Posts tagged Blue Beetle

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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Ladies Week! Don’t call me ‘hero’, baby!

I read something interesting the other day. A wise person said, “Stop reading comics you don’t want to read, stop buying comics just because they have your favorite characters in them.” They’re right. It’s midnight, on Thursday. I’ve literally spent all day putting off touching my new comics, because three books that I did not want to read were covering the ones I did. So you know what? Nope. Nope. I don’t want to read any more Death of the Family crossovers. I don’t want to read Legion of Superheroes. Francis Portella draws an amazing team, but damnit, I haven’t been interested in these guys since they went back to being the Original Legion instead of the post-Zero Hour Legion I grew up on. So, I’m not going to. I have $9 worth of comics sitting to my left that I’m going to pass off to one of my friends who likes Batman. Go team.

In other news, I think I’m just going to initiate Jaime into the estrogen club, because I can’t rightly keep calling this Ladies Week with him penising up the joint. This issue is the next to last one and…wow, that’s poorly thought out. How the heck are they going to wrap up a giant space storyline in one issue, especially after Lady Styx was suddenly brought in? Okay. Look. Jaime, we need to talk. You’re a wee bit too trusting. Just a bit. Alright, a lot. Come on, kid. You’ve got common sense, use it. You’re many, many sectors away from your home, you just blew up the Reach’s utility planet, you’re hanging out with a wanted criminal (whom you accidentally hit on within ten minutes of meeting him), and you’ve got a dead guy seriously warm for your form. If I were you? I’d just go with Lady Styx’s representatives and hijack their ship.

Like I said last month, so long as Supergirl is entangled in the H’El on Earth storyline, I’m not going to bother with a review for it. Aside from Kara learning English, there probably isn’t going to be anything from this story that’ll effect the rest of the series past this crossover, so really, why bother? I know it sounds a tad cynical, but think about it. Did Night of the Owls really affect anyone other than Batman, in the long run? The fallout from Death of the Family is probably only going to really be shown in Batman and Suicide Squad, maybe in Batgirl. I say maybe, because with the new creative team, who really knows? What I’m trying to say is, this crossover will not change the status quo in Supergirl, and that’s what matters to me. Also of note, as of two issues ago, Mike Johnson took on sole writing duties. Hm. He hasn’t done a bad job so far.

I started crying while I read Batwoman. Over and over I have to remind myself, Kate Kane may be the title character, but she’s not the only hero in this book. Batwoman, as a book, is so much more than just Kate Kane. Batwoman is about Bette Kane. Jake Kane. Cameron Chase. And Maggie Sawyer. So often in the year this book has been running, Maggie is put on the backburner. Shown as the frustrated girlfriend, the failing cop. The strong woman who care so much for so many that she can’t bring herself to let a single missing persons case fall to the wayside. When the bullets are flying, and Batwoman and Wonder Woman are too busy with the big, scary monster, Maggie Sawyer is there. She’s fighting for the people of her home. She’s fighting to bring a husband back to his wife, to bring children back to their parents. And I started crying because, thank you, thank you, thank you DC. Thank you for leaving me one. You’ve taken away so many, but thank you for leaving me one significant other that is just as strong as her superhero mate. Thank you for leaving me Batwoman.

I can’t. I spend a lot of time being able to accurately express my feelings for the newest Wonder Woman title, but this time, I can’t. Because…I love the New Gods. I’m loving Diana’s family line. I mean, her brother, upon meeting Orion again after heaven only knows how long, greets him with a friendly headbutt. Which he requests. And Orion’s like, oh, no problem bro. Let’s do this. And then there’s Zola and Hera’s interactions. And just, Lennox. I usually rank Wonder Woman as my fourth favorite title, under Flash, but I think that this arc might be bumping her up some. We shall see as time goes by.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still writing this thing. It’s really just a vanity blog, me spewing my opinion out onto the internet. But honestly, I do the exact same thing on Tumblr, on a daily basis. So why here? I don’t know. I am Touch of Grey. It’s only just Thursday. I think I’m going to go make myself some eggs.

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Don’t mess with the e(S)trogen!

Due to the uninspiring art and sleep-inducing storyline, I plan to drop Legion of Superheroes from my review list for a while. Welcome back to ladies week on the ToG Blog, comic fans! And when I say ladies week, I really mean it. Four books to go over today, three of which are female-lead.

