Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #2

October 21, 2011

I had mixed feelings with the first issue and ultimately labeled it a “guilty pleasure”.   I enjoyed much of it, but Starfire’s over sexualization mixed in with seemingly forgetting (explained basically as not caring) her entire past on Earth did not sit well with me.  This issue doesn’t really explain the latter part, but it shouldn’t be upsetting anyone.  At least it didn’t for me.

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In Defence Of Starfire And Red Hood And The Outlaws

October 4, 2011

Hey, looks like I’m not alone!  Some other people thought the internet over-reacted to Starfire’s portrayal in Red Hood and the Outlaws too!  Scott Lobdell explains Kory’s “memory loss” etc and (what do you know?) it looks like I was right about what he was trying to convey!  That happens so rarely, I feel the need to point it out.  He also confirms that Jason was lying about some things.  Yeah, some people at the DC Forums are going to be eating crow in two weeks when the next issue comes out…


Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

September 29, 2011

With all the controversy and split between how to view Starfire (either a strong female or a bimbo mainly), I decided to ask one of my college professors for thoughts on Starfire’s portrayal.

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Is Starfire a Bimbo?

September 22, 2011

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 has fan boys in a frenzy.  This isn’t surprising.  Any book that stars the Red Hood is bound to be a target.  Adding DC whipping boy Roy Harper is just chumming the water.  But what has a lot of fans foaming at the mouth is Scott Lobdell’s treatment of former Teen Titan, Starfire.

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Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

September 21, 2011

Wow is about all I can say on multiple levels…

SPOILER WARNING!

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 3)

September 18, 2011


I’m continuing my Retrospective for the Teen Titans with the Teens Titans/Legion of Superheroes crossover and issues 16-19 (collected in trade as The Future is Now).  Handling a lot with these issues, so I’ll try to keep it from being too long.  I do want to state though that these issues are some of my favorites of this Teen Titans group and Johns is joined by writer Mark Waid for the Legion cross over.

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 1)

September 11, 2011

I’m a fan of the Teen Titans, especially the latest incarnation that went from 2003-2011 and as this relaunch makes it seem their entire history may be erased, I wanted to give them a farewell starting with issues 1-7 (also collected in trade form as “A Kid’s Game” or the soon to be released Teen Titans Omnibus 1).  Like usual, beware of spoilers.

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Video Review: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies *Spoilers*

September 27, 2009

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This is an early review of Warner Brother’s latest direct to video DC animated feature.  WB Animation has a really good track record with these releases.  I feel that the production values of the DCU features have been superior to most direct-to-video releases.  And “Public Enemies” is no exception.  In fact, it may be the best-looking release to date if you like the Ed McGuiness-inspired artwork.

When “Public Enemies” was announced, I have to admit I was a little disappointed.  I read Jeph Loeb’s run on Superman/Batman.  For me, Superman/Batman was when Loeb embraced big, stupid spectacle over well-written comics.  “Public Enemies” made no sense.  But Loeb didn’t seem to care as long as he gave McGuiness plenty of big, splashy fight scenes to draw.

The animated adaptation of “Public Enemies” is no different in that respect.  The plot follows the same thin storyline.  A huge Kryptonite meteor is headed to earth and President Luthor uses it as an opportunity to vilify Superman and Batman.  It’s mostly an excuse for Batman and Superman to square off against guest star after guest star.

If anything, the animated version of “Public Enemies” is even bigger and more stupid than the comic book source material.  Just about every action any character takes is completely devoid of any rational explanation.  If the plot requires that a character needs to be convinced of Superman’s innocence, then one of Luthor’s conspirators conveniently confesses to his crimes within ear shot.  It’s that kind of movie.

However, big, dumb animated fight scenes are not without their charms.  There’s a certain fanboy thrill to watching Superman and Batman duke it out with Hawkman and Captain Marvel even if the fight defies any kind of logic.  And the scene in which an army of villains descend on the heroes in order to collect Luthor’s bounty of one billion dollars is fun if for no other reason than to see the random assortment of villains who are included.

