Archive for March, 2013

Reading the feels away.

The last week of the month is usually my favorite. Business tends to pick up at work, I’m that much closer to flipping to my new calender picture, and two of my favorite books come out. Yes, Young Avengers has officially made it onto my top five currently running favorite books (along with Saga), dropping Animal Man and Hawkeye to spots six and seven respectively. And I need these books today, as my boyfriend has gone up north for the next few months, and I am sad. So let’s get right to it!

Ugh, didn’t I just say that I was already sad? It’s like I never want to be happy again. Thankfully, the funeral of Damian Wayne takes up but a few pages, after which we turn to…oh, goddamnit. There is a part of me that believes that Grant Morrisson didn’t create Beryl to eventually become Knight, but that part is very small. I know the game you’re playing now, Grant. You create or revitalize characters, make us love them, and then in the blink of an eye and a snap of a neck, they’re gone. If you’ve been picking up the various Bat-titles with the Requiem logo on them, know this. You’re only going to get any sort of feeling of closure from Batman and Robin, and now Batman Inc. That’s how important Damian Wayne is to the Batfamily, folks. This is the sendoff he gets.

Ah, Young Avengers. What would I do without you and your fantastic sense of snark and timing? Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction are, in my opinion, the most on-the-ball writers in Marvel’s talent farm right now. I feel like they personify the statement, “comics should be good“. Damn it, DC, if you’re planning on stealing writers from Marvel, why not these guys? Ahem. In this third issue of Young Avengers, Miss America Chavez kicks some serious frost giant ass, Billy has lost his mojo, the babies go clubbing, and I’m officially past the point of terrified of Teddy’s mom. If I need to say anything other than that to get you to go buy it, I’m obviously not doing this right.

I have a horrible confession to make: I spent the extra money and bought both the regular cover and the variant cover of this month’s Flash. Yes, it’s the same picture, but wow, the detail in the shaded version?! Are there official modern art deities, because Francis Manapul deserves to be one of them. This issue, however, was not drawn by Manapul. In fact, the cover was the only thing he had any part in. Flash #18 was written entirely by co-writer Brian Buccellato, and drawn by Marcio Takara, whom you may remember from Blue Beetle. And, if I just may? Wow. I’ve gotten into hour-long arguments over why Barry is better when written by anyone other than Geoff Johns and, yup. My stance holds its ground. But enough about the creators! This issue starts a two-issue arc focusing on one of my personal favorite Rogues, Axel Walker, the Trickster. The Trickster has been framed for murder! But why? Well, if you haven’t been paying attention to the solicitations for the next few months, I’m going to spoil it for you: Reverse Flash. That’s this arc, really. Oh, and we get to see the effects of the Speed Force on more normal people who spend a lot of time in it, with Gomez and Albert, also known as the newest wannabe vigilantes in Central, Sprint and Turbo-Charger. But honestly, the person I’m most focused on here is Axel. Not because he’s one of my babies (he is) or because I’ve been waiting forever to see more of his New 52 personality (I have), but because his new personality is actually pretty similar to his old one. DCU Axel was certainly louder, more abrasive and, quite frankly, meaner than New 52 Axel has been shown to be so far, but they both have one thing in common: they’re both kids in a grown-up’s game, looking for a family to call their own. And New 52 Axel finally found it. Now, I think he may have chosen that family because of their similar taste in hair styles, but whatever makes him happy.

That was this week in comics! I’m…actually very tired. Incredibly tired. I just want to go to bed right now. But I’ll be back next week with…uh. Hm. This is embarrassing. Animal Man seems to have be missing from April, and since I dropped Swamp Thing after Scott Snyder left the title, there aren’t any regularly reviewed titles for next week. So, uh. Vacation?

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Team Estrogen, go!

Hey, you know what day it is? Well, obviously it’s Wednesday. But do you know which Wednesday it is? I’ll give you a guess: dicks. Nowhere are there dicks.
It’s ladies’ week! Four books, and I’m excited for every last one of them! Let’s not waste any time, and jump right in.

