Welcome back to Rebirth Roundup, as the tikes head back to school and we go to history class! Lots of books this week have things rooted in past eras, be it Shade and Doom Patrol pulling from previous series or Chuck Dixon being stuck in the nineties. Royalty this week goes to Shade the Changing Girl, and boy howdy is that book a trip. As always, spoilers ahead.
Shade the Changing Girl #12
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marley Zarcone, Katie Jones and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Cover: Becky Cloonan
Variant: Matt Taylor
This. Series. What even. This series has been so bizarre and fun. This issue was a game changer, and I am so confused and intrigued for whats to come. The first twelve issues told a very cohesive story, with an excellent conclusion. To me, the best thing about about this series is the way both the writing and the art push the psychedelic nature of the book. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors are straight out of the summer of love, and Marley’s pencils look like something out of a fever dream. I love just about every character in this book, and the character arcs have been fantastic. I also had no previous knowledge of Shade before picking this book up, but this book has made me want to read the previous series. This whole series has been absolutely wonderful, and I’m mad at myself for not reading it sooner. It’s been so good that I actually pitched the book to my book club, so we’ll be reading it in December, and I suggest all of you do as well. But don’t wait until December.
Astro City #47
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Michael Norton
Cover: Alex Ross
This is the story of G-Dog, a VERY GOOD DOG. And aren’t they all, Brent? A low level thug steals an amulet that merges himself and his beloved pet Corgi Hank, and Hank’s very good influence turns Andy into a very good human. The story was adorable and inspiring, and then the last page hits you so freaking hard.
Bane Conquest #5
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Graham Nolan
Cover: Graham Nolan and Gregory Wright
Chuck Dixon defined the Batman universe in the 1990s. He wrote Detective Comics for seven years from 1992 to 1999, and launched ancillary series for the family with Robin in 1993, Nightwing in 1996, and Birds of Prey in 1999. He stayed on all of those books until 2002. He’s the man responsible for really defining the Batman supporting cast we know and love. That said, Bane Conquest really feels trapped back in the nineties, while trying to be a modernized Bane story. It’s littered with 90s comic tropes, including characters toting big guns that don’t usually have to rely on them. The series also feels a bit drawn out; I’m not sure I understand why this story needed a year of books. The only thing I can think of is that this story will still be going next year, when Bane turns 25 years old.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Cover: Mikel Janin
Variant: Tim Sale and Brennan Wagner
Well this took a turn. Somehow, I felt… bad… for… Kite Man?! What is this? I don’t know how I feel about Batman wearing a Riddler arm band, but at least he’s implemented a no kill policy to broker the team up. I do really like the idea of the last man standing on Team Joker is the walking joke of a Bat-Rogue.
Writer: John Semper Jr.
Artist: Alan Jefferson, Will Conrad and Wayne Faucher
Cover: Eric Canete and Guy Major
Variant: Carlos D’anda
This series is really not doing it for me. The arcs are long and meandering, and there’s too much text on the page. I like Variant and Cyborg’s relationship, but otherwise, I could do without just about everything in this book.
Dastardly and Muttley #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Variant: Liam Sharp
I have one question. Who? Who is the target audience of this book? It’s certainly not children, not with how racist and violent and profane just the opening three pages were. It’s certainly not mature adults with how wacky it got. I just don’t understand why this creative team is on this book. It was boring, and it tried too hard to be zany. A lot of the humor fell flat, and was outweighed by the adult content.
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Diogenes Neves and Jason Paz
Cover: Ryan Sook
Variant: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki and Alex Sinclair
While this isn’t the first time that Slade has gone mostly legit, it is one of the more interesting times. I do like the idea of his own Titans team, and that half of is his kids. I’m thankful that they’ve finally made Jericho canonically queer. Bi dude representation is important and rare!
Doom Patrol #8
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington, Tom Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain
Cover: Nick Derington
Variant: James O’Barr
This is the start of a new arc, which I’d normally recommend as a good jumping on point, but really any issue in this series is going to be just as confusing as any other. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s a good kind of confusing and bizarre, but wow is this series out there. I feel like I’m a little more lost than I could be, as I’ve never read the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol. That said, Gerard has made a point of explaining what we really need to know about the characters, while also making us a bit more interested in their pasts. Much like Shade the Changing Girl, this book has made me want to go back and pick up previous volumes of the series. Maybe once I get caught up on all my reading. Also, just when I thought this series couldn’t get more bizarre we get a romance between a woman and her cat turned cat boy. Yes, you read that right. You really need to read this book, I can’t explain it any better than that.
