Archive for April, 2013

Dr. Langstrom, or how I learned to stop worrying and drink heavily to forget things that happen in Batman Incorporated.

And so we send off the month of April! A rather tumultuous month, we’ve seen shakeups in the Super-family, watched Batman slip quickly into insanity, and cheered as Diana continued to be awesome. As far as consistent quality goes, April has been…well. I made the executive decision to drop Batman and Batman and Robin from my pull list, because I am very much done with this nonsense. Glory ended, the few Marvel books I read continued their way up my list of favorites, we lost Carmine Infantino…it was a very varied month. Still, we’ve got three more books to look at before I can put April to rest, so let’s get to them.

Batman Inc was cancelled earlier this month. The tenth issue never came out, and we will never get closure on this Leviathan story that’s been building for over four years.

Okay, I’m lying. Batman Inc has been cancelled as of the 13th issue, where Grant Morrison will be ending his chapter in the history of Batman. There are three more issues following this one. Ha. Hahaha. I don’t want to live anymore.
Now, I know what that sounds like, but I probably don’t mean it the way you’re thinking. Batman Inc is a book of various levels of quality. The entire first series of it was…not great. The transitioning book, Leviathan Strikes, was fantastic. The second series, the one we’re in now, has had its high points (the return of Matches Malone! Damian teaming up with Jason as Redbird and Wingman! Ranger/Squire!), and it’s low, low points. Damian’s death was the lowest it could possibly get. A child was brutally killed. Knight’s death in the previous issue, tragic as it was, just couldn’t compare. This book could go nowhere but up. And this tenth issue has proven that theory.
Sort of.
Azrael makes a cameo! Kirk Langstrom makes a cameo! Bruce is forced to go head to head with Talia! The woman Hood brought Jason to is..! Okay, I could be wrong about this (my friends call me Nostradamus), but I think it’s Kathy Kane. Look at how her girls are dressed, look at the Spyral symbol in the background of their lair:

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Kathy. Kane. 
There are other interesting parts of this issue, such as Talia exerting her control over the Damian clone, and her interactions with her father, as well as her punishment of the Leviathan followers who shot at Damian. Actually, forget about the other stuff that happened in this issue, Talia freaking stole it all. This woman is badass. She has a goal: Destroy the man who fathered her child and broke her heart. That’s it. Everything else she’s done with Leviathan is inconsequential to her so long as Batman goes down, along with the city he serves. I can tell that Morrison is trying to play up the crazy, insecure bitch angle, especially during her conversation with Ra’s, but I’m not buying it. Talia al Ghul is determined to drag the world down to hell…and I’m kind of rooting for her.

Hey, who wants to get their heart broken?! Now I know why a friend of mine called Journey into Mystery Journey into Misery. Kieron Gillen shouldn’t have this kind of power, he’s just using it for evil. Take for example, “How do you know you’re not just the result of your boyfriend’s latent reality warping abilities in their earliest form, Teddy?” Loki no. That’s not cool. Nothing about this issue is cool. Nothing. Okay, y’all caught me in another lie. Kate and Noh-Varr finally show up, and damn if they aren’t the coolest. Now, I was always rooting for Kate and Eli to work out as a couple, but this is good, too.
By the way, thanks for confirming that you never tapped Clint, Noh. That’s information we sorely needed.
Still, I’ve been a Marvel Boy fan for, uh, about as long as there’s been a Marvel Boy, honestly. I loved his mini series back in 2000, I loved his appearance in the Civil War crossover with the Runaways and the Young Avengers, I just really, really enjoy him as a character. Everything I’ve read him in has caused his character to grow and evolve, finally reaching what we see here: A music dork with a bangin’ booty. Excuse me, an awesome music dork with a bangin’ booty, my apologies. 
In this issue, pretty much everyone gets a ‘moment’. Noh-Varr beats up Mom’s people, Kate has her plasma bow, Miss America gets more than one great one-liner, Loki and Hulkling have their little discussion…unfortunately, Billy’s moment is the one where he fucks everything up. Kinda par for the course of this series, so far. So, Billy agrees to lend Loki his powers for ten minutes, and Loki gets the Hel out of dodge, leaving everyone else stranded there. I honestly don’t know what any of you were expecting, it’s Loki.

