Posts tagged Animal Man

Lay down your arms, lay down your lives.

The word of the week is ‘sacrifice’, ladies and gentlemen. It’s more trendy than you think, in superhero comics. But sacrifice can come in many flavors, and not all of them are obvious the first time around.

As always, we’re kicking ladies’ week off with the cutest little lady in comics, Maxine Baker! Okay, her dad’s here, too. His sacrifice was that of blood, blood unwillingly given to Brother Blood, which gave him access to the Red. Meanwhile, Maxine continues her search for her brother’s soul. While I can’t say that I’m losing interest in this book, the inclusion of the media, truly America’s greatest tier of leech, has been rather irksome. I mean, I go out of my way to ignore celebrity junk in real life, I don’t need to be reminded of it in comics.

Self-sacrifice is a Supergirl tradition, it seems, but this time was different. This Supergirl was different. Honestly, the New 52 Supergirl has been…grating, at times. She’s quite hard to like, and I think that was deliberate. To match her family, I suppose. In this issue of Supergirl, Kara (again, unwillingly) makes the ultimate sacrifice, her flesh dissolved, scrubbed clean of the Kryptonite poisoning, and reconstituted into the flesh of the man the Cyborg Superman once was, Zor-El! Heh. I just…I don’t even know who I’m trying to fool, here. Ever since the H’El on Earth stuff, I’ve been so lost. That’s the thing with crossover books, you get so lost so easily if you don’t follow everything, it’s absurd. I’m not going to drop Supergirl again, not just yet. But this issue has officially sparked warning bells, and that’s not a good thing.

There’s self-sacrifice, and then there’s sacrifice of self. Ignoring your own ideals for the greater good is one of the hardest things a person can do, and that’s why I’ll never take heroes like Batman seriously. The sheer amount of self-righteous bullshit that writers have managed to stuff into one character over the years is overwhelming. Diana knows that there are other answers, ways to stop an enemy without ending their life, but sometimes…sometimes killing is all that’s left. The Firstborn still lives, but barely. The God of War is dead, long live the Goddess of War. 

You can never empathize with a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Kate Kane gets that. That’s why she turned the needle on herself. Dosed herself with Fear Toxin in order to fully understand what she’d put Maggie through. All the heroes I’ve talked about today have sacrificed their bodies in one way or another, but Kate? Kate sacrificed her mind. Well done, girl.

I’d like to issue a formal apology. I’ve not done a whole lot of reviewing, lately. My mind has been other places. My heart hasn’t been in it. Sometimes, I’ve just had nothing worth reviewing. These are, of course, excuses. But here is a promise: so long as I am able, there will be new content every week. Have a good weekend.

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Support your supporting characters!

I’m not going to lie, I was a bad girl this evening. Yesterday, the new DC animated movie Flashpoint Paradox was leaked onto the internet. Today, I finally made up my mind whether or not to watch it early. My thoughts on it, directly following my viewing of it: “Oh my god, I am so going to own this movie when it comes out. I’m going to put it in a deep frame and write on the glass, ‘break in case of joy’.”

The movie itself was…well, it didn’t even ring true to the amazing failure of a story that was the Flashpoint comic, and frankly, my favorite bits were the parts that were added in for the movie. It’s a good waste of 90 minutes, if you’re not a hardcore Flash fan. Because when you are…the clusterfuck of character timeline inconsistencies in the opening twelve minutes was enough to send me into minor fits of rage. Just saying. Anyway, onward to this week’s comics!

You know, I’m going to count it. If Animal Man keeps coming out in the third week of the month, it can still be considered a ladies week comic, as it has been focusing pretty heavily on Maxine in the last couple of issues. Good. Frankly, I like her best. The innocence of a child coupled with the instincts of a hero and the powers of a god? Yes, please. This month we see Animal Girl’s first real failure, as she finds that she is unable to bring her brother back to life with just a body, she needs his spiritual essence as well. Oh, and her dad fights these animal men monsters who work for Brother Blood. That’s also a thing that happens.

I was beginning to feel like the writers on Supergirl were having a bit too much fun playing up the ‘lost girl from another world is confused about everything and blindly trusts those who offer her a way home’ angle, so it’s good to see that she’s learning. “When am I going to learn? Boys offering Krypton are not to be trusted.” H’El used her…something, I wasn’t exactly following that storyline, Cyborg Superman was using her memories. Next time on Supergirl, Lex Luthor, masquerading as his own son with a head full of luscious red hair, offers to build her a time machine in exchange for some of her DNA. Shit, I’d actually read the hell out of that book. It’s not like DC is above reusing stories and themes from 1994 these days, am I right?

A moment of silence, as my very favorite New 52 character has died. Lennox, we hardly knew ye. But moving on, New Genesis, wowza. I’m not as intimately familiar with the New Gods as other people I know, so I don’t really have much to compare to/complain about. That being said, it’d be freaking fabulous if a friendship founded on mutual respect were to form between Diana and Orion, as the one that previously existed between Diana and Clark is clearly not going to happen in this universe.

