The latest issue of Batman ’66 takes Batman and Batgirl to Japan to take on 60s throwaway Bat-villain Lord Death Man (who got a revamp in Grant Morrison‘s recent Batman Incorporated run after basically being forgotten for the better part of five decades).
Standing in for Robin, who is in no condition to travel with the Caped Crusader (complete with slapstick walking into walls) on a transatlantic crimefighting trip, Batgirl tags along on the latest adventure.
Batman ’66 #21 is a niche issue in an already niche title. Fans of the character and the idea of Batman Incorporated (such as Batman having a special Japanese Batmobile made just in case he ever needed to work in that country) are likely to enjoy the story more than I did.
That said, there’s still fun to be had given how much Batgirl we get in this issue, Batgirl getting her own (slightly sexist) version of the Bat-Signal, and the chance to see Batman and Batgirl take down a group of ninjas. For fans.
“Assembly” opens up a new path for Casey Blevins with Morning Glories #39‘s introduction of her old rival Isabel and the idea of running for student president to earn access to the school’s elusive Director. Although initially against the idea, Casey comes to see the wisdom in such a move.
The latest volume of Morning Glories also gives us the arrival of Oliver Simon and Ellen Richmond and begins to define the characters of Vanessa and her brother Ian. Vanessa and Ellen’s story continues to grow in importance in the comic’s most recent issues while Ian’s odd nature suggests he’ll have an important role to play before all is said and done.
We also get the introduction of the school’s unique sport Towerball which another of the students plans, like Casey, to use for his own ends to stand-up to the faculty. Whether or not any of them are successful, this volume begins to see various characters banding together in different ways to fight back against the oppressive authority of the school. But when you’re dealing with fate, gods, and weird mysticism do they really have a chance? Worth a look.
The latest issue of Morning Glories returns to the unique relationship of Vanessa and her mother Ellen who, as far as we know, are the only mother-daughter combination allowed within the walls of Morning Glory Academy. Why this is the case remains a mystery, but what the issue is clear about is the faculty’s insistence on breaking, or at least weakening, the ties between mother and daughter despite going to all the trouble to allow their reunion.
Although the issue alludes to the equally odd, but less emotional, relationship between Oliver and Ian, the comic is primarily concerned with mother and daughter and the efforts Ellen took to protect Vanessa from ending up a the Academy before Ms. Clarkson‘s intervention.
Like pretty much every other student in the school Vanessa is a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite yet fit. Why is she important enough to (at least partially) mollify Ellen? And why was it necessary for Casey, under the guise of Clarkson, to make sure both mother and daughter made it safely to the school? Worth a look.
Most of G.I. JOE: Snake Eyes: Agent of Cobra #3 isn’t spent with Snake Eyes, although we do get some of Chameleon feeding the former JOE intelligence to help his search, but instead the story is mainly focused on his target: the former Cobra Commander’s son. We get a long look at Billy’s life off the grid in Thailand with Ronin his only friend and protector.
Along with a look at Billy‘s nomadic current lifestyle G.I. JOE: Snake Eyes: Agent of Cobra #3 also gives readers a glimpse of his life as Cobra Commander’s son. The only big action scene takes place during one of these flashbacks showing us why Billy has turned his back on the life he was born into.
Although lighter on action than last month’s issue, after Billy steps in to commit a foolishly heroic action things go from bad to worse as both assassins and the Arashikage Clan send men after him setting up what you would assume would be an action-heavy fourth issue. And of course we still have a Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow confrontation to come before the series concludes. Worth a look.
Facing the wrath of the Emperor who lays the recent defeats, including the destruction of the Death Star, at his feet, Darth Vader begins to put together his own private force to ensure his plans (including learning the identity of that meddlesome farm boy with his old lightsaber who despite being the biggest hero the Rebellion has ever known or celebrated the vast Imperial network has yet to learn so much as his name).
Despite the fact that the storyline for this opening arc boils down to basically the Dark Lord of the Sith being grounded by his dad and sneaking off to do whatever he wants in a fit of teenage rebellion, Darth Vader #3 does entertain thanks in large part to the introduction of Aphra, a new character providing the kind of mechanical expertise Vader needs to quietly rebuild his forces without alerting the Emperor to what he is doing.
Unless the series is going to be Darth Vader cutting a huge swath through the galaxy leaving dead bodies in his wake (don’t get me wrong, that could work), the series needs characters like Aphra to ping conversation and ideas off of. I’m intrigued to see where the comic goes from here. Worth a look.
