Posts tagged The Flash

“I’ve got the magic in me.” -direct quote from Billy Kaplan

Now normally, I’d be lamenting the end of another month while at the same time joyfully expressing my love of the comics that came out this week…but May has five Wednesdays this time around, and DC shot its wad a bit early. So, I suppose that y’all can consider this an early warning. If I can’t think of something current and interesting to talk about next week, there may not be a post, as all DC is putting out for the fifth week of May are annuals for series’ I don’t read.

Ah, as for the lateness of this post, well…I guess I should come clean. I love independent comics. I probably love them more than superhero comics at this point, and I’ve spent the last few months building up my Los Bros Hernandez collection. Yesterday I picked up the twelfth volume of their Love and Rockets collection, Poison River, done entirely by Gilbert Hernandez about his best-known character, Luba. I got home around 10 pm and spent the next three hours devouring the entire book, before even touching the actual new comics I bought. But really, can any of you blame me? It’s always good to look outside one’s comfort zone, and trust me, there’s nothing on the market further from DC Comics’ new 52 than Love and Rockets.

I wanted to kick things off with a bang by looking at Bruce’s confrontation with Talia…but unfortunately, that’s to be put off another month. Grant Morrison wasn’t involved with the 11th issue of Batman Incorporated at all, despite being the creator of the two protagonists, Jiro Osamu (the Batman of Japan) and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary. Instead, we get an issue written by the usual artist, Chris Burnham, and an artist by the name of Jorge Lucas. If the name doesn’t ring a bell for the usual DC reader, have no fear! Lucas is yet another artist DC has drafted in from another company, this time Top Cow, though he has done work for Marvel in the past. As for the story itself, it’s not bad. A regular Bat-style bad guy punch-em-up with no real detective work thrown in (that’s left to the computers, don’t you know), and a cute look into Jiro and Canary’s size-challenged romance. Though seriously, this issue was originally solicited to be a direct continuation of #10, don’t do that again, DC.

It’s winter in Gotham! Well, sort of. This month’s issue of Li’l Gotham is full to bursting with celebration as Mr. Freeze learns the true meaning of the holiday season (hint: it isn’t kidnapping children), and the Gotham Girls have a crime-free night on the town…depending on how loosely you interpret the word “crime”. Nyugen and Fridolfs deliver yet another adorable issue of what I’m not even beginning to hesitate to call my favorite thing from DC right now. Be sure to come back next month for another two installments, all for $2.99! As far as digital-to-print comics go, that’s bargain basement, baby!

So there were some panels floating around earlier this week of Billy putting a gun in his mouth. His reasoning was that if he was dead, all his spells would come undone, and Loki would no longer have his powers. I’m going to be honest, those panels sent me into panic attack mode. Why? Because this is Kieron Gillen at the typewriter, kiddies. He would do it. Of all the talent Marvel has in their stable right now, I doubt there’s a creator out there who is quite as good at causing pain to comic fans as this guy. I mean, his last big writing job for Marvel, Journey into Mystery, is commonly nicknamed Journey into Misery by the fans of the book. If that’s not a telling sign of a man who wants to make you cry, I don’t know what is. 


Fuck you.
That being said! As far as closing issues to first arcs go, this one was quite the winner! While not quite destroyed, the Mother parasite has been beaten back to the point of nonexistence. This is a good thing! Unfortunately, in order to keep her that way, none of the Young Avengers are allowed to go back to New York City until Loki and Billy can figure out a way to eradicate her completely. This is a bad thing! So, parental distress, check. Suicide attempt, check. Constant reminders that Little Loki is not a good guy, nor looking out for the group’s best interests, check check. Um. At least Billy got a nifty new costume, the team is officially a team, and Kate is going to teach Noh-Varr the definition of ‘hot make-outs’ at some point in the future? Oh, and did I mention that the next issue is going to feature the return of Speed and, get this, David Alleyne?! Okay, this guy? He’s got my second favorite power, next to superspeed. Before the events of M-Day, he could absorb any knowledge from another person, though he’d end up forgetting it once they were out of range. His brain was later unlocked by the Stepford Cuckoos so that he’d be able to remember everything he’d ever learned. Granted, he’d never be able to learn anything new just by casting around for it, but still. I can’t even explain how excited I am for this guy to be in this book. Even more excited than I am about, say, Billy’s hot new costume:


He is Donna Troy-ing this mother up. Gotta love a guy with the confidence to wear a galaxy on his hips.

