The Green Lantern franchise is currently enjoying a nearly unprecedented surge in popularity. So naturally, DC has decided to milk the darn thing for all it’s worth. That means splitting the cast of Green Lantern Corps into two books. Warriors features Guy Gardner as the lead with support from former Corps co-stars Killowog and Arisia. Former GLC scribe Peter Tomasi also brings with him a few dangling plot threads he started in the original book.
read/RANT has a full review of this issue coming up from my esteemed colleague, Cal Cleary. Be sure to check back for that later on as I’m sure it will be far more insightful than my meager rambling. But if you feel so inclined, please indulge me as I share my first impressions after giving BN 8 a rather quick read.
With March half over, I think now’s a good time for this list, yes? I read 17 comics in February, and these were the best.
I admit, I’ve been rather hard on Geoff Johns’ work on Green Lantern over the last two years. I won’t rehash all of the reasons why the War of Lights has left me cold. I’ve written enough on that already. Just read any GL-related article I’ve written since the end of the Sinestro Corps War.
On the whole, I’ve found Johns to be a mixed bag on this book. No doubt, he’s had lots of cool ideas. And he’s added to the GL mythology in a way that has the fans clamoring for more. And yet, there’s almost always some “Johnsism” that makes his GL less than satisfying for me.
When I’ve written reviews of this book in the past, I think the reviews tended to be dominated by discussions of the lastest derailment. Even if I made a point of saying I enjoyed the issue as a whole, readers certainly focused on the things I didn’t like. And in fairness, I’ve probably given the negatives more space than I have the positives.
So let me say up front that Green Lantern 50 was the most enjoyable issue of GL in a long, long time. Doug Mahnke’s art is the star here. There were pages where I just stopped and took it all in. I didn’t even care about the words on the page. Mahnke is a great artists and he’s at the top of his game right now. This issue may be his best work since Superman Beyond.
As for the writing, well of course there were some “Johnsisms” that really had me rolling my eyes or scratching my head in bewilderment. It wouldn’t be a Geoff Johns issue of Green Lantern if he didn’t write things that were just plain stupid in an attempt to be cool. That’s what he does. But this time, I had to admit, some of the things that happened were pretty darn cool.
The big plot twist is spoiled for you on the cover. Hal decides that the only way to defeat the Black Lantern Spectre is to free Parallax and to become his host. It’s a bit of a WTF moment. Surely there are other solutions that Hal hasn’t considered. Doesn’t this seem like Shadowpact territory? Why is Hal the only suitable host for Parallax and why is Parallax suddenly the only way to defeat the Spectre.
If this was real life, probably every one of Hal’s allies would have told Hal he was crazy and refused to go along with the plan. But this is super hero comics. So they go along with it. And so did I as a reader. It makes no sense, but I don’t want to read an entire issue of exposition that makes it make sense either. So you just go along for the ride.
If you’re willing and able to do that, Green Lantern 50 is a heck of a ride. It has the “epic” feel that the last issue of Green Lantern Corps was lacking. Whereas GLC just felt like Tomasi pulling big plot twists out of his bag of tricks to generate buzz, GL 50 really feels like the culmination of all of Johns’ work on the title to date.
I am going to end the review on a positive note so Bruce Castle won’t call me a “hater” this month. GL 50 was a fun book. There, I said it.
PS. I’m going to rant in the comments section. Don’t tell Bruce Castle!
I’ve had something of a like/”meh” relationship with this book. Tomasi is a capable writer who delivers plenty of action and reasonably strong characterizations. But I find his pacing is usually off by at least one issue for every story arc. And while he frequently entertains, he never really wows.
To be fair, GLC seems to always draw the short straw when it comes to source material. This is especially true with the Blackest Night issues. Yes, Tomasi has done a good job of delivery buzz-worthy plot twists. Kyle died! (And was resurrected in the very next issue.) Guy, consumed by rage, became a Red Lantern! (And will likely be back to normal next issue.
There’s been plenty of carnage on Oa. Lots and lots of cannon fodder got chewed up over the last few issues. And the landscape of Oa is changed. But no one’s going to miss the characters who died and Oa will no doubt be rebuilt shortly after Blackest Night wraps up.
I’m not bored. But I keep getting this nagging feeling that by the end of the story, none of the events of Green Lantern Corps are really going to matter much. It’s almost like Tomasi was told, “You can do whatever you want. Just be sure to trash Oa and keep the rest of the Corps busy for a while.”
Regular readers know I love Gleason on this book. His art and my affection for the characters is what keeps me coming back. Gleason’s take on a rampaging Guy was worth the price of admission alone.
All in all, this is an entertaining issue. I just wish it felt a little more central to Blackest Night. As it is, it feels marginalized.
This is going to be a bit of a weird entry. I didn’t want to give away the topic in the title for fear of spoilers, but anyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled on the events of Green Lantern Corps #42 should read no further.
Last spoiler warning. Read on at your own risk.
I’m not going to review GLC 42. I thought it was a fine issue on it’s own. It suffered from some of the usual pacing issues I have come to excpect from Peter Tomasi. And I thought Patrick Gleason continued his evolution as an artist. Even the Gleason-haters have to admit this was a strong issue for him.
I am going to write about the “shocking death” at the end of the issue. Yep, Kyle Rayner died.
I’ve long been on record as being a Kyle fan. I grew up on Hal. Always liked him. Still do. But I relate to Kyle. And I’ll never relate to Hal.