This sort of spectacle plays better in a cartoon than it does a comic book.  And the fact that the cartoon does not include Loeb’s annoying Batman/Superman alternating narration is a big plus.

Another major selling point is the voice work.  The main voices are familiar to long-time fans of Bruce Timm’s animation.  Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown all return as Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor respectively.  Also, CCH Pounder reprises the role of Amanda Waller from Justice League Unlimited.  If only they could have gotten Macolm McDowell and Dana Delaney to reprise their roles as Metallo Lois Lane.

The numerous guest stars in the film include a number of notable cameos.  Smallville’s Allison Mack plays the buxom and doe-eyed Power Girl.  And John C. McGinley of “Scrubs” takes over the role of Metallo.  These are probably the most significant supporting roles and honestly they are too minor to make much of a difference.

Much like the comic it was based on, “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” wears it’s stupidity like a badge of honor.  There’s no reason to buy this disc.  No one is going to want to watch it repeatedly.  But if you are in the mood for some truly mindless superhero smashing, “Superman/Batman” is worth a rental.

Compared with other WB releases, this one ranks high for its production values and low in just about every other way.  “Wonder Woman” is still the disc to beat overall.

read/RANT


JLA: the New Line-Up

September 21, 2009

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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…
  3. 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.

read/RANT


DC Solicitations for August + Commentary

May 19, 2009

Same drill as always.  This is the newly released DC solicitations “enhanced” by my colorful commentary.  No deeper meaning.  Just a few cheers and jeers.  And hopefully a funny line or two.

BLACKEST NIGHT #2
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Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis

The event of the summer continues! The dead rise across the DC Universe, bringing terror and darkness with them. What are the Black Lanterns? What do they want? Will Earth’s greatest heroes survive long enough to find out – or will they join the Black Lantern Corps?

Neither the art nor the cover tell me anything I didn’t already know.  But then, DC really doesn’t have to sell anyone on Blackest Night at this point.  A lot of fans get down right voilent if you suggest this will be anything less than the greatest story ever told.

BLACKEST NIGHT: BATMAN #1
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Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Adrian Saef & John Dell

Deadman can’t shut out the cries of the dead rising as he comes to the aid of the new Batman. It’s just in time, too, as the duo face a circus of zombies including the Black Lantern Flying Graysons!

Just what we need.  More Blackest Night and more Batman.  DC wasn’t putting out enough Batbooks, so I’m glad Blackest Night has provided a way to spotlight him.  And *spoiler aler* if Dick Grayson isn’t the new Batman, why on earth would the Flying Graysons be appearing in this book? 

By the way, am I the only one who thinks Flying Grayson zombies just sound stupid?

Also, while I like Tomasi, this seems like a piece of crap tie-in like Final Crisis: Requiem.  Tomasi doesn’t seem to have the best luck with tie-ins.

BLACKEST NIGHT: SUPERMAN #1
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Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Eddy Barrows & Ruy Jose

Black Lantern Superman has unearthed Pa Kent’s grave! But that’s only the beginning of the horrifying things he’s about to unleash on an unsuspecting Smallville.

Ew.  Is this really what we’ve come to, DC?  Digging up Pa Kent.  I sure hope the main story is better than these tie-ins.

BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #1
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Written by J.T. Krul
Art and cover by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter

    Black Lantern Titans are descending together onto Titans Island! Will the Titans be prepared to fight off their deceased allies? And how can Beast Boy not lose his heart to Black Lantern Terra?

If I were Beast Boy, I don’t think I’d have too much trouble resistinng Terra’s advances considering the fact that she’s a freaking zombie!  Come on, Beast Boy!  What is wrong with you?

