Posts tagged Before Watchmen

Comings, goings, continuings, and chicks

Welcome one and all to an ending. Two endings, in fact. If I’m going to be completely accurate, two endings, a beginning, and several continuations. This week marks the end of two books; the Before Watchmen mini-series Minutemen, and the young adult book not quite allowed to reach its peak, Blue Beetle. Meanwhile, flip the coin to the Marvel side, and the Young Avengers are back! With…well, you’ll see. 

Let’s start with Minutemen. Last issue, we saw that Hooded Justice might not be as noble as we’d always presumed. This issue…well, I’m not quite sure how to explain it. It’s certainly a roundabout plot, something that could only really be concocted by someone as cracked in the head as the Comedian. The man who had been kidnapping and killing children? Not Hooded Justice, but a circus strongman. Possibly the same strongman who had tormented HJ in his youth, if a picture found by the Comedian after he murdered him is any indication. I’m not a fan of the Comedian. Never have been, probably won’t ever be. At best, he is a murderer and a maniac, a sociopath on Uncle Sam’s payroll. At worst, he’s a scum of a man. A rapist. The type of person children tell scary stories about. Masquerading himself as a hero, wearing the colors of the nation he calls his home, lying in his very name. And that’s what this book came down to, in the end. A lie to keep truths from being printed. A massive, all-encompassing lie that ended the life of a possibly innocent man. And guilt, a lifetime of guilt for a man the world knew as a true hero. Did the ending of Minutemen disappoint me? No. Yes. Sort of. The legacy of this world’s first masked heroes was many things, but it was never happy, or glamorous. Of their team, one died of a stupid mistake. One was murdered because she dared to love. One, supposedly, killed himself. One was murdered because of who he was. One was murdered in revenge. One ended up in an asylum, wasting away in an addled haze. One lived a near-perfect life, until it became clear that her nature was going to have her end up completely alone. And finally, one was murdered by people he once fought beside. No matter how pretty or poppy or gritty or psychedelic the art is in all of the Before Watchmen books is, the stories will all end the same. With tragedy. Because Watchmen is not, nor was it ever meant to be a happy story. The villain wins, people die, and they thank him for it. Because that’s what it is. That’s Watchmen.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s having feelings about guys named Blue Beetle. I’m gonna be honest with you, folks, for a while? I hated the new Blue Beetle comic. In the wake of Ted’s death pre-reboot, it took me a long time to come to grips with Jaime having the scarab, but once I did? I loved the kid. He was, and still is, one of my favorite teen heroes. He filled a hole in the DC universe that I didn’t know we had. He was the everyman. He kept no secrets from those he was closest to, and his great power trip was being a dentist, so that he could make sure that his parents and sister would have good lives free of debt. That was the Jaime Reyes I got to know, and love. The New 52 version of Jaime was…not that person. His series was initially disappointing, falling back on strange plot twists and odd guest stars. Tony Bedard was attempting to imitate Keith Giffen and by god, the man was no Keith Giffen. Still, as the series progressed, a strange thing happened. Bedard found his voice as Jaime and slowly, I began to care again. And now here we are, on the brink of a new series written by the man who gave us Jaime in the first place. The final issue of the Blue Beetle series was fairly eventful, but that wasn’t the point. The point was the message Jaime sent to his parents, and sister, and friends. Pretty much any comic fan would be willing to pick up Threshold. It’s full of aliens and space adventures and characters we thought we left in the old DCU for good. But the message Jaime sent out, coupled with the fact that The Hunted is, as Jaime said, an alien’s Battle Royale, was meant to hook us, the Jaime fans. We love this kid. We’ll follow him anywhere. Now, I didn’t actually get to pick up Threshold when it came out last week, as it wasn’t at either of my local comic shops. But as soon as it’s available, you can bet your ass I’ll be getting it.

I’m not sure what’s going on in Supergirl anymore. Unlike with Death of the Family, where I don’t actually have to buy all the books to know what’s going on, all of the H’El on Earth books interconnect to tell one ongoing story. I kind of hate that, because until the story ends, Supergirl is just another Super-book to me. 

The cover of this month’s Wonder Woman made my skin crawl. I live in South Florida, and we’ve got fruit trees in our backyard. One time when I was younger, I fell asleep in a lawn chair near our mango tree, and I woke up covered in little fruit flies. And that’s why Diana’s other brother, Milan, is officially the creepiest member of her family that we’ve met so far, to me. However, he’s also the one who has proved himself the most useful. Hermes is hiding Zola’s baby with Demeter, and the child is said to be the beginning of the end of the universe. Meanwhile, Zola and Hera have a drink with Ares. I’ve said before that the way the various gods are presented is one of my favorite things about the Wonder Woman book, and that hasn’t changed. Strife is back! And she brought Dionysus! Sigh, and here I thought I couldn’t love this book any more. It’s no secret that my favorite reboot goddess is Strife. I mean, that design! That sarcasm! We last saw her months ago, on Olympus. In the words of…someone, most likely, what brings a lady like that to a bar like this?