Hey, guess who’s Kate’s fighting this month? Trick question, this is a Bette issue! Ah, little Bette Kane, finally growing into her own. Not trying to copy her cousin, or her crush, fighting grown men as practice, planning her own extraction ops. Even though I’ve been reading about this character on an off for over a decade, it’s only now that she really feels like someone who could hold her own issue. Hawkfire isn’t the name of a supporting character, so the world better watch out.

Phew. I kind of feel like I last-minute-half-assed that. I hope not. Anyway! Trinity War continues this week, a new Batman and book came out, oh and if you’ve not been reading Batman Beyond Unlimited, you should start. There’s a new Batgirl in town, and she’s going to be taking exactly none of your shit. In other news, it’s just past 3 am and I felt my brain start shutting itself down half an hour ago. Goodnight, everyone. And to those of you reading this from a line at SDCC, get some sleep already!

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It takes a New God to hold off an Old One. Wait, no, wrong mythos.

Welcome, dear friends, to the first actual goddamn post I’ve done all month. I’m sorry, I really am. I’ve been so lazy, and it’s mainly because I’ve been generally disappointed with the cape comics scene. I’ve spent a lot of time and a bit more money than I really should have catching up on comics like Chew and Sweet Tooth, re-immersing myself in the closed-off worlds of done in one graphic novels, and just reading books again. DC has made me so frustrated with their lack of good superhero stories, that I’ve gone and sought outside sources. Heaven help me, I’m even reading a couple of X-titles again.
But today is a good day.
I’m always pleased to have my ladies week, and another favorite book is even on the roster, today!

It seems like DC doesn’t know what to do with Animal Man these days. It’s almost like…they don’t want the book to succeed. Between moving the release date of the issue from the first week of the month to the third and the fact that they’re in the habit of not soliciting the title on their website until the week of release. Seriously. It’s quite frustrating. Then there’s the stuff that’s actually happening within the title itself. Cliff dying, Ellen taking Maxine and leaving, the Red ejecting Buddy while allowing him to keep his powers, Maxine stepping into the role of Animal Girl…it’s been a busy few months since the end of Rotworld. And it’s not looking to slow down anytime soon! This issue has Buddy suiting up again to look for the abducted pets of local residents, with disturbing results. Meanwhile, Maxine agrees to begin her training within the Red, so long as she’s allowed to look for her brother’s essence as she works. But the most interesting thing, to me at least, is the random insertions of the points of view of regular citizens via DC’s version of Twitter. Hardcore Animal Man fans, media gossips, haters, and normal folks posting their #animalman sightings, all chiming in on the current events in our hero’s life. Not since the early days of Booster Gold and the New Teen Titans have we seen the media be so omnipresent in the life of a superhero. Could random paparazzi attacks be more hazardous than fighting actual supervillains? Only time will tell.

It’s a little disheartening to see just how easily tricked Kara is. I mean, I understand why she’s so easy to fool, but it’s still upsetting. She’s a girl alone, adrift in a universe full of strangers, her only relation a baby cousin that’s outgrown her and treats her like a child. She’s fresh-off-the-boat in the most cosmic sense, and until recently, she wasn’t even able to speak the common tongue of her newly chosen homeland. So yeah, anyone who offers to give her back even the tiniest piece of Krypton is going to be accepted with open arms. Wide open, incredibly naive arms. This time around, it’s a robotic planet called I’noxia. When given the right amount of information, this planet and its inhabitants can become any planet and people they choose. And to a girl dying of Kryptonite poisoning, the idea of spending her final days among her people must seem pretty sweet…even if the planet itself is controlled by a robotic version of her cousin. A Cyborg Superman, if you will. Also in this issue is the always-interesting Siobhan, whose main nemesis these days seems to be a rogue toilet clogged by a rude neighbor. You give him hell, honey. As always, Supergirl makes for an enjoyable read, and now is as good a time as any to jump on, what with this being the first issue of a new story.

You know you’ve got a good comic when it can make you laugh out loud one moment, piss you right the hell off the next, and end on a note that about makes you pee with excitement. Oh, hello Wonder Woman. Were your ears burning? So, right then. We’ve got a godly dog pile on our hands, and the bottom pup is named Firstborn. Woof. Diana, Lennox, and even Orion can’t put a dent in this guy. Then again, he’s a god. He’s the firstborn child of Zeus and Hera, the rightful heir to the throne of heaven. And he wants to destroy the world. Worse, he has the power to actually do it…so long as he’s got his bouncing baby prophecy-fulfilling brother on his side. Gonna be honest, I’m glad the months and months of barely-there plot concerning this guy finally came to a head and kicked off an actual storyline. And now to the bad news. A moment of silence, friends, for my favorite New 52 character, Lennox. It’s highly unlikely that he’s dead, but on the off chance that tumbling through a Boom Tube to kick the Firstborn right in his grizzled and scarred (yet somehow still conventionally attractive) mug didn’t off him, well, I don’t foresee him spending much longer among the living. Not if Cassandra, yet another sibling with a revengerection pointed directly at him, has anything to say about it. Oh! Actually! Speaking of! Blonde woman, with the metal throat? That’s Cassandra. He actually raised her from the time she was young, after she accidentally killed her mother. He was the one that ripped her throat out, after it became apparent that she wasn’t the type of person who should have the power to command obedience from anyone who hears her voice. So, he raised her, and then he abandoned her, this blonde woman named Cassandra. HM, I DO WONDER. Oh right, and then the Wonder crew ends up on New Genesis. I’ll give you three guesses on who I hope to see next issue, and the first two don’t count.