The Flash was certainly a busy beaver this week. Aside from his guest spot in Justice League Dark and showing up briefly in the main Justice League title, his own book had more mystery, death, and intrigue than you could shake a Speed Force-imbued stick at! But first, an unpopular opinion that no one cares about: I really do like Barry and Patty together, as a couple. They seem to make each other happy. While Barry has literally crossed the ravages of time and space for Iris, their life together happened in a different world. A better world, most would argue, but not the world we’re going to be seeing for a good while. I’ve made my peace with this, to an extent. I’m still pretty damn mad about it, in some respects, but I’ve mostly made my peace. That being said: Barry, you’re living with your girlfriend now, who knows that you’re actually the Flash. This less-than-professional interest you seem to have in Iris, and that she seems to have in you, isn’t going to go unnoticed for long. Patty Spivot is one blonde you can not make dumb jokes about. The meat of this issue, despite rather misleading appearances on the cover, is about detective work. Investigations are in, brutal violence is out! Well, sort of. We do get a neat scene where Barry windmills a train into submission in pursuit of a super-powered suspect, but that’s about it. So! Four bodies went into the Speed Force, Marissa, Gomez, Albert, and Iris. Three developed powers, two are left alive. One is on the run, one is oblivious…and Barry thinks that now is a good time to finally go investigate Kid Flash?! Bubba, your priorities are seriously wonky. I will say, the dedication to Carmine Infantino was a nice touch. Memorial pages have been popping up in comics all month, but an actual dedication…didn’t think you still had that kind of class in you, DC.

That was this week in comics! If you’re able, be sure to also pick up All-Star Western for a taste of Booster Gold, and the second to last issue of Fionna and Cake! Things are really heating up there! Going to be honest, unless there’s something I’m forgetting, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting any comics next week at all. Good for my wallet, bad for my soul! This may just call for a nifty little required reading list of my own…


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Dr. Langstrom, or how I learned to stop worrying and drink heavily to forget things that happen in Batman Incorporated.

And so we send off the month of April! A rather tumultuous month, we’ve seen shakeups in the Super-family, watched Batman slip quickly into insanity, and cheered as Diana continued to be awesome. As far as consistent quality goes, April has been…well. I made the executive decision to drop Batman and Batman and Robin from my pull list, because I am very much done with this nonsense. Glory ended, the few Marvel books I read continued their way up my list of favorites, we lost Carmine Infantino…it was a very varied month. Still, we’ve got three more books to look at before I can put April to rest, so let’s get to them.

Batman Inc was cancelled earlier this month. The tenth issue never came out, and we will never get closure on this Leviathan story that’s been building for over four years.

Okay, I’m lying. Batman Inc has been cancelled as of the 13th issue, where Grant Morrison will be ending his chapter in the history of Batman. There are three more issues following this one. Ha. Hahaha. I don’t want to live anymore.
Now, I know what that sounds like, but I probably don’t mean it the way you’re thinking. Batman Inc is a book of various levels of quality. The entire first series of it was…not great. The transitioning book, Leviathan Strikes, was fantastic. The second series, the one we’re in now, has had its high points (the return of Matches Malone! Damian teaming up with Jason as Redbird and Wingman! Ranger/Squire!), and it’s low, low points. Damian’s death was the lowest it could possibly get. A child was brutally killed. Knight’s death in the previous issue, tragic as it was, just couldn’t compare. This book could go nowhere but up. And this tenth issue has proven that theory.
Sort of.
Azrael makes a cameo! Kirk Langstrom makes a cameo! Bruce is forced to go head to head with Talia! The woman Hood brought Jason to is..! Okay, I could be wrong about this (my friends call me Nostradamus), but I think it’s Kathy Kane. Look at how her girls are dressed, look at the Spyral symbol in the background of their lair:


Kathy. Kane. 
There are other interesting parts of this issue, such as Talia exerting her control over the Damian clone, and her interactions with her father, as well as her punishment of the Leviathan followers who shot at Damian. Actually, forget about the other stuff that happened in this issue, Talia freaking stole it all. This woman is badass. She has a goal: Destroy the man who fathered her child and broke her heart. That’s it. Everything else she’s done with Leviathan is inconsequential to her so long as Batman goes down, along with the city he serves. I can tell that Morrison is trying to play up the crazy, insecure bitch angle, especially during her conversation with Ra’s, but I’m not buying it. Talia al Ghul is determined to drag the world down to hell…and I’m kind of rooting for her.

