Review: Batman Arkham City comic tie-in

October 15, 2011

Arkham City game is just around the corner, so I thought I’d pick up the recently collected trade version of the comic series Batman: Arkham City.  For those who don’t know, it’s the tie in between the first game and the upcoming game and of course, beware of SPOILERS!

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Review: Batman the Dark Knight #1

September 28, 2011

This week David Finch and Paul Jenkins gets to work on the Batman centered issue and oddly I had no expectations in any regard going into this one.

SPOILER WARNING!

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Mini-Reviews

November 4, 2009

Arkham Reborn #1 (of 3)

Arkham

With the popularity of the absolutely stellar Batman: Arkham Asylum and the recent relaunch of the Bat-franchise, it should come as no surprise that Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum would get its own miniseries.  After the mass breakout from the Asylum and subsequent explosion, Jeremiah Arkham, ancestor of the Asylum’s original designer, has taken it upon himself to continue the grand, bumbling legacy of the world’s only criminal institution with a revolving door.

Hine does a good job building the book slowly, despite the fact that the entire mini-series is only three issues long.  Here we meet Arkham’s new staff, specifically Jeremiah Arkham, who believes in curing Gotham’s madmen with love and respect; Alyce Sinner, sole survivor of a massive suicide cult and expert on the criminally insane; and Aaron Cash, now Arkham’s head of security and one of the tragic figures to come out of Dan Slott’s excellent Arkham Asylum: Living Hell.  Jeremiah has met with some small success in his bid to rehabilitate, but we know that the laws of comic book storytelling says that that can’t last – Dr. Sinner soon betrays him, revealing the Asylum’s dark, heinous underbelly in a bid to keep things crazy.

There’s nothing unpredictable here, but Hine does a good job setting the mood and introducing everyone, while artist Jeremy Haun turns in excellent work on all fronts, designing a few new characters and an all-new Arkham and still managing to craft a few extremely memorable images.  The pair seem well-suited, and while it seems that the entire mini’s purpose is to keep Arkham Asylum the same hellhole it has been these past few years, at least they seem to be having plenty of fun with it.

Grade: B+

Detective Comics #858

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Years after the character was introduced and months into her first solo title, “Go” marks our first foray into the origins of Kate Kane.  Growing up moving from military base to military base, Kate and Beth Kane really only had each other growing up.  A few issues back, it was hinted that something bad happened to her growing up, and now we see what that is: after earning a post in France, Mrs. Kane, Kate and Beth were kidnapped by terrorists during a security alert.  While Kate couldn’t see what was happening to her mother and sister, the aftermath certainly left an impression.

Rucka’s storytelling is far more solid here than in the previous arc, perhaps due to the shortened arc’s tighter focus.  Whatever the reason, the issue provides a quick, tragic glimpse of an origin that didn’t go at all where I thought it would, and was wrapped up in a single issue, leaving next month for the fallout.  J.H. Williams III makes an abrupt shift in style for the bulk of the issue, giving the flashback to Kate’s youth a vastly more structured layout and color-palette.  The contrast between the two time-periods is gorgeous and memorable, once again suggesting Williams as one of comics’ top talents.

The Question back-up finally wrapped up its opening arc with this issue.  The lack of room the story had, confined as it was to these back pages, took away from some of the suspense the story might’ve had if it had had more room to build up an atmosphere or throw us a plot twist or two, but it has nonetheless remained a consistently entertaining action comic, thanks in part to Rucka’s collaborator, Cully Hamner, whose layouts and art make it a joy to watch Renee in motion.

Between the issue’s two parts, Detective Comics features a pair of artists at the top of their games, anchored by strong writing of two fascinating new heroines.  It’s well-worth your time.

Grade: B+

Astro City: Astra Special #2 (of 2)

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Astro City: Astra Special concludes on a high note.  Anyone who has graduated college can relate to what Astra is going through as she continues to tell her boyfriend Matthew about the increasingly bizarre possibilities open to a young woman of her immense talents.  From mundane jobs with research institutes on Earth to a chance to untie, one world at a time, a series of realities knotted together by a madman’s destructive last act, Astra has, for the first time in her life, no idea what to do next.

While the other part of the book will probably resonate less with others, using a now-grown child heroine to look at and condemn our deranged obsession with celebrity culture largely works.  Though there are a few painful, relatively clunky moments, Busiek works hard to keep the emotions honest and keep it all part of Astra’s story.