If all the dead Titans come back, the DCU is in a whole heap of trouble.  For the last several years, DC has done nothing but kill and maim Titans.  Sometimes, DC creates Titans for the sole purpose of killing them.  (RIP Power Boy.  No, seriously.  Don’t come back.)

GREEN LANTERN #45

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

    BLACKEST NIGHT continues! The Black Lanterns descend on all the Corps throughout the universe! Sinestro’s assault on the Star Sapphires’ homeworld of Zamaron is interrupted by another Sinestro Corps – one made up of those who died during the Sinestro Corps War! And while the War of Light flickers, deep in the darkness of space, John Stewart comes face-to-face with his deceased wife – and longtime Green Lantern – Katma Tui.

Personally, I really couldn’t care less about Katma Tui, but if John Stewart gets the spotlight for an issue, I’m all for it. 

Pointless question: If this other Sinestro Corps consists of “those who died during the Sinestro Corps War”, wouldn’t they be Black Lanterns?

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #39

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

    Just when things couldn’t look any darker after the death and chaos of the Sciencell riot, Blackest Night descends on Oa! The black rings tear into the planet and the Lantern Crypt causing all the dead Corps members to rise and wreak havoc as a new and deadlier battle threatens to engulf not only the Corps, but the Universe itself!

Is it just me, or did the first 6 books in this month’s solicitations have pretty much the same plot?  I’m running out of things to say (and that never happens!).  I guess this is a great month for those of you who like to see zombie superheroes.  Maybe next, the DC Universe can be invaded by Skrulls.

FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: RUN! #4

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Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

    In this issue, someone dies! Actually, in this issue, tons of people die! If you thought RUN! was full of trashy humor and unnecessary violence before this issue – you ain’t seen nothing yet! We cause more property damage and hideous disfigurement in the first half of this issue than any other comic you’ll read this year (besides RUN! #5 and #6, because those are pretty ridiculous too). Join in the fun!

Join the fun?  Does this sound like fun to anybody?  Power Girl #1 was fun.  This sounds like everything I hate about DC Comics these days.  No thanks!

There’s also three other Final Crisis Aftermath series trudging along.  Maybe Infinite Crisis would have been a better name.  This thing just won’t end!

WEDNESDAY COMICS #5-8

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Not much to say here.  Wednesday Comics still looks like the best idea anyone’s had in a long time.  I sure hope the excution is there.

BATMAN: WIDENING GYRE #1

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Once again, Kevin Smith – the fan-favorite creator behind GREEN ARROW and Daredevil – teams up with Walter Flanagan – the artist on the acclaimed series BATMAN: CACOPHONY – for an all-new adventure starring The Caped Crusader. The stakes are high as Batman encounters a new vigilante under his wing amidst what Smith describes as a “backdrop of romance, intrigue, and geek-bait guest stars galore.” Trust us when we say that it’s as awesome as it sounds.

Oh goodie.  More Batman.  Glad to see someone’s giving him a chance.

Kevin Smith is okay if you like late comic books filled with poop jokes. 

BATGIRL #1

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Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott

    In the wake of “Batman R.I.P.” and BATTLE FOR THE COWL, a new heroine has emerged in Gotham City, and as she begins her nocturnal crusade to take back the night, she will truly learn what it means to wear the mantle of the Bat. But who is this young woman, and why has she donned the cape and cowl?

Look, I don’t really care who Batgirl is.  There was nothing wrong with Cassandra Cain until DC decided to crap all over her.  But if they replace her with Spoiler or Misfit or someone else who is, you know, a girl… I’m fine with that.

What I don’t want to see happen is for Barbara Gordon to return to the role.  She’s outgrown it.  You don’t have to turn the clock back on everything, DC.  Let Babs remain Oracle!

(And put her in a good book instead of that trashy Battle for the Cowl tie-in.)

BATMAN AND ROBIN #3

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Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by Frank Quitely

    “Batman Reborn” concludes the explosive reteaming of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men)! Witness Batman and Robin’s final showdown against Professor Pyg and the Circus of Strange! The future looks bright for the new Dynamic Duo as they prove themselves in battle, but lurking in the shadows is a mysterious red-hooded vigilante. Also, the origin of Scarlet!

