The latest issue of Rocket Raccoon returns one of my favorite former Guardians of the Galaxy (whose leaving was never properly explained only to be replaced by Marvel characters like Carol Danvers and Venom who don’t fit in the oddball team concept nearly as well). While performing a series of jobs to payback all of his princess ex-girlfriends, Rocket receives and email which leads him to Knowhere to pay back a debt to Cosmo.
Even though they’re not on panel together as much as I’d like, I love the pair of Rocket and Cosmo and hope the telepathic dog may eventually find his way out of Marvel’s dog house and give us more appearances like this. The job is simple. Bizarre, but simple. Cosmo enlists Rocket to help a retired military mech whose friends (from the same junkyard paradise where all mechs go to live out their twilight years) have been stolen to be sold at auction.
And so Rocket and his nonsense-speaking friend (“Brute” only communicates in bianary) head into action. The result of which, as expected, is pretty damn entertaining. Worth a look.
Captured by the circus, the Flash learns the tragic origin of Mr. Bliss and discovers the ringmaster’s powers firsthand as Bliss feeds Barry his greatest fear and worst nightmare simultaneously stopping the Scarlet Speedster dead in his tracks. With the help of a couple of Bliss’ unwilling minions, Caitlin and Cisco are able to rescue their friend from the circus but not before the damage had already been done.
Along with Bliss’ full introduction, the main takeaway from The Flash: Season Zero #3 is how the ringmaster uses his power to control those around him. The Flash doesn’t need to take down the entire gang, just one man (albeit a man who can look straight into his soul and feed him his darkest fears).
The issue also illustrates that Barry’s deepest fears and nightmares don’t involve the legion of evil meta-humans waiting for him, or even the mysterious man in the yellow suit who stole his life, but the two most important people in his life he feels he has failed: his parents. For fans.
Setting up the mini-series finale next month, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #5 brings Buichi Kubo to the land of the Komori Ninja Clan as old enemies will put aside their differences to work together to take on the invading aliens and their tripods of destruction.
Although there’s plenty of action, we don’t get as much of Usagi Yojimbo in this issue as the majority of the the issue focuses on the kamakaze attack of the Komori and samurai and most of the final few pages deals with Lord Noriyuki attempting to convince the Shogun’s emissary Minister Hina of an unconventional plan to destroy the last of the alien invaders.
As Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #5 comes to a close it teases us with what writer/artist Stan Sakai has in mind for the finale as everything involving the alien destruction has led to the creation of a weapon powerful enough to take on the enemy. That last panel is amazing! I can’t wait to see it unleashed! Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.99]
After taking down a delusional Mad Hatter, Batman turns his attention to a crime that Harvey Bullock has been persuing for weeks without any real leads other than graffiti left as a signature for each crime. The death of a Wayne Enterprises’ executive brings the detective and Batman both to Wayne Tower just in time to discover what explosive situation Anarky has left for them.
After a couple of months off, Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul return to Detective Comics with the opening of this new arc. I’ve never been a huge Anarky fan, but the villain does have his uses especially if (as this issue suggests) this is the first time he’s been active in Gotham City.
The method which the super-villain uses to turn the office building into a bomb works (at least for a Batman comic book), although we still don’t know why he has chosen to target a building full of Bruce Wayne’s employees or what Anarky’s end game might be. Worth a look.
Spring of 1980. That’s the first time I picked up a comic book, and the first Batman story I ever read was Batman #323 which featured both Batman and Catwoman being bested by lesser-known villain known as Catman. Needless to say I was an immediate fan. Sadly, the following two decades weren’t kind to the character who resurfaced in 2005 as the break-out star of DC’s Villains United giving birth to the first iteration of the Secret Six.
With the new Secret Six #1 Gail Simone returns to the comic (along with her run on the original Birds of Prey) which made me a lifelong fan of her work, albeit through the craptastic lens of DC’s New 52 filter. Playing on similar themes of the Six being brought together and controlled by an unknown master called Mockingbird, Secret Six #1 opens with Catman being kidnapped and locked-up with a group of five others and tortured by a mysterious voice who wants answers to a question that has yet to be asked.