Astro City: Astra Special combines Jack Kirby’s flare for bizarre cosmic world-building with a more grounded, human story.  Anderson’s pencils are much improved when he’s dealing with these larger-than-life concepts, and together the pair brings us a small-in-scope, massive-in-scale story about the pains of growing up.  It isn’t the most memorable Astro City story, but it’s honest and entertaining, and continues to flesh out the best setting in comics.

Grade: A-

Blackest Night: Superman #3 (of 3)

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Blackest Night: Superman, which started out so much vastly stronger than the other “Blackest Night” related books, ends here more with a whimper than with a bang.  The book does have some interesting revelations about the weaknesses of the Black Lanterns, as well as an explanation for what New Krypton is up to throughout the event, but it amounts to little more than that, in the end.

Despite its failure to live up to its own eerie opening issue, Blackest Night: Superman #3 nonetheless offered solid action illustrated by Eddie Barrows doing what he’s most comfortable doing, with (perhaps sadly) the best writing Robinson’s been doing, lately.  Robinson continues to use the emotional spectrum’s color-coding to vastly more effect than the main mini to give us a neat, inside peak into the characters heads in otherwise wordless scenes, a trick that works especially well with Psycho Pirate in the mix.  Ultimately, Blackest Night: Superman isn’t bad.  It’s just forgettable.

Grade: B

Mini-Grade: B

- Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Astro City: Astra Special #1

Blackest Night: Superman #2

Detective Comics #857


DC Solicitations for October 2009 + Commentary

July 22, 2009

For anyone who hasn’t read one of these before, here’s the deal: I rundown the lastest DC solicits and give my thoughts.  Hilarity ensues.

Blackest Night books:

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I’m just going to cover all of the Blackest Night books in one entry this month.  Otherwise, I’ll run the risk of repeating myself.  Last week’s review of Blackest Night #1 proved quite polarizing.  Most of the fan community seemed to think the book was a masterpiece.  To say the least, I disagreed.

I have read a 6-page preview of this week’s issue of Green Lantern and I am happy to say I liked it better than anything in Blackest Night #1.  The pages I read featured a conversation among Barry Allen, Hal Jordan and Martian Manhunter as a Black Lantern.  What I liked about what I saw was that J’onn was not an “Evil Dead”-style demon like Ralph and Sue Dibny in BN1.

(For all I know, he vowed to swallow Hal’s soul on page 7, but 6-pages without an “I smell a mystery” was a big improvement in my book.)

One of my big problems with BN 1 and last month’s issue of Green Lantern was all of the recapping.  A few people have assured me that all of this recapping was necessary.  And while I’m not necessarily sure it was, hopefully we’re all past it and the story can get started.

I still have some reservationsabout the premise of this story.  And BN #1 kind of confirmed some of my worst fears about what Blackest Night would entail.  But the vast majority seem to be eating this up, so what do I know?

Well, I do know this.  Tales from the Corps #1 was a big, fat waste of money.  I never got around to writing up a proper review.  But save your $4.  DC had the sheer audacity to reprint the various corps pages from Blackest Night 0 – which was, you know, free!

Based on this, I have really low expectations of the tie-ins.  For my money, these tie-ins just look horrible.  And DC has a really lousy track record with tie-ins.  So, buyer beware.

GREEN LANTERN #47

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Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy

    BLACKEST NIGHT continues! The war between the Blue Lanterns and Agent Orange implodes as the universe darkens! But a strange turn will send this epic battle in an unexpected direction when Larfleeze has something he desperately hordes taken away from him!

The war between Larfleeze and the Blue Lanterns is STILL going to be going on in October?  I kind of expected that to be a one-pager since the Blue Lanterns are pretty much helpless without a nearby Green Lantern.  This had better be good stuff if it’s going to hold my interest until October.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #41

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Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Patrick Gleason & Rebecca Buchman

    The intense and horrific battle between the Green Lantern Corps and the Black Lanterns on Oa takes a turn for the worse! The Corps realizes that the abominable, ultimate goal of the Black Lanterns is not only to feed off the Corps’ emotions, but to consume and decimate the main power battery and destroy Oa forever!

Someone remembered John Stewart.  I think I may pass out!

Final Crisis Aftermath Books:

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I haven’t been following these books (see earlier comment about DC’s track record with tie-ins) so I’m just going to lump them all together.

Seventh Soldier is still posting reviews for Ink and Dance.  Check them out if you are so inclined.

