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]
Feeling very much like an issue in the middle of an arc which needs to lay the foundation for things to come, The 7th Sword #3 dedicates most of its pages to Daniel Cray, despite his objections to the path Kathleen has chosen, training the recruits of ZenZion and weeding out the group to come up with a handful he feels worthy enough to hold the Malanthe and defend their city.
As you’d expect to find in an action movie, The 7th Sword #3 makes good use of montages to showcase the time spent in training and the number of dwindling volunteers. The issue doesn’t deliver much in the way of action, but it does the work to set-up the climactic battle yet to come.
The issue ends with Cray satisfied in his warriors but news of the size of the army Kavanaugh can bring to bear forces Kathleen to ignore the samurai’s wisdom yet again and set her technicians to reading the unreliable Hamerhead killing machine to fight alongside the group in hopes of improving their slim odds. Worth a look.
This is more like it! Although I thought the first issue of Star-Lord’s new series was only okay, with Rocket Racoon #1 writer/artist Skootie Young brings the awesome. Centered around the Guardians’ furriest (and arguably deadliest) member, the series opens with a brief look back at Rocket‘s former princess-saving days. Jumping ahead to the present, Rocket takes his newest lady friend to a wrestling match between Groot and and a tentacled-blob creature which is where things start to go wrong for our furry friend.
Where Star-Lord really needs another character to work off of to be put to maximum use, Rocket can carry a book all on his own as is evidenced in Young’s wacky adventure which includes an appearance by the other raccoon out there, a warrant out for Rocket’s arrest for (gasp!) murder, and a plot to take down the hero by all the lovely ladies he’s rescued and promptly dumped soon afterward. Yeah, it’s pretty damn awesome. I can’t wait to see where things go from here. Best of the Week.
The six-issue mini-series continues here as the two duos of crime fighters are both able to extract themselves from the death trap laid by General Gumm who all were in danger of losing their heads after being glued to the top of a speeding train. In the ensuing confrontation the Green Hornet decides to play dirty and knock out the Dynamic Duo rather than reveal the truth that he and Kato are actually heroes only pretending to be criminals.
As General Gumm isn’t strong enough to carry the series on his own, Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #2 brings in the Joker to help even out the battle between good and evil, although how long the pair can put up with each other is yet to be seen.
Certainly a niche story within an already niche market, Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #2 continues the fun of the first issue although, even with the introduction of the Joker as a major player going forward in the mini-series, the limitations of the premise are already beginning to show. For fans.
For the first time in the comic’s two-year run an issue of the Fables spin-off series centers around a non-female character. Reynard takes center stage here with his tall-tales to the fellow animals of The Farm of his exploits as a knight of Rose Red‘s new Round Table. Although almost completely fictitious (Reynard is hardly proving himself worthy of his selection in a human form that lacks any of the cunning or charm of his natural state), the fox’s near incessant bragging pushes the occupants of The Farm into action demanding that they too be given glamours to assume a human shape and be able to move freely in the outside world (as Charming promised them in the recent elections).
Fairest #27 plays very much into the winding down of the series. Although he’s an odd choice for a series which until this issue has focused solely on female protagonists, as a fan of Reynard I’m curious to see what mischief the fox can get himself into before the series comes to an end. The revolution of The Farm should play into the struggle between Snow White and Rose Red and the coming confrontation which has been teased in Fables over the last several months. Worth a look.
Stranded in the past without a way home, Atomic Robo‘s western adventures continue as Robo comes to the aid of Doc Holiday and the other townspeople knowing he has to be very cognizant of his actions and their potential impact on history.
Atomic Robo: The Knights of the Golden Circle #2 features a good ol’ fashioned gunfight in the middle of main street, explosions, plans for a mysterious futuristic cannon which in the wrong hands could be quite dangerous, and revelations to the reader as to face of the true enemy Robo must soon deal with (if he can get a handle on those pesky Butcher Boys first).
Assuming the role of Ironside (who he’s mistaken for by both friend and foe), Robo is forced to take part in events leading to the kind of zany fun regular readers of his adventures have come to expect. The reveal of a nefarious plot involving Helsingard certainly raises the stakes (or at least it will once Robo catches sight of his old, but here younger, enemy). Worth a look.
[Red 5, $3.50]
IDW’s big Cartoon Network crossover begins here as villains Aku, Mojo Jojo, Vilgax, and Mandark band together with an evil plan to send robot warriors to capture their enemies Samurai Jack, Ben Tennyson, Dexter, and Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttecup.
The first issue allows the various villains and heroes to each have their moments to shine (although I would have liked more Mojo) while also setting up a scenario where the various heroes’ realms are all now unprotected. The villains also accidentally send robots to several other worlds leading to the capture of Ed, Edd, and Eddy (where the story begins to falter a bit) and setting up the various other one-shots over the next six months beginning with Johnny Bravo.
I don’t know that I’ll pick-up all the tie-in issues, but the first issue sells me on the premise of the crossover. And any comic featuring both Mojo Jojo and Aku is certainly going to tempt me into putting it in my pull list. Worth a look.
Although Morning Glories began with Casey’s arrival at Morning Glory Academy she’s been largely absent (except glimpses of her Danielle Clarkson years) from most of the recent issues. Morning Glories #39 turns its focus back on the young woman who shows up in Ms. Hodge‘s office with quite a few questions; she won’t like the answers.
Reintroducing Casey’s high school rival Isabel as the class school president and enemy within a school which already has far too many for Casey’s liking offers a bit of extra incentive for Hodge to push Casey into the next part of her plan. Running for class president seems like an odd waste of energy in a school like Morning Glory Academy, but the rivalry with Isabel and the access the student president receives force a resentful Casey to reconsider. I wonder if we’ll get a debate issue (or what student council debate even looks like at the Academy)? This issue also suggests whatever makes Casey stand-out from the rest of the students, at least to Hodge, is more than we’ve seen in her time-travel adventure to set things right. Worth a look.
When I heard Peter Quill was getting his own series I thought it a bit odd (even with the ramp-up you’d expect with the new Guardians of the Galaxy hitting theaters in less than a month). For me Star-Lord has always been a character who has worked best in a group setting. Amping up his smarmy charm here to match what we’ve seen of Chris Pratt in the film’s trailers, Legendary Star-Lord #1 works as a reintroduction to the character for both new and established audiences alike.
The story showcases the character’s noble intentions that often come off less than heroic (such as Star-Lord getting himself captured while apparently robbing an orphanage). While a prisoner of the Badoon, before making his escape thanks to his rocket boots and trusty element gun, he takes the time to have a holo-date with Kitty Pryde.
The comic ends with the reason for his new trinket and a new frenemy which suggest where the comic may take our hero (although it’s pretty vague about when this adventure takes place or the whereabouts of the rest of the Guardians). Worth a look.