First, I’d like to apologize for missing last week’s slew of books. Between a sinus headache exasperated by wildfires and planning for a trip, I ran out of time to get everything done. As for this week’s comics, we have lots of lead-in to Doomsday Clock, and a couple tie-ins to Metal. We also continue to have a Wonder Woman comic that doesn’t actually star Wonder Woman. For more on that, and other spoilers, keep reading. Rebirth Royalty this week again goes to Detective Comics, which continues to be one of the most consistently good books of the Rebirth slate.
Detective Comics #937
James Tynion IV (Writer), Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Tomeu Morey, and Jean Francois Beaulieu (Artists)
Tynion is weaving a masterpiece of nostalgia aimed almost directly at me. There are times in this book where I feel personally attacked. Tim and Bruce hugging brought back memories of that moment in Identity Crisis. Brother Eye of course did the same for Rucka’s OMAC Project. And talking about Conner again, quit breaking my heart please, James. Tim is a giant nerd in this issue, and I absolutely love it. From talking about the delightful team name to geeking out with Luke, Tim was so absolutely happy to be back, and so am I. Also, yes please, give me Flamebird! I want Flamebird! Screw Kate’s orders, Bette!
Action Comics #990
Dan Jurgens (Writer), Dan Jurgens, Victor Bogdanovic, Trevor Scott, Scott Hanna, and Mike Spicer (Artists)
“The Oz Effect” continues to be a great Superman story. Dan Jurgens continues to prove why he’s my favorite Superman writer by reinforcing the things that make Superman great. For all its faults, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace did one thing immensely right, and that’s when Superman rid the world of nuclear weapons. He does something similar here, in ridding both sides of a civil war of all their weapons. I also enjoyed Clark’s monologue about how just how widespread this rash of crises is. Punch more Nazis, Dinah and Ollie!
Hope Larson (Writer), Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr., Andy Owens, and Mat Lopes (Artists)
This arc of Batgirl has been a lot of fun. Intertwining flashbacks of young Dick and Babs with their current selves is great, even if the pants are still a lie. The idea of the Mad Hatter using a nanobot-based drug is a fantastic one. Hope also has a great quippy voice for Dick, and I look forward to her getting to play with it more in the future. Babs manipulating Dick into tackling the Hatter with her was masterful. Of course, Dick would let his machismo play him like that when he was a teenager.
Batman Beyond #13
Bernard Chang (Writer), Bernard Chang, and Marcelo Maiolo (Artists)
Two fill-in issues in a row, which is probably because such big things are going on in Action Comics that Dan Jurgens doesn’t have time to tackle this book too. This issue is steeped in Batman Beyond continuity, which made it a little tough for a Beyond newbie like me to follow. Having the Tri-Ball game interspersed throughout the issue was a nice touch, along with having Terry try his best to make it to his brother’s game.
Batman: The Merciless #1
Peter Tomasi (Writer) and Francis Manapul (Artists)
Thanks to James Robinson’s run on Wonder Woman, the end of this issue is pretty anti-climatic, because we know that Steve Trevor doesn’t get killed by The Merciless. I really like the origin of the Merciless. Batman desperate after seeing yet another person he loved dead at his feet, desperate enough to claim the enchanted helm of an enemy is a powerful idea. I don’t see Batman being corrupted that quickly, but seeing as these stories rely on nightmare logic, that makes it make sense. Manapul’s art, as always, is absolutely a joy to see.
Blue Beetle #14
Christopher Sebela (Writer), Scot Kolins, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Artists)
What a breath of fresh air! A new start is exactly what this book needed. Jaime on a road trip with his friends is a great idea, and something that will make those relationships shine. The fact that said road trip is in the middle of a desert is just so much more fitting, given that the new series writer is Christopher “I lived in the Clown Motel” Sebela. If anyone can write an amazing desert adventure, it’s him. Jaime’s relationship with Ted also felt like it worked better in this issue. It’s still slightly antagonistic, but it feels like Ted’s trying more than previously.