Saving the best for last, aw yeah. But am I? Am I really? No, I totally am. The Flash was awesome this month, and not just because it was the second issue of the two-part Trickster story. Basically, the premise is that Barry has to navigate Iron Heights without his speed, aided only by weapons that formerly belonged to his Rogues. And here’s the kicker: he doesn’t actually know how to use most of them. Oh, and the reason he’s even in Iron Heights is because he’s trying to prove that the Trickster didn’t kill anyone and get him released legally before Axel’s friends break him out of prison.
How has this comic not simply materialized in your hands from the sheer want of it? Come on, now.
Okay! So, watching Barry try and figure out how Mark’s, sorry, Marco’s weather wand works is about an eight on the scale of hilarity. He proves to be pretty good at working Axel’s stuff, though. Instructions: pull pin. Throw. Run away. Oh yeah, and I should probably mention, Albert, one of the guys that was in the Speed Force for several weeks, is in this issue, too. He’s on the cover, actually. Anyway, his power is to amp things up to eleven by touching them. Um. AHEM. Well, I have about fifty different ways I could turn that into a dirty joke, but I think I’ll go the classier route and just shut the hell up. So, what do you call a speedless Flash and a kid named Turbocharger when they go up against an entire prison, as well as a few dozen desert-dwellers? An ambulance…for the other guys! Turbocharger saves the day by boosting up one of Len’s old cold guns for Barry, which actually leads to Barry discovering who really committed the crime Axel was jailed for…another Speed Force-powered civilian named Marissa! Of course, Barry gets his speed back in the end, and learns about where it probably went via the Watchtower computer, but the story isn’t over yet. In the last two pages, drawn by Francis Manapul, we get our first real look at the new Reverse Flash! Aw, and we also say goodbye to Turbocharger. I liked the four issues you appeared in, guy.
This issue of Flash was worth its cover price and more. Especially because Axel, bless his apparently white cotton socks, actually took the time to go, “Hey, I know this guy. The bartender. What are you doing here?” and not drop the subject. Ladies and gentlemen, Axel Walker grew a brain. And is probably the height he used to be billed as (5’7″), if his height next to Barry is any indication. Hm, y’know, it just occurred to me. Did Axel ever get out of jail? That was never really made clear. The guys who were trying to break him out got jailed, and Marissa probably got arrested, but what about Axel? He was pretty determined to not leave without his stuff, so…maybe he’s still in there? Oh honey, you’re too pretty for jail, now.

And that was this week in comics! If you would kindly direct your attention to the past, Booster Gold is currently appearing in All-Star Western. Superman Family Adventures ended today, Flash guest-starred in Justice League Dark, Avenger’s Arena came out again (?), and. God, this is something I actually have to yell about, hold on.

NONE OF YOU CAN COMPREHEND HOW FUCKING ANGRY THE FIRST PAGE OF THIS MONTH’S TEEN TITANS IS MAKING ME

I LITERALLY BOUGHT THE ISSUE TODAY BECAUSE I’M NOT PUTTING IT DOWN UNTIL I CAN FIGURE OUT WHOSE LIMBS AND TORSOS GO WHERE, AND THE COMIC SHOP WAS CLOSING

LOOK AT THIS SHIT, WHAT THE HELL

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WHAT IS THAT

FIRE THIS ARTIST, WHAT THE HELL. I’m Touch of Grey, I’m irrationally angry over things, goodnight.

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The best thing about being a female superhero is that you get to punch a lot of dudes in the face.

Welcome back to ladies’ week, one and all! Yes, I know it’s technically Thursday again, but I have a very good excuse!

No I don’t, I got distracted reading a trade of Locke and Key. Which, by the way, I totally recommend. The fifth issue of Omega should be coming out soon! In any case, we’ve got three books to look at this week, and about an hour before my brain enters its nightly routine shutdown, so let’s get cracking!

Oh my word, life is sweet again. So, Supergirl. At some point, she apparently died. Yet another thing I missed from H’el on Earth. She and Power Girl both have Kryptonite poisoning, because they are psychically connected, another thing that has yet to be explained. I mean, I’m not even looking for a big speech about altverse selves or the hows and whys of a thing like this happening, just tell me why they didn’t seem to have this power from the beginning of the reboot. I mean, Peeg has been here since the beginning, in Mr. Terrific, and Supergirl has had her own series since the first wave, but this psychic connection is only just appearing? C’moooon. In any case, this is probably the best issue of Supergirl since the H’el on Earth story started for three reasons: 
1. We get to see the two Karas kick ass together.
2. Since I don’t read World’s Finest, I finally got to see the running joke that is Peeg getting her costume destroyed every battle in action.
3. All that costume destruction was leading to something:

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The blue boots and boob window are back, baby! Power Girl is in my top ten favorite superheroes of all time, and is probably my favorite DC superheroine outright. She’s intelligent, articulate, funny, fun, and she’ll beat the snot out of you if you say otherwise. The costume she was put in for the New 52 was…atrocious. She has a P on her chest. Her name is Power Girl, and she has a big P over her boob. No thank you. Welcome back, boob window. I missed you. 

