Hey, its been awhile! So long in fact, that a name change was in order. DC has retired the Rebirth branding for now, switching over to DC Universe branding for their main line titles, so its time to retire the Rebirth brand here as well. Same great column, just a different name. This week we see a couple series end, and one of the big summer events start. The pick of the week, though, goes to James Tynion’s penultimate issue of Detective Comics. There’s a Spoiler in there, and also spoilers in here.
Detective Comics #980
James Tynion IV (Writer), Scot Eaton (artist), Wayne Faucher (Inker), John Kalisz and Allen Passalaqua (Colorist), Sal Cipriano (Letterer)
Right off the bat, (pun not intended), this cover gave me all sorts of feelings. Seeing a Bat-eared silhouette behind Spoiler and Orphan made my heart swell. It doesn’t hurt that the side panels on Steph’s current costume remind me a lot of her Batgirl costume. And then I read the issue. I was not emotionally ready for it, and to be honest? Still not. The last five pages are probably my favorite thing Tynion’s done yet in the book. I saw things I didn’t expect to ever be referenced in canon ever again, and I’m so grateful. We have one more issue from Tynion left, and I can’t wait to read it.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22
Julie and Shawna Benson (Writers), Roge Antonio (Artist), Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist), Saida Temofonte (Letterer)
I’m truly going to miss this series. While it had its ups and downs, the good definitely outweighed the bad. My biggest solace comes from the fact that, while they won’t be writing Babs and Helena regularly anymore, we still get to read Julie and Shawna’s Dinah. Dinah has been the high point of this book for me. This was an excellent ending that tied the whole story together and left us with a sense of closure. The Birds museum at the end was a fantastic touch, and Dinah getting more control over her cry is going to lead to some great moments. Good luck on Green Arrow, Bensons!
Batman: White Knight #8
Sean Murphy (Writer, Artist, Covers), Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist), Todd Klein (Letterer)
From a book that I’m sad is over to one that I’m immensely happy to see go away. My fundamental problem with White Knight never abated, and I got exasperated as each issue advanced. Pills do not CURE mental illness. They CAN alleviate some symptoms, they CAN make it so a mentally ill person has a chance at living a better life. And certainly, overdosing on pills will not expedite the results. The nicest thing I can find to say about this series is that Murphy is great at drawing the various Batmobiles. It was nice seeing all the different versions from decades past.
Eternity Girl #3
Magdalene Visaggio (Writer), Sonny Liew (art, Inks, Cover), Chris Chuckry (Colorist), Todd Klein (Letterer)
If there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from Young Animal books, it’s that they get WEIRD. Eternity Girl might just take that to a new level. I honestly think I’m going to have to read the whole series together when it’s over just to be able to piece everything together. Sonny Liew’s pencils really add to the angularity and uncomfortableness of this story, With the way this issue ended, I’m very intrigued as to what could possibly come next. I will say the idea of a shapeshifter who is unable to actually maintain a form is an idea that I honestly think only a trans person could really make work this well.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #44
Robert Venditti (Writer), Brandon Peterson (Artist), Ivan Plascencia (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)
The Darkstars are one of those uniquely 1990s ideas that seems to be making it’s way back into the updated mainstream. I like the idea that Venditti is going for, making them the brutal cop counterparts to the Green Lantern Corps, though I think it would work better as a social allegory if the Darkstars were all recruited out of the active Lanterns. As it is, the only former Lantern Darkstar we see is Tomar-Tu and he’s a disgraced former Lantern arrested for for murder. The point of showing us the good cop/brutal cop dichotomy is to show us that bad cops get away with it because good cops don’t rock the boat. That’s not true in this case, and it seems a little too good to be true.
Justice League: No Justice #1
Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson (Writers), Francis Manapul (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letterer)
The first of the three big summer things for DC, and from the start it’s justifiably epic. The Source Wall has a crack in it in the aftermath of Metal, and it’s led to several Galactus-like galaxy-eating giants deciding to end the universe. The issue is pretty much exposition and team building, but as a weekly series its more acceptable to use an entire issue to do that. The surprise end of the issue, due to Waller’s machinations, will provide an interesting hook for the rest of the series.
Michael Cray #7
Bryan Hill (Writer), N. Steven Harris (Artist), Dexter Vines (Inker), Ross Campbell (Colorist), Simon Bowland (Letterer)
Taking away Constantine’s hair was a choice… Making him look like Grant Morrison was more of a choice. I get what this book is trying to do, with the “have a black man kill all the Aryan dudes in the Justice League” thing, but it’s not working for me. It doesn’t help that in two of the cases, you have taken away their blonde hair, by making Aquaman a Guillermo Del Toro fish man and by making Constantine into Grant Morrison. Having Constantine summon Wonder Woman was also really weird. There are also several points where the art is just bad, like a close up of lips and a nose where nothing looks natural.