I remember when Rebirth was announced. Ron Marz came back to write one last arc for Kyle. I read each issue with a sense of impeding dread. I wasn’t ready for DC to axe my favorite character.
Marz’s run came and went. Then ending was a muddled mess but Kyle was still alive. Then came Rebirth which opened with Kyle and a coffin. Kyle mostly got the snot kicked out of him in that series, but he lived to fight another day.
Kyle was a part of the Corps relaunch only to be pulled from the on-going series due to his role in Infinite Crisis and turning into Ion again. I’m still not sure what Johns, Didio and company were going for with that move. The Ion transformation and Jenny’s death just never felt like a natural progression to me.
Kyle had his own maxi series as Ion which was once again written by Ron Marz. And like Marz’s final run on the GL title, it felt like editorial was standing over his shoulder. The series was kind of a mess even for a Kyle fan. But it was good to see my favorite character acting like himself again.
Then came the Sinestro Corps War which was a pretty durn good story. The big moment in the first issue was when Kyle was brutally stripped of his Ion powers and possessed by Parallax. Even as a Kyle fan, I had to admit it was a pretty neat twist.
Of course Johns used this development to “even the score” so to speak. Kyle fans had long accused Hal of being a murderer despite all of Johns’ retcons to the contrary. So, Johns made sure Kyle had blood on his hands as Parallax. And Hal was there to explain that it wasn’t Kyle’s fault – thus exonerating not only Kyle but himself.
I didn’t mind the transparent ulterior motive. It fit into the story. It gave Kyle a little more depth (potentially). And it was just plain cool. Of course, once Sinestro Corps War ended, virtually nothing was done with any of this and Kyle basically went back to being Guy’s sidekick in GLC.
Around the same time, Kyle also got sucked into Countdown. No one came out of Countdown looking good and Kyle was no exception. There was some kind of ill-defined conflict between Jason Todd and Kyle over Donna Troy. It felt kind of like a romantic triangle, but it was never established that Donna was involved or even interested in either one of them.
The less said about Countdown, the better. But I feel the need to point out what a giant wasted opportunity this was. Kyle fans had been waiting for years to have some kind of resolution to the Donna/Kyle relationship. Instead, DC gave us some ill-defined crap that cheapened all three characters. Even Jason Todd came off worse for it!
Moving on, we come to Blackest Night. Like most of the Corps, Kyle’s been toiling in the background while Hal, Sinestro, Barry Allen and Mera (?) are front and center. John Stewart has been mostly MIA. But Mera fans are getting more face time with her than they have in the last 5 years combined.
And then Kyle dies. Obviously, I’m a Kyle fan. You’d think I would be upset. But I’m not. I shrug. I shrug for a lot of reasons I’m about to go into. But let me be clear, I just don’t care that DC killed off Kyle.
I should care. Kyle’s my favorite character in the DC Universe outside of maybe Batman and Superman. I should definitely be upset that he’s dead. The fact that I’m not tells me something is wrong.
So, why didn’t I get upset when Kyle died?
1. It was predictable. As soon as you saw the solicits featuring Guy as a Red Lantern, you knew someone close to him was going to die. Kyle was the most likely candidate.
2. It’s clearly temporary. Blackest Night has been full of deaths and resurrections. But Kyle’s death is being handled differently. His corpse is pristine considering he just got blown up. And unlike almost every other victim in this event, he hasn’t immediately risen as a Black Lantern. Clearly, Kyle’s death is different.
2A. Also, let me add that Tomasi just “killed off” Sodom Yat a few issues ago. And no one buys that death either since there is no body and we have already seen Yat alive in well in the distant future in Legion of Three Worlds.
3. Kyle’s outlived his usefulness. Even as a Kyle fan, I have to admit that his day has passed. DC hasn’t used him as anything but a whipping boy since Hal’s return. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. When they try to give him a spotlight, it turns into Countdown.
Also, let me pick apart Kyle’s death scene for a minute. On the surface, it looks like a good heroic sacrifice. If Kyle was going to go out, this seemed like a pretty good way to do it. But, if you think about the situation for a second, it all seems pretty pointless.
The Alpha Lantern battery was going to explode. The explosion needed to be contained. This should be a piece of cake for Kyle who has contained an exploding sun in JLA. But Kyle decides to kill two birds with one stone. He lures all the Black Lanterns into the blast range and kills them all while containing the blast.
Sounds good, right? Like Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan. Except, Spock had to put himself in harm’s way to save the rest of his crew. If there was any reason for Kyle to be standing in the blast radius, Tomasi didn’t provide it. As a result, he just looks like a suicidal idiot.
Okay, nit picked. We’re supposed to assume Kyle had no alternative and died a hero. Fine. I like Kyle. I’m willing to assume there was some reason for his actions that wasn’t fully explained within the story.
What happens next? Well, maybe Kyle stays dead. I’m fine with that. DC wasn’t using him. Keeping him dead means he doesn’t appear in crap like Countdown any more. And he won’t be the sacrificial lamb every time there’s a big Hal-centric Green Lantern story. Really, I’m fine with this DC. Leave him dead.
But that seems unlikely.
Kyle might rise as a Black Lantern. I’m less cool with this. Having just seen Kyle as Parallax in Sinestro Corps War, this would feel like a re-run. Especially given the fact that we’ve seen umpteen Black Lanterns rise already and it’s getting old.
