Posts tagged Justice League

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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The Rotworld cometh!

Welcome to August, readers! For a first week, it could be worse. We’ve got the last issue of Justice League International, the first two parts of the Rotworld event, and more. Shall we?

Hey, who remembers Twilight Lady? If you read Watchmen…you probably still don’t remember her. She sent a picture to Nite Owl, and he had a dream about her turning into Laurie as they blow up. And…that was it. Now, however, she gets a backstory! Kind of! Turns out, she’s a house madam with a thing for S and M. Okay? Well, Rorschach has a thing about prostitutes, so he freaks out. I wasn’t too into this issue. People tend to forget that everyone in Watchmen is actually pretty awful. Nite Owl has gone to seed and was pretty impotent, Silk Spectre was generally useless, Ozymandias has a god complex, Dr. Manhattan was god, if god didn’t actually give a shit about anything, Comedian was a rapist and an overall awful human being, and Rorschach was a misogynist. I don’t know. Maybe my enthusiasm for this Before Watchmen thing stems directly from my joy at seeing creators I like getting work again. I honestly think I may just stick to the two books whose art I like. Sorry, Nite Owl.

And so the Justice League International ongoing ends not with a bang, but an awkward cough. This wasn’t the best way to end this book, and not because it was a glorifed fight scene issue. Gavril Ivanovich died. That’s awful. But do we get any real closure on his death with a cemetary fight scene between the remaining members of the JLI and Lightweaver’s twin brother? Do we ever get to find out if Bea’s going to be okay? Do Tora and Mari get out of the hospital? This isn’t the end, not the real end, what with the Annual coming out next month, but it barely feels like a legitimate last issue. It feels like a stopping point, but not an end. Sorry, Dan Jurgens. Try again in a few weeks.

I’m not that into Earth-2. There, I said it. There are so many good characters to work with, so many new ideas to explore, and such a great creative team…but nothing is meshing for me. For one thing, I’m still torqued that the Rot/Red/Green concept is basically the first big storyline. We’ve already got a Rotwold going on in Swamp Thing and Animal Man, do we really need that here, too? Sigh. Then there’s Hawkgirl. It’s now obvious that the woman behind the wings is Kendra Saunders, not Shayera Hall, which should make for interesting storytelling. I liked Kendra in Dwayne McDuffie’s Justice League, but then she sort of…fell off the map until Blackest Night, when she died and came back as Shayera Hall. And then she died again during Brightest Day. Still, I’d like to know what Kendra’s connection to the government is. Is she, like Al Pratt, a wonder created from the fallout of the Apokalips war? Or is she just an experiment? Oh, speaking of Al Pratt…the Atom grows. This is some real Ant Man/Giant Man shit we’re getting into, Robinson. The Atom’s whole thing is that he shrinks. It’s why he’s called the Atom. Hell, in the post-Zero Hour Legion reboot, after Shrinking Violet gained Colossal Boy’s powers, she had the decency to change her name to Leviathian. I don’t know why I’m taking so much time to dissect this issue. Nothing of extreme importance happened, nothing interesting happened, and it was just an overall boring read. Sigh. Next book?

This week marks the beginning of the event I’ve actually been looking forward to, the prologue to Rotworld! From now on, Swamp Thing and Animal Man will be crossing over, with Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire sharing writing duties on both books. I’ll be honest, I’ve not read any Swamp Thing from the New 52, mainly because I wasn’t terribly interested in Swamp Thing from the old universe. But I’ve heard good things about it, so I’m going to have to rectify that at some point. Anyway, I’ll be reviewing Animal Man and Swamp Thing together, as they are essentially one story. 
It’s hard to believe that after all these weeks of running and looking, finding Alec Holland was as simple as walking into the Louisiana swamp. No, really, that’s all they did. Buddy and Alec talked, recapping everything that had happened in Buddy’s book so far, and then…they dove down into the Rot together, leaving Maxine, Ellen, and Abby behind. Okay, nothing odd there. Except, is that Cliff, who is supposed to be deathly ill, walking down the road barefoot into the loving tentacles of Slenderman? Read that panel and tell me I’m wrong. Over in Swamp Thing, the Rot attacks! Luckily, Abby is connected to the Rot itself by blood, so she can shut off the portal through which the Rotlings are coming from, saving the day. Sort of. Because after she shuts the portal, the Rot King, Arcane, comes and rips off Alec’s tether to Earth, severing him from his powers as Buddy has been since they jumped into the muck. Bummer? Also, I’m going to assume that Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and to a lesser extent, Justice League Dark take place in a different universe than the rest of the DCnU, because there is no way the other superheroes wouldn’t notice the entire world going to rot over the course of a year. That’s right, a year. They spent a year in the Rot, though it only felt like a few hours. And we’re not going to get to see what went down in this year they were away until October because of fucking origins month. In conclusion, I really liked my first look into Swamp Thing, definitely going to have to buy the first eleven issues.