I need a moment. I just need a moment to sit back and process everything that happened in Batwoman this month. First off, we’re finally given the skinny on Medusa. The threat we’re looking at is no story, or fake. This is the real damn Medusa, daughter of the goddess Ceto, who she’s bringing back in a big way. A big, destructive way. The art and the layouts go together beautifully, as usual, but it’s something more. I really feel like we’re seeing J.H. Williams’ full range, finally. We know he’s fantastic at drawing beautiful women and majestic backgrounds, but holy shit are his monsters and destruction scenes incredible. Like I say every month, if you’re not reading Batwoman, there is clearly something off about your choices. It’s easily one of the best books out right now.

The last time the Young Avengers had an ongoing series, that wasn’t a mini connected to a crossover event, I was in high school. Let that sink in a moment. It has been almost a decade, eight years, since the first Young Avengers series wrapped at a grand total of twelve issues and one special. Since then, they’ve crossed over with the Runaways, twice, had their name stolen from them by Norman Osborn’s Young Avengers, gone on a series of little adventures, fought alongside the actual Avengers to protect the world from Asgardians, and had a bit of a ‘disassembling’ of their own, which ended with the deaths of Stature and Vision. Patriot has quit, Iron Lad has gone full evil, and lord only knows where Speed is. Kate Bishop is running around with Clint Barton, and Billy and Teddy quit the heroing thing. So, who are our new Young Avengers?

Kid Loki, Marvel Boy, Kate, someone named Miss America Chavez, and reluctantly, Billy and Teddy. Okay, I can work with that.

Kid Loki is just coming off a very, very emotionally-charged run on Journey Into Mystery that I need to read, though a friend on Tumblr insists that doing so will destroy me emotionally. Noh-Varr, also known as Marvel Boy, is a Kree warrior who actually already had some contact with the Young Avengers, back during their Civil War crossover with the Runaways. He was an Avenger, briefly, and apparently likes rock from the 60s. You go, Noh-Varr. Miss America Chavez is…new? Okay, according to Wikipedia, she appeared in the limited series Vengeance, which I literally have never heard of until now. Her character design is excellent, though. Okay! To the actual issue. I’m going to do a full play by play of this, because I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book since it was announced. That’s a nicer way of saying MASSIVE SPOILER WARNINGS FOR YOUNG AVENGERS #1

The issue starts off with shipping, a half-naked, disgustingly hot alien, and a Skrull attack. I’m in love. I mean, the simple fact that on the credit page, they note what Noh-Varr was listening to (and wow, what excellent taste in girl groups he has. The Ronettes? You go, Kree) has me over the moon. So I’m easy to please, want to fight about it? Ughhhhhhhhhhh Billy and Teddy just gave me cavities. This is Kieron Gillen’s writing? This is what I’ve been missing from my life? Hell to the yes. Not particularly fond of their new designs, mainly because I’ve been utterly spoiled by the likes of Jim Cheung and the amazing YA fanartist CrisArt, but Jamie McKelvie has been doing a good job otherwise. I think it’s just Billy’s hair that irks me. I mean, wow. Gurl look at that hair part. Gonna be honest, this is the first time I’ve read anything with Kid Loki and Miss America Chavez in it, and I’m not sure if I like them. Never been a huge Loki fan in the first place (sorry Hiddlestoners!), and a kid version feels kind of…weird. Still, I assume I’ll change my mind once I get my mitts on his JiM run, right? God, someone needs to tell me all the issues I’d need for Kid Loki’s JiM run, because I need to know if i’m supposed to hate him or not. Because so far, I just. I love Noh-Varr a lot because I’ve loved Noh-Varr a lot since the Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War crossover, but I didn’t think I could love him as much as I do right now, dancing to the Ronettes. And I love Kate, because Kate is badass and so smart and so confident. Pilot an escape pod? No prob, I’ve never done it, but I can totally do it. And Billy and Teddy are just so. They’re just so. They’re perfect. I mean, they’re not perfect, no one is. But their chemistry and dynamics are just so wonderful, and they’re being written so well. Because that’s something that wasn’t really brought up at the end of Children’s Crusade. Teddy was just kind of, okay enough. And Billy was like, okay, and then they became Avengers. But now they’ve quit again? Also, weren’t they somewhat engaged? Or did I misread that? Back to the comic. Oh dear, Billy literally caused a disturbance in the Force that Kid Loki could feel. Hm hm, posturing, fight scene, ya ta ta…hello! Okay, wasn’t expecting that! So, Billy used his powers to go surfing the multiverse and pulled a successful Booster Gold; pulling Teddy’s mom out of an alternate universe just before she was killed. Except…he seemed to have pulled a very different version of her, a version that can apparently touch someone with her melty fingers and pull a Plasmus on them. Gross. Also, a moment of silence for Billy’s adoptive parents, because this is a Marvel comic and no one is allowed to have parents. 