The Black Lantern scenario seems somewhat unlikely as well. So far, everyone who rose as a Black Lantern did so within a panel or two of dying. The big cliffhanger of the issue usually involves the new Black Lantern closing in on the reader menacingly. With Kyle, that didn’t happen. Maybe it still will, but I doubt it.
Instead, I think Kyle will rise in some other form. Some are guessing White Lanterns will be involved. I don’t know. I’ll just say I expect Kyle to play some part in the resolution of Blackest Night.
But I expect it will be a somewhat minor part. Why? Well, for one DC has sidelined Kyle for years. But more importantly, Kyle’s death happened in GLC. If it was going to be a major turning point in the story, it would have happened in Blackest Night or at least in Green Lantern. Nothing truly important to the central story is likely to happen in GLC or any of the various tie-ins.
I’ve rambled on for a long time now. Thank you for indulging me. But my point is that I’m sure DC was going for a shocking death that would get people buzzing. But even die-hard Kyle fans are just kind of shrugging at this point. And this brings me to my last and perhaps most important point.
Blackest Night has hinged on big character deaths so far. But these deaths have become meaningless. No one expects any of these deaths to last beyond the final issue. In fact, by the end of the story I think most of us expect the graveyards of the DCU to be more empty than full.
Every time they splash in another death, it yields diminishing returns. And with Kyle, they are down to a shrug and a heavy sigh. The next character they kill off may well put me to sleep.
Hopefully, with Nekron raised at the various rainbow warriors in place, Blackest Night can really get started. And hopefully, that won’t involve a bunch of predictable and likely temporary deaths.
But I’m no Blue Lantern. I’m the Ambivalent Lantern at this point. Call me the Grey Lantern. And wake me up when this story gets good.
Spoiler Warning: Nothing happens in this issue.
Well, nothing important anyway.
Actually the same thing happens over and over again. A dead Green Lantern taunts a living Green Lantern. The living Green Lantern declares that he or she knows that the dead Green Lantern isn’t the real thing. And then the living Green Lantern blows up the dead Green Lantern and they start to re-form.
This sequence of events repeats seveal times. First it’s Guy and Ke’Haan. Then it’s Kyle and Jade followed by Soranik and Jade. Next comes Arisia and her family. Finally, Kilowog takes on Ermey.
That’s it. That’s the whole comic except for the last couple of pages. That’s when the evil kids and Indigo Lanterns show up with no explanation.
Yep, this issue is Blackest Night filler. Pure and simple. I wouldn’t even mind it so much if Tomasi’s filler wasn’t so damned repetitive. Switch it up a bit, Pete!
The saving grace for me is Patrick Gleason. I know he’s something of an acquired taste, but I love his weird style on this book. It’s especially appropriate for the horror/sci-fi mash-up of Blackest Night.
If you’re reading Blackest Night and you want to save $3, this one is skippable, gang.
Boring introduction! I read 21 comics in September, and these were the best.
5. Green Lantern #46
Hey, Green Lantern is great again! We know Mahnke’s art is going to blow our minds, but Johns pulled his weight too, delivering the gore he’s so fond of. There was a lot of progression here, featuring a fight that’s been brewing for a long time. Sinestro and Mongul’s conclusion is not only drawn well, Johns gives each baddie a fun monologue, dripping with a bit of truth. Indeed, for a brief time, Johns made me believe that Mongul could actually win. Loud, bloody, and just the kind of cosmic fun that Johns wants you to have.
4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size
It all ends. It was the worth the wait, but for Millar’s part of it, this issue played out exactly how you’d expect, which would’ve been a dull experience, except for the reason we’re all here: Steve McNiven. Just about every panel in here is iconic, ready to be framed on your wall. No matter what silly cliché Millar wrote, McNiven made it sing. However, the writing’s not all bad. This issue pays great tribute to Wolverine’s character as a whole, blending his Western and Eastern ways together. So, even on that corny, Lone Wolf & Cub-inspired last page, I smiled.
3. Detective Comics #857
Another conclusion, what can I say? Those are usually great issues. Alright, Rucka’s opening Batwoman arc hasn’t had as much substance as I’d like, but something we can all agree on is the talent of Williams. We haven’t seen Kate’s origin yet, but she’s already a fully-developed character, mostly due to Williams himself. That continues here, of course, as Williams gets to render some dazzling stunts, with Kate jumping from plane to plane, kicking her way to Alice. Speaking of Alice, this issue delivers a twist with her that I didn’t see coming at all, and it was telegraphed, even on the cover. The twist works, not only to shock us, but as a brilliant window into Kate’s past.
2. Dark Reign: The List – X-Men
I read most of these specials, and this is probably the only one that’s actually a one-shot. Fraction doesn’t conform. This isn’t about political nonsense or the status quo. Fraction gives us the simple tale of revenge, and it works very well. A great deal of that credit goes to Alan Davis. He makes this absurd, spandex-clad medium lyrical. Consider the scene at the end, with Namor, Osborn, and the Sentry. In Davis’ hands, this simple scene becomes a grand confrontation between legends. Superman and Luthor could easily replace Namor and Osborn, and Sentry’s inclusion is the icing on the cake.
1. Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus
I, like many of you, wasn’t very impressed with this crossover. Fraction’s characterizations were still superb, but the plot seemed to contain nothing but buildup. Well, that all culminated with Exodus, and what a culmination. The epic battle between teams is there, with almost every character utilized. Deals with the devil, an old New Avengers callback, and a new status quo makes this the most explosive comic of the month, and the best too.
I’ve been doing these for a little while now and they always seem to be popular. So until people stop reading them, I’ll probably keep doing them. For those who are new, here’s what you can expect. I go through the latest DC solicits and add my (sometimes snarky) commentary.
I actually skipped the November solicits because Blackest Night took over the majority of the DC books. One of my problems with Blackest Night (and I have many) is that the story is already getting repetitive. We’ve seen the same couple of scenes repeated ad infinitum. When you go through the solicits and every book has the same basic premise (Hero A comes into contact with Dead Person B!) it gets boring. I couldn’t stand the thought of writing up all of those Blackest Night tie-ins, so I took a month off.
December is really no different. So I’m going to be more selective about which books I include in this write-up. And some books will no boubt be lumped together. That way, I don’t bore you with the same entry 15 times. (I’ll only bore you with it once – ba dum dum.)
Now that I’ve set the comedic bar at a level I can reach, let’s look at what DC will be offering in December:
Blackest Night Books
BLACKEST NIGHT #6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
The secrets of Nekron are revealed as darkness consumes the DC Universe.
Everything else: TOP SECRET.
BLACKEST NIGHT continues! John Stewart comes face to face with his greatest failures, the planet Xanshi and his wife and fellow Green Lantern, Katma Tui. Plus, what does Fatality truly want with John?
These solicits are a little light on details. But that’s a good thing in my book. My concern is that from the details that are included in the solicits, it sure doesn’t sound like a whole lot has happened from Blackest Night 0 up to Blackest Night 6. Doesn’t it sound like we’re in pretty much the same place we’ve been in from the start of this thing?
Also, did you see that Ed Benes is drawing GL 49. You know what that means? Fatality butt floss on every page! Plus, zombie cleavage I would think.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #43
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Pat Gleason & Rebecca Buchman
Red rain falls! As the Black Lanterns continue their reign of terror and chaos on Oa, things go from bad to worse when a horrible loss for the Green Lantern Corps results in Guy Gardner becoming so enraged that he becomes a Red Lantern! And hell breaks loose as the Central Power Battery faces an attack from the newly arrived Black Lantern Corphans!
I split this one out from the other BN books for a couple of reasons:
- Something happens!
- An angry Guy Gardner is a good thing.
Yes, it kinda sucks that they went and spoiled this development a full 3 months before it happens. But at this point I’m pretty glad to see any sign of forward plot movement from Blackest Night. So I’ll take what I can get.
Also, I’ve seen a lot of Guy fans complaining about this already. Come on, guys! You know this isn’t going to last any longer than when Kyle got possessed by Parallax. And that was the single coolest thing to happen in the Sinestro Crops War storyline. So you should just be grateful that Guy is getting a spotlight.
Turing into a Red Lantern sure beats the one-panel “death” Jeph Loeb gave Guy in “Our Wolrds at War”. It pretty much guarantees Guy’s going to be around at the end of Blackest Night. But those close to Guy (whose deaths might push Guy into a rage) better watch their backs.
Blackest Night Mini-Series
BLACKEST NIGHT: THE FLASH #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Scott Kolins
The Flashes of Two Cities – Barry Allen and Wally West – battle the undead Rogues. Will the legendary speedsters be able to handle the Black Lantern Rogues’ revenge? Plus, witness the resurrection of Barry’s greatest enemy, the Reverse Flash in this hyper-speed miniseries event reuniting the fan-favorite FLASH creative team of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins!
BLACKEST NIGHT: JSA #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Eddy Barrows & Ruy José
The mystery men of yesterday are back and they seek the hearts of their new counterparts! It’s Mr. Terrific vs. Mr. Terrific, Dr. Midnite vs. Dr. Midnite, Sand vs Wesley Dodds! Can the new generation of heroes survive the rise of the Black Lantern JSA? Find out in this all-new miniseries from original JSA co-writer James Robinson and rising star artist Eddy Barrows (BLACKEST NIGHT: SUPERMAN)!
Fan-favorite writer Greg Rucka returns to chronicle the adventures of the Amazing Amazon in the DC Universe’s darkest hour! Black Lantern Maxwell Lord has risen and he seeks revenge and retribution for his murder at the hands of Diana. Look for unexpected changes to await Wonder Woman in the course of this series as she plays a major role in the War of Light against the Blackest Night.
I had pretty low expectations of the first batch of BN tie-in mini-series. And so far, they have met or exceeded by expectations. BN: Superman actually had a pretty strong first issue. But it seems like you can skip all three and not miss anything. And Tales of the Corps was an embarrassing money grab. DC should be ashamed of that one.
This crop of tie-ins seems a little more promising to me. I was a fan of the Johns/Kollins run on Flash and I liked the first 2/3 of their “Rogues Revenge” mini-series. So while “Rebirth” isn’t to my liking, I expect I’ll like BN: Flash okay as long as Johns can keep the retcons to a minimum.
The stand-out to me promises to be BN: Wonder Woman. I know Rucka was upset he never got to deal with the fallout from the death of Max Lord. Now, it looks like he’ll get that chance even if it years a few years late. Plus, you’ve got Nicola Scott. Nicola Scott + Wonder Woman is worth my $3 every time.
