and even our little vigilante that could is back with a brand new identity, socking it to the villain that laid her low. I’m going to miss Bette’s Flamebird identity, mainly because it was just so amazingly flamboyant. Not since Nightwing was in disco feathers has a nonpowered hero been so…garishly awesome. Still, Hawkfire? Great name, great costume, and the girl shoots fireballs from her gloves. Fireballs that sometimes take the form of a bird. Hello, I love you. Finally, the Kate and Maggie and Batwoman storylines all meet. This moment, I feel, can only be shown, not described. After bringing the missing children back to Maggie, Kate reveals herself, through her words, and asks,

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Of course, not everything is peaches and cream. A moment of silence for Mr. Abbot, who nobly leaped to a pretty pointless death at the eyes of Medusa. And guess who’s back, after years of being assumed dead? Well, maybe not years…unless you’re a comic book fan who has been waiting since 2009 to read a real conclusion to the story in question. That’s right, welcome back, Alice! This issue was basically perfect, and left me squirming in anticipation for next month.

And so ends another week. If you’re into that sort of thing, DC Universe Presents focused on Arsenal this month, and it was actually pretty good, especially the art by Ricken. See, DC? Roy can be interesting when Lobdell hasn’t got his mitts on him! Secret confession: You know who I’d like to see take over Red Hood and the Outlaws? Judd Winick. Yeah, that Judd Winick. What can I say? He wrote Roy well in Outsiders, and was the one to literally breath new life into Jason Todd. If anyone could make that mess of a series work, it’d be him. Saga also came out today from Image and if you haven’t been reading Saga, seriously, start reading Saga. I’ll be back next week with Flash, Batman Inc, and Young Avengers. Good night, moonies!

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The Batfamily is dead, long live the Batfamily

Ladies and gentlemen, the end has come at last. Five months and over a dozen related issues since it began, Death of the Family is finally freaking over. I could weep. Batman is the only book we’ll be looking at this week, sadly, but hey. I’m keeping to my pledge of not buying thing I don’t actually want to read! Who’s proud of me? Well…I’m proud of me, anyway. 

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR BATMAN #17 TO FOLLOW

To the surprise of exactly no one, or at least, the people who understand the concept of marketing popular characters, no one actually died in Death of the Family. Yes, it may seem as though the Joker died, but the man survived having his face cut off. I think he can take a little fall off a cliff. However, he did succeed in what he’d been aiming to do. You see, a family can die in several ways. While Joker failed in his original plan, to kill all the outlying members of the Batfamily themselves, he did kill the idea itself. Bruce’s kids no longer trust him, after spending hours in the dark with Joker. He put thoughts in their heads, doubts, and in the end, causing the living mind to doubt can be more effective than killing the body.

Death of the Family was a flawed crossover arc, but the main story had a clear, cohesive plot that did exactly what it said it was going to. The Joker destroyed the Batfamily, without truly lifting a destructive finger towards any of them. Though their bodies may be mostly unharmed, their minds might never recover from the perceived betrayal at the hands of their patriarch. Only time will tell.

My apologies for the short review, but hey! Next week, we’ll be looking at Batwoman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and a special DC Universe Presents focused on Roy Harper! Have an excellent week!

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Rotworld: Come children, gather in my Parliament!

There are only two books on the menu today, and whoa! They’re interconnected! 

Today, the Rotworld finale began in Animal Man and Swamp Thing. It’s taken 17 issues to get to this point, and it all ends in…time travel. I’m going to admit, I was sort of looking forward to how Snyder and Lemire would be writing a world almost completely devoid of life, but yeah, this makes a bit more sense. Which is funny, as time travel was the solution the last time Buddy’s family was killed. To rewind a bit, Buddy and Alec finally unite on the battlefield, just in time to face Anton Arcane and his beloved horrors head-on. I was truly frightened by Hunter Maxine’s appearance, and the Abbys? Forget it. Not even touching that. Nightmare city. On a lighter note, the Parliament of Rot actually seem to be pretty good guys, I hope they don’t turn out to be, y’know, not. Anyone else notice that the Parliament of Rot is entirely made up of human faces?

I cannot apologize enough, but I’m really sick. I started out the day with a sore throat, but it just got worse and worse. I’m typing this laying on my stomach, with my head on a pillow so I can see my screen. I literally cannot continue on right now, and I am so sorry. The second issue of Fionna and Cake came out today, and I recently started reading Vaughan and Staples’ Saga, which, three issues in, has proven itself to be as amazingly awesome as everyone has said it is. Next week, we’ll be looking at the finale of Death of the Family in Batman, and possibly the new Batman and Robin issue. For now, I’m Touch of Grey, I’m sick, and I’m going to bed.

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