Let’s get the testosterone out of the way first. Blue Beetle has gone from being one of my least-favorite books I still buy to being the teen-superhero book I recommend to people…after Supergirl, of course. It’s like Tony Bedard woke up one day and realized he’d never be Keith Giffen, and he’ll certainly never be the kind of writer who could get away with grim and gritty-atizing a fun character like Jaime. So he shrugged, watched a few episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold, and went from there. Not a bad fit. Anyway, Sky Witness? I’m sorry honey, but you and Khaji-Da are never, ever getting back together, and you really need to come to grips with that. I could write forever about that nut, but lucky for me, I don’t have to. I’ve got another nut to focus on. Khaji-Kai has had a taste of freedom for the first time in years, and it launched him off cuckoo plateau. Because yeah, sure, let’s blow up a planet. That’s cool. Though, I’ve got to hand it to him, uploading the different armor skins Jaime could use to Khaji-Da was pretty inspired. I mean, speed mode? Freaking adorable, I just wanna cuddle him. Still, ditching your new pal to fly off with a black market trader, even if it is on accident, is kind of a jerk move, Jaime. Especially because you might have killed him.

I’m really planning on writing off the next few issues of Supergirl, so long as the H’El on Earth storyline is going on, mainly because I don’t plan on picking up Superboy, Superman, or Action Comics. They don’t interest me in the slightest. However, there are some things worth noting from this issue. Wee bit of a spoiler alert, but Siobhan is turning back into the Silver Banshee, whether she wants to or not. Then there’s Kara’s compassion towards Kon, whom she, er, didn’t exactly meet under the best terms the first time around. Finally, H’El has given Kara the ability to understand, and possibly speak, English. Way to go! That is literally all that I’m going to remember about this issue!

Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I can’t praise Batwoman highly enough. I’m not a fan of magic, and lord knows I’ve tried to be, but I am a fan of kickass woman with unshakable spirits and wisdom that puts most others to shame. Kate his never been better than now, because she’s trying to live up to Diana’s expectations. And Diana has never been more magnificent, doing nothing more than being exactly who Kate thinks she is, a Wonder Woman. Maggie Sawyer and Harvey Bullock are also given semi-center stage as part of the front line in combating Medusa, who has decided to just storm the heart of darkness, the city of Gotham herself. Damn, between the Joker and a barrage of man-made mythical monsters, the city is having a pretty bad week. Let’s not even start on the newly-made hydra downtown. I’m trying my best to be coherent, because my other option is to just smash on my keyboard frantically and hope words come out. It’s hard.

Wonder Woman is the book I pretty much force on people new to comics. Because unlike books like Batwoman, Supergirl, Animal Man, even the Flash, her comic is a fresh start. Completely. Her origin is revised, but her core personality is intact. And best of all? She isn’t boring. The last time I was able to say that about Wondy, I was about ten years old and reading the Perez books I found in the library. They were, at the time, thirteen years old. But enough about that. We get to hate Hera again for a little bit as Siracca and her mother’s final fates are revealed. Well, not ‘final’. Not really. As a demigoddess, Siracca isn’t really good at dying and staying dead, after all. Still, Diana proves that her godly ability is to make pretty much everyone love her and want to help her, so after a short, pointless fight interlude, Siracca agrees to help her locate Hermes. Too bad she sort of failed at it. But no matter, Diana is off again on the hunt for yet another sibling, Milan of New York. I wonder how long it’ll take before someone is directing her to her unnamed brother, the firstborn son of Zeus. You know, that naked guy in the arctic. Ooh, and on the closing pages, we get a better peek at Orion! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally pumped to see New Gods in the pages of DC again. Their story came to an unfortunate end for absolutely no reason back in 2007, and I’ve missed them dearly.

Well, that’d be this week in comics. The new issue of Glory is also out, you should totally grab a copy. Oh, right, and Death of the Family also continued in Catwoman today, I guess you should get that if you’re intent on following the whole story. In any case, it’s past midnight and I’ve yet to really eat today, so I think I’m going to go do just that. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, see you next week to everyone else.

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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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Oh yes, it’s ladies week!

I’ve started to look forward to the second week of the month, if only for the fact that I get to think up new ways to use the term ‘ladies week’ in the title of my review. So, who are the ladies of this week, you may ask? My personal femininity trinity, Supergirl, Batwoman and Wonder Woman! Oh, and of course, Kori in RHatO, the lovely ladies of the Legion of Superheroes, and Brenda over in Blue Beetle. Rock on with your bad selves!