My verdict? I liked it. Teddy’s mom is being set up as their first villain, I have a feeling that Kid Loki is set to be the main villain, and I really want to know how Kate Bishop ended up hooking up with Noh-Varr. That seems like it would be an interesting story.

It’s almost 4 in the morning, I’m completely brain dead, and my right eye keeps falling shut. Next week we’ll be covering the Flash, Batman Inc and uh…I’ll find something else. Maybe. Hopefully. Stay gold, kids.

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Rottingly good comics!

Before I get to this week’s comics, I’d like to take a second to talk about what it means for Vertigo comics now that Karen Berger has left as an editor. Vertigo has been in a bit of a decline for a while. Not in quality, oh god no. American Vampire, which has just gone on a hiatus while Scott Snyder gets ahead on his other books, never fails to be one of my favorite comics to read all month. Sweet Tooth, which ends this month, has always been a fascinating read. It’s the main reason I was so excited to see Jeff Lemire on Animal Man! Punk Rock Jesus, the six-issue mini series I’ve been recommending (while not reviewing, because it would just be a paragraph of me flailing about how good it is), also ends this month. And then there’s Vertigo’s longest-running book, Hellblazer, which ends in March in order to bring John Constantine into the DCnU proper. While Fables and its spinoff Fairest are still going pretty strong, what else is there? I’ve read that the series Voodoo Child hasn’t been the best seller, but neither is The Unwritten. The Unwritten, however, has a very strong presence on bestseller lists as a collected trade rather than a single issue comic, the same may prove true for Voodoo Child. Still, Vertigo used to be a proving ground for new creators. If you could make it there, then by damn, you could make it anywhere! So, what happened? Well, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, my big theory involves money. Mainly, how non-cape books just don’t as well as cape comics. DC used to have an imprint called Minx. Graphic novels for girls! Yeah, that ended after 12 books, and a sequel to one of them, The New York Four, was published in single-issue format under the Vertigo banner. And now that many of the big character names are traveling into the DCnU, what will become of this formerly proud imprint? Something to think on.

It’s almost over! I’m not saying that happily, not really. Minutemen has been a pretty good part of Before Watchmen. The best part, really. After all, the original Watchmen book didn’t really touch on them at all. I don’t really have much to say about this fifth issue, other than, wow. Looks like we’re going to learn what ended up happening to Hooded Justice next issue.

Detective Comics is perfectly skippable. You’re not missing any important Death of the Family info. I just wish I’d known that before I blew $4 I didn’t have buying it.

The journey of Alec Holland continues! After fighting William Arcane, Alec loses Boston to the Rot…sort of. Deadman possessed William, giving Alec the chance to get away and head towards Gotham. Sadly, he’s a bit too late to reach Batman, though just in time to meet Barbara Gordon all Bat-serum’d up, a true Girl-Bat! The more interesting portion of this issue, to me, are the sections with Abby Arcane. What was her final fate in this world of the Rot? Actually, a better question would be, why is her uncle so determined to keep her under his control? He’s seen what her powers can do when she lets loose, and frankly, she’s more powerful than he is. It just makes no sense.

HOLY CROW! No, seriously. I’m sorry, Francis Manapul. I love you to death. But the opening pages of this month’s Animal Man were the best use of gorillas in the New 52, hands down. Aside from Grodd and his warriors, Mallah and Brain are used! They still exist! Oh, you’ve got no idea how pleased that makes me. I don’t know much about DC’s version of Frankenstein, but the second I saw him riding into battle with his patchwork army I thought to myself, yeah. That makes sense. The guy made of corpses is either going to be the most powerful Rotling of all, or completely immune. While Alec Holland is heading to Gotham over in Swamp Thing, Buddy and his Red Team are headed for Metropolis. And…they make it in one issue. Wow, go Team Red. Seriously, you get so much more done when you’ve got a necromancer’s army chauffeuring you around. I don’t want to spoil the big reveal at the end, but let me say this: I don’t recognize the guy. That means I’m going to be spending a bit of time on Wikipedia and Comicvine until I figure out just who our mystery hero is! On the flip side, we’ve got what could be the end of Maxine’s story. When last we saw Buddy’s Little Wing, she had just met up with William Arcane. Dang, that kid gets around! In any case, the little shit played his role quite well, leading her into a trap by the Hunters Two. What has become of her?! Well…let’s hope the world doesn’t end, because I’d like to find out next month!

And that’s this week in comics. On the Marvel side, the fifth issue of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is out today. It’s a great series, and I really do recommend it! Hope to see y’all back here next week when I tackle…well. It’s all Bat-books next week! Batman, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, and Suicide Squad for Death of the Family, and the new Ame-Comi Girls issue, starring Duela Dent!