One thing I’ve liked about DC Universe Presents, is how it gives me the ability to pick and choose what I read. So if I’m not interested in Deadman, the Challengers of the Unknown, or Vandal Savage, I can just skip them and pick up the single Kid Flash issue, and nothing is lost. I’ve actually picked up three issues of this series so far, the Kid Flash issue, the Arsenal issue, and the new Starfire issue and…I hate to say that the characters have all been handled much better here than they were in their own books, but yeah. They have been. Not that it was too hard, as the writer of both the books these characters come from is Scott Lobdell. I mean even Fabian Nicieza (Kid Flash) is easier to stomach than him, and the amazing Joe Keatinge (Arsenal, Starfire), half of the current Glory team? C’mon, you’re kidding, right? In any case, enough creator praise. The Starfire story in today’s issue is, amazingly, not another retelling of her origin. I guess it was decided that five times in one reboot was more than enough. Instead, it’s a story of Koriand’r before she made it to Earth, before she became the captain of the Starfire, but after she escaped enslavement. It’s interesting to read, Keatinge’s interpretation of her. Not my favorite by far, but interesting nonetheless. Here, Kori is a freedom fighter, who seeks to free a village from the threat that is the slavers…but they don’t want her help. DCUP is one issue from over, as the series was cancelled some months back, so pick up the remaining issues while you still can.

Ugh, and here I thought H’El on Earth would no longer apply to Supergirl. Okay, it’s no secret that I don’t like crossover events, and that’s mainly because, every so often, something like this will happen. When did Kara get Kryptonite poisoning? Probably in Superman, Superboy, or Action Comics. SIGH. In any case, Lex Luthor has a robot brain and facial scarring, Kara is psychically connected to Earth-2 Kara, and I am so done with this book for right now.

This issue of Wonder Woman was odd, to say the least. For one thing, two separate artists worked on it, making the visuals a bit difficult to flow with. I’m not sure I like Goran Sudzuka’s  style very much, at least not for Diana. For another thing, that firstborn of Olympus storyline is still going strong, even though the search for Zola’s baby storyline ended this issue. It feels a bit detached, like it should belong in a second feature, rather than intermixed with the main story. That being said, a few things were made clear this issue, such as Orion’s douche maneuver in the bar last issue. God, just pat her shoulder next time, buddy. All in all, it was a good end to the arc, and I can only hope that things get better for Zola from here on out.

J.H. Williams, please come back to Batwoman on art. Please? Not that Trevor McCarthy isn’t fantastic, because he is, but he’s not quite the right fit for Kate. In this issue, the Batwoman family extends, and the DEO officially become the villains. Hey, remember that time Bette Kane finally got her wish of being Robin? So she goes by the name Hawkfire, she’s still the sidekick to a bigger Bat, and she’s still the funny one. I like the chemistry between the cousins, they work well together, even if they both have different voices in their ears. Jake Kane is still coaching his niece, and Cameron Chase is still ordering around Kate, but they both seem to be displaying a certain lack of control over their charges. Good. Beat the system, ladies! Oh, by the way, Maggie said yes! Remember? When Kate asked her to marry her? Well, she said yes, and they’re looking for an apartment to share before they get married. Ahh, I love a happy ending, don’t you?

That was this week in comics! By the by, Requiem continues, sort of, in Nightwing, if you feel like being sad about Damian Wayne again. Saga also came out today, and holy cow. If you’re not reading this book, you’re obviously living in a very small town whose comic shop only orders from DC and Marvel, and I am very sorry to hear that. See y’all back here next week, when I cover Young Avengers, Batman Inc, and the start of a new story arc in Flash!

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In Memoriam: Damian Wayne

This week has a central theme: Mourning Damian Wayne. Or does it? I glanced through Batgirl in my comic shop, because we’ve all seen the sad cover:

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See? Babs is crying big, sad, boo-hoo tears over a character who, to my knowledge, she had no direct interaction with in the reboot. I mean, they were in the same place during Death of the Family, but did they talk? Don’t think so. The actual issue involves James Jr., a character I really do find interesting! But not right now. There is a single scene consisting of two pages that deal with Damian, and they’re a complete write-off. Babs isn’t sad about Damian, she’s sad for Bruce.

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Lovely. In any case, we’ve got two more Requiem issues, the main Batman title, and Batman and Robin. I’m girding my loins for feels.