I’m kicking off ladies week with Green Lantern. Obviously, just trying to get the testosterone out of the way as quickly as possible. So, what have we learned this time around? Well for starters, Black Hand is terribly predictable when it comes to one-liners. “Death is at hand!” Really? Really, Geoff Johns? Actually, this issue is probably the first of this new Green Lantern book that I’ve just plain disliked. For one thing, we get to see what was kept from the old DCU in regards to the vast mythos that encompasses the Green Lantern Corps, sort of. John still blew up Mogo, as seen in War of the Green Lanterns. Blackest Night still happened, obviously. The war of light still happened. Kyle Rayner still carries the title of Torchbearer, which means that at one point, he was still Ion, which means that the events of Zero Hour and Green Lantern: Rebirth must have happened, too. How did I come to this? Okay. If Hal Jordan had never gone off the deep end and become Parallax, he never would have ended up destroying the Corps and then ultimately dying. Which means Kyle Rayner never would have gotten a ring of his own, eventually leading him to restoring the Green Lantern Corps and accepting the Ion entity into his body. In conclusion…DC, your reboot makes no fucking sense at all. Hard reboot basically everything else, leave Green Lantern, Legion of Superheroes, and Batman almost completely untouched. This is not how a reboot is supposed to work, get your shit together. Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Now, when I said that the plot twist was predictable, I meant it. It was ridiculously predictable, from the moment I read the words “Hal Jordan is not your enemy” in the Book of the Black. I mean it’s like, hello. If he’s not your enemy…obviously he’s going to be your greatest ally. That’s how comics work. There is no neutral ground with this stuff. In any case, I have nothing more to say about Green Lantern that isn’t a cheap shot at the Guardians being supposedly all-seeing, yet being unable to see that Hal clearly is still wielding a Green Lantern ring when looking right at him. Way to drop the ball on that, guys.

I have exactly one complaint regarding Legion of Superheroes this month. One. And that’s this: Paul Levitz, you’ve been writing these characters for years. How in the hell did you seemingly forget that Nura is Naltorian? She’s not human. Speaking in a purely evolutionary sense, she’s more than human. Above humans. Other than that, way to go. Nura and Luornu kicking major ass, Chuck Taine at his most relevant in years, you even managed to showcase the talents of the new recruits. This was a great fight scene issue, hopefully next time, we get to find out what was up with Grava.

I quit. I’m done. Nothing can top this. I can’t even do an accurate analysis, let alone a proper review, of this month’s issue of Blue Beetle. It can be summed up in a sentence: Khaji-Da finds Jesus. I’m sorry. I’m laughing too hard to even focus right now.

And just like that, I’m back. Now, I’m not a fan of Fabian Nicieza. No, that’s an understatement. I loathed 90% of his Red Robin run, and firmly believe that the only good thing he’s ever written was a Babsgirl/Catwoman comic drawn by Kevin Maguire. So I’m going into this month’s one-shot issue of DC Universe Presents, starring Kid Flash, prepared to dislike it. I’ve not been pleased with the way Bart’s been shown in the reboot. Lobdell and Booth seem to have spliced together his pre-Max Mercury personality and that of the DC Animated Universe’s Wally West which, while not a terrible combination, has been used in the worst way. In fact, Bart has been passed from terrible writer to terrible writer for so long, I think I can honestly say that the only thing I’ve liked him in for the past, oh, eight years or so? Kid Flash Lost, by Sterling Gates. But that’s the past. And technically the present. Enough preamble; how is this issue? To sum it up in two words, not bad. Speedsters tend to be motor-mouths, they even think at the speed of light. I enjoyed all the internal dialogue in this issue, reminded me a lot of KFL. What I don’t understand, however, is how Bart managed to pull a Deadpool and break the Fourth Wall several times over the course of the issue, most notably at the beginning and end. Though I must say, I laughed out loud at, “If you’re a masochist, check out Teen Titans #12”. Something tells me Lobdell will be responding to that one in his usual fashion. Another thing I liked was the art style. Jorge Jimenez is a relative newcomer, I only recognize his name from a Batman: Arkham City comic I never picked up from last year…but I like him. His style reminds me a lot of the art in Empowered. A little bit manga, a little bit rock and roll. I especially enjoyed his take on Bart’s costume, and the design of the new character Teryx and Dac. He’s also amazing at drawing Bart in motion. I hope Brett Booth takes a lesson here, because wow. Okay. I admit it. I’m impressed. The issue managed to overcome the instances where Bart felt the need to flirt with Dac for no reason other than “GIRL SHE’S A GIRL OHMYGOD SHE’S A GIRL” by being completely awesome in other aspects. You win this round, Nicieza.