The first issue doesn’t sell me immediately on the series, but (unlike so much of the New 52) doesn’t immediately turn me off of beloved characters, either.
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Pitting three of the four Turtles, Angel, Alopex, Slash, and Old Hob‘s new mutant band up against Rocksteady and Bebop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #40 demonstrates just how formidable a pair the two mutants are as the group is at best only to fight Rocksteady and Bebop to a standstill (even after dropping a building on their heads).
Those waiting for a full-on action issue won’t be disappointed, although the far less action-packed subplot between Casey and April’s father grows the relationship between the two characters but mostly gets in the way of more awesome action. The extended fight sequence is great, and Donatello‘s own actions at the end of the issue foreshadow unusual days to come, but I’m most happy with the return of Alopex who has apparently found her home in the city with Angel. The panels between the arctic fox and Raphael are ridiculously cute and I’m hoping we’ll see far more of her in the future (along with a toy!). Worth a look.
In the latest issue Samurai Jack is tested to prove his worth by the forces who initially crafted the magic sword. After its destruction the various entities have returned to judge whether or not the hero is worthy to have the damaged weapon restored and returned to him.
Filled mostly with Samurai Jack being put through the paces in various different ways, “The Quest of the Broken Blade” is fast-moving if a bit montage heavy feeling very much like the middle fluff of an ongoing story arc (which of course it is).
The tests come to a close with the end of the issue (or do they?) with Samurai Jack facing off against the evil that is Aku, but without the help of his magic blade how long can Samurai Jack survive? My guess, the hero will prove his worth even without the sword and thus earn its return allowing his quest to return home and undo the future that is Aku to continue once more. Worth a look.
The storyline of Andrew attempting to resurrect Tara thus unintentionally powering and Old One and sealing the fate of all mankind comes to a close as Buffy and Spike hold off the creature while Willow is forced to argue against bringing the love of her life back to the land of the living.
In a TV series and comic which has already brought back multiple dead characters (Giles, Buffy, Spike, Angel, Fred as Illyria, and ghost version of both Wesley and Anya) it seems fan favorite Tara doesn’t make the cut and like Joyce reminds us that some deaths are permanent even in the Buffyverse. The big takeaway of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten #9 is Willow admitting out loud that resurrecting Buffy, for whatever reason, was a mistake and one that she doesn’t plan on repeating.
In the midst of the action the comic continues to pull Buffy and Spike together teasing the possibility of reuniting the couple. And although Andrew admits to his bad judgement he doesn’t exactly learn from his lesson as the final panel foreshadows more trouble on the way. Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]
The disappearance of Jade, who was actually kidnapped by Jun and Guillaume hoping to trade her life to bring back his brother Hisao, has the unintended consequence at firing up Casey‘s hatred for the faculty (who she assumes has taken her roommate again) and, against her better judgement, forces her to announce her candidacy for student council president.
Morning Glories #42 may not sell me on the idea of student elections being a must-read (even in a school as fucked-up as Morning Glories Academy), but the events surround Jade’s disappearance add just the right fuel to the fire to force Casey’s hand (although if we are to believe Jade’s vision it might be leading her down a path to Casey’s own destruction).
Several other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle the comic has become are touched on (without revealing much) including Ian’s odd “science project,” and the relationship between Hodges and Daramount, Akiko and Fortunato, and Vanessa and her mother. Worth a look.
While others react to his recent move of attempting to befriend rather than stop the dangerous Omega-level mutant, Cyclops works to attempt to convince Matthew Malloy to join his team of X-Men offering Scott Summers a big gun and game changer in his standoff against S.H.I.E.L.D.
Although the unstable Malloy is still far from A) Joining Cyclops team or B) Being able to control his powers to be able to join the team, Cyclops’ offer leaves Beast, Maria Hill, and others at a complete loss of what to do next. The only one who seizes the opportunity to act is Magneto who finally returns to the series after a lengthy abscence not all that keen on what Cyclops has been doing in since his departure.
I’m happy to see Magneto’s return but sad to learn that he appears to be at odds with a move that could take the X-Men, and the series, to an entirely new level. Worth a look.