Gotham City Garage #2
Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Writer), Lynne Yoshi, José Marzán Jr., Livesay, Don Ho, Richard Friend, and Kelly Fitzpatrick (Artists)
This art team was a much better choice for this series than the previous issue’s Brian Ching. While it was still a bit cartoony in style, it was much less sketchy and much more defined. Having a solar bomb activate Kara’s powers was a great idea. The panel immediately after the solar explosion was an excellent panel. Kara’s bright optimism and energy contrasts nicely to Barda’s pessimism and and hard life. I like that Clayface has featured in both current digital series based on statue lines. This version is much different than the America First jerk in Bombshells United though.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #31
Robert Vendetti (Writer), Patrick Zircher, and Jason Wright (Artists)
I can’t be the only one who thought of Mojo when I saw the Master Engineer, right? Zircher’s art is still a treat, and even Van Sciver’s cover is better than his average work. I wonder if this Master Engineer plotline will get picked up after “Bats Out Of Hell,” because it’s truly an intriguing plot. I do take umbrage with Hal asking Clark if he killed the engineers. How long have you known Clark, Hal? He doesn’t kill. You’ve watched too many movies. That said, I tend to give Hal a hard time, but darned if that last scene didn’t make me feel bad for him.
Justice League of America #17
Steve Orlando (Writer), Ivan Reis, Julio Ferreira, Oclair Albert, and Marcelo Maiolo (Artists)
Maiolo and Reis really shined during the climatic fight scene between Ryan and Null. The fight was kinetic and the colors were incredible. The official passing of the torch from Ray to Ryan was emotional and heartfelt. Orlando continues to pull great things from the DC Universe’s vast history to tie into its great present. With this issue we had Krona’s hand and a tie from the multiverse to Doomsday Clock. And of course at the end of the issue, as soon as we saw the crooked house in the Ghost Zone, I knew who was coming. Bring on Prometheus.
Mother Panic #12
Jody Houser (Writer), Shawn Crystal, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Artists)
“Cut-By-Number” is a terrifying concept. I’m really impressed with the coloring choices Beaulieu made in this issue. There’s a lot of greens and reds contrasting with each other to make a very intense visual. Mother Panic continues to be exceedingly, but not excessively, brutal. I think that is helped by the fact that the art is a bit less realistic, so the brutality doesn’t seem as real. I look forward to Violet figuring out exactly what’s wrong with her mom. But first, we get the bizarre crossover that I don’t know anyone asked for, but hopefully it’s as good as the rest of the Young Animal line.
Nightwing: New Order #3
Kyle Higgins (Writer), Trevor McCarthy, and Dean White (Artists)
So powers are bad, but the most powerful weapon in the universe is a-okay? I can’t understand that logic. While I’m glad that Dick is realizing that he’s not on the right side, it’s another bit of flawed logic and characterization. He’s only realizing that he was wrong because someone he loves is effected, but really, half of the people he loves already were. His best friend is the Flash. His wife was Starfire. The person who gave him his adult superhero name was Superman. People close to him have always been effected by this, and he actually killed one of them with a giant gun in the first issue. This book is still absolutely gorgeous, I just wish it had a story that wasn’t so very out of character for Dick Grayson.
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #31
Sholly Fisch (Writer), Dario Brizuela, and Franco Riesco (Artists)
Good planning by DC to have this issue come out right as the Microverse arc in Justice League of America was wrapping up. Also nice of this comic to reference it’s own continuity by having Hawkman (who met the gang in issue #17) recommend that Atom call the kids. This was a fun adventure in the Microverse with the Atom. Surprisingly, this issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up ended with a cliffhanger. It’s the last series I expect to see maintain a strong continuity, but it makes me happy that it does.
Suicide Squad #28
Rob Williams (Writer), Eleonora Carlini, Wilfredo Torres, and Adriano Lucas (Artists)
This arc exploring the history of the Suicide Squad is really interesting to me. Until this arc started I didn’t really know about the original team, and didn’t realize that the team of semi-reformed villains we know didn’t even start until well after Crisis on Infinite Earths. I also liked Harley struggling with seeing the spitting image of her dead lover. I was amused that the original Suicide Squad uses a Star Trek shuttlecraft, too. Showing Starro as the reason Argent was founded in the first place was a nice nod to the Silver Age origins of the team.