Guess what didn’t get shorted this week?! When I saw that I had a copy of The Shade in my pile, I got the overwhelming urge to hug the guy that pulls comics. I didn’t because, well, there’s only one person in my LCS that I can annoy like that and get away with it, and Chris ain’t him. Anyway! We’re now officially one issue from done, people! The best thing James Robinson’s done in years is going buh-bye. If you haven’t been able to find copies of the individual issues, please, please try and pick up the trade or trades, when they come out. We need to let DC know that we’re not ready to let go of Mr. Robinson at his best. As for this issue, wow. Wow. When I like a book like this, I find it hard to truly review. In a way, I don’t want to spoil the surprises for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet. So I will say this and this alone: Richard Swift is a man who can battle gods and win…without killing his enemy, should he not wish to. I implore you, dear reader. Get this issue on your own. You’ll not regret it.

Star Wars cover? Really, RHatO? I…no. I can’t. I can’t take you seriously. Roy, no one will get that reference to an awful book. You are on a star cruiser orbiting a distant world. No one in space has read Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh. Oh no. This isn’t happening. I’ve spent a year badmouthing this book, dismissing it as tripe, I can’t suddenly be starting to…like it, can I? Allow me to explain. Despite Komand’r’s Czarnian makeover, she manages to do a particularly heel face turn and show her true colors…as forever loyal to her sister and Tamaran. On one hand, noooo. I’ve always enjoyed Komand’r as the ‘black sheep’ of the royal family of Tamaran, which is why I liked seeing her in her own right as Queen in the last R.E.B.E.L.S. series. But on the other hand, I do love a good story of betrayal. Because this is what it’s setting up to, right? There is no way the ultimate alien bad girl is…nice, right? Come on, Lobdell. Don’t do this to me. You can’t. You’ve done so much already. Just…let me have this. Broken trust, a nice, fragile emotional state for Kori to use as an excuse to push her friends out of her life. Please. I need this to be where this story is heading. Or else…I don’t even know. Also, next month, yet another fucking origin for Jason. Enough! I wanna know about Roy! Give Roy an origin!

Oh my good lord. I could weep. J.H. Williams III is back in the artistic saddle, and will you guess who’s come along for the ride this issue? The woman of bats and the woman of wonder, together for the first time. Oh, gosh. The issue could be a bit hard to follow, with several plots going on all at once, sometimes even two on one page! Wonder Woman’s story follows her battle with mythic creatures to protect the world. Batwoman’s story has her teaming up with Abbot the wolfman to fight Bloody Mary and discern the location of Medusa, who, as it turns out, is a person, not an organization. Bette’s story follows her recovery, and her desire to don a mask again as soon as possible. And Maggie’s story follows her helplessness at being unable to locate the missing children of Gotham. Thankfully, having read JHW’s stuff before, I didn’t find it very difficult from panel to panel. In fact, looking back at it once I got over being completely overwhelmed at first glance by all the detail that goes into a single page, the stories blend rather nicely. Diana is fighting a visible enemy. She’s getting her hands bloody, seeing her progress as it happens. Kate is fighting an enemy she cannot find. She’s not moving forward, or backward. Her progress is at a standstill. This is a story that should not be missed. If you haven’t been reading Batwoman so far, correct your grievous error and start.

I don’t like Simon Tycho. As bad guys go, he’s no Lex Luthor, but he’s certainly slimy. Harnessing alien technology only to turn around and sell it? Not cool, bro. In any case, whoops, revealed the big plot twist anyone could see coming from a mile away. Simon found the rest of Kara’s pod before she could…and he just wants to talk? I’m more concerned with the Superman/Supergirl interaction. I have a confession to make. I haven’t read a single issue of Superman or Action Comics since the reboot. All of my knowledge of Big Blue comes from Justice League and the appearances he’s made in Superboy and Supergirl. And…I don’t like what I see very much. He comes off as kind of a douche, with more concern for people Kara hurt accidentally than his cousin herself. I mean, Jesus Supes. At least offer to teach the girl English or something.

