Posts tagged Legion

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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Welcome back to ladies week!

I’d like to once again welcome you to ladies week! We’ve got seven books to cover this week, and three of them are female-lead titles. Heck, this week, Outlaws focuses on Starfire so technically, that’s a female-lead issue too. Shall we?

Ha, I say it’s ladies week, and start off with Blue Beetle. This title has been growing on me lately. Yes, Jaime still reminds me of OYL Tim Drake, but he’s getting less whiny. This issue, Jaime seeks help from the D.E.O.. Now, for those not in the know, the D.E.O. is the Department of Extranormal Operations. They’re…not really known for being helpful towards metahumans. The D.E.O. has a bit of a bug up their butt, no pun intended, about aliens and masked vigilantes. See Batwoman for more information on them. If you have a problem with depictions of torture, you may want to skip this issue. It’s nothing major, but it could be triggering to people none the less. The thing that got me excited this month was the big reveal at the end of the issue…the Blue and Gold, together again for the first time! Now, this has me a little upset. This is really where we find out whether or not Ted Kord ever existed. If Booster meets Jaime, and has nothing to say along the lines of ‘I knew a guy with that name once’, I will cry. Not oh, boo hoo, internet tears, I will cry. I take my Blue Beetle very, very seriously.

Kori is a badass. This is the main thing you need to know about her, no matter the incarnation. New Teen Titans Kori was a badass, Teen Titans cartoon Kori was a badass, Red Hood and the Outlaws Kori is a badass. Writers can change everything else about her, but the character Starfire will always be one of the strongest extraterrestrials in the DCU. Now that that’s over with, let’s talk about Isabel. We met her a few issues ago, when she was flirting with Jason on their flight to Hong Kong. She’s…in way over her head. I don’t have a lot of faith that she’s going to survive her first trip to space. Romance isn’t exactly a focus of this title. Though, speaking of. I guess Roy and Kori are a couple now? With Kori settling into a relationship and letting her badassery shine through, maybe now she’ll get some actual issue to issue characterization instead of just being the pretty one with no clothes. Here’s hoping!

I’m not a fan of books that jump around in timelines, but for Batwoman, I’ll make an exception. This issue, we see several different narratives, which eventually culminate in a twist ending that made me curse out loud. For this, I offer to you a SPOILER ALERT.
I’ve said before, I like this book for all the different points of view it takes. But my favorite narrative this month, by far, was the one belonging to Jake Kane. I’ve liked his character since he was introduced in Elegy, and I feel that this fleshing-out he’s been getting lately is long overdue. Jake has spent nearly every moment of his days with Bette since she went under, and in a heartfelt soliloquy, confessed that he’d loved his other daughter, Beth, more than Kate because of her compassion. That’s really very hard hitting, if you think about it. Parents are rarely shown as ‘choosing favorites’, but in the last two weeks, two major members of the Batfamily have been outed as the favorite child. Why is that? And the parallels of them…Bruce Wayne’s younger brother, Thomas Jr., was the forgotten son, and he ended up a villain. Beth Kane, Kate’s twin sister, was presumed dead for years, until the unspoken favorite daughter also reappeared as a villain. It’s just interesting to think about. Also fascinating is Sune’s reveal at the end of the issue. As it turns out, both brother and sister are one and the same. Both, yet neither, a shapeshifter unnamed. Oh my, that rhymed!

It figures it would take an arc centered around Querl and Nura to get me back into Legion of Superheroes. So, taking what we know about the Dominators so far, they’ve kidnapped Brainy and DG to steal their DNA to add their skill sets into warrior clones to further the race. Not bad…except Brainy is a Dox. His entire race isn’t of a Level 12 intelligence, just him. So how do we know that simply stapling his cells to those of a Dominator clone warrior will create a being with a boosted intelligence? Actually, the fact that the scientists working on the project don’t know is what’s keeping our taken Legionnaires alive and waiting for rescue. And what a rescue it’ll be! Paul Levitz is having the X-men go after them! I’m sorry, the second I saw that splash panel, I knew I’d be making that joke. We’ve got a tracker, a body-splitter, a psionic, and a guy in a floating wheelchair forming a team, you look me dead in the eye and tell me that the first thing you think of isn’t the X-men cartoon from the nineties. And I will call you a damn liar. Also along for the ride is Grava from the Legion Academy, who I really do like a bit. She’s silly and more than a little annoying, but she’s also very sweet, and her character really grew on me back when Adventure Comics was focused on the Academy. In any case, I’m back on board! Wow me, Paul! Oh, I almost forgot. The cover of this issue has a penis allegory on it. The scientist Dominator is holding a jizz-stick. And their embassy, on the first page? Giant mound of vaginas. Just had to point that out.

Supergirl is a great book. Of all the New 52 books, it was the first to claw it’s way back onto my buy list, and I’m so pleased that it did. No longer is Kara the scared, confused girl who was constantly questioning herself and getting so entirely on my nerves I could scream. Now, she is a warrior. She fights for her friends. By giving Kara an actual supporting cast, the creators have truly given her new life, and a purpose within the new universe. Let’s hope they continue to make the best of her in the months to come.