Hey, who wants to get their heart broken?! Now I know why a friend of mine called Journey into Mystery Journey into Misery. Kieron Gillen shouldn’t have this kind of power, he’s just using it for evil. Take for example, “How do you know you’re not just the result of your boyfriend’s latent reality warping abilities in their earliest form, Teddy?” Loki no. That’s not cool. Nothing about this issue is cool. Nothing. Okay, y’all caught me in another lie. Kate and Noh-Varr finally show up, and damn if they aren’t the coolest. Now, I was always rooting for Kate and Eli to work out as a couple, but this is good, too.
By the way, thanks for confirming that you never tapped Clint, Noh. That’s information we sorely needed.
Still, I’ve been a Marvel Boy fan for, uh, about as long as there’s been a Marvel Boy, honestly. I loved his mini series back in 2000, I loved his appearance in the Civil War crossover with the Runaways and the Young Avengers, I just really, really enjoy him as a character. Everything I’ve read him in has caused his character to grow and evolve, finally reaching what we see here: A music dork with a bangin’ booty. Excuse me, an awesome music dork with a bangin’ booty, my apologies. 
In this issue, pretty much everyone gets a ‘moment’. Noh-Varr beats up Mom’s people, Kate has her plasma bow, Miss America gets more than one great one-liner, Loki and Hulkling have their little discussion…unfortunately, Billy’s moment is the one where he fucks everything up. Kinda par for the course of this series, so far. So, Billy agrees to lend Loki his powers for ten minutes, and Loki gets the Hel out of dodge, leaving everyone else stranded there. I honestly don’t know what any of you were expecting, it’s Loki.

Saving the best for last, aw yeah. But am I? Am I really? No, I totally am. The Flash was awesome this month, and not just because it was the second issue of the two-part Trickster story. Basically, the premise is that Barry has to navigate Iron Heights without his speed, aided only by weapons that formerly belonged to his Rogues. And here’s the kicker: he doesn’t actually know how to use most of them. Oh, and the reason he’s even in Iron Heights is because he’s trying to prove that the Trickster didn’t kill anyone and get him released legally before Axel’s friends break him out of prison.
How has this comic not simply materialized in your hands from the sheer want of it? Come on, now.
Okay! So, watching Barry try and figure out how Mark’s, sorry, Marco’s weather wand works is about an eight on the scale of hilarity. He proves to be pretty good at working Axel’s stuff, though. Instructions: pull pin. Throw. Run away. Oh yeah, and I should probably mention, Albert, one of the guys that was in the Speed Force for several weeks, is in this issue, too. He’s on the cover, actually. Anyway, his power is to amp things up to eleven by touching them. Um. AHEM. Well, I have about fifty different ways I could turn that into a dirty joke, but I think I’ll go the classier route and just shut the hell up. So, what do you call a speedless Flash and a kid named Turbocharger when they go up against an entire prison, as well as a few dozen desert-dwellers? An ambulance…for the other guys! Turbocharger saves the day by boosting up one of Len’s old cold guns for Barry, which actually leads to Barry discovering who really committed the crime Axel was jailed for…another Speed Force-powered civilian named Marissa! Of course, Barry gets his speed back in the end, and learns about where it probably went via the Watchtower computer, but the story isn’t over yet. In the last two pages, drawn by Francis Manapul, we get our first real look at the new Reverse Flash! Aw, and we also say goodbye to Turbocharger. I liked the four issues you appeared in, guy.
This issue of Flash was worth its cover price and more. Especially because Axel, bless his apparently white cotton socks, actually took the time to go, “Hey, I know this guy. The bartender. What are you doing here?” and not drop the subject. Ladies and gentlemen, Axel Walker grew a brain. And is probably the height he used to be billed as (5’7″), if his height next to Barry is any indication. Hm, y’know, it just occurred to me. Did Axel ever get out of jail? That was never really made clear. The guys who were trying to break him out got jailed, and Marissa probably got arrested, but what about Axel? He was pretty determined to not leave without his stuff, so…maybe he’s still in there? Oh honey, you’re too pretty for jail, now.

And that was this week in comics! If you would kindly direct your attention to the past, Booster Gold is currently appearing in All-Star Western. Superman Family Adventures ended today, Flash guest-starred in Justice League Dark, Avenger’s Arena came out again (?), and. God, this is something I actually have to yell about, hold on.