ERMAHGERD IT’S ORION
I’ll get to everything else in a second, but holy hell you guys. The New fucking Gods are coming back. That means Orion. That means Lightray. That means the most badass woman to ever walk the DCU, Big Barda. I mean, I know we got Darkseid back in Justice League, but this is a bit of a bigger deal to me. Darkseid…you can’t go more than a couple of years without Darkseid. He’s like that one really annoying sticky out hair that grows on the blind spot on your chin and will always come back, no matter how often you pluck it. But the rest of the New Gods, you guys! Highfather! The Forever People! Aaah, I can’t stand it!
Ahem, but back to what actually happened in the rest of this issue of Wonder Woman that wasn’t the very last panel. The throne of Zeus has been taken up by Apollo. Hera is banished and made mortal. But most importantly, the messenger of Olympus, the god of thieves, Hermes has shown his true colors. Stealing Zola’s baby just after it is born, he’s delivered it to his aunt, Demeter. But why? Why would Demeter want the baby fated to slay the king of heaven? It’s a mystery, all right, and one we’re not even going to get hinted at until October. Damn it, #0 month.

And that was this week in comics. Ahh, ladies week. Who cares that it’s 4 am. I feel happy and whole. Hope to see y’all back next week. Same place, hopefully not the same time.

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Ladies week strikes back!

This is going to be the biggest week I’ve done in a while, with eight new books and the issue of The Shade my comic shop was shorted last week, so if it’s all the same, I’m going to just jump right in.

So, a show of hands as to who figured the Silk Spectre book would dive headfirst into a plot about drugs. I kind of figured they’d deal with that sort of thing, San Francisco in the 60s hello, but second issue in order to make it the primary plot of the mini? That take balls. Calling it now, Laurie’s boyfriend Greg is going to die. That’s the reason she ends up going back to her mother. As usual, I’m more enamored by the look of this book than the actual story going on. Amanda Conner’s psychedelic clothing designs are really rocking my world, but believe it or not, they’re second to the backgrounds she’s been laying down. From the grim and gritty warehouse in the opening scene to the interiors of the hippie pad where Laurie is living, the scenery is just blowing me away. Here’s hoping DC gives Ms. Conner more work in the very near future.

I’m done with Justice League. I can’t stomach it anymore. I can’t. Steve Trevor hasn’t been mentioned in the Wonder Woman book once, yet he’s all over this book. Hell, he’s probably considered a main character. He’s dead now, though, so I hope none of you were very attached to him. God, this book. Eight pages dedicated to Diana and Hal having a slapfight that the entire League gets pulled into, six pages of stuff that’ll actually be relevant for more than an issue. Nope, I’ll pass. The back up is a bit better, somehow. Billy is still behaving like a little shit, but at least he’s a little shit that is thinking about others? No, I lied, this is still terrible. Ugh, next book.

Why am I doing this to myself? Most people would give themselves a little breathing room between terrible books, but not me, baby! I soldier on! And speaking of soldiers, time for Kori to get yet another origin story. Seriously, she’s had like, three in eleven issues. Give Roy a chance sometime. So anyway, in this new origin, Kori and her sister Komand’r actually like each other! I guess? Because Komand’r does a bit of a 180 by the end of the issue…oh yeah, and this issue is told as a flashback story from Roy’s point of view, so there’s that. For the most part, this isn’t a bad story. The pacing is a bit better, I’m really starting to like the character of Isabel, and Kori’s crew is pretty interesting as well. I don’t really have much to complain ab- hahaha Komand’r what are you wearing?! Girl, you look like you mugged Lobo for his clothes and eyeliner! Maybe it’s just me, but I’m actually losing my taste for Kenneth Rocafort’s art. His women have begun to seem a bit too flawless, and his men, especially Jason, look too scrawny. So, what’s keeping me here? Well, I love Roy Harper. I love Koriand’r. And while I’m not fond of this version of him, I love Jason Todd. It’s a devotion to the characters I adore that’s keeping me reading a book where they are at their worst. This…does not say good things about me.

This month’s issue of Batwoman really did a great job of marrying the three story lines into one flowing plot. Sune the shapeshifter has escaped from right under Kate and the D.E.O.’s noses, the Bette coma plot was resolved nicely, and Kate and Maggie are no longer in danger of breaking up. Let’s start with Bette who, after several issues of unconsciousness, was finally roused from her slumber. Did her body finally heal enough to allow her to wake up? Was she just too stubborn to die? Was the promise of getting to put a mask on again to tempting to pass up? We may never know, but I like to think that it was a combination of the three things that brought her back to us. The Kate and Maggie plot was resolved in a bit of a hurried fashion, with Kate disclosing information about her family, both dead and alive, and Maggie talking about her daughter seeming to bring them closer than ever before. It’s one thing to lose someone you care about, but losing everyone, and feeling like you’re alone in the world, is what really linked them. As for the Sune plot…it’s not over. Not by a long shot. Falchion is dead, and Sune is now in charge of the monsters he created. This story is in its middle game, with the end still out of sight. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I’m really enjoying Legion of Superheroes again, and all it took was Brainy getting kidnapped. So, to add to the things I was generally unaware of regarding Dominators: they eat people? I guess that can’t be considered cannibalistic, as the people they eat aren’t of their kind, but they still eat sentients. That’s kind of gross. I’m not ashamed to admit that Brainiac 5 is my favorite character in this book, but today, Mon-El came super close to winning my heart. Go Mon! You call Rokk out on his douchiness! In a final turn of ‘the fuck did I just read’, the biggest Legion fangirl in the known universe shoots a core Legionnaire in the back. Why, Grava? Why? I’m guessing post-hypnotic suggestion, as she does say that someone ‘told’ her to, but I can’t be sure. Guess we’ll have to find out next month…before our heroes end up as dinner!