I wouldn’t mention these books at all except that they all end in October!  Any bets as to whether or not they end before Legion of Three Worlds?

BATMAN AND ROBIN #5

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Written by Grant Morrison
Art and variant cover by Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion

    Are two Dynamic Duos too much for one city? Batman and Robin find themselves at cross-purposes with Red Hood and Scarlet. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And who will end up being the chosen protectors of Gotham City?

Check out our round table on B&R #1.  And here’s Bruce Castle’s review of B&R #2.

I have pretty mixed feelings about Morrison’s run on Batman.  To be sure, there was some crazy, brilliant stuff in there.  But I often found individual issues to be frustrating.  I’ve gone back and read his issues several times since Batman RIP and they definitely read better this way.

But I love the freshness of Batman and Robin.  This book just feels like a great super hero comic.  It’s still got the crazy Morrison touches.  But it’s totally accessible.  And there are Easter eggs for those of us who read Morrison’s earlier Batman tales.

BATMAN ANNUAL #27

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Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by J. Calafiore & Mark McKenna

    A murdered priest. A desecrated grave marker. A kidnapped child. A secret key. A mystery whose solution could upset the world order. For Batman and Robin to stop the rampage of a zealot named Amon, the Sixth Sinner, they first have to halt a deadlier foe intent on making sure Amon succeeds. To end the killer’s mad scheme, Batman faces Azrael, Death’s Dark Knight! “The Eighth Deadly Sin” continues in DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11 and sets the stage for this month’s premiere issue of the AZRAEL ongoing series!

DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11

 

dtc_annual_11
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Tom Mandrake

    Picking up where BATMAN ANNUAL #27 left off! A lock without a key. A murder mystery whose solutions could lead to countless deaths. An answer in search of – the Question! Renee Montoya must help Batman save Robin from Amon, the Sixth Sinner, while keeping the fanatic killer from uncovering a 2,000-year-old religious secret. But is Azrael willing to risk Robin’s life in order to see this secret revealed? “The Eighth Deadly Sin” sets the stage for this month’s premiere issue of the AZRAEL ongoing series!

AZRAEL #1

 

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Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ramon Bachs

    Following the events of “The Eighth Deadly Sin” in BATMAN ANNUAL #27 and DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11, the new monthly series starring Death’s Dark Knight begins! Michael Lane is a man in search of redemption, but does serving the Order of Purity as God’s Angel of Justice bring him closer to achieving his goal – or simply send him further down a road paved with good intentions? When a hired killer comes to Gotham City seeking revenge for crimes committed decades in the past, Azrael faces an impossible conflict: What if God’s justice forces the hero to claim one of God’s servants? From writer Fabian Nicieza (SUPERMAN, TRINITY) and artist Ramon Bachs (RED ROBIN)!

I lumped these three books together.  Unless you are really interested in Azreal, those two annuals are going to be massively skippable.  I read a lot of the original Azreal series.  I guess that makes me an Azreal fan.  I’ll pick up #1 and give it a look.  But I doubt I’ll pick up those annuals.  And shame on DC if they are required reading to enjoy Azreal #1.

ARKHAM REBORN #1

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Written by David Hine
!Haun and artist Jeremy Hine ASYLUM creative team of writer David ARKHAM illness, the building soon mutates into a torture house, and the inmates find themselves trapped in a living hell. And when Jeremiah starts hearing a voice from beyond the grave, it becomes painfully clear that the lunatics really have taken over the Asylum! Beginning a 3-issue miniseries from the BATTLE FOR THE COWL: al has rebuilt the Asylum following the design of his mad Uncle Amadeus. Intended as a model for enlightened treatment of mentArkham Asylum in BATTLE FOR THE COWL, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham    Following the Black Mask’s destruction of

HaunArt and variant cover by Jeremy

I didn’t read most of the Battle for the Cowl tie-ins (see earlier comments about DC’s track record with tie-ins) so maybe I missed the boat on Arkham Asylum.  But the solicit for this issue just sounds unpleasant.  This sure isn’t something I want to read!

BATMAN: THE UNSEEN #1-2

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Written by Doug Moench
Art and cover by Kelley Jones
    The fan-favorite Bat-team of Doug Moench and Kelley Jones reunite to introduce the newest member of Batman’s rogues gallery in this twice-monthly, 5-issue miniseries! Horrible and unexplained murders have Gotham City held captive. Bizarre deaths have been occurring throughout the city, but the perpetrator is unknown. Even when the crimes have been committed in view of witnesses, all that is seen is a glimpse of a weird, skinless “meat-man” who seems to fade away after the crimes. Gotham’s only hope is their Dark Knight Detective, but how can Batman find and fight an Invisible Man?