New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #23
Gene Luen Yang (Writer), Brent Peeples (art), Matt Santarelli (Inker), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)
This has consistently been one of the best books since Rebirth, and the new direction is really interesting. It is immensely surprising to me that out of all the ancillary Superman books, this is the last one around. Probably because it’s not as closely tied to the other Superbooks, and therefore out of Bendis’s sight, out of mind. The idea of Super-Man being able to access both a Yin version of himself and a Yang version of himself is very interesting. I look forward to Justice League Aquaman meeting his Korean counterpart, since this book has dragged on him multiple times.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #22
Scott Lobdell (Writer), Dexter Soy, Alisson Borges (Artist), Veronica Gandini (Colorist), Taylor Esposito (Letterer)
There’s a lot about Scott Lobdell’s writing that I don’t like. I don’t think Jason Todd would ever use the phrase “I don’t queue” instead of “I don’t like lines.” I can’t see him putting Bizarro in his phone as “Biz’ness.” But what I will give him is that he does make us feel for Bizarro and his waning intellect. Though the plot hole of the medicine cabinet full of Kryptonite inhalers is still out there. Why introduce that last issue if you’re not going to follow up on it? Dexter Soy’s art, as always is better than Lobdell’s words.
Kenneth Rocafort and Dan DiDio (Storytellers), Dan DiDio and Justin Jordan (Dialogue), Daniel Brown (Colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterer)
Oh boy. I wasn’t that enthralled with the “New Age of DC Heroes” concepts to begin with. Other than The Terrifics and The Unexpected, none of them grabbed me whatsoever. Sideways definitely doesn’t do much to endure me to the line. It’s as if Spider-Man met Vibe, and they had a kid with 90s art. I’m not surprised at my distaste for the book, because I’ve never been a big fan of DiDio’s writing or of Rocafort’s art. It doesn’t seem to me like Rocafort has evolved beyond early 2000s Top Cow where he got his start, and using him as one of your “artist-driven books” just doesn’t do you any favors in my opinion.
Suicide Squad #41
Rob Williams (Writer), Eduardo Panic (art), Julio Ferreira (Inker), Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Pat Brosseau (Letterer)
Let me start off by saying, I can’t believe Suicide Squad finally killed a member. Rest in Peace, June Moon. The issue is all about Batman breaking Deadshot out of Belle Reeve, to save Deadshot’s daughter from Kobra. It’s a mostly uneventful issue other than it sets up the Deadshot and Batman road trip in a pickup truck (I’m not even joking) we never knew we wanted. It also introduces us to Enchantress’s replacement on the Suicide Squad. Straight outta Keystone, a big welcome to Captain Cold. We needed another expendable member, and yet instead, we get the Flash’s most recognizable Rogue. Sure. Okay.
The Flash #46
Joshua Williamson (Writer), Scott Kolins (Artist), Luis Guerrero (Colorist), Steve Wands (Letterer)
This was mostly exposition as a preamble to “Flash War”. It reintroduces us to the motivations of Hunter Solomon, since many Flash readers weren’t around for Geoff Johns’s masterful run on the book. I’m very excited that Wally seems to be remembering more and more, and especially that one of his memories last issue was a scene of the New Teen Titans, complete with Dick Grayson rocking the booty shorts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I will not have this revisionist history that DC Comics wants to push down our throats of Dick Grayson wearing pants as a teenager.
The Immortal Men #2
Ryan Benjamin and James Tynion IV (Storytellers), Richard Friend (Inker), David Baron (Colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterer)
Has Jim Lee designed a good costume in the last decade? Cause yikes, these characters are not great. Nice to see Jim lasted less than an issue on this series too. Who had that in the pool? Tynion is weaving a very intriguing story, but I just can’t get past the look of the book to make me care more. Also, “young rich kid sees his parents die” already belongs to one DC superhero. I’d say I love the diversity of the group, but we literally can’t see most of the character’s faces to know what ethnicities are represented.
Wonder Woman #46
James Robinson (Writer), Stephen Segovia (Artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colorist), Saida Temofonte (Letterer)
Remember when James Robinson was only supposed to be on Wonder Woman for 12 issues? I do. That was sixteen issues ago. We have four left until we finally see him replaced. I mean, I guess, if you just take the pages that actually featured Wonder Woman, you MIGHT get 12 issues out of it by the end of his run. Maybe. Might only make it ten. Oh yeah. Guess what. This is another issue of Wonder Woman where she appears on less than half the pages. And to add insult to injury, James Robinson ends this issue with an angry Supergirl, ignoring everything Steve Orlando did with her in the last two years.
That’s a wrap on this week! Next week we continue No Justice, and close out the very last of the pre-Bendis Superman stories. See you then!