And that was this week in comics! Huh, feels…short. I don’t know, I was only really excited for two of these books, and they both left me on this giant damn cliffhanger that won’t be picked up again for ages…hm. I guess I’m just unfulfilled. I think this is a good night for Batwoman: Elegy. See you next week, folks!

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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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Better late than never!

Welcome back to the ToG Blog for, uh, let’s call it hangover Thursday. Not that I actually had a hangover this morning, mind you…ah well. All excuses aside, it’s time to get to those comics!

I’ve got issues with Earth-2 that have nothing to do with Alan Scott. James Robinson, we need to have a chat. While I find it fantastic that you’re apparently enjoying Animal Man as much as I am, having Alan be the representative of the Green on Earth-2 instead of controlling the power of the Star Heart is…a little offputting. Especially considering the third storyline this issue deals with…I’ll get to that in a sec. To address the thing that pretty much everyone reading this book has been bitching about on the internet since the previews came out, Sam is dead. He had one issue of existence, and now it’s gone. I’m very disappointed in you, DC. You had this whole “We’ve got a new gay guy! Very iconic! You’re gonna love him!” thing going on, you give Alan a cute partner that people wanted to know more about, and then you kill him. Way to go, you. So yeah. The first story is focusing on Alan being chosen to protect the Earth as a representative of the Green. The second story involves Jay ‘fighting’ Hawkgirl. I’m actually sort of excited to see which Doctor Fate James Robinson plans to put on this Earth. I hope it’s Hector Hall, if only for the chance that his wife Lyta might be around too. Now onto the third story. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that JR was inspired by the current run of Animal Man for this but…the Rot is on Earth-2, and its champion is Grundy. Last we saw Grundy, in the old DCU, Bizarro was flinging him into the sun during Blackest Night. I’ve always like the character of Grundy. From the infamous ‘Solomon Grundy want pants too!’ commercial from my childhood, to his friendship with Hawkgirl in the Justice League animated show, to ‘smart Grundy’ in The Tornado’s Path, to the Grundymen in Morrison’s Limbo Town, to his various appearances throughout the DCU as a whole, Solomon Grundy has just been entertaining to me, as well as the right amount of creepy. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what his presence on Earth-2 means for everyone living there. He seems to have the same life-sucking powers as everything we’ve seen from the Rot over in Animal Man, but who knows? Anyway, next month? Al Pratt! Woo!

You don’t want to know how long it took me to get an issue of The Shade. It came out three weeks ago, and my LCS finally got their copies from Diamond yesterday. In the defense of the shipping company, my shop probably orders less than 20 copies a month, because not that many people pick it up. Personally, compared to all the Grimm Fairie Tales issues they order, I find it a travesty, but that’s a complaint for another day. I’m not as familiar with Frazer Irving as I have been with most of the other artists on this book. I know he worked with Grant Morrison on the Klarion mini for Seven Soldiers of Victory, and he did a few pre-boot issues of Batman and Robin (specifically, the issue where Damian beats the shit out of the Joker with a crowbar), and I’m fairly sure I’ve seen his art connected to the John Constantine books once or twice, but it’d take a bit of Google-fu I don’t quite feel like doing to confirm that. It’s funny, I just realized that I spend more time talking about the creators on Shade than I do the actual story. Maybe it’s because, as entertaining and interesting as the content is, the main appeal behind this book, for me, is getting to see different artists at work on a single storyline. Still, the Shade story is coming to a head. Richard is back in London to confront his errant descendant about his cultist activities as of late. It’s really a funny issue, as Shade’s almost condescendingly bored quips at Dudley really showcase his specific brand of humor. As always, I highly recommend this book to anyone who was a fan of Starman in the past, or anyone who wishes to be a fan of James Robinson now.