Lots of Bat-books this month!  I’m skipping over that Kevin Smith book because really, I don’t care.  This mini-series seems equally skippable.  But I am more intrigued by a Doug Moench and Kelley Jones reuninion than I am a Kevin Smith bat-book.  So, maybe I’ll give it a try.

BATMAN #691

 

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Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley & Rob Hunter

    BATMAN double-ships this month as Two-Face and the new Batman throw down in the Batcave. And the fight is a vicious one, but just as Two-Face begins to get the upper hand…Batman shows up? The final chapter of Dick Grayson’s first adventure as Batman is a can’t-miss!

I didn’t expect to like Winick’s return to Batman.  Winick has been seriously disappointing me for the last year or so.  But his first two issues of Batman were surprisingly readable.  Even good!  So, I’m looking forward to more.

One of the best things about Winick’s Batman so far is that it more less makes Battle for the Cowl irrelevant.  Which brings me to:

BATMAN #692

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Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea

    BATMAN double-ships this month with Tony Daniel returning to the series as the new writer and artist after his best-selling BATTLE FOR THE COWL miniseries! With Batman pounding the pavement in search of Black Mask, Penguin on the run, and the completion of the new Arkham Asylum looming close, Gotham City has reached a boiling point! Guest-starring Catwoman and the Huntress and featuring the return of Gotham City’s most notorious crime family!

I never thought I’d say this, but thank god Winick’s coming back!  Who knows, maybe Daniel will surprise me.  I never thought I’d be enjoying Winick’s Batman, so I guess anything is possible.

But, what’s up with the revolving door on this book?  Batman is one of DC’s best selling titles.  We’ve had three artists and two writers since the revamp of the line.  There has to be a better way to handle one of your flagship books!

DETECTIVE COMICS #858

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Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner

    The shocking and tragic origin story of Batwoman begins here! In “Go” part 1, young Kate Kane and her family are kidnapped by terrorists, and Kate’s life – and the lives of her family – will never be the same! Plus, the mystery behind the villainous Alice is at last revealed!
    Then, in The Question co-feature, Renee’s search for a missing girl comes to a bittersweet end, leaving Renee with more questions and an even bigger mystery for her to solve. As long as she can survive the night, that is…

I’ve only got one issueof Detective to go by so far, but it was a good one.  Since we really don’t know much about Batwoman at this point, this story sounds like a good one.  Hopefully, it will fill in the gaps the same way Rucka’s Action Comics Annual did for that book.  Although it’s a shame that story was stuck in an Annual instead of folded into the main book the way this one is.

BATGIRL #3

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Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott
Cover by Phil Noto
    It’s a new look and a new costume for the all-new Batgirl! As crime in Gotham City continues to rise, the newest member of the Bat-family vows to wear the mantle of the Bat and fight alongside Batman and Robin in their war on crime. There’s just one problem: She hasn’t told Batman and Robin yet!

Love the Noto cover!  DC sure is being secretive about who will wear the Batgirl costume.  If the book is good, I won’t care who’s wearing the costume.  Having said that, if it’s Barabara Gordon that’s going to be somewhat anti-climactic, donchathink?

BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #5

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Written by Chris Yost; co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
to hunt him down!Manhunter co-feature, Jane Doe is in custody and claiming that Two-Face asked her to kill the former D.A. Since Kate Spencer can’t find the bipolar baddie, it’s up to Manhunter    Meanwhile, in the

    The 2-part “Leviathan” story begins from guest writer Chris Yost (RED ROBIN) as the Huntress finds herself in an unusual position – the responsible one! Because when Huntress hunts down a violent new criminal, she finds herself stuck with a violent, loose cannon of a partner on the case – the Man-Bat.
Haun; co-feature art by Jeremy FridolfsArt by Dustin Nguyen & Derek

Since the Batbooks relaunched, three titles have really stood out; Batman and Robin, Detective Comics and Streets of Gotham.  So, I’m a little disappointed to see a fill-in writer already.  I’m ready to see the Huntress get the spotlight, but a team-up with Man-Bat makes that prospect a lot less appealing.