(it’s Big Barda and Mister Miracle, that’s who I want to see)

You know, it usually annoys me when a title sets up a big cliffhanger on which they plan to begin a new storyline…and then takes a break for an issue to focus on something else entirely. But not today, and not with Batwoman. Why? Because how often do we really get stories focusing on Killer Croc where he doesn’t come out of it looking like a punch line? This issue…I’m reminded of the Killer Croc issue from the second Joker’s Asylum mini. In both, his motivation for action is the love of a woman. In both, he comes off as human, rather than the monster he’s usually shown to be. Underneath the skin condition, Waylon Jones is still a human being, though since his brush with Medusa, he’s so much more. With Abbot dead, Waylon is chosen to be the next leader of the Church of Crime’s animal men, so long as he avenges their fallen by killing Batwoman. He doesn’t succeed, of course, but still manages to get away and assert his dominance as their new leader, anyway. His first act? Get the hell out of dodge and settle down someplace that will be safe for all of the remaining animal men. Good job, Waylon. That’s sure using your noodle.

And that’s this week in comics! Also out this week is Vibe, which I managed to miss yet again because I’m too fucking nice and gave the last copy, that I was literally holding in my hand, to an older gentleman who only gets out to the shops every few months. Sigh. Also of note, the latest issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians is out, and with it comes an Indigo ring, for those planning on collecting the new ring line. It’s fairly late now, and the rain is making me sleepy. I’ll see y’all back here next week for Flash, Young Avengers, and Batman Inc!

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This just in: Buddy Baker to appear in the next season of Dancing With the Stars

Breathe deep, folks. It’s May. We’ve only got a few days before it loses that new-month smell. Of course, this also means that it’s a one-book week and- hold on. Who said new Gail Simone-penned series? Who said? DC said? Well, alright then.

It’s movie time, again! Remember waaaay back in issue 6, where we got to “see” the first half of Buddy’s superhero movie, Tights? Well, fourteen issues later, we get to see the rest of it. Frankly, I thought it was a nice break. We get to see Buddy in his first profession, actor, and his current profession, superhero in mourning. Oh, and guess what? He’s been nominated for an Oscar! Neat, right? While I’m still dying to see Buddy and Ellen get back together, and have Maxine back in the comic, I think I can settle for this.

I’m going to get my classiest comment out of the way first thing: The Movement sounds like a trip to the toilet. There we go. I’m done. Prop me up on the cross on your way out. Now, then. I had high hopes for The Movement. Gail Simone does great work with mainstream heroes, her Birds of Prey run being one of my favorite runs on anything of all time, but her best work is off the beaten path. Her Gen 13 reboot, her Secret Six reboot, her Rose and Thorn reboot, her creator-owned series Welcome to Tranquility…I can go on. Since DC took a paint roller to their whole universe, Gail Simone has suffered. Creatively, I mean, not monetarily. Probably.
I mean, Batgirl is the most popular and best-selling female-lead title, and I don’t doubt that Ms. Simone’s popularity as a writer hurt that fact. I mean, the woman was kicked off the title, then reinstated within a week of her canning. That’s fan power, right there. In any case, aside from Batgirl, which I gave up reading long ago, Gail has worked on Fury of Firestorm  for six issues…and that’s it. Keep in mind, she’s been working for DC exclusively for several years, and only now that her contract has expired is she even allowed to accept writing gigs from other comic companies (she’ll be writing Red Sonja for Dynamite starting this year), yet she’s been sorely underused. Let me put it this way: in 2012, Rob Liefeld and Scott Lobdell had more to do at DC than Gail Simone did. Yeah. Think about that.
Now, onto The Movement. What is it? I…have no idea. Is it a super-team? Is it an ersatz Anonymous for the DC Universe? I mean, it’s obviously something, but what? 
Okay. So, there’s this thing called Channel M. Using technologically advanced…camera masks? They watch for corruption in the police force and crime on the streets. The masks then summon the super-team, The Movement. The Movement is made up of four teenagers so far: The rat-summoning Mouse, the emotion-reading Virtue, the winged, hard-punching badass Katharsis, and…holy shit, is that Tremor, from Secret Six? That’s totally a de-aged Tremor! Simone, you sneak!
Right then! If this first issue is anything to go by, The Movement is about stopping corruption and protecting your own neighborhood, by any means possible. I can roll with that.

And that was this week in comics! Hawkeye also flew onto, and off of, the new stand this week, and it looks like we’ve got a new villain origin in it! Tune in next week for- uh. Oh. Well. I dropped Batman, as well as Batman and Robin, Superboy, Suicide Squad, and Threshold. I, I don’t think anything is coming out from Marvel, either? Hm.

Tune in next week for some kind of rant that I pull directly from my brain at the last minute, most likely while intoxicated!

Yeesh, that’s sure professional. 

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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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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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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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