ADVENTURE COMICS #5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jerry Ordway; co-feature art by Francis Manapul
Concluding the 2-part BLACKEST NIGHT tale of Superboy-Prime! The Black Lanterns have forced Prime to face his deepest and darkest fears, but what – and who – are they? And how will Superboy-Prime strike back after this devastating attack?
Plus, Conner Kent faces off with Superman’s greatest enemy in an exciting co-feature by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul. That’s right: Superboy confronts Lex Luthor!
I’m truly torn on this one. On the one hand, I’ve been enjoying Adventure Comics so far. On the other, I’m really sick of Johns’ take on Superboy-Prime. The end of Legion of Three Worlds totally crossed a line for me and I was hoping not to see the character again for a while. But Johns just can’t seem to stay away from him. On the upside, I’m looking forward to the Conner/Lex confrontation.
BOOSTER GOLD #27
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art and cover by Dan Jurgens& Norm Rapmund
Black Lantern Ted Kord is out for blood in this BLACKEST NIGHT tie-in issue! Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes joins forces with Booster Gold in an attempt to take down Black Lantern Ted Kord once and for all. But the battle will have consequences for the Blue and the Gold, and Booster and Beetle’s lives will be forever changed!
This is another tough one. This issue definitely fits into the “Hero A comes into contact with Dead Person B” formula I talked about earlier. And there’s no way I won’t be sick of that by the end of the year. And DC has already gone to the Ted Kord well at least one time too many since killing him off in Countdown. But still, I really like Booster Gold. I feel like Jurgens does a great job with the book and I’d like to see it get some attention. Hopefully Jurgens can rise above the formula and deliver one of the better tie-ins to this event.
TEEN TITANS #78
Written by J.T. Krul
Art and cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
An unexpected BLACKEST NIGHT team-up! Ravager has sworn to kill her father Deathstroke. But what happens when they’re forced to fight side-by-side against their dead friends and relatives? Will they kill each other before the Black Lanterns do?
Remember when Titans was the goose that laid the golden eggs? Well, DC totally killed that goose. (I think that goose may even be a Black Lantern!) This franchise is in a tail spin and DC doesn’t seem to know what to do to pull out of it. I’ll give you a hint, DC, a Deathstroke/Ravager issue is NOT the answer.
On the upside, I don’t see Sean McKeever’s name anywhere on this comic book. Therefore, I will buy it on principle.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #40
Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mark Bagley & Rob Hunter
The JLA can’t escape the BLACKEST NIGHT! Faced with the continuing threat of the Black Lanterns, Zatanna, Vixen and the rest of the team confront their pasts when fallen friends and foes return for blood!
I can’t be the only one who finds Bagley’s cover to be hideous, right?
I recently posted an article about the new JLA line-up. Interesting to see Vixen and Zatanna featured so prominently after not being included in the official line-up. I guess the rumors that Robinson’s team will be super-sized are true.
As I said in my article, I really can’t muster up any excitement for Robinson’s JLA after 3 issues of Cry for Justice.
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
While Black Mask and his Ministry of Death struggle to maintain control of Gotham City, The Dark Knight sets his sights on Kittyhawk – a young thief pivotal to the outcome of Black Mask’s gang war. But will a powerful adversary thought long dead spoil all of Batman’s plans? Guest-starring Oracle and the Penguin!
Not too much to say here. I’m having some trouble keeping up my enthusiasm for Batman with the back-and-forth writing from Winick and Daniel. I mean, these are two of my least favorite writers in comics these days. Black Mask and Penquin both feel over-used these days. And I’m enjoying them more in Dini’s Streets of Gotham.
DETECTIVE COMICS #860
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner
Batwoman’s origin story concludes here! In “Go!” part 3, Kate Kane becomes Batwoman and goes after a terrorist cell in Gotham, but all does not go according to plan. Plus, in the present, Kate confronts her father about her supposedly dead sister!
In the co-feature, the Huntress joins The Question in her quest to track down the leaders of the human trafficking ring. But finding them – and bring them to justice – will be harder and more dangerous than either hero thought!
Confession time: I’m a behind on this title. But I love the art on the book. Rucka’s writing hasn’t completely won me over to Batwoman yet. But maybe I’ll feel differently once I catch up. I am looking forward to seeing the Huntress and the Question though!
BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #7
Written by Paul Dini; co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs; co-feature art by Jeremy Haun
Paul Dini returns to STREETS OF GOTHAM as Batman and Robin uncover a sinister plot involving dozens of Gotham City’s young runaways. Is Arkham Asylum escapee Humpty Dumpty at the center of the scheme – or is he just the tip of an even more dangerous iceberg? Guest-starring Abuse and Zsasz!
And in the Manhunter co-feature, now that Kate has finally tracked down Two-Face, she’s ready to confront him for the hit he ordered on Gotham’s former D.A. But their confrontation is not going to go the way she planned!
I haven’t gotten around to writing up a review for Streets of Gotham, but I have been keeping up with the book and mostly enjoying it. I wasn’t thrilled with the 60′s-TV show-worthy bad guy, The Broker. But if you’re going to do the character, last issue was about as good of a story as you could possibly tell. I am enjoying watching Dini re-invent Mr. Zsasz. And I am enjoying the build-up in the Manhunter back-up to the inevitable showdown beteen the former DA of Gotham and the new sheriff in town.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott
Cover by Phil Noto
It’s Bat vs. Bat in “Core Requirements” part 1! As Gotham City burns, the new Batgirl comes face-to-face with Batman and Robin, who are anything but happy about her running around with a bat-symbol on her costume. Batman confronts Oracle as Damian confronts Stephanie in the ultimate Bat-family feud.