As I’m a fan of both Samurai Jack and countless heist films Samurai Jack #17 delivers its share of fun right in my wheelhouse. Teaming up with “the Thief” (we have still yet to learn his real name), Jack and his new partner spend most of the issue breaking into the Master of Time’s highly-guarded compound. This includes guards, alarms, death traps, laser grids, and the need for a good deal of stealth from both characters (and when that fails swift legs and forceful fisticuffs).
As last month’s issue foreshadowed when Jack first attempted to seek an audience, the Master of Time isn’t exactly all he’s cracked-up to be leaving me to wonder where next month’s issue might take the arc. Despite the ending, which is more problematic for next issue than this one, this month provides plenty of fun team-up actions between Jack and the Thief as the pair struggle to work together to survive the countless obstacles put in their way in order to find the one man who the samurai believes may be able to transport him back home and finally undo the future that is Aku. Worth a look.
The Turtles battle to stop the Technodrome while their plan to thin the ranks of The Foot is successful. Sadly its not a compelete success as the island itself is terraformed into a Dimension X environment and the one Turtle left behind must deal with the enraged Rocksteady and Bebop. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 is a game-changing issue as IDW certainly sets out to break new ground after the fallout of this issue. Caution: Major Spoilers below!
The issue wraps up most of the ongoing storylines while opening the door for this version of Karai to become a more interesting character in the coming months. Issue #44 also gives us the return of Alopex and Angel along with the defeat of General Krang. Sadly it also marks the death of a Donatello whose loss will likely be felt in every single panel of the series from this point on. It’s a bold move likely to enrage its share of fans but it also allows the series to break with tradition and take the remaining three Turtles on a different journey than we’ve ever seen before. Worth a look.
After faking the death of Zorro to protect Don Diego’s identity while he is out of town helping to build a new mission, Lady Zorro and Lady Rawhide discover a town full of kidnapped girls and agree to continue working together to return the young women home safely before they are turned into slaves and whores by those responsible for their abduction.
The first issue of the new Dynamite Entertainment four-issue mini-series sets the stage for what’s to come. I took a look at the first issue out of curiosity more than anything else. A mix of sex and surprisingly brutal action Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1 isn’t the kind of series I’m likely to stick with.
I have no connection to or knowledge of the ludicrously-garbed Lady Rawhide and her motivations, and Dynamite still hasn’t sold me on Lady Zorro as anything more than a somewhat ridiculous supporting character. Fans of either, or both, of these women are likely to enjoy the issue more than I did. Pass.
[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]
Aside from being unclear as to why there is a Jokerized mob terrorizing all of Gotham I enjoyed Batgirl: Endgame #1 featuring Batgirl striving to save as many people as possible from the infected including using charades to help one little girl who nearly gets left behind before the bridge is blown.
The issue includes no dialogue (other than a single deep exhale of relief from our heroine on the finale page) meaning those (like me) not following the events of Batman: Endgame may be lost going in as there’s no preamble, discussion, or narration to get us up to speed. Thankfully Batgirl’s role in the issue is straightforward even if questions are left unanswered.
I’m still very much on the fence about the New 52’s version of Black Canary, or her new title as the lead singer of a touring band, but at least Batgirl: Endgame #1 makes Dinah less of the vacuous bitch than she’s been in the last few issues of Batgirl and allows the former besties to finally bury a hatchet whose very existence was perplexing to begin with. Worth a look.
The afterglow of Buffy and Spike‘s romantic night together is short-lived as the vampire seeks out the help of Xander, and eventually Giles and Willow, when his nightmare about killing appears to be true. With the magic users seeking for any control of the vampire Xander keeps Buffy away by inviting her along for a long overdue conversation with Andrew.
Buffy artists come and go over the course of a season but I have to admit I absolutely adore Megan Levens work in this issue capturing a cool look and feel for each character, particularly Buffy. Here’s hoping we see much, much more of her work on Season Ten and beyond.
As to the story, Spike’s pro-active nature in investigating the mystery bodes well for his future with Buffy (and produces a humorous reaction from his roommate). As to the cause of Spike’s bad dreams I wonder if we may look back to a First Season episode of Angel for a possible explanation as new trouble from William the Bloody’s past may have recently arrived in town. The Andrew subplot, while really not much more than filler, is a well-handled look at someone finally coming to terms with their sexuality with the support of their friends. Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]