How much you like Grant Morrison and his work on Batman over the past few years will certainly temper your response to Robin Rises: Omega #1 which launches the storyline which will likely bring Damian Wayne back from the dead and re-install him as Robin once more. Much like Morrison’s own work, Robin Rises: Omega #1 is overly-complicated, clunky, and unnecessary long winded (can’t they just throw the kid in a Lazarus Pit and be done?).
The $5 comic features an extended highlight reel of Damian’s story up to this point which leads more than a little like writer Peter J. Tomasi’s Morrison fan boy wanking. With a fifth of the comic taken up with the prologue, the story finally offers us into the main conflict by introducing Glorious Godfrey and Apokolips into the question coming between the conflicted sides of Batman and Ra’s al Ghul‘s forces. Stealing Damian’s body for a magic crystal hidden inside (because why?), Batman looses the villains when the Justice League shows up (unnecessarily) and forces them to flee back to Apokilips – with Damian’s coffin.
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Wrapping up the latest mini-series, Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4 features Green Arrow getting a measure of revenge against Prometheus and Superman calling on the help of Chloe and Tess to reboot the yellow rings and stop Parallax and his new army of brainwashed Yellow Lanterns who include John Stewart.
The final issue wraps up the various threads of the mini-series, although it does have to rely on a giant space whale fighting a giant space worm which began to make my eyes glaze over (as it did when Geoff Johns introduced the various space entities in charge of the color spectrum). Despite being impaled by a yellow-ring construct Superman comes out unharmed, and with the reboot of both Yellow and Green Lanterns rings he also says farewell to the responsibility of being a member of the Corps. Although Lex doesn’t actually get his hand on a ring he does learn the valuable lesson on the usefulness of allies which means we may see a legion or secret society in Smallville’s not-too-distant future. Worth a look.
The latest issue of Justice League United finds the team on Rann where they must not only save the young child from being corrupted into something true monstrous by Byth but also fix a damaged Zeta-Beam which threatens the lives of thousands. Although Martian Manhunter is able to reason with the child, Byth manages to escape capture and one member of the team will sacrifice himself to stop the Zeta Beam from destroying the city.
Much like the issues which have preceding it, Justice League United #3 works best when playing with the relationships of the new team – particularly the bickering between Animal Man and Green Arrow. The crazy alien space baby storyline hasn’t been as effective but that part of the tale seems to be concluded here.
The death of a major character seems a bit odd, especially as the title hadn’t even had time to properly work Hawkman into the group dymnamic (as nearly all of his storyline was separate from that of the League). I expect him to miraculously return next month (like his severed arm did earlier in the series). Worth a look.
Continuing the storyline involving the attacks on the school by Xavier and the Future Brotherhood of Mutants, All-New X-Men #29 finds the team victorious over the future mutants. Despite capturing Xavier and turning him over to the authorities, it appears the time loop involving the team’s meddlesome trips to the past has not yet been broken.
Of all the possible relationships between the past and current X-Men I’ll admit I didn’t expect Angel and X-23 to get together romantically (which is teased more at the end of this issue and even further on next month’s cover). Although on the face of it the pairing seems odd, the more I think about it the more I like the pair together and the possibilities such a relationship might yield.
All-New X-Men #29 is another strong issue although by their nature the Brotherhood’s failed attacks are beginning to grow stale. Hopefully next month’s issue moves towards an end to this storyline and begins to look forward to something new for the team to sink its teeth into. Worth a look.
The twenty-fifth issue of the series sees both the Huntress and Power Girl make their goodbyes before returning to their own Earth. Although the journey back home has been foreshadowed for some time, I’m less than thrilled with the comic sending the two heroes back to a universe I care even less about than the New 52 version of Earth-1. However, given that future solicitations suggest one or both characters will be making appearances in titles taking place on the main New 52 Earth it’s a bit unclear how long their trip home will last.
With at least the next several issues taking place on their hellish homeworld which has fallen to Apokolips and an evil Superman, Worlds’ Finest #25 plays to the series strengths by centering the storyline on the friendship and interaction of our two heroines. The issue works well and even an appearance of the New 52 version of Desaad (adding a bit of action to the proceedings) can’t ruin what works as a bittersweet portend that perhaps the series’ best issues may now have already been told. Worth a look.