My favorite thing about this series so far is the Phil Noto covers. And I think this is Noto’s best cover yet. But the first two issues were pretty mediocre. And it’s not promising that the solicit for this issue reads an awful lot like the one for the first issue.
In all honesty, if the next issue is a marked improvement over the first two I am unlikely to be here for issue 5.
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #7
Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
Catwoman takes charge as the other Sirens fall victim to their most dangerous challenge yet!
Does the text for this solicit even matter?
Hey, I like Catwoman’s boobs as much as the next guy. Depending on who the next guy is, I may like them more. I’ve got a healthy collection of Jim Balent’s boobtastic run on Catwoman to prove it. But even I got sick of this bad girl retread after the first couple of issues.
Can this book really be written by the same guy who is writing Streets of Gotham? Maybe there are two Paul Dini’s. One of them worked in animation and wrote Detective Comics and Streets of Gotham. The other guy wrote Countdown and this.
It’s the best explanation I can come up with.
SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
While everyone wants something from Metropolis’ first Super Hero, Superman must fight his first Super-Villain – someone who wants everything – the Parasite! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor turns his attention toward The Man of Steel…
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continue their bold reinterpretation of the origin of The Man of Steel for the 21st Century!
Geoff Johns can hand in a blank script for all I care. I’m on board this mini-series for Gary Frank’s art. As I said in my review of the first issue, the art pushes all my Superman fanboy buttons.
ACTION COMICS #884
Written by Greg Rucka; co-feature written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pere Pérez; co-feature art by CAFU
When Lois tries to run the story that will clear Flamebird and Nightwing once and for all, she finds herself blocked at every turn. With the world’s anti-Kryptonian sentiment escalating to a near-frenzy, not even being General Lane’s daughter will keep her safe!
Plus, to the shock and horror of Flamebird, the problems with Nightwing’s uncontrolled aging reach a critical juncture! and in part 6 of the new co-feature, Captain Atom squares off against his old adversary Major Force just as some troubling memories start to resurface – one word: Monarch!
I’m not loving the Anti-Krypton story that seems to be taking hold of the Superman books post Codename: Patriot. It just feels like watered-down X-Men. Are you really going to cover any new territory here? I don’t think so.
As I mentioned in my review of the latest issue, the Captain Atom back-up is just getting tiresome. The word “Monarch” does nothing to improve my outlook on that subject.
Written by James Robinson
Art by Fernando Dagnino & Raúl Fernandez
Part 2 of Man of Valor! Metropolis gets a chance to see the new Mon-El in action. But now the stakes are raised even higher and the action escalates as Mon finally goes mano-a-mano against the Parasite! This is a battle that’s been brewing since Mon’s emergence on Earth and now it explodes into the streets and skies of the city.
Plus, with Mon-El’s secret identity publicly known, how will the Science Police react to him now that they know he’s been living among them all this time? All this plus the return of Natasha Irons and the fate of Steel!
I’ve actually enjoyed most of Robinson’s run on Superman. But even I have to admit that the pace has been somewhat slow. Some issues have felt like padding. But this issue looks like it will finally advance some long-dangling plot threads. And that’s good – as long as they aren’t tied up as sloppily as the Codename: Patriot finale. That was a stinker.
SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #10
Written by Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Art by Pete Woods
New Krypton is a planet so fresh, it’s experiencing countless things for the first time. Its first spring. Its first blooms. Its first birth of a child. And now its first homicide. When an important figure in Kandor is murdered, the suspect seems obvious to everyone but Superman. But can he make Zod or the Council believe this is more than an open-and-shut case? And can he uncover the real killer in time to save the life of the accused? It’s a dark mystery, but R.E.B.E.L.S. star Adam Strange arrives in time to help find answers…even though the truth may blow apart the civilized trappings of Kandorian society in the process.
This action-packed arc leads all the way to the series’ final issue, which itself sets the stage for huge happenings in the DC Universe next summer!
The other Superman books have their charms. But I can certainly understand why fans would be disappointed in them some times. World of New Krypton, on the other hand, always delivers. Next to Secret Six, it is the book I look forward to the most from month to month. I’ll be sad when it’s over!
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Matt Camp
Uh-oh! The Silver Banshee is back in Metropolis! This time she’s after an artifact that could finally break her family’s eternal curse. When Inspector Mike Henderson gets involved, Supergirl is pulled into the conflict! Meanwhile, Lana Lang’s mysterious condition takes a turn for the worse. Will the Girl of Steel be able to save her only two human friends? Join fan-favorite writer Sterling Gates and guest artist Matt Camp (SUPERMAN: SECRET FILES 2009, Zero Killer) to find out!
I hate to say it, but the usually reliable Gates/Igle team has hit a bit of a speed bump with the last couple of issues. Crossovers into Codename: Patriot and Hunt for Reactron have pushed the book slightly off track. Hopefully, now that those crossovers are in the past, the team can get back to delivering very good (maybe even great) Supergirl stories.
Hey! Where’s Igle?