Technically, this issue of Wonder Woman could be called a cool down issue. There were no big battles, no one was eaten, and the pages were filled with plot-driving dialogue. And then this happened:

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I approve! See, the point of this sequence wasn’t ball humor, but asserting dominance. Diana is the leader of this merry band of misfits, and Orion was disrespecting her at every turn. This little chain of events was basically her way of saying, “I am the boss. Since you don’t seem to be responding to threats, I’m going to speak the language you understand: physical pain. Do not try my patience again.” Problem is, Orion, like Diana, has an alpha personality. Lennox may talk a big game, but he still showed throat in the face of his sister’s obviously superior might and training. It’s a pack mentality, y’all. Diana embarrassed Orion in front of people who were below him in status, so he pulled bitch and ran. That’s, uh, probably going to come around and bite her in the ass, just saying. In our secondary storyline, Poseidon and Hades have joined forces against the first born…and the kingdom of heaven. That’s one thing about gods in comics. No one ever gets along! I mean, how long has Loki been trying to kill Thor, now? In any case, Hades betting that Diana will be the one to defeat the firstborn instead of Apollo is an interesting twist. Obviously, Azzarello hasn’t forgotten about the love arrow subplot he set up during the hell issues. I still want to see that explored, damn it. Oh, but going back to Diana and Orion. I’m finding it funny how the writer is trying his damnedest to set the Wonder Woman ongoing as far away as physically possible from everything that’s going on in Justice League, with their kiss being the crowning jewel in the fuck you letter to those in DC creative and editorial who’ve been pushing the hell out of the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship. And once again, I approve.

 

J.H. Williams, please come back to Batwoman as an artist. Blackman can handle the writing, your talents are needed elsewhere. I’ve been trying to get used to Trevor McCarthy, but he’s just not doing it for me. In any case! This issue doesn’t have a singular focus, spending equal time with Maggie, Cameron Chase, Jake and Katherine Kane, and Kate. While Maggie struggles with the aftereffects of Scarecrow toxin, Cameron grapples with a moral dilemma, seeking the council of her estranged sister. Jake is forced to explain to his wife the exact nature of his relationship to Bette and Kate’s vigilante careers, with encouraging results. Kate and Bette take on Shard, then decide to not work together anymore, as Bette feels like she cannot trust her cousin. And in the end, it all leads back to Beth. I’ve heard people call this book the soap opera of the Batman books and, you know what? Who cares? Yes, Batwoman is character-driven. It also happens to be the smartest, best-paced, and best-focused of the Bat-books, mainly because it has yet to fall victim to crossover fever. I respect that in a book, and it’s the main reason that Batwoman is currently the only New 52 Bat-book I lay down money for.

That was this week in comics, it’s almost 5 am, I need to drink an entire bottle of water. Red Hood and the Outlaws officially changed creative teams this week, go ahead and check it out if you’re looking to torture yourself. Kid Flash also has a guest spot in Vibe, something I didn’t learn until after I got home, which means I’ll be making a phone call after I get to work later today. Tune in next week for…stuff. Things and stuff. Probably Flash and Young Avengers and something else. Goodnight, everybody!

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This is now a Batman hate blog

Perhaps you’re wondering, dear reader, why this post is going up past one in the morning on Thursday. It is, quite simply, because I am done with Batman.

I’ve written and rewritten reviews for Batman and Batman and (Red) Robin several times, but nothing feels right about them. Simply put, Batman has become completely uninteresting to me, whereas Batman and Blank is just…not for me. The relationship between Bruce and Tim is incredibly strained with no real explanation why. Basically, Batman is losing his goddamn mind in the wake of the loss of Damian, and I can’t take it anymore. Scott Snyder, I love you, but I’m so done with your Batman right now. Hurry up and bring back American Vampire. Dropping Batman and Robin again is no real loss. I’ve actually been expecting to do so for a month or two, now. After all, my love of Damian is what kept me coming back, but there is no Damian there for me to love. So you know what?

Instead of trying to slog through the mopey mess, we’re going to be looking at a book called Li’l Gotham.