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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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A Woman of Wonder and a Woman of Bats walk into a prison…

Welcome back to ladies week! For my own sanity, I’ve decided to drop Red Hood and the Outlaws. I’ve been saying that for a long time, but this time, I mean it. We’ve got six books to cover today, best hop to it.

So much makes sense, now. Ursula’s comment to Sally in the original Watchmen series, about the Polish during the war…she knew that Sally was an immigrant, just like she was. She knew Sally had been there in the thick of it, had seen some of the things she’d seen. I knew it was inevitable, that the death of the Silhouette would feature prominently in the Minutemen series, but I still wasn’t ready. Though, I do enjoy how it was Sally, not Nite Owl or any of the other men, who ended up getting revenge for her. I’d also like to say that Darwyn Cooke draws unfairly attractive men. The Comedian is not supposed to look this good. Ah well, what can you do?

On the flip side of the art spectrum…oh Scott Kolins, what have you done? Your art on the #0 issue of Legion of Superheroes was so spot-on, how did your interpretation of the Legion as adults fall so short? I’d probably be spending less time harping on the art if anything had actually happened in the story this month, but no. No confirmation of what went wrong with Grava, and just a bitty fight scene in the other storyline, with Rokk, Jan, Hadru, and the pirates. Altogether, a bit of a waste of $3.

Blue Beetle, however, definitely gave me my money’s worth. In the JLI annual, OMAC beamed Jaime to sector 2. In Blue Beetle #0, we saw the story of Sky Witness, the Scarab’s first Earth owner. And now we see fights! Okay, a fight. At the very beginning. That’s one thing about Blue Beetles, they use their brains over their fists, when they can. Rather than fight the whole damn planet, Jaime has Khaji-Da shield him, help him fit in on the planet so that he can steal a ship and get back to Earth. Khaji-Kai also makes a reappearance, his free will reasserted thanks to his healing by Saint Walker back in New Guardians. And then it all gets creepy. Sky Witness’ body made it back to the Reachworld after he died, and upon sensing Khaji-Da on-planet, he came back to life. He seems to have an almost…Gollum-esque feel to him. He keeps calling the Scarab “my Khaji-Da”, seems almost loving, if you ask me. Yeah, okay. I ship it.

Wave goodbye to the jelly douchebag, kids! God, I am just sick of Tycho as a character, y’all have no idea. This issue of Supergirl, Kara regains control of her Sanctuary under the sea, and puts Tycho on stasis for good. While I wasn’t a fan of Sami Basri when he was the artist on Power Girl, his style really suits Kara. Supergirl. You know what I mean. The end of this issue caused me to hold my face in despair, because it looks as if the Super books are about to all cross over. Now, I dropped Superboy recently, mainly because it crossed over into so many books, and I wasn’t reading Superman or Action Comics in the first place. But then again, I’m only reading one of the books that the current Batman event is crossing through, so what’s a girl to do? I could always flip through the books, for the sake of the plot…or I could pray that what happens in the other books isn’t going to effect Supergirl too seriously. We’ll see, when the time comes.

I’ve heard complaints that the Wonder Woman book doesn’t focus enough on Diana, and spends far too much time on her newly revealed family. Well you know what? Fuck that. Her status as a demigoddess rather than simply an immortal formed from clay is the most interesting thing to happen to her in years. Mythology is a fascinating subject, and rather than just showing Diana and the Amazon’s worship of their gods, showing how Diana copes as living as one of them…yes. It’s a very good thing. The new arc of Wonder Woman has begun! With Hera mortal and Zola constantly at her throat, Diana plans to locate and recruit her other half-mortal brethren, the other three children Zeus sired, starting with Siracca, the wind. But man, is her sister not making it easy on her. Though I must say, in all of this? My biggest question continues to be, where is Zeus?

Like Wonder Woman, Batwoman was born of mysticism. Well, technically, she was born out of a desire to serve a greater cause, but her origin, as the twice-named daughter of Kane, basically set the stage for the rest of her career. Batwoman is the cult-destroyer, the child-saver, the legend-slayer. She’s a being of great will, not magic, which is why she has the strength to combat that which is thrown at her. It’s how she was able to escape Nyx and her brood in the prison. It’s why, even though she feels out-classed by Wonder Woman, she keeps going. I love that about her. Meanwhile, back in Gotham, Jake Kane has decided to train Bette in earnest, and the D.E.O. is full of dicks. Wow, what a shocker. This issue ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, as we see that Pegasus, son of Medusa, is not a flying horse, but a…zombie? Okay, then.

That was this week in comics. Hoo! Between this pishy Florida weather and the first episode of American Horror Story: Asylum, this post is technically coming to you on Tuesday. Sincerest apologies. Oh! The newest issue of Keatinge and Campbell’s Glory is also in stores now, grab it while you can! In the meantime, I’m Touch of Grey, and I’m tired as hell. Y’all have yourselves a good week.