RED ROBIN #5

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Written by Chris Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs

    “Council of Spiders,” Part 1 of 4! Ra’s al Ghul goes from hunter to hunted! What is the Council of Spiders, why have they been killing assassins, and who is the Wanderer? After the death of Red Robin last issue, the League of Assassins now must – wait, WHAT? Everything shifts into insane overdrive as the daughter of Wayne Enterprises CEO Lucius Fox completes her quest to find Red Robin, only to get caught up in one of the deadliest games on the face of the planet.

Red Robin #1 was a surprisingly good read.  Issue 2 hit a lot of the same story beats.  So, issue three had better be pretty good or I won’t be around for issue 5.  Robin + the League of Assassins is usually not a good mix.  The League has not been used to good effect in recent years.  So, my expectations are pretty low for this series.  But not as low as they are for…

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #5

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Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
    Harley Quinn takes center stage this issue as the girls deal with the after effects of Hush’s deadly manipulations over the last few months. Plus, don’t miss a surprise guest-star!

Issue onesure blew.  Read Seventh Soldier’s review for the gruesome details.  All I’ll say is that this book reminds me of Dini’s work on Countdown…

OUTSIDERS #23

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Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin & Jay Leisten

    “The Hunting” continues as Halo, Katana and The Creeper attempt to capture Killer Croc and return him to Gotham City before more dead bodies surface in the Louisiana swamps. But when Man-Bat joins the fight, will he side with the monster or the monster-hunters?

I’ve been planning to give this book a try for a long time now, but every time I think about picking the book up it is in the middle of a massive story arc.  So far, no one has recommended this book to me.  Maybe I’m not missing anything.

WORLD’S FINEST #1

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Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Julian Lopez

    After tracking down a threat to The Man of Steel – and all of Metropolis – Red Robin must team up with the new Kryptonian Nightwing to end this mysterious threat and rescue Flamebird. But is all this just a red herring to distract the heroes from an even bigger threat to Gotham City and New Krypton? Be here to find out in this 4-issue miniseries from rising star writer Sterling Gates (SUPERGIRL) and artist Julian Lopez.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new Batman and Superman families interact.  I’m a fan of Sterling Gates’ work on Supergirl.  Looks good!

SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #2

 

smorigin2_cvr
Written by Geoff Johns
!Luthor Lex and see how meeting the Legion of Super-Heroes shapes the Superman he will one day become! Plus, more on the beginnings of the young Superboy century as th journey into the late 30alof all time continues! In this second issue, readers will witness young Clark Kent’s initi

    Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s exploration of the origin of the greatest Super Hero
SibalArt by Gary Frank & Jon

I’ve been accused of hating on Geoff Johns a lot lately based on the fact I haven’t been drinking the Blackest Night Kool Aid.  But I have been a huge fan of his work on Superman.  This series is bound to be chock-a-block with Geoff Johns retcons.  But they will be drawn be Gary Frank.  And odds are there won’t be any superheroes revived as Evil Dead-style zombies. 

Geoff Johns, if you’re out there, more like this please.

ACTION COMICS #882

 

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Written by Greg Rucka & Sterling Gates; co-feature written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Julian Lopez; co-feature art by CAFU

    “The Hunt for Reactron” part 3! Supergirl and Flamebird continue their slugfest, with poor Nightwing caught in the middle! Wait, isn’t that man standing over there the same Reactron who murdered Supergirl’s dad and Flamebird’s surrogate father? Get him! Continued in SUPERGIRL #46…
    And in the new Captain Atom co-feature, the mystery of where (and when) Captain Atom is heats up when someone with a connection to Metropolis arrives on the scene. But are they friend or foe?

I didn’t get around to writing up a review of the last issue of Action Comics which featured the debut of the Captain Atom back-up feature.  So, let me just say right here: WTF?  I had read that Rucka and Robinson knew the first installment would leave people scratching their heads.  But that was so not cool.  You’ve got 10 pages.  At least give us something!

Of the Superman books, Action has been the weakest.  Which is not to say it’s bad.  It’s better than a lot of the Bat-books.  But it’s not living up to the high standards of Robinson’s Superman, World of New Krypton or Supergirl.  I’ve even considered dropping the book.  But since I’m reading Supergirl, I’ll stick around through the Reactron storyline.

Hopefully the Captain Atom co-feature will make sense by then.