Since the title relaunched with Matt Murdock and Kristen McDuffie relocated to San Fransisco we’ve known Foggy Nelson “died” but we haven’t known how exactly Daredevil arranged it, until now. Daredevil #5 offers a look back after Murdock publicly outing himself as Daredevil but before moving to the West Coast to start his new life.
Knowing his friend would prefer a hero’s death, and taking advantage of an unique situation, the latest comic gives us a look at Foggy’s final heroic moments and how, with the help of Hank Pym, Daredevil managed to sell the lie giving Foggy the chance to continue his cancer treatments while the rest of the world mistakenly believes Daredevil’s best friend is died helping Daredvil fight Leap-Frog.
Nothing is really gained by waiting until the fifth issue to explain events (other than getting that first trade paperback out the way), but the story Mark Waid tells is a nice moment for Foggy to shine and reminds us, through Foggy’s eyes, just who Matt Murdock is. Worth a look.
With removal from duty and subsequent Jim Gordon‘s arrest the GCPD isn’t quite as accommodating to Batman as it has been in the past. After getting stuck in the middle of a Mexican stand-off between members of the Squid‘s organization and the Kings of the Son, Batman must also avoid the police who show up to arrest everyone involved.
Despite their mutual distrust and low opinion of each other both Batman and Harvey Bullock manage to make the same deductions leading to a confrontation between the pair. Of course the tease of the danger both are ignoring while throwing insults and punches at each other suggests Batman and Bullock will have to find a way to work together to put an end to the return of Icarus and make it out alive.
Once again Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are able to deliver a strong Batman story with gorgeous artwork. If I have one major nitpick its using the Christopher Nolan crutch of having other characters make important deductions before Batman (such as Alfred here). Let Batman be the Dark Knight Detective. Worth a look.
Magneto #6 continues to series’ darker turn for the character from would-be hero to vigilante and, with the events of this issue, possibly super-villain once again. After hunting mutants and seeking out the source of the new Sentinels, based on the intelligence provided to him by his new associate, Magneto turns his attention on the mutant-hunting Marauders created by Mister Sinister to use their own mutant abilities to kill their own kind and be reborn into new cloned bodies if any met their end.
Offering plenty of action of Magento maiming and killing various versions of the group he no longer considers true mutants, the comic plays on themes of the thought processes of an older and more ruthless version of the character that continues to emerge in the new title. Eventually Magneto gains control of the group’s resurrection properties planning to bend them to his will as he has done so many mutants in the past. As to what he plans for the Marauders, and just what his control of them will do to the character, we’ll just have to wait and see. Worth a look
Ever since he returned the cowl to Batman and became Nightwing once more DC Comics has struggled with what to do with Dick Grayson. The New 52′s choice to make him a traveling circus owner and business partner with the daughter of the man who killed his parents fizzled quickly. After the events of Forever Evil DC decides a fresh approach to the character which is better than expected.
Making Dick an agent of the secret spy organization Spyral, whom he may be secretly investigating for Batman on the side, blows much of the dust of the character throwing him into a James Bond-style comic filled with gadgets, espionage, and a beautiful female companion in the first appearance of the New 52′s Helena Bertinelli.
With beautiful art from Mikel Janin which captures the character’s acrobatic roots and a fight sequence against Midnighter reminding us Grayson can hold his own, the first issue offers a glimpse at a retrieval op for Dick as he continues to learn the ropes of the organization. I’m far from sold on Spyral itself, but there’s a lot to like about this version of Dick Grayson. Worth a look.
While teasing us with the wanderings around London of the two enemy spies who will eventually come into conflict with The Shadow, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #2 is mainly concerned with Lamont Cranston finishing affairs in New York and preparing for his impending departure to England.
The second issue sees The Shadow start a gang war to weed out the ranks of two opposing families making it easier for the police to deal with the remnants of both organizations after he’s gone. Stoically the vigilante never considers the increased casualties caused by such extreme actions. We also see the dismantlement of The Shadow’s network of spies before he and Margo Lane board a ship and leave New York behind.
The first two issues represent one-third of Howard Chaykin’s tale, the point of which (other than Cranston leaving New York) is still murky at best. The idea of an older Shadow’s adventure in London is interesting, but two issues in Chaykin hasn’t sold me on that story that’s already cost me $8. That’s a problem. Hit-and-Miss.
[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]