Green Arrow #30
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Cover: Otto Schmidt
Variant: Mike Grell and Lovern Kindzierski
For the first time, this arc felt deserving of the title it was given. Not because this issue starred Hal and Ollie; nor because their playful riffing was back. No, it felt earned because of the first page. The first “Hard Traveling Heroes” arc by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams was all about addressing the the various injustices of the country at the time, giving a cosmic hero an eye on what was really happening on the ground of his home. While this arc has had the road trip part down, it’s been missing that other thing. And while this issue only really devoted a page to it, that one page showed so many different issues that are affecting the country. I’d really love the next arc to be focusing a little more on those. Ollie works best as a mouthpiece for social change, lets let him work.
Green Lanterns #30
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Calro Barberi and Matt Santorelli
Cover: Brad Walker, Drew Hennessy and Jason Wright
Variant: Brandon Peterson
The “Out of Time” arc took some time to build for me, but now that it’s there, it’s there. Jessica and Simon training the “new” Lanterns is great, and Simon’s determination to join the fight through the issue was perfect. The second the first ring started searching for a new bearer though, I knew what was going to happen. Though I didn’t expect Simon to get out of the impossible trap first, so there’s that. I look forward to next issue, as bittersweet as it going to be, since it’s Sam Humphries last issue on the book.Thank you Sam, you made me care a lot about these two characters that I didn’t care about at all before this book started.
Harley Quinn #27
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Cover: Jill Thompson
Variant: Frank Cho and Sabine Rich
Honestly, the best thing about this issue was the fact that it made fun of it’s own fill in status. I wasn’t terribly interested in the story and the art was mostly just there, but I’m very glad it wasn’t the real Joker. I was looking forward to the start of “Vote Harley”, but it looks like I have to wait another two weeks to see that get started.
Injustice 2 #9
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Daniel Sampere and Juan Albarran
Cover: Dale Keown and Jason Keith
This series has been chock full of nods to long time DC fans, and I’m loving it. It’s nice to finally have it revealed as to why Animal Man and Vixen are on Ra’s al Ghul’s team. It’s mostly what I figured, but still nice to see.
Justice League #28
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Fernando Pasarin and Batt
Cover: Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair
Variant: Nick Bradshaw and Alex Sinclair
There were some good moments in this issue, but man this arc really isn’t doing it for me. Diana is completely out of character, just for the sake of making this story work. If you have to butcher the characterization of an icon to make your plot even make a modicum of sense, you’re doing it wrong. That said, some of the character moments were fantastic in this. Mostly though, this issue is just there. Nothing really happens to advance the plot, we just see a little more of the new kids. Also? Where was Aquaman? The cover talked all about him, but he was nowhere to be found in the comic.
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Miguel Mendonca and Diana Egea
Cover: Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor
Variant: Casey Jones and Hi-Fi
SIGH. Gal dangit. I’m pulling for Shawn and Dick, and Dick’s not making it easy. To be honest, I can get behind almost any Nightwing ship. My number one will always be Starfire, but as long it’s not Helena, I’m usually fine… and here we are. This was a satisfying end to an arc that didn’t mean a lot to me, but the theme of this week’s books seems to be “Make Cori interested in reading back issues”. I have some Grayson, so once I’m caught up on everything else, and have read Shade the Changing Man and Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, I guess I’ll jump into that. Oh and before I forget, I am reminded that Tim Seeley pulled Pigeon directly from one of the old Hostess ads. Well done Tim.
Writer: Keith Champagne
Artist: Ed Benes and Tyler Kirkham
Cover: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza and Will Quintana
Variant: Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez
In a story with a weird angle, parts of this really worked. Sinestro versus Superman isn’t something I’d ever imagine could work well, especially the idea of Parallax possessing Superman. That part definitely still didn’t work for me, but exposing Clark’s fears really did. They brought out the heart of what makes him a hero, his desire to save everyone, and his love for his family. Especially the fear of failing as a father and the fear of terminal illness for Lois. One thing that he’s doing his best to prevent, and one that there is no way his powers could prevent. Using his hope and willpower to win the day also really worked. And the title of the next issue has me very excited. Bring on the New Gods.