FIRE THIS ARTIST, WHAT THE HELL. I’m Touch of Grey, I’m irrationally angry over things, goodnight.

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This just in:

Another living legend becomes slightly less so…Carmine Infantino passed away today at age 87. He leaves us with a comics legacy unlike any other. As one of the fathers of the Silver Age of comics, he gave the world Dinah Lance, Barbara Gordon, and most importantly to me, the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen and his young sidekick Wally West.

I met Mr. Infantino at Florida Supercon last year and while I was unable to afford to have him sign one of the comics I’d brought (#291 featuring Captain Cold, one of my favorite villains), I was able to talk to him for a little bit. I told him that his characters, his comics, were what had gotten me into comics in the first place. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Then I shook his hand and left, as I was getting a little teary-eyed. One of his table assistants caught up to the person I’d gone to the convention with later that day, telling him that I’d made Mr. Infantino very happy, as he was always glad to see the effect his work had on people.

Rest in peace, Mr. Infantino. The world is a slower place today without you.

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Reading the feels away.

The last week of the month is usually my favorite. Business tends to pick up at work, I’m that much closer to flipping to my new calender picture, and two of my favorite books come out. Yes, Young Avengers has officially made it onto my top five currently running favorite books (along with Saga), dropping Animal Man and Hawkeye to spots six and seven respectively. And I need these books today, as my boyfriend has gone up north for the next few months, and I am sad. So let’s get right to it!

Ugh, didn’t I just say that I was already sad? It’s like I never want to be happy again. Thankfully, the funeral of Damian Wayne takes up but a few pages, after which we turn to…oh, goddamnit. There is a part of me that believes that Grant Morrisson didn’t create Beryl to eventually become Knight, but that part is very small. I know the game you’re playing now, Grant. You create or revitalize characters, make us love them, and then in the blink of an eye and a snap of a neck, they’re gone. If you’ve been picking up the various Bat-titles with the Requiem logo on them, know this. You’re only going to get any sort of feeling of closure from Batman and Robin, and now Batman Inc. That’s how important Damian Wayne is to the Batfamily, folks. This is the sendoff he gets.

Ah, Young Avengers. What would I do without you and your fantastic sense of snark and timing? Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction are, in my opinion, the most on-the-ball writers in Marvel’s talent farm right now. I feel like they personify the statement, “comics should be good“. Damn it, DC, if you’re planning on stealing writers from Marvel, why not these guys? Ahem. In this third issue of Young Avengers, Miss America Chavez kicks some serious frost giant ass, Billy has lost his mojo, the babies go clubbing, and I’m officially past the point of terrified of Teddy’s mom. If I need to say anything other than that to get you to go buy it, I’m obviously not doing this right.

I have a horrible confession to make: I spent the extra money and bought both the regular cover and the variant cover of this month’s Flash. Yes, it’s the same picture, but wow, the detail in the shaded version?! Are there official modern art deities, because Francis Manapul deserves to be one of them. This issue, however, was not drawn by Manapul. In fact, the cover was the only thing he had any part in. Flash #18 was written entirely by co-writer Brian Buccellato, and drawn by Marcio Takara, whom you may remember from Blue Beetle. And, if I just may? Wow. I’ve gotten into hour-long arguments over why Barry is better when written by anyone other than Geoff Johns and, yup. My stance holds its ground. But enough about the creators! This issue starts a two-issue arc focusing on one of my personal favorite Rogues, Axel Walker, the Trickster. The Trickster has been framed for murder! But why? Well, if you haven’t been paying attention to the solicitations for the next few months, I’m going to spoil it for you: Reverse Flash. That’s this arc, really. Oh, and we get to see the effects of the Speed Force on more normal people who spend a lot of time in it, with Gomez and Albert, also known as the newest wannabe vigilantes in Central, Sprint and Turbo-Charger. But honestly, the person I’m most focused on here is Axel. Not because he’s one of my babies (he is) or because I’ve been waiting forever to see more of his New 52 personality (I have), but because his new personality is actually pretty similar to his old one. DCU Axel was certainly louder, more abrasive and, quite frankly, meaner than New 52 Axel has been shown to be so far, but they both have one thing in common: they’re both kids in a grown-up’s game, looking for a family to call their own. And New 52 Axel finally found it. Now, I think he may have chosen that family because of their similar taste in hair styles, but whatever makes him happy.