Wonder Woman is the embodiment of love, that fact was drilled into us during Blackest Night. To the point where it became a holdover into the Nu52. But you know what? Brian Azzarello uses it well. Hades turns the lasso of truth into a noose and asks Diana if she loves him…which she does. She loves him. She loves everyone. But she is not in love with him, because in order for the Eros’ guns to have worked on her, he needs to have love for himself. It’s really a wonderful idea, and it was executed beautifully. Though I doubt we’ll be seeing Hades again for a while, I can’t wait to see what happens when we do.

That was this week in comics, ladies and gents! Next week will be a little more dude-centric with Teen Titans, Justice League, and a new issue of the Flash! See you then!

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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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Canon? Not canon? Who knows!

For reasons y’all have probably deduced, I’ve decided to drop Batman and Robin. And, because it did not hold my interest, I will not be reviewing Batgirl this month. So, let’s jump right in!

I’m dropping Suicide Squad. It’s stopped being my guilty pleasure, and moved into the territory of oh-god-why-am-I-still-reading-this. Frankly, I can only stand having two books like that on my pull list, and both slots belong to Scott Lobdell.

Somehow, while the other Batfamily books get worse and less interesting, the flagship Batman title just keeps getting better. The Court of Owls storyline, which has been building to this since the first issue, is coming to a head. The Talons have infiltrated the Batcave, but were soundly defeated by a combination of subzero temperatures and…bats. Scott Snyder is excellent with exposition, but that was kind of ridiculous. I’m going to make a prediction. Once this Night of the Owls storyline is wrapped up, Bruce is going to pull a Green Arrow and run for mayor of Gotham. It would be an interesting turn for the book to take, as I don’t think anyone in the Batfamily (aside from Babs, pre-Crisis) has ever really had big political aspirations. However, my hat really goes off to the Snyder/Albuquerque team for their secondary story, involving Alfred’s father, Jarvis Pennyworth. To take a minor character like Jarvis and bring him into prominence is something Snyder is very good at, and the distinctive art style of Rafael Albuquerque fits the narrative perfectly. This is a story I really, really would like to hear.

I have mixed feelings regarding the latest issue of Green Lantern. On one hand, the secret of the Indigo Tribe that has long been theorized was made canon. Indigos are forcefully reformed murderers, this is now fact. But, on the other hand…how the hell can DC justify calling this a reboot when so much shit was left in?! Blackest Night happened. The dead rose. And yet, a very big part of the Blackest Night were the people who came back to life. Osiris, Jade, and Professor Zoom have no place in the new 52, at all. Osiris was connected to the Black Marvel family, which doesn’t exist. Jade was Alan Scott’s daughter, and he’s still a young man…in another universe. And Eobard Thawne died in Flashpoint. That means, if Blackest Night happened, then Brightest Day happened. That’s sort of obvious, if you’d been reading the Hawk and Dove book, as well as Justice League Dark. But how is this stuff connecting? I’m going to have to give that more thought. Let’s move on to something about this issue I liked. I like Sinestro, and I really like his girlfriend/wife, Arin Sur. Being able to see bits of his life with her was nice, though bittersweet, as we finally saw how she died. What we didn’t see, however, was a very important piece of their life together, namely, their daughter Soranik Natu. Where is she? What’s she up to? Does she even exist in this universe? Which all comes back to the big question: In the New 52, what is still canon? I hope we find out soon, because this is driving me up the wall.

Because they’re both connected to the Culling event, I’m going to be reviewing Superboy and Legion Lost together. Ugh, I shouldn’t have had to say that.
Why does Dawnstar’s Culling suit need a boob window? No, seriously. She’s not so incredibly stacked that she’d be in pain without one. No one else has a boob window. Why is it there? Not to mention that her costume design seems to change with every cover and interior Ugh, damnit. I’m getting mad over useless things, this doesn’t bode well.
Harvest, you are the worst villain, but I’m going to go ahead and blame that on Scott Lobdell. This plot was done before, and recently, too. The Dark Side Club kidnapped teenaged metahumans to be used as part of Clock Kings’s army, with the ‘best’ being used as his Terror Titans. The only part of Superboy that will even probably matter in the coming months was the tiny bit of information revealed about Bart Allen. In the future, he…was not a good kid. And this makes me sad.
Legion Lost is so bad. It’s written horribly, the dialogue is ridiculous, and I’m sure it’s only still running because Lobdell needed the team for his Culling event. I think my main issue with this, uh, issue, is that Tom DeFalco has turned Bunker into one of ‘those’ guys. The parody gay. No, don’t do that. This is a bad thing you have done. Though, every issue has a silver lining, and mine is the little bit of shipping we get regarding Caitlin and Rose. Hooray, a queer Rose Wilson narrative at last! Rose, I’d like to introduce you to a young lady named Cassie. In another universe, everything she touched turned to lesbians. Be friends.

I’ve got the mother of all headaches, and the crushing disappointment only a Bart Allen fan could experience. I need a bit of downtime to absorb all of this new information. Hope to see y’all back next week!

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