Goddamnit, Dan Jurgens. I just…what happened between last month and this month that suddenly turned on Booster’s hidden heterosexuality? He’s taunting me, I’m telling you. Anyway, this month was the epic fight scene, as opposed to next month, which will involve burying the dead. Godiva got a chance to be awesome, Guy finally got his internal monologue on, August General kicked some ass, and it was just generally fun. Best part, though, was just after the fight, when OMAC (the team’s giant whiny baby. My god, I hate that guy) is still pissing about on his little half-rampage, and Booster steps up to calm him down, sans-forcefield. It was pretty rad. But then he went and kissed Godiva and I just…why? No really, why? Last issue, he was going on about it being ‘awkward’ that she wanted him, and he didn’t want her, now he’s getting her hopes up with a smooch. Okay, Booster. You do that. Oh, and then we have the new villain set-up. Remember Lightweaver’s brother, who was all, “No, don’t be a dick! Don’t use your powers like that!”? Well, Lightweaver died. So now the brother is going to use his own powers to fight the JLI, probably at Gavril’s funeral. Classy.

So you know how I keep saying that Animal Man is the best thing to come out of the New 52? I finally pegged why. Buddy Baker will do anything for his family, up to and including finding a way to get himself a new body after he dies and his old one is taken by the Rot. This is the one marriage editorial didn’t touch. The one family they didn’t retcon or destroy. No matter how hard the Rot tries, Buddy will never abandon Maxine. Will never allow their enemies to hurt Cliff. He would die for any one of them, Ellen, Cliff, Maxine, even Ellen’s mother. Because they are his family and the place from which he draws his greatest strength. It’s been shown that things will happen to Cliff in the future, that Buddy will eventually die and leave Maxine alone to fend for herself, but for now, he fights on. Also, a good question was raised this issue. Who is the avatar of the Rot? If it’s Grundy again, I’m going to be both pleased and a bit miffed. Who is borrowing from who, in this respect? I suppose it could be an entirely new character, or maybe someone like Garbageman. Oh! Or it could be Black Hand, who was the embodiment of death on Earth for a while, and has recently become a Black Lantern again over in the main Green Lantern book. Before he passed out, Cliff mentioned the name ‘Arcane’. I’m not reading Swamp Thing right now, but could he mean Abby Holland’s uncle, Anton Arcane, a practitioner of dark magic? Actually, a quick search has revealed that yes, that’s exactly who he means…but he also means Abby’s brother, William, who is a new character within the 52. Oh, and apparently he is the avatar of the Rot. Well, then. I guess that answers that! Okay, you’ve got me, I’m more than a little pumped to read Swamp Thing next month. I’ve been hearing good things about it, I may go and pick up the past ten issues early.

Well, that was this week in comics. Sorry it was late but I, heh, I’m only human. As far as you know. See you next week when we take on Batman, the next installment of the Minuteman mini, Superboy, and this month’s issue of the Shade. Here’s hoping I actually get a copy this time!

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Maybe I could call this Speedster Week?

I don’t know what to say, other than that it’s the final week of the month. We’re getting a new issue of the Flash, but I also have to look at Teen Titans and Justice League, so this bag isn’t quite as awesome as it could have been. Let’s jump right in!