Li’l Gotham is a net-first comic that comes out once a month, and has been published regularly via Comixology since last October. It’s friggin’ adorable, and the best part? No one is dead. No one is crazy. At one point, Damian uses a trumpet to play pied piper to a flock of turkeys that the Penguin has been using as minions. Colin Wilkes was invited to Thanksgiving dinner. Stephanie Brown is Batgirl on the cover, with Cassandra Cain as Black Bat and Barbara Gordon as Oracle. It’s literally the perfect Batman family book.

The first physical issue is a combination of the first two digital issues, and amazingly, it’s not $3.99. My advice, if you want to be happy? Skip the journey into misery that is Batman and Red Robin, and spend that $3 on Li’l Gotham.

That was this week in miserable, disgruntled comics. It’s funny. For the most part? I’m quite pleased with the comics I bought this week. Hawkeye and Avenger’s Arena came out over from Marvel, as well as Saga, and Fionna and Cake. I find myself to be much happier when not reading DC books. That being said, next week is ladies’ week! Batwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman. See you then!

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This just in:

Another living legend becomes slightly less so…Carmine Infantino passed away today at age 87. He leaves us with a comics legacy unlike any other. As one of the fathers of the Silver Age of comics, he gave the world Dinah Lance, Barbara Gordon, and most importantly to me, the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen and his young sidekick Wally West.

I met Mr. Infantino at Florida Supercon last year and while I was unable to afford to have him sign one of the comics I’d brought (#291 featuring Captain Cold, one of my favorite villains), I was able to talk to him for a little bit. I told him that his characters, his comics, were what had gotten me into comics in the first place. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Then I shook his hand and left, as I was getting a little teary-eyed. One of his table assistants caught up to the person I’d gone to the convention with later that day, telling him that I’d made Mr. Infantino very happy, as he was always glad to see the effect his work had on people.

Rest in peace, Mr. Infantino. The world is a slower place today without you.

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In which I flip a table to Australia and back.

So hey, remember when I said that Animal Man wasn’t coming out this week? I was wrong. Good thing I go by what the Diamond Distributors website says rather than just blindly listen to the DC Comics site, right? Unfortunately, Animal Man is the only book I review that came out this week, since I made the executive decision to walk away from Swamp Thing.

God damnit, DC. I just. Do you lot know what my favorite thing about the New 52 Animal Man was, from day one? Buddy Baker isn’t the main character in his own series, his daughter is. She’s gonna grow up to be a superhero, just like daddy, except better. And his wife was a more than a little annoyed by the whole superhero thing, but she supported him in it. She believed in him. And his son was kind of an asshole sometimes, but I think he was supposed to be almost a teenager, so, yeah that’s pretty accurate preteen behavior. They were a normal family that happened to be full of superheroes. I haven’t seen something like that handled well since the Pixar movie The Incredibles. Yes, I’m including Waid’s second Flash run, where Wally and Linda have the kids in this.
Now, I understand that it can be frustrating for a normal woman to look at her husband and young daughter and have to realize that someday, they’re both going to be risking their lives to protect the world, and there’s nothing she can really do about it, but going into full-on denial mode just doesn’t help. Other things happened this issue, such as Buddy’s expulsion from the Red, but…no. You know what? I’m not done yet. I’m not done being upset about this.
The Bakers were it. They were all we had left. There was no Flash family to fall back on, what with 90% of the characters going bye bye, and Barry and Iris’ marriage being dissolved. The Supermarriage was gone. Barda and Scott no longer existed. Dick and Kory were a brief fling. Guy and Ice had one date that apparently didn’t go well. Traci 13 didn’t exist to meet a boy named Jaime. No Dibnys, Joan left Jay the first issue of Earth-2…Buddy and Ellen Baker were all I had left. They were all a lot of people had left, what with the DC deciding that no one wanted to see people in happy, stable relationships. Who else was allowed to be happy? Aquaman and Mera, and eventually, Maggie Sawyer and Kate Kane. Ta da. Ha. And the worst part? Animal Man is still a good comic. It’s compelling. It makes me feel things for the characters other than the urge to hide them away from the writer. I still consider it to be one of the best things to come out of the New 52. So I’m going to trust in Jeff Lemire. If he’s doing this, it must be for a reason.

That was, uh, this week in comics? Sort of? Oh, before I forget: The Flash kinda makes an appearance in this month’s issue of Dial H, Jesse Quick is featured in Ame-Comi Girls, this month marks the final issue in the Haunted storyline in Smallville Season 11 with Bart Allen, and Glory ends today. Seeing as none of these (with the exception of Glory) are books that I normally read, I decided to not comment on them. See y’all next time.

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