ADVENTURE COMICS #3

 

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Written by Geoff Johns; co-feature written by Geoff Johns & Michael Shoemaker
Art by Francis Manapul, co-feature art by Clayton Henry

    Superboy is back and hunting for Lex Luthor! He can’t find Luthor on his own, and he needs help from his best friend Tim Drake, a.k.a. Robin. But Tim’s now traveling the globe under the alias of Red Robin! The boys’ reunion isn’t all smiles and hugs, as Conner discovers that Tim has been hiding a great many secrets from the newly returned Boy of Steel. And they’re secrets that could destroy their friendship!
    Plus, in the Legion of Super-Heroes co-feature, the intergalactic odd couple known as Sun Boy and Polar Boy team up to figure out what’s up with the menace trying to destroy the universe.

To date, I still have no idea how Conner came back (although rumor has it Legion of 3 Worlds comes out today.  Maybe that will finally explain it.  Honestly, I don’t care.  I’m just glad to have him back.  And I’m glad to finally see these Titan reunions.  I hope this book lives up to my expectations.

SUPERMAN #693

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Written by James Robinson
Art by Fernando Dagnino & Raúl Fernandez
    It’s a special issue set entirely within General Lane’s Project 7734 headquarters! Learn more about the mysterious Mirabai, Codename: Assassin and Atlas, and witness Lane ply information out of his latest…acquisition. All this plus revelations about Lex Luthor and Brainiac!

I think we can all agree that Cry for Justice was a joke, right?  (If you liked it, please write me a 1,000 word essay on why you like crappy comics.)  But Robinson’s Superman has been a really under-rated gem.  And this looks like a pivotal issue.  Can’t wait!

SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #8

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Written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods

    On a mission in space, Superman and his fellow Kryptonians encounter the might of the Thanagarian Army. Can Superman keep things peaceful between the two races – or will The Man of Steel discover that Hawkman’s legendary temper is shared by all his people?

I’m on the record as loving this book.  Kryptonians vs. Thanagarians?  Yes please.  But please don’t pull another Green Lantern issue.  I think it was issue 3 where the cover depicted Kal vs. Hal.  But the actual issue had them shaking hands and slapping each other on the back.  Not a punch was thrown.  I may be mistaken, but I think they had tea and scones. 

Anyway, since there’s no fight on the cover maybe we can expect one within the pages of the book!

SUPERGIRL #46

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Written by Sterling Gates & Greg Rucka
Art by Jamal Igle & Jon Sibal

    Continuing from ACTION COMICS #882, “The Hunt for Reactron” concludes! It’s the final showdown between Flamebird, Supergirl and the man who killed their father. And for the Daughters of Zor-El, that means it’s payback time. Will Reactron make it out alive? Or is Nightwing the only one who can save
them all?

Hold on!  Did we know previously that Flamebird was Supergirl’s sister?!?  I think not.  Ooops.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #28

 

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Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art and cover by Jesus Saiz
    J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man) and Jesus Saiz (OMAC PROJECT) continue their series of unlikely pairings with a match that spans the decades! When an experiment meant to alter the speed of light goes awry, Barry Allen finds himself face-to-face with some surprising allies – World War II’s legendary Blackhawks! But Barry isn’t the Flash they know, and he’s not even the kind of hero they need to help fight history’s most grueling war! What must Barry sacrifice to serve his country – and his world?

Another odd pairing from JMS.  Barry + Blackhawks really isn’t doing it for me.  JMS is going to have to really deliver the goods to win me over with these kinds of team-ups.

BOOSTER GOLD #25

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Written by Dan Jurgens; co-feature written by Matthew Sturges
Art and cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund; co-feature art by Mike Norton
    “Day of Dead” concludes as Booster Gold battles Black Beetle in the past and jumps through time to team up with the new Batman and Robin in the future. But how are these events connected – and what is the Black Beetle really after?
    Then, in Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes must stop the Blue Beetle scarab from trying to kill him…and everyone else on the
planet Earth!

If you left Booster Gold when Geoff Johns left (as I did) it’s time to come back.  The book is just as much fun now as it was then.  In fact, the addition of the Blue Beetle back-up feature has made it a party.  You like parties, don’t you?