So, Frank’s only doing 3 issues?  Bummer.

I’m assuming this solicit will make more sense once I’ve read an issue or two of Batman and Robin.  Then again, it’s Grant Morrsion.  So, maybe not.

DETECTIVE COMICS #856
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Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner

    “Elegy” part 3 of 4! Batwoman unites with an unlikely ally to momentarily defeat the fairytale villain known as Alice. But when Kate is forced to attend a high society event, she soon learns that her worlds are colliding as Alice’s plans for Gotham’s elite put Kate’s father directly in harm’s way.
    Plus, in the next part of The Question co-feature, writer Greg Rucka and artist Cully Hamner bring Renee’s search for a missing girl to new depths when The Question is trapped inside a sinking car. Will her life and her leads end up at the bottom of the river?

I am moderately excited for this book.  That JH Williams art is a knock-out.  And I’m confident Rucka will deliver.  I’m not the biggest fan of Batwoman or Renee Montoya (that would be Seventh Soldier) but I hope I will be by the end of this storyline.

BATMAN #689
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Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley & Rob Hunter

    “Long Shadows” continues! Batman forges ahead in his battle to retrieve the escapees from Arkham Asylum, while Two-Face begins a ground war of his own. Elsewhere, Penguin wants to become Gotham City’s new king of crime, but to do so he has to make a deal with the devil.

Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Judd Winick.  Which of these three is not like the others?

Winick, please take this chance to redeem yourself.  I hate the hack you’ve become.  Please never write Titans again.  Yours truly, Lebeau.

BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #3
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Written by Paul Dini; co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs; co-feature art by Georges Jeanty & Karl Story

    Bruce Wayne is dead…long live Bruce Wayne! Gotham’s favorite son has miraculously returned, promising to lead his city into a new golden age. But while Wayne devotes his limitless fortune to rebuilding Gotham City, he fights violent opposition from Batman, Robin and a host of DC Universe heroes!
    And in the Manhunter co-feature, now that Manhunter has found the previous DA’s killer – or, rather, the killer has found her – what is she going to do about it? Bringing the killer in for a trial may not result in the justice Kate’s been dreaming of.  But is she ready to kill for justice so soon after a fresh start in Gotham?

This looks like Dini’s follow-up to Heart of Hush.  So, I’ll give it a look.  I followed Manhunter casually.  So, I look forward to checking out the co-feature too.

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #3

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Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
    With their uneasy alliance in place, the sirens encounter trouble in the form of the mysteriously returned Bruce Wayne. He’s dazzling, he’s dangerous and he’s got his sights set on Harley Quinn! Has romance sparked between these two long-time enemies – or is Wayne playing a more sinister game?

As I said last month, I’ve got some misgivings about GC Sirens.  I’m giving you three issues, Dini.  Don’t pull any of that Countdown crap this time!

OUTSIDERS #21
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Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin

    “The Hunting” begins here! With Arkham Asylum’s most dangerous inmates running free, The Outsiders are charged with returning them to Gotham City – by whatever means necessary. Batman and Alfred split up the team in order to track down Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze and Clayface before the rogues kill again!

Batman RIP totally derailed this book for me.  It’s not that I minded seeing Batman leave the team.  But I wanted to read about Batgirl stepping up to lead the team.  Instead, everyone cried about how they couldn’t possibly continue without Batman.  which is ridiculous considering how many times Batman has left the Outsiders in the past.

The problem is, I have no interest in this line-up.  Still, I like Tomasi okay.  So maybe I’ll give this issue a chance.  If anyone is actually reading this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

RED ROBIN #3
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Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs

    “The Grail” part 3 of 4! “Batman Reborn” continues, but is Red Robin’s quest to find Bruce Wayne at an end? Because in a German museum, answers await. But to get to those answers, Red Robin has to go through the Global Guardian known as the Wild Huntsman. Making matters worse, Red Robin’s got an unwanted ally – Ra’s al Ghul! Also, discover what happened in the days after BATTLE FOR THE COWL?