Teen Titans #13
Benjamin Percy (Writer), Khoi Pham, Trevor Scott, and Jim Charalampiois (Artists)
The joy of a writer handling more than one series for a publisher is the potential for small crossovers like this. Emi has become one of my favorite parts of Green Arrow, so seeing her get invited to join the Teen Titans was a treat. I think she’ll be a good fit for the team (come on, Titans always could use an archer) if she chooses to join. I did not expect to ever see one of my favorite Green Arrow villains, Onomatopoeia, in Teen Titans, though. It’s nice to see the rest of the team bringing Wally back in, but I don’t know if I can ever see Damian apologizing to him.
The Flash #33
Joshua Williamson (Writer), Howard Porter, and Hi-Fi(Artists)
The Metal crossovers continue to be well crafted and integral. Its nice that DC is only having six of their mainline books tie in with the Metal story line, so that if you’re not interested, its easy to skip. Requiring every book in your line to tie in to a crossover drives away a certain subset of readers. This week we got references to both Conner Kent and Bart Allen, and I am so ready for both of them to come back to me. The idea of “Bats Out of Hell” being an escalated version of “Tower of Babel” is amazing to me. I hope it pays off as big as that arc did.
The Hellblazer #15
Tim Seeley (Writer), Jesus Merino, and Carrie Strachan (Artists)
The Booze Fairy bringing regrets to you as you sleep is such a wonderful analogy, and I will use it forever now. John Constantine continues to be a human garbage pile, as he breaks the world to fit him. Turns out he did so purposefully to get to the bottom of the murder he’s framed for. Because weirdly, and really inexplicably, it’s Norse Dwarves that are responsible for everything that’s happened this arc. I feel like I missed something and I’m going to have to read the whole story again.
The Kamandi Challenge #10
Greg Pak (Writer), Shane Davis, Michelle DeLecki, and Hi-Fi (Artists)
I had a sinking suspicion of the issue’s twist from the very beginning. This issue is one that didn’t truly feel very much like Kirby to me. Most of that is probably due to the choice of art for the issue. Shane Davis really doesn’t play with the same tools as Kirby did, and it shows. Davis’s art style is more reminiscent of 1990’s Image than it is of Jack Kirby. I got a little annoyed at the essay at the back, if only because the point is to tell us how they would have solved their own cliffhanger, and Tom King didn’t do that. As much as Davis didn’t work well to do a Kirby story, next month will be perfect, because we get Walt Simonson.
The Ruff and Reddy Show #1
Howard Chaykin (Writer) and Mac Rey (Artists)
I was very leery of this book when it was announced, because I have not been a fan of Chaykin’s most recent books. This is very different from those and in a good way. There’s no over the top violence against persecuted minorities, just two past their prime character actors. Rey’s art is very smooth and works well for the story. The biggest complaint I have is with the word balloons. The tails of the balloons are squared off, rather than pointed like in most books, and it was very distracting. I don’t know if this choice was made by Rey or by letterer, Ken Bruzenak, but it was a choice I don’t think worked.
Wonder Woman #33
James Robinson (Writer), Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Artists)
Sigh. I thought you couldn’t get worse than a Wonder Woman comic where she’s only on five pages. I was wrong. Wonder Woman has become a tertiary character in her own comic book. She was on four pages (five total panels) of this issue, three of those she were only on a television screen in the background. The other page she’s in one panel of a flashback. Combined, she has zero lines of dialogue. Wonder Woman is arguably DC’s second most marketable character at the moment, and they are completely wasting her in this story. This book might as well be retitled Adventures of Grail and Young Darkseid, because it’s not Wonder Woman. I will say that Emanuela Lupacchino’s pencils are always a treat, no matter how wasted they are on a poorly thought out story.
That’s it for this week’s books. Next week we have two new series for 1970s superheroes, along with the continuations of “Imperious Lex” and “Bats Out of Hell.” And oh yeah, it’ll be time to meet the Jetsons!