Harper Row is back! Remember her? Awesome hair, nose ring, adorable brother, idolizes Batman? I feel like I’m going to be less sad, and more pumped! This issue of Batman deals mostly with her following Batman around, trying to figure out why he’s sad. Damian isn’t mentioned at all. This seems familiar to me. A Robin dies. Some smart teenager starts following Batman around to help him when he needs it. Batman refuses to throw the teenager a bone, and continues lashing out at everyone around him. Eventually allows the teenager to train with him and…oh my god, Harper Row is being set up to be the new Robin. We’re being Tim Drake’d! Still, think about what this means. We’ve been denied Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, in order to bring in a new female member of the Batfamily. That’s…wow, no? I mean, I’d love to see Harper as the new Robin. I’d love to have a canon female Robin in the main universe that makes up the majority of the DCnU (sorry, Helena Wayne). But that’s exactly like when James Robinson made Alan Scott gay in Earth-2. Making that character gay caused his gay son, Todd Rice, and his son’s boyfriend, Damon Matthews, to essentially be erased from existence. So, we got one and lost two, the same thing that’s happening with Harper Row now. Still, it’s not an unusual practice, as far as DC is concerned. We can have four Green Lanterns from Earth (now five, with Simon Baz)…so long as they’re all men. Sorry, Jade. But we can only have one Atom, and that one is going to be Ray Palmer, goddamnit. We can have three white, male Flashes, no problem. But throw a female Robin or an Asian Batgirl in the mix? Nope! Not possible! This sort of thing just annoys me, and I know I’m not alone.

Did someone say ‘set phasers to feels’? In this special, completely silent issue of Batman and Robin, well…I can’t say anything. I’m not trying to make a joke at all, I literally cannot say anything about this issue. The panels all speak for themselves. From Alfred’s grief, to Titus’ confusion and sadness that only a dog can have, to Bruce’s despair-fueled rage, everything is painted perfectly.

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That was this week in comics. Come back next week for absolutely nothing depressing in Batwoman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, DC Universe Presents featuring Starfire, and possibly the first issue of Constantine!

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The death of a Man, the rebirth of a Thing.

The first week of the month is always small, but also packs one hell of a punch! As usual, the only books I’ll be taking a look at this week come from the ‘dark’ area of the New 52 titles, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. Let’s jump right in!

I’m going to take a moment to say goodbye to Swamp Thing. I started buying and backreading the title when it crossed over with Animal Man for Rotworld, but Rotworld is over. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette are leaving the title. And so, my friends, am I. As a matter of fact, this final issue is all about goodbyes. The Parliament of Decay dumps Alec at the exact moment he’d needed to be in, in the past, and he was able to stop Anton Arcane from killing Abby. Unfortunately, Arcane is still able to regenerate, so Abby and Alec confront the Parliament, where Abby confesses that she knows the only way to stop her uncle forever…is to become the Avatar of Decay in her own right, as she was supposed to. In order to fo that, however, she needs to die. Alec obliges her, just as Arcane breaks into the chamber of the Parliament. Arcane kills Alec Holland’s human body, but is finally destroyed by Abby, in her visually stunning Avatar of Decay form.

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Wow. Unfortunately, Abby, in embracing her destiny, has officially lost the ability to ever be with Alec again. She is purely decay now, and he is made entirely of the Green. So they say their goodbyes, and Alec gets ready to take his place among his Parliament, his tenure as Swamp Thing over. But the next avatar isn’t ready yet, and Alec still has some fight left in him, so he chooses to continue being their Swamp Thing until they no longer need him. And thus ends the Swamp Thing run of Scott Snyder. All in all, the 20 issues he penned (1 through 18, #0, and the annual) make for an amazing and, ultimately, complete story. Anything anyone else does from here on out is inconsequential to me. Just as Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing was considered the definitive story for the character pre-reboot, Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing is the post-reboot zenith for the character, at least to me. Well done, Mr. Snyder. You crafted a hell of a tale.

You may recognize the cover of Animal Man #18. It’s a direct homage to not one, but two Flash covers:

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Ah, cover homages. Gotta love ’em! In any case, where Swamp Thing was a proper ending for the Green side of the Rotworld storyline, Animal Man is more of a continuation. Rotworld has ended. Buddy and Alec both stopped the Rot before it began, and both lost someone in the process. Alec lost both the chance of a future with Abby, and his own human body, and Buddy lost his son. Remember how, last week, I said that I was sick of seeing kids die? Well, that feeling hasn’t faded. Cliff, Maxine, and Ellen Baker have been used as author tools to fuel Buddy’s resolve, to give him strength through grief. And now is no exception. In the reboot, DC has been all about breaking up marriages, but damnit, I was really rooting for the Bakers. If Cliff’s death doesn’t shatter this family, I’ll be more than relieved, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

And that was this week in comics! In case you missed them, the new issues of Fionna and Cake and Glory also came out this week. Be sure to pick them up, if you have the chance! I’d like to say that I’ll be looking at cheerier comics in the future but, uh, see you back here next week with Batman, and Batman and Robin. 

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