Rounding out the umpteen dozen Batman books DC is offering this month is Red Robin.  And once again it just looks awful.  It’s like DC decided to round up all the worst Batman-related ideas of the last couple of years and put them in one book.  Let’s never mention Battle for the Cowl again, okay DC?

ADVENTURE COMICS #1

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Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul, co-feature art by Clayton Henry

    It’s the return of one of DC Comics’ longest running books and one of its greatest modern-day heroes – Conner Kent! In our first heroic issue, Superboy can’t wait to jump back into his life – but which life will it be? With a clarity he’s never had before, Conner makes a beeline for the greatest place on Earth…Smallville?
    Plus, in the wake of FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS, Starman heads off on an all-new mission in the present. And it’s one that will not only impact Superboy, but the future of the DC Universe itself. Fortunately, the off-kilter Legionnaire won’t be dong it alone! And in the upcoming months of ADVENTURE COMICS look for Lex Luthor! Brainiac! Lightning Lad! Superboy’s pal Simple Simon! Sun Boy and Polar Boy! Ultra, the Multi Alien! Wonder Girl! Black Lantern Alexander Luthor! And many, many more new and familiar faces!

I’m sick of death and resurection in the DCU.  But I am genuinely excited to see Johns bring back Conner – even if he was the one who killed him off in the first place.  Yeah, Johns pretty much completely changed Conner when he got a hold of him in Titans.  But, I’m stil a fan of the character.  It’s good to have him back.  And I enjoyed Johns’ take on Starman in JSA.  So, this is a win-win for me.

But I don’t really want to see Alexander Luthor again.  Ever.  Not even as a zombie.  Actually, especially not as a zombie.

SUPERMAN SECRET FILES 2009 #1

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Written by Sterling Gates, Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods, Jamal Igle, Renato Guedes, Julián López and various

    There’s never been a better (or busier) time to be a Superman fan! With so many new characters and locations to keep track of, DC brings readers the definitive guide to the ever-expanding world of Superman. Here you will get profiles of characters like Nightwing and Flamebird, General Zod, Supergirl, Mon-El and more, plus maps of locations such as New Krypton’s Kandor and Metropolis.
    Also included is a bittersweet story about the friendship of Supergirl and Flamebird, and a story revealing the dark legacy of Pete Ross’ brief time as President of the United States. Plus, a week in the life of Science Cops Billi Harper and Jonathan (Mon-El) Kent. This SECRET FILES issue serves as an excellent primer to this month’s “Codename: Patriot” crossover in the Superman titles, so don’t miss out!

So, you need a scorecard to keep track of what’s going on in the Superman books these days?  Not exactly a trong selling point, guys.  Secret Files books are rarely more than $5 filler material.  I strongly doubt this will be any different.

SUPERMAN ANNUAL #14

supermanannual_cv14-02

Written by James Robinson
Art by Javier Pina

    Since Superman freed him from the Phantom Zone, Mon-El has spent all his time learning about Earth and its diverse cultures. But how much does he really know about Daxam, the homeworld he fled years ago? A gift from the Legionnaire Tellus allows Mon-El to explore the ancient history of Daxam – from its founding as a Kryptonian colony to its connection to the Mayans of Earth to its bloody civil war. Join Mon-El as he discovers that the planet he always believed to be peaceful and dull is actually anything but.

And the Superman-related filler continues.  At least it’s a buck cheaper than the Secret Files book. 

SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #6
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Written by Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Art by Pete Woods

    It’s chaos in Kandor as the 4-part “Codename: Patriot” storyline kicks off here and runs through the August Superman titles! Someone has been shot and Superman will stop at nothing to find the culprit! But when the shooter flees to Earth, can Superman stop him in time to prevent making the two planets even more hostile toward each other? Continued in ACTION COMICS #880!