That was this week in comics! I’m…actually very tired. Incredibly tired. I just want to go to bed right now. But I’ll be back next week with…uh. Hm. This is embarrassing. Animal Man seems to have be missing from April, and since I dropped Swamp Thing after Scott Snyder left the title, there aren’t any regularly reviewed titles for next week. So, uh. Vacation?

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Breaking News: The news is broken. Earth-shattering events to follow.

You ever have one of those days where you feel like you should be happy, but you know you won’t be before the day is out? If you haven’t been reading the New York Times, watching the Yahoo trends, or visiting basically every comics website out there, spoiler alert: Damian Wayne is set to die today. So you know what? Consider this my version of going on strike. Flash and Young Avengers, both awesome books, also came out today, but so what? DC has decided to kill yet another prepubescent child.

Still, the show must go on. The Grodd story finally ends this week in Flash, and hoo boy, what a finale! It’s the ape in a cape versus Flash in the Speed Force! Okay, I’m gonna be honest, the dialogue was a little cheesy during their fight. It’s like Barry did a sudden 180 spin and decided to take his cues from JLU Wally. The result is…more than a little embarrassing. Still, he saves the day, gets the girl (gets two girls, actually, but shh, don’t tell Patty), and, hey! What’s that there?

…really? Okay? Okay. I’m not going to pick. But it looks like Metron left his chair and tried to cosplay as the Black Flash using a reference image that was shot through a mirror. But it’s not a bad costume. It just looks like a mish-mash of other costumes that weren’t currently in use.

So, while issue two of Young Avengers did kind of turn into The Billy and Teddy Show featuring Loki, it’s still essentially the best thing I’ve ever read. Mrs. Altman has remade the universe! Which makes me wonder if she was pulled into their universe, or if Billy accidentally transported them into hers. According to Loki, she’s a parasite that…yup, remakes universes. For some reason. Well, that’s vague. Still, it’s the dialogue that really makes this issue for me, especially the diner scene. Also, hey, if you’ve got the $10 to $20 comic shops are charging for the Stephanie Hans variant cover (I didn’t, and my shop wanted $15), go nuts. Because damn honey, is it pretty. I mean, look at it:

Holy wow, am I right? Young Avengers get all the good variant covers.


Long-time readers might remember a similar style of reviewing I did for the quiver of manure that was Rise of Arsenal. I call it, rant’n reaction reviewing. It’s not fun to write, mainly because you, the reader, are essentially watching my mental state degrade. It’s fun to read, though, after a draw off your bottle of what have you. So without further stalling, I’m currently completely unaware whether or not I’m proud to present to you, Batman Incorporated issue eight.

I’ll give them this: I like Chris Burnham’s Damian better than I like Patrick Gleason’s Damian. Gleason draws Damian’s head a bit too round for my taste, whereas Burnham’s Damian is reminiscent of the version by Frank Quitely, except here, he doesn’t look like a little old man in a Robin suit. None can match Marcus To’s Damian, though. I’m distracting myself. Hey look, Tim’s actually useful! There’s something you don’t see every day. Certainly not today, in Teen Titans. Don’t read that, by the way, it’s really bad.
You know what I’ve been missing for a year or so? Dick and Damian working together. It’s like DC forgot that they were partners for uh, over two years. Oh no, I’m crying. “So far, I’d say you’ve been my favorite partner. We were the best, Richard. No matter what anyone thinks.” Why the fuck would you do that, Grant? I know we’re not really on a first-name basis, but I think I’ve been following your work long enough to not have to call you Mr. Morrison. God, kill the kid if you must, but don’t remind us of the thing that was retconned by letting it slip that it wasn’t retconned. Oh no, here comes that which could have been Ibn al Xu’ffasch. Oh god no, you’re doing it again, Grant. That thing, where you’re reminding us how good Dick and Damian were for each other, to the point where Damian thought of him as something more than a friend. More than a brother. Dick was his partner, the person he trusted to keep him alive. Why would you do this? “Touch him again, I’ll kill you!”

