Old Hob‘s would-be mutant army gets its first test when Pigeon Pete accidentally leads Rocksteady and Bebop right to them. Of course, it doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose. Realizing the danger her former enemies are in, Alopex steps out of the shadows and enlists the help of Angel and her high-tech suit. Donatello it seems has other plans.
More concerned with the events in Dimension X and the construction of the Technodrome nearing completion, Donatello leaves the group to enlist the help of Harold and work towards stopping the Krang invasion of Earth which he sees as a far greater threat that the Shredder‘s vendetta against Splinter and his family. I don’t expect this split to last all that long but it does open Donnie up for his own storylines while opening a spot on the team for my favorite new character of the series. Yeah, I’m pretty happy Alopex is back in action once more (now would somebody get busy making me a figure?). Worth a look.
Atomic Robo‘s Old West adventure continues as the time-displaced science-adventurer and his new companions Doc Holliday and U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves face off against the army of cyborg warriors created by Baron von Helsingard’s in his secret war zeppelin factory hidden in the Rocky Mountains from which he plans to attack the United States. Got all that?
Quickly running out of power, Robo doesn’t allow that to stop him from jumping straight into the fray and attempting to stop Helsingard’s army before it is unleashed on the country (all while debating the time ramifications of such an occurrence taking place). And despite the odds, Holliday and Reeves continue to lend their support (even when it means jumping through the air to land on a moving zeppelin).
Brian Clevinger and artist Scott Wegener don’t skimp on the action or humor as the latest Atomic Robo limited series continues to rolling along towards its conclusion in the next issue. Worth a look.
[Red 5, $3.50]
After leaving this title during Kara‘s run as a Red Lantern I return to find an unexpected guest-spot by the Red Hood in as compelling use of the character as we’ve seen in the New 52. Despite her initial distrust of Batman’s former partner, Kara agrees to the unlikely team-up to help Jason Todd stop the supply of alien weapon technology on the black market.
Even with the appearance of a Venom-powered Red Hood and a story involving gun-runners, the latest issue has a warmth and fun to it that is has become a growing scarcity in DC titles since the launch of the New 52. I actually enjoyed writer Tony Bedard’s take on the Red Hood so much I was hoping the character may stick around for another issue, but it appears Kara is going to have her hands full attempt to live as normal a life as possible.
For a character who had become lost in grief and anger, and had been allowed to bottom out and wallow and whine herself into a shell of her former self it’s nice to see Supergirl have a little fun for a change. Worth a look.
The main story of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #16 features Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael following their senei around New York City on a wild goose chase all to discover where Splinter disappears to every year on this day. The chase leads the Turtles to battle Mousers, Fishface, and Rahzar, but end up no closer to learning about the moment Splinter spends in secret with his daughter in honor of her birthday.
The issue’s back-up story centers mainly on Donnie who is stuck fixing the Shellraiser when it breaks down and his brothers leave to persue Foot soldiers. He also must deal with (and attempt to hide from) a random pedestrian who offers his help to fix the van, but proves to be more useful than Donnie gives him credit for.
Both stories prove to be fun as Splinter is able to teach his sons a lesson about respecting his privacy while providing them with a nightly adventure that was more than they bargained for. Donnie’s story, while goofy, offers some fun moments as well such as the man’s statement to the cops about the crazy night. Worth a look.
While mulling over the pros and cons to selling his life story for a boatload of cash, Daredevil has his first run-in with the progeny of the Purple Man (who despite throwing himself in front of a trolley car is feeling much better now). The format of the issue involving Foggy warning Matt against dredging up painful memories which might destroy the happy life he’s carved out for himself only to have the Purple Man’s children do exactly that is a little too convenient. One of the strengths of Mark Waid’s take on Matt Murdock is he hasn’t been haunted and overburdened with his dark past (except when he was gaslight by the Coyote during the low point of Waid’s run). Returning Daredevil to a more grim title may not necessarily be the best thing for his character or Waid’s work on the series.
The only real surprise of this issue is the survival of the Purple Man. Will he and Daredevil form an unlikely team-up to stop the out-of-control children or will the villain be to busy savoring the fresh hell his kids are putting Matt Murdock through? Worth a look.