As the only Superman book to actually feature Superman these days, World of New Krypton has been the most reliably good read of the bunch.  I’m in for all 12 issues.

 ACTION COMICS #880

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Written by Greg Rucka; co-feature written by James Robinson & Rucka
Art by Julián López; co-feature art by CAFU

    “Codename: Patriot” part 2! Nightwing and Flamebird are hot on the trail of the psycho sleeper agents Nadira and Az-Rel when the heroes run into another deadly duo – Reactron and Metallo! What do these two want and how does it tie in with General Lane’s plans? Meanwhile, Superman and Supergirl arrive on Earth searching for the shooter – but will their actions here cause more harm than good? Continued in SUPERGIRL #44!
    And in part 2 of the new co-feature, Captain Atom’s memory is falling apart right in the heat of battle – can he keep it together without annihilating an entire town? Luckily a deadly new player is about to take that choice out of his hands – permanently!

In for a penny, in for a pound.  I’m sure I’ll read all 4 parts of “Codename: Patriot”.  Although Action is teetering on the edge of losing me.  Check out Seventh Soldier’s review of the last issue here.  He raises a lot of good points. 

Also, I’m looking forward to seeing Rucka and Robinson redeem Captain Atom.  He’s on the short list of characters who desperately need to be rehabbed.

SUPERGIRL #44
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Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
    “Codename: Patriot” part 3! It’s Supergirl and Mon-El versus Nightwing and Flamebird! Find out what happens when the Girl of Steel has to face off against Flamebird, one of her oldest and dearest friends! At Project 7734, General Lane puts the next part of his plan into action – with the help of the man known as Atlas. Concluded in SUPERMAN #691!

Yay, Supergirl!  After years of being the worst book DC was publishing, you’re now one of the best.  This makes my currently unwritten list of books you should be reading.  I’m going to have to write that list sometime…

SUPERMAN #691

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Lane wants…al! Except one key player is missing – Superman! He has to stop the shooter from taking yet another course of action that would cause the situation between Earth and New Krypton to grow exponentially worse. Which, of course, is just what GenerSuperfans chapter of “Codename: Patriot”! What are the stakes, and who are the players? Everything and everyone, al    It’s a slam-bang, knockdown epic fight in the sewers of Metropolis in this fourth and finish.

Superman is the one Superman book I’ve kind of lost track of.  Mon-El and Guardian just aren’t draws for me.  I plan to jump back on this book sometime, but I say that every month.  Unless Codename: Patriot sucks, I’m sure I’ll be following the conclussion here.

SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN SPECIAL #2

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Written by James Robinson
Art by Matt Camp

    Jimmy Olsen has put all the pieces together regarding the mysterious Project 7734, and it’s worse than he imagined. With The Man of Steel temporarily out of the picture, though, it’s all up to Superman’s Pal to take action. Thankfully he has the help of Mon-El and Steel’s niece Natasha Irons – but will they be enough to defeat Codename: Assassin?

I didn’t read last year’s Jimmy Olsen special.  But everyone I know who did read it, hated it.  I was warned against it very strongly.  The phrase “biggest waste of money” was used a lot.  Kind of hard to believe they came back for seconds.

THE RED CIRCLE

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J. Michael Straczynski dives into the DC Universe at last – and he’s bringing four of the finest heroes of the Golden and Silver Ages with him!
    Completely reimagined for the modern world from their original appearances in Archie/MLJ publications, these four heroes will show you a side of the DC Universe you’ve never seen before!

I like this idea on paper.  I don’t know the first thing about the Red Circle characters.  But I’m all for having some new blood in the DCU – assuming DC treats them right.

I’m not the biggest JMS fan, but he’s a capable writer.  He’s obviously investing a lot in this project.  Hopefully he’s the right guy for the job.