Batman Incorporated has done something odd, for the New 52. It has shown a woman, given her power, and allowed her to keep it. I am talking, of course, about Talia Al Ghul. The daughter of the Demon’s Head has been a character that most people I know have mixed feelings on. For one thing, her very role in the Batman mythos has been retconned and diminished to that of ‘Bruce’s psycho ex’ for so long, people tend to forget that there was a time before all of that. A time when the only thing standing between Talia and Bruce’s happy ending was Bruce’s lifelong mission to eradicate crime in Gotham. True story. So to see the entire history of their relationship, as well as Talia’s life story, spelled out over the course of a single issue…well, let me put it this way. While the rape retcon still stands, it’s been sort of…diminished? It was less of a “We had sex while you were drugged totally against your will” thing and more of a “We consummated our relationship that had been a long time coming after I drugged you so that you’d knock me up by accident.” thing. Not exactly good, but better than the idea that Talia had completely forced her sexual will on Bruce. So yeah! Talia issue! This was scads better than the first issue, especially since it revealed that Damian was not actually dead.

I’ve chosen to mostly opt out of reading the Before Watchmen mini-series’, mainly because I’m not the biggest fan of the source material. I’ve read it. I thought it was okay. But I’m not one of those people who would defend Watchmen to the death. It had plenty of glaring flaws, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Of all the characters in Watchmen, Nite Owl was probably one of my favorites. It didn’t hurt that the character himself was based off of the Blue Beetle, or that of all the players in this game, Dan Dreiberg seemed the most human. We learned a little about Dan within the book itself, but the Nite Owl mini is…different. It deals with the early days. The earliest days. So far, we’ve learned that not only did Dan take over for Hollis Mason, he was trained by him. We also get our first real look at Rorschach before his life completely went to hell, which was fun. Plus, a nice little bit of foreshadowing about just how much Dr. Manhattan is able to warp time and space. All in all, this wasn’t a bad first issue. I’d even go so far as to say that I liked it.

I only read New Guardians because I love Saint Walker. There, I said it. It would not hold my interest without him. That being said, I believe I’ll be dropping New Guardians after this month’s second fight scene issue in a row. Give me some exposition. Gimme some sweet, sweet backstory regarding the newer Blue Lanterns. Give me anything but…this.

Someone explain Justice League to me. Please. Please? I have no idea what happened this month. There was talking, random panels of a deathly ill man talking to ghosts, and then everyone fell down. There was also a bit of Hal being a douche and Barry being Barry. And then it ended and the second feature started. So…what happened? I have no idea. And you know what? I really don’t care. I don’t care about you, Justice League. I don’t care about you, Shazam second feature. You’ve not done anything to make me care about you, so I’m just not going to, and that’s that.

I rarely have positive things to say about Teen Titans, and this month isn’t really all that different. It’s about as disjointed as Justice League. Yet, this is supposed to be a cooldown issue, which makes the title completely misleading. I mean, why would you even put that on the cover? “In a race to extinction”, superimposed over an image of two teenagers smiling and having fun. What? Why? In case anyone was wondering, Bart/Kiran is officially a thing now. I’m going to set up a countdown clock until Miguel/Tim is canon, because geeze. If Solstice ends up being the Angst and the Love Interest combined, I’m going to cry. Gosh, I’m trying to think up constructive things to say and I just can’t. Sorry, Teen Titans. I’ve failed you.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to, and dreaded, a comic as much as I have in regards to Flash #10. I probably haven’t talked much about my love of the Rogues on here, but oh gosh do I adore them. And Weather Wizard is my third favorite, after Mirror Master and Captain Cold. I’ve been making fun of Mark Mardon’s makeover since images of it were first released, but I don’t know. Now that the issue is actually in my hands, I’m a little excited. Len may have gotten a metagene and a new wardrobe, but Mark is getting a new name, a new history, a new everything! Well, here goes nothing!
…Marcus To, let me love you. If the Manapul/To team becomes a regular thing, I may weep with joy. Oh, but yes, the story. It’s honestly not as bad as it could have been. Yes, Mark Mardon is a, a Guatemalan drug lord now. That’s his history. But when the truth about his brother’s murderer came to light, and the Flash single-handedly destroyed his entire stock of product, that seemed to mark the end of his time as a supplier. He’s going back to Central City, along with…Lisa?! Lisa, girl, your hair is insane. She’s got NTT Starfire hair! In any case, I’ve spent so much time focusing on the Rogues in this issue, I forgot all about the actual title character. Barry loves Patty. Patty loves Barry. Patty believes Barry to be dead. He’s not actually going to correct her on that, which means that Barry is going to be the Flash all the time now. Or maybe…what if he’s going to take on a new identity? I swear, if this is how they ‘bring Wally into the New 52’, I’m going to be so upset. In any case, this Rogue parade is just getting started. Next month: Heatwave!