I…I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t do this again. I’ve done this twice now, I can’t do it again. They only kill the ones I love. They only kill the ones I love. My introduction to Robin was in Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman movies, but my introduction to comics Robin was Jason Todd. Jason was my Robin. And the comics I was reading, the ones I could get my hands on, didn’t go up as far as Death in the Family. So flash forward, from 1995 to 1997, my first time in a comics shop. There’s a Robin comic, but that’s not Jason. That isn’t Jason at all. So I go up to the guy behind the counter. He’s a pretty young guy, maybe in his early 20s. And I say to him, who is this? Where’s Jason? And I’m so lucky, I’m so damn lucky that the person I talked to that day wasn’t a dick, else I wouldn’t be here now. He explained that the Joker had killed him, and gave me this copy of Death in the Family that had seen many better days before it. The first time I went into a comics shop was the day I learned that superheroes could die, especially if they were just kids. Like me.
Then, in 2004, they did it again. I’d liked Stephanie Brown since I first decided to get over my anti-Tim Drake sentiments and start reading the Robin comics in 1998, when Young Justice started. I liked Tim there, maybe I’d like him in his own series? Y’know what? I did. But I liked Steph better. She was plucky. She never gave up. Being a hero meant a lot to her, and she made it work. And then she got to be Robin. She got to be Robin for such a short time…and then they killed her. They killed her. And now Damian? No. I can’t do this. I can’t.

Call me stupid, call me weak. Say I’m overreacting. But just like with Lian Harper, and Adam Grant, and Cerdian, and Arthur Jr, and Josh Mardon, and Robbie Long, and all the other children unfortunate enough to be born to parents who live in the DCU…I can’t do this anymore. I can’t watch kids die. They’re not realI know that. They’re not alive. But they’re given life on the page, given life in the hearts of the people who read about them. They have thoughts and feelings and personalities. That’s what comics are. Imaginary people that we, the fans, take home every week. Fall in love with. Share with the people we care about, to let them into our world. I cared about Damian Wayne. He was a little shit, but he was my little shit. In the end, he was just a kid, a very well-trained kid, who wanted his parents to stop fighting. Goodbye, Damian. I will remember you smiling, and fighting, and being a pain in the ass to everyone, until you wormed your way into their hearts. You were a good kid, Damian Wayne, don’t let anyone ever tell you different.


And with that…I need to go cheer myself up. If anyone wants me, I’ll be watching Captain America with the boyfriend. Next week, we’ll have Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and me pregaming for my birthday on Thursday. See you there!

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2013 smells like Speed Force

Welcome to 2013, folks! Today we have three books up on the chopping block; two I love, and one that I love to hate. Let’s just jump right in!

Ha, oh Teen Titans. You know, I do believe I’ve had just about enough of you. As usual, Lobdell’s dialogue is weak, the general story is abysmal, and the idea that Tim is perfect with no flaws and knows everything…but still manages to get outsmarted by the Joker is just…bad writing. Okay? This book? Bad. I’ve been taking issue with it all year long, but I can’t do this anymore. No one addresses how Skitter has just been gone since before the end of the Culling event, no one really addresses how Superboy seems to pick and choose when he actually wants to be part of the team, they let Danny the street commit suicide to bring them home, and the last arc was all about how Cassie is bad at relationships. Teen Titans is not a good book. I’ve been unwilling to drop it because…they’re my babies. Bart, Tim, Cassie, Kon, even Kiran and Miguel. They’re my babies. I grew up with the first four, and grew to love Kiran before Lobdell got his talons into her. Miguel is darling in small doses, and could be amazing under a proper writer. So this is it. My sendoff. I’ll read the final issue of the DotF crossover for it, but I won’t be reviewing it. Goodbye Teen Titans, you were fucking horrible.

Batman Incorporated is one of those books that, if you want a payoff right now, you’re not going to like. Grant Morrison has been building up this storyline for years, ever since Talia lost Damian to his father. Her aborted attempt to get him back in Batman and Robin, only to end with her expelling him from her side of the family, seems to have been a feint, to see what he’d do. As it seems, mother dearest has been keeping tabs on her beloved Detective and her baby boy all along, going as far as to incapacitate the Dead Heroes Club…permanently, as it would look, in the case of Freight Train and the Knight. Ooh, yeah, moment of silence for him. After his Squire has a near-miss with the dark lady, a servant of the Demon’s Head takes out her protector. That really stung, as their mini was excellent, and I’d hoped that their involvement in Batman Inc might lead to them gaining popularity, and possibly their own book. In lighter news, this issue seems to include the origin of Alfred the cat, one of the only characters that seems to follow Damian into adulthood. Oh, a thought came to mind. As odd as it may be, I think Talia is the only person intimately connected to the Bat that has been left out of the Death of the Family event…which leads me to believe that the Joker is afraid of her. Smart move there, clown.