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Ladies Week: 0 to heroes!

It’s ladies week yet again! Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batwoman are holding firm on my personal reading list, and on the other side, we’ve also got the origin issues of Catwoman and the first brand new issue starring Amethyst, the Princess of Gemworld over in Sword and Sorcery. Oh, and I’ve dropped Justice League. I’ve washed my hands of it, and I feel like a better person for it. But enough of my bitching. Seven books to go through today, may as well jump right in.

I figured I’d start this off with a lady whose name is literally Lady…the Twilight Lady, who features heavily in the Before Watchmen book, Nite Owl! You know, this reminds me of a recent plotline in Catwoman (I admit, I’ve been skimming the last arc), where a crazy dollmaker was kidnapping street workers, selling them for parts, and using their shells to make room after room of horrible ‘doll scenes’. Creep-o-rama. Anyway, the two different storylines, Dan’s and Walter’s, intersect in this issue. The clergyman Walter works for has been buying the missing hookers to kill them, as well as stealing people right off the street, those he considers to be ‘unclean’. Oh, and the rest of the issue is Dan and TL bumping uglies. Classy. Ah well, the kids are having fun between interrogating pimps and looking for missing hookers, who am I to judge?

Blue Beetle’s origin issue tells the tale of the scarab, Khaji-Da. I’m not going to lie, going through it hurt. A lot. You see, this issue was co-plotted by Keith Giffen, which got my hopes up. Keith ‘Bwa-ha-ha’ Giffen! Surely, this means that a certain weight-challenged brunette is going to show up somewhere? In a flashback, maybe? Surely, the scarab made its way into his hands at some point? I mean, they got Keith Giffen to work on this issue! Why else would they, if Ted Kord wasn’t going to pop up somewhere?
Spoiler alert.
He doesn’t. He’s nowhere to be found. Between his total exclusion in the DCnU and his write-of by murder in the DCAU, I don’t think I can take it anymore. A word to the wise: Never fall in love with a comic character, they’ll only break your heart.

Speaking of characters who’ll only break your heart, Brainiac 5, everybody! The Legion doesn’t really need its own origin issue; after all, they had a mini-series that already did that! So instead, we see the circumstances under which Brainy joins the Legion. It’s a fun issue, with a little twist at the end. It also shows us how Tharok got his Coluan-tech parts, which is cool. I’m a little bothered that Levitz was trying to keep up the early Legion Tinya/Brainy thing, but we all know how that turned out, so whatever. Also, I don’t praise Scott Kolins enough. He’s not my favorite Flash artist, but by damn did he knock the Legion kids out of the park! An overall good issue, if I do say so myself.

Supergirl made me cry. I said it. The Supergirl origin made me cry like a little bitch. It’s a story of hope, of a father’s love for his daughter being so great, that he’d do everything in his power to make sure she stayed alive as a world died around her. But what was the thing that really got to me? The panel where Kara comes out in her family crest for the very first time. She looks so happy, so hopeful, so proud. God. And it explains so much, too. Why she wakes up in such confusion. She didn’t even know the planet was dying until seconds before falling into a super coma. Jor-El wins father of the year, but he also gets an honorable mention in the douchebag category, because damn.

I’m spitting blood. Jesus take the wheel, and while you’re at it, get my red ring. Why am I still reading Red Hood and the Outlaws? I’d picked up this issue hoping that we’d finally get an origin for Roy, but nope. It’s the full story of the life, death, and second life of Jason Todd. I’m going to say right now that from this point on, pretty much everything is going to be a GIANT SPOILER.
But that means you were actually planning on reading this dreck at some point, so I feel no pity. In any case, Jason Todd’s life story is…not as important as the final four pages of the book? Long story short, the Joker decided to create a new Robin for Batman, so he made it look like his mother was dead and had his father shipped off to jail. Then he made sure Leslie Thompkins (who is super young and wicked hot now?) found Jason at his weakest, who then passed him off to Bruce. Which leads me to one conclusion.
Joker knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne in this new universe.
How else would he know to take Jason to Leslie? How else would he be absolutely sure that orphan collectin’ Wayne would take this wayward youth and turn him into a well-oiled justice dispenser?
Another thing, the re-imagining of A Death in the Family was worse than the scans of Deathstroke’s new origin that I’ve seen floating around. Fuck this, I need something to make me happy.