Rocket Raccoon #4 wraps up the two ongoing stories of the series as Rocket comes face-to-face with both the other raccoon who has been framing him for murder (who turns out to not be a raccoon at all) and the army of pissed-off princesses who he each saved, dated, and unceremoniously dumped.
The reveal that Blackjack O’Hare is actually the one who has been masquerading as a Rocket lookalike feels a bit like a cheat, but Skootie Young’s final page means there’s still quite a bit left of this story to explore and Rocket, whether he knows it or not, is not alone. The use of O’Hare also ties back into Rocket’s bizarre comic past and the planet of Halfworld where both crazy creatures came from.
Rocket beating down his angry exes provides quite a bit of fun as well as the comic’s second ongoing story arc comes to a close with a battle royal which Rocket stumbles out of victoriously. Worth a look.
With Power Girl and the Huntress returned to their own Earth, and the latest issue of Worlds’ Finest turning its attention away from the heroines, I decided I’d give Earth-2 a shot. Despite the fact it concerns a dystopian world still fighting armies of Apokolips, I was pleasantly surprised in this character-driven story centered on the relationships of Kara, Helena, Thomas Wayne, Red Tornado, and Val-Zod. Whether intentional or not, the current feel of Earth 2 (with a black Superman, elderly Batman, and robotic Lois Lane) feels more like the early days of Marvel’s Ultimate line than the New 52.
Carrying on the tradition of Worlds’ Finest, Earth 2 #27 has multiple artists splitting the work. Thankfully, the art meshes reasonably well in telling to story of the foursome’s battle against an army of demons while focusing on reunions none of them ever expected. Once returned to their own Earth I had planned to turn my attentions elsewhere, but despite being stuck in a world I care little about this issue tempts me to continue sticking with Helena and Kara’s adventures… at least for a little while longer. Worth a look.
In an issue that teases possible serious repercussions for both teams of X-Men going forward, Cyclops reluctantly agrees to help Wolverine‘s team and S.H.I.E.L.D. stop Matthew Malloy before the mutant is overcome by his restored powers no longer kept in check by the recently deceased Charles Xavier.
I’m always a bit squeamish when comics rely on the introduction of a new super-duper-awesome hero/villain as a plot device to effect change. Someone as powerful as Malloy simply inserted into the existing universe creates all kinds of problems that Marvel Comics may not be prepared to deal with. Don’t believe me? Look up the Sentry‘s Wikipedia entry.
Cyclops’ decision-making at the end of this issue (after the heroes where routed easily by Malloy) offers Scott Summers the opportunity to further his own mutant agenda (even if it may very likely push him down a super-villain path which he has teetered on ever since the fracture of the team). Worth a look.
Born out of an unpublished Superman script that was never published, Kurt Busiek’s “Wish I May…” examines the tragic super-hero/super-villain relationship between teen hero Starbright and his high school nemesis Simon Sez. With a pair of different narrators, both looking back from the future, the structure of Astro City #16 is more complicated than your average comic book put the pay-off is certainly worth it.
Dealing with themes of heroism, bullying, sexual identity, revenge, rebirth, redemption, and the tempestuous crucible that his high school, Astro City #16 delivers by looking back on a single day with the hero and villain declared a truce in order for both of them to get what they wanted (if only for 24-hours).
The result is another great addition to the current Astro City series, a heartfelt message to those still struggling to find themselves during adolescence, and a hero in Starbright who I hope to see much more of in the future. Must-read.
DC Comics’ decision to end Stephanie Brown‘s days as Batgirl reinstating Barbara Gordon as the character with the launch of the New 52 never sat right with me. First, despite loving writer Gail Simone‘s work, I don’t want a gritty Batgirl comic. Second, Stephanie brought a youthful energy to the character that had been lacking for years. And third, Barbara Gordon (handicap and all) is a far more interesting character as Oracle rather than a role she outgrew years ago (long before being confined to a wheelchair).
The comic gets a new direction with Batgirl #35 that effectively de-ages the character and creates a more lighthearted world for her to live. Throw in a kick-ass new low-tech costume, a guest-appearance from Black Canary, and Babs fighting the mother of all hangovers to recover her stolen property, and the creative team of writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr, sell me on the concept fairly early. Do I still wish it was Steph under the cowl and Babs behind the computer? Absolutely, but at least this version of Batgirl has a little of her youthful energy and a slightly less dingy world to explore. Worth a look.