WORLD’S FINEST #3
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
The Toyman has crafted the ultimate killing machine to protect himself from the Kryptonian menace, and Oracle has sent Supergirl and Batgirl to stop it. But when Supergirl faces off against the Kryptonite Man while the new Batgirl takes on Catwoman, they both find themselves in over their heads.This looks like a job for…
Oh, here he is.
This solicit sounds good enough to me. So, I’ll use this space to address something that has been bugging me. With no Birds of Prey book, I’m not sure what Oracle’s role is in the DCU. She just seems to be all over the place. Is she running The Network, mentoring Batgirl, or just setting up random operations like this one? I don’t know. But I’d really like to see her concentrate on setting up a regular group of operatives like what she had in Birds of Prey.
I really miss that book!
GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY #27
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Renato Guedes & Jose Wilson Magalhaes and Mike Norton & Bill Sienkiewicz
First up: “Five Stages” part 3! Cupid and Green Arrow team up against Black Canary and Green Arrow (?!) just as the mysterious soldiers of Cobalt make Star City their own battlefield!
And then in the co-feature: Just where did this mysterious second Green Arrow come from? And how is Cobalt connected to his recent past?
Every month, when the solicits come out, Green Arrow/Black Canary is one of the first things I look at. It’s not because I am anxiously awaiting hints of what is to come on the book. It’s because I desperately hope that DC will replace Andrew Kreisberg.
Every month, I am disappointed.
And then I see Cupid on the cover and I can barely contain my fanboy rage. Please, DC, do something about this book!
The Justice Society struggles to pick up the pieces after the team’s devastating break up! Regrouping at a new, temporary home base, the smaller team reflects on the recent infiltration of their ranks and how they can protect themselves from another such attack in the future! And why is the new Dr. Fate acting so weird?
An all-new ongoing series! The Justice Society spin off group struggles to pull itself toward some semblance of order after the JSA’s devastating split! New home base, new training methods, new villains – all bringing the JSA All-Stars face-to-“face” with one of their greatest villains again – for the first time! Join writer Matthew Sturges (JUSTICE SOCIETY, JACK OF FABLES) and artist Freddie Williams II (ROBIN) for a new chapter in the JSA legacy.
Well, the cast is definitely big enough to support two books. So, this seems like a no-brainer to split the team. I don’t know if I’ll follow both books or not.
POWER GIRL #7
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art and cover by Amanda Conner
A blast from the past! The alien Vartox has come to Earth to claim a wife—and her name is Power Girl! PG may have wanted a boyfriend, but not quite like this! The fan-favorite team of Palmiotti, Gray and Conner craft another winner!
I’m a big fan of Amanda Conner’s art. And I feel she is the perfect artist for Power Girl. But the writing team of Palmiotti and Gray always leaves me feeling underwhelmed. This book is a great book to thumb through at the comic shop for the art. But reading it sometimes feels like a chore.
I appreciate the light tone and the art. I just wish the writing were a little more interesting.
SECRET SIX #16
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Peter Nguyen & Doug Hazlewood
The supremely powerful and infinitely dangerous Black Alice returns and she’s decided she wants to be a member of the Six – even if someone has to die to make room!
Of all the books coming out in December, this is the one I’l looking forward to the most!
And yay Black Alice!
Boo no Nicola Scott!
WONDER WOMAN #39
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
This is it! The secret behind Wonder Woman’s new power and the true meaning of the Olympian are revealed right here!
It’s an all-out action issue as Diana faces an old foe with a hideous new face!
I’m still hoping Gail Simone can make me love her Wonder Woman as much as I love Secret Six. This issue sure sounds like a winner. You know I’ll be there.
(But odds are Seventh Soldier will beat me to the punch when it comes time to write a review.)
Written by Mike Johnson
Art by Angel Unzueta & Wayne Faucher
Spotlight on Donna Troy! What happens when a young twenty-something woman feels like she grew up too fast and deprived herself of a twenty-something kind of life? As Donna ponders this, the Fearsome Five continue their Titans revenge streak. They picked the wrong time to do it…
Seriously, if you’re not going to do anything with this book, just cancel it and spare us all the trouble.
So, this is the new Justice League, huh?
First reaction: I don’t love the art. Mark Bagley’s DC work has been solid. And I applaud any artist who can meet deadlines these days. But I haven’t loved his work at DC and this image is no exception. The characters always seem a little “off” to me. And what’s up with the weird size discrepancies?
Honestly, I don’t much care who is on the JLA. It’s all about execution to me. I’d rather have a good book filled with 3rd stringers than a crap book starring the Big 7. But, the line-up is more important to the JLA than it is to almost any other team in comics. People have certain expectations of the JLA that they don’t have for the Titans for example.
With that in mind, I thought I’d run through the new line-up and share my thoughts. In alphabetical order we have:
The Atom:Ray Palmer is the first of Robinson’s “pet characters” to make the list. Ray’s been on the League plenty of times before. Even when he wasn’t a member, he was one of the first reserves to get the call to action. No doubt that he has a place on the team. Unfortunately, Robinson has written him really poorly in “Cry for Justice”. I really don’t want to see more of the same here. Also, a part of me really wishes DC would have given Ryan Choi more of a chance.
Batman:Sure, Batman belongs on the League. Okay, so this is not Bruce Wayne. Doesn’t really matter. Dick’s lead the JLA before (in the Obsidian Age storyline). Being Batman means being in the JLA. This one is a no-brainer.