Batwoman: Elegy is one of my favorite trades of all time. It was Kate’s origin, from her youth as an army brat to her eventual expulsion from West Point because of DADT, to her finding a new way to serve and running with it. And I’d like to thank every deity, from major to minor, in all the various religions I don’t subscribe to that Batwoman #0 just added to it. It was like reading Elegy’s deleted scenes, stuff that had been cut for pages. And we got to see Renee (her name spelled Rene), if even for a panel. We got to see the things Kate had done to prepare to be Batwoman, and you know what? She’s more dedicated than Bruce. She trained harder, she suffered more. She was a soldier stripped of an identity because of her identity, remade as a night warrior. I love Batwoman. I have a poster of her on my wall. Batwoman, more than any other vigilante in her class, is my hero.

The ‘origin’ issue of Wonder Woman was…well. It claimed to be a reprint from ‘All-Girl Adventure Tales for Men’, and was, in itself, a spoof of a Golden Age Wonder Wonder story, featuring the lady herself back when she was Wonder Girl. Personally, I think it was just the creators way of having a bit of fun while also showcasing Diana’s compassion and warrior wiles. In any case, I liked it quite a bit. It was interesting, and wonderfully drawn, so of course I’m on board.

That does it for this week in comics, stay tuned for next week when we tackle Batman Inc, special National Comics one-shot Rose and Thorn, Teen Titans and, of course, the Flash! See you next time!

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Zero Month begins!

Welcome one and all, to the first week of Zero Month! I’ve decided to skip over issue #0 of Earth-2 for my own health. You see, the less I know about the Earth-2 trinity they better. Going to leave it at that. So! We’ve got a bit of controversy on the reading list today! I’m speaking, of course, of the third issue of Silk Spectre. I hear it’s gonna be…trippy. Let’s get started, shall we?

I’ve never done acid. I’ve never done acid, smoked pot, or popped pills. I’ve never even gotten so drunk I can’t stand. So I’ve got no personal experiences to compare to the opening pages of Silk Spectre #3 to. I have, however, woken up next to a loved one that had to be rushed to the hospital. I really feel for Laurie, which is an entirely new emotion for me. My reactions to her in the original Watchmen book usually involved exasperation, frustration. She wasn’t a character I liked, or could identify with. Here, I sort of can. She’s young. Idealistic. She does what she feels to be right, even if it may in fact make things worse. Bringing the Comedian into the picture was something I didn’t exactly see coming, but I still like it. We only got to see the Comedian in flashbacks in the original Watchman book, and what we saw, we didn’t really like most of the time. He was a violent jackass with about as much honor as Dollar Bill had personal dignity. Here, he’s…about the same. Still, he came running when Sally called. He went to find their daughter and bring her home. He may have destroyed Laurie’s world by doing it, but he did it with her best interests in mind. I’m not reading the Comedian’s Before Watchmen book, and I don’t like the way he’s being presented in Minutemen, but I like him here. We get to see that he clearly still cares about Sally, in some way or another, as he was willing to drop what he was doing to go find Laurie. And I like that.

Do you ever read something and wonder if you should be offended? That’s how I feel about Green Lantern #0. People of Middle Eastern descent, and of the Muslim/Islamic faiths, are still a touchy subject in America, and American comics. If they’re villainous, it’s racist. If they’re heroic, they’re some sort of exception to the norm, and their very existence will bring people with negative thoughts on them out of the woodwork. No matter what, they’re news. I still remember the stink some people at my LCS made when Nightrunner was made the Batman Inc representative of France. But enough about people who aren’t Simon Baz. This story, this origin, reminds me of the Power Girl mini-storyline from last year, We Can Be Heroes. In it, a metahuman Arab-American man named Rayhab Mazin was mistaken for a terrorist while saving a plane from crashing…from the inside. Our new GL was mistaken for a terrorist when the van he was stealing happened to contain a bomb, that blew up the factory where he used to work once he crashed it into the side. Feeling uncomfortable yet? It gets better. Simon is then taken to a Guantanamo-esque facility and, when the agents assigned to him are unable to get any damning evidence out of him, prepare to torture him for information. And then the ring finds him, and gets him out of there. End story. Actually, not end story. Hal and Sinestro make a one-page guest spot where they…aren’t dead? Yay? Ah, well. For a first appearance, it’s not incredibly, irredeemably awful. It makes the American government look like assholes but hey, what doesn’t these days? I’m the worst person to be talking about this, yeek. I’ll miss Sinestro, but I guess I’m going to keep reading Green Lantern anyway. I want to see what happens.

I don’t know much about Swamp Thing. I’ve only recently begun to read the Alan Moore run, and started to buy the New 52 issues, so I’m learning. But as it is? If I was picking up an issue of Swamp Thing for the first time, not knowing any of his history at all, this would work for me. We get a brief backstory on the Red, the Green, and the Rot. We’re introduced to Arcane. And then we meet Alec Holland, see the beginnings of his transformation. All in all, this issue does exactly what it’s supposed to do, exactly as DC promised. Scott Snyder and Kano hit it out of the park.