And that was this week in comics! Due to a personal matter, this is actually coming to you on Thursday so, sorry. But before I forget…

Floridians! Florida Supercon is this weekend! Come meet Carmine Infantino, Kevin Maguire, and a whole host of other comic and screen legends!

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Before Watchmen begins!

So, if you’ve been reading other sites like Comicvine and Newsarama, you’d probably have heard of this thing called Before Watchmen. The first issue of the first series, Minutemen, came out today, along with the second issue of Earth-2, and a few other old favorites. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Though I dropped Justice League International off of my buy list last month, that isn’t stopping me from enjoying it now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, JLI is a character interaction book for me. August General in Iron is the narrator this month, and the kindred spirit he hoped to find in OMAC is…lacking, to say the least. Then we get a better idea of just how Guy and Tora’s relationship ended. Long-distance relationships, am I right? Finally, Godiva finally realizes that Booster is just not that into her. Actually, can I take a second? This is me putting on my shipper hat and saying that Booster should have been the ‘iconic gay hero’ DC was flashing at us. I mean, we’d have some build up. Godiva’s been throwing herself at him for ten months now, he’s clearly not interested even though she’s a total babe. I mean, how hard would it be for Booster to just casually mention that he’s already seeing a nice guy named Ted? Ugh. I just. I’m sorry. I’ll stop. Next book.

Wow, this was well thought out on my end. Rant about why Alan Scott shouldn’t have been the outed one, then fall in love with him and his adorable boyfriend. Surprisingly, I enjoy way more things about Earth-2 than I dislike. The Terry Sloane/Michael Holt confrontation was bullshit, but Jay saving that couple from the mutated rats was awesome! Not to mention the scenes with him trying out his powers. The way he got them was a little…lemme put it this way. I like science more than I like magic. I love how the Flash’s powers have always come from lab accidents, because comic book science is hilarious. Having Mercury give him his powers was definitely interesting enough, though it’ll never be my favorite origin. Another thing, look at that uniform. From the neck down, it’s fantastic. But that helmet! It’s like the Ant Man helmet and Jay’s hat had a baby. Nicola Scott, for shame. I’m not going to dive too much into Alan Scott’s story, just because it ended on a cliffhanger that would be considered a spoiler. Though I will mention that I’m dying to know what happened to Al Pratt. Ah well, next month.

I’ve been alternately looking forward to and dreading the entire Before Watchmen line since it was announced. I know for a fact that I’m only going to be buying the Minutemen and Silk Spectre books if they’re good, because they’re the only ones done by creators I like. But are they good? The first issue of the Minutemen book came out today, and you know what? It’s not bad. It’s a short history of the Minutemen, how they came together, and what eventually lead to their end. Basically, it’s everything that was promised to us. Minutemen also has the advantage of being done by the master of retro art in comic books, Darwyn Cooke. His work on Justice League: New Frontier, Catwoman, and The Spirit was amazing, and made me proud to say I was a DC fan. Not to say that his work on Spider-Man over at Marvel wasn’t excellent, too. I think I got most of my Cooke-gushing out of the way a couple of months ago, when I reviewed his issue of The Shade, but expect to see it from time to time. The man is a marvel.

You know how I keep saying that Animal Man is the best ongoing of the New 52? I’m just going to keep on saying that until some other title proves me different, because hot damn. On Earth, Ellen has a chat with three of the Justice League Dark, while Cliff goes and gets himself kidnapped by a Hunter in his dad’s form. Meanwhile, in the Red, the Goat Man explains to Buddy all the things Socks explained to Maxine in the annual last week as they fight Rotlings. It’s a fun issue, if your version of ‘fun’ is as twisted as mine is. 