I don’t know what it is with my shop and The Shade, but it’s like no one wants me to read it or something. Why is that? I love this book! The art has me a little thrown, but the writing! The dialogue! The banter, mother of god, the banter! I’m home. Truly, I am home. If The Shade has done anything at all, it has reestablished James Robinson as a fantastic wordsmith, not someone who is completely bugfuck insane. “Welcome to pain.” Pah! Nothing painful about this. In this eleventh issue, we finally find the rhyme and reason behind Shade’s world tour, and that’s…Egyptian gods? Yes, okay. I wasn’t really in this for the ongoing plot, anyway. You see, if there is one thing I’ve always loved about Richard Swift, it’s how clever he is. He sees that his great-grandson and company have gods powered down and enslaved, so he fakes powerlessness in order to free them. Smart man, that Shade. Though, now he has to fight gods to save London, so I suppose that intelligence is relative. The endgame approaches! Two issues until the sure to be stunning finale, and I’m on the edge of my seat. Here’s to not being shorted next month!

Okay, no. Just from the cover, no. Jaime, what are you doing. Booster, what are you doing. Stop that. Be friends. Ahem. The plot of this issue of Blue Beetle is actually pretty cut and paste. Jaime goes looking for someone who can help him, Booster says he can help him, it’s a trick, they fight, rinse and repeat. But the details…Blue Beetle exists to break my heart. I asked about Ted Kord at the New 52 panel at Florida Supercon recently, and I was told to “Forget about him for a while.” I know this issue was written long before I asked my question, but Jaime yelling at Booster that he thought they could be friends, and Booster replying, “Not in this lifetime!” just killed me. I will say, Jaime’s grandmother is pretty badass, and the Paco and Brenda subplot is going to be really good once it reaches its head, but goddamn, this book is just bringing on the heartbreak harder than the Mariah Carey cover.

And the comeback kid strikes another one out of the park! Supergirl is one of two books that clawed its way back onto my buy list simply by refusing to just give up and suck. Now, the fight scene in this issue was pretty interesting, but I’m more invested in watching Kara learn about her powers and slowly grow out of being alternatively terrified and angry at everything around her. Also, Siobhan and her brother Tom? Probably among my favorite new/retooled characters of the reboot, simply because they can just roll with a freaked out Kryptonian. That takes some serious balls. In any case, who remembers Simon Tycho, our Big Bad from the early issues? Looks like he’s paying people to find Kara again, which means that he’ll probably be back in the picture soon. Whoa oh, but not as soon as next month’s guest star, the big blue boy scout himself, Superman!

Diana really just needs to put a harness on Zola, the rate this girl gets kidnapped. Seriously, didn’t they just pull her out of hell? And now she’s ascended, alive, into the realm of the gods known as Heaven. Hey, at least she’s getting some sightseeing done during her pregnancy, right? In any case, with Cliff Chiang back on the art, Strife no longer looks terrifying! Hera, however…in her defense, Hera is just a terrifying individual. She was willing to give up Zeus’ throne to Apollo in order to get her hands on Zola. There’s crazy, and then there’s Hera crazy. You don’t fuck with Hera crazy. So, a battle for the throne is soon to be at hand! Though, an important question I’d like to ask, is Lennox…dead? Because he looked like he might be dying after that fight with Artemis. I hope not, I like him very much. I suppose only time will tell.

And that’s this week in comics. Ugh, late by two hours, again. My sincerest apologies, I’ve been plagued by a migraine literally since I woke up yesterday morning, and it has sort of impeded my ability to focus. I’ll do better next time. Until then dears, I am, now and forever, Touch of Grey.

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