Animal Man is a great book. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best book in the reboot. Lemire and Pugh take the story of a common superhero and twist it so that he’s something more. Something greater. Superman can save the world all he wants, but Animal Man exists so that his daughter can someday save life itself. The origin issue, like Swamp Thing, delivers exactly what it’s supposed to. Buddy’s alien abduction origin is given new roots to the Red, we briefly meet the previous avatar, and we get to see some of the exploits of Animal Man prior to the birth of the new true avatar. It was a good issue. Simple, yet intensely complex in its simplicity. Interesting. And still one of the two books I look forward to the most every month.

That was this week in comics. Next week, we’ll be tackling Batman, Suicide Squad, Superboy, the final issue of the Shade, and the first issue of the new Team 7 series. Now if you’ll excuse me, the weather is horrible and I must journey home.

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Annuals week? How about I just call this SPOILERS WEEK and be done with it?

I can already feel my brain exploding. Five books, three of which are annuals, to look at this week! One of which that I, uh, kinda sorta said I’d drop? Call it curiosity, but I actually do find myself slightly interested in this month’s issue of Justice League. So let’s just dive right in.

Minutemen took a turn for the gritty this month. I mean, you thought it was dark last month, with the hanging child, but today? Damn. Gay bashing (literally), cursing, another dead kid…wow. And it’s a Silhouette-centric issue! I really do enjoy this book, but good gosh. The faint of heart and stomach take heed.

I’m going to preface this issue of Justice League by saying this: I’ve dropped this book. I’m not reading it anymore after this. People just made such a stink over the impending Superman/Wonder Woman relationship, my curiosity was piqued and I felt the need to skim. How would it be handled? I mean, it would be coming on the heels of Steve Trevor’s death last issue, right? Ugh, okay. So. First off, Steve Trevor isn’t dead! The apparitions are these parasite entities that feed on living energy. Uh. So, Steve isn’t dead, but he is in the hospital, and Diana is pushing him even farther away by dumping him as the League’s liaison. And then she makes out with Superman on the roof. That was handled well, see you in issue #13! Not.

My first warning should have been the cover. Geoff Johns and Dan Didio collaborated on the Justice League International annual, and I can’t handle it. It was literally the worst thing I’ve read all month. I’m ashamed of myself. I feel unclean. Geoff “I’ll make everything one streamlined continuity if it kills me” Johns forgot that Jaime and Booster don’t trust each other. Obviously, he’s not reading Blue Beetle, either. Guy Gardner quits the team within the first few pages. Godiva is the only woman on the team, and is thus required by law to be the object of affection for every legal male within smelling distance (don’t think I didn’t catch the way August General looked away when Olympian was introduced). OMAC is evil! No good. No, evil! Beetle and Booster are both gone; with Beetle vanished into Reach territory, and Booster apparently erased from the time stream. Agh! I’m sorry, but I’m glad this book is over. Its fucking awful annual has basically stripped me of any positive feelings I had for it.

I’m not quite sure what I just read. Well, for starters, I think Hal Jordan and Sinestro are dead? I think. I mean, it’s just…they were destroyed. By the power of Black Hand. Their rings say they’re deceased, and that the ring itself is searching for a replacement from that sector. But…Geoff Johns has spent a good part of his career trying to make Hal Jordan not look like a tool. In Justice League this month, he elected himself to play Jesus scapegoat. And now he’s dead? And the Guardians are evil? I need someone who knows Green Lantern stuff really, really well to tell me what the fuck happened this week, because I’m mystified.

I can’t say this enough right now. This review of the Flash annual is going to be full of SPOILERS. It’s going to be so full of SPOILERS.

I feel a little numb. I’m…going to need a second to collect myself about the things that happened in this issue, so let’s talk creators. It’s a real who’s who of all-star talent working on the Flash annual; Francis Manapul did the cover and breakdowns for each of the chapters, as well as worked as overall writer. The amazing Marcus To did the pencils and inks for the first chapter. Scott Kolins, whom you may remember from the majority of Geoff Johns’ run on the Flash, did the pencils and inks on the second chapter. Diogenes Neves, current artist on Demon Knights, did the pencils and inks on chapter three. Marcio Takara, who did three issues of the new Blue Beetle series, did the pencils and inks on chapter four, and boy do I thank him for it. His Patty Spivot is beautiful. And Wes Craig, the artist on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, hit it out of the park in chapter five. So really, with all these amazing creators, how could anything go wrong?

Well…

Sam Scudder is Mirror Master. There you go. I said it. This is me accepting fate. Sam Scudder is Mirror Master, and he’s trapped in the mirror dimension. He was also taking over the role of Roscoe Dillon, by schtupping Lisa Snart. Oh, and apparently, James Jesse will be sharing credit with Evan McCulloch in the role of Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Reboot, because Axel was the Trickster that existed over a year before the Rogues broke up, got back together, and got their powers. Though, I do have some specific questions regarding him. What happened to Axel’s gang, from the wastes? Obviously, he’s decided to go back to being Trickster, so did he just abandon them? Transfer leadership to someone else? What? While we’re on the subject of asking questions that will hopefully be answered in the coming issues…Lisa Snart. She exists in two places at once, now. She’s Glider, the spectral soul that can sort of touch the living world, but she’s also Lisa, the paraplegic. How? Though, I’m not complaining. We went many years without any Lisa Snart at all, and now we’ve got two. That’s something to be thankful for…and also a bit of a plot point. Do both Lisas share the same consciousness, or are they two separate people? 