That was this week in comics. I’m feel I should inform you, World’s Finest also came out this week, as did the infinitely superior Vertigo series, Fairest. Oh, and for those of you in South Florida!

Do you have a lot of comics, trades, action figures, and other assorted comic, sci fi, and anime paraphernalia? And you want to make some space for new nerd junk? Come on down to Tate’s Comics this Sunday for their second annual Swap and Sale! I’ve got a booth again, and enough comics and manga to satisfy the choosiest customer. Hope to see y’all there!

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Ladies week is back!

So, it’s the second week of the month again…hold me? I mean, on one hand, I’m really looking forward to Supergirl and Batwoman, but on the other hand, there’s Justice League and the Red Hood Night of the Owls tie-in. I’m a mixed bag of feelings, here. Best just jump right in.

Three words: Registering Metabolic Arousal. Tony. Why. I mean, it’s funny, because he’s a teenager and she’s scantily dressed, but really? I’m equally amused and ashamed. Though on the other hand, Jaime is slowly morphing back into that adorably awkward dorky kid that I begrudgingly fell in love with in 2006, while still mourning the loss of Ted Kord. He’s nervous around Bleez not only because she can, and would, kill him in a second, but because he’s trying to remember the stuff his parents taught him about being polite to the ladies, and figure out just how it applies to space aliens. I liked the character interaction in this issue more than I liked the fight, because the fight is connected to the next issue of New Guardians and…yeah. Crossover fever is hitting hard these days, and I’m not pleased about it. Also, and I may not have mentioned this before, but I really like Marcio Takara’s art. He draws a beautiful Jaime, and unlike Ed ‘Tits n Ass’ Benes, he makes Bleez’s suit look more like semi-functional armor than a bondage suit, which is always nice. A moment of silence for Glomulus, who will most likely be back in New Guardians.

Sigh, and it was going so well. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Dominators just because…well, they’re the Dominators. Everything they’re about is in their name. They invade worlds to expand territory, DC’s answer to Skrulls. And while this new storyline is going to focus on Querl and Nura (two of my favorite Legionnaires), and Nura is obviously going to be more ass-kicky than usual, I can’t help but feel anxious. Paul Levitz’s writing has always been pretty questionable to me. His setups are elaborate, but often don’t pan out into anything. I’m still waiting to find out if Mekt was lying about being born with a twin. Francis Portella’s art is fantastic, especially when drawing Nura fighting. Thank you, man who knows how to illustrate a realistic fight scene…with genetically mutated aliens. In any case, this issue is setting up the next arc. Brainy and Dream Girl were kidnapped by Dominators for undisclosed reasons, and Starman quit the Legion to get back the woman he loves without dragging the rest of the team into an interplanetary incident. Let’s focus for a moment on how fucking stupid this idea is. Thom may be Omega-powerful, what with his powers being those of gravity itself, but he’s still healing. He’s still in a goddamn floating wheelchair, but no biggie. He’s just going to steal a spaceship, fly to the Dominator planet, and make everyone fall over or something. Thom, look at your choices. They are bad.

Look at Justice League. No, I’m serious. Just look at it. Don’t bother reading it, you’ll be happier.
Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. As always, the Barry/Hal interactions are adorably bromoerotic in nature, and Barry is…Barry, stop being so ridiculous. You better tell him what he wants to know, or he’s gonna be so upset with you. Also, can I point out that Bruce has the best way of asking Clark on lunch dates? These boys. These boys. Diana was, for once, less detrimental and more ornamental. She used her lasso, yes, but the main focus of this issue was on her former not-paramour, Steve Trevor. But honestly, don’t try and glean an actual plot from this issue, there isn’t one. It’s a team-up issue without everyone in the team being in the same place at the same time, with both halves of the team (minus Aquaman) coming to the same conclusion: A man named Graves is after them. The backup isn’t much better, because oh my god Billy stop. Stop existing. I would literally prefer this kid to not exist rather than read him like this. Not even Gary Frank’s great visuals can fix this disaster.