As you all may know, Flash #15 was supposed to come out last week, but a tricky thing called ‘Christmas’ waylaid it until today. Which is a damn shame, really, as this issue would have been the perfect thing to end 2012 on, for me. Reading it, I got shivers, especially on the last nine pages. Don’t get me wrong, Marcus To is a master storyteller. His craft, his art, is spectacular, and the first eleven pages of this issue could not have been handled more beautifully. But Francis Manapul…I have creative heroes. I have creative crushes. And then there’s Francis Manapul. With only Barry’s sparse mental dialogue and the images of possible futures, should the humans of Central and Keystone attempt to keep defying Grodd, Manapul manages to fit issues worth of content into nine pages. He has ascended to Perez-esque levels when it comes to attention to detail and is, in my opinion, out of the ridiculous stable of talent they have assembled, DC’s current top artist. I realize that this is more of a critique of the creators than a review of the issue, but trust me. Flash #15 is not an issue you want to miss.

And that was this week in comics. If you’ve got the spare dollars, I also cannot recommend Glory, American Vampire, the final issue of Punk Rock Jesus, and the first issue of Fionna and Cake enough. See you next week when I take a look at Animal Man and Swamp Thing!

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Hell is a place on Earth (called Gotham City)

Before I jump into this week’s comics, I’d like to have a moment of silence for James Jesse. On this day, five years ago, a terrible Crisis tie-in series killed him off. Some may call it an act of mercy, seeing as the rest of the series seemed hellbent on driving his friend Hartley Rathaway completely bugfuck insane. Comics have felt dry and devoid of any rubber chicken-related humor ever since.

So, who called it? I mean, of course Laurie was going to go back to her mom in the end. The series had to end like that. But she also killed a man with a high-heeled shoe to the throat and a hippie bus, so there’s that. All in all? The Silk Spectre Before Watchmen mini wasn’t bad. I’m saying this as someone who was never really a huge fan of the original Watchmen book in the first place, though, so your mileage may vary.

Well, at least the art was good. DC, I’m begging you. I’m throwing myself on the ground at your feet and fucking pleading with you, take Scott Lobdell off Teen Titans. Take him off it. Give the book to someone else, cancel it, I don’t care, just get Scott Lobdell away from my babies. Cassie deserves more than just being the center of a love…er, rectangle? Whether Diesel died or not was never really made clear. But anyway, she’s so much more than just a love interest, and Lobdell simply doesn’t understand that. Same goes for Kiran. I want to know how she ended up in that state, and who the meta offering to turn her human again is. But it’s likely that this plot, just like the one with Skitter, will be ignored until after the Death of the Family tie-in issues. Speaking of which, Lobdell has two books that tie into Death of the Family, Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws. My soul weeps.

Ha. Hahaha. Hahahaha Bruce you douchebag. We return this month to the world of Batman #666, where Damian was both Batman and a loving cat owner. Things I’m glad to see: wheelchair Babs, Alfred the cat, Damian’s shaved head. Things I’m not glad to see: that the entire Batman #666 future scenario is a dream that Bruce had, which is his main reason for sending Damian away and keeping him at an arm’s length. You lunatic, you had a dream. Dreams do not dictate the future unless you are Naltorian. So shut the hell up and let your League of Assassins-trained child be a superhero. He’s certainly a lot more qualified than you or the rest of your Robins ever were.

I was a little confused by this month’s Flash, so I ended up going back and reading it twice. Okay, so. What happened this issue? Well, uh. Flash ran around fighting Grodd. I’m not disappointed with this issue, not completely, as there was a great scene with the Rogues where Lisa temporarily relinquishes control of ‘her’ team so that they have a better chance of making it out alive, not to mention the nice bits with Patty and Turbine, and the relevance of that dang gorilla from issue #9 finally came to light…but where is Axel? Piper and David? I mean, we see Forrest getting kidnapped by Grodd’s army, but how are the rest of the Central City Police Force faring? I don’t know. As far as showcasing Grodd’s strengths and Barry’s weaknesses when fighting against someone connected to the Speed Force, this issue was fantastic. But still, it was basically a big fight scene with a bit of exposition attached, so that’s a bit of a turn off for me, personally.

Not a bad way to end a month! Also of note, the new Adventure Time and American Vampire came out this week, I highly recommend picking them up! See you next week when we start the countdown to the end of 2012 with Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Minutemen, and the Death of the Family tie-in issue of Detective Comics. Have a good Wednesday, folks!

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