But to the issue itself. The annual is broken up into five ‘chapters’, each dealing with something different, by a different creative team. Chapter one is Barry reminiscing about his dad, and trying to figure out what Doctor Elias’ angle for betrayal was. Chapter two is basically my favorite, because I’m fairly sure this is the first time Scott Kolins has drawn Len as something other than Captain Grandpa. Now, I love craggy old Len as much as the next person, but damn. His pre-meta New 52 costume is so awesome! Actually, everyone but Mark looks like a million bucks, in this opening shot. Mick’s got his Flashpoint hair on with the awesome flamethrower suit, Axel’s one giant pattern with a flying snowboard for some reason…and then we’ve got Mark in his imitation Iron Fist pajamas and his limp metalhead hair. Honey, please. Kolins’ New 52 Barry also seems to look a lot like Wally, in the shape of the jaw, but the costume is pretty solid. Sam (ghh I will never get used to that) doesn’t really get a full costume shot in chapter two, but something feels…off. The plot of chapter two is that Len is sick and tired of the Flash screwing up their jobs, but he also doesn’t feel like moving to a less speedster-occupied town. And guess who comes along to help? If you guessed Doctor Elias, you’re completely right. Gosh, I’m really starting to loathe this guy. Chapter three is Lisa’s side of the story or, “How I went from ‘The Love Interest’ to running this whole joint”. And…errr wow. Okay. Sam, you got the short end of the costume stick. The shortest end of the costume stick. Are you wearing mirrors? Oh my god, you’re wearing mirrors. And what’s with the cowl-horns? Look at your life, look at your choices. In any case, they use the genome recoder that Doctor Elias oh-so-helpfully gave them to integrate themselves with their weapons…and something goes wrong. Well, duh. Of course something is going to go wrong. Do Icicle and Killer Frost not exist in the reboot, Len? You should have talked this whole ‘becoming an ice-meta’ thing over with them first, see how they like it. Spoiler warning: it kinda sucks. In any case, the machine goes kaboom, and everyone, including Lisa, get caught in the explosion. For some reason, Lisa gets powers too, despite not actually putting anything in the machine. Chapter four is the issue taking a little break. In it, Patty Spivot tries to take a blood sample to figure out who Turbine is. Remember Turbine? Well, he doesn’t remember himself, though he did make it out of the Speed Force. Oh, that leads into yet another question: Whatever happened to Iris and the three other people on the boat? Are they still in the Speed Force? Did Barry just sort of…forget about them? That’s pretty lame, man. In another universe, she was the love of your life. Chapter five is where the shit hits the fan. Though I will say this: Ten for you, David Singh. You see your man on the news, and even though him becoming a vigilante again was basically your excuse for trying to break up with him, you’ll still rush to his side. I love that, I really do. In issue #9, Hart and David argued over David’s inability to accept his own choice of partner enough to be open about it, in the annual, he’s cradling his wounded boyfriend in front of half the Central City police force. 

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Ten for you, David Singh. You done good. Once we get the warm and fuzzies out of our eyes, there’s still the unfortunate fact that a big Rogues fight is sort of happening right there in the middle of town. Len sides with Barry, putting Elias in cold storage as his way of thanking them both for saving his sister in the first place. The sister he’s about to go fight with. Len has strange ways of doing things. The actual fight scene of this issue takes place in the mirror dimension, between Flash, Mirror Master, Heatwave, and Weather Wizard. Yet, it still takes all of eight pages for him to kick the crap out of all of them, go figure.

Then there is, of course, the ending. Cold fights alongside Flash until he talks it out and makes nice with his sister, then tries to re-assume control over the Rogues. But he’s interrupted by, get this, monkeys falling from the sky! The invasion of Grodd has begun! On the downside, we’re not going to learn what happens until October. On the upside…that was the best possible way to end an issue!

Overall? I may have had a little breakdown over the idea that Evan McCulloch just…isn’t anymore, but I really did like it. Maybe in later issues we’ll find out why Len is fighting so hard to keep the Rogues, and his sister, loyal to him. Maybe we’ll find out if Lisa was ever a skater, or if Digger was ever a Rogue, or what happened to James, or if Piper was always a vigilante. But for now, we’re going to have to be satisfied with what we’ve got.

That was this week in comics. I need all of the drinks, because my poor heart can only take so much. I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

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