DCU HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2009 #1

 

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Written by Joe Harris, Billy Tucci, Jake Black, Franco, Adam Schlagman, Mandy McMurray and others
Art by Rags Morales, Joe Prado and others

    Darkness falls across the land as the DC Universe faces its greatest horror in this Halloween special filled with all-new stories! Watch as Guy Gardner continues his quest to share Halloween with the cosmos and his fellow alien Green Lantern Corps members. In another tale, Red Robin finds the true, deadly meaning of the sinister holiday while overseas on his quest to find Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, Bizarro receives neither trick nor treat in his own backwards celebration of the spookiest night of the year on his home world. Plus, 10 other ghoulish tales to fill you with fright this Halloween!

By now, I think everyone knows these holiday specials are pointless.  Seriously, who’s buying them?  Save your $6!

DOOM PATROL #3

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Written by Keith Giffen; co-feature written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Matthew Clark & Livesay;co-feature art by Kevin Maguire

    Remember Mento? Yeah, that guy – goofy helmet, lightning bolt on his chest. After reading this issue, it’s a sure bet you won’t forget him again any time soon. Oh yeah, and the resolution of that whole “black hole” thing from last issue adds a kinda-sorta new member to the Doom Patrol roster. As for everyone’s favorite Metal Men, it’s the dynamic debut of Douglas, Robot Hunter! We’re too good to you.

I’ve never been a fan of Doom Patrol or the Metal Men.  But the creative team on this book pretty much guarantees I give it three issues to win me over.

GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY #25

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Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Renato Guedes, Mike Norton, José Wilson Magalhães & Bill Sienkiewicz

    The main story this month focuses on the sudden and strange return of Green Arrow! Of course, we’re talking about the Green Arrow that Black Canary stabbed on her wedding night!
    And in this issue’s co-feature, Black Canary is stunned to find that Cupid can’t tell the difference between the two Green Arrows – which could lead to one of the deadliest Super-Villain teams of all time!

I have to admit my heart sank a little when I saw Kreisberg was still writing this book.  Every month, I check the solicit to see if he’s been replaced yet.  No such luck.  This solicit suggests that Green Arrow/Black Canary is going to continue to suck well into the fall.

Sigh.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #32

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Written by Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham
Art and cover by Jesus Merino
    The seismic rift among the members of the Justice Society deepens due to the strange actions of several new team members as well as some long-seeded conflicts! It all leaves them dangerously weakened as their home base faces assault from an army of bounty hunters who plan on collecting the price on the head of each and every member of the Society!

I remain cautiously optimistic about the new creative team on JSA.  They have some big shoes to fill!

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #38

 

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Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mark Bagley

    A new era begins for the World’s Greatest Heroes as superstars James Robinson (STARMAN, SUPERMAN) and Mark Bagley (TRINITY, Ultimate Spider-Man) take over! It all begins as a one-time member of the JLA falls before he can warn the team of looming peril while what’s left of the JLA journeys to the heart of their past to decide if the team has any future at all.
    Of course, that means this is the best time for a savage villain from the team’s past to attack the demoralized heroes! The team will have to muster enough will to win not only today, but in the harrowing months to come. It’s the start of a spanking new odyssey for the JLA that will lead in the coming months to a fresh line-up for DC’s flagship team. Get onboard now for the next epic chapter of the Justice League’s legacy!

I’ve been waiting for DC to make JLA relevant again.  And ordinarily, Robinson and Bagley would be cause to celebrate.  But Cry for Justice #1 was really, really bad.  You know it was.  Stop fooling yourself just because Mauro Cascioli painted Wonder Woman in a thong that would make a porn star blush.

Hopefully, the Robinson of Superman will show up instead whoever it was that wrote Cry for Justice #1.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #4

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Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mauro Cascioli
    How far would you go for justice? The heroes have found themselves turning to darker tactics in their search for retribution. Starman and Congorilla have captured the killers who took down some of their friends, but now what do they do with them? Meanwhile, Green Lantern and company wrestle with the idea of torturing villains for information in order to save lives.

It burns!  It burns!

MAGOG #2

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Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Howard Porter & John Dell

    Magog’s got a problem: How does he use the Justice Society and their vast resources and abilities without their knowing he’s going against their standard operating procedure? And that doesn’t even compare to his more immediate problem: coming face-to-face with the putrid villain known as Miasma beneath New York City! Continuing the all-new series from writer Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL) and reuniting the best-selling JLA art team of penciller Howard Porter and inker John Dell!

This is officially 1 issue longer than I thought a Magog on-going series would last!  (I tease!)

Gotta say, the Porter/Dell art doesn’t exactly excite me.  The Morrison era JLA was one of my favorites.  But that was in spite of the art, not because of it.