Congorilla:If any new member is going to raise eyebrows, it’s Congo Bill. When people heard he was going to be featured in “Cry for Justice”, they scratched their heads. Most people took a wait-and-see attitude. Robinson swears he’s going to make all of us love Congorilla. I’m still waiting for that to happen. Based on what I’ve seen so far, there’s no way I think he belongs on the Justice League. But as Robinson’s pet character, he makes the cut.
Cyborg: Really? Cyborg? Okay. I mean, if Steel isn’t available, sure. I guess. I’m not sure why Cyborg needs to make the step up from Titans to the League. But I have no problem with it… except… well, more on that later.
Donna Troy: Hey, what do you know? Another Titan. I really don’t have a problem with Donna on the League. I’m not sure why Wonder Woman is unavailable. But I guess we’ll find out in due time. The problem is that this line-up has 4 Titans on it (5 if you count Ray Palmer who was a Teen Titan in the 90s). It just seems like over-kill. It’s okay to have a Titan or two on the roster, but they shouldn’t be the dominant force.
Dr. Light:First of all, the name is most commonly associated with a villain. One of the most hated villains in the DCU to be specific. On the other hand, she’s got the power level to be on the League. And as an Asian woman, she adds some diversity to a mostly white team. I’ve never been a fan of the character, but I’ve got nothing against her.
Green Arrow: Much was made of Roy Harper taking on the name Red Arrow and taking Ollie’s place on the League. So in a way it feels like a step backward to bring Ollie back this soon. Then again, with so many Titans on the roster, something had to give. There’s no doubt that Ollie belongs on the League. But there may be a few reasons why he doesn’t belong on this League.
- He’s married to Black Canary. Black Canary led the last incarnation of the League and was fairly humiliated when Hal told the League why they sucked and stormed off. Ollie should be standing by her side, not Hal’s.
- When you have Ollie on the League, there are certain characters you want to see him interact with. And almost none of them are here. No Black Canary. No Hawkman. Just Hal Jordan. And…
- Robinson’s take on Hal and Ollie’s banter has been one of the most painful things about “Cry For Justice”. I doubt he’s learned how to write either character any better.
Green Lantern:See point 3 under Green Arrow. Also, Hal Jordan is dangerously close to being over-exposed in the DCU these days. It would have been nice to see another GL featured here. With Hal getting the main book, Kyle and Guy in GL Corps, I would really like to see John Stewart on the League.
The Guardian:Like Congorilla, the Guardian is anything but a household name. In and of itself, that’s not a problem. But this team is sorely lacking heavy hitters. The only reason the Guardian is getting the nod is that Robinson likes him. And I’ve enjoyed Robinson’s take on the character in Superman. But Superman already stars Mon-el and the Guardian. Did we really need to have both characters here too?
Mon-el:The Superman family’s pretty darn big. I’d rather have Supergirl or Steel fill in for Superman while he’s off planet. For story reasons, I understand why Supergirl wouldn’t make a good fit. Kryptonians aren’t real popular these days. And Steel may not be in fighting shape after the ass-whooping he got from Atlas a couple months ago. So, I guess Mon-el makes the most sense. But I really don’t care for that “S” they added to his costume.
Starfire:Another Titan. I’m not sure I understand what Starfire is brining to the table. Sure, she’s powerful. But so are a lot of other characters who could have brought a little more of a “JLA” feel to the book. On her own, I can see it. But with all the other Titans floating around, will this book still feel like the JLA?
Which brings me to my next point. What’s going to happen to Titans? Surely these four characters’ aren’t all going to be pulling double duty on both teams. Rumor has it Beast Boy is also leaving the Titans for Teen Titans. So, it seems likely that book may be headed for cancellation.
If Titans does get cancelled, it’s no big loss. The book has stunk from day one. (Honestly, Billy’s blasting of Titans 1 is the most read article on this blog of all times. And not just because he included screenshots of all the naked pictures of Starfire!) But I thought Wally West fans were being told they could read about their favorite character in Titans. Now I have to wonder if Wally still has a home.
Which brings up another point: the team is lacking a Speedster. With both Wally and Barry running around, it seems like at least one of them should be on the League. With Barry getting the main book, it would have been nice to see Wally here – as long as he wasn’t one more Titan.
There’s a few other surprising omissions. Vixen was confirmed as being on the team at one point. Maybe she’ll show up later on. Who knows? also, after all the hub-bub around McDuffie not getting to pick his League, you have to wonder why DC was so quick to throw aside the members of that version of the team. Zatanna, Firestorm, the recently returned Plastic Man… what happened to those guys?
There’s still some story left to tell. And maybe it will all make more sense when we see how Cry for Justice leads into the main title. I’ll be interested to see why Starman, Supergirl, Captain Marvel, etc didn’t make the cut.
I’m a huge fan of the Justice League. It’s my favorite team in comics. And I really want the book to be good. This line-up could work, but it doesn’t really excite me. My main reservation about the book is the creative team.
I like Robinson’s work on Superman. But man-oh-man do I hate Cry for Justice. There’s no reason to think his take on the main JLA book will be any better than his mini-series. So, my expectations have been lowered to zero for that reason alone.
Couple Robinson with the capable but “off” artwork of Mark Bagley in the DCU and a line-up I just don’t care about and you’ve got a recipe for another lack luster Justice League.
This is one case where I would definitely like to be proven wrong.