I figure this has to turn out better than when Marvel integrated the Ultraverse into the Mavel Universe, right?

DOOM PATROL #1

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Written by Keith Giffen; co-feature written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Matthew Clark; co-feature art by Kevin Maguire
Cover by Matthew Clark
Men today?al for just under four American dollars. So why not try some Doom Patrol with a side order of Metbookery team that brought you JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL! That’s 40 full pages of comic-ve Men, featuring the triumphant return of the creatial, the Meteverymen al and art by Matthew Clark! Whether you think you know ‘em or you wouldn’t know ‘em if they bit you on the behind, this Doom Patrol’s for you! But that’s not all! Read all the way to the back cover for the all-new adventures of those elementGiffen    Come one, come all! The world’s strangest Super Heroes are back, and they brought those robot guys along with ‘em! Thrill to the strange adventures of the Doom Patrol, with script by Keith.

Doom Patrol and Metal Men are both DC concepts I’ve just never gotten into.  I’ve wanted to, but they’ve never clicked for me.  This creative team seems like as good a team as any to change that.  So, sign me up!

BOOSTER GOLD #23

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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 Death” continues! Booster Gold reveals the Black Beetle’s plan to wipe out the entire JLA by going after their most incompetent former member – Booster Gold! Plus, Blue Beetle comes face to face with the mad scientist who created the robot army that’s destroying Texas!

Ah, Booster.  I’ve been a bad fan.  I promised not to abandon you when Geoff Johns left the book and then I totally did.  I’ll be back.  I promise!  But then, you’ve heard that before.  I have issue 20 at home.  I just haven’t read it yet.  But I look forward to touching base with you again soon, old friend.

THE FLASH: REBIRTH #5

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Written by Geoff Johns
Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver
    The greatest threat to face the Flash Family in decades stands revealed! A new hero will step into an old speedster’s boots! And Barry Allen will make the ultimate sacrifice: his life! Oh yeah, you read that right, but you’ll never believe just what it means! They always say nothing will ever be the same, but trust us, this one will rewrite the history books!

Yeah, you brought Barry Allen back just to kill him all over again.  Pull the other one, DC!

The first two issues of this series have me feeling underwhelmed. Read my review of issue 2 here.  I’m not sure why they bothered bringing Barry back if they were just going to retcon him beyond the point of being recognizable as Barry.  But then again, I don’t think Geoff Johns can stop himself.  The other day I saw him photoshopping Hal Jordan into my wedding pictures.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #36
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Written by Len Wein
Art by José Luis & J.P. Mayer

    In part 2 of the 3-part “Royal Flush” arc, it’s the Justice Society of America villain Roulette vs. the JLA’s old foe, Amos Fortune. And the stakes are high as the two baddies pit the JLA against itself!

Man, this book just stinks on toast these days.  After reading McDuffie’s complaints about editorial mandates, I have stopped blaming him for the failure of JLA.  I’m now fully blaming DiDio.  And frankly, he seems to be taking the blame given his comments on “editorial mandates” in the recent Newsaram interview.

It doesn’t change anything.  The book is still a snorefest.  Hey, waitaminute!  Is that Plastic Man on the cover?  Okay, I’ll stick around a little while longer!

JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #2

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Written by James Robinson
Art and cover Mauro Cascioli
    The team continues its proactive hunt for justice as the trail leads to an army of Super-Villains. But the big bad may be deadlier than all of the new team combined…

The art looks fantastic!  The story actually sounds pretty lousy.  And I am carrying a bit of a grudge against this book for helping to derail the regular JLA book.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #30
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Written by Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham
Art and cover by Jesus Merino
    “Bad Seed” part 2 of 5! The JSA feels the strain when battling a monstrous collection of villains who’ve mounted an all-out war on the team to collect a bounty placed on the head of everyone in the group except Stargirl! Tensions flare, and the group is forced to make a compromise in order to chase their fleeing enemies or return to the mansion to find out why Mister Terrific’s communications have suddenly stopped!