POWER GIRL #6

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Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art and cover by Amanda Conner

    “Space Girls Gone Wild!” part 3 of 3! The trio of sexy alien marauders continues their rampage across Earth, and Power Girl makes her last stand against these seemingly unstoppable foes. But even Power Girl has her limits…

I’m here for the Amanda Conner art.  I’ll probably stick around as long as she does and not an issue longer.  The book is just enough fun to justify my $3 purchase. 

RED TORNADO #2

 

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Written by Kevin VanHook
Art by Jose Luisí & J.P. Mayer
    He thought he was alone, but Red Tornado’s on track to meet the family he never knew he had! And in issue #2 of the 6-issue miniseries, Red Tornado discovers the next member: Red Torpedo! Hold on to your hats as this exciting new series from writer Kevin VanHook and artist Jose Luisí whips up a zephyr of excitement!

DC, why do you keep trying to make Red Tornado happen?  He’s so not fetch!

THE SHIELD #2

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Written by Eric Trautmann; co-feature written by Brandon Jerwa
Art by Marco Rudy & Mick Gray; co-feature art by Greg Scott

    The Shield’s mission deepens as he struggles to free himself from the mind-washed hordes. Unfortunately, someone else is on the same mission despite no official sanction. Can The Shield control the situation – or will he be forced to scrub out, thanks to Magog?
    Plus, Inferno takes on Black Canary on her own turf! Will she catch him before he’s even started to run?

THE WEB #2

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Written by Angela Robinson; co-feature written by John Rozum
Art Roger Robinson & Hilary Barta; co-feature art by Tom Derenick & Bill Sienkiewicz
Cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
    The Web finds himself in over his head as he plunges deeper into the criminal underworld looking for the elusive villain Dr. Archer. With his calls of duty piling up, The Web gets caught in a terrible death trap and in his civilian I.D., he’s found himself rolling with made men. Has the new hero overplayed his hand already?
    Plus, the Hangman begins tightening the noose on San Francisco’s organized crime, but he finds resistance in the form of the Ugly Man!

Not much to say on these Red Circle books at this point.  I hope they are good.

I had really expected DC to do more with the Milestone characters than they did.  I hope the way they screwed over Dwayne McDuffie didn’t screw that deal up to.

SECRET SIX #14

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Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood

    The shattering conclusion to “The Depths” is here! The Six find themselves pitted against Artemis, Wonder Woman and the hideous secret being from deep within the new Devil’s Island!

This book is pure awesome.  And “The Depths” promises to be one of the best arcs yet.

I know you’re not reading this book.  It doesn’t have Superman or Batman in it.  It’s not written by Geoff Johns and there are rarely any zombies.  That’s no excuse!

Secret Six is the essence of awesomeness!  Buy two copies of each issue and read them both!

TITANS #18

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Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Angel Unzueta and Wayne Faucher

    With the Titans team slowly dissolving as members drift their own way, only the empath Raven recognizes the mounting disconnection. With her only friends drifting apart, Raven makes a surprising life choice that will affect the course of her strained relationship with Beast Boy.

Titans has slowly grown from a train wreck into a mediocre book spotlighting 1 Titan per issue.  The last two issues have both been readable.  But you had to really like the character who was receiving the spotlight.  This issue looks about the same.  Still, it beats the train wreck Titans used to be.

TEEN TITANS #76

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Written by Felicia D. Henderson; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira

    Guest-starring Beast Boy and Raven! With the Teen Titans unraveling at the seams, two former members must return to Titans Tower to help Wonder Girl right the sinking ship! If only it were that easy…
    And in the Ravager second feature, Rose uncovers a horrific
black market. And she deals with it the only way she knows how: with blood.

Teen Titans has also gotten better since the exit of Sean McKeever.  Now if only we could get him off the co-feature!  I look forward to seeing what Felicia Henderson brings to the table.  I hear she’s a Gossip Girl writer.  That sounds like a pretty good fit for the Titans…

WONDER WOMAN #37

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Written by Gail Simone
Art by Bernard Chang

    It’s a civil war – and the world hangs in the balance! Zeus has made Achilles ruler of the Amazons, and Diana finds herself in battle against the people she loves most! And what is the secret behind the sudden rash of pregnancies on Paradise Island?

It looks like Rise of the Olympian was only the beginning!  I can’t wait to see what Gail has in store for us next.


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