I’m going to take a moment to express my excitement over Jill Thompson being the one to tackle this particular issue of The Shade. I’ve always loved Thompson’s Scary Godmother, and her work with the various Sandman characters (especially her Little Endless story books, and the entirety of Brief Lives, my favorite arc), so having her attached to the best mini DC has put out in some time? Yay! This issue deals with Albert Caldecott, another one of Shade’s grandchildren, and tells the story of how his lover summoned, and was then possessed by, a minor servant demon known as a homunculus. That’s literally the entire issue, so let’s ignore it and talk about expressions. Thompson’s expressions are what made me a fan, the first time I read Brief Lives. She’s on par with Amanda Connor and Kevin Maguire when it comes to body language, and could probably do a silent comic without having any trouble telling the story of what’s going on. If you’re only picking up one issue of The Shade, though why you would do that is beyond me, make it this one.

Personal opinion time: Supergirl has gotten better since Kara was given someone to interact with. Siobhan was just the ingredient this book needed to go from yeow to wow! The saga of the Banshee family continues with a bit of history behind the father/daughter reunion. So, my one question is this: If Tommy’s sacrifice ensured that the curse would end and Black Banshee could never harm his daughter again, what plot hole is allowing this fight to take place? Hopefully, that’ll be explained next issue. Another interesting thing is to watch Siobhan struggle with the monster inside that wants to be set free. The fact that she’s fighting it with everything she’s got, rather than submitting to the hunger, is really admirable.

Red Hood and the Outlaws is terrible. So why do I keep reading it? Like I’ve said every time I review a Lobdell-penned book, his dialogue is amateurish, his pacing it enough to make me flip a table, and don’t even get me started on his Jason-narratives. But…then there are moments. Like Jay and Tim bonding over breakfast, or Roy using his arrows to keep a powerless Kori from going into cold shock, or this issue, where the Talon Xiao Loong calmly asks that Jason end his life on his own terms. Scott Lobdell is like…a spec of gold dust in a pile of shit. He’s capable of writing something good, but these spurts of brilliance are few and far between.

Surprisingly, Batwoman isn’t a tie-in to the Night of the Owls event, and I couldn’t be happier. I suppose it’s because this book actually has a plot that isn’t in any way tied to Bruce Wayne and his drama. Several different storylines are running through this issue, so hold on tight. First off, we’ve got the main story, Batwoman and Sune vs Falchion. Badass ladies being badass, I approve. Then there’s the Kate/Sune side-angle which…I don’t want to use the term revenge-gay, but yeah. That seems to be the case, at least until we learn more about her personality. And then, there’s Bette. Coma Bette. Dying Bette. I…I don’t know what to say about this. I’ve never been a huge fan of Flamebird as a hero, but I really did like Bette as a character. She was a minor Titan in the old DCU, and had the potential to become a strong member of the Batfamily…instead, it looks like she’s being fridged. I don’t know. I think this is the first time I haven’t been completely satisfied with an issue of Batwoman. My head hurts.

Oh, Wonder Woman. With every issue, my love for this title grows. How did I ever find you boring?! This particular series is so steeped in mythology, I just can’t handle it. I mean, look at the scene between Diana and her handmaiden. At first, you’re reading it, and everything’s cool…then BOOM the handmaiden is actually Persephone! Who foolishly tried to commit suicide to leave the land of the dead! You think Diana is just going to be getting a normal wedding ring, or maybe a bondage collar of some kind to show that she’s really committed to marrying Hades…then BAM! Noose! Aughhh. I love this book. Love it. But I’m not sure about the guest artist. Tony Akins is nice, but goddamn, bring back Cliff Chiang. Tony, your Strife is hella scary. 

And that would be this week in comics. I’m obligated to inform you that Catwoman and Nightwing came out this week, and they…weren’t complete dreck. They both tied into Night of the Owls and, like Red Hood, their purpose was to humanify one of the Talons. Who knows, maybe this crossover is doing something good, after all.

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