A bounty on everyone but Stargirl?  Is Geoff Johns behind this?

I’m committed to giving the new team on JSA a shot.  They’ve got big shoes to fill.

GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY #23
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Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz and Josef Rubinstein

    “Big Game” part 1 of 2! In the main feature, Green Arrow investigates a crime with all the earmarks of his old nemesis known as Big Game – which is made extra-mysterious by the fact that Cupid killed Big Game. And in this issue’s co-feature, Black Canary attempts to save her rival’s life when Cupid is attacked in police custody!

More Kreisberg!  More Cupid!  If Kreisberg can find a way to make Black Canary look stupid, he’ll manage to include everything I hate about his run in one issue!  (I have confidence he can do it.  He has yet to let me down since he took over the book.)

Seriously, Cupid’s in both the feature and the co-feature?  In the words of Charlie Brown, good grief!

I continue to petition DC for a new writer.

POWER GIRL #4
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Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art and cover by Amanda Conner

    “Space Girls Gone Wild!” part 1 of 2! A trio of sexy alien marauders hits Earth for the ultimate party. Unfortunately, by their standards, that means destroying it! Of course, it’s up to Power Girl to crash their festivities.

Power Girl 1 was just good, fun comics! Don’t believe me? Here’s a second opinion.   So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, read Power Girl!

SECRET SIX #12

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Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott & Doug Hazlewood

    A crisis of conscience splits the Secret Six right down the middle and puts them on opposite sides of a horrific war involving Amazons led by a deluded Artemis! But that’s just the opening bout for the main event: Jeannette vs. Wonder Woman!

Best book DC is putting out.  Believe it!

TEEN TITANS #74

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Written by Bryan Q. Miller; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira

    The assault against the Teen Titans continues this issue as the team struggles to even the odds. Will they be defeated by a foe with superior leadership?
    And in the co-feature, Ravager is attacked in her arctic hideaway. Who wants her dead? That’s what she wants to know…

I want Ravager dead.  Does that count?

(I don’t really, but I am sick of Sean McKeever writing her.  Then again, I am sick of Sean McKeever.)

And how about that cover?  A casket with a Titans symbol on it.  How original!   Never seen DC kill a Teen Titan before.  When’s Geoff Johns bringing them back?

I kid the Teen Titans!  But only because I care.  Please make this book good enough that I can start reading it again!

TITANS #16

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Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Angel Unzueta & Wayne Faucher

    Why has Starfire been acting odd the past few issues? Turns out the warrior woman has major rage issues coming out of her recent breakup with Dick Grayson, the events of FINAL CRISIS and more. Her super-powerful emotions could very well rip the team apart!

Gee, I can’t remember ever reading a story in which Starfire was portrayed as a hothead…  Next thing you know, they will really shake things up by putting her huge orange hooters on the cover.  What are the odds we’ll get a three-page spread of Starfire naked?  (Yep, that phrase is the number one search result here at read/RANT.  So, I’m using it every month!)

At least Deathcrap is over.

WONDER WOMAN #35

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Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan

    “Birds of Paradise” part 2 of 2! A gaggle of super-powered cage fighters find themselves in the worst possible place to be – on the bad side of Wonder Woman and Black Canary! Also, find out the final resolution between Diana and Nemesis along with much, much more!

Thanks, Gail.  The DCU was getting to be a hard place to be for this Black Canary fan.  Thanks for showing everyone else how it’s done.


DC July Solicits + Commentary

May 2, 2009

BLACKEST NIGHT #1

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Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis raise the dead in the most anticipated comics story of the year! Throughout the decades, death has plagued the DC Universe and taken the lives of heroes and villains alike. But to what end? As the War of Light rages on, the prophecy of the Blackest Night descends upon us, with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps at the